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Zeiss 42 Victory FL

A Review

Michael Porter Diane Porter

by Michael and Diane Porter

Maybe this one really has everything!

Zeiss T* FL binocularZeiss released its new top-of-the-line binocular late in 2004, we studied it with a panel of Iowa birders.

Zeiss has changed the name a few times on this newly introduced product. You may find it described as the Victory FL, the T* FL, (pronounced "Tee Star F - L"), or the Victory 42 FL. It's all the same product.

When one of our survey judges looked through the new Zeiss Victory FL, he said it was as if the binoculars weren't there at all, but that he had been magically transported up close to what he was looking at.

Besides superior optical qualities (resolution, brightness and contrast), the Victory FL has a pleasant, hand-friendly rubber armoring, twist-up, click-stop eyecups, and a locking diopter adjustment. The generous eye relief let us see the whole picture, even though we both wear glasses. (We really appreciate that, especially in a 10-power binocular.)

All three magnifications (10x42, 8x42, and 7x42) focus as close as 6.6 ft., and we loved that! This binocular is simply terrific for carrying on a walk where you might see butterflies or dragonsflies along the way, or you might want to study a frog you spot in the grass close to your feet. You won't have to back up with the Victory FL to get close subjects in focus.

Nevertheless, it's quick to get from close to far. The focus wheel is intelligently geared so that a birder can twiddle around from 30 to 150 ft. (usual distances at which birds are viewed) with only slight finger motion and without having to make a new reach. Then, from anywhere in that range, the extremes of close or far can be achieved with one more finger reach.

The Zeiss Victory FL also has an excellent field of view, exceeding or equaling Nikon, Swarovski, and Leica. In fact, the 8x42, shows you a field of 405 ft. at 1000 yards, the widest of any of the top 8-power binoculars.

Its color purity and freedom from fringing are awe inspiring. Zeiss partially attributes this outstanding performance to the fluorite glass (containing fluorine ions) used in the objective lens; the unusual Abbe Koenig prisms contribute to the instrument's exceptional brightness.

Glass-fiber reinforced polymer body with alloy reinforcements help keep the weight low. Zeiss uses lead- and arsenic-free glass in its binoculars.

The Victory FL is available in 10x42, 8x42, and 7x42. (In 2005, Zeiss expanded the line to include the incredible 8x32 and 10x32, both of which work amazingly well with glasses.) The Zeiss Victory FL is manufactured in Germany. Be sure to purchase from an authorized USA Zeiss dealer, in order to have warranty rights.

This is a magnificent binocular. Indeed, maybe it has everything.

-- Michael and Diane Porter


What do you want in binoculars?

Here's what we look for:

Fine detail resolution
Bright picture
Good contrast
Long eye relief
Close focus
Wide field of view

Fast focus
Quality engineering
Twist-up eyecups
Smooth-turning wheel
Locking diopter
Tethered lens caps

Rubber armoring
USA Warranty


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