Swarovski BTX Review
A truly revolutionary product from a leader in optical excellence is here!
The latest products from Swarovski have attracted A LOT of attention! Social media excitement has had our phones constantly ringing, with serious deer
hunters asking about, and ordering, the BTX dual eye piece module for Swarovski’s modular spotting scope system. What was already the best spotting scope on the market now has the option of a revolutionary, binocular-type of eye piece that eliminates what we all hate about spotting scopes; peering through one eye for extended periods of time.
BTX vs. Big Eyes
So how does the new BTX stack up against the traditional “Big Eyes”? Starting with the weight, the Kowa Highlander Prominar 32x82 weighs a whopping 13.5 lbs, the Docter Aspectem 20-50x80 is 9.5 lbs, and the Swarovski BTX 35x95 weighs in at 6 lbs. Consider also that a 10+lb piece of glass requires a large tripod and head to support it.
Obviously, the lighter weight is because the BTX has one objective lens, and the others have two, but how does the single objective lens affect its performance? The first thing you think of is a reduced field of view, because you’re not looking through a full-size spotting scope on each eye, like the Docters and Kowas. I’ve compared the numbers supplied by the manufacturers and here’s what I found.
The BTX 35x95 has a field of view of 96’ at 1,000 yards. The Docters with a fixed 30x eyepiece have a FOV of 115’. Keep in mind that that’s with 5x less magnification, so I would estimate that at 35x (same as the BTX) it would be about 105’. The Kowas with 32x magnification have a FOV of 116’. Assuming you bumped it up to the same 35x, it would be around 110’. If the magnification were equal, The BTX would have a FOV that is about ten and fifteen feet smaller than the Docters and Kowas respectively at 1,000 yards, with a single objective lens! What I’m getting at is the fact that you are looking through a singular objective lens doesn’t lose nearly the field of view I would have thought. That being said, even with the higher magnification of 35x, the 95mm BTX’s field of view (96’) is sweet! And if you’re using the 85mm or 65mm objective lenses, the magnification is 30x, so your field of view 112’!
At 6 pounds, having the ability to come in half (for packing), add a small add-on to boost your magnification (the ME 1.7x), you’ve got something that’s a grand slam, in my opinion. Being familiar with the optical quality and performance of all three of these, to me, the BTX is an absolute no-brainer!
As I have used the BTX I have noticed that being able to use both eyes has made me more effective, what I mean by that is I feel like I can see more game, I have an easier time picking apart hillsides and shadows. I also get asked a lot about how far can you see with 35x, I can count points, cheaters, and eye guards at 4 miles, at 5 miles I can tell buck from doe. No matter how you slice it, that’s a long ways.
To combat the fixed magnification Swarovski developed the 1.7 magnifiers. While the idea of 120x sounds amazing, there is some downside to it. The amazing thing about the Swarovski spotting scope systems, is the brightness and clarity, the problem is, when magnify anything to 120x it will suffocate some of that light. Also when you magnify anything that much, depending on the time of day, heat waves can be a major issue. There is a time and a place for the 1.7 magnifiers, but it isn’t a fix all.
The biggest issue is price, what we are talking about here is top-end glass, and the price tag is reflective of the highest quality, in both the construction and the optical elements. All three of the Big Eyes (and the BTX 35x95 is now included) will run you close to the same amount of money; just shy of $5,000 (retail). If you already have an ATX or STX spotting scope, the new BTX eyepiece, which attaches to your 95mm, carries a retail price tag of $2,689.
To wrap this up, let me say that I am beyond impressed by the quality, performance and versatility of the new BTX. From my own experience, I believe that the ATX / STX spotting scope glass is the clearest, brightest piece of glass on the planet. But previously, it was still a spotting scope and no matter how good it is, you could only look through it for a limited amount of time. Now, with the new BTX eyepiece, you can do what you never could do with a spotting scope; glass for hours and hours with the comfort of binocular eyepieces - with the ultimate in optical performance! And at 6 pounds, it’s still packable, and doesn’t require a huge tripod. My advice would be this: if you can afford it, buy it! It will be a huge boost to your game!