Known for producing the worlds best optics, Swarovski has done it again with their EL Range. The EL Range is Swarovski’s first venture into the range finding binocular market. For many years the pickings were slim for someone looking for a range finding binocular with extraordinary optical quality. With Swarovski introducing their EL Range before Christmas 2012, hunters and outdoorsman now have a wide variety of instruments to choose from. The big three (Zeiss, Leica, and Swarovski) all now offer a solution for the hunter and outdoorsman looking for a range finding binocular couple with outstanding optical quality.
Why I chose the EL Range:
With the ability to use all of the solutions that the “big three” have to offer, I decided to stick with the Swarovski EL Range for my personal use for a couple of reasons.
First was the way that the EL’s fit in my hand. Continuing with the design of the EL binoculars line, the EL Range has an open bridge design. I really like this feature for a couple of reasons. First is that the open bridge design allows the user to grasp the entire barrel of the binocular. Instead of having to use a finger tip hold as on other binoculars, the EL wrap-around grip ensures binoculars can be held steadily and focus even the smallest targets at a great distance even with gloved hands. Secondly, the natural way that the fingers grasp the binocular, the index finger is located within perfect reach of the center focus wheel as well as the ranging button.
Secondly I chose the EL Range over the competition because of its intuitive technology. I found that the EL Range had the simplest and most intuitive menu operation when compared to the competition. Again I reiterate the fact that the measurement button is placed ergonomically near the bridge ensuring quick and intuitive measurement even in the dark. By lazing on the upstroke of the button versus the press, I found that it was easier to stay on target while trying to hit targets far away. The display has optional fixed brightness level or automatic brightness adjustment for different backgrounds.
My last deciding factor was the optical quality of the EL Range. Awesome edge to edge quality, razor sharp color,contrast, and resolution, as well as crystal clear quality is what I have come to expect from Swarovski Optik and the EL Range is no exception. It is my experience that people judge optical quality differently. Properties in glass that I see may not be seen by everyone. The EL Range in my opinion preformed the best across the board in terms of the optical system. The EL Range performs on par with the competition during daylight hours, but it out shines them in twilight.
What could have been done differently?
Nothing is perfect, this includes the EL Range. While it is an excellent instrument and I can tell that great care was taken in design and implementation, there are a couple of things that I can think of that may be an issue to some users:
- The ranging button may not click very positive for some. The lack of the deep click detent may impair some users when using thick gloves. Doesn’t bother me but I can see how it may be an issue.
- 30 yard minimum on the rangefinder. For some this may be an issue. Bow hunters for example would benefit from a 10 yard minimum distance.
- No ballistic computer. People are becoming more and more dependent on technology. Competitors offer ballistic compensation based on ballistic curves in their range finding binoculars. The EL Range does not offer this feature to it’s users. To me this is a non issue because I am a shooter and I know the dope of my rifles. True ballistic range is computed by the EL Range and that is all that I need. However, to appeal to less advanced shooters, they missed the boat.
In my opinion the EL Range from Swarovski is the best solution for hunters and outdoorsman searching for a range finding binocular. The range finding ability of the instrument is designed for hunting. It is created fo professional and recreational hunters and outdoorsman looking for an instrument that has the best optical quality offered coupled with a range finding capability that allows for the harvesting of game. What it is not designed for is shooters that are involved in Extreme Longe Range Shooting. While it may be able to serve as a solution for urban or long distance shooters, for those engaged in ELR would be best served investing in something such as the Vectronix units.
The EL Range are offered in 10×42 as well as 8×42 options. Below is a rundown of the spec of the 10×42:
|Objective Lens Diameter:||42 mm|
|Exit Pupil:||4.2 mm|
|Field of View @ 1000 yards:||330 ft|
|Eye Relief:||17.3 mm|
|Eyeglass User Suitability:||roll out eyecups|
|Binocular Design:||Roof Prism|
|Interpupillary Distance:||56 mm to 74 mm|
|Binocular Body Housing:||Magnesium|
|Weather Resistance:||Waterproof & Fogproof|
|Effective Range:||30 to 1500 yards|
|Target Angle Compensation:||yes|
Here are a couple of still shots at the range through the binoculars.