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Zeiss Victory SF 8×42 Binoculars: Our Review

From the Autumn 2014 issue of Living Bird magazine.
Zeiss Victory SF 8x42 Binoculars
Zeiss Victory SF 8x42 Binoculars.

Birders know what they want when it comes to optics. In a nutshell, large field of view, quick focus, close focus, light weight, ruggedness, and a bright, crisp image are all highly desired features.

In June, Zeiss optics unveiled their first binocular designed specifically for birders—the Victory SF—and it clearly lives up to Zeiss’s reputation of exceptional optical performance. You notice the ergonomic improvements immediately. The two barrels are connected at three points, enabling the focus wheel to shift down so your focusing finger can extend in a more comfortable straight position instead of having to reach up. And the arrangement of the lenses has been changed, putting more glass components in the eyepiece than in the objective lens configuration, shifting the weight away from the end of the barrels and making the binocular feel more balanced and lighter. Weighing in at 780 grams, they are considered lightweight for their class.

The “SF” in the product name stands for Smart Focus, highlighting all the features related to its focusing mechanism. The focusing wheel requires only 1.8 rotations to go from 1.5 meters to infinity, which is really helpful when you are viewing a nearby sparrow on the ground and have to shift quickly to get a close-up view of a raptor cruising high overhead.

The Victory SF has a wide field of view, which instantly became a favorite feature in our field tests. The seven-lens eyepiece with field flattener sharpens the images right to the edges, reducing the “fish-eye” feel when panning. All these features combine to make these exceptional for scanning the skies.

The Victory SF is an incredible binocular for birding. It has been designed and carefully crafted with bird watching in mind and is backed by Zeiss’s longrunning history and experience as a world leader in the optical industry.

For more information, visit the Zeiss website.

Suggested Retail Price: $2,889

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