There are many reviews to be found of the Swarovski CL 8×25 Pockets on the web and all are in agreement that these little binoculars are excellent and punch well above their weight. Like many reviews in most cases the reviewer doesn’t actually own a pair but has them loaned to them for a week or so for the purpose of the review. However in my case after trying them in store at Clifton Cameras I purchased a pair and have been using them for about 4 months!
Like all other reviewers I found the Swarovski CL 8×25 Pockets to be optically excellent, well constructed and very easy on the eye. This is nothing less than you would expect from Swarovski but for me the stand out feature was how good they felt in the hand and how well they handled compared to previous 8×20 binoculars I have owned. Previously I have never felt comfortably using miniature/pocket binoculars as they don’t sit well in the hand and the focus wheels are awkward and fiddly! As a result in the field I find them more difficult to align instinctively with your subject and slow and fiddly to focus which often results in your subject disappearing before you have focused on it! The Swarovski CL 8×25 Pockets go a long way towards addressing these issues and feel much more like a pair of 8×32 than a pair of 8×20! Being that little bit bigger than most 8×20 binoculars they sit nicely in the hand and the focus wheel is perfectly positioned for use with your forefinger. Another downside of miniature/pocket binoculars is that with quite small objective lenses they don’t perform that well in poor light however this is another area in which the Swarovski CL 8×25 Pockets really excel and give a more than acceptable performance in low light situations. Are they as comfortably to use as a pair of 8×32 or 8×40! I would guess that most would prefer the ergonomics of a larger binocular but for me they come pretty close and are so good that I am sure there are those who would actually prefer them!
However it’s ‘horses for courses’ and although I also own larger binoculars, as a photographer I am often weighed down by heavy optical equipment and don’t want to add to that weight with a pair of full sized binoculars – these fit the bill perfectly and are now my most used binoculars.
For the birder who carries little else in the way of optics the better choice would probably be a pair of 8×32 (which I also own and rate as excellent) or 8.5×42 but for photographers or as a second pair when size and weight are an issue or you want your optics to be unobtrusive the Swarovski CL 8×25 Pockets are an excellent choice!
As I said earlier I purchased mine from Clifton Cameras a company I found knowledgeable, friendly and most of all have a very comprehensive range of binoculars and telescopes from all the leading manufacturers and unlike many of it’s competitors many if not most of the optics are in stock! As you will see if you visit their store they also stock all of the top names in photographic equipment and whilst in the store I also purchased a Canon EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6L IS II USM at a very competitive price. An excellent lens which I intend to review when I have used it a little more and can find the time.