Gray’s Best Awards 2015

SHOOTING: Swarovski CL 8 x 25 B Pocket Binocular

Although pocket binoculars have been a standard item for optics companies for more than a century, it’s rare to find one that combines compact size and light weight with the optical quality and durability necessary for hunting and other strenuous outdoor activities. The new Swarovski CL 8 x 25 B Pocket Binocular combines all these features in a package that is distinctly Swarovski: stylish, and simultaneously traditional and innovative. Swarovski has a knack for filling niches no one else seems to notice, and for designing practical and usable hunting binoculars. The Austrian hunting tradition is strong in Swarovski’s home town of Absam, near Innsbruck in the Tyrol, and the Swarovski family are dedicated outdoors people. Hunting products make it into the Swarovski line only if they work well in the field for hunters, not just for optics engineers in a lab, and in many cases the field tests are carried out by the people at the top. The new CL Pocket is available in either 8X or 10X magnification, and has such full-scale binocular features as twist-in eyecups, diopter adjustment for balancing focus, a lovely central focusing wheel, and that soft Swarovski rubber armoring that feels so good (and works so well). No Swarovski binocular is cheap, but at $799 for Swarovski optical quality, these are a bargain.