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Old Tuesday 22nd August 2017, 14:16   #1
GunnarGG
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Keep my new Victory 8x32 FL or get something less expensive?

some background:
Since several years I have a Pentax 8x43 SP that I got for general outdoor use, looking at birds and nature, boats on the water etc.
I bought it after some research online and think it is a well built binocular with a good image quality.
There has later on come out 2 updated versions that are very similar but better glass quality, haven't tried those.

I really wanted a pocket binocular to use on dogwalks and similar when I don't bring the large Pentax.
The Pentax hasn't got very much use and a few years ago I got a Nikon acculon 8x25 that I never really liked because of a lot of glare and an image quality that was notable less good than the pentax.

So I got the Zeiss Terra 8x25 and have been very satisfied with it.
Easy to use, works with my glasses and nice image.

The Terra has a nice neutral colour, the Pentax much warmer, yellowish tone but actually quite nice and most noticable when I compare them side by side and switch back and forth.

But the Terra is still a 25 mm and the Pentax 43 mm and the Pentax is a little sharper in the center and more comfortable if looking for longer moments.

So I thought that maybe a 8x32 could be the golden medium for me, and also with a bit better specs than my Pentax if I went for a better brand / model.
Have been reading a lot on line but actually not tested many, while on the look for my 8x25 I briefly looked at a Conquest 8x32 ED and it was nice. Before I had a look at a Kowa 8x33 Genesis, also nice.
Have tried the Terra 8x32 but it didn't really excite me.

I have read about the Conquest HD and have thought about getting it but hesitated because of size and weight, it's a bit heavy for a 8x32 and maybe I wouldn't find it that much more easy to carry than the Pentax. Zeiss FL seems to be a bit old but still the 8x32 in the victory series that Zeiss sells and what I read on BF still a good binocular. And smaller and lighter than the Conquest.
The FL though much more expensive but then suddenly I find it for a better price, just a bit above 1000 euro.
The shop have good return policy and I thought I could give it a try.

So, here I am, comparing my three binoculars:

The FL is / has:
over all nice package, small and lightweight.
Compaired to the Terra as I thought more "full size" and nice to look through.
A bit sharper than the Terra, about the same as the Pentax in the center but Pentax is softer outside the center. Well, looking carefully I think the FL is sharper than the Pentax in the center also but not that easy to see.
Much less CA than the Pentax and neutral colour.
Larger FOV than the other two.

But, Iím not sure I get that WOW feeling.

I see the bigger FOV but not thinking that the FOV in the other two is very restricted. I see the CA in the Pentax but donít think about it during normal use.
I see that the FL is sharper than the Terra when comparing side by side but donít think much about it when just out with the Terra.

Maybe I could be satisfied with a cheaper binocular and return the FL?

Since I havenít made up my mind if I shall keep the FL I have just tried it in the garden and a couple of times outside an longer distance.
Maybe I will appreciate the FOV if I get out and chase birds with it?
Maybe I will appreciate the sharpness when looking at objects thatís more on the limit for resolution?

Is there something out there in the 300-500 Euro range that could be an alternative?
Vortex, Optricron, Kowa, Kamakura, Kowa, others?

I think I would like a decent FOV, light weight and small, usable with glasses and no (or not much) veiling glare and sharpness at the level of my Pentax.
The easiest thing to do is just to keep the FL and be happy, maybe you can talk me into it.
Or is it waste of money and a good binocular for me to keep?

Oh, one more thing. The focus on the FL is a bit stiff. I have seen threads about others feeling the same. Something to get used to or let Zeiss look at?
Works fine when I use both index fingers but using only one it gets a bit inprecise.
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Old Tuesday 22nd August 2017, 14:58   #2
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The focuser should not be stiff or stick on the FL. I have no problem with my sample (though it's a 7x42), works fine and precise when using my fingertip, still after 13 years.

Last edited by Vespobuteo : Tuesday 22nd August 2017 at 15:00.
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Old Tuesday 22nd August 2017, 15:06   #3
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My experience is that the focuser gives in after a few days of use and becomes quite fluid/smooth. If I may ask, where did you find the FL 8x32 for 1000Eur?
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Old Tuesday 22nd August 2017, 15:18   #4
GunnarGG
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Thanks for your replys!

If I keep it (and I think I will) I will give it a little more use and see if the focus loosens up.

There is the Falsterbo Birdshow soon in Southern Sweden and I think I will go there and have a look at other binoculars and see if I can have a chat with a Zeiss rep and hear what he/she thinks about it.

It was XXL that sold it for SEK 10000:-
They had both 8x32 and 10x32. Once I put my order it disappeared from their webshop so I'll guess they only had one. A few days later also the 10x32 was gone.
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Old Tuesday 22nd August 2017, 15:20   #5
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Agree with Vespo's comments about the focuser - it should be perfect - Zeiss are one of the best. Get it attended to if need be.

About the view - as long as it fits your face/ eyes, (alignment is quite critical) it's a fine view - completely in a different galaxy than the Terra(ble) - [well to me anyway]. One of the brightest, widest, 32mm's. Hard to go past.

The other x32 that I like is the Swarovski 8x32 SV, but that's probably pricier again - unless you can find a pre Field-Pro run-out somewhere .... Some say there are glare issues with it, but I like the ease of eye positioning and alignment in use, with my glasses.


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Old Tuesday 22nd August 2017, 16:05   #6
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I agree with Vespo and Chosun: your FL focuser should be nice and smooth and easy. My FL8x42 was still smooth and easy after 17 years when I sold it.

I have an FL 8x32 and it is a fine instrument I think. It also focuses at a faster speed than some other bins and is almost twice as fast as a Zeiss HT 42 or SF.
This makes it very useful in habitats where there are nearby subjects such as dragonflies and butterflies as well as distant birds as you can focus back and forth without missing anything.

Alternative models from Meopta and Kowa which are superb in their own right have rather stiff focusers and so don't perform well in this sort of situation. If you are a general nature observer and use bins in this way then this could be important to you.

I am not sure what sort of WOW you are looking for in binoculars but if you think along the lines of moving to a less expensive binocular £200 or Ä200 cheaper because there isn't so much difference then ask yourself why not save £400, or £600? It sounds to me as though you are still working out and trying to decide what it is that will give you that wow feeling. And this is normal. It can take some months or even years to finally decide what it is about binoculars that is truly important to you. Take your time. Keep your FLs and get used to them in different habitats and weathers and looking at different subjects. Don't think about changing them again until you have a more clear idea about what is important to you.

Good luck, Lee
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Old Tuesday 22nd August 2017, 19:28   #7
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Hej Gunnar!

My short answer:

* if you wear glasses, keep the Zeiss FLs ... you won't find anything better;
* if you don't wear glasses, consider the Leica HD+ Ultravids ... they're as good and slightly smaller.

My longer answer:

I've been looking at 8x32s recently: I am on an on-off quest for the ideal bird-butterfly bins. Moreover my son asked me for comments on buying a light-weight pair of birding bins for his partner. In the end, he bought her a pair of Zeiss Conquest 8x32s ... very nearly as good as the alpha bins though, as you say, they are a little heavy for 8x32s.

The Swarovision 8x32s are lovely bins, but they too are a little larger and heavier than the 8x32 bins which would seem to match your needs most closely -- the Zeiss FLs and the Leica Ultravids.

The Ultravids are a touch smaller and lighter than the FLs ... at the expense of having, IMHO, rather too little eye relief.

I am, of course, far too British ever to exclaim "Wow!", so you'll have to assess that feeling yourself.

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Old Tuesday 22nd August 2017, 19:55   #8
Vespobuteo
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Originally Posted by GunnarGG View Post
Thanks for your replys!

If I keep it (and I think I will) I will give it a little more use and see if the focus loosens up.

There is the Falsterbo Birdshow soon in Southern Sweden and I think I will go there and have a look at other binoculars and see if I can have a chat with a Zeiss rep and hear what he/she thinks about it.

It was XXL that sold it for SEK 10000:-
They had both 8x32 and 10x32. Once I put my order it disappeared from their webshop so I'll guess they only had one. A few days later also the 10x32 was gone.
Good price for an excellent binocular. Would be very hard to find anything better at that price level. If you return it I might even buy it.... I have looked at XXL before ( but not lately) and not seen any small FL:s for a while, so you must have been very lucky to get that deal.

I think you have to move up to Swarovski 8x42 SLC to get anything in the same optical class (around 14000 SEK).

The Leica Ultravid 8x32 HD+ (as mentioned by Dr Owl) is very nice also and perhaps my favorite of the compact bins, but the short eye relief might be a problem (it is for me with glasses), and so might the high price. And since the 8x42 HD+ cost about the same, it might be a better choice.
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Old Tuesday 22nd August 2017, 20:30   #9
Gijs van Ginkel
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GunnarGG, posts 1 and 4,
It may also be very worthwile to try the Meopta Meostar B1 8x32, compared with the 8x32's from Leica and Zeiss much cheaper and performing just as good and in some aspects even better.
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Old Wednesday 23rd August 2017, 00:37   #10
Alexis Powell
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Another vote to keep the very capable Zeiss 8x32 FL. The focus should be smooth as silk. If it doesn't improve quickly, get Zeiss to fix under warranty. In USA, they'd pay return shipping as a courtesy for a new bin with problems, to keep it from being returned to store and passed along to another customer.

--AP
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Old Wednesday 23rd August 2017, 08:13   #11
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FL no question about it. I looked long and hard did not find anything better.


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Old Wednesday 23rd August 2017, 08:48   #12
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I'd keep the FLs and get rid of all the others.....if you haven't been birding with it yet - GO! One of the best 'in the field' bins in my opinion.
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Old Wednesday 23rd August 2017, 09:48   #13
GunnarGG
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Thanks for all the input.
Maybe I sounded a little hard on the FL and I think I want to take some of that back.
It is a very nice binocular and it is what I want regarding size and weight.
It also has very good ergonomics and a nice view.

My thoughts about the WOW effect was maybe more that I didnít get my 8x25 Nikon to work for me,
I had to put so much effort to just be able to se through it without blackouts or restricted FOV and when I got a decent image I very often experienced veiling glare.
So, I had a WOW experience when I then got the little Terra that was easy to look through and gave a sharper, brighter view without glare.
It wasnít such a revolutonary change with the FL but that maybe more tells me that the Terra and the Pentax after all are pretty good binoculars.

The Meopta mentioned seems very nice and also the Cabela Euro HD that I also was recommended.
If I hadnít found the FL for the discounted price I wouldnít have got it and Leica and Swaro is also out of reach I think.
Maybe I would have gone for the Conquest HD but now since I got the FL for a good price I will keep it, stop searching and enjoy it! It is a fine binocular.

What I said about not noticing the better FOV very much compared to the others I think it might be that I mostly tested it on static objects.
I know sometimes when using the Pentax and Terra and trying to follow a flying bird or searching for it that I have thought that a better FOV would be useful.

I will however see if I can try out some other Zeiss binoculars to see if the focus is as it should, as it is now both my Pentax and Terra is easier on fine adjustments of focus.
I donít think my Pentax 8x43 will get much use when I start using the FL but the small Terra is great to have in the pocket when walking the dog or out with the bike so it will still get used.

When I tried it more I will let you know how I feel about the focus.

Thanks again for helping me think this through!
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Old Wednesday 23rd August 2017, 11:57   #14
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Thanks for all the input.
Maybe I sounded a little hard on the FL and I think I want to take some of that back.
It is a very nice binocular and it is what I want regarding size and weight.
It also has very good ergonomics and a nice view.

My thoughts about the WOW effect was maybe more that I didnít get my 8x25 Nikon to work for me,
I had to put so much effort to just be able to se through it without blackouts or restricted FOV and when I got a decent image I very often experienced veiling glare.
So, I had a WOW experience when I then got the little Terra that was easy to look through and gave a sharper, brighter view without glare.
It wasnít such a revolutonary change with the FL but that maybe more tells me that the Terra and the Pentax after all are pretty good binoculars.

The Meopta mentioned seems very nice and also the Cabela Euro HD that I also was recommended.
If I hadnít found the FL for the discounted price I wouldnít have got it and Leica and Swaro is also out of reach I think.
Maybe I would have gone for the Conquest HD but now since I got the FL for a good price I will keep it, stop searching and enjoy it! It is a fine binocular.

What I said about not noticing the better FOV very much compared to the others I think it might be that I mostly tested it on static objects.
I know sometimes when using the Pentax and Terra and trying to follow a flying bird or searching for it that I have thought that a better FOV would be useful.

I will however see if I can try out some other Zeiss binoculars to see if the focus is as it should, as it is now both my Pentax and Terra is easier on fine adjustments of focus.
I donít think my Pentax 8x43 will get much use when I start using the FL but the small Terra is great to have in the pocket when walking the dog or out with the bike so it will still get used.

When I tried it more I will let you know how I feel about the focus.

Thanks again for helping me think this through!
Hej Gunnar

You will notice the FOV more when you start using it to scan expanses of sky or sea or big lakes. Looking for stuff like resurfacing diving ducks or divers, seals or whales etc or two eagles that were circling together in a partly cloudy sky, and many more circumstances. If you like watching trollslaender then the wider FOV gives you a better chance of getting your bins on them.

Good luck with your choice

Hej Lee
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Old Thursday 24th August 2017, 19:53   #15
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Gunnar

The FL are a superb binocular and I'd think after some good use you will be focusing less on the various hypothetical differences in expenditure.

Regarding the focus - I have had various binoculars which have required not just some use (which helps) but also 'a little work' on the focuser. By this, I mean that I sit down and with the palm of my hand gently roll the focuser through its entire range. I'll do this back and forth starting at a few minutes and work up if necessary. To do this, I close the barrels into the narrowest inter pupillary distance to expose the focuser fully. Some focusers will be perfect right off the showroom floor, but interestingly, some of my now finest focusers have required this treatment.

You will note that I don't specifically recommend anyone do this. I'm just sharing something I have done with outstanding results. You always have Zeiss service to assist you.

Enjoy your excellent binoculars.
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Old Friday 25th August 2017, 13:25   #16
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Thanks Lee and Rathaus!

I think you are right about enjoying the binocular once I get to use it properly.
I find it is the same with a lot of other stuff that you first have a period of comparing and reading about different brands and models (which is a lot of fun and educational by itself) and then when actually using the thing you can start to enjoy it more.

If I find some "trollslšndor" I will try to get a closer look at them.

I will also give it a try with the focus "workout" to see if it lightens up.
Acually I think it is a tiny bit less stiff now compared to when I first held it in my hand.
Next weekend I will see if I can try the focus on some other Zeiss binos also.

Gunnar
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Old Friday 25th August 2017, 14:04   #17
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Thanks Lee and Rathaus!


If I find some "trollslšndor" I will try to get a closer look at them.

Gunnar
If you live in Smaland I can recommend Storre Mosse reserve near Vaernamo.

Lee
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Old Friday 25th August 2017, 14:47   #18
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Store Mosse looks really nice, didn't know about it.
I live more south in Sweden but I will be driving by in about a month.
If I have time I will make a stop there.
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Old Friday 25th August 2017, 16:27   #19
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Store Mosse looks really nice, didn't know about it.
I live more south in Sweden but I will be driving by in about a month.
If I have time I will make a stop there.
OK, you will a bit late for the best of the dragonfly season, but it is worth calling in to see the reserve so that you might plan for a visit earlier in the year, perhaps next year.

Take the 151 north west from Vaernamo and look out for a car park on your right after about 12 -14 km. Walk out passed the car park and there is a large viewing hide, but the best idea if you have the time is to walk all the way around the part north of the 151. It is a wonderful reserve especially in the early summer.

Lee
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Old Friday 25th August 2017, 19:38   #20
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Keep it.....Or trade up to a Swarovski bino
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Old Monday 28th August 2017, 15:51   #21
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Of all the 8x32, the FL is probably the one I've liked best. I had both it and the Swarovision 8x32 at the same time and they were both good but had different issues that made me get rid of them; the SV had some weird issues with glare/flare whereas the FL had some odd issues with fit to the eye (that I experience with many 8x32s).

If you are looking to downgrade, the Vortex Viper HD 8x32 (discontinued) or the 8x32 Cabela's Euro HD are both very good options and you won't really be giving up a lot optically; I've owned 3 of the above 4 (have looked through but not owned the Euro HD as it had insufficient eye-relief) and would be fine using any of them as an everyday binocular if I was looking for an 8x32. The Conquest HD is good as well but more expensive than the other two models I mentioned and in my opinion a worse option as it is heavier/bulkier.
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Old Monday 28th August 2017, 20:25   #22
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Sounds like you have a sample from the lower end of the quality tolerance... Iīd recommend to send it back. 1000.- is way too low a price for a normal sample, itīs for lemons nobody wants and that have been returned again and again. The FL is definitely one of the very best 8x32s and these are and will be in demand. I have it on my wishlist and the cheapest one on ebay in Germany is sometimes sold and relisted soon after...

You need that immediate WOW. Iīm sure you will get it with a good sample. Thatīs exactly what alpha bins are about.
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Old Tuesday 29th August 2017, 10:30   #23
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Tried it a bit during the weekend following some birds (and also saw some dragonflies).
One evening I had a look at the sky and compared to my Pentax and can now say that the larger FOV makes a noticeable difference.

As I look at it now it's a very nice binocular except for the stiff focus.
Especially my Pentax but also the small Nikon that I otherwise don't like very much have a smooth and easy focus. On the FL I need to use more force and push my finger harder on the focus wheel so it's hard to make the fine tuning. That makes that I have to rock the focus back and forth maybe 4-5 times before I get it where I want it. There is no slack, it's just to high resistance for fine adjustment.
It's not acceptable for most binoculars and not in this price range.

I don't think the price reflects that it should be a lemon. The store always have some product with some good discount, bike, tent, bag, jogging shoes or whatever. About a week ago the conquest 8x32 had a 90 euro discount and then back to ordinary price again. Before I found the FL with discount it sold for ordinary price and I saw no signs of it being opened or used before even though I can't tell for certain.

Will see the coming weekend if I can show it for a Zeiss guy and here what he/she says.
If I can get the focus sorted i will keep it, otherwise it will probably go back.
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Old Tuesday 29th August 2017, 11:34   #24
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Tried it a bit during the weekend following some birds (and also saw some dragonflies).
One evening I had a look at the sky and compared to my Pentax and can now say that the larger FOV makes a noticeable difference.

As I look at it now it's a very nice binocular except for the stiff focus.
Especially my Pentax but also the small Nikon that I otherwise don't like very much have a smooth and easy focus. On the FL I need to use more force and push my finger harder on the focus wheel so it's hard to make the fine tuning. That makes that I have to rock the focus back and forth maybe 4-5 times before I get it where I want it. There is no slack, it's just to high resistance for fine adjustment.
It's not acceptable for most binoculars and not in this price range.

I don't think the price reflects that it should be a lemon. The store always have some product with some good discount, bike, tent, bag, jogging shoes or whatever. About a week ago the conquest 8x32 had a 90 euro discount and then back to ordinary price again. Before I found the FL with discount it sold for ordinary price and I saw no signs of it being opened or used before even though I can't tell for certain.

Will see the coming weekend if I can show it for a Zeiss guy and here what he/she says.
If I can get the focus sorted i will keep it, otherwise it will probably go back.
The stiffness of the focus wheel can be adjusted on FL so this should be no problem.
Lee
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Old Tuesday 5th September 2017, 10:57   #25
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During the weekend I had a look at and through a lot of binoculars, mostly quick looks.

Without any deeper knowledge about all the details of the different aspects like resolution, distortion, abberations, flat field etc I more thought that if I put a bino up to my eyes I want to just get a great view.
And I want to get that great view without thinking about placement and fiddling with the focus, I just want it to be there,

Looking at it that way I would not want to replace my FL with any other of the 8x32 binos I tried except for maybe Swaro 8x32 EL and that would probably mostly be because the swaro I tested had a very smooth and easy focus.
Otherwise they were pretty similar and both the EL and FL gives that instant "great view" (in my eyes, others may of course think differently). The Swaro is much more expensive compared to what I paid for the FL so that is not going to happen.

I did not like the 8x32 Leicas I tried as much (but I did try the 8x42 Noctivid and it gave a beautiful image both with and without glasses).

There was a Zeiss guy doing some service and he had a look at my FL and he actually thought it was pretty good but all the Zeiss binos in their stand was smoother than mine.
He gave it a try to make it smoother but it was hardly noticeable and he said he couldn't do more there at the moment, then it had to go back to the factory.

In two weeks I will get to the store it came from and I will leave it to them to get it fixed, that after talking to Zeiss service department today. I'll guess I could send it in also but this way I don't have to bother with transport.

I did look at the Conquest HD 8x32 and it was good but prefer the FL. I also had a look at a Kamakura, don't remember the model but price similar to the Conquest. That was a strong competitor to the Conquest I think from my short view.

To sum it up:
The Zeiss FL 8x32 is a great binocular that will probably be even greater when the focus is the way I think it is supposed to be.
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