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Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

Do we look for problems?? (1 Viewer)

AlanFrench

Well-known member
I spend time deciding what fits my needs, and checking what fits well in my hands and is easy to look through and use. Once I've decided and have it home, I tend to simply enjoy the views. I don't going looking for problems.

I spent about a year looking for my first high end binocular, once the budget was available. Went full circle and bought the pair that had inspired the search. Sometimes, normal use reveals characteristics we don't like. When I bought this pair, close focus wasn't terribly common. After some woodland encounters where I had to back up, sometimes scaring the bird away, I realized it was a feature I wanted. In more recent years, I've realized I can't get along without image stabilization.

Clear skies, Alan
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
In fact, there were some reservations about the case when the FL was launched, but that has changed over the years, people have noticed how robust, durable and how pleasant to the touch these glasses are and I think they were sold very often.

My friend has been using a FL 8x32 for over 10 years under very harsh conditions, there have never been any defects with this glass, in principle it is a pity that this material is no longer used.

For me, the FL stands for one of the best glasses for German craftsmanship, despite the glass fiber reinforced polyamide housing, but also for that reason.

Andreas
I owned and enjoyed an FL42 for 9 years and FL32 for 7 years but a family member who bought his FL42 at the same time as me couldn't sell it fast enough when he found out it had a 'plastic' body. He was horrified by this as he associated 'plastic' with cheaply made playthings intended for children so he swapped his FL for a Leica.

This is only one example of 'plastic anxiety' and I don't claim it is representative of the wider public's reaction to FLs. The people best able to judge what the public response to FL was are the bino dealers who received potential customers in their stores, answered their questions, listened to their responses and noted which binos they actually bought. One such dealer is Birdforum member Jan van Daalen.

Lee
 
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AlphaFan

Well-known member
United States
The influence of the FL’s frame material is in keeping with OP’s theme, just like the edge-softness distortion in a Leica, or the rolling-ball effect in Swarovski. People often have a razor-sharp memory of and tend to hyper-focus on any and all negative comments about a particular binocular. Beyond that, the continued hyping of those perceived negatives all over Internet forums and at store counters can sway the perceptions of potential customers. It is often overblown to the point of becoming the first thing people say when a particular binocular is mentioned. Like Lee, Andres and countless others, I thoroughly enjoy my FLs, and my Leicas and Swarovskis in spite of any minor imperfections - although I am personally affected by globe-effect to the point that I won’t buy any SVs. But that is s personal choice and preference. So, this thread is certainly proving the OP‘s overall point.
 

thickmike

Active member
I just bought some Zeiss 10x42 FLs second hand. They are great binoculars.

I tried them out side by side with my old (pre Oasis let alone VHD) Opticron DBA 10x42s. I really tried to see a difference, looking at distant cobwebs in failing light and backlit twigs, but I can’t see the difference. My eyes aren‘t fabulous (I wear disposable contacts and have a -7 prescription), but the difference between good and excellent is invisible to me.
 

ariban

Well-known member
I just had to wade in. :)

In an imperfect world, if we don't sit and look for perfections, how do we, a bunch of people, all more than 50 years of age (dangerous generalization), pass our time online? We have to bash gear - binoculars, cameras, clothing, footwear, laptops - everything.

On a more serious note, when someone pays premium money for a premium product, it is with the expectation of excellence. When someone else puts in that slight doubt - truncated exit pupils, small sweet spot, flat field or not - the subconscious reacts as if in some way, even if ever so slightly, he has been cheated. He is educated , experienced in life and all that. But he is human and no human wants to be short charged in any which way.

In case of binoculars, one's face anatomy and even size of hands plays a role in the degree of comfort. So some physical attributes make a make of binoculars acceptable or not. Same is probably true about optical attributes. Those of you who have the option of trying a pair before buying are lucky.

Having watched birds and mammals and landscapes for the more than 3 decades now, I can say with certainty, that a pair of bins, however cheap and badly made, did not stop me from using it. The best bin was the one I had with me/ was available there. If the bin gives a nice wide sharp contrasty view, all the more better.
My made in China Zhumells and Bushnells do what they were made for - look at wildlife. My Zeiss FL10x42 does it better - never thought it was plasticky - on the contrary - I find it superbly engineered and I am enjoying the dinky 8x30 Swarovski Companions. Like Troubador, I too look for that high, flat enjoyment curve. But like most members here, love bitching about imperfections.
Arijit
 
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SUPPRESSOR

Well-known member
England
before any misunderstandings arise ... in retrospect, the "plastic housings" of the FL have more than proven themselves, they are robust and very durable, imho one of the best housings ever made.
In retrospect, suspected weaknesses can turn out to be great strengths.

Andreas
An excellent housing and an excellent binocular all round.
The Zeiss Victory fl's were a great success in England and many were sold and still looked good after many years of use unlike many a swaro with that ugly brassing.
 
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Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
WoW ! There seems to be a lot of disgruntled, not to mention personally offended people here !

If only you were all able to experience the joys of the mighty Zen-Ray this would be a much shorter thread .....

And there certainly wouldn't be futile discussions trying to label one of thousands of different recipes of composites as "plastic" - this is a well known erroneous criticism levelled by H**T*rs - and everybody knows that approximately ~83.3% of them are sporting below average ------------ !


Chosun 🙅‍♀️
 
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Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Chosun, this comment reflects you in every way, condescending.
Au contraire - it is saying everything about you.

I felt it would be too "triggering" to come right out and say what the ------------ really stood for - which of course is - 'materials engineering knowledge' ...... there, I said it.

I also warrant no reliability on the statistics either, since, on average, 83.3% of all statistics are wrong ......

But hey, look at the upside - now a whole group of folks can run over their bins in Hummers and not worry about the 'plastic' coming to any harm ..... ! 😁

They'll be in quite the quandary the next time they need to hop on a commercial flight though - since the aircraft are increasingly slated to be made from a growing percentage of 'plastic' ....... 😳



Chosun 🙅‍♀️
 

Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
The use of "plastic" in bioculars has been discussed in depth on this forum before. Plastic is the term for chemically produced non iron componds that chemically can be varied enormousy from bullet proof material, to compounds that keep airplanes together to packing material to name a few. Some are much stronger/better than metal, but the "feeling" by some is often that the term plastic is material of inferior strength/quality etc. and that is completely unjustified.
Gijs van Ginkel
 

AlphaFan

Well-known member
United States
The first plastics used in manufacture were quite inferior and at least in English the term “plastic” is still often used as a synonym for “inferior” or something less than the real goods. However, after decades of steady improvements and continued exposure, most folks nowadays are much more comfortable with everyday and even specialized device housings and structures being made of some amalgamation of compounds. Today’s composites of plastics, glasss, ceramics and other infused materials are certainly quite robust. Some are even incorporated into battle-tank armor. However, I don’t believe the composite material used in the Zeiss FL frame is purely made of plastics (please correct if Zeiss company artifacts show otherwise, but I’ve read elsewhere it was a significant % of glass fibers and other infused materials); and, if memory serves, Zeiss didn’t refer to the FL as being constructed of ”plastic” in any of their marketing material. Since a segment of the population still readily identifies the term “plastic“ as cheap and inferior, what would be the motivation for anyone referring to the FLs as being made of “plastic?”
 
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jan van daalen

Well-known member
Looking at the cut through of the FL, the inside shows a lot of "Magnolium" so the housing is more of this material as it is from glass fiber reïnforced plastic. Still Marketing choose for the revolutionary FL Glass Fiber Reïnforced housing as a sales argument, something the majority of the customers, given the choice between the housings of the EL/SV/FL, didn't honor with sales.
Buyers of the FL are satisfied users. No question about that but the market rules.
The main reason, I assume, Zeiss didn't provide the successors of the FL, the HT and SF, with that housing! The market rules.
Even the successor of the Hungarian Zeiss Conquest didn't receive the same body.
The phrase "der kunde woll kein plastik" comes from a Zeiss sales meet and hit the nail. Sales numbers never reached the target numbers and given the reason why by dealers (who are the ones with customer contact), it became clear why.
The majority of the customers weren't convinced and bought from a different brand.

So, we can conclude that the majority of the customer don't want bins with plastic housings.
They want the housings of the top models of the brands made of Magnesium alloys and not plastic or to use the expensive word "glass fiber reïnforced".
Now we can throw a sauce of El Cheapo over the term "plastic" and blame the messenger but fact is and stays: the market rules.
If it would be different, Swarovski and Leica would have followed Zeiss years ago in that regard but it worked the other way around.
No more plastic regardless how High Tech and Superior it might be (according to some).

Jan
 
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Brink

Well-known member
I wasn't as concerned with the housing composition of the FLs as I was the optics. The ones I used were very bright but without good contrast, they were bulky and awkward to hold (x42 model), and the pincushion was more than I prefer. Very good CA control though. I would probably get along decently well with a 8x32 version, but they are somewhat overpriced.
 

jan van daalen

Well-known member
Is that world wide? Just curious, or just the EU.
Depends on the country.
Germany, for example, is a Zeiss/Leica country and Swaro is second over there.
The BeNeLux (Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg) are Swaro territory AFAIK,
Maybe some other dealers can tune in?
It would give an interesting insight.

Jan
 

Rg548

Retired Somewhere
United Kingdom
I've been messing around with binos for years, I'm not brand loyal.
I've currently got Swaro, and Zeiss, but had two pairs of Leica, Nikon SE, and others over the years.
I reckon that FL housing is one of the best bino casings I have ever had. They feel great, there are no nasty seams I've seen on some, Swaro SLC as an example. There are absolutely no marks on it whatsoever, even being 10 years old. It was, and is, a fantastic body.

But hey, what would I know, I'm a Habicht fanatic..... def need to buy some one day instead of just looking at them in shops!!
 

AlphaFan

Well-known member
United States
It would be very enlightening to see worldwide FL sales volume, after all production went on for a decade and for the 32mms even longer.

Not certain there is any way to get service figures, but I’d be very interested in comparing reported housing/armor issues between the FL and competitors. Jan, or any other lurking dealers/insiders, are you aware of any trends or observations in that regard?
 

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