Dark Lord of Optics
Location: United States
Vortex Kaibab 15x56 and Swarovski SLC 15x56 Binoculars
Technically speaking, this started a while back when Vortex asked me if I am interested in reviewing their new Kaibab 15x56 binoculars and I politely declined. The reasoning for that was simple: I like to compare products to their competition, rather than review standalone products. "Big Eyes" are generally not my cup of tea, so I really had nothing to compare it to. The bad part was that I really liked this binocular when I looked at it during SHOT show and wanted a chance to play with it. Now, if I were to compare the Kaibab to something, it would have to be the current "king of the hill" in the world of Big Eyes: a similarly configured Swaro SLC, which was the design target for the Kaibab. Luckily, SWFA has stepped up and allowed me to borrow a Swaro SLC 15x56 from the Samplelist.
Here is the short version:
Both are exceptionally nice binoculars. Swaro has a slight edge as far as pure image quality. However, the Vortex is more user friendly owing to its longer eye relief and, arguable, better eyecups. Once price comes into the conversation (and Swaro is appreciably more expensive), this becomes a difficult choice. Unless you wear glasses, that is. Then the choice is easy, go awith the Vortex. When wearing contacts I preferred the Swaro. When wearing glasses I opted for the Vortex every time.
Now for the long version.
Just about any 15x56 binocular is going to be fairly massive. It has to be. Here are some basic specs:
Both are massive binoculars. Based on the numbers, there isn't much to differentiate the two: Swaro has a touch more field of view, while Vortex has more eyerelief. Visually, Vortex looks a bit slimmer, but overall design is quite different between the two. Swaro has the diopter adjustment on the center knob, while Vortex has one on the right barrel. Also, the eyecups on the Vortex looks positively massive next to the Swar
Those who are merciful to the cruel, are cruel to the merciful. Talmud