$5,365 • swarovskioptik.com
No one was surprised that an optic with the Swarovski name took top honors for spotting scopes in our annual optics test. But our testers didn’t expect this one, with its binocular eyepiece, to dominate the field the way it did. Swarovski’s flagship spotter is built on a modular system that allows easy swapping of objective and ocular elements. This BTX configuration, with the dual eyepiece and 95mm objective, is new for 2018.
With the eyepiece in place, the spotter becomes a fixed 35X optic, and because of that we assumed it wouldn’t score as well as traditional spotters with generous zoom ratios. What we found, however, is that the extra visual data that comes from the dual eyepiece allowed us to resolve images better than did any of the single-eyepiece spotters we tested. We observed this while watching game on distant hills through heavy mirage at midday, while looking at stars and other objects in the night sky, and while running this spotter side by side against the rest of the field in crisp, clear conditions.
The other factor that tipped our evaluation in the BTX’s favor was viewer comfort. Minimizing eye fatigue is the name of the game for long glassing sessions, and we’ve never used a spotter as easy on the eyes as this one. Plus, the BTX eyepiece features a forehead rest that you can set for perfect eye relief.
I recently took the BTX on a two-week self-guided moose hunt in Alaska, where it withstood the rigors of nonstop rain and rough use, proving that the system, with its latest components, is a full-fledged hunting optic that you can take anywhere.