The new Swarovski ATXmodular system is a revolutionary new idea in spotting scopes. This system integrates the eyepiece and prism into one unit and then offers 3 objective sizes of 65, 85, and 95mm. This allows you to buy different objective lenses for different applications, whether for lightweight backpacking with the 65mm or digiscoping from the truck with the 95mm. This system adds 8oz over comparable ATS models which is frustrating for us ounce counters, but overall the benefits might be worth the extra weight.
One feature that sets this apart from the rest is magnification range and FOV of the new eyepiece. Swarovski basically combined the generous FOV of the 25-50W eyepiece with the added zoom of the 20-60x eyepiece. The end result is a 25-60W eyepiece that gives you the eye pleasing super wide field of view and the ability to zoom in 60x when needed. Optically the ATX is what we’ve come to expect from Swarovski; bright clear crisp images with good color and contrast. Overall the scope does a great job with light transmission and giving you a bright image in low light conditions, but at times the swaro lacked contrast when looking into the shadows. Color seemed relatively neutral and not bias towards any colors. Swarovski’s field flattener lens does a great job producing a truely flat field of view with great edge to edge clarity. The 20mm eye relief throughout the entire zoom range is the best of any scope tested.
Steve glassing through the Swaro on a spring bear hunt
Another major benefit of the modular design is the relocation of the magnification control. Swarovski moved it to the barrel of the scope just behind the focus ring allowing you to quickly zoom and focus without much hand movement. This doesn’t seem like big deal until you use it for a while then go back to the traditional zoom control on the eyepiece. The magnification ring has slightly more resistance than the focus wheel so it’s easy to tell which ring you’ve touched without removing your eye from the glass. The single speed focus wheel works well for fine adjustments (perfect for digiscoping) but takes a lot of rotation to move from distant objects to close objects. The rubber armoring on this scope is a second to none. Rugged and durable, it protects the scope from dings and reduces scuff marks while providing an excellent non-slip grip. The adjustable eyecup is smooth and firm throughout the entire range of motion. It is not a multiple stage eyecup that clicks into different positions, rather its firm enough to stay in whatever position you set it at. The lens cap for the eyepiece is a huge improvement over previous models and actually stays on the eyepiece Unfortunately the objective lens cap is too small and sometimes difficult to remove, especially while wearing gloves.
By- Jason Wright