• 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.