Tuesday, 14 March 2017 16:57:38 Europe/London
Monday, 13 March 2017 16:18:39 Europe/London
The Swarovski BTX was recently revealed to carefully chosen optics specialists, prominent birders and members of the press from around the world. Cley Spy's Tim Strivens was among those invited to spend the weekend with Swarovski in Austria, road-testing this innovative new product.
Swarovski Optik’s Innovation Centre in Tyrol was the first stop of the weekend and formed the setting for the grand unveiling of the BTX. The location couldn’t have been better. The Centre is flanked by high-reaching, snowy peaks and alpine forest, with beautiful views across the mountains. This formed a great backdrop for reavealing the stunning and revolutionary BTX. The following two days were spent at the shores of breathtaking Lake Constance, where the team could test the BTX in different lighting and weather conditions to really get a feel for the way it works.
What’s so special about the BTX?
“Simply put, it's a revolutionary product. The BTX is essentially a new eyepiece module that is compatible with the ATX/STX telescope body. The ‘revolutionary’ part is that the BTX is made up of two eyepieces, giving you the front-end of a binocular attached to the single telescope objective lens- the first ever binocular-telescope hybrid. The BTX can be used with the 95mm, 85mm and 65mm ATX objective modules. It is fixed at 35x magnification when used with the 95mm, and at 30x magnification when used with the 85mm or 65mm lens, but you can easily attach a pocketsized 1.7x extender to boost up to 60x and 50x respectively. The binocular system enhances your natural vision, rather than forcing you to squint for hours on end. It’s a wholly more comfortable experiece and the world of optics has not seen anything like this before.”
What were your first impressions of the BTX?
“It is very Swarovski-esque. Anyone familiar with Swarovski optics will know exactly what I mean by that. It is exquisitely finished in a lightweight magnesium alloy with panels of hardwearing rubber armour along the barrel. The feel of this instrument is just superb and when you’re using it you really feel like you’ve got a high-quality piece of kit in your hands. The BTX feels strangely natural to use and is impressively comfortable when compared to a standard telescope. The eyepieces are exactly the same as on the 8x32 EL by Swarovski, so when you’re using them they feel very familiar and as comfortable to use as the binoculars themselves. The whole setup is easy to use and when you have the BTX mounted on your chosen tripod it is smooth to pan and tilt while holding it with both hands, like a binocular.”
“Other than the obvious binocular eyepiece, there were a few other outstanding features that made me think “Wow, that’s fantastic”. Firstly, the ‘star sight’ is a real innovation. Of course, most telescopes have some kind of site to help you align your view, but the ‘star sight’ goes a little further than most. The scale around the centre point acts as a complex sighting guide to help you aim the scope directly onto your target. Another spectacular feature is the integrated forehead rest. Yes, that’s right, the BTX has a built-in headrest to give you extra comfort when scanning the landscape for long periods of time. It can be adjusted to any height and removed if unwanted. For me, the ‘star sight’ and forehead rest represent fantastic design. They are both exceedingly simple answers to longstanding problems that could potentially reform the way you use your telescope.”
“The only downside for me is the price. It is quite expensive. Especially considering the BTX is a modular eyepiece which you fit into your ATX telescope body, so if you don’t have an ATX, you’ll need one of these too. But, to be honest, none of that matters to me, because I truly believe once you’ve invested in the BTX setup, you’ll be set for good. The ‘switch-in switch-out’ modular design marks a new generation of optics and as a whole bundle the BTX/ATX system gives you a total of nine different telescopes. The three objective modules and three eyepieces combine in nine different ways to suit almost every single viewing opportunity. As with all Swarovski products there is a sense of expert craftsmanship smelted into every element of the BTX’s construction. The concept is inspired and the ergonomics are superb.
What about the optics?
Swarovski products are always optically fantastic. Swarovision technology enhances the view and reproduces images with incomparable colour fidelity and clarity. The field flattener lenses give you outstanding sharpness from edge to edge, even in low visibility and poor light. The view through the BTX is fantastically bright and gives razor sharp detail. Contact us or call the shop on 01263 740088 to see for yourself.
Cley Spy will be hosting Swarovski on 30th April 2017 for the first leg of their European tour showcasing the BTX. If you’d like to be amongst the very first to try (and buy) this fantastic new product, click here for more details.
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