Zeiss Victory SF 32mm
Once upon a time in Germany
In 2014 I was invited by Zeiss to go to Germany with a team of birders from all over the world. Our task was to see and evaluate the new Zeiss Victory SF binocular that was about to launch.
And I must admit, from the moment I looked through it I was stunned at the new 42mm SF. The amazingly wide field of view. Balance that made it feel weightless in my hands. The beauty of the image.
That evening, Zeiss took us all out for a beer and dinner. I found myself sitting next to one of Zeiss’s top executives, who told me the SF was his pet project, and he’d been part of every step of its creation.
“So tell me, Diane,” he said, “how do you like my new binocular?”
I told him I loved it. It was magnificent in every way.
“But?” he prodded.
I had to tell him the truth. As much as I loved the new SF, I prefer to carry a 32mm binocular. A 32mm weighs less and fits my hands better, and it’s generally more comfortable for me to use.
“Hmm. So I see I have to make a 32mm version for you.”
Well now they have!
This morning I went birding with the Zeiss Victory SF 10x32. I can’t imagine how a binocular could be any better.
The field of view is an astonishing 390 feet at 100 yards, which is wider than the Swarovski EL10x32 or the Leica Ultravid 10x32.
It feels light. The original 42mm SFs perfectly balance in your hand, making them easy to hold steady for a long time. They feel featherweight. The new 32mm SFs share this outstanding balance, but they weigh about half a pound less. They seem almost weightless.
Their slimmer barrels fit my fingers and and make the binocular easy to use even with one hand. And like with the 42mm Victory SF, your finger falls naturally on the focus knob.
The focus knob is so refined in its action that you can make the tiniest adjustments effortlessly, as if the knob disappears. I feel as if I can adjust the focus just by thinking about it.
I don’t wear glasses, so eye relief is not an issue for me. But my husband does — aviator style frames, which hold the binocular lenses far from his eyes. When he tried the 32mm SF, with the eyecups turned in he could easily see the entire field of view.
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