If you have an unlimited budget, reviewers say the Swarovski EL 42 Swarovision 10x42 are the best binoculars money can buy. They are incredibly expensive, but the Swarovski binoculars have unmatched optical quality -- in one recent test of 23 binoculars, the Swarovski EL 42 Swarovision binoculars earn the highest score for image quality. Reviewers rave about the "gem-bright image" and "stunning definition." Images look sharp and crisp through these binoculars, and users report excellent performance in low-light conditions. The stylish, elegant design is another plus. Users also appreciate the 20 mm eye relief, which helps prevent eyestrain. The Swarovski EL 42 Swarovision 10x42 are on the heavy side at 29.6 ounces, and reviewers say they can be hard to hold stable for long periods of time. Unfortunately, the Swarovski binoculars don't include a tripod socket, so you'll have to buy a separate tripod adapter if you want to give your arms a break. If you need binoculars for bird-watching, reviews point to the Zeiss Victory T* FL 8x42 (*Est. $1,950). The wide field of view and generous eye relief make for comfortable viewing while tracking birds.
Outdoor Life magazine has the best review of the Swarovski EL 42 Swarovision 10x42. The magazine conducts a comparative test of 23 binoculars utilizing a number of different testers. Binoculars are rated on a variety of criteria and the analysis is nicely balanced. The photography sites NeutralDay.com and Optics4Birding.com also have detailed test-based reviews. Few user reviews are available, but there are a handful of ratings at Cabelas.com, an online retailer that sells outdoor gear.
1. Outdoor Life
The Swarovski EL 42 Swarovision 10x42 binoculars earn an Editor's Choice award from Outdoor Life magazine. Out of 23 models tested, the Swarovski binoculars have the best optical quality. Editors rave about the "gem-bright image" and "stunning definition," but the high price is a serious downside.
Review: Swarovski EL 42 Swarovision 10x42, Editors of Outdoor Life, May 26, 2010
NeutralDay.com is a photography site, but Patrick Dean has a detailed review of the Swarovski EL 42 Swarovision 10x42 binoculars. High points include an elegant design, comfortable feel and excellent image quality. Due to the weight, the binoculars can be hard to hold steady for long periods of time (and there's no tripod socket).
Review: Swarovski EL 10x42 Swarovision Binoculars In Depth Review, Patrick Dean, April 2, 2010
The birding experts at Optics4Birding.com say the Swarovski binoculars offer "simply incredible optical quality." Images are bright and have excellent contrast, with a large field of view. "If you are in the market for the best binocular money can buy, you owe it to yourself to try the EL Swarovision binoculars," editors write.
Review: Swarovski EL Swarovision 42-mm Binoculars, Editors of Optics4Birding.com
Only three users review the Swarovski EL 42 Swarovision at Cabelas.com, but the binoculars receive a perfect 5-star rating. Users say images are bright and clear, with no distortion around the edges. The binoculars also perform very well in low-light conditions.
Review: Swarovski EL 42 Swarovision Binoculars, Contributors to Cabelas.com