Swarovski BTX

Outdoor Life - - GEAR -

• 35X with 90mm ob­jec­tive • $2,800 for eye­piece • Right-eye­piece diopter con­trol

With this first-rate mashup of a binoc­u­lar and a spot­ter, Swarovski has solved one of the en­dur­ing prob­lems of op­tics: eye­strain. The BTX eye­piece, which al­lows users to set­tle in be­hind the scope is one com­po­nent of Swarovski’s mod­u­lar ATX/STX spot­ting-scope sys­tem. Swap out the monoc­u­lar eye­piece of the stan­dard sys­tem for this new both-eyes-open eye­piece and you’ll find your­self al­most fall­ing into the stun­ning im­age it de­liv­ers. Key com­po­nents of the BTX in­clude an ad­justable cush­ioned fore­head rest, two eye­pieces that can be ad­justed for in­ter­pupil­lary dis­tance and eye­cup ex­ten­sion, and a grace­ful an­gle that al­lows users to rest their heads on the op­tic. The BTX is a fixed-power eye­piece. Fit­ted to the 95mm ob­jec­tive in our test sam­ple, the eye­piece de­liv­ered a 35X mag­ni­fi­ca­tion. With ei­ther an 85mm or 65mm ob­jec­tive, it de­liv­ers 30X. This means you can’t zoom in on dis­tant ob­jects, but at 35X, we had no prob­lem see­ing de­tail in low light and glass­ing ef­fec­tively in the mid­dle of the day when heat waves cause dis­tor­tion at higher mag­ni­fi­ca­tions. All this util­ity comes at a hefty price—the eye­piece runs about $2,800, and the 95mm ATX/STX ob­jec­tive we tested costs an­other $2,100. At a bit over 3 pounds for the eye­piece alone, it’s heavy. But if you ac­cept the premise that the longer you glass, the more you see, then Swarovski might be cred­ited with more and big­ger game for its users.

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