Swarovski makes amazing binoculars, there’s no doubt about that. But, how do you choose which model? In this article, we’ll be talking about the differences between the SLC and the EL models to help you decide!
Let’s start with a quick features/spec comparison chart.
|Swarovski SLC||Swarovski EL|
|Lenses||HD Optical System||Swarovision*|
|Magnification Options||8x, 10x, or 15x||8x, 8.5x, 10x, or 12x|
|Check Price||Check Price|
This one’s a bit of a toss up, but our Editor’s Pick is the Swarovski EL. These babies have amazing clarity, crisp edges, and they look absolutely beautiful in the field. That being said, they do have their problems (depending on who you ask that is.)
However, if you’re looking for the best optics, look no further. The ELs also come in the much coveted 12×50 configuration, which the SLCs do not. You can read additional consumer reviews and check prices at Amazon, or keep reading to see why you might not want the ELs.
Swarovski EL vs SLC – Differences Explained
We’ve broken down this section by feature to compare and contrast the differences for you. Let’s start with the biggest one, which is likely to be what makes or breaks your decision to purchase the EL or the SLC…
Swarovision – A Blessing and a Curse
One of the biggest differences between the EL model and the SLC model is the inclusion of “Swarovision“. This feature is what allows for those beautiful, crisp edges, flawless images, and flat field of view that looks so nice.
Unfortunately, this feature does come with one big negative, the dreaded rollerball effect. Now, for most people, they don’t seem to mind this ‘effect’ at all. In fact, many people barely even notice it. However, some people are sensitive to it and it drives them nuts.
The rollerball effect is an “optical bubble” that appears when panning, especially through areas of trees. When the binoculars are stationary, you won’t see it at all, but if you were, for example, following a deer through the woods, it could get annoying depending on the person.
If this is something that would drive you crazy, then you will likely be more comfortable with the SLCs. While they are not quite as crisp as the EL model and you’ll have to deal with the blurred edges, the rollerball effect is not present.
Some people even prefer the more natural look of the SLC model. These have the traditional binocular view, with a slight curvature, which you should be used to if you’ve ever used any other binoculars.
Plus, the SLCs are honestly just fantastic binoculars. So, if you can’t stomach the rollerball effect of the ELs, there’s nothing to be sad about. The SLC model will still perform very well in the field.
Some configurations are only available in certain models. So, if you prefer a certain configuration, then the choice may be made for you. For example, the EL comes in 12×50, while the SLC model does not. However, the SLC model comes in a 15×56 configuration, and the EL does not.
Every hunter has their preferred configuration, but if you’re not very experienced with binoculars, most hunters seem to prefer the 10x or 12x configurations. Though if you need long-range scanning, the SLC 15×56 mounted on a tripod might be the way to go for you. This is a bit more niche though, and not as practical as a 10x or 12x configuration would be.
This one is very much up to your own personal preference and some people prefer the fit and feel of one pair over the other. The only way to really tell here is to buy a pair from a retailer with a good “no questions asked” return policy like Amazon and try them out.
EL Model Ergonomics – The EL’s have a long, narrow, open-bridge design. Some people love it and some people hate it.
SLC Model Ergonomics – The SLCs have a more traditional styling with an “H” style body which some people prefer.
While the EL models have sharper images thanks to Swavorski-Vision, the SLCs actually have slightly better light transmission. Though this is only by a 3% margin, nothing to write home about.
If this interests you though, you should opt for an SLC model with a large aperture, such as the 8×56 or 10×56 configurations, which are not available in the EL series.
In conclusion, there are some big differences here, and you’ll need to take your personal preferences into account before making a purchase. However, the truth is that both of these binocular models are excellent and you likely won’t regret purchasing either of them. Many hunters even own both models for different purposes!
We’d still go with the EL model, but if you can’t stomach the “rollerball”, or if you prefer a more “natural” look to your binoculars, then the SLC won’t do you wrong.