March 3rd, 2009

Ultimate Optics: BigEyes™ System from SWFA

We often hear the question: “What is THE best spotting scope for viewing objects at ultra-long distances”. That’s not a trick question… but maybe there’s a trick answer. The best optic for ultra-long range may not be ONE spotting scope, but rather TWO scopes working in tandem. Military observers and artillery spotters have long used massive binoculars for long-range observation. Texas-based SWFA, one of the nation’s most successful optics vendors, now offers a dual-scope BIGEYES™ system that offers certain viewing properties no single scope can match. Employing two (2) premium 80mm-objective Swarovski spotting scopes with high-definition (HD) glass, the BIGEYES system promises better depth perception and enhanced perceived brightness compared to a single scope. Many people also find that extended viewing through a dual-lens system is less fatiguing than looking through one lens, but that is more about human factors than internal optic quality.

SWFA Bigeyes Swarovski

That’s Five Grand Worth of Swarovski Glass
The BIGEYES do work remarkably well. You’ll see these mounted on heavy tripods at long-range matches such as Williamsport. But BIGEYES are not for shooters and hunters on a tight budget. This twin-Swaro set-up is very expensive. SWFA offers two models. The STS80HD20XBE, with 20-power eyepieces, costs $4,929.95. The companion STS80HDZOOM with 20-60X zoom eyepieces (lower photo) runs a whopping $5,129.95. You can also purchase other eyepieces at different magnification, but remember, if you change eyepieces you need to purchase a pair — one for each scope.

SWFA Bigeyes Swarovski

Optical Advantages for Hunters
Even if we presume that two scopes are better than one, can a $5K investment in glass be justified? SWFA claims that: “BIGEYES™ allow you to view distant objects in great detail with the equivalent of a 20-60×80 tripod mounted binocular. Porro prism design provides the optimum focal length required to maximize the performance of the 80mm HD (high definition) objectives. BIGEYES offer superior field of view combined with amazing depth perception that no conventional binocular can match. BIGEYES allow you to hunt from a fixed location, providing you the ability to glass animals literally miles a way. You can scout and judge animals with out disrupting their patterns.”

This Editor doubts he could ever afford a set of BIGEYES. But it’s nice to know such a system, complete with mount, is available for those who have the financial resources. For more information, visit SWFA at

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