Swarovski NL Pure Review

Swarovski Optics Alaska

Alaska Dall Sheep Hunt

A solid NL Pure binoculars review requires some time in the field glassing in real world hunting conditions. And I recently got the chance to take a pair of 8×42 NL Pure’s on Dall Sheep hunt in Alaska. Everything looks good on a nice sunny day glassing from our shop in Boise. But I was excited to get them out and see what they could do in the mountains.   

NL Pure 8x42

8×42 NL Pures

To be honest I really didn’t have much of an expectation of the NL Pure’s. My go to binocular for all around hunting the last few years has been a pair of 8×32 EL’s.  I picked those up originally as an lightweight Elk hunting in timber binocular but fell in love with them even for Mule deer hunting.  The 8x magnification provides a very crisp “in focus” image reducing any hand shake. I found myself spotting more game than I would with my old favorite the 10×42 SLC‘s. 

NL Pure and EL 42

It’s still hard to beat glassing miles of open country from a pair of 10×42’s mounted on a tripod. But for all around use the lower magnification of the 8x and the wide field of view produce a better image.  A lot of hunters naturally go for the “bigger is better” mentality and just assume higher magnification binoculars will help you spot more game. But when you are talking about one handed binocular use the increased magnification works against you.  Your eyes have to work overtime to adjust for the increased “shake” of the image and you actually see less.  

I ABSOLUTELY love the 8×32 EL’s and the idea of an even wider field of view with the NL Pure’s was enticing to me.  I had no expectation of better resolution, I just was curious to test the wider field of view.  One concern I had from the pictures I had seen online were that the NL Pures looked bigger than the standard 8×42 EL’s. I was glad upon holding them in hand that they are actually smaller with better ergonomics.  They feel exceptionally well balanced in your hands. So much so that i decided to offer a NL Pure review. 

Glassing with NL Pure Alaska

Field Experience

Immediately upon getting into the field with the NL Pure’s I noticed how amazing the field of view was and how easy they were on the eye’s.  I found I could spend as much time behind the glass as I wanted with next to zero eye fatigue. What I didn’t expect was that the resolution was better. This wasn’t immediately apparent looking for Dall Sheep in the rugged mountains of Alaska but actually showed itself over the coming days.  

Pure Vision

My hunting partner had a pair of 8.5×42 EL’s that are 10 years old and our Guide had a brand new pair of Leica Geovid rangefinding binoculars.  Both of those binoculars are considered as good as it gets in the optics world. It took us a few days to figure this out, but I was consistently able to identify items as either a Sheep or not.  At times they were just seeing white objects miles away (rocks, sun bouncing off a bush, etc) and couldn’t tell what they were without pulling out the spotting scope. 

Pure vision

It became a running joke for me to use my “Pure vision” to see what the object was to avoid having to pull the spotting scope out of the pack.  Multiple times I handed over my Pure’s to the other guys hunting with me. They were always impressed comparing them side by side to their EL’s and Geovids.  My hunting partner was immediately plotting out what he would have to sell in order to buy them.  

12×42 NL Pure Review

Our Swarovski rep stopped by the shop yesterday with a pair of the 12×42 Pure’s and the forehead rest accessory.  When I saw the forehead rest in pictures I (and I’m assuming just about everyone else) thought it was an unnecessary accessory that was designed for bird watching.  I was very, very wrong about that.  The forehead rest was quite impressive. It stabilizes the image and it actually makes the 12’s usable for hand holding. It also isn’t as bulky as it looks in the pictures and would be easy to pack with you on a hunt.  

NL Pure Review

Complaints

The 12’s would probably not be my go to “all around” binocular. But If you are considering the 12’s, I think the forehead rest is a MUST HAVE accessory as well as making sure you figure out a way to tripod mount them (which leads to my one and only complaint).  I can’t believe Swaro came out with a new binocular that does not include a female thread to accept tripod mounts.  It makes absolutely no sense to me that they didn’t include it. My other issue isn’t so much a complaint, but man these binos are expensive! 

NL Pure w Forehead restVerdict

A lot of times companies come out with new products that are “supposed” to be better than their previous generations but that’s not always the case.  I can say with 100% certainty that the Swaro NL Pures are an upgrade of any binocular that exists on the market today. They are truly an amazing binocular.  Whether or not you can justify the cost is up to you but if you’re looking for the best these are it. 

That sums up my NL Pure Review. The NL Pure’s are amazing and the forehead rest accessory is really quite impressive for off hand stability.  If you’re considering an upgrade to your optics you can do no better than the NL Pure’s.