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Review of 8x25 Victory Pocket (1 Viewer)

james holdsworth

Consulting Biologist
Ok, after owing a pair of these for a bit more than a month I feel able to comment...I even waited for some snow on the ground for my truest test of whiteness and colour fidelity.

In short, I would completely concur with all the praise heaped on this bin, here and elsewhere. I won’t try to “review”, but will simply summarize - bright, ultra sharp, deeply contrasted and seemingly completely neutral colour with outstanding transparency. To me, it replicates the view in my HT in all but the poorest light and shares that bins outstanding glare suppression as well as great control of semi-benign veiling glare.... something I think largely contributes to the very transparent and satisfying image.

Mechanics and build are 1st rate. It took me at least a week to work out my ideal hold and eyecup position but now it’s intuitive and provides a fuss free view.

I’m impressed by my mini alpha.
 

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
Ok, after owing a pair of these for a bit more than a month I feel able to comment...I even waited for some snow on the ground for my truest test of whiteness and colour fidelity.

In short, I would completely concur with all the praise heaped on this bin, here and elsewhere. I won’t try to “review”, but will simply summarize - bright, ultra sharp, deeply contrasted and seemingly completely neutral colour with outstanding transparency. To me, it replicates the view in my HT in all but the poorest light and shares that bins outstanding glare suppression as well as great control of semi-benign veiling glare.... something I think largely contributes to the very transparent and satisfying image.

Mechanics and build are 1st rate. It took me at least a week to work out my ideal hold and eyecup position but now it’s intuitive and provides a fuss free view.

I’m impressed by my mini alpha.

James:

Thanks for your mini review, those are very positive comments. Do you have experience with other pockets ?

Jerry
 

james holdsworth

Consulting Biologist
James:

Thanks for your mini review, those are very positive comments. Do you have experience with other pockets ?

Jerry

I have the 8x25 Terra, the Victory is better in every way. I also have a classic dialyt 8x20, an heirloom but not really in the same league of course. A bit of field time with the 8x25 Swaro, which was excellent but no direct comparison.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Ok, after owing a pair of these for a bit more than a month I feel able to comment...I even waited for some snow on the ground for my truest test of whiteness and colour fidelity.

In short, I would completely concur with all the praise heaped on this bin, here and elsewhere. I won’t try to “review”, but will simply summarize - bright, ultra sharp, deeply contrasted and seemingly completely neutral colour with outstanding transparency. To me, it replicates the view in my HT in all but the poorest light and shares that bins outstanding glare suppression as well as great control of semi-benign veiling glare.... something I think largely contributes to the very transparent and satisfying image.

Mechanics and build are 1st rate. It took me at least a week to work out my ideal hold and eyecup position but now it’s intuitive and provides a fuss free view.

I’m impressed by my mini alpha.

Nice summary James.

Lee
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
The Zeiss Victory 8x25 is a great binocular and it is a good example of what Kamakura can do when they set their mine to it. Kamakura can build excellent binoculars.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Clever back handed compliment...
How So? I think Kamakura Builds an excellent binocular. They build the Zeiss Victory compacts and the Zeiss Conquest HD according to Zeiss's specification, and they are excellent quality MIJ and it saves Zeiss manufacturing money. What is wrong with that? I just bought a pair of Kite APC 16x42 IS binoculars probably built by Kamakura and they are excellent being superior to Canon's IS line of binoculars in just about every way.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Dennis, I think James is referring to the way you avoided complimenting Zeiss on their optical design.
Lee
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Dennis, I think James is referring to the way you avoided complimenting Zeiss on their optical design.
Lee
No, Zeiss deserves credit for the optical design. I wonder if Kamakura has any input on the design of the binocular besides manufacturing it. The Kite APC 16x42 IS I just bought is truly innovative and I wonder if it was all Kites design or Kamakura helped with it. I respect Kamakura and I think they do a great job building these different binoculars.
 

eronald

Well-known member
I know i've posted this before, but can't remember when or where, but - with almost all the 30mm and below bins i've used - i keep the eyecups retracted (particularly the EII 8x30 and the Zeiss Pocket). I don't wear glasses, but just find the view a bit more marvellous that way, and it really is no problem to hold the bins in the right place. They're not exactly bricks.
The only time i might find this tricky is when looking up, but with the Pocket, i just extend the cups at those times.
I find the view seriously improves WITH THE RUBBER EYECUPS COMPLETELY STRIPPED or removed. Don't ask me why.

Edmund
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
I bought the Zeiss 8x25 Victory off the classifieds, and I'm super impressed by the optics. These are easily the best pocket binoculars I've ever used. It's not just the wide FOV, the optics are super bright, very neutral (just a touch of blue/green coolness that's only apparent when comparing to a warmer bin), with very low distortion (and almost no CA) which creates an enormous sweet spot. And they are supremely sharp, even at long distances where a lot of lesser binocular falter. As others have noted they are also remarkably resistant to glare/flare, and just super clear and punchy and "transparent". Excellent build quality, very smooth focus knob that gives "easy sharpness" where it just snaps into place.

I've been comparing them to various other binoculars I have on hand, and for daytime viewing (when the exit pupil isn't a factor) I think they are superior optically to my 8x42 Monarch HG. The MHG has a slightly wider FOV, but the Zeiss has a snappier view that is more neutral and contrasty with greater pop. The MHG feels a wee bit yellow / dingy and flat in comparison. The optics compare very favorably to my wife's 8x32 Ultravid HD. Very impressive, these are truly mini alphas!

BUT......

For me, these could not replace an 8x32 as a serious birding binocular. Despite having the best optics and handling of any 8x25 compact I've ever used, they are still 8x25 compacts and I find them awkward and fussy even after spending several hours across the past few days getting used to them. I've taken them out for several birding walks and while they deliver lovely views, they are too small and awkward IMO for heavy field use. I get eye fatigue during extended birding sessions, and when I've tried to use them early in the morning when my eyes are still a bit bleary and tired I find them quite difficult to use. Although it's not a totally fair comparison, the other morning when my eyes were not agreeing with the Zeiss, I swapped to my 7x42 Ultravid HD and it was like changing from uncomfortable dress shoes to warm fuzzy slippers, ahhhhhh.

It's more than just the small exit pupil, as my 10x32 EDG are the same in this regard but I find them supremely easy to use even in dimmer lighting. Since I don't wear glasses, the combination of small eyecups and long eye relief adds to the fussiness, I have to find the right spot to brace them on the underside of my brow just right. I could see why these are a winner for people with glasses though.

I see these as the perfect option for when a binocular is NOT your primary "tool" -- for example, a photographer-first-birder-second type who's carrying a bunch of heavy gear and wants to save weight/bulk. Or someone who is backpacking or traveling for business and wants a premium optic along but isn't willing to sacrifice much weight or pack size. I've enjoyed them the most when lugging a big scope at the local lake where I'm just using the binoculars for brief looks to "spot" potential targets, but using the scope the vast majority of the time. They are so tiny and weightless it's like they are not even there and then when I need them BOOM such brilliant views. But I don't like them for extended viewing where I'm using the binoculars constantly.

They are truly amazing for what they are, I cannot believe how good the optics / handling are for an 8x25.... but they still don't have the handling and comfort of a good 8x32. If I were going out for some serious birding and wanted something small and light I would grab the 8x32 UVHD over the Zeiss every time; even though the little Leica is not the easiest in terms of eye placement it's still so much more comfortable (for me) to use for extended field use. Even though this feels sacrilegious and would get me exiled from optic-nerd-dom, I would honestly rather grab my dinky sub $200 Vortex Diamondback HD 8x32 just for the extra viewing comfort.

If I had the budget to where the cost of the Zeiss pockets is no big deal, then I would totally keep them even if I only used them occasionally for those occasional situations where I want something pocket-sized along for the ride that will still deliver alpha quality views. But I just don't need something this nice (and $$) for what is at best a tertiary use case for my needs.
 

cycleguy

Well-known member
Zeiss needs to put the optics of their 8x25 Victory into a x30 format. They will get my money instantly!!!

CG
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
Zeiss needs to put the optics of their 8x25 Victory into a x30 format. They will get my money instantly!!!

CG
Yes, I quite agree with this! I have absolutely zero complaints about the “raw” optics, literally the only thing I would change would be a bit more FOV just to be greedy. It’s just a little too small and fussy for serious birding use. If they transported the same optics into the form factor of the GPO 8x32 or M7 8x30 (splitting the size/weight between the Conquest 32mm and the Victory compact) it would be a winner!
 

james holdsworth

Consulting Biologist
It took me weeks of use to actually find the right hold, eyecup height until they became comfortable. Now they fall readily to the eye and are easy and fuss free to use for extended sessions.
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
It took me weeks of use to actually find the right hold, eyecup height until they became comfortable. Now they fall readily to the eye and are easy and fuss free to use for extended sessions.
I just can’t see it happening for me and I’m not going to monkey around with them for weeks to try and find the non-fussy position. I don’t wear glasses and have no interest in delicately balancing tiny eyecups on the underside of my brow far away from my eyeballs. I got pretty good at nailing the right position for easy views but physics are what they are and these little pockets will never be as comfortable to use for extended birding as an 8x32 with more mass, bigger eye cups and a bigger exit pupil.

If a binocular is not natural and comfortable for me to use I’m not going to want to use it. And eyecups / eye relief are a particular pet peeve of mine. Similar properties ended up causing me to let go of other good glass like the 8x32 EuroHD and the Swaro 8x30 CL.

They are brilliant for what they are but if I don’t find them comfortable to use them I won’t use them often, which means it’s a poor use of my limited budget. If I had money to burn I’d keep them just because they are so good, but I can’t justify the expense for a binocular I know I couldn’t use regularly. The only way for me to overcome the binocular buying rabbit hole is to be disciplined about cutting loose the pricey binoculars I know I won’t use :/
 

cycleguy

Well-known member
Zeiss needs to put the optics of their 8x25 Victory into a x30 format. They will get my money instantly!!!

CG

Yes, I quite agree with this! I have absolutely zero complaints about the “raw” optics, literally the only thing I would change would be a bit more FOV just to be greedy. It’s just a little too small and fussy for serious birding use. If they transported the same optics into the form factor of the GPO 8x32 or M7 8x30 (splitting the size/weight between the Conquest 32mm and the Victory compact) it would be a winner!

I see this as a viable offering in the Zeiss line; it is different enough from the 8x32 SF and copies/competes with the Swarovski lineup. Hopefully in time this becomes reality.

What I would like to see: an 8x30 that has the optics of the 8x25 Victory, is a simple 8x30 package meaning focus wheel on the front of the hinge as usual (not the large more central wheel of the SF or NL), a locking diopter ring on the right tube, single hinge, quality eyecups, the fast and smooth focus I experience in my 8x32 Conquest HD (I understand everyone didn't get this; mine is perfect), decent objective covers, and a price tag to compete with the CL (or an additional $350 if necessary).

CG
 

cycleguy

Well-known member
I just can’t see it happening for me and I’m not going to monkey around with them for weeks to try and find the non-fussy position. I don’t wear glasses and have no interest in delicately balancing tiny eyecups on the underside of my brow far away from my eyeballs. I got pretty good at nailing the right position for easy views but physics are what they are and these little pockets will never be as comfortable to use for extended birding as an 8x32 with more mass, bigger eye cups and a bigger exit pupil.

If a binocular is not natural and comfortable for me to use I’m not going to want to use it. And eyecups / eye relief are a particular pet peeve of mine. Similar properties ended up causing me to let go of other good glass like the 8x32 EuroHD and the Swaro 8x30 CL.

They are brilliant for what they are but if I don’t find them comfortable to use them I won’t use them often, which means it’s a poor use of my limited budget. If I had money to burn I’d keep them just because they are so good, but I can’t justify the expense for a binocular I know I couldn’t use regularly. The only way for me to overcome the binocular buying rabbit hole is to be disciplined about cutting loose the pricey binoculars I know I won’t use :/

+1 on this. I feel the same about the Zeiss 8x25 and 8x32 EuroHD; I seem to be getting along fine with the CL other than the diopter adjustment. Fortunately, I can set it once and mostly be done with it.

CG
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
+1 on this. I feel the same about the Zeiss 8x25 and 8x32 EuroHD; I seem to be getting along fine with the CL other than the diopter adjustment. Fortunately, I can set it once and mostly be done with it.

CG
I honestly hated nearly everything about the ergonomics of the CL. Just a bunch of little things that weren’t in the right place or the right size for me.

The biggest problem was the extra high bridge and resultant position of the too-small focus knob too close to the eyes. The placement of the thumb indents and overall mass encouraged a more forward hand hold, but then the focus knob is all the way at the rear? I found it very awkward to stretch my finger back towards the knob while maintaining an otherwise comfortable hand position. I even disliked the texture of the knob itself.

The high bridge also exposed a lot of barrel, but the barrels are too skinny so it just felt like hands and fingers didn’t know where to go. There isn’t enough bridge to lay a couple fingers on and there’s all this empty air between the skinny barrels. And why is it so long as well?

The end result was that I found them so awkward that it negated any hand-fatigue advantage of the low weight. I thought it might just be that I can’t comfortably use a binocular that small and light but the GPO 8x32 is near perfect — a bit shorter, a bit fatter barrels, the bridge is a bit more centered, the focus knob thus moves farther down, and the knob is also larger and fatter so my hands just wrap around and my finger falls right into place on the knob. And the surface texture of the GPO is just lovely to the touch. Too bad the optics aren’t quite right for my tastes!

Add to that the unnecessarily small CL eyecups, same as the Meostar/Euro... just WHY? It’s one thing with the Zeiss where it’s an 8x25 with slender barrels, but those binoculars have eyecups that are much smaller diameter than the barrels so it’s like an unforced error. Plus the eyecups twist but have no intermediate stops AND to pile on, the rubber of the CL eyecup is this hard, tacky stuff that’s just not comfortable pressed into my eye socket. Compare to the rubber used on the EDG eyecup which is supple and silky smooth.

(Side note but why oh why don’t more mfgrs supply different eyecups sizes/styles?? They are removable, offer a few options for different faces! You buy a cheap pair of in-ear headphones and they give you different sized rubber tips since people have different sized ear holes, they can’t design and sell a longer / larger eyecup rubber circle??)

As you can tell I’m like Goldilocks about ergonomics, especially eyecups / eye relief and focus knobs 🤷🏻‍♂️
 
Last edited:

peter.jones

Registered User
Supporter
As you can tell I’m like Goldilocks about ergonomics, especially eyecups / eye relief and focus knobs 🤷🏻‍♂️

Well, it's important, and the lack of proper ergonomics in pretty much every design renders these conversations pretty meaningless. Aside from the optical quality, It mostly comes down to people raving about a model that fits their personal dimensions, and being critical of one that doesn't work for them.
This being a very good example. If it "fits" you, then it is a winner. Otherwise, it's close to unusable.

I've a feeling my love affair with these binoculars are going to come crashing down any day soon when my winter gloves go on!
 

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