Product Review: Swarovski 8×30 CL

Every hunter knows that Swarovski binoculars are the gold standard when it comes to hunting optics, and up until now, their price and value have kept them out of the reach of the average person. The new CL series from Swarovski comes in two models, the 8×30 and the 10×30, and they are priced under $1000.00, which makes them a potential best seller.

With the new CL model, Swarovski has just bridged that price gap between affordable second-tier optics and the expensive top-tier models. Normally, a pair of Swarovski binoculars cannot be touched for under $2000.00, so with the CL model now priced well under that, the hunting optic game has changed.

Ultimately, binoculars are used to achieve one thing, to see game better. The compact size of these Companion models allows for a full day of light-weight use, and the legendary Swarovski brightness is just as good as in their higher-end classics.

The CL’s internal lenses are fully multi-coated with the patented SWAROTOP anti-reflection protection. There are no fluoride HD lenses in this model, but this is actually a good thing when it comes to brightness. With less glass, the light can travel through easier. When compared to the 90 percent light pass-through of the EL’s, the CL’s actual have a 91 percent light pass-through. This means better performance for a cheaper price.

The exterior lenses are coated with SWARODUR to resist scratching, but not the SWAROCLEAN that the EL’s have. This means that the Companions have slightly less capability to reflect light, which is another barely noticeable short-cut.

The company uses the same glass and the same coating process with all of their binoculars, but what makes the Companions more affordable is the reduction in parts.  For starters, the CL uses a single hinge while the pricier EL models have a double hinge set-up.  As another way to eliminate parts, Swarovski has eliminated the gear reduction parts in the focus dial. Although the CL requires twice as much movement to focus as the EL’s requires, this is hardly an inconvenience.

One more slight, but non-drastic, difference is the field-of-view (FOV) focus plane. The more expensive models present a FOV that is 423 feet at 1000 yards, while the CL’s offers 372 feet at 1000 yards.  In translation, this means that there is only a slight drop-off in performance, but this difference is barely noticeable.

The bottom line for the CL models is that hunters will have a superior hunting binocular that is cheaper than the top-end models but out-performs the top-end models in brightness.