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A deep look at the new Swarovski 8x42 NL Pure binocular

The New Swarovski NL Pure

Pictured above from left to right: The new Swarovski 8x42 NL Pure, the 8.5x42 EL and the 8x32 ELs. Photo credit: goHUNT's Optic Manager and Expert, Cody Nelson

After the initial launch of Swarovski’s new NL Pure line of binoculars, I had to get my eyes behind them in the field sooner rather than later! I mean, after all, a secret kept this well had to be good, right? Well, after some luck and good timing, I was able to meet up and look through the 8x42 NL Pures. For comparison, we made sure to bring along a few of the other Swarovski siblings as well. On hand for this initial test was the 8x42 NL Pure8.5x42 EL, 8x42 EL Range and the smaller 8x32 EL.

Swarvoski 8 power binocular comparison

From left the right; 8x42 EL Range, 8x32 EL, 8.5x42 EL and the 8x42 NL Pure.

Ergonomics

The New Swarovski NL Pure

When I held each of these binoculars it was easy to distinguish the new NL Pures. The NL Pure binos are a full-sized 42 mm tube, but because of the new design, they felt more like the smaller 8x32 ELs. Having looked at the NL Pures in a 10x42s the day before, I could not get over how ergonomically perfect they were when hand-holding. The focus wheel was at my index finger with an easy push or pull for crisp focusing. I can say that all of these feel good in your hands — even the EL Range with the awkward-looking humps — but the NL Pures were perfect in every way.

8 power binocular showdown

For this test, I used one of my favorite desert foothill trailheads as the backdrop. The temperature was well over 100 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. But a perfect evening for a test, right? After setting them all on tripods and mounts, we got them aligned for the side by side comparisons. I took a moment with each binocular to refamiliarize myself with my old friends. With as many hours as I have spent behind them and with all the game spotted, I can say “old friends.” They’ve earned it!

Field of view (FOV)

I love a binocular with a better than average field of view. I want to be able to see more FOV when glassing. The NL Pures did not disappoint at all! The 10x NL Pure was awesome, but the 8s were ridiculously better. They were so good after I had a common reference point with each of the 8s I actually lost track of where I was in the new 8s. The 477’ FOV blew me away. As did the rest of the binos as well. The next closest was the 8x32 EL at 423’. Then the EL Range at 411’ and the slightly handicapped 8.5x was still respectable at 399’. The closest was 11.3% less than the NL Pure. For FOV, that is a huge difference. 

Gear Shop bar

What does more FOV mean?

The New Swarovski NL Pure

For me, it simply means that with the same power, I can add more area to see movement for each time I move the FOV. This will make you a more efficient glasser using the whole FOV before moving to the next. I will take it!

Edge to edge viewing

The other amazing feature was the improved edge to edge clarity. Or maybe I should say the absence of any edge at all. Having a solid edge to edge clarity is always favorable when using the whole FOV. Again, less distortion or halo allows for clearer images to see more movement. But the new NL Pures force me to do something I am quite certain I have never done before — I actually pulled away from the glass and turned my head slightly as if to see into the side of the lens. Like a virtual headset. The edge on the NL Pures is virtually not there, which is saying something because of the company they were in that evening. 

Clarity

The New Swarovski NL Pure

Clarity has been a big question in the first week after the NL Pure binocular debut. The NLPs are made with the legendary Swarovision and field flattener lens. Only EL Ranges were not made with Swarovision and only lagged slightly behind the others when determining the smaller text on the trail placard. However, one thing to note is this: Being that the 8.5x42 EL should have had a .5 magnification advantage over 8x42 NLP, this was not reflected in the results. I have excellent vision and I know I could determine the smallest letters on that placard at 75 yards. I will continue to test this, but I know what I saw and the NLPs had the edge less the .5 magnification spot. 

I love being able to live my life and help other people make decisions on the glass that will help them find more game. And the last few days testing a binocular I thought would be hard to improve upon makes me feel really fortunate. These binoculars are the lifeline to success in the field. I will take every advantage in glass I can when spending hours, and even days, glassing for the right buck. Swarovski’s new 8x42 NL Pure just made that possibility better than ever.

Up next

I can’t wait to keep digging into the new Pures. Next up: the 12x42 NL Pure. Will your next piece of glass be a 12x42 NL Pure? I will tell you why it just might become your go-to glass.

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