Introduction

When the sun is shinning and there is a beautiful day outside we often want to get out in the nature and enjoy ourselves. When we set out to hike, sightseeing or bird-watching it is very important that we own a good pair of binoculars. For a trip to the mountains, sports or traveling it is crucial that our binoculars are lightweight, small and easy to store. For this article I have decided to compare Blaser Primus 8×30 and Swarovski EL 8×32.

Blaser Primus 8x30 VS. Swarovski EL 8x32

Blaser Primus 8×30 VS. Swarovski EL 8×32

Both binoculars are very compact, ideal for travel and they both feature outstanding optical performance. Because of their small size and weight -they feature 30-mm and 32-mm lens diameter – they are very easy to handle and can be taken everywhere. Both Primus and Swarovski EL are made of high quality materials using the latest technology. With this comparison I want to find out which one of these two premium class binoculars is the best and most suitable for outdoor activities.
Blaser is a company with long tradition of making weapons, but in the past Blaser has never made binoculars or any other optical device before. When Blaser bought two German companies – Minox and GSO (German Sports Optics) – that produced optics, it was only a matter of time when Blaser would introduced its own line of optics. Blaser started to produce Primus 8×30 in 2018. Primus is a high-end line of binoculars and therefore in the highest price range. When you look at Primus you can quickly tell that it got an extraordinary design – with its unique color combination of brown and black it really stands out. The series is available in four different configurations: 8×30, 8×42, 10×42 and 8×56.

Blaser Primus 8x30

Blaser Primus 8×30

Swarovski has, unlike Blaser, long tradition of producing binoculars and other optical devices. In 1999 Swarovski EL series came on the market but only binoculars with 42 -mm lens diameter were available. In 2002 8×32 binoculars were added to the EL series. In 2008 Gen 2 was introduced. Gen 2 had new Swarovision technology that produce virtually flat image. New Gen 3 came to the market in 2015. It features new neck strap with rotating strap connector and new objective lens covers.
EL series differs from Primus in several parts. EL have more neutral and simple design that haven’t changed much trough years. It also features an open-bridge design while Blaser have single-hinged bridge design. Swarovski EL is accessible in 6 different configurations.

Swarovski EL 8x32

Swarovski EL 8×32

TL;DR

  • Binoculars with 30 -mm or 32 -mm lens diameter are suitable for bird-watching, traveling or hiking since they don’t take up much space
  • Blaser and Swarovski are made of best materials available and are in the highest price range
  • Blaser Primus is new on the market while Swarovski EL is in production since 1999 → Gen 3 of EL series is on the market since 2015
  • They have different bridge designs; Primus → single-hinged bridge design, EL → open-bridge design

Size & Weight

Blaser Primus 8×30

Swarovski EL 8×32

Weight:

520 g

614 g

Width:

118 mm

126 mm

Length:

114 mm

138 mm

Max interpupillary distance:

56-75 mm

54-74 mm

When holding in hands we can definitely notice that Swarovski is heavier than Blaser. There is around 100 grams difference between them, but for such a small binoculars this is a huge weight difference. When placed together we can also noticed that Swarovski is bigger in size.

Blaser Primus 8x30 VS. Swarovski EL 8x32

Blaser Primus 8×30 VS. Swarovski EL 8×32

If we look at the Primus we can see that it is very small in size but still fits nicely in our hands. The external design of Primus is beautifully made, the rubber is of high quality. Because of its brown and black color the Primus almost have an old-fashioned look. The brown rubber on the outer side of barrels is more rough and provides more friction. There is also a big ridge on the bottom of each barrel where you can comfortably put your thumbs in. The black rubber on the inner side of barrels is more smooth and provides less grip. There are no additional bars or notches to enhance the grip but because Primus is so small they are not even required.

Blaser Primus 8x30 VS. Swarovski EL 8x32

Blaser Primus 8×30 VS. Swarovski EL 8×32

Swarovski EL on the other hand is a little bigger in size. Because of an open bridge design it has a different body shape than Primus. The barrels are a bit longer which make holding EL binoculars very comfortable – it is also very easy to hold and adjust the central focus using only one hand. The armor is made of one piece rubber that is heavily rugged. Like Primus, EL also have one ridge on bottom side of each barrel, but in EL’s case those two ridges are very small. I also have to mention special Swarovski strap. It consist of padded neck strap and thin cord that connects to the binocular with rotating connector. The new connector allows sufficient movement and prevents entanglement.

TL;DR

  • Swarovski is bigger in size and heavier than Blaser
  • Blazer is very small but fits nicely in hands; because of its color and design it almost have an old-fashioned look
  • They both have full rubber armor
  • Swarovski has different body shape than Blazer – they have different bridge designs
  • Swarovski can be easily hold in just one hand

Optical Properties

Blaser Primus 8×30

Swarovski EL 8×32

Prism type:

Schmidt/Pechan

Schmidt/Pechan

Lens Diameter:

30 mm

32 mm

Magnification:

8 x

8 x

Variable Magnification:

No

No

Coatings:

Fully Multi-coated

Fully Multi-coated

Close focus:

2.5 m

2.1 m

Field of View:

144 m/1000 m

140 m/1000 m

Primus and Swarovski EL both have 8 x magnification but different lens diameters. 8 x magnification provides steadiness to the image so we don’t need to use a tripod. It also provides wide field of view which is very important because wide field of view makes easier to spot an animal. In the upper table we can see that both binoculars have very wide and almost identical field of view – Blaser 144 m and Swarovski 140 m.
There is almost no difference between 30 -mm and 32 -mm lens diameter except for an exit pupil value. Reducing the size of the objective lens makes binocular easier to handle but there are still some things we need to be careful about. If you decide to buy binocular with smaller objectives it is a good idea that you try to get high quality binocular such as Primus or Swarovski ED. They provide higher level of transmittance – for better brightness level. We also need to take into consideration that the small size of binoculars can become a problem when we are wearing gloves in the winter. It can be very hard to hold and adjust the focusing knob.

Blaser Primus 8x30 VS. Swarovski EL 8x32

Blaser Primus 8×30 VS. Swarovski EL 8×32

In the upper table we can see that both binoculars are fully multi-coated. Blazer has a CCC (Contrast and color Corrective Coating) multiple layer coating on its lenses to improve light capture and transmission. There is also SLP (Smart Lens Protection) coating on the exterior lens surfaces. SLP coating is using a nanotechnology that causes water to bead up and then slide off the lenses. Swarovski is using special Swarobright, Swarodur and Swarotop coatings. Those coatings provide higher contrast transfer for better light transmission and color fidelity.

TL;DR

  • 8 x magnification provides wide FOV and steadiness – there is no need for tripod
  • 8 x 32 and 8 x 30 binoculars can be tricky to handle in winter when we are wearing gloves
  • Both binoculars are fully multi-coated; they are using different coatings to improve light transmission
  • Almost identical FOV

Focus Properties

Blaser Primus 8×30

Swarovski EL 8×32

Focusing System:

Central

Central

Central Wheel Grasp:

8/10

10/10

Central Wheel Rotation:

9/10

8/10

Diopter Setting:

Right eye

Central

Diopter Range:

-6/+6

-4/+4

Central Wheel Diameter:

32 mm

28 mm

Central Wheel Length:

20 mm

26 mm

Total Revolution:

360 °

720 °

Bridge Length (Without the Central Wheel Length)

33 mm

15 mm

Both Primus and Swarovski EL have central focusing system. Primus has slightly smaller central knob than Swarovski. There are two rows of shallow rhomboid-shape cuts on the surface of a knob. Those cuts provide some grip and I can rotate the knob with my bare hands but I think it would be quite harder if I would be wearing gloves. The grasp on Swarovski is much better. There are multiple sharp and very pronounced vertical bars on the central knob. The grip is excellent and I am positive that wearing gloves wouldn’t be a problem. This is the reason why I evaluated the grasp on Swarovski with higher grade. The rotation on Blaser is hard and slow while on Swarovski is fast and effortless. I think that rotation on Swarovski is more appropriate for 8 x 32 and 8 x 30 binoculars since those binoculars are designed for bird-watching and not so much for hunting – slow rotation is better for hunting.

Blaser Primus 8x30 VS. Swarovski EL 8x32

Blaser Primus 8×30 VS. Swarovski EL 8×32

There is a big difference between Primus and EL in diopter ring position. Primus has it located on the right barrel while EL uses the same knob for focusing and for diopter setting. Grip on Blasers’s diopter ring is very similar to the one on central knob. The rotation is slow and even harder which is good, since this way it is quite hard to accidentally change the diopter adjustment. To set the diopter on EL we have to use the same knob as for focusing. In this case we need to pull the knob out – this is how we move the knob to the next level. When the knob is on the upper level then we can set the diopter. Once the diopter is set then we can put the knob back on the primary level. It is impossible to unwillingly change the diopter setting on EL since it is locked.

TL;DR

  • Primus and EL both have the same central focusing system but different diopter ring position
  • Primus has diopter ring located on the right barrel while EL uses the same knob for focusing and for diopter setting
  • EL has better grip on central knob; rotation on EL is more suitable for birdwatchers

Eyepiece Properties

Blaser Primus 8×30

Swarovski EL 8×32

Eyepiece type:

Multi positioned

Multi positioned

Number of Click-stops:

3

3

Eye relief:

15.1 mm

20 mm

Exit pupil:

3.75 mm

4 mm

Firmness:

9/10

9/10

Quality:

8/10

9/10

Suitable for Eye Glass Wearers:

Yes

Yes

External Diameter:

41 mm

38 mm

Internal Diameter:

25 mm

30 mm

Blaser Primus 8x30 VS. Swarovski EL 8x32

Blaser Primus 8×30 VS. Swarovski EL 8×32

Both Primus and EL have multi-positioned eyepiece with three click-stops. Their twisting mechanisms are very different – on Blazer it is more rough, hard and produces click sound. The eye-piece adjustment on EL is not so loud but you can still hear muffled clicks. The rotation is also much smoother than on Blaser. When set both eyepieces rest securely in place.
Both eyepieces are made of soft rubber and feel very comfortable when we are looking through binoculars. Eyepieces on Blazer are bigger and bulkier than on EL and have more robust look. On EL the eyepieces are more elegant and slim.
If you are wearing glasses you have to take into consideration that eye relief can be a problem with 8×30 and 8×32 binoculars. Although Swarovski EL has enough eye relief there can be a problem with Blazer because it only has 15.1-mm of eye relief. For comfortable viewing through binoculars eye relief must be between 16 – mm and 20 – mm.

Blaser Primus 8x30 VS. Swarovski EL 8x32

Blaser Primus 8×30 VS. Swarovski EL 8×32

TL;DR

  • Both have multi-positioned eyepieces with three click-stops
  • The twist and turn mechanism is harder on Blaser the clicks are also louder than on EL
  • Both eyepieces are made of soft rubber and feel comfortable when pressed to the face
  • Eyepieces on Blaser are bulkier and bigger than on EL
  • Blaser may not have enough eye relief for those who wear glasses

General Properties

Blaser Primus 8×30

Swarovski EL 8×32

Housing Material:

Magnesium

Magnesium

Armoring:

Rubber

Rubber

Quality of Armoring:

9/10

9/10

Build in Rangefinder:

No

No

Waterproof:

Yes

Yes

Submersible:

Not listed

Not listed

Filled With:

Nitrogen

Nitrogen

Number of Colors:

1

2

Tripod Adaptable:

Not listed

Not listed

Made in:

Germany

Austria

Introduced in:

2018

2008

Warranty period:

10 years

10 years

MRSP Price

1749,00 €

1879,00 €

Primus and EL have housing made of magnesium. The chassis made of magnesium is light, strong and corrosion resistant. Both binoculars are filled with nitrogen which makes them waterproof.
Armor on both binoculars is of high quality, although their design is completely different. Blaser has very vintage and classy-retro design while Swarovski is more fond of elegance and simplicity. Blaser can only be bought in combination of brown and black color while Swarovski is available in two different colors – green and brown. Both binoculars are made in Europe – Blaser in Germany, Swarovski in Austria.
Blaser is a newcomer in the market of optics – it was introduced in 2018. In comparison with Swarovski Blaser is still very much in its infancy. Swarovski introduced EL series in 1999 but the renewed version of ED binoculars was released in 2008. Both binoculars are in the highest price range but Swarovski is even 130 € more expensive than Blaser.

Blaser Primus 8x30 VS. Swarovski EL 8x32

Blaser Primus 8×30 VS. Swarovski EL 8×32

When buying Blaser you will get a nicely made hard box. In the box there are neoprene neck strap, lens cleaner and a small hard case for your binoculars. The case is very beautiful, in the same brown and black color combination as binoculars. Some parts of bag are even made of leather. Swarovski also come in nice hard box in which there are neoprene neck strap, objective eye piece covers and soft green bag made of high quality material.

TL;DR

  • Binoculars have housing made of different materials; Blazer is made of magnesium, Swarovski is made of aluminum – this means that Blazers is lighter in weight.
  • Both binoculars are covered in rubber; Blaser is available only in black/brown color while Swarovski is accessible in green or brown color
  • Renewed version of EL series has been on the market for 10 years longer than Primus
  • Blaser is 130 € more expensive than Swarovski – both are in the highest price range

Group Test

How we made a test

We made a test with a group of 5 people with very diverse knowledge about sports optics. Some had previous experiences with binoculars and other almost none. We compared central and edge sharpness, glare, real FOV, eye-box and overall impression. Everyone in the test group tested binoculars individually without being influenced by other people. We also covered down any brand signs on binoculars, so no one was influenced by knowing which company manufactured which.

Blaser Primus 8×30

Swarovski EL 8×32

Central sharpness:

0/5

5/5

Edge sharpness:

0/5

5/5

Glare:

2/5

3/5

Real FOV:

2/5

3/5

Eye-box:

1/5

4/5

Overall impression:

0/5

5/5

All in total (total of 30 point)

5/30

25/30

When we look at the results we can see that Swarovski won in all categories. I didn’t expect such result because I was convinced that Blaser optical performance was at higher level. Some time back I was testing Blaser Primus 8×42 and optical performance on that model was very good so I was expecting the same for 8×30 model.

Swarovski won all points in central sharpness and edge sharpness categories and only lost one point in eye-box category. When I talked to the people who did the test they said that it was hard to decide which binocular is better in real FOV category but most of them gave their voice to Swarovski.

I also talked to the people who are wearing glasses and they said that it was pretty hard to watch through Blaser with their glasses on. They also said that watching through Swarovski was more comfortable. Due to the bigger eye-relief watching through Swarovski is more pleasant if you are wearing glasses.

Conclusion

In the end we can say that both binoculars are nicely and quality made but have different styles. Blaser is small and bulky while Swarovski is elegant and almost have the same design as the first model 20 years ago.
Although Blaser never produced optical devices before the quality of Primus series can not be denied. Blaser binoculars are very quality build and made of best materials but I was a little disappointed that Blaser did so bad on a group test. Don’t get the wrong impression, Blaser’s optical properties are still very good but Blaser is just not on the same level as Swarovski. Although Blaser makes good first impression we quickly realize that it is a bit pricey, there is just little over 100 € difference between both binoculars.

Blaser Primus 8x30 VS. Swarovski EL 8x32

Blaser Primus 8×30 VS. Swarovski EL 8×32

In the end let me just say something for all those people who are still deciding among 8×42 and 8×32 binoculars. If you want binoculars that are suitable for hiking, back-packing or bird-watching then you need binoculars that are light, small and easy to store. There is actually no dramatic difference in performance between 8×32 and 8 x 42 binoculars if you are using binoculars during the daytime. If you want binoculars with more light gathering in low light conditions than 8 x 42 is a better choice.

Disclaimer

This review wasn’t sponsored and is unbiased. The article, however, features affiliated links to Optics-trade. As a wildlife enthusiast interested in sports optics, I made this test because I would like to see how binoculars perform and if they meet the advertised expectations. With this test I hope to help people choose the right binoculars for their personal use. I am not in any way connected with the manufacturers of sports optics and I’m not personally in favor of a specific brand.
In the end, I would like to thank Optics-trade.eu who lent me these binoculars for the test. I also thank them for letting me use their videos.

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