• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Review: Zeiss Victory SF 10x32, Final Sightings Update (1 Viewer)

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Gale force winds. Hail showers so dense the word shower is inadequate. They lasted just a few minutes but left several centimetres of ice on top of our car and you can guess what the birds did.

In between these inclement events there were moments of excitement. A glimpse of a Raven Corvus corax flying just above the tips of the oaks at the bottom of our back garden was a rarity indeed. These characterful birds are familiar to us in Scotland where their nasal cronk-calls echo down the hills, and a brief look around can usually find a pair cruising by and apparently making comments to each other. But around here we rarely see them.

We see Buzzards Buteo buteo far more frequently but they have been keeping their heads down in the recent weather, until late yesterday, when one came gliding-by on half-closed wings, ‘leaning’ on the strong westerly winds without flapping. The SFs revealed the tail twisting like a Red Kite’s Milvus milvus to maintain stability. A gust brought its slow forward progress to a halt and for a few moments it just hung there, stationary, while the tips of the oaks below it thrashed to and fro, tortured by the demented gusts of wind, which were actually the remnants of the gale-force winds of a few hours earlier.

Another flurry of excitement was caused by a small flock of whitish birds making their way west against the wind and taking advantage of updrafts when they found any. Gulls. A quick look through the SFs and despite the boughs of the oaks getting in the way, the dark head, and white along the leading-edge of the outer part of the wing, revealed them to be Black-headed Gulls Chroicocephalus ridibundus although their dark heads are actually Guinness-brown rather than black.

Talking of Guinness-brown, a pair of Blackbirds has taken our back garden into their territory and the female has been visiting our garden to gather nest material. Under normal daylight through the SFs she is a Guinness-brown but in direct sunlight this lightens somewhat, while in subdued light some of her plumage appears almost black. She gathered long-stemmed grass by the beak-full and then mud from our pond and finished off with moss collected from our neighbour’s garden, and dead leaves from ours. She chose a dense laurel bush as her nest site and we wish her good luck. This site has been predated by Magpies in the past despite its proximity to our house, but it has also been successful several times. The last view I had of her through the SFs was of her face almost obscured by the amount of grass stems she was carrying. We look forward to the male starting to sing soon.

The following day had strong gusting winds from the west and intermittent heavy showers and was cold. In the garden the small birds were staying under cover and overhead, only the occasional pair of Carrion Crows Corvus corone patrolling the neighbourhood were to be seen. It wasn’t at all promising and I looked outside less and less frequently as the day went on and didn’t improve. But then there came a shout from Troubadoris and she pointed to a strange swirling cloud just across the valley. Looking closer the cloud was a flock of around 30 large gulls swirling round and round in a tall cylindrical formation, which I took to mean they were taking advantage of a thermal. They were somewhat above us despite our hillside location and it was hard to see any details. I am not very skilled in gull identification anyway but the only large gulls we have identified flying west along and out of our valley have been Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus. There used to be a roost of these gulls on Blithfield Reservoir in Staffordshire to the south-west of us and we have always thought that passing individuals of these species were going there. However, this wasn’t a passing individual nor even small group, it was a substantial flock and my goodness they made a tremendous sight spiralling up and around, and drifting westwards. Lesser Black-backed Gulls are by no means exclusively coastal birds but seeing a flock of gulls was like a breath of sea air in this interminable Covid lock-down and was very welcome indeed.

I hope this series of 3 sets of sighting made with SF 10x32 demonstrates that they perform to a high standard and make very enjoyable companions for birding and nature observation. Of course only you can decide if they meet your own requirements.

Lee
 

BabyDov

Well-known member
Supporter
United States
What a beautiful review of a binocular. You have painted a picture of what the binocular coupled to your eyes actually views, rather than a list of specifications and quibbles about what's wrong. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, they say. Thanks for sharing.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Thank you BabyDov and also to bockos and Maljunulo. The specifications and prices and comparisons with other binos etc were dealt with in the first part of the review.

Lee
 
Last edited:

Weasel1

Well-known member
Supporter
United Kingdom
What a beautiful review of a binocular. You have painted a picture of what the binocular coupled to your eyes actually views, rather than a list of specifications and quibbles about what's wrong. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, they say. Thanks for sharing.
I can only agree, I really enjoyed reading another excellent and refreshingly different review, Lee...you have sold me on a pair, such a shame I can't afford them, looks like my old FL's will have to do.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
I can only agree, I really enjoyed reading another excellent and refreshingly different review, Lee...you have sold me on a pair, such a shame I can't afford them, looks like my old FL's will have to do.
Thank you Weasel. Your FLs are fine instruments, enjoy in good health.

Lee
 

Steve C

Well-known member
The local Sportsman's Warehouse has an SF 10x32 in stock. It is an impressive instrument. Comparing directly to the 10x NL they also have, I have to say I prefer the view of the SF. But that is in store only, so I draw no firm conclusions there. However I have come to take more and more to the 32 mm class glass lately. I posted earlier about some shoulder replacement I had, now the other shoulder will eventually need the same treatment. I typically find something to dislike ergonomically with most x32 mm glass, as my hands are relatively large, but the 10x32 SF is a rather perfect fit. Too much other stuff I need right now, so I am sticking with what I have. Otherwise......not the 10x, but an 8x32 is in the viewfinder
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
I second Andy's sentiments Steve, hope you get shoulder No2 sorted out soon and it goes as well as the first.
Will you move onto leg replacement next?
Sorry, I know its no joking matter. Good luck.

Lee
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Thanks Lee for all the time you took to do the SF 10X32/ 8X32 reviews, still looking at one (8X32) late this year.

Andy W.
You are welcome Andy. I am hoping to get the SF8x32 over to Islay this summer and autumn so I should have more adventures and sightings to relate here.

Lee
 

Maljunulo

Well-known member
I am hoping to get the SF8x32 over to Islay this summer and autumn so I should have more adventures and sightings to relate here.

Lee
I very much look forward to those reviews/reports.

Some of my favorite beverages come from Islay, but the climate is much too dank for me.
 

Steve C

Well-known member
Lee,

No leg replacements yet, but I did have a minor meniscus tear fixed about a month ago. Seems like everything is falling apart at once lately. That aside the SF is the only high end binocular that has caught my eye, and those still work just fine.
 

Steve C

Well-known member
I liked the color rendition and contrast of the SF. While I do not see rolling ball in the NL, there is some...call it a fidgety edge I suppose on the NL. I can not see where whatever fov advantage there is for the NL matters at all. You have to bracket objects on the back wall and look for whatever difference there is. In my opinion, when you have to go to that extent, the difference is not significant. This is a big building too.

At this level sorting out differences of any sort often point out that things like ergonomic fit, prices, or brand impressions often play more of a role because actual differences are usually pretty small. In this particular case the price difference is over $1,000. Also I really liked the size of the SF. How I might view an x32 mm NL is a matter of conjecture I suppose.
 

Maljunulo

Well-known member
Steve;

Thank you.

I have never even seen an NL, and at my age I doubt I would bite on an 8X32 version, but I do know that I am absolutely thrilled with my 8X32 SF.

I hope you can sort things out soon and get one.

Richard
 

Steve C

Well-known member
At my age I'm not likely to bite on an SF :) . But thrilled is thrilled, and you clearly have a case of "If it isn't broke, don't fix it". I'm pretty well satisfied with what I have and feel no urge to splurge for the nominal upgrade. I'm aware not everyone will agree with my position.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top