Swarovski NL Pure Review

Way back in the last century (1999), Swarovski introduced the EL binocular, which was at the time an entirely new class of optics. I was a sales rep for Swarovski in those days, but when I heard about the new binocular and the price, I was incredulous! The SLC class was spectacular and sold for $999. How in the world could they expect me to sell the EL at $1500? Three months after the introduction, I finally realized that I just needed to get out of the way and let the EL sell itself. Now, more than 20 years later, Swarovski has done it again with the introduction of the NL Pure.

I have shown binoculars at trade shows for over two decades, and I have watched thousands of people pick up binoculars. There is a look that people get when they pick up a binocular and it just feels right. The vast majority of the time, the one that felt right was the binocular they ended up buying; ergonomic design is that important. Swarovski understood this and literally spent years designing the exterior of the NL Pure before they even started on the optics. The sleek and curvaceous design allows your hand to find a comfortable position on their own. This type of ergonomic perfection makes the NL much easier to hand-hold for longer periods of time.

Optically, the NL Pure is a step above the next best binocular in the world (the EL). I spent hours with both models side by side on a tripod before I could start to pick out the subtle differences. Honestly, the image quality alone would not be enough for me to choose the NL over the EL, but the improved field of view would be. The NL 10x42 delivers 399 ft FOV compared to the 336 ft in the EL. An extra-wide FOV doesn’t do much for the user when hand-holding (the constant motion keeps your eyes in the middle), but on a tripod, being able to see 30% more terrain will directly translate into more animals found. The team at the Outdoorsmans has already designed a sleek tripod adapter specifically for the NL Pure.

Swarovski offers an optional forehead rest. When I first saw it I was immediately suspicious. It is similar to the one they built into the BTX dual eyepiece, which I have no use for. However, I was immediately impressed by how much extra stability the extra point of contact created. I will use it on archery elk hunts while chasing elk in timber during the rut when I often just have one hand free for the binocular.


Chris Denham

The backbone of The Western Hunter brand, Chris Denham published the first issue of Western Hunter Magazine (then called Western Optics Hunter) in 2002. Chris helped start Outdoor Experience 4 All, which helps children with terminal or life-limiting illnesses experience the hunt of their dreams. He has been hunting and/or guiding elk hunters in the Southwest most of his adult life and is intensely involved in wildlife conservation. Chris is a lifelong Arizona resident.