Swarovski BTX Dual Eyepiece Overview
By now there’s a good chance that you’ve heard about the launch of the Swarovski BTX via social media. I’ll go out on a limb and say that this new eyepiece will change the way we hunt more than any optics product since the invention of the laser rangefinder.
By combining the benefits of a binocular with the magnification of a spotting scope into an optic that is light enough to be packed on any hunt, the Swarovski BTX opens up a whole new world to the western hunter. Humans were born with two eyes that both deliver visual messages to the brain. The optical center of the brain then processes all of this data so that we can perceive color, depth, and movement. Unfortunately, with a single eyepiece spotting scope, you’re forced to squeeze one eye shut while the other eye stares at high magnification. Talk about mixed messages!
This works for a little while, but eventually your brain just “bonks”. This forces you to take a break and allow the muscles controlling the eyes to relax and recalibrate before you can get back into the scope. The older you get, the longer this recalibration process takes. With both eyes open, the head and neck in a relaxed position, and an optical system delivering a high-resolution image, you can glass for hours at 30 power, allowing you to dig out tiny details from a mile away. Case closed...you know you need a BTX.
The BTX can be mated with the 65mm, 85mm, or 95mm objective lens from the ATX/STX line. The magnification is a fixed 30x with the 65mm or 85mm, and 35x when combined with the 95mm objective. Swarovski has also introduced the ME 1.7 magnification extender for the BTX/STX/ATX. When attached, this will boost the BTX 65 and 85 up to 50X, and 60X on the BTX 95. Not to get off the subject, but when you incorporate the ME with an ATX/STX 95, the maximum power skyrockets from 70x to 120X! I haven’t had a chance to test the ME yet, but some optics snob friends of mine have, and they were blown away with the image quality they were getting at 120 power.
The BTX eyepieces can be moved in and out to accommodate a wide range of inter-pupillary distances. If you can use a pair of Swarovski 15x56’s, then you’ll have no problem with the BTX. The right eyepiece handles the diopter adjustment just like many binoculars.
The BTX is an angled eyepiece, which keeps your head and neck in a more natural position, reducing muscle strain during long glassing sessions. Some hunters struggle to find an object and to maintain proper eye alignment with an angled eyepiece, but with the unique forehead rest properly adjusted, you can gently touch the rest and your eyes will be in perfect alignment, and at the proper distance.
While looking through the BTX, you can peek at the ingenious targeting aide and quickly find the desired object. The BTX weighs in at 50 oz, which is only 20 oz. more than the regular eyepiece. The field of view with the 65mm and 85mm objective lens is 112 feet, while the 95mm lens delivers 96 feet, both of which are comparable to a spotting scope at the equivalent powers.
The most shocking feature may be the price. At $2689, the BTX is only $320 more than an STX/ATX eyepiece. The BTX has instigated a debate amongst those of us who have been privileged to look through it: How does the BTX fit into my optical arsenal? Does it replace a pure spotting scope or maybe a 15X binocular? To be honest, I’m not sure. I do believe that with both eyes open, I can perceive more detail at 30x than I can with a spotting scope at 40x-50x. This leads me to believe that I wouldn’t carry an STX or ATX eyepiece, but with the increased magnification offered by the new ME 1.7x extender, I can’t imagine not having a spotting scope as well.
The field of view and power of the 15x56 SLC is still an awesome choice when glassing at intermediate ranges, and am still going to pack a pair of 8x or 10x binoculars around my neck. The debate will rage until hunting season starts, with the only certainty being the BTX will be in my pack.
If you’re interested in buying a BTX, please don’t wait. Call the Outdoorsmans today or get on their website right now and order one. The demand will surely outstrip the supply this year, so don’t miss out. For an in-depth look at the whole X-Series, read the review I wrote on the Swarovski ATX & STX. I’m confident that if you buy one and then change your mind, you’ll be able to sell it for more than you paid for it. I’ve never said that about a piece of hunting equipment in my life!