Super Powers

“Can I use those?”

I was looking for deer. Everett, my three year old, was looking to score my binoculars… again. I usually have a cheap compact pair on hand for him to use, but we’d accidentally left them at home, along with any chance of peace and quiet. What I’d hoped would be a productive afternoon of glassing the desert had become instead a nonstop game of tug-of-war.

“No-can-do Son, Dad’s using them right now.”

“You’re not being kind. I NEVER get to use the noclears!”

“The peanut buttery fingerprints you left on my lenses suggest otherwise.”

“Oh. OK … Can I use them now?”

“Still no.”


It’s no wonder he wouldn’t let it go. As mortals, we’re born with a certain set of fundamental abilities and limitations. Magazine cover claims and television advertisements notwithstanding, there just aren’t many commercially available goods which can change that basic fact. With the right exercise equipment, and some hard work, I may improve my vertical jump, but I’ll never leap over tall buildings in a single bound. Optics are a notable exception. Pick-up a pair of binoculars or a spotting scope, and you’ve instantly acquired a super-power. The invisible becomes visible to you. The experience must blow his little mind.

He’s not the only one. Since that ill fated day, I’ve had the chance to hunt  with some Swarovski EL 12 x 50 Swarovision binoculars. I was excited and appreciative – having long coveted some premium glass – but I figured I knew already what binos could and couldn’t do for me. Oh man, was I wrong. My specs let me see more, these let me see everything. My pair makes things bigger, these make things bigger, clearer, brighter and sharper. In my old world, I traded enhanced vision for tired eyes. In the new, I trade nothing. It used to be that binoculars helped uncover the world at first light.  When I look out at the predawn grayness with these things, the world is utterly transformed.  I used to feel like a superhero when I used binoculars. When I use the Swarovski’s, I feel like a kid again, awed by my newfound abilities.

I hope to not throw a tantrum when its time to send them back. In the meantime, Everett’s welcome to use my careworn old field glasses as much as he likes.

3 Comments on “Super Powers

  1. Pingback: Critical Thinking | Stalking The Seam

    • They’re surprisingly light for a 50m objective bino, so in that sense they’re quite good free hand. That said, there’s no getting past the fact that 12 power accentuates every little shake. I hunt a fair bit of big open country. In that scenario, where you’re glassing huge swaths of often distant terrain, and you can reliably establish a good solid rest (elbows locked in to your sides, or better yet propped on knees) the benefits far outweigh the freehand instability. If you’re creeping through the woods though, pulling up your binos on the fly, every other step, than the 12 power isn’t ideal. You might try the EL 8.5 x 42 or 10 x 42. The Maven B1 8 x 42 or 10 x 42 are also a fantastic option. I have an 8 x 42 pair and can tell you that they’re every bit as good in terms of optics and build quality… but they’re less than half the price, even after customization.
      Hope that helps. And thanks for reading!

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