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Troubador's Mini Review: Black vs Grey SF (1 Viewer)

Steve O4B

Optics4Birding.com
Hi Robert
Yes the grey 10x is a 2015 model. I have been told that the very last grey units had the focus improvements but I have never heard that the optics / coatings were tuned. However I do know that at least part of Nicholas Benoit's job at Zeiss is continuous improvement of the T* family of coatings so it would not be a big surprise if coatings are upgraded from time to time.

Lee

According to Zeiss, the black SFs have only had the mechanical fixes. The optics have not changed. As I mentioned before, the last batch of gray SFs had the armor and focus problems corrected, but the eyecups with the extra click stop had not been added.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
According to Zeiss, the black SFs have only had the mechanical fixes. The optics have not changed. As I mentioned before, the last batch of gray SFs had the armor and focus problems corrected, but the eyecups with the extra click stop had not been added.

Thanks for this Steve.
I wonder if this leaves the possibility that the coatings were improved at some point (and quietly) during the lifetime of the grey model?

Lee
 

Hermann

Well-known member
Thanks for this Steve.
I wonder if this leaves the possibility that the coatings were improved at some point (and quietly) during the lifetime of the grey model?

From my experience with a number of Zeiss models (including the Dialyts 10x40 and the FL range) the coatings are continously improved. Zeiss apparently doesn't count this as a "change to the optics", unless it's a major change like the change to T* coatings in the 1980s or the introduction of phase coatings in the late 1980s.

Such changes are also easy to implement, since only the coating process has to be tweaked - a little.

Hermann
 

BruceH

Avatar: Harris Hawk
According to Zeiss, the black SFs have only had the mechanical fixes. The optics have not changed. As I mentioned before, the last batch of gray SFs had the armor and focus problems corrected, but the eyecups with the extra click stop had not been added.

That is different from what I have heard. I was told by two different Zeiss folks that the grey models made somewhere in the last year had the improved tolerances in the focus mechanism. That does agree with my own personal experience. I have an older 10X and one of the last 8X units. The 10X shows a little roughness when going from infinity to close whereas the 8X does not.

As far as optical differences, I have not noticed any. It is difficult at the consumer level to tell when a Zeiss binocular was made. The serial number structure does not say. However the grey SF models had a short shelf life for the first year so one can get an idea from when it was sold. I did compare side by side a 10X unit sold in May of 2015 to one from December of 2015 and could see no difference. I have continually looked through various SF units since the introduction and did not pick up on any changes. I am at a loss why Super Duty has such a different experience. A bad unit? Different viewing conditions? Bad setup (IPD, diopter, fouled lens, etc)? Just a bad day? I do not remember if the first unit SD viewed was a one time shot or if he had it for several or more days. If he had it for an extended period, then he should of had it dialed in and had various viewing conditions which indicates even more that there was something different about the first unit.
 

Steve O4B

Optics4Birding.com
Thanks for this Steve.
I wonder if this leaves the possibility that the coatings were improved at some point (and quietly) during the lifetime of the grey model?

Lee

Zeiss denies doing so, but that doesn't mean they didn't. OTOH, when we had both gray and black models in the store, I did a side-by-side and didn't see any difference optically.
 

Steve O4B

Optics4Birding.com
That is different from what I have heard. I was told by two different Zeiss folks that the grey models made somewhere in the last year had the improved tolerances in the focus mechanism. That does agree with my own personal experience. I have an older 10X and one of the last 8X units. The 10X shows a little roughness when going from infinity to close whereas the 8X does not. .

That was what I said: The last batch of gray ones had the improved focus wheel and did not have bubbling armor.
 

BruceH

Avatar: Harris Hawk
Ok, I at first understood the sentence "the black SFs have only had the mechanical fixes" as meaning only the black models and not the grey models had a mechanical change to the focus mechanism. Now I take it to mean that the black models have an improved focus over the early grey models but no optical changes.
 

arran

Well-known member
My grey zeiss SF was bought September 21, 2015
After 1 1/2 year in use , no complaints in use
Armour in splendid condition , focus drive smooth
Highly satisfied
 

SuperDuty

Well-known member
Hi Bruce

I'm also at a loss, I could have kept the first unit I tried for 30 days, but after a couple of weeks of direct comparison to my 10X50 SV, I didn't see a need to waste anymore time. Other than CA control, lower weight, and superior balance, the SV image was superior by a good margin to my eyes. I was so blindsided by the $1699 sale at EuropeOptic that I decided to try again, especially since I had sold all of my SVs at the time, and I'm glad I did. When looking at a pair of binoculars, to say I leave no stone unturned in adjusting IPD, diopter, etc would be an understatement, I drive myself nearly insane trying to get that last tweak. :-O If I had to guess, bad sample makes the most sense, but I will say that I could see no difference between the 2010 and 2015 8.5X42 SVs I owned together. Also definitely no fouled lenses, all brand new and factory clean. For whatever reason, (I really just don't know), the image from the latest SF is to my eyes far better than the first, and considerably better than the 10X50 SV I owned. Since buying the SF, I feel no real need to look further, the Noctivid is tempting, but I feel sure CA would negate any other advantage.

I am at a loss why Super Duty has such a different experience. A bad unit? Different viewing conditions? Bad setup (IPD, diopter, fouled lens, etc)? Just a bad day? I do not remember if the first unit SD viewed was a one time shot or if he had it for several or more days. If he had it for an extended period, then he should of had it dialed in and had various viewing conditions which indicates even more that there was something different about the first unit.
 

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
Hi Bruce.....
If I had to guess, bad sample makes the most sense, but I will say that I could see no difference between the 2010 and 2015 8.5X42 SVs I owned together.
.

It seems that sample variation is still the bane of binocular buying.
I cannot understand why. These are dirt simple optics when compared to the zoom lenses that sell for comparable prices, or even much less.

I think that unless the alpha producers up their game and eliminate perceptible sample variation, they risk losing their preeminence.
 

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
Hi Bruce

I'm also at a loss, I could have kept the first unit I tried for 30 days, but after a couple of weeks of direct comparison to my 10X50 SV, I didn't see a need to waste anymore time. Other than CA control, lower weight, and superior balance, the SV image was superior by a good margin to my eyes. I was so blindsided by the $1699 sale at EuropeOptic that I decided to try again, especially since I had sold all of my SVs at the time, and I'm glad I did. When looking at a pair of binoculars, to say I leave no stone unturned in adjusting IPD, diopter, etc would be an understatement, I drive myself nearly insane trying to get that last tweak. :-O If I had to guess, bad sample makes the most sense, but I will say that I could see no difference between the 2010 and 2015 8.5X42 SVs I owned together. Also definitely no fouled lenses, all brand new and factory clean. For whatever reason, (I really just don't know), the image from the latest SF is to my eyes far better than the first, and considerably better than the 10X50 SV I owned. Since buying the SF, I feel no real need to look further, the Noctivid is tempting, but I feel sure CA would negate any other advantage.

SD:

You have found nirvana, seen the light, etc. So now be pleased with
your new Zeiss SF. It is the best of all binoculars. ;)

So just log off BF, and go birding. You have deserved it.
Don't be swayed by all of the other chatter.

Jerry
 

simple

Inglorious Bustards
Just a quick query - if you have a grey latest version but actually would prefer the black armouring will Zeiss change it are free of charge as they will do with the eyecups?
 

SuperDuty

Well-known member
Thanks Jerry |=)|

SD:

You have found nirvana, seen the light, etc. So now be pleased with
your new Zeiss SF. It is the best of all binoculars. ;)

So just log off BF, and go birding. You have deserved it.
Don't be swayed by all of the other chatter.

Jerry
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Just a quick query - if you have a grey latest version but actually would prefer the black armouring will Zeiss change it are free of charge as they will do with the eyecups?

I don't the answer to that but my first thought is why would they do that? If there is nothing wrong with your armour other than you would prefer a grey colour rather than black I can't see how that would constitute a valid warranty claim.

Lee
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
Just a quick query - if you have a grey latest version but actually would prefer the black armouring will Zeiss change it are free of charge as they will do with the eyecups?

If there is no issue...I doubt it. I see no reason to.
 

BruceH

Avatar: Harris Hawk
Hi Bruce

I'm also at a loss, ..... If I had to guess, bad sample makes the most sense, ..... I feel no real need to look further, ........

SD:

You have found nirvana, seen the light, etc. So now be pleased with
your new Zeiss SF. It is the best of all binoculars. ;)
...........
Jerry

That first unit appears to of had some issues. It sounds like you took the time and effort to give it a fair evaluation.

I previously thought I had reached binocular nirvana with the 10X SF, but then I got the 8X SF grey model closeout. The more I use it the more I like it! It is even more of joy to use than the 10X when the extra power is not needed due to less shake, larger exit pupil and that wide FOV. Not that I want to tempt you or anything but Red Hawk Rifle is still listing them on close out. :king:
 

SuperDuty

Well-known member
Hi Bruce

When I owned both the 8.5x42 and 10x50 SV it was tough to pick a favorite, but I ended up liking the extra magnification of the 10. The 8.5 SV is at the very top of the Alpha category IMO, and I'm sure the 8X SF is right there with it and for many even better. In a variety of conditions there's no doubt that an 8 is more forgiving than a 10.

That first unit appears to of had some issues. It sounds like you took the time and effort to give it a fair evaluation.

I previously thought I had reached binocular nirvana with the 10X SF, but then I got the 8X SF grey model closeout. The more I use it the more I like it! It is even more of joy to use than the 10X when the extra power is not needed due to less shake, larger exit pupil and that wide FOV. Not that I want to tempt you or anything but Red Hawk Rifle is still listing them on close out. :king:
 

simple

Inglorious Bustards
I don't the answer to that but my first thought is why would they do that? If there is nothing wrong with your armour other than you would prefer a grey colour rather than black I can't see how that would constitute a valid warranty claim.

Lee

To be fair the armour is not of the quality of the black version from what I've seen - they sold a premium binocular with **** armour so perhaps they should rectify the situation?

Great bins apart from that mind!
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
To be fair the armour is not of the quality of the black version from what I've seen - they sold a premium binocular with **** armour so perhaps they should rectify the situation?

Great bins apart from that mind!

If the grey armour is coming loose on your bins then for sure you should contact Zeiss for help. But both the grey and the black armour have an underside that consists of ribs and grooves that act as impact absorbers and the feel due to this can suggest it is detaching but by no means is it always to do with the armour coming loose although this has happened to some units. Bear in mind that the armour is meant to be removable to allow servicing to take place, it isn't supposed to be permanent until the end of time. The grey armour on my SF10x is absolutely fine and absolutely not ****. :t:

Lee
 
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BruceH

Avatar: Harris Hawk
My brother, a couple of friends, and myself have the North American "gray" armour with no problems. I assume it must be an improvement over the European "grey" armour. ;)
 

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