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Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

The new ZEISS SFL Binoculars. Maximum Image Quality. Minimum Weight. (1 Viewer)

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
I think this pretty much sums up your opinions on binoculars - nothing to do with using them in the field to observe nature etc. The only thing that interests you is the technical quality of the instrument. Bit like guys who spend 100k on a hifi, but don't do it to listen to the music, more just to enjoy the purity of the sound that comes out the speakers!
Gweller, there are many members who give the impression that they are more concerned about whether one binocular has 0.01% more CA or edge of field sharpness or astigmatism or......etc., than another model rather than watching the behaviour of animals and birds, so if this were true of Denco he would not be alone. However we know that Denco often uses his binos for heroic surveys of goats in the mountains :) so I am not convinced that your conclusion is accurate. And anyway, members are of course allowed to enjoy their optics any way they wish.

Lee
 
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gweller

Well-known member
Gweller, there are many members who give the impression that they are more concerned about whether one binocular has 0.01% more CA or edge of field sharpness or astigmatism or......etc., than another model rather than watching the behaviour of animals and birds, so if this were true of Denco he would not be alone. However we know that Denco often uses his binos for heroic surveys of goats in the mountains :)) ) so I am not convinced that your conclusion is accurate. And anyway, members are of course allowed to enjoy their optics any way they wish.

Lee
Lee
Totally agree with what you say!
 

CharleyBird

Well-known member
England
Canip obviously uses the Nikon WX for astronomy and has said if forced to choose only one binocular for astronomy it would be the 10x50WX.
Considering the competition contained in his collection, this is worth noting.

Back on topic, I will be most interested to check the position and working of their focus wheel...
"Thanks to its SmartFocus Concept, the focus wheel is perfectly positioned and enables fast and precise focusing – even with gloves on."

Hmm, one would hope they'd been putting things in the perfect place for some decades
 
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Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
Good point.
And yes, I have roughly three dozen 8x32s and know the format well. For me, the heavier ones are generally easier to hold steady - as Richard states, mass is an important factor - but it’s not that simple, other factors such as size / diameter (your point), shape and ergonomics in general play an important role. The simple straight tubes of the SF 8x32 combined with its light weight are not an ideal configuration for me personally, but I know many see this differently.
With the SFL, beside the mass / shake theme, the very short build could be a concern with regard to increased CA - pure speculation on my part, of course, but based on experience with other short binos - so I look forward to learning how Zeiss have dealt with it.
At any rate, it‘s great there is a new bino from Zeiss coming - been a bit boring since the NL came out … ;-)
Canip,

And here I thought my 30 binoculars was a little out there, at least thats what I’ve been told by the haters 😏.
Now I don’t feel guilty at all, I’m vindicated. I will use this post and your website for ammunition when ever someone asks me, why am I buying another pair of binoculars (I do have a lot of real ammunition though).

Its a new day and now I’m up for a pair of SFL’s , I think I’ll have the 10x40. I did have an eye to ad a Nikon 10x42SE to my tiny incy-wincy collection as well. Besides marriage isn’t quite what it’s made out to be.

I don’t have any 10x32’s either, hmmm.

Paul
 

Pinewood

New York correspondent
United States
Canip,

...

I don’t have any 10x32’s either, hmmm.

Paul
Hello Paul,

10x32 is not a very popular format. I am certainly happy with my 10x32FL, the only 10x glass which agrees with me, after trying 1040 Dialyt BGAT and a Leica 10x50. However, I only use it with another binocular, like a 7x or 6.5x glass.

Stay safe,
Arthur
 

ZDHart

Well-known member
United States
Canip,

And here I thought my 30 binoculars was a little out there, at least thats what I’ve been told by the haters 😏.
Now I don’t feel guilty at all, I’m vindicated. I will use this post and your website for ammunition when ever someone asks me, why am I buying another pair of binoculars (I do have a lot of real ammunition though).

Its a new day and now I’m up for a pair of SFL’s , I think I’ll have the 10x40. I did have an eye to ad a Nikon 10x42SE to my tiny incy-wincy collection as well. Besides marriage isn’t quite what it’s made out to be.

I don’t have any 10x32’s either, hmmm.

Paul
Hi Paul... don't let "popularity contests" sway you. (The 'popular choice' among options is not infrequently a somewhat less-than-desirable position to take). Be your own guide to the universe! ;) (I have a hunch that you already are.)

I'd say, given your comparatively, uh hmmm, "well-rounded" collection, you might enjoy beefing up a bit on the 10x32s! :D

I have two 10x32 bins: Ultravid HD+ 10x32 and Victory SF 10x32 and I greatly enjoy both options. No quibbles from me with either of them! They serve me well on a daily basis.

I also have the 8x32 versions of each and, of course, they're superb bins, as well. I use them all, gleefully. We're blessed with many great choices.

I think that the 10x32 format, given a high-quality pedigree, is just a wonderful choice to have among one's looking glass options!

As for the new SFL... you're probably going to have both 8x40 and 10x40 anyway, ultimately! Cheers! And... enjoy the views, my friend. (y)
 
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[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Hi Paul... don't let "popularity contests" sway you. (The 'popular choice' among options is not infrequently a somewhat less-than-desirable position to take). Be your own guide to the universe! ;) (I have a hunch that you already are.)

I'd say, given your comparatively, uh hmmm, "well-rounded" collection, you might enjoy beefing up a bit on the 10x32s! :D

I have two 10x32 bins: Ultravid HD+ 10x32 and Victory SF 10x32 and I greatly enjoy both options. No quibbles from me with either of them! They serve me well on a daily basis.

I also have the 8x32 versions of each and, of course, they're superb bins, as well. I use them all, gleefully. We're blessed with many great choices.

I think that the 10x32 format, given a high-quality pedigree, is just a wonderful choice to have among one's looking glass options!

As for the new SFL... you're probably going to have both 8x40 and 10x40 anyway, ultimately! Cheers! And... enjoy the views, my friend. (y)
The NL 10x32 was one of the best 10x binoculars I have had, but I decided I like 8x better. I can't criticize it in any way. It even handled glare quite well.
 

ZDHart

Well-known member
United States
The NL 10x32 was one of the best 10x binoculars I have had, but I decided I like 8x better. I can't criticize it in any way. It even handled glare quite well.
I spent a good bit of time owning the NL 10x32. I spent over a week carefully comparing them to the UVHD+ and SF competitors.

My conclusion was that while I loved the optics with the NL, I much preferred the haptics, fuller-barrel shape, armor stiction given by Zeiss and Leica. The Leica and Zeiss felt much more stable in my hands! And the optics were all so close to each other, that the haptics made all the difference to me.

So, I sent the NL back. Yes, they were quite nice, they've got some excellent optics, but not significantly better than UVHD+ and SF. Thus, the haptics, owing to the pinched-waist shape and the comparatively slippery armor, were my only complaints about the NL.
 
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[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I spent a good bit of time owning the NL 10x32. I spent over a week carefully comparing them to the UVHD+ and SF competitors.

My conclusion was that while I loved the optics with the NL, I much preferred the haptics, fuller-barrel shape, armor stiction given by Zeiss and Leica. The Leica and Zeiss felt much more stable in my hands! And the optics were all so close to each other, that the haptics made all the difference to me.

So, I sent the NL back. Yes, they were quite nice, they've got some excellent optics, but not significantly better than UVHD+ and SF. Thus, the haptics, owing to the pinched-waist shape and the comparatively slippery armor, were my only complaints about the NL.
I agree. Those three 10x32's are all excellent. It all depends on the ergonomics, which one you prefer. You can't go wrong with any of them.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I question if the new SFL 8x40 will be worth the $1K difference in price over the Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 if you mainly use your binoculars in the daytime. The two big advantages of the SFL will be easier eye placement and better low light performance. You will have to decide if they are worth the difference in price to you for these two advantages.
 
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Rg548

Retired Somewhere
United Kingdom
I think this pretty much sums up your opinions on binoculars - nothing to do with using them in the field to observe nature etc. The only thing that interests you is the technical quality of the instrument. Bit like guys who spend 100k on a hifi, but don't do it to listen to the music, more just to enjoy the purity of the sound that comes out the speakers!
I think you're right, I think this applies to a lot of things, hi-fi, binocs, cycles, cameras and lenses.
My friend has the absolute top Nikon camera gear, D5, 12k lens etc, and I'm sure it's just the fascination with the shot 'quality' as opposed to the actual photo that is the main attraction.
Same with optics, lets face it, any 1k plus bino is gonna perform well, even £500 ones, but we all dissect the view, criticise it, look for faults, whatever.
I own 2 pairs, one very small for paddleboarding etc, one 10x42 for general.
Both are so good that I would just annoy myself spending more money looking for something better, which would then have different faults, but still not be perfect.
Imagine spending £5500 on a WX and then finding something to criticise, size, weight, whatever.:oops:😯
I love my bins, and just use them without trying to find issue, and infact I was very happy with my Conquests, and stupidly went on the upgrade path....
Just because...... mad really:)
 

HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
I question if the new SFL 8x40 will be worth the $1K difference in price over the Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 if you mainly use your binoculars in the daytime. The two big advantages of the SFL will be easier eye placement and better low light performance. You will have to decide if they are worth the difference in price to you for these two advantages.

Hard to say. I am one of those that would pay an absolute premium for a "perfect" binocular. Which I kind of did with the Pure NL 8x32.
I did have the option of either the Zeiss SF 8x32 or the Pure NL 8x32 and to my eyes and hands I slightly preferred the Pure NL. Neither was what I had planned for, it was Leica QC that ultimately veered me off course towards one of those two.

EDIT: short conclusion is that I would happily pay that extra $1K if it got me what I wanted, instead of having two similar binos that both were "almost what I wanted". Sometimes it is that extra money that goes into passing the bar. If I get it for less (like I have with Meopta) I am happy with that. If it was true that "you get what you pay for" things could have been easier - but in reality you always "pay for what you get". And sometimes what you get isn't the best bang for the buck.

At the start of the quest I was literally an optics snob and I was trading great binos left and right - but in my defence I was also using them on a daily basis. When I started getting fed up I had a clearer vision of what I needed, rather than wanted.

I tried inching my way up and down the line ups of every noteworthy manufacturer and I was trying to get the most bang for the buck instead of buying into any particular brand based on what is considered the "best".

It has been a roller coaster of highs and lows and I am not a bino collector per se. I could have saved myself some time and money by going "straight to the top" but even at the top I found that my bias did steer me off course. Still, I think it was a good experience in the end.
I have managed to shake my brand bias and have added brands to my list of "approved optics", much thanks to this forum.

My conclusion is that all said and with the 8x32 Pure NL firmly in my grasp; if I had started my quest this year not having the NL and had known the SFL 8x40 was coming I would have waited a while to compare it to the NL before taking the plunge. If it had been a "draw" between the two I would have saved a noteworthy penny by going for the SFL.

But, there will always be the next big thing. I will try out the SFL 8x40 once it hits the shelves and if it fits me even better than the Pure NL 8x32 I will be more able to make an informed decision. I honestly don't expect the SFL to "outperform" the NL but it might have something that I like even better in terms of ergonomics/haptics while being practically on par with the optics. And if it doesn't I will continue to enjoy the Pure NL. I have already gotten over the feeling of picking up a pair of carrots :) - I have the burnt Orange version.

Most important is that my rekindled interest in premium optics also has made me get out more in the woods, enjoying/observing nature.
I have a pair of Patagonia shorts from 1997, which still fit. That and a fleece vest from 1999. I did throw a couple of new shorts in the mix after I discovered I always had the same clothes in my traveling pictures for two decades...

...I am still a novice birder. Now, I know Binos, looking forward to knowing more about them Birds.
 
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HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
I think you're right, I think this applies to a lot of things, hi-fi, binocs, cycles, cameras and lenses.
My friend has the absolute top Nikon camera gear, D5, 12k lens etc, and I'm sure it's just the fascination with the shot 'quality' as opposed to the actual photo that is the main attraction.
Same with optics, lets face it, any 1k plus bino is gonna perform well, even £500 ones, but we all dissect the view, criticise it, look for faults, whatever.
I own 2 pairs, one very small for paddleboarding etc, one 10x42 for general.
Both are so good that I would just annoy myself spending more money looking for something better, which would then have different faults, but still not be perfect.
Imagine spending £5500 on a WX and then finding something to criticise, size, weight, whatever.:oops:😯
I love my bins, and just use them without trying to find issue, and infact I was very happy with my Conquests, and stupidly went on the upgrade path....
Just because...... mad really:)
I used to be a photographer and because of that I am pretty resilient to high price tags when it comes to optics. For me binoculars are not that expensive unless you get into the premium spotting scopes. Having said that I don't use binoculars in my profession so the cost will be harder to justify.

I too know people who has the same amount of gear and sometimes more expensive gear than I used to have as a working photographer - and hardly use it. Most of them haven't learnt photo editing either. But, I would not be the judge of how much people are supposed to spend on their gear.

I don't judge an image based on what gear they use. I like a photo regardless of what was used to capture it. Having said that I was at a photo exhibition about fifteen to seventeen years ago with huge enlargements made from digital cameras. They were so poorly printed and low resolution it ruined the experience. It looked like crap. Because it was crap. Digital was not ready for prime time back then.

Some time ago we went birdwatching with a group and I got this loaner Spotting scope, Olivon brand. It was so optically poor that I could not bear looking through it after the first stop. My Meopta 12x50 on a monopod was so much nicer and gave me great views throughout the day. Not to mention actual usable resolution over an enlarged, CA ridden smear. That Olivon Spotting Scope was a mid tier spotting scope and a dead weight for me to carry all day without using it. With such poor quality it is not even about the cost/performance. "You get what you pay for" is hard to justify if you pay something and get nothing.
 

ZDHart

Well-known member
United States
I think you're right, I think this applies to a lot of things, hi-fi, binocs, cycles, cameras and lenses.
My friend has the absolute top Nikon camera gear, D5, 12k lens etc, and I'm sure it's just the fascination with the shot 'quality' as opposed to the actual photo that is the main attraction.
Same with optics, lets face it, any 1k plus bino is gonna perform well, even £500 ones, but we all dissect the view, criticise it, look for faults, whatever.
I own 2 pairs, one very small for paddleboarding etc, one 10x42 for general.
Both are so good that I would just annoy myself spending more money looking for something better, which would then have different faults, but still not be perfect.
Imagine spending £5500 on a WX and then finding something to criticise, size, weight, whatever.:oops:😯
I love my bins, and just use them without trying to find issue, and infact I was very happy with my Conquests, and stupidly went on the upgrade path....
Just because...... mad really:)
If Conquest HD is the best binocular an individual owns, they're not missing out on a thing. They're simply great binoculars and priced sensibly around $1000.

Spending $2700 for SF or $2900 for NL doesn't really make a lot of sense as far as utility of use is concerned, but if the expense is no object to someone - what the heck. Yes, much like buying ridiculously priced hi-fi gear.

I alternate using my Conquest HD binoculars (8x32 and 10x42) with my Ultravid HD+ (8x32, 10x32, and 7x42) and Zeiss SF (8x32, 10x32, and 10x42) and find the Conquest HD holds its own quite well along with the UVHD+ and SF lines. While there are small differences between all of these, they all serve the intended purpose exceptionally well.

Do I "need" all of these binoculars? Of course not. I'd be just fine if the Conquest HD 8x32 were the ONLY binoculars I owned.

And all that being said... yeah, I'm still very interested in checking out the 8x40 SFL! I think I'm going to like them very much. o_O
 
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Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
I think you're right, I think this applies to a lot of things, hi-fi, binocs, cycles, cameras and lenses.
My friend has the absolute top Nikon camera gear, D5, 12k lens etc, and I'm sure it's just the fascination with the shot 'quality' as opposed to the actual photo that is the main attraction.
Same with optics, lets face it, any 1k plus bino is gonna perform well, even £500 ones, but we all dissect the view, criticise it, look for faults, whatever.
I own 2 pairs, one very small for paddleboarding etc, one 10x42 for general.
Both are so good that I would just annoy myself spending more money looking for something better, which would then have different faults, but still not be perfect.
Imagine spending £5500 on a WX and then finding something to criticise, size, weight, whatever.:oops:😯
I love my bins, and just use them without trying to find issue, and infact I was very happy with my Conquests, and stupidly went on the upgrade path....
Just because...... mad really:)
Some find that pursuit of high-quality annoying, others find it intriguing, enjoyable and exciting throughout the process. I love trying to and finding the imperfections in the best of the best and revel in the amazing optical quality that is being made today. The images in the highest quality optics are just breathtaking.

With all the dozens of binoculars that I’ve tried and many I still own, the magic really starts (for me) when we get over the hi level mid-grade ($500-$1000) binos. That’s where the sparkle, sharpness, object detail just jumps out at you. And not putting aside the mechanical smoothness and build quality of that level. These are the tools I just never want to put down.

Happy Easter.
 

Maljunulo

Well-known member
I have, for the last two decades, bought alpha or near-alpha glass, and I am delighted that I have the means to afford them, the eyesight to appreciate them, and the leisure to enjoy them.

I have said repeatedly that it is my opinion that if you can’t tell the difference, you need to make an appointment with an ophthalmologist.
 

Rg548

Retired Somewhere
United Kingdom
Some find that pursuit of high-quality annoying, others find it intriguing, enjoyable and exciting throughout the process. I love trying to and finding the imperfections in the best of the best and revel in the amazing optical quality that is being made today. The images in the highest quality optics are just breathtaking.

With all the dozens of binoculars that I’ve tried and many I still own, the magic really starts (for me) when we get over the hi level mid-grade ($500-$1000) binos. That’s where the sparkle, sharpness, object detail just jumps out at you. And not putting aside the mechanical smoothness and build quality of that level. These are the tools I just never want to put down.

Happy Easter.
I'm guilty of all the above:)
I've done it with cameras, lenses, binos, cycles, paddle boards, paddles, watches...

But as I get older, it matters less, and I'm getting much pleasure just enjoying what I have.
My watches got replaced with a Seiko, and a JDM Gshock... love em both, but wouldn't dreamt of that a decade ago.
Might have kept the paddle board at top tier though... sorry😅😅😉
 

Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
I'm guilty of all the above:)
I've done it with cameras, lenses, binos, cycles, paddle boards, paddles, watches...

But as I get older, it matters less, and I'm getting much pleasure just enjoying what I have.
My watches got replaced with a Seiko, and a JDM Gshock... love em both, but wouldn't dreamt of that a decade ago.
Might have kept the paddle board at top tier though... sorry😅😅😉
RG,
With me, telescopes/eye pieces and associated equipment, guns, knives, and binoculars of course. If I went into the watches that would’ve certainly ended a marriage 😟. I hear you about as we get older, these little jolts of euphoria every time we open another package with another device (expensive toys to my wife) we acquired starts to make us wonder when someone will taking them away from us. Just for safety reasons or when we get to an age we don’t enjoy them anymore.

Im pretty sure at some point , maybe not to long from now they’ll be a lot of my things being sold or given to younger family members. We sometimes think we need things to make us happy, but the excitement of possessions are just a fleeting moment in time. Life is not for the weak of heart and most of us know, it’s not fair.

Happy Easter

Paul
 

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