• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Zeiss 10x42 SF -or- Leica Ultravid HD+ 10x42... that is the question! (1 Viewer)

ZDHart

Registered User
Supporter
United States
For those of you who have had the opportunity to compare and contrast these two 10x42s, I would appreciate your thoughts..

Generally speaking and from other experience, I like the SF models for the wide FOV, easy operating focus wheel, and ease of grabbing around the barrel.

And I like the Ultravids for that Leica image "look". And that they might possibly have a tiny little bit sharper/crisper image?

So, while I have experience with my 8x32SF and 7x42 UVHD+, I've never had the opportunity to check out and compare the SF and UVHD+ in the 10x42 size.

I would consider 10x42 Noctivid design (similar to SF), but the price is just "out there", in my opinion, and I'm not sure that the image quality/sharpness with Noctivid would be noticeably superior to that of Ultravid. I get the sense that the biggest difference between Ultravid and Noctivid is the design of the barrels/hinges.

Anything you can contribute here would be much appreciated.
 

quincy88

Well-known member
I owned the 10x42SFs for a while. I traded them in to afford NLs. I really like the SFs, they are a great binocular that are sharp, have a wide field, a very nice focuser, and are very comfortable to carry and use.
I would think that with your recent experience with the SF 32s and the UV 42s you already know which ones you want. Just go with your gut.
If it were me, I think I'd probably go Noctivids or Swarovskis. Might as well have three different models rather than two of the same in different configurations. But that's just me, I like to experiment like that.
 

ZDHart

Registered User
Supporter
United States
My question in the thread title is obviously not one of much interest to others here. But... I will close this out with my own observations, having purchased and used BOTH of the bins I asked about:

Leica UVHD+ 10x42 and Zeiss Victory SF 10x42.

I had become well-acquainted with the UVHD+ 10x42 and thus, quite enamored with them. I was so happy with them, that I truly did not expect to want to give them up for the pair of Victory SF 10x42s that were to arrive subsequently.

When the Victory SFs arrived, I wasn't all that excited with the large and long form factor. The smaller UVHD+ just felt better to me at first.

For the first few hours of comparing the two, back and forth, again and again and again, comparing them over and over and over... I was about resigned to return the Victory SFs and keep the UVHD+. I didn't see a clear superiority with the Zeiss - the image view between the two is quite close to me. I love the Leica razor sharpness, contrast, and color quality and the Zeiss was quite similar... didn't improve on that, in my view.

And, the Zeiss bins had a noticeable rough spot in the focus wheel when viewing at about 16' distance. One more reason to send the Zeiss back.

But, to be sure, I decided to give a few more days of careful use before deciding and requesting a return of one of the two pairs.

With additional use, that rough spot on the Zeiss focus wheel has just about fully worked its way smooth. And, I'm finding that I can achieve a much quicker "fine focus" adjustment with the Victory SF than I can with the UVHD+. The image with the Victory just pops into focus more easily and much quicker. I have to work the Leica focus wheel more, to get to that fine focus spot. Less tension in the Victory focus wheel, vs. the UVHD+ focus wheel, likely helps with that.

And, of course, the Zeiss weight balance toward the oculars makes them feel lighter than they are, even though they are longer than the Leicas. Pretty cool trick Zeiss did there!

I find little difference between the two in field of view, at my usual distances. And, I see little if any difference in brightness, color quality, and contrast between the two bins. Image sharpness is, as well, difficult to choose between the two. They are both quite impressive binoculars!

So... judging on what I see through the bins... they are quite on par with each other in field use - I would be quite happy with either one in this regard. The biggest difference for me is how readily I can bring the Zeiss to sharp focus vs. the Leicas. And, that's a noteworthy difference to me.

I don't wear glasses, except for reading, so suitability to glasses wearing is not a factor of concern to me.

I do like being able to wrap fingers around the barrels of the Zeiss. And the balance toward the ocular end of the bins is pretty cool.

But I love the feel of the Leicas - they just feel exceptionally solid and so very well-made - even more so than the Zeiss does. And the Leicas are more compact. They're better looking, to my taste, too!

So... bottom line... both are exceptionally pleasing in nearly all aspects. Both are easily "alpha" grade. Either is exceptionally nice to have and use.

The decision has come down to one significant factor: the speed and ease of achieving fine focus. And in this case, Zeiss wins.

Much to my surprise, I will be returning the Leica UVHD+ 10x42s - a pair of bins that I was sure I would not want to return. I does help my decision that I am KEEPING the Leica UVHD+ 7x42 and UVHD+ 8x32 bins.

In the case of deciding on 10x42s, it was well worth it to buy both of these, and compare closely for more than just a few quick hours of comparison.

Returning the Leicas will leave me with a wonderful set of optics that I am very blessed to have and use:

Zeiss Victory SF 10x42
Zeiss Victory SF 8x32
Leica UVHD+ 7x42
Leica UVHD+ 8x32
Swarovski CL Pocket 10x25
Swarovski CL Pocket 8x25

I really love each and every one of those bins. They each cover a special position of applicability. Including the Zeiss Conquest HD 10x42 and 8x32 that my wife has chosen for herself. She's not much of a binocular user, and much less picky about them than I am, and she's totally thrilled with the Conquest HD offerings, which I too have been thrilled with for many years until deciding to dip my toes into the alpha world.

It is a real joy to use any one of these bins. We are so fortunate to have them available to choose from.
 
Last edited:

bockos

Well-known member
Това ли е въпросът?

защо не и NL 1042?
Имам 10x42NL ... С допълнителния FRP мога да държа на ръка стабилно най-доброто! Повече от всеки друг 10x бинокъл.
 

ZDHart

Registered User
Supporter
United States
Nice report ZD, enjoy your binos in good health.

Lee
Thanks, Lee.

One other factor that played a part in my decision - the large/long size of the barrels on the Victory SF helped make holding the bins more steady. The shorter barrels of the Leica, while nice for compactness, made the 10x42 slightly less easy to hold steady.
 

ZDHart

Registered User
Supporter
United States
Surprises me that there is practically no interest in this comparison among viewers here.

Oh well. Doing your own research is the best approach anyway. Carry on! :LOL:
 

ZDHart

Registered User
Supporter
United States
Addendum - the Leicas are so nice that I've actually decided to keep them, and the Zeiss. I spend a lot of time in my music room, which has the same view out to the property as the great room where I keep the Zeiss, so I can keep the Leicas in that room for observing the wild life when I'm in there. A bit extravagant, of course, but life is short - I try to keep it sweet.
 

quincy88

Well-known member
Hey ZDHart,
I've been reading with interest since you started this thread. And, its been viewed over 500 times. I was in the habit of using my newer NL10x42s when you started posting, but all your praise of the various Leicas has had me toting around my UV7x42s again - they're sitting on my desk next to me right now.
Those S10x42 SFs are very nice. As I said, I traded mine in to afford the NLs, and I do occasionally miss them. That rearward balance that they have is really nice and a welcome innovation. I also had a little bit of roughness in my focus wheel that worked itself out after a little use. And once that friction disappeared the focus wheel on those SF42s is probably the best that I have ever used.
As far as the Leicas go, I've never used the UV10s, but I have no doubt that they are wonderful. I'm surprised you don't readily notice the difference in field of view between them and the Zeiss, because if I recall correctly it is quite a big difference. Goes to show that those published numbers don't necessarily translate into an individual user's experience. I agree with your statements in your other threads about Leicas in that there is a beauty to their views that is difficult to compare to other manufacturers.
Anyway, its been fun reading all of your recent content. Congrats on all the new binoculars.
 

ZDHart

Registered User
Supporter
United States
Hey ZDHart,
I've been reading with interest since you started this thread. And, its been viewed over 500 times. I was in the habit of using my newer NL10x42s when you started posting, but all your praise of the various Leicas has had me toting around my UV7x42s again - they're sitting on my desk next to me right now.
Those S10x42 SFs are very nice. As I said, I traded mine in to afford the NLs, and I do occasionally miss them. That rearward balance that they have is really nice and a welcome innovation. I also had a little bit of roughness in my focus wheel that worked itself out after a little use. And once that friction disappeared the focus wheel on those SF42s is probably the best that I have ever used.
As far as the Leicas go, I've never used the UV10s, but I have no doubt that they are wonderful. I'm surprised you don't readily notice the difference in field of view between them and the Zeiss, because if I recall correctly it is quite a big difference. Goes to show that those published numbers don't necessarily translate into an individual user's experience. I agree with your statements in your other threads about Leicas in that there is a beauty to their views that is difficult to compare to other manufacturers.
Anyway, its been fun reading all of your recent content. Congrats on all the new binoculars.
Quincy! Wonderful and interesting post from you. Thank you.

Yes, the focus wheel on the SF10x42 is fabulous! As is the rearward balance. I love everything about the bins, though they don't best the UVHD+ 10x42, aside from a quicker and easier to operate focus wheel - which is something to appreciate, for sure.

I agree with you on the UV 7x42s... I use the UVHD+ 7x42s alternately with the SF 10x42s for much of the day, gazing out on the scene behind my house. Such glass is simply a joy to look through!

As for field of view... much of my use thus far has been at 60 yards and less, mostly about 50' to 40 yards. At those distances, I really don't see much to choose from between Victory SF 10x42 and UVHD+ 10x42, for field of view. So no, some differences that on paper might seem like a big deal, are not necessarily all THAT much of big deal to everyone, in actual use. Specs are specs... but what you experience in use is where the pedal really meets the metal.

Thanks for your post! Nice to hear from you. I've been reading some of your past posts here and there on the forum.

Don
 
Last edited:

_Prism_

Well-known member
England
I have the 10x42 SF and Ultravid HD+ as well, and have also been trying to choose between them for some time now. I agree with you on most of your points. I wish I could keep both as you have, but unfortunately I have to pick one! This is an especially difficult choice for me as:
1. I put a major premium on size as I travel with them and even take them on hikes (this favours the Leica)
2. I find CA quite bothersome (this favours the Zeiss)

The few things that spring to mind about these binoculars (specifically in 10x42):

Ergonomics
In-hand, the main thing I don't like about the SF (their size) is the very thing that make them handle so excellently. The grip around the barrels is fantastic, they are genuinely more stable (less shake), and effect of the balance is striking: I measured the 10x42 UVHD+ at 785g on my calibrated scale (with objective covers on) vs 805g for the SF (without covers) - but the SF genuinely feels lighter! The UVHD+ is smaller but denser. I agree with you about the focuser - the Zeiss is smooth as silk. Very easy to achieve fine focus. But I much prefer the diopter on the Ultravid. Same goes with the objective covers - I can't stand the Zeiss ones. I love the flip-downs ones Leica uses (both the Ultravid and Noctivid have excellent covers).

Case
The 10x42 UVHD+ carrying case is very small and minimalist, which I love (it is even smaller than the case that came with my Conquest HD 8x32). It is also nearly 200g lighter than the SF case. But the Zeiss case is more padded and looks like it could take a bit of a beating.

Optics
1. Coatings / colours: I find the Leica coatings to be slightly superior. The UVHD+ colours seem to be a bit more neutral, if a bit warm - very pleasing overall. The Zeiss has noticeable roll-off in red / purple (as can be seen in the strong reflectivity of these colours on the lens); this very slightly accentuates the greens / yellows as others have noted.
2. CA: Zeiss clearly wins it here - against a bright and cloudy sky, dark objects viewed through the Leica suffer quite a lot of purple and green fringing, save for a very small (approximately 15-20%) sweet spot in the middle. The Zeiss has a much larger sweet spot (approx. 50% or more), with CA only really noticeable around the outer 30%.
3. FOV: The Zeiss is slightly better here. I don't actually see a great deal more - even at longer distances - I just get a more open sensation looking through the SF, whereas I get slightly more of the 'tunnel effect' looking through the UVHD+.
4. Brightness: Very nearly identical with the SF perhaps winning by a hair (and even then, only in very dim light).
5. Eye relief: I don't wear glasses, but I still prefer the extra millimetre or two of eye relief that the SF has. It just helps me rest the binoculars against my eye sockets more comfortably.

Aesthetics
This is Leica's wheelhouse. Their materials just exude quality and I find their industrial design to be a step above everyone else. Overall I find them much more elegant looking than the imposingly tall SF's (that goes for the minimalist Leica carrying case as well - it is much smaller and less intrusive to carry with you on a hike).

The Leica's really are amazingly compact for a 42, but their small size has come with some optical compromises. Choosing between the two is quite difficult for me as I feel I have to choose between compactness (Leica) and slightly better optics (Zeiss). Not sure how you came to your decision, but I've got them sitting on my desk beside me and I'm just going to go with the one I end up using more over the next few weeks!
 

Attachments

  • 20210831_213308.jpg
    20210831_213308.jpg
    197.6 KB · Views: 37

Maljunulo

Well-known member
I think you should keep the Zeiss.

The CA is an optical thing and will not go away, and it will annoy you forever.

The size thing is just something you have decided is important, and you can adapt. It doesn't look like much of a difference in your photo.

Keep the one with the better optics.

Just my opinion.
 

_Prism_

Well-known member
England
I think you should keep the Zeiss.

The CA is an optical thing and will not go away, and it will annoy you forever.

The size thing is just something you have decided is important, and you can adapt. It doesn't look like much of a difference in your photo.

Keep the one with the better optics.

Just my opinion.

I agree about the CA. It is quite distracting and I find I sometimes struggle to focus the image due to it.

Re: Size - The photo in my post above doesn't really capture the difference in size, but just take a look at this one of the case sizes - the SF is enormous in comparison.

Tough choice indeed! Both excellent binoculars.
 

Attachments

  • 20210831_213309.jpg
    20210831_213309.jpg
    229.7 KB · Views: 22

ZDHart

Registered User
Supporter
United States
I have the 10x42 SF and Ultravid HD+ as well, and have also been trying to choose between them for some time now. I agree with you on most of your points. I wish I could keep both as you have, but unfortunately I have to pick one! This is an especially difficult choice for me as:
1. I put a major premium on size as I travel with them and even take them on hikes (this favours the Leica)
2. I find CA quite bothersome (this favours the Zeiss)

The few things that spring to mind about these binoculars (specifically in 10x42):

Ergonomics
In-hand, the main thing I don't like about the SF (their size) is the very thing that make them handle so excellently. The grip around the barrels is fantastic, they are genuinely more stable (less shake), and effect of the balance is striking: I measured the 10x42 UVHD+ at 785g on my calibrated scale (with objective covers on) vs 805g for the SF (without covers) - but the SF genuinely feels lighter! The UVHD+ is smaller but denser. I agree with you about the focuser - the Zeiss is smooth as silk. Very easy to achieve fine focus. But I much prefer the diopter on the Ultravid. Same goes with the objective covers - I can't stand the Zeiss ones. I love the flip-downs ones Leica uses (both the Ultravid and Noctivid have excellent covers).

Case
The 10x42 UVHD+ carrying case is very small and minimalist, which I love (it is even smaller than the case that came with my Conquest HD 8x32). It is also nearly 200g lighter than the SF case. But the Zeiss case is more padded and looks like it could take a bit of a beating.

Optics
1. Coatings / colours: I find the Leica coatings to be slightly superior. The UVHD+ colours seem to be a bit more neutral, if a bit warm - very pleasing overall. The Zeiss has noticeable roll-off in red / purple (as can be seen in the strong reflectivity of these colours on the lens); this very slightly accentuates the greens / yellows as others have noted.
2. CA: Zeiss clearly wins it here - against a bright and cloudy sky, dark objects viewed through the Leica suffer quite a lot of purple and green fringing, save for a very small (approximately 15-20%) sweet spot in the middle. The Zeiss has a much larger sweet spot (approx. 50% or more), with CA only really noticeable around the outer 30%.
3. FOV: The Zeiss is slightly better here. I don't actually see a great deal more - even at longer distances - I just get a more open sensation looking through the SF, whereas I get slightly more of the 'tunnel effect' looking through the UVHD+.
4. Brightness: Very nearly identical with the SF perhaps winning by a hair (and even then, only in very dim light).
5. Eye relief: I don't wear glasses, but I still prefer the extra millimetre or two of eye relief that the SF has. It just helps me rest the binoculars against my eye sockets more comfortably.

Aesthetics
This is Leica's wheelhouse. Their materials just exude quality and I find their industrial design to be a step above everyone else. Overall I find them much more elegant looking than the imposingly tall SF's (that goes for the minimalist Leica carrying case as well - it is much smaller and less intrusive to carry with you on a hike).

The Leica's really are amazingly compact for a 42, but their small size has come with some optical compromises. Choosing between the two is quite difficult for me as I feel I have to choose between compactness (Leica) and slightly better optics (Zeiss). Not sure how you came to your decision, but I've got them sitting on my desk beside me and I'm just going to go with the one I end up using more over the next few weeks!
Ultimately I did return the UVHD+s. Didn't make sense to keep them both. It was a tough call for me (10x42 SF vs 10x42 UVHD+), because I loved them BOTH. I don't seem to notice CA with either. :rolleyes:

These two binoculars are so close in meeting my needs, wonderfully, that for me what it really came down to was the focuser. I LOVE how the Zeiss focuser feels and functions. And as with all of us, the focuser is THE constantly operated user interface. I use the focuser CONSTANTLY. The Leica focuser was nice and smooth, but just took a little bit more pressure to turn than the Zeiss focuser, and I prefer the lighter touch of the Zeiss focuser for fine tuning. It's a little harder to "fine tune" focusing with a somewhat stiffer-resistance focuser. Not a big difference, but one that is noticeable enough to me to call the choice. (I think Zeiss sets the standard when it comes to focuser feel and quality.)

I did also buy a 10x32 SF. I love the 8x32 SF so much that I wanted a 10x version, as well. Just imagine how nice the 10x42 SF is to view with... and the 10x32 SF is quite similar, in a notably smaller, much lighter weight version. Pure pleasure to use. Zeiss hit it out of the park with their 42 and 32 SFs.

Regarding UVHD+ binoculars, in general:

I LOVE them! Exquisite. Charming. Elegant. Irresistible! I could not send the 7x42 UVHD+ back. Just too sweet of a relaxed, bright, razor sharp "Leica" view. Same with the 10x32 UVHD+, except in an amazingly compact form factor. The 10x32 UVHD+ is my preferred choice for grabbing to head out the door for a walk, a drive, whatever. 8x32 UVHD+ would be fantastic for that, as well! Top notch bins.

We are so blessed to have such wonderful "looking glasses" available to us - this is the golden age of binoculars!
 
Last edited:

ZDHart

Registered User
Supporter
United States
It is a matter of ones taste, I would go Leica here.
Not a bad call. I loved the UVHD+ 10x42. The decision was so close for me, otherwise, that I let the focuser feel make the decision for me. SF. But I would love to have been given either option.
 

dorubird

Well-known member
Romania

_Prism_,​

Here are the main differences between the two binoculars, systematized mostly according to your observations:

Zeiss VictorySF 10x42 benefits against Leica UVHD:
1) chromatic aberrations almost absent,
2) focus is smooth as silk and much easier to achieve fine focus,
3) more "open sensation looking through the SF" thanks to bigger AFOV,
4) more clarity on the edges (95%)
5) excellently ergonomics (more stable grip and it feels lighter in hands than it really is)

Leica UV HD+ 10x42 benefits against Victory SF:
1) more compact, takes less space in bag,
2) more vibrant colors,
3) more charming design. It is a beautiful object itself!

Now it depends if the 3 big benefits are more important to you than the 5 big benefits. It is obvious to me that I would choose SF. But it is your preference!
 
Last edited:
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

Users who are viewing this thread

Top