Over the past couple of months I have had the great pleasure of being able to test out Swarovski’s CL Companion 8×30 binoculars. They have been essential in my photography as I have been able to watch wildlife from a distance and predict their behaviour so that I could get a better picture and gain a better understanding of my subject.
The first thing you notice about the binoculars is their neat compact size, this is especially important to the wildlife photographer who may be walking over long distances as weight can be such a limiting factor with long lenses and big clunky tripods. And because of their compact design, it means that you can have them on you pretty much all the time and not miss any birds which you may encounter.
The small size of the binoculars also helps the binoculars to fit comfortably in your hands without them rubbing or making your wrists ache after heavy use of the binoculars which is especially prone when using them for long stints in hides. Swarovski have also cleverly designed thumb depressions either side, underneath, of the focusing ring which helps to position your index fingers perfectly on top of the focusing ring.
Another added feature to the binoculars is the twistable eye cups which can be turned to form a cupped shade which helps in aiding a much brighter and clearer view through the binoculars(particularly useful in picking up birds at distance). They can be turned back to their normal flat shape in seconds which is enormously useful when out in the field because weather conditions are so changeable and you can never predict when the light will change.
Talking about light, these binoculars excel in low lighting condition. I have been able to work closely with a vixen which visits my garden and her cubs which come into my garden. The binoculars have been brilliant in helping me watch their behaviour and gain a more in depth understanding of their evening habits. They perform well into the early evening and provide a clear enough picture to identify wildlife.
The focusing ring is incredibly smooth and the grooved edges provide the perfect finger grip, meaning quick fast focusing. This feature is particularly useful when tracking birds in flight, especially smaller ones which can prove difficult to follow through a small field of view. On the subject of focusing, the binoculars have an incredibly close focusing range of around 9ft.
Swarovski have made these binoculars suitable to anyone by allowing the adjustment of the interpupillary distance (the distance between the two eye cups and also the dioptric compensation to achieve optimal image quality. Swarovski also provide a padded strap which provides comfort and means that the strap does not rub harshly on your neck.
All in all I believe the Swarovski CL Companion 8×30 binoculars to be an exceptional product of outstanding quality and one I would recommend highly to any bird watcher or wildlife photographer.