SWAROVSKI BTX EYEPIECE MODULE £2,070
We put Swarovski’s BTX scope to the test – but how does it fare?
WHEN SWAROVSKI LAUNCHED their ATX/ STX modular scope system a few years back, how many birders thought the next step would be to bring out a binocular eyepiece module for it? Like all the best ideas, it seems obvious, but it took everyone by surprise when it was launched earlier this year. In essence, though, it fits to the 65mm, 85mm and 95mm objective lens modules, and allows you to view through them using both eyes. So what are the advantages? Well, I was able to watch more comfortably, for longer, than with a standard scope. Using both eyes feels a lot more relaxed, especially when viewing a single subject or location for long periods, such as while reading rings on birds’ legs. Secondly, the image feels deeper and more 3D to me, as it should, with both eyes providing information to the brain. Given that you know a Swarovski objective lens is going to provide a very bright, natural, sharp and wide image to start with, that’s a great bonus.
Enjoying the benefits
It does take a little getting used to. I found myself closing one eye anyway to start with, so it took a while before I enjoyed the benefits of the two eyepieces. And, as with any pair of binoculars, you need to set it up right – the eyepieces twists up and down to three positions, there’s a dioptre adjustment on the right barrel, and you can adjust the interpupillary distance. Get them right, and you soon start to see what all the fuss is about. It is heavier than the ATX eyepiece module, but not so much that it would put me off carrying one. But you do need a good sturdy tripod with this set-up, because of that extra weight, otherwise constant wobbles will wipe out the optical gains. In short, it’s setting a new standard in scopes. If you already have an ATX front end, you’ll want to add it at some stage. If you’re just thinking of buying your first top-end scope you need to try it.