Swarovski has moved into the thermal market. Its new TM35 is an add-on that mounts on the front of your scope, and doubles up as a standalone spotter. Swarovski calls it a two-in-one device, offering both observation and shooting.
The TM35 will be available from spring 2022 at a retail price of €4,800. That’s one-and-a-half times and nearly twice the prices of recent thermal launches by Swarovski’s traditional optics rivals Leica and Zeiss.
The Swarovski TM35 offers, at least on paper, a bigger screen size than the Leica Calonox and Zeiss DTI 3/35, though its sensor size is the same or smaller than its rivals.
Swarovski says it is manufactured in Absam, Austria, so this new Swarovski TM35 model is no relation of the TM35 thermal spotter series from Arizona-based defence contractor AGM Global Vision.
The TM35 offers a 320×256 sensor resolution, a 2560×2048-pixel screen resolution and a field of view of 10.9×78.7 metres at 110 metres. It weighs 495 grams. It has a removable battery that lasts seven hours (without Swarovski’s Swarolight illuminated reticle system).
When using it as a scope add-on, Swarovski recommends using a scope of 3x magnification or more. Do not, however, use it as an add-on with the Swarovski DS rifle scope, which provides an aiming point at the touch of a button, because the laser in the DS could destroy the imaging screen in the spotter.
The TM35 continues Swarovski’s theme of simple quality. There is no accompanying app for it, and it comes without a video or photo recording function.
Meanwhile, Swarovski’s sister company Kahles has launched a thermal imaging device, too. The Kahles Helia TI is a thermal spotter only. Price point is €2,500 for the Helia TI 35 (2.3x magnification and 19 metre field of view at 100 metres), and €2,200 for the Helia TI 25 (1.7x magnification and 26 metre field of view at 100 metres).
Manufactured in Asia, the Helia TI has a sensor resolution at 384×288 and display resolution of 1,025×768 pixels.
Kahles proudly says that you can drop it into a freezing creek without harming it. Waterproof to a depth of 1 metre, it has an eight-hour battery.
Swarovski and Kahles’ launches follow thermal launches by rivals Leica (Leica Calonox, around €4,000, 1280×960 pixel resolution, 640×512 pixel sensor size, four times the sensor size of the Swarovski TM35) and Zeiss (Zeiss DTI 3/35, around €3,000, 1280×960 pixel resolution, 384×288 pixel sensor size).
It looks like the Austrian optics leader is keen to catch up with its German rivals.