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Questions for 42mm SF Users (1 Viewer)

quincy88

Well-known member
Hello All,

I am thinking about getting a pair of 10x42s, and I am leaning towards the SFs. So, I have a couple of questions for 10x42 SF users specifically, but I'm sure 8x42 SFs users will be able to intelligibly contribute as well.

Do you think that the extra wide field does actually help you get more birds over the already wide fields of the SFs competitors? I'm receptive to the notion that their extra wide field contributes a more immersive view, and that alone is worth considering the SFs over the competitors regardless of whether or not they actually get more birds. But I am curious if people think that it actually makes them more effective.

Do you think that the balance of the SFs actually contributes stability? Or comfort? If they are more stable or more comfortable, do you think that allows you to see more birds or details of birds?

How flat would you describe the field?

If you have had them for a while, how are they holding up to wear and tear?

I just really started digging into the differences in 10s and the Zeiss has emerged as an apparently very clever design. I'm trying to figure out how clever that design is in actual use, and how those unique features translate into user experience, specifically if they actually get you more birds or more detail.

I've read scopeviews and allbinos. I would gladly try before I buy if that were an option.
 

Torview

Registered User
Supporter
Hi Quincy,

mines an 8x42, but regarding the ergo`s and balance, there is no doubt IMO that the design makes a big difference, it took me a good few years to sell my Swaro`s and make the move to the SF`s, trying them at a dealers won`t let you realise how good the balance and ergo`s are, but, when I pick up a competitor now, honestly they feel a bit "old school" in comparison, this no reflection on optical prowess, just the handling.

As to durability I see no reason they won`t stand up to serious use.
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Hello All,

I am thinking about getting a pair of 10x42s, and I am leaning towards the SFs. So, I have a couple of questions for 10x42 SF users specifically, but I'm sure 8x42 SFs users will be able to intelligibly contribute as well.

Do you think that the extra wide field does actually help you get more birds over the already wide fields of the SFs competitors? I'm receptive to the notion that their extra wide field contributes a more immersive view, and that alone is worth considering the SFs over the competitors regardless of whether or not they actually get more birds. But I am curious if people think that it actually makes them more effective.

Do you think that the balance of the SFs actually contributes stability? Or comfort? If they are more stable or more comfortable, do you think that allows you to see more birds or details of birds?

How flat would you describe the field?

If you have had them for a while, how are they holding up to wear and tear?

I just really started digging into the differences in 10s and the Zeiss has emerged as an apparently very clever design. I'm trying to figure out how clever that design is in actual use, and how those unique features translate into user experience, specifically if they actually get you more birds or more detail.

I've read scopeviews and allbinos. I would gladly try before I buy if that were an option.

Hello Quincy,

Lee is a confirmed SF man; I'm sure he will confirm Torview's comments. He must be definite about them as he offered to sell me first his 8x42 HT and soon after his 8x32 FL, both of which I snapped up and couldn't believe my luck as they are just mighty fine themselves.

Incidentally I did have a fortnight's trial with the SF (but in 8x) when loaned them for 14 days by the local dealer under a try-out scheme by Zeiss; the ergonomics were very impressive and though I was quite new to 42s (the SFs were only the second 42s I ever handled) they handled instinctively well with very comfortable balance and were no strain. I loved them but for cost and size and shan't say any more than that as I was too inexperienced for my memories to be a safe influence!

All the best,

Tom
 
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bcskr

Well-known member
I am a satisfied owner of both 8x and 10x SFs. I had previously owned (and sold) a Swarovski EL10x and an EDG 10x. I love my SF10x for its amazing ergonomics and wide FOV. In my experience when comparing an 8x to a 10x the biggest challenges with a 10x is holding it steady and keeping a gleaning bird in view as it moves through the foliage. Consequently I feel that the SF 10x is the best balanced of any 10x I’ve ever owned, and with that level of magnification I want as much FOV asl I can get, and for that reason am eager to try the new SF10x32.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
I have an early grey SF10x (2015) and a later black 8x (2017) and have used and abused them extensively in the west of Scotland. They have been banged against rocks as I have climbed over them, they have been underneath me as I have lain on the ground and on seaweed, sheep poo and goose poo, while stalking to a place to view Otters or to photograph flowers or inter-tidal marine life in rock pools. They have been around my neck during hours and hours of rain and sea-spray and show no sign of all this, function perfectly, and I have every reason to suppose they will continue to do so.

What use is the field of view to capture extra views of birds? Bear in mind I am a general nature observer and do not specialise in birds but I have found the fov especially useful in the following situations:

Scanning the sky to find eagles that keep disappearing behind clouds and are not following a straight flight path. You don't know which bit of open sky they might reappear in so viewing a lot of sky all at once is a big help. Its a similar story sometimes with Peregrine Falcons if they are moving around hillsides or cliffs instead of soaring, and having a wide fov just helps to scan the hillside rocks or cliff ledges more quickly to find where they have landed.

I can imagine similar scenarios at migration watch-points when you might scan the skies constantly for raptors and storks, and for sure if you are on a sea-watch, while flocks of terns and gulls can be easy to spot (sometimes!) a really wide fov is a big help to capture shearwaters and petrels as they disappear and reappear among big waves. Dark birds against dark waves are tricky to spot and a wide fov means you can hold the binos steady while you view a big area instead of feeling the need to keep panning and unsettling the view if you have only a moderate fov to work with.

In a similar way, looking for diving birds re-surfacing on lakes and on the sea, so divers, ducks, cormorants, and grebes, especially when they are only on the surface briefly before diving again. A wide fov helps to find them again and grab a few extra seconds of viewing.

The same applies to searching for foraging Otters off Scotland when they are diving amongst rocks and banks of seaweed and you don't know where they will re-surface.

It is a similar situation with cetaceans such as dolphins and porpoise and some whales when the dive and breach. A wide fov helps to find them after each dive.

Back to birds, quick-flying warblers and chats flitting rapidly between nearby bushes orrocks, a wider field of view gets you a look at them before they disappear or enables you to lock onto them in flight and view them as they land before the hop out of sight. This kind of situation applies to close butterflies and dragonflies too, they can be fast and erratic fliers and a wider fov is helpful to find them.

I can hold a Meopta 10x quite steady for a certain length of time (I haven't measured this) but for sure the SF 10x is not only steadier, I can hold it (and the SF8x) up for longer periods before my arms need a rest. This can be a significant help when observing behaviour and you don't want to miss anything and I can imagine the same might apply if you think you have spotted a 'lifer' and you don't want to miss a second of viewing time. This also means that when my arms get tired holding up the Meopta, it is harder to be sure I am seeing all the detail I want or whether the increasing unsteadiness is spoiling it, with the SF I not only get a longer viewing time between resting my arms but this viewing is steadier so I am confident I am seeing the detail for longer.

How flat is the field? I have never tried to evaluate this so can't comment.

In short I find the wide field of view and the balance of SF to be of real practical use during my kind of observing. I have other binos that are really enjoyable in their own ways and I use them for the same kinds of observing but only the SF has these two attributes and the advantages are clear to me.

As to SF's size, I have mentioned before that I have never wished they were shorter while out in the field and the only time they seem a bit long is when I am comparing specifications.

Good luck with your decision.

Lee
 
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quincy88

Well-known member
Torview, Tom, Bcskr, Lee,
Thanks for the input. Much appreciated. This type of thing is when birdforum functions as an important resource.
I'm going for it. I'll give an update once I get them and have some experience with them.
 

Robert Moore

Well-known member
You won’t regret it. I have the early gray 10x SF and it is my favorite binocular. I use it and my 7x42 Leica HD plus the most so these are my two favorites. If I had the 8x42 SF maybe I would like it even more than the Leica, but it would have to be really good because that 7x42 Leica is excellent for a low power binocular.
 

quincy88

Well-known member
Haha. Robert, thanks. The 7x42 Leica HD+ is the optic that I already own that I am trying to supplement! Very encouraging.
 

wdc

Well-known member
Hello All,

I am thinking about getting a pair of 10x42s, and I am leaning towards the SFs. So, I have a couple of questions for 10x42 SF users specifically, but I'm sure 8x42 SFs users will be able to intelligibly contribute as well.

Do you think that the extra wide field does actually help you get more birds over the already wide fields of the SFs competitors? I'm receptive to the notion that their extra wide field contributes a more immersive view, and that alone is worth considering the SFs over the competitors regardless of whether or not they actually get more birds. But I am curious if people think that it actually makes them more effective.

Do you think that the balance of the SFs actually contributes stability? Or comfort? If they are more stable or more comfortable, do you think that allows you to see more birds or details of birds?

How flat would you describe the field?

If you have had them for a while, how are they holding up to wear and tear?

I just really started digging into the differences in 10s and the Zeiss has emerged as an apparently very clever design. I'm trying to figure out how clever that design is in actual use, and how those unique features translate into user experience, specifically if they actually get you more birds or more detail.

I've read scopeviews and allbinos. I would gladly try before I buy if that were an option.

Hi Quincy,
There's no question a wider field provides a strategic advantage, if the target is at close range, like tracking warblers and kinglets ping-ponging through foliage, you have a little more time to react before the bird flies out of the field. And it may even remain in the field because it is wider. Similar reasoning applies to more distant objects of interest, as Lee and others have elaborated on so well.

As for a greater sense of immersion with a wider field, that may come into play, but I think Apparent Field of View contributes more to an immersive visual effect, regardless of the actual degrees of the true field.

Regarding comfort and stability, the Zeiss gets a big thumbs up from me. I use an 8x42 SF, and can one hand it while carrying a scope on my shoulder, and get on the bird with no problem. The SF is a very well thought out design in terms of balance and handling.

Flat Fleld: In regular use, I probably take whatever type field of view a bin offers for granted, as that is the optical 'prescription' that is provided, one correspondingly adjusts, and most often one's attention is in the center anyways. However, if you directly compare a flat field binocular to one with a narrow sweet spot, and strong curvature of field, you will likely notice the difference. A recent binocular that has been talked up on the forum is the Kowa 6.5 x 32. It's got a wide field that is NOT flat, as well as a rather modest sweet spot. You can defocus the center, which turns into a smudge, and still have reasonably sharp edges. It is an odd effect. The Zeiss does not do that. When you defocus the center, the entire field goes out of focus. The way our eyes readily adapt to using optical devices makes this quality, in my mind, more of a secondary sort of visual improvement. In practice you might notice a 'crispness' on the periphery of your perception in comparison to other bins you own. There are plenty of top notch binoculars in use that do not have perfectly flat fields. I do think, however, that the combination of wide field plus a flat field is what makes the SF a standout design from the rest.

I also regularly use a 10x42 Noctivid. It is not as well balanced and ergonomically put together, has a narrower field than its Zeiss counterpart, nor is the field flat. However, I thoroughly enjoy using it, as it provides one of the most immersive 'feeling' views that I get with the binoculars I own. As a result, I don't want to look through the 10x42 SF, as I'm afraid I'll be tempted! If you go with the Zeiss, you'll be in good hands, I'm quite certain.

Enjoy.

-Bill
 
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lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
Zeiss took a book from Zeiss. If you have ever tried a HT, you know what a SF is like ...ergonomically. I love em... jim
 

quincy88

Well-known member
I got my SF 10s in the mail yesterday and took them out birding for a couple hours yesterday evening.
First impressions are that they are very nice, and I am going to keep them.

I can't answer my questions in a meaningful way yet, but I will give my first impressions on the things that I was asking about.

The field is immediately obviously wide. A very big view that appealed to me from the very first look through them. I think the wide field makes them pretty fast for a pair of 10s which should mean that I miss less birds.

As far as the ergonomics go, I am very happy. I don't think that I have ever used a pair of binoculars that are more comfortable to hold in my hands, to look through, or to carry. As far as their advertised balancing system in which they moved a lens or two into the oculars as a means of shifting weight back towards your face, it seems to work pretty well. It is subtle and not something that was immediately obvious to me, but after some use, I did begin to notice that they were balanced in a way that is uniquely good, and I think that balance did contribute to a more stable view.

I am not sure if I see the field as flat. Most of it is. There is an obvious ring of distortion around the edge that I am struggling to describe. It is unlike anything that I have seen. I am pretty apathetic about it so far. I can see it, but it doesn't bother me.

As far as their construction goes, they seem robust. The triple hinge inspires some confidence that they can take a beating.
 

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
Zeiss took a book from Zeiss. If you have ever tried a HT, you know what a SF is like ...ergonomically. I love em... jim

Not sure what you mean, the HT was a poorly designed binocular as far as
handling. I could not figure out which finger to focus with, ergonomically very poor.

The HT is gone, the SF is by far a much better binocular all the way around.

Jerry
 

lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
Not sure what you mean, the HT was a poorly designed binocular as far as
handling. I could not figure out which finger to focus with, ergonomically very poor.

The HT is gone, the SF is by far a much better binocular all the way around.

Jerry

Ah!..really ....wow....I have held both and prefer the HT hands-down. Ergonomically my fingers and how I had it to my face etc...., Funny eh...to each their own!!! jim
 

quincy88

Well-known member
Thanks again for the insight that you guys provided on this. Alas, it was in vain. I am going to return my SFs and use the credit to get the NLs.
It looks to me like Swaro stole the best parts of the SFs ergonomics and increased the field. Those are the two reasons that I chose the SFs in the first place.
 

NY_Birder

Well-known member
Thanks again for the insight that you guys provided on this. Alas, it was in vain. I am going to return my SFs and use the credit to get the NLs.
It looks to me like Swaro stole the best parts of the SFs ergonomics and increased the field. Those are the two reasons that I chose the SFs in the first place.

Are you going for the NL 10x42 or 12x42?
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Not sure what you mean, the HT was a poorly designed binocular as far as
handling. I could not figure out which finger to focus with, ergonomically very poor.

The HT is gone, the SF is by far a much better binocular all the way around.

Jerry

Jerry
Next time you get a chance to pick up an HT, put it on a table, then put your first finger on the focus wheel and see where your other fingers naturally fall. You will find they wrap around the barrels under the bridge and your first finger is still comfortably on the focus wheel. Try it out.

Lee
 

quincy88

Well-known member
NY_Birder,
That is the tough question isn't it? The 10s are the obvious choice due to their versatility. But the 12s are making a compelling argument as I do like high magnification. Part of me thinks that 12x binoculars should have 50mm objective lenses for the added resolution and brightness, but another part of me thinks that having that much magnification in that small a form factor will be completely unparalleled in terms of usability.
I'll let you know where I land.
 

Patudo

Well-known member
Thanks again for the insight that you guys provided on this. Alas, it was in vain. I am going to return my SFs and use the credit to get the NLs.
It looks to me like Swaro stole the best parts of the SFs ergonomics and increased the field. Those are the two reasons that I chose the SFs in the first place.

...and this is why being an optics retailer would drive me around the bend. If the NL did not exist would you still be as happy with your SF as you gave the impression of being in post #12? Has the SF gotten any worse since the NL appeared? …
 

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