Binocular Test: Pocket-sized Perfection

Most people know cash invested on quality is money well spent. Mike Morton finds out if that holds true for Swarovski Optik’s CL Pocket 8×25 B

These bins are gas-purged and sealed, and can withstand being dunked in water down to four metres

Key Specs

Make: Swarovski Optik
Model: CL Pocket 8×25 B
Magnification: 8x
Effective objective lens diameter: 25mm
Field of view: 119 metres at 1,000 metres
Shortest focusing distance: 2.5 metres
Light transmission: 88%
Length: 110mm
Width: 98mm
Height: 46mm
Weight: 345 grams
Functional temperature: -25°C to +55°C
Storage temperature: -30°C to +70°C
Submersion depth: 4 metres
Price: £560

Binoculars are great for the airgun hunter searching for quarry or plotting a stealthy route to an ambush site; they’re also useful for target shooters when they’re spotting for a friend. Choosing a pair can be a bit of a balancing act, with optical quality being played off against size, weight, magnification and price. Larger pairs of bins are fantastic if you’re not carrying a rifle, but anyone who’s encumbered by their airgun will want to downsize.

Austrian firm Swarovski Optik’s CL Pocket 8×25 B model seems to fit the bill perfectly, ticking pretty much all the above boxes. These binoculars collapse to fit in the pocket, and feature twist-out eyecups so people wearing glasses can get correct eye relief. When not in use, they twist in, keeping the overall length down to a compact 11cm. At 345 grams, these binoculars feel well-built and sturdy, without being too heavy.

Swarovski’s CL Pocket range includes a pair of 10x magnification bins, but I wanted to keep everything as light in the pocket (and wallet) as possible, so I chose the 8x pair, which are perfectly adequate for viewing even small quarry and targets at normal airgun ranges. It’s at these normal ranges that these binoculars excel, offering superb resolution. During a short-range squirrel-hunting session, for example, the bushy-tails were picked out in almost 3D image quality and clarity.

The binocular barrels fold in towards the central bridge when not in use to keep the overall package nice and compact

Edge-to-edge sharpness was exceptional. I focused the binoculars at the centre of my field of view then looked to see how sharp the image appeared at the edges. This time I was looking at a field full of daisies, and the petals on the flowers were as crisp at the edge of my field of view as they were at the centre. Another measure of the quality of these optics was the distance to which they can focus down – just 2.5 metres – which I confirmed with a tape measure.

In bright light the colour density was simply phenomenal, with the target image exhibiting more of that 3D quality. But most lenses will work well in bright light, so what about low light? As the light faded during my squirrel session, it was a joy to pick up details that had long been lost to the naked eye.

These bins come in at £560, which is an awful lot of money – but then again, you’ll only need to buy them once. As a one-off purchase for something that will probably last a lifetime, however, that price tag starts to make a bit more sense.

Verdict: 92/100

“The CL Pocket 8×25 B is a top-quality optic that will give decades of service. These bins are expensive, but you’re getting a lot for your money. Their use isn’t restricted to shooting either: they’re perfect for holidays and hiking.”

This article originally appeared in the issue 98 of Airgun Shooter magazine. For more great content like this, subscribe today at our secure online store:

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Posted in Features, Hunting, Optics, Reviews, Target Shooting, Tests

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