Sunday, June 23, 2024
Backpacking & OutdoorsSafariStargazingTravel light

REVIEWED: Swarovski Optik CL Companion 10×30 binoculars

High price and high performance, but these compact and travel-friendly bins struggle to focus on value

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Whether you’re going star gazing, birdwatching, or on safari, a pair of good binoculars is an absolute must. A good all-round choice is a pair with 10x magnification, too, and the great thing about spending big on a decent pair is the knowledge that you’ll have them forever; binoculars don’t change. The Swarovski Optik CL Companion 10×30 binoculars are an instant classic.

Quality glass

The Swarovski Optik CL Companion 10×30 binoculars are all about quality. The glass inside is exquisite, offering exceptional clarity, while the various coatings are all designed to bring in a brilliant quality of light. The detail and color are quite brilliant, with a sharpness and fluidity that is as entrancing as the consistent brightness. Weighing 500 g/17.6 oz, they’re easy to hold for long periods, too.

Lens covers & eyecups

Great optics they might have, but these high-end bins aren’t perfect. Although we love the way the two lens covers on the outside are attached so can never be lost, the same isn’t true of the otherwise impressive extendable eyecups, which will easily get lost unless they’re attached to the supplied – and drearily standard-looking – neck strap. Someone needs to invent a new neck strap for binoculars that is both easier and more reliable. However, the Swarovski Optik CL Companion 10×30 binoculars are easy to hold thanks to some tactile materials and molded-in grips on the undercarriage.


The Swarovski Optik CL Companion 10×30 binoculars are easily stow-able in a pocket, and light enough to wear around the neck, but there’s a great bag in the box, too. Opening wider than most to make extracting them at short notice quicker and easier, there’s a high-quality integral belt loop as well as a pocket on the inside for placing a phone or compact camera. That’s great thinking for safari-goers likely to be heading into the bush with just their bins.

Value for money?

Waterproof, dust-proof, fog-proof, and drop-proof, the green, black, or sand-brown Swarovski Optik CL Companion 10×30 binoculars are of excellent quality and try their best to seem value for money, but the exorbitantly high price is just far too much considering the high-quality alternatives from the likes of Vanguard, Steiner or Canon that cost a fraction.

Price as reviewed: £850