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Review: Zeiss Victory SF 10x32, Sightings Update No 1 (1 Viewer)

Troubador

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Staff member
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The European Jay is a forest bird and certainly we usually catch only glimpses of it as it flies from tree to tree or if we are lucky we might see more if it stops for a moment to look at us and make an alarm call. Occasionally we see one in the oaks at the bottom of our back garden but today one flew up towards our house and perched in our Rowan Tree just as I was waiting with the SF 10x32s at the ready. Basically it is a medium-large pink bird and anything less likely to be camouflaged when among green leaves it is hard to imagine, but somehow they do remain discrete. This one wasn’t. It had a good look at our pond but didn’t venture down for a bath or a drink but while it was performing this inspection I got great views of its plumage. It had prominent black moustaches that had a hint of those drooping ‘taches of the 1970’s, but as a generational contrast to this, its crown of white streaked with black was partly raised giving it a ‘punk’- look. Most striking of all in the bright sunlight was the shimmering electric-blue and black patch on the wing coverts that looked just like a duck’s speculum. What a glorious bird. Within a few moments something startled it and gave a couple of jaunty swaggering steps before launching into the air and making for the cover of the oaks. I especially enjoyed the SF’s rendition of the crown and the blue wing coverts, it was a real treat to get such detailed views of this normally secretive bird.

Friends, family and neighbours have all commented on how some of our finches trim off a thin covering from the sunflower hearts that we all put in our bird feeders. Having examined sunflower hearts very carefully I was convinced that there is no such covering that needs trimming away and so settle down one day, blessed with the 10x magnification of the SFs to watch how the Siskins eat.

It didn’t take long to work out what was happening. These finches (and I am sure this applies to our other garden finches) chew the sunflower hearts to break them down into pieces they can swallow. However since they do not possess chewing equipment (such as our teeth) that perform inside a closed cavity (such as inside our mouth) they have to make do with the cutting edges of their beaks. I could see that as they ‘chewed’ with their beaks, any material outside the beak that broke away, simply fell away, while the pieces that were inside the beak got swallowed. Much of the time the pieces that fell outside seemed small and occasionally very thin, so the Siskins did seem to understand how to minimise losses.

But from time to time, as much as half a seed was lost. In our neighbour’s case all of these pieces fell to the ground where Robins, Dunnocks and Blackbirds would visit to tidy up the bigger pieces. Our feeders are equipped with large plastic trays underneath the actual feeders and so the detritus lands on these and other Siskins plus Blue Tits and Great Tits would land and roam around the tray picking up fragments as they went.

No sooner had I lowered the SFs after watching the Siskins feed than I lifted them to look at a male and female that had perched so close to one another you wouldn’t have been able to insert a lottery ticket between them, especially a ticket with the winning number on it. Through the SFs I could see the female turning her head towards the male and lunging forward a little. They were facing away from me so I couldn’t at first see what was going on so I had to move position to get a better view. That is when I saw that her beak was touching his as she reached forward but no sooner had this become clear than the male opened his beak and began to feed her. Each tap of her beak on his was rewarded by food from his beak to hers. This was courtship breaking out! It didn’t last long but it was so delightful to see. I really am enjoying these SFs.

Lee
 

Pinewood

New York correspondent
United States
Hello Lee,

I thank you for your observations.

The 10x32 format is not well loved. The SF's predecessor, the 10x32FL, got it very right and was in the Zeiss catalogue for around sixteen years. I still could not use any 10x as a primary glass but could rely on the FL as a supplement to a lower powered glass, especially as it was a very handy package. I am pleased to read that this new model delivers so much pleasure.

Stay safe,
Arthur
 
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bcskr

Well-known member
The SF10x42 was the first and only 10x bin that I could comfortably hold steady all day. ( I previously had Swarovski and Nikon, but sold them both). So I was excited to hear about the SF10x32 with its greater FOV, and I preordered it. Finally after months of delay it arrived in early December. After two weeks of comparing it with the 10x42, I sold the 10x42. It has become my favorite binocular.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Good review , Lee. I have tried all the 10x32's except for the SF 10x32, and they do perform better than you think they would with only a 3 mm exit pupil, but they are still not my favorite format for birding. I still prefer an 8x42 or bigger for easier eye placement, a steadier view, better DOF and better low light performance.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Thank you Arthur and thank you Dennis.

Dennis we each have our own preferences and for me, 8x magnification is still my all-round favourite. Looking at the points of preference that you mention, I have had no eye placement niggles with any of the three 10x32s I have tried, I agree a 10x42 is steadier in windy conditions, DOF varies according to magnification not objective size, and I don't go out observing nature in twilight, so for me 10x32 has proved to be a powerful performer in a compact package.

Lee
 

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