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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Swarovski Swarovision EL 10x42 vs Zeiss Victory SF 10x42 (1 Viewer)

ZDHart

Registered User
Supporter
United States
Love them and bought one today as mentioned above! Wish it were even a few millimetres shorter (but as long as we're dreaming, I wish I could put their optics in my 10x42 Ultravid HD Plus's! Wishful thinking I suppose! Not sure if you've ever tried the Leica's, but their build quality, diopter, and ergonomics are simply sublime (however, the Zeiss totally outclasses them on optics).
Oh my friend, you are preaching to the choir on this one. I LOVE Leica UVHD+ binoculars! I have them in 7x42, and have had them in 8x32 and 10x42. Every one of them were fantastic, and if it weren't for the money part, I'd have kept every one of them. I love the rock-solid build quality, the razor-sharpness, the color quality, the "view". Exquisite. Ultravid Plus bins are fantastic.

I choose the 10x42 SF over the UVHD+, but only by a "hair". It was a very close, very tough choice for me. They are each that good!

I couldn't let the UVHD+ 7x42 go. Had to keep 'em. Spectacular views with those.

I would have kept the 8x32 UVHD+ if they were only a little bit LARGER. I adored how sharp they were and their color quality was magical. I just needed a little more binocular to hold onto, for stablilty, and the 8x32 SF gave me that. And, there is that Zeiss focuser. :)
 
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ZDHart

Registered User
Supporter
United States
I know the build quality of Leica binos and I especially like their irresistible design. From Leica now I have only three little Trinovids:
8x20 BC (from 1988), 8x20 BCA (from 2020) and 10x25 BCA (from 2007)... I am delighted to look at and look through them
dorubird... perhaps one day you can treat yourself to a pair of UVHD+. I hope that you can, because I know that you would be thrilled to have a pair! :) 7x42, perhaps?
 

_Prism_

Well-known member
England
Oh my friend, you are preaching to the choir on this one. I LOVE Leica UVHD+ binoculars! I have them in 7x42, and have had them in 8x32 and 10x42. Every one of them were fantastic, and if it weren't for the money part, I'd have kept every one of them. I love the rock-solid build quality, the razor-sharpness, the color quality, the "view". Exquisite. Ultravid Plus bins are fantastic.

I choose the 10x42 SF over the UVHD+, but only by a "hair". It was a tough choice for me.

I couldn't let the UVHD+ 7x42 go. Had to keep 'em. Spectacular views with those.

I would have kept the 8x32 UVHD+ if they were only a little bit LARGER. I adored how sharp they were and their color quality was magical. I just needed a little more binocular to hold onto, for stablilty, and the 8x32 SF gave me that. And, there is that Zeiss focuser. :)
I hear you, simply the best feel overall. And their accessories are just in a different league. I was at the Leica store in Mayfair today and the sheer variety of straps, cases etc. was just amazing - you're truly spoiled for choice with a Leica in a way that no other member of the holy trinity can match.
Now that I have the SF 10x42, I'm probably going to sell (read: be forced to sell by the Mrs.) my UVHD+ 10x42... Can't bring myself to part with it! Might have to trade it for a 7x42 if I can convince her it's necessary. Also have a UV 8x20 which is also a joy despite being almost too small for my hands.
Incidentally, I got to compare the Noctivids against the UVHD+'s today - biggest perceptible differences to me were that the Noctivid's are slightly brighter and have just a hair less CA (but still very visible on high-contrast objects against a bright, cloudy sky). Also quite small and svelte, despite their increased weight. Kept thinking how I wished the SF's had this build quality. I think Roger Vine on ScopeViews has the most accurate run down of the Noctivids - and he nails it by referring to them as the Leica EL's!
 

ZDHart

Registered User
Supporter
United States
I hear you, simply the best feel overall. And their accessories are just in a different league. I was at the Leica store in Mayfair today and the sheer variety of straps, cases etc. was just amazing - you're truly spoiled for choice with a Leica in a way that no other member of the holy trinity can match.
Now that I have the SF 10x42, I'm probably going to sell (read: be forced to sell by the Mrs.) my UVHD+ 10x42... Can't bring myself to part with it! Might have to trade it for a 7x42 if I can convince her it's necessary. Also have a UV 8x20 which is also a joy despite being almost too small for my hands.
Sad to give up a pair of UVHD+ 10x42. I know. First hand. :( I could only do it knowing that I have the UVHD+ 7x42 to hold on to.

Incidentally, I got to compare the Noctivids against the UVHD+'s today - biggest perceptible differences to me were that the Noctivid's are slightly brighter and have just a hair less CA (but still very visible on high-contrast objects against a bright, cloudy sky). Also quite small and svelte, despite their increased weight. Kept thinking how I wished the SF's had this build quality. I think Roger Vine on ScopeViews has the most accurate run down of the Noctivids - and he nails it by referring to them as the Leica EL's!
Noctivids are not binoculars I have had the pleasure to get to know yet. Price deters me somewhat. And thinking that the focuser may well be too far away from the hand position gives me pause.

I'm a lover of Leica binoculars, for sure. So one day, I will have to come to terms with Noctivid!
 

Patudo

Well-known member
Who birds at 1000 with a bino?

Well, sir, some of us do. Typical observing distances from my favoured viewpoints to where the birds I observe regularly perch are 740m; 750m; 1.28km; 1.36km; 1.65km; and at times they will range significantly further away. At times it's almost like astronomy in reverse, following a distant black star against (hopefully) a high-contrast background of white cloud. It's a job that tests almost every aspect of optical performance, from sharpness and the ability to distinguish detail to the brightness and contrast that make it easier to stay with a distant target when the background is more challenging. Field of view is a quality of great value in my book - having said that, the binocular I currently use is a Nikon 10x42 SE, but though excellent optically, I do notice its narrow field of view after having used wider field binoculars, even though it's sharp to the edge and all sweet spot. I'd certainly like to have a 10x42 EL/SF/NL instead, but it'll be some time before they are within my reach, alas.
 

casscade

Well-known member
Serious question about the Leica UVHD plus, how exactly is the Zeiss SF optics better or a step up, is it because of a flatter field, the larger apparent fov, better ca control, do they have a higher resolution or better contrast than the Leica, what about ease of view or dof, just curious as to what exactly is better in the SF image/optics that makes it superior in your opinion. I haven’t tried the SF yet but it or the NL will be my next purchase.
 

GrampaTom

Well-known member
United States
Well, sir, some of us do. Typical observing distances from my favoured viewpoints to where the birds I observe regularly perch are 740m; 750m; 1.28km; 1.36km; 1.65km; and at times they will range significantly further away
With 10X? Yikes! How big are these birds??? How do you spell pterodactyl?
 

ZDHart

Registered User
Supporter
United States
Serious question about the Leica UVHD plus, how exactly is the Zeiss SF optics better or a step up, is it because of a flatter field, the larger apparent fov, better ca control, do they have a higher resolution or better contrast than the Leica, what about ease of view or dof, just curious as to what exactly is better in the SF image/optics that makes it superior in your opinion. I haven’t tried the SF yet but it or the NL will be my next purchase.
My response to you can only be qualitative. Look to technical specifications for quantitative analysis.

I find the UVHD+ "view" through the looking glass to be exceptionally beautiful. Absolutely razor sharp for the majority of the central field, punchy contrast, and beautifully enchanting warmth in color balance.

I'm not one who chases a perfectly flat field, the widest possible field-of-focus, nor finely detailed sharpness all the way to the bleeding edge. So while those technical specs can be appreciated, they are not of utmost importance to me.

I would say that the SF gives a somewhat flatter view, a bit wider field-of-view, with some increased edge sharpness, than the UVHD+ does. And, the SF focuser is the best in the business.

Color quality and feel in the hand I give to Leica UVHD+.

The Leica feel in the hands, and that Leica UVHD+ "view" when you look through them is wonderful enough to keep them quite current with today's alphas, as far as I'm concerned. That UVHD+ view is almost magical. And they feel perfect, as I hold them in my hands. Build quality is exceptional.

Personal preference for specific parameters is what should make the call for choice for each individual user.
 
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_Prism_

Well-known member
England
Serious question about the Leica UVHD plus, how exactly is the Zeiss SF optics better or a step up, is it because of a flatter field, the larger apparent fov, better ca control, do they have a higher resolution or better contrast than the Leica, what about ease of view or dof, just curious as to what exactly is better in the SF image/optics that makes it superior in your opinion. I haven’t tried the SF yet but it or the NL will be my next purchase.
Casscade owning both the UVHD+ and the SF in 10x42 I can share:
1. The Zeiss is slightly brighter (though the Leica is no slouch).
2. The Zeiss controls CA significantly better. Looking through the SF, minor CA only visible around the edges / the outer 20% of the circle to me (although I have yet to come across a bin that eliminates it completely). This was a significant factor in the purchase for me, as I'm a bit sensitive to CA and the one thing that always bothered me about the UVHD+ is that CA is strongly visible in the middle and throughout the field.
3. The SF has a flattener as you mention, which is great if you ever decide to take photos through the bin. Baring this, the inclusion of a flattener manifests as a slightly sharper, crispier image overall, but for general birding use it's probably not a huge deal as your focus is really on the middle of the image - the Leica is reasonably sharp in the middle as well, but I believe the added CA has an effect of sort of slightly softening / blurring the image relative to the SF.
4. In terms of contrast, the SF offers a slight improvement but this may simply be attributed to it's greater overall brightness (just a guess).
5. FOV is again very slightly better in the SF (caveat - I only tested it between 50-200 meters). The difference is noticeable, but not dramatically so as it amounts to around a 15% increase in area. The difference was much more noticeable on the NL.

So there you go - apart perhaps from the improved handling of CA, none of these improvements in isolation would have me shell out the extra £/$ for the SF (particularly given the best-in-class fit & finish of the Leica), but taken as a whole it's a different story - looking through the SF does feel like a step up. Since you mention the NL, I can tell you the only difference I found between the NL and the SL (optically) was the added FOV. The NL also felt a little better in the hand due to their oddly shaped barrels. And I thought the headrest was a great idea as it slightly reduced the shake at 10x. Overall these are both the best bins money can buy. My decision to purchase the SF simply came down to the fact that the NL's were running me £2,500+ (headrest included), whereas I was able to find a like-new SF for over a grand less. Cost no object, I would probably buy the NL's - but it's a very steep premium to pay for a slightly wider view and a headrest. Had I been dead-set on the NL's, I might wait a couple of months for the price to come down a bit from the stratosphere.

To me, a more interesting comparison might be between the 10x42 UVHD+ and say a 10x42 Conquest HD, as you can buy a mint-condition used UVHD+ for the same money as a new Conquest. Having compared both, I can tell you that the optics are very similar, with a slight edge in terms of CA control in favour of the Conquest. However, the Leica is built significantly better - phenomenal eyecups, awesome flip-down lens covers (versus the irritating rubber Zeiss covers), best diopter on the market in any price range, killer good looks and premium feel). For someone in the market for new bin under $1,000 / £1,000, I would take a very hard look at these two. Your choice would come down to slightly better CA control vs outstanding feel / ergonomics (a difficult choice). For people that simply just want the best optics for the money, a gently used Conquest is pretty tough to beat. But at the price of a new one, a used UVHD+ is very stiff competition indeed.
 

dries1

Member
I would put the Leica UV HD+ way above the Conquest, sorry the Conquest never did it for me, don't own any of them.
 

casscade

Well-known member
Not sure what’s changed with Leica and their newer binoculars, but I’ve read a lot about their newer binoculars like their UV and even the noctovids having excessive ca. I say changed because my old Leica 2000 model BA’s have virtually no ca except at the very edges, actually they compare well with my 2019 slc’s, my 18 SV el’s, and 2016 HT’s.

Still, ca isn’t a deal breaker for me, what is though is 1, resolution and dof/ease of view, 2 is fov and contrast, then as to ergos I can make due with most anything. Sounds like the nl may be the ticket to get the everything in a single package followed by the sf.
 

_Prism_

Well-known member
England
I would put the Leica UV HD+ way above the Conquest, sorry the Conquest never did it for me, don't own any of them.
There are a lot of people for whom CA is quite bothersome (myself included), and thus for whom the Conquest HD could make sense. I've tried virtually all the best binoculars and I truly can't think of anything that beats it, particularly at used prices. But for people who can tolerate more CA, and who are willing to shell out for the price of a new Conquest HD, a used UVHD+ makes one hell of an attractive alternative. I have both these bins sitting a few inches away from me, and I find myself reaching for the Leica more.
 

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dries1

Member
If one has the choice and they like the Zeiss view with the necessity of low CA, get a used FL, much better alternative than the Conquest IMO.
 

_Prism_

Well-known member
England
If one has the choice and they like the Zeiss view with the necessity of low CA, get a used FL, much better alternative than the Conquest IMO.
Never had the chance to look through a pair of FL's, but I've heard good things. Being a flagship Zeiss, I'm sure they would have a nice view. I guess my concern with something that old would be collimation issues from years of being knocked around, and the need to set aside extra funds in case a service was required. Not sure how much they're going for these days (or how much a full service would run - maybe some owners could shed some light?), but I would definitely be curious about comparing them them to my Conquests / UVHD+'s / Victory SF's etc.
 

dries1

Member
They (FLS) are still serviced under Warranty by Zeiss, they were achieved in 2014 I believe, so not too long ago. They can be purchased for around $1200-$1400.
 

dorubird

Well-known member
Romania
Conquest it is "poor man" SF:
Same light transmission,
same center resolution,
same contrast
but
with little more CA,
slightly lower extended edge clarity (aprox. 90% vs aprox. 95%) with slightly smaller field of view (6.6gr vs 6.8gr),
without SF's ease and relaxing looking into the eyepieces,
without SF feeling of immersion and three-dimensionality. 3.jpg 2.jpg 4.jpg
 
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casscade

Well-known member
Those last few points are the deal breakers for me and what separates alphas from mids, something even the older alphas like the FL’s, BA/BN, and slc’s don’t suffer from.
 

ZDHart

Registered User
Supporter
United States
I've been using Conquest HDs (8x32 and 10x42) for about eight years. I recently tested UVHD+ in both 8x32 and 10x42. Much as I appreciate how nice the Conquest HD is, I'd put the UVHD+ models above Conquest HD, especially for color quality. As for CA, I never notice any with them. Size of UVHD+ 8x32 is just a bit too small for good handling, in my opinion. But the Leica optics view (color quality, contrast, sharpness) is purely delicious to enjoy.

I also have the 10x42 SF and I do prefer them to the Conquest HD, as well. Reasons listed above.

This isn't a slam on Conquest HD, as they are wonderful bins and priced just great for what you get. Near alpha optically.

I do prefer both UVHD+ 10x42 and SF 10x42 over Conquest HD 10x42.

I do think that Conquest HD 8x32 competes somewhat closer to 8x32 SF, than does Conquest HD 10x42 with 10x42 SF.
 
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NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
Prism: I agree with your thoughts on the SF, one thing that should be mentioned as an advantage over most anything is the light
weight and ergos. of the binocular. The weight distribution to the ocular side makes them very easy to handle, the longer length
allows anyone to grasp the barrels, and the focuser is right at the best place. When handling is great, there is less shake and an
easier view.

The many posts on here about the likes of the Victory SF are very solid. So, for those watching, go back and read.

Jerry
 

AlphaFan

Well-known member
United States
They (FLS) are still serviced under Warranty by Zeiss, they were achieved in 2014 I believe, so not too long ago. They can be purchased for around $1200-$1400.
The FLs are truly a great glass and definitely still under warranty. Sunset dates for the FL models vary depending on the configuration. The 8x32s were still produced several years after the others were dropped from the line and stopped production just a couple years ago.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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