Some of you may already have heard about the Victory SF binoculars, the new high-end binocular from Zeiss. Victory SF binoculars are a completely re-imagined roof prism design. Zeiss now says that Victory SF binoculars will be available for purchase in January, 2015. We have first-hand experience with this binocular. I participated in the official Zeiss Victory SF Experience press event in Europe in June, 2014 and got to bird with a pre-production Victory SF for a week (For a travelogue of the press event birding, see Zeiss Victory SF Experience Tour, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4). It’s a dirty job, but someone had to do it, so I happily took one for the team! We also had a pre-production Victory SF model in the store for a week this past August. Even though we haven’t seen a production model Victory SF, we can tell you already that it’s a spectacular nature viewing binocular.
Here are a few of the important features of this binocular:
- Simply brilliant image quality – the Ultra FL glass delivers spectacular views
- “Ergobalance” – the Zeiss term for the unique lens array in the tubes, it shifts the balance towards the oculars, making the binocular feel way lighter than the 27.5 oz. it actually weighs
- Uniquely stable, triple bridge design, allows more room for fingers between the barrels and less stress on the focusing forefingers
- Huge field of view for a 42-mm binocular: the 10×42 is 360 ft at 1000 yards; the 8×42 is 444 ft!!
- Close focuses to about 5 feet
- Rapid-response focusing: just 1.8 turns of the knob from minimum close focus to infinity
To be frank, January of 2015 wasn’t the original release date for the Victory SFs. They were supposed to have come out last summer. This kind of thing isn’t uncommon in the world of optics manufacturing. In this case, it actually provides an opportunity for potential customers. Zeiss already allows you to go through an online pre-order process and rewards you with a free personalized, leather-bound birder’s journal for doing so, but only if you buy one! If you actually order a Victory SF binocular now, you can save yourself about $350. Originally set to cost $2600 for the 8×42 and $2650 for the 10×42, the actual asking price for a Victory SF binocular in January will around $3000. But if you order a Victory SF binocular, you can still get it for the original price, saving yourself roughly $350.