Compared to what...?
Returning to Iceland for a film project I had the pleasure of comparing an all time favourite, the Leica Ultravid HD+ 7x42 - the very sample I used to own - to my new workhorse, the Swarovski SLC 8x42.
First impression: Damn, now I need to get that Leica glass again. What a gorgeous image.
In direct comparison though, the Swarovski is optically superior:
- it is brighter
- colours seem more neutral/blue instead of orange as in the Leica.
- edge performance is slightly better
- field of view feels much wider in the Swarovski than the difference on paper, which I attribute to the better off axis correction of the SLC, which is also a possible reason for
- a more immersive image in the SLC.
On axis, both glasses have superb contrast and sharpness, but the Leica is a bit darker.
Take home message: Never underestimate Swarovski. They are the leading manufacturer of binoculars, no doubt.
Shame though the SLC does not have a mechanical and industrial design rivalling the Leica and doing justice to its optics. The Leica is better mechanically, and much more attractive. A real classic. The new owner says she is never going to part with it.
Ester Rut Unnsteinsdóttir, world expert on Arctic foxes, mammal ecologist at the Icelandic Natural History Institute, protagonist in my film "The Fox Whisperess", and happy owner of a Leica UVHD+ 7x42.