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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Advice for first (high-end) binoculars : Safari & Birding (1 Viewer)

Hello everybod,

We just got back from our trip a few days ago, and I thought I would give some feedback on the trip and the SFL 8X30 that I bought. Do keep in mind I'm definetly not very experienced in using different brands/models of bino's. But I did use these for 2x 3 hour safari drives for 6 says straight, throughout the trip to spot birds, during a visit to a botanical garden and also on a whale-spotting boat trip. We identified and logged over 80 different animals (45 birds) during our visit to the Greater Kruger Area.

About the trip
It was such an amazing trip, without a doubt top 3 of our holiday trips, possible even the best. The private safari game drives in the greater kruger area were simple amazing. I loved every minute of it and enjoyed being in the kruger park. We stayed in two official Kruger Rest camps as well and also had a great time there. However, it is much easier to spot the animals from on top of an open Defender then it was from inside our tiny little Renault Kwid.

The rest of our trip not dissapoint either. The highlight of the second part is definetly our stay at a wine-estate in the Franschhoek area. On the last day we also did a whale-spotting boat tour near Hermanus where we got to see whales breaching (jumping).

About the Zeiss SFL 8x30
I am very pleased that I went ahead a invested in a high-end set of bino's. The wild field of view made it so easy to spot the animals. During the private safari they got us really close to the bigger animals, so you definetly didn't need bino's to spot them, but it still was a great addition to be able to see the animal up close and see some great details. To correctly identify birds, you just can't do without a decent pair of bino's. The clear/sharp image of the Zeiss made it a lot easier and so much more enjoyable.

They feel great in the hand, even after hours and hours of use. Yet they are still light/compact enough that you don't mind bringing them along. Where my wife would leave her Monarch's at our hut/room during lunch, I would always have mine handy. I have a compact shoulder bag where I keep my Leica Q, a Insta360 camera, a notebook/pen/.. and I could just squees in the SFL. So had one bag to bring on safari with everything I needed.

Some pictures
You can actually take pictures with your cellphone through the bino's. But one thing I didn't figure out untill by the end of the trip is that you tend to put the bino's further away from you when taking a picture as you do looking through them causing the image to be slightly out of focus. It it also a bit fidly to get the image to lign up correctly. Perhaps I will design and 3D print a holder to attach to the the phone to help you position/align the bino's.

Please see attached a few sample images that I took with an iPhone 1x camera through the bino's
  • Leopard in a three with a half eaten impala next to it (not in picture), 10 meters
  • Wild Dogs who just killed a steekbok minutes before we arrived, 5 meters
  • Lion who was roaring a few moments after this picture, 10 meters
  • Hyena Pup in the den (total 5 aduts and 5 pups), 10 meters

- This is a bird forum, so I also include a shot from a Wahlberg Eagle, not sure how far this was, at least 25 meters I would guess.

Birds
We saw so many amazing birds, but the most special experience was probably when we saw a kingfisher (i think a brown-hooded) catch a fish and beat it agains the branch he was sitting on and then eating it. No pictures, just enjoyed it through the bino's from 5 meters away.

Thanks again for all the input, it has really helped me make a good purchase.
 

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  • WahlbergEagle.jpg
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Well - These images are all you ever need and then some! Glad you went with a top tier binocular as well - 8x30 in African light is all you ever need.

Brilliant trip report, and stunning pic. Thank you for sharing.
 
"They feel great in the hand, even after hours and hours of use. Yet they are still light/compact enough that you don't mind bringing them along. Where my wife would leave her Monarch's at our hut/room during lunch, I would always have mine handy. I have a compact shoulder bag where I keep my Leica Q, a Insta360 camera, a notebook/pen/.. and I could just squees in the SFL. So had one bag to bring on safari with everything I needed."

For me, this is what's they 30's are all about. Where the 8x20 class is a big compromise, these SFL's can do 98.5% of what the big boys can, but there's NEVER a reason to not have bins w/you.
 
Great pics. Thank you for sharing!! did you use any accessories to take the pics through the bino eyepiece?
Thank you. You are welcome. No, I did not. I just turned the eye-piece out to the third/furthest setting and pushed the standard 1x lens of my iPhone against it and then try to find it where you have a good view. With the 2x tele function on my phone it's much too difficult to position it.

When you first look with your eyes and focus, and then want to take a picture, you need to take a step back as you will keep the bino's further from your body to take a picture with the phone. On shorter distances that will get your subject out of focus. I found it very difficult to focus while holding the bino's with my left and my phone with my right, so tried it that way. Not perfect by any means, but if you don't own or want to cary a telephoto lens, this is a quick solution.

I will be getting a new phone soon and will probably design a mount that fits on my phonecase that will help me align the bino's much quicker and without having to extend the eye-pieces (as I use them while wearing glasses I don't extend the eye pieces for normal viewing). I always use quadlock phone covers (for car-mount and on my motorcycles) and have already designed a holder to make it easier to use the phone as a camera and also add a thread for tripod mount. I will share my design if I get it done, won't bother for my current phone.
 
Hello everybod,

We just got back from our trip a few days ago, and I thought I would give some feedback on the trip and the SFL 8X30 that I bought. Do keep in mind I'm definetly not very experienced in using different brands/models of bino's. But I did use these for 2x 3 hour safari drives for 6 says straight, throughout the trip to spot birds, during a visit to a botanical garden and also on a whale-spotting boat trip. We identified and logged over 80 different animals (45 birds) during our visit to the Greater Kruger Area.

About the trip
It was such an amazing trip, without a doubt top 3 of our holiday trips, possible even the best. The private safari game drives in the greater kruger area were simple amazing. I loved every minute of it and enjoyed being in the kruger park. We stayed in two official Kruger Rest camps as well and also had a great time there. However, it is much easier to spot the animals from on top of an open Defender then it was from inside our tiny little Renault Kwid.

The rest of our trip not dissapoint either. The highlight of the second part is definetly our stay at a wine-estate in the Franschhoek area. On the last day we also did a whale-spotting boat tour near Hermanus where we got to see whales breaching (jumping).

About the Zeiss SFL 8x30
I am very pleased that I went ahead a invested in a high-end set of bino's. The wild field of view made it so easy to spot the animals. During the private safari they got us really close to the bigger animals, so you definetly didn't need bino's to spot them, but it still was a great addition to be able to see the animal up close and see some great details. To correctly identify birds, you just can't do without a decent pair of bino's. The clear/sharp image of the Zeiss made it a lot easier and so much more enjoyable.

They feel great in the hand, even after hours and hours of use. Yet they are still light/compact enough that you don't mind bringing them along. Where my wife would leave her Monarch's at our hut/room during lunch, I would always have mine handy. I have a compact shoulder bag where I keep my Leica Q, a Insta360 camera, a notebook/pen/.. and I could just squees in the SFL. So had one bag to bring on safari with everything I needed.

Some pictures
You can actually take pictures with your cellphone through the bino's. But one thing I didn't figure out untill by the end of the trip is that you tend to put the bino's further away from you when taking a picture as you do looking through them causing the image to be slightly out of focus. It it also a bit fidly to get the image to lign up correctly. Perhaps I will design and 3D print a holder to attach to the the phone to help you position/align the bino's.

Please see attached a few sample images that I took with an iPhone 1x camera through the bino's
  • Leopard in a three with a half eaten impala next to it (not in picture), 10 meters
  • Wild Dogs who just killed a steekbok minutes before we arrived, 5 meters
  • Lion who was roaring a few moments after this picture, 10 meters
  • Hyena Pup in the den (total 5 aduts and 5 pups), 10 meters

- This is a bird forum, so I also include a shot from a Wahlberg Eagle, not sure how far this was, at least 25 meters I would guess.

Birds
We saw so many amazing birds, but the most special experience was probably when we saw a kingfisher (i think a brown-hooded) catch a fish and beat it agains the branch he was sitting on and then eating it. No pictures, just enjoyed it through the bino's from 5 meters away.

Thanks again for all the input, it has really helped me make a good purchase.
Wow. Thanks for the great thread MikeBR. I'm glad you had a nice trip and enjoyed your new binoculars. Cheers.
 
When you first look with your eyes and focus, and then want to take a picture, you need to take a step back as you will keep the bino's further from your body to take a picture with the phone. On shorter distances that will get your subject out of focus.
This is not a question of subject distance. The purpose of a binocular focuser is to compensate for your eye lens's limited accommodation at shorter distances, "help" your phone camera lens can't cope with. Just keep the bin focused further out, and let the camera focus.
 
Hihg end binocs are a lifetime purchase so go for the best if you can afford it. Best binocs today will lilkely be best or thereabouts in 20/30 years time.
 
My wife prefers the 8x25 Swarvoski Pocket Mountain binoculars and I prefer the 10x25. No issues viewing with the 10x ones and they provide more light transmission and more detail, especially in low light situations. One does have a 21% wider FOV with the 8x ones but with my old eyes I want the 25% greater image magnification provided by the 10x25 ones.
 

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