Since the day that we announced the release of the EL42 Swarovision, people have been asking when a 32mm version of the Swarovision binoculars will be available. These are hard questions, because being really passionate about the binoculars we are developing (our babies), I really want to be able to blab about how cool they are and about how excited I am about getting my grimy hands on the first prototypes; and to see what the first bird is I see through them. But being a true-blooded product manager, I protect the secrecy of our babies just as fiercely.
And so today is the day that I am finally allowed to say whatever I want about the EL32 Swarovision. Now, I might use lots of superlatives and hyperbole and you might just pass them off as being from a marketing manager (well I am), but then – I suppose – you just would have missed the point that these are friggin’ cool bins.
First bird seen through an EL32 Swarovision: Short-toed Treecreeper (Certhia brachydactyla) from my office window
First time I got to take them birding: Last year in Thailand. I was expecting them to be better than the current EL32s (which I use a lot), but what I did not expect was just how much better they are. A good number of times – looking at a White-browed Shortwing (Brachypteryx montana) or the like – it struck me just how incredibly sharp the image was. It was the incredible image that got me wow-ing over and over again. (the great birds also played their part, though
Birding with the EL32 Swarovision in Neusiedlersee National Park, eastern Austria – the pans were teeming with great birds
So, the new EL8x32 Swarovisions have an incredible 141m/1000m (423ft/1000yds) field of view that is perfectly sharp throughout, and despite the extra lenses required to create the better image quality, the new EL32 Swarovisions are 30g lighter than the original EL32s – a fantastic achievement.
One of the things that has made the EL range so successful is the ergonomics; designed to allow one’s fingers to comfortably wrap around the barrels with plenty of room between the two bridges such that three fingers can fit through. Now that probably sounds rather simple, but, in the case of the EL32, the length of the barrels and optical system needed to be increased (no mean feat) in order to ensure that the ergonomics were just right. The second thing that is very easily overlooked is just how difficult it is to create a top hinge that is that small. The thing is, if it were any larger, then it would make using the large focus wheel rather uncomfortable (just look at copies of the EL grip-through). There really are a billion things that go in to product design and development which all go together to create a great product.
Talking about a lots of steps, we also made a little video about the production of an EL binocular:
As an aside, our CEO has always had a special place in her heart for the EL32, and it is easy to see why (and yes, she did write this herself):
“The EL 32 is my personal favourite for when I’m travelling or at home in the mountains. They are compact, light and provide a crystal-clear view, which allows me to make out the smallest details in clear and sharp focus, even in poor viewing conditions,” (Carina Schiestl-Swarovski, Chairwoman of the Executive Board)
Congratulations to Michaela, Christian, Andi, Peter and the entire project team, you have done an incredible job!
Dale got his first pair of binoculars for a very early birthday after his dad realized that it was the only way to be left in peace. Many robins, eagles and finches later, he ended up at university studying various biology things and wrote a thesis on vertebrate biogeography in southern African forests. While studying, he also worked on various conservation/research projects (parrots, wagtails, vultures, and anything else that flew) and ringed thousands of birds. Dale studied scarlet macaws, and worked in their conservation, for three years in southern Costa Rica, followed by a year in the Caribbean working on Whale Sharks. After meeting the woman of his dreams, he moved to Austria where he now has the coolest job in the world making awesome toys for birders (Swarovski Optik product manager). He happens to also be obsessed with photography, particularly digiscoping, and despite all efforts will almost certainly never be a good birder. He also blogs for birdingblogs.com
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