At the NRA Annual Meeting 2016, while I was waiting for my turn to check out the new Z8i 1-8x scope at the Swarovski booth, one of the reps introduced me to their STR 80 spotting scope, which was released in late 2015. From the front, the Swarovski STR looks like a typical high-end European spotting scope with its large 80mm objective lens made from fluoride crystal to eliminate chromatic-aberration. It also incorporated a slide-out lens hood with a tethered front lens cap. I love the small round cutout on the lens cap that fits to the contour of the lens barrel to prevents the lens cap from flapping around.
My first impression when see through the Swarovski STR is: Wow! this would made the ultimate long range tactical spotting scope. Then I was immediately corrected by the Swarovski reps on that the long range shooting part is OK, but the tactical part is not what they are looking after.
The back end of the Swarovski STR is very different than other spotting scope. Right above the interchangeable eyepiece is the illumination control dial for one of the best feature of the Swarovski STR: its build-in illuminated reticle. The eyepiece choices are the standard 20-60x and the wide-angle 20-50x. Also shown are the three optional non-tactical add-on Picatinny 1913 rail sections for mounting additional accessories, and the optional rubber eye-cup for the eyepiece.
It’s glorious! The illuminated reticle with ranging capability of the Swarovski STR. It’s available in two versions with one in MOA and the other in MRAD. The illumination is powered by single non-tactical size CR123 lithium battery. For those of us with imperfect eyesight, Swarovski included a dedicated dioptric correction adjustment for the reticle. The reticle illumination is daylight visible and it could be also completely turned off for a clear view through the scope.
A better view of the non-tactical reticle of the Swarovski STR spotting scope. This one is the same MOA reticle as the unit on display at the NRA 2016. Interestingly, both reticle types included stadiametric rangfinder with hash marks to 1000 yards or meters. Normally, the stadiametric type rangfinder marks become very hard to use after 600m or so on even high magnification scope. But then again, the STR has a 50x or 60x top magnification range and the premium Swarovski optical performance that comes with it.
Swarovski STR 80 Spotting Scope Specification:
|Minimum Focus Distance:||19 ft / 6m|
|Magnification:||20-50x w/ wide-angle eyepiece or 20-60x w/ standard eyepiece|
|Weight w/o battery:||70.4-71.6 oz / 1995g-2030g (depended on the eyepiece installed)|
|Length:||15.9 inch / 403mm|
|Field of View at 1000 yds:||81-126 ft (wide-angle eyepiece) or 60-108 ft (standard eyepiece)|
|Exit Pupil:||1.6-3.2mm (wide-angle eyepiece) or 1.3-4mm (standard eyepiece)|
|Power:||1x CR123 Lithium battery|
|Tripod Mount screw size:||3/8 with 1/4-20 reducer included|
|MSRP:||$3,732 with no eyepiece|
|$4,375 with the 20-60x eyepiece|
|Eyepiece MSRP:||20-60x: $643, 20-50x Wide-angle: $810|
More info on the Swarovski Website.