Second flagship Zeiss binoculars unveiled

The Zeiss Victory SF 10x42 is claimed as the world's best binoculars. Photo courtesy of Zeiss.

The Zeiss Victory SF 10×42 is claimed as the world’s best binoculars. Photo courtesy of Zeiss.

2014 seems to be the ‘Big Zeiss Year‘. Since the beginning of this year, the Germany based company, Carl Zeiss is continuously updating its nature observation product line. In January the Conquest HD family was extended by the 8x, 10x and 15×56 models, mainly targeting the hunters. In early March the 8×54 and 10×54 models were added to the flagship Victory HT binoculars line. A few days ago another best was unveiled in the historic town of Wetzlar, Germany.

The brand new Zeiss Victory SF binocular line contains two models. The 8×42 model comes with a wide field of view while the 10×42 model offers incredibly bright image and excellent ergonomics. Some lucky Facebook friends were invited to the introduction event in Wetzlar, and all of them has been more than impressed by the quality and performance of these bins, even if they are a slightly biased.

Here are the main features of the Victory SF:

Triple-link bridge – the focusing mechanism extends above the focusing wheel, which resulting a more convenient and fast focusing;
Anti-slip focusing wheel – improves the grip and reduces slipping in wet conditions;
Smart Focus Concept – only 1.8 rotations needed from the closest focusing point to the greatest resulting a very fast reaction;
World class close focus – the closest focusing distance is just 1.5 meters;
Ergobalance – the focal point of the lens was shifted further back towards the eyepiece allowing a much comfortable viewing for a lengthy observation;
Large field of view – Class leading 148m field of view for the 8×42 models nearly matching the 150m FOV of the legendary ZEISS 7×42 Dialyt.
Light weight – by the use of lightweight materials, the Victory SF binoculars are the lightest in its class;
New Ultra-FL lens – The high quality and newly developed Schott glass allows 92% light transmission. The all new eyepiece with seven lens elements features field flattener, which creates sharp images to the edges without the ‘globe-effect’.

Zeiss Victory SF 10x42 binoculars. Image courtesy of Zeiss.

Zeiss Victory SF 10×42 binoculars. Image courtesy of Zeiss.

Technical data for the 8×42 / 10×42 models:

Magnification: 8x / 10x
Effective lens diameter: 42mm
Exit pupil diameter: 5.3mm / 4.2mm
Twilight factor: 18.3 / 20.5
Field of view: 148 m@1000m 64° (wide angle) / 120 m@1000m 65° (wide angle)
Close focus: 1.5m
Diopter adjustment range: +/- 4 dpt
Eye relief: 18mm
Prism system: Schmidt-Pechan 
Height: 173mm
Width at an eye width of 65mm: 125mm
Weight: 780g

Price incl. 19% VAT. GER: €2.385 / €2.435

I am a proud user of a pair of Zeiss Victory HT 10×42 binoculars, what I think is going to be one of the very best glasses in the market for many years to come. It is unlikely that I sell my HT to replace it with the SF, but I always wanted to have a 8×42 binoculars more suitable for raptor watching. What else could it be than the Victory SF 8×32?

I predict that the Zeiss booth will be invaded during the British Birdwatching Fair in August, where visitors can try and test these new benchmark models. I will definitely be there! With the entry of the Victory SF line, Zeiss is unprecedentedly offering another premium product line beside the Victory HTs family. The company wants future premium binoculars buyers to choose between Zeiss and Zeiss binoculars, not between Zeiss or products of another brand. This interesting marketing concept might generate a product boom in the nature observation optics industry in the coming months and years.

What could be the next update by Zeiss? Birders are eagerly waiting for the update of the spotting scope family equipped with the perfect Schott HT glass. The Victory DiaScope was introduced a bit more than 4 years ago, so it could probably the best time for an upgrade for the coming holiday season. Another long desired release could be the x32 models, both for the Victory HT and SF product line. I think with these additions we could see other market leading features.

It is time to arrange a joint birding with Alan McBride for a day long field and comparison test. 😉

It is worth visiting the Zeiss Birding Facebook Page or the official Zeiss Nature Observation website for more details.

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