Update on this blog post (10/22/09): Swarovski has officially introduced these new binoculars. Information on pricing and pre-orders can be found at Eagle Optics here.
There has been a bit of buzz in the optics business as of late about a newly designed, high-end binocular from Swarovski. Rumblings from the rumor mill and speculation began early this summer and I didn't pay much attention. Since my friend and fellow blogger John Riutta let the cat out of the bag, I'll post what I know here.
The redesigned EL (pictured above) doesn't look entirely unlike the current version that many birders and naturalists have come to love. It's my understanding that under the hood, it is a completely different machine. Judging from my first impressions, I would have to concur. This is very much a new binocular.
Other than minor differences in the binocular's trim, the newer EL distinguishes itself from the current generation with a substantially larger ocular lens, as Clay Taylor proudly points out. It's my understanding that design change facilitated the superb edge sharpness, minimal field curvature, and very generous field of view (approx. 400ft@1000 yds).
They don't look too different from the outside.
Did I mention that it has a 5 foot close focus???? Corey was impressed. So was I.
I think one of the big questions on the minds of optics nuts and avid birders is "What's this little dandy going to cost me and is it worth it?" I don't know the pricing on this yet, as it hasn't been officially introduced to the US market. I would count on it to be more expensive than any of the competition's glass. These are likely the final days of being able to purchase a Swarovski EL for under $2000.