After Zeiss’ release of Victory RF in 2018 and Leica’s introduction of Geovid .COM series in 2020, it was only a matter of time before Swarovski would come up with a response. The EL-Range has been on the market for quite some time, lacking some of the features of the newer premium LRF-binoculars such as Wi-Fi connectivity and a ballistics calculator. The first generation was released in 2011, and the second generation followed a few years after, bringing only minor updates. The third generation, presented now in 2021, is a huge step forward. Read on to find out why.
An optical masterpiece
Most binoculars enthusiasts have heard of the Swarovision technology which Swarovski implements in their best, most expensive binoculars. It is based on a field-flattening lens system which contributes to impressive colour fidelity, outstanding detail resolution, and edge-to-edge sharpness. Until now, the technology was limited to the EL series (the models without the rangefinder). Well, this is no longer the case – from now on, the Swarovision technology will be in the EL-Range series also.
Compared to the previous generation, the new models offer a 10% wider field of view – the 10×42, for example, now offers 120 m of FOV at 1000 m, which is quite exceptional. Both tubes boast a light transmission rate of 90 %, and when looking through the tubes, one cannot tell these binoculars of the LRF type – cheaper binoculars of the Chinese origin usually have some yellow or blue tint in one of the tubes, but that does not apply to the EL-Range.
Is it compatible with the forehead rest?
The answer is yes. Swarovski introduced the forehead rest last year when they launched the NL Pure binoculars. Having an extra point of contact while using the binoculars has proved to be a remarkable characteristic. It is especially useful when binoculars are used for longer periods of time or when the user is fatigued. The downside is that it is not compatible with the forehead rest used on NL pure devices. Swarovski designed a new one for the EL-Range with TA, it is fixed to the binoculars in a different way. One point of contact is with the battery compartment (you have to replace the battery cover with the threaded part of the forehead rest) and the other one is with the socket next to the left eyepiece. The rest is available as an accessory for 129 EUR. Other than that, Swarovski made some minor changes to the housing to improve the ergonomics, such as moving the measuring button to the right side of the bridge. A new button has been added to the bottom of the left barrel to facilitate the use of the new functions (inner side of the bulb).
The Ballistics calculator and Wi-fi connectivity
The previous EL-range models were not equipped with an advanced ballistics calculator, they could merely provide the user with the equivalent horizontal range. It is only logical that Swarovski chose to include it in the new models – the competitive devices in this price class, after all, already have this useful feature. Furthermore, you can connect them to the smartphone app via Wi-fi, which makes transferring the ballistic data to the binoculars a simple and hassle-free procedure. After the ballistic data is transferred, you can have the binoculars provide you with the holdover in the number of clicks needed for the elevation adjustment on the riflescope. On top of that, the air pressure, temperature, and angle are all taken into the account.
Tracking Assistant – A novelty in the world of sports optics
This is perhaps the biggest innovation when it comes to the new EL-Range as none of the competitors have thought of something similar yet. The function works with the help of an electronical compass and is designed to help you locate the harvested animal, which is especially useful in mountainous/hilly terrain where it is difficult to navigate oneself. You can use it in combination with a smartphone (it will show you the place to which you have to go on a map) or without it (you point the binoculars to the place you shot from, click the measuring button, and the directions will be provided on the binoculars’ display).
As all other Swarovski optical devices, the new EL-Range is Made in Austria. It measures from 10 to 2000 m; the accuracy up to 1500 m is +/-1 m. It weighs 30 grams more than the previous version which we can attribute to the upgraded optics and advanced firmware. For now, the series is only available in the green colour – Swarovski has yet to decide whether they are going to come up with the O-range version. There are two models at one’s disposal:
Swarovski chose to retain the popular open-bridge configuration and the strap attachment solution. These binoculars are incredibly appealing to the eye, the only thing that we dislike are the two bulbs, one at the bottom of each barrel (these have been present since the birth of the EL-Range series). We know that these contain the electronic components, but many other manufacturers of premium optics have found ways to hide them within the housing.
The new EL-range has a 10-year warranty. The electronics are covered with a 2-year warranty period.
The new EL-Range is a completely new device with an upgraded optical system (Swarovision), additional sensors, smartphone connectivity, forehead rest compatibility, and the all-new tracking assistant. The delivery starts on the 1st of February 2021. The old model will be discontinued after that. The 8×42 and 10×42 models will retail for 3380 € and 3480 €, respectively. They are more than 250 € more expensive than the previous generation, but the numerous upgrades justify that.