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Review: Zeiss Victory SF 10x32 (1 Viewer)

Patudo

Well-known member
Bit of a tricky one James - the small exit pupil of a 10x32 can be fiddly. If blackouts happen you may have to turn the eyecups out till they're gone - the usual reason for blackouts is the device having too much eye relief.

Another thing I've also found worth trying is to experiment with different positions of your glasses on your nose - often just very slight adjustments are enough. And try different pairs of glasses, too, if you have them. Glasses that are not so close fitting may be better for a binocular that is giving you blackouts.

Good luck!
 

Bentley03

Well-known member
United Kingdom
scopesurfr, thank you for your observations (no pun intended). I think I realised quite quickly that the style of glasses, and shape/thickness of frame are important. Unfortunately, the very obvious solution of taking my glasses off is not something I'm prepared to do during everyday viewing. That said, I did experiment without my glasses, when trying to establish whether or not I was getting the full field of view with my glasses on, and found the kidney beans difficult to eradicate even without glasses on. I got there eventually, but the experience reinforced how precise you need to be when setting up this magnification format.

Patudo, thank you, and yes, a very tricky one as it turns out. I have been reluctant to twist the eyecups up, because if I do, I am unable to see the full field of view, something I find almost as irritating as those kidney beans, I do like to be aware of the crisp edge of the field of view when viewing. And, in order to get the full field of view, my glasses need to be sitting right at the top of the bridge of my nose, as close as possible to my eyes. I do, in fact, have access to 6 pairs of glasses, three with my current prescription and three with my older prescription from around eight years ago, one of each prescription being sunglasses. There is one pair of each prescription which work best with the instrument. Of those two, the ones with my new prescription appeared to work well with the bins last Thursday, the ones with my old prescription worked almost as well on Friday, I mixed things up and tested with all my glasses on Saturday, with varying degrees of success, then yesterday I had issues with absolutely all of them...which is why I came here for advice.

I really (,really, really) love these bins in the hand, so light, balanced and ergonomically natural in how they handle in use. The optics are just so crisp, low light performance belies their 32mm aperture, and I'm completely blown away by the focus mechanism, the wheel placement, the smoothness of operation, the speed and precision of the focus, absolutely second to none. And, because of their size and weight, they're easy to adjust if you don't get your positioning right first time...it's just that sometimes I find it impossible to actually find that correct position. In terms of their size, weight and performance, they are an absolute dream binocular for when you're out walking/hiking... BUT incredibly challenging/frustrating when you can't position them.

I'll experiment further, this morning, with both the eyecup positioning and with whereabouts my glasses sit on my nose. Whether I can find that sweet spot with full field of view and no blackouts remains to be seen, I have my doubts, but I did manage it for most of last Thursday, so I have to assume it's possible, although it may be that I perceived I was getting the full field of view, when in fact I wasn't.

I'm definitely having a love-hate relationship with these binoculars so far...
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
scopesurfr, thank you for your observations (no pun intended). I think I realised quite quickly that the style of glasses, and shape/thickness of frame are important. Unfortunately, the very obvious solution of taking my glasses off is not something I'm prepared to do during everyday viewing. That said, I did experiment without my glasses, when trying to establish whether or not I was getting the full field of view with my glasses on, and found the kidney beans difficult to eradicate even without glasses on. I got there eventually, but the experience reinforced how precise you need to be when setting up this magnification format.

Patudo, thank you, and yes, a very tricky one as it turns out. I have been reluctant to twist the eyecups up, because if I do, I am unable to see the full field of view, something I find almost as irritating as those kidney beans, I do like to be aware of the crisp edge of the field of view when viewing. And, in order to get the full field of view, my glasses need to be sitting right at the top of the bridge of my nose, as close as possible to my eyes. I do, in fact, have access to 6 pairs of glasses, three with my current prescription and three with my older prescription from around eight years ago, one of each prescription being sunglasses. There is one pair of each prescription which work best with the instrument. Of those two, the ones with my new prescription appeared to work well with the bins last Thursday, the ones with my old prescription worked almost as well on Friday, I mixed things up and tested with all my glasses on Saturday, with varying degrees of success, then yesterday I had issues with absolutely all of them...which is why I came here for advice.

I really (,really, really) love these bins in the hand, so light, balanced and ergonomically natural in how they handle in use. The optics are just so crisp, low light performance belies their 32mm aperture, and I'm completely blown away by the focus mechanism, the wheel placement, the smoothness of operation, the speed and precision of the focus, absolutely second to none. And, because of their size and weight, they're easy to adjust if you don't get your positioning right first time...it's just that sometimes I find it impossible to actually find that correct position. In terms of their size, weight and performance, they are an absolute dream binocular for when you're out walking/hiking... BUT incredibly challenging/frustrating when you can't position them.

I'll experiment further, this morning, with both the eyecup positioning and with whereabouts my glasses sit on my nose. Whether I can find that sweet spot with full field of view and no blackouts remains to be seen, I have my doubts, but I did manage it for most of last Thursday, so I have to assume it's possible, although it may be that I perceived I was getting the full field of view, when in fact I wasn't.

I'm definitely having a love-hate relationship with these binoculars so far...
James, it sounds like that to avoid kidney beans you need the eyecups up a little from fully down, but not as far up as the next 'official' eyecup position where you lose fov, and this can be achieved if you slip a rubber o-ring over the eyecup and push it down to underneath the rim. Now the eyecups sits on the rubber o-ring rather than all the way to fully screwed down i.e. its up a little from fully down.

Lee
 

Bentley03

Well-known member
United Kingdom
James, it sounds like that to avoid kidney beans you need the eyecups up a little from fully down, but not as far up as the next 'official' eyecup position where you lose fov, and this can be achieved if you slip a rubber o-ring over the eyecup and push it down to underneath the rim. Now the eyecups sits on the rubber o-ring rather than all the way to fully screwed down i.e. its up a little from fully down.

Lee
Lee, thank you, and yes, you've mentioned your o-ring solution to me before (I believe you use it on your equivalent 8x32's?), I'd already given it some thought, but with the binoculars in my possession for a relatively short period of time, it's not something I'll be able to try prior to them being picked up today. It's certainly something I'll give due consideration to if I do go ahead with a purchase...although it does frustrate me that it may be necessary to adapt an instrument at this price level in order to be able to enjoy it!
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Lee, thank you, and yes, you've mentioned your o-ring solution to me before (I believe you use it on your equivalent 8x32's?), I'd already given it some thought, but with the binoculars in my possession for a relatively short period of time, it's not something I'll be able to try prior to them being picked up today. It's certainly something I'll give due consideration to if I do go ahead with a purchase...although it does frustrate me that it may be necessary to adapt an instrument at this price level in order to be able to enjoy it!
I can understand your frustration but if you consider for a moment the infinite variations in human facial construction (especially how some eyes seem to pop out of a person's face while others are deeply sunken) plus the infinite variations in spectacles, their lenses and where people put them on their noses, its amazing binocular eyepieces bring so many folks' eyes to the right point despite not being infinitely adjustable.

Lee
 

Bentley03

Well-known member
United Kingdom
I can understand your frustration but if you consider for a moment the infinite variations in human facial construction (especially how some eyes seem to pop out of a person's face while others are deeply sunken) plus the infinite variations in spectacles, their lenses and where people put them on their noses, its amazing binocular eyepieces bring so many folks' eyes to the right point despite not being infinitely adjustable.

Lee
Are you saying I'm binocular ugly?

πŸ˜‰πŸ€£
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Are you saying I'm binocular ugly?

πŸ˜‰πŸ€£
Well, if I was to be so rude, which I surely wouldn't, since I have rubber o-rings adjusting the eyecups on some of my binos, I am probably in the same aesthetic boat as you! So that makes two of Us :)
 

Bentley03

Well-known member
United Kingdom
I can understand your frustration but if you consider for a moment the infinite variations in human facial construction (especially how some eyes seem to pop out of a person's face while others are deeply sunken) plus the infinite variations in spectacles, their lenses and where people put them on their noses, its amazing binocular eyepieces bring so many folks' eyes to the right point despite not being infinitely adjustable.

Lee
Absolutely. I spent probably another 5-6 hours experimenting with them yesterday, and concluded fatigue probably played a significant part in my inability to position them correctly at times during the preceding days. But, I've now got a really good handle on how to minimise the kidney beans, and I'm at the point of loving them far more than hating them. They are a truly remarkable pair of binoculars.

Given the very well documented kidney bean issues that a (significant?) proportion of users have with this particular model, do you know if Zeiss have released an alternative design of eyecup for their SF x32's?

I'm really on the fence, but I believe I'm closer to purchasing than not.

(Incidentally, my Noctivid has been returned, this is the potential replacement. Talk about a complete u-turn! πŸ˜‰)
 

Patudo

Well-known member
Lee, thank you, and yes, you've mentioned your o-ring solution to me before (I believe you use it on your equivalent 8x32's?), I'd already given it some thought, but with the binoculars in my possession for a relatively short period of time, it's not something I'll be able to try prior to them being picked up today. It's certainly something I'll give due consideration to if I do go ahead with a purchase...although it does frustrate me that it may be necessary to adapt an instrument at this price level in order to be able to enjoy it!

It may not be necessary to use the O-rings if you don't press the binoculars too hard against your glasses (or directly against your face for those who use binoculars straight to their eyes). In many cases there is enough resistance so that when an eyecup is adjusted between the two, three or four main stops, it'll stay there. That's been the case with, in fact, every binocular with twist-up eyecups I've personally owned, and pretty much every one I've tried. But maybe I rest my binoculars against my glasses more lightly than some folks do, and I suppose eyecup resistance might lessen with age in some models, etc...

The O-ring trick does guarantee the eyecup will be in exactly the right spot - it's a great solution and I wouldn't hesitate to use it if needed.
 

Bentley03

Well-known member
United Kingdom
It may not be necessary to use the O-rings if you don't press the binoculars too hard against your glasses (or directly against your face for those who use binoculars straight to their eyes). In many cases there is enough resistance so that when an eyecup is adjusted between the two, three or four main stops, it'll stay there. That's been the case with, in fact, every binocular with twist-up eyecups I've personally owned, and pretty much every one I've tried. But maybe I rest my binoculars against my glasses more lightly than some folks do, and I suppose eyecup resistance might lessen with age in some models, etc...

The O-ring trick does guarantee the eyecup will be in exactly the right spot - it's a great solution and I wouldn't hesitate to use it if needed.
In the end, I felt I had no option other than to abandon the purchase, partly because they need to work with more than one pair of glasses, so fine tuning for use with a specific pair of glasses doesn't completely solve the issue, but mainly because I felt like I was trying to force them to fit me, when deep down I knew they didn't (like Cinderella's ugly sisters with that slipper πŸ˜‰). I struggled to some extent with the 10x42's too, though not as badly as with the 10x32's. I now own two pairs of binoculars (different models and magnification/aperture) which were made in Austria, and they are both a perfect fit.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Have anyone compared the SF 10x32 with the Swarovski NL10x32?
It’s interesting for me.
Yup. I compared all four of the new 32 mm alpha's. I preferred the NL 10x32 over the SF 10x32 because, for me, it had a little less glare, it was a little brighter and had a little better contrast, and it had a more transparent view. The NL just had a little more magic and WOW than the SF, IMO. I think the newer 32 mm alphas are the best birding binoculars on the market now for somebody that doesn't do a lot of low light birding in the morning or evening, and then you might want a 42 mm. Let me say the SF 10x32 and NL 10x32 are two fine binoculars, and don't let the smaller exit pupil scare you away from them. IMO, they will perform like the best alpha 10x42 in anything but low light and ease of eye placement is not a problem at all. I would try all four of them yourself because our eye sockets and our eyes are all different, and you may prefer the SF 10x32 or even the SF 8x32 or NL 8x32.
 

Grando

Well-known member
Yup. I compared all four of the new 32 mm alpha's. I preferred the NL 10x32 over the SF 10x32 because, for me, it had a little less glare, it was a little brighter and had a little better contrast, and it had a more transparent view. The NL just had a little more magic and WOW than the SF, IMO. I think the newer 32 mm alphas are the best birding binoculars on the market now for somebody that doesn't do a lot of low light birding in the morning or evening, and then you might want a 42 mm. Let me say the SF 10x32 and NL 10x32 are two fine binoculars, and don't let the smaller exit pupil scare you away from them. IMO, they will perform like the best alpha 10x42 in anything but low light and ease of eye placement is not a problem at all. I would try all four of them yourself because our eye sockets and our eyes are all different, and you may prefer the SF 10x32 or even the SF 8x32 or NL 8x32.
Interestingly, having compared the 10x32 SF and NL today at a nature reserve I was struck by how much glare I experienced in the Swarovskis, with no glare in the Zeiss.
 

ZDHart

Registered User
Supporter
United States
Lee, do you prefer the 10x32 SF or the 8x32? (If you were forced to choose.)
As we await Lee's reply... (I'd speculate that he would lean toward the 8x) I have both 8x32 and 10x32 SFs and will say from my experience that I prefer neither, generally - they each serve quite well depending simply on the magnification level that you typically prefer as an individual. The two binoculars are practically identical in size, shape, weight, and function - I have to look at the label, when picking one of them up, to know which one it is.

In regular daylight they both appear as similarly bright to each other and to my 10x42 SFs. I enjoy having both, and use them more often than I choose my 10x42 SFs, which seem quite large and heavy in comparison to the 32s.

For longer distance viewing and for greater magnification, of course the 10x32 serves that application better.

For a more hand-held stability and larger field of view, the 8x32 is my preferred "all-arounder".

If I were forced to choose, I would likely lean toward the 8x32 for the greater hand-held stability and greater field of view.
 
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Grando

Well-known member
Many thanks ZDH and Lee for this. Clearly I need to compare the 8s and 10s; I have been slightly obsessed with getting a pair of 10s, but am starting to realise that I ought to properly compare with the 8s before I make any such decision!
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Many thanks ZDH and Lee for this. Clearly I need to compare the 8s and 10s; I have been slightly obsessed with getting a pair of 10s, but am starting to realise that I ought to properly compare with the 8s before I make any such decision!
Grando you are not alone. I was obsessed with 10x magnification for over 20 years until I finally tried an 8.5x and then an 8x and realised there was more to an 8x bino than simply not as much magnification. Good luck with your choice.

Lee
 

eronald

Well-known member
I tried out an SF and an NL today, and they are actually very different in ergos, color and even sharpness. That in itself is surprising.
Even in this price class, or maybe especially in this class, each instrument seems to have a distinct personnality.

Both instruments demonstrate that one can have a 10x with a very good view that is light enough to carry easily.

Edmund
 

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