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Swarovski 8x32 EL Range with TA

Swarovski 8x32 EL Range with TA

As a hunter, I value quality optics. In the early days, this meant a decent rifle scope and maybe a set of binoculars. However, the advent of laser range finding (LRF) monoculars moved things along by making range finding incredibly easy.

Combined operations
The next step was to combine the LRF and bino functions, to produce the BRF (Binocular Range Finder). The first set I ever tried was from Bushnell. They were big and clunky but did the job. Most manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon, with the notable exception of Swarovski. They had their excellent EL binos, which were introduced in 1999 and upgraded in 2009 with their field-flattener lens system, which improved performance. In 2011, they hit the big time with their EL Range BRFs in 8x42 and 10x42 spec, which have been upgraded over the years with a Tracking Assist (TA) system, compass, and downloadable ballistics package.
I have a set of Gen 2 10x42 EL Range, and I appreciate the extra x2 magnification. There’s no TA or ballistics, as these extra features arrived with the Gen 3. However, in a world where small seems to be beautiful, Swarovski has now launched a more compact version; the 8x32 and 10x32 EL Range, with all the whistles and bells, including their excellent field-flattener lens system.

First impressions
The more compact build is appreciated, as my 10x42s are 165mm long and weigh 925-grams, compared to the 8x32’s single bridge design, 146mm length, and 685-grams weight. They come well presented with flip-down lens caps, an improved QD strap, a battery compartment tool, a soft case, and a scrubbing brush with soap.
Before we get all techy, what is the difference, apart from weight and dimensions, between the larger 8x42mm objective models and this compact 32mm version? The field of view (FOV) @ 1000m is 135m (8x32) and 140m (8x42). Light transmission is identical at 90%, but the 8x42s score on their 18.3 twilight factor, as opposed to 16 on the 8x32s. The maximum effective range is quoted at 1500m for the 8x32s and 2000m for the 8x42s. The minimum focusing distance is 5m and 10m respectively.
However, at realistic hunting distances, there’s not a lot in it. Personally, I don’t find my 10x42s heavy or cumbersome, but the size/weight difference and lower price make the smaller binoculars well worth serious consideration.

Getting techy
So, what’s on offer? The single bridge build is sturdy and mounts two buttons for ranging and mode/menu functions. Unusually, these can be swapped around according to your personal choice of finger/hand position. Swarovski has a Bluetooth app, where all variables and options can be downloaded and interfaced with your mobile phone. However, the basics can also be configured by hand if you prefer.
They are green rubber armoured and mercifully, Swarovski has not yet made an orange version, as with their 8/10x42mm objective, 0-range models. Power uses a CR2 battery that sits inside the focusing drum, offering a quoted 2000-operations. It’s changed using the supplied tool. There’s a small lug on the inside of the left-hand barrel wall, which is a location positioner for Swarovski’s FRR Forehead Rest. It replaces the battery cover and offers extra stability in use.

Lift & twist
The 6-position eyepieces screw up and down to suit the normally sighted and glasses wearers, plus are removable for cleaning. Underneath is a diopter ring for each optical barrel. These pull up to unlock and adjust for fine focus. The R/H one exposes the serial number when raised. Unlike the 42s which have a bulge under each barrel for the laser etc. the 32s only have one under the right-hand side.
The Gen 2 models did away with the earlier/traditional strap system in favour of QD mounting and an adjustable locking ring. The Gen 3s have improved on this a little. At the rear is a figure-8 eyepiece cover and up front, individual, removable objective covers that clip onto an integral bar. If you don’t want them, a blanking filler is included to cover the bar.

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Selection and choice
I’d recommend downloading the free app, as it’s easier and essential to fully program the binos. I set them up with the laser/firing button on the left, as it felt more natural. The mode/menu button allows you to select functions. Hold it down for 2-3 seconds and you can spool through the options.
TRACK (Tracking Assist), COMP CAL (compass with a pointer icon), PLUS (display your ballistic information in a second line under the range readout, which offers several value types and options), LIGHT (5 levels of brightness), ATMOS DATA (temperature, humidity etc.) UNITS (imperial or metric), RIFLE (one of your three downloadable ballistic packages), and MENU EXIT. Once you have selected a function, use the laser button to confirm it.

Ballistics
The ballistics package allows you to adjust factory-quoted speeds to what your rifle actually produces. I say this because different barrel lengths will produce different figures, so you have to chronograph all loads for actual velocities and trajectories.
It offers a DATABASE (ammunition manufacturer quoted velocity by calibre), RELOAD (here you can go in and adjust the speed and even ballistic coefficient of your chosen projectile type/weight), EXPERT MODE (allows more finesse, with options on air pressure, temperature, distance between measuring points, and even bullet velocity measuring points). Plus, you can select G1 or G7 ballistic coefficients.

Get connected
With the binos connected to the Swarovski app, when you have entered and adjusted all the data required, simply press SUBMIT and it will be transferred and come up as a second line under the range readout in operation. This info can appear as MOA, MRAD/Mil, centimetres, or inches. The last two can be used in click values on your elevation turret, or you can simply eyeball holdover. Equally, you can select a corrected distance option, as to angle or range for up/downhill shots.

TA
Tracking Assist, in conjunction with the 8x32’s integral compass, remembers the last three distances you pinged (measured) and uses them to show where you shot from, as to bearing and range. This is displayed as a map that shows your position and the targets, with a line of direction connecting them. Conversely, it can appear as a compass bearing if that suits you better.

In use
The 8x32s come up as light and handy and are easy enough to program and use. Also, I do like the functionality of the ballistics package. Bluetooth is initiated by holding down both buttons for 3-4 seconds, and once you have selected it on your phone first, a blue LED illuminates on the exterior of the L/H barrel. Above it is an aperture that gathers atmospheric data.
In use, just point the small orange aiming circle at your target, then ping the target once and the range return appears in 0.5 seconds. I did find the red/orange reticle/display a little dull in very bright sunlight.
I used my 10x42s as a control, and the distances were bang-on. With the 8x32s, Swarovski quotes a +/- accuracy of 1m up to 1000m and 2m at 1500m. In the real world, this will vary, as this figure is influenced by many variables, such as weather conditions and the target colour, shape, size, distance, and reflectivity. I’d always recommend ranging the target at least three times, to get an average, as even with the more stable BRFs, it’s easy enough to accidentally ping over or under on smaller targets. Typically, they offer a SCAN function, allowing the user to keep the button pressed in order to receive a constantly updated distance to the target.

There’s the rub
As a Swarovski EL Range user, for many years, both UK and abroad, in most terrains and climates, I’m convinced by the product. This new, smaller/lighter BRF has all the quality we have come to expect and gives very little away to the bigger 8/10x42 series. OK, FOV, twilight factors and effective range are a tad down, but in truth, that’s a more perceived than practical issue. The single bulge on the R/H barrel gives a bit of an unbalanced feel in the hand.
Comparing prices, the 8x32s are £2710 (ouch!) and the 10x32s £2800, but still £530/£440 cheaper than the 8x42 Gen 3 model at £3240. I like the simplistic and versatile ballistic package and general operation. I doubt if I’d use the TA function, however, you might find it useful. Yes, it works, but I have my own simpler drills that work successfully.
I’d recommend getting a couple of spare objective covers, as I’ve had them come off when my binos have scrapped against a high seat ladder, or if I’m crawling into position. Also, I’d like to see a bit more illumination adjustment, and that’s my only real niggle. But, if I was in the position of buying a set of top-end BRFs again, then I’d opt for a set of their EL Range 10x32s.

  • Swarovski 8x32 EL Range with TA - image {image:count}

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  • Swarovski 8x32 EL Range with TA - image {image:count}

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  • Swarovski 8x32 EL Range with TA - image {image:count}

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  • Swarovski 8x32 EL Range with TA - image {image:count}

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  • Swarovski 8x32 EL Range with TA - image {image:count}

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  • Swarovski 8x32 EL Range with TA - image {image:count}

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  • Swarovski 8x32 EL Range with TA - image {image:count}

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  • Swarovski 8x32 EL Range with TA - image {image:count}

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  • Swarovski 8x32 EL Range with TA - image {image:count}

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  • Swarovski 8x32 EL Range with TA - image {image:count}

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gun
features

  • Name: : Swarovski 8x32 EL Range with TA
  • Weight: : 685-grams
  • Field of View: : 135m @ 1000m
  • Length: : 146mm
  • Twilight Factor: : 16
  • Max Effective Range: : 1500m
  • Light Transmission: : 90%
  • Minimum Focus Distance: : 5m
  • Price: : £2710
  • Contact: : Swarovski Optik – www.swarovskioptik.com
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