Zeiss Victory SF 10x42 Review
Compare to Similar Products
Zeiss Victory SF 10x42
$2,900 at Amazon
$2,369 at Amazon
$450.00 at Amazon
|$286.95 at Amazon|
Compare at 2 sellers
$125.17 at Amazon
|Pros||Superior clarity, great field of view, great close focus range, lockable diopter||Incredible clarity, brightness, comfort, and construction quality||Very clear and bright, easy to adjust, comfortable, high-quality construction||Good clarity and brightness, smooth focus knob||Inexpensive, good clarity and brightness|
|Cons||Poor eye cup construction, difficult to attain eye relief||Prohibitively expensive||A bit heavy for the backcountry||Mediocre close focus range, mediocre field of view||Average construction quality, mediocre low-light performance|
|Bottom Line||A step above the rest, these pair of binoculars were a fan favorite of our testers, you'll just need to fork over some serious cash for this level of quality||One of the best all-around models that we tested, but they also carry a high price tag||This model is our first choice and offers just about the best clarity and brightness you can get from a binocular without a quadruple-digit price tag||These perform well for the price, offering a smooth focus knob and decent brightness and clarity||The most budget-friendly option we've found that offers a good introduction to birdwatching|
|Rating Categories||Zeiss Victory SF 10x42||Swarovski EL 8.5x42||Vortex Viper HD 8x42||Nikon Monarch M5 8x42||Celestron Nature DX...|
|Field of View (10%)|
|Ease of Adjustment (5%)|
|Close Focus Range (5%)|
|Specs||Zeiss Victory SF 10x42||Swarovski EL 8.5x42||Vortex Viper HD 8x42||Nikon Monarch M5 8x42||Celestron Nature DX...|
|Multi - Coating||FMC||FMC||FMC||FMC||FMC|
|Field of View (at 1000 yards)||360 ft||399 ft||409 ft||335 ft||388 ft|
|Close Focus||4.9 ft||4.9 ft||6.0 ft||8.2 ft||6.5 ft|
|Eye Relief||18 mm||20 mm||18 mm||19.5 mm||17.5 mm|
|Measured Size (Length x Width)||6.8 x 4.5 in||6.3 x 4.8 in||5.6 x 4.9 in||5.7 x 5.1 in||5.3 x 4.9 in|
|Measured Weight||29 oz||30 oz||24 oz||22 oz||22 oz|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Our first test metric measured the clarity of each model, in tests viewing signs, and tests viewing birds. The Zeis Victory SF proved to be one of the most impressive models we tested. It offers the user an incredible level of clarity and very distinct sharpness. The slightest color fringing only occurs at the outermost part of what's visible and mostly near the sides, it's also ever so slight compared to nearly every other model. Overall, the clarity of the Zeiss is really remarkable and only attainable with the most premium models of binoculars on the market today.
For such a premium model that performed so well in terms of clarity, we expected just a little more in our brightness testing. Our testing involved user observation, measured brightness, and exit pupil size.
With an exit pupil size of 4.2mm, the Zeiss Victory SF 10x42 did not let in as much observable or measurable light as other models with similar exit pupil diameters and clarity. In fact, it let in less light than similar models that offer less clarity, and our test team felt a little let down by this, given that it is such a premium product.
In our comfort tests and evaluations, the Victory SF earned average marks. It is not any more or less comfortable than many models on the market today. When it came to griping and holding, the Victory is an ergonomic and easy-to-grip binocular, and the included strap, albeit a tiny bit scratchy, will keep you from dropping them should you ever lose your grip. However, the eye cups are a little annoying to rest at the top of an eye socket, whilst trying to compensate for very small eye relief. Overall, these could have been more comfortable, and ergonomic.
Field of View
Our fourth test metric measured the Zeiss Victory SF's field of view, and it could have been larger. In fact, the majority of models tested, even those at a fraction of the price, offered a much greater field of view. We don't rely on manufacturer specifications and measured the field of view to get a fairly average measurement as compared to the rest of the test group. Measuring 302 feet, the Victory SF's field of view was 20 feet less than the average and significantly smaller than Zeiss's specified 360-foot field of view.
Ease of Adjustment
When it came down to our fifth test metric, ease of adjustment, the Zeiss Victory demonstrated it was about as good as it gets, with one weak spot. Focusing and locking the diopter is easy, clean, and smooth. It's about as crisp to operate as one could ever want. However, what was left to be desired was eye relief. The specified 18mm eye relief somehow seemed smaller, and during our testing, we twisted the eyepiece completely off! The adjustment also lacks any sort of tactile, or positive engagement like notches or bumps, so stopping at fixed positions is rather loose.
Close Focus Range
Our last test measured close-range focus, and the Zeiss Victory SF 10x42 was pretty exceptional. There is a very distinct difference between the Zeiss and the average model on the market today, making them a great choice for tasks like identifying butterflies and insects.
Should You Buy the Zeiss Victory SF 10x42?
Although the Zeiss Victory SF 10x42 offers one of the most crystal clear viewing experiences, the kind of clarity that is only offered by the most premium models on the market, it falls short in a few of the areas where those equally expensive models excel. While our test team enjoyed testing the Zeiss Victory SF 10x42, we think there are better options to consider in the multi-thousand-dollar price range.
What Other Binoculars Should You Consider?
If you are already considering the Zeiss Victory SF 10x42 then you are already considering a model of binoculars in the multi-thousand-dollar price range, and for a similar premium price better performance can be found in either the Swarovski EL 8.5x42 or the Leica Noctivid 10x42. On the other hand, in a more value-minded approach to optics, the Vortex Viper HD 8x42 offers as good or better performance than the Zeis Victory overall but it does take a minor step back with regard to clarity, and ease of adjustment.
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More