New Zeiss Bino—SFL 10x40–Review

General RE LEE

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LOL. There's good info there, but a few of them are quite uptight and can't stand it when someone has a differing opinion form theirs. And do not mention hunting. Panties will be severely bunched.

I mentioned hunting and some cat lady moderator with a woodchuck for an avatar jumped on me real quick. I proceeded to get ostracized by the next several posts.
 

General RE LEE

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Well now I want to join. I have some hunting questions. Probably involving some bird species that you can’t actually hunt.

Just be aware if you ask a question like “how do the SFLs compare to the Conquest HDs” you’ll have multiple people tell you to use the search function and one wise ass will dig up an old thread and post the link and proceed to make you feel like an idiot for not knowing the contents of every multi page thread on the forum.
 

dreamingWest

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Nice review Robby!
I can see these becoming a go-to choice for roksliders just like the Swaro SLC was such an easy recommendation. I'd like to look through a pair. My eyes have always viewed Swaro a bit warmer, which to me makes brown furry animals pop in low light. But it's been awhile since I looked through a Zeiss. Lightweight, tripod friendly, good price point.
 
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robby denning

robby denning

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The 8’s in general are starting to sound appealing to me based on need alone. 10x *seems* to be the best all arounder for hunting, but my glassing for game is almost exclusively an elk hunt. (There are others, but any good glass will suffice.)

I don’t spend hours looking for muleys or sheep, and I don’t really score anything at all. Are there elk, is there a bull? If yes, start hiking. I’m bigger on low light performance than resolving antler details. But…sometimes elk are in big country. So I dunno.

I’ve read more of the same on the glare you mentioned. I know Robby is high on 8’s in general, and these SFL’s are intriguing.
I think based on this that you should do 8X.

I went 10X as I wanted to…

1) use them for scouting when no RF needed, and more likely to use a tripod, and not still-hunting/handholding much
2) give a honest comparison against the 10X SFs.

and next week when the hunt opens, I’ll be going back to 8X combo bino/RF if that tells you anything.
 

Bluto

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I think based on this that you should do 8X.

I went 10X as I wanted to…

1) use them for scouting when no RF needed, and more likely to use a tripod, and not still-hunting/handholding much
2) give a honest comparison against the 10X SFs.

and next week when the hunt opens, I’ll be going back to 8X combo bino/RF if that tells you anything.


Thanks Robby, I really appreciate that. I was noticing testing a few 10x that while I could tell the magnification was higher, it didn’t seem like “wow! I can see more!” Definitely changes my thought process to the 10x being the best all around mountain bino.

I was even heading down the path of maybe going 8x to save weight but adding a very lightweight/low power spotter as a just in case. But that might be for another year.

Which RF 8’s are you running? I usually just carry a stand-alone RF as primarily an archery hunter, but times change as that tech gets sorted out, and archery butts up to rifle for me this year so I’m also interested in that path.

Thanks again
 
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robby denning

robby denning

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Thanks Robby, I really appreciate that. I was noticing testing a few 10x that while I could tell the magnification was higher, it didn’t seem like “wow! I can see more!” Definitely changes my thought process to the 10x being the best all around mountain bino.

I was even heading down the path of maybe going 8x to save weight but adding a very lightweight/low power spotter as a just in case. But that might be for another year.

Which RF 8’s are you running? I usually just carry a stand-alone RF as primarily an archery hunter, but times change as that tech gets sorted out, and archery butts up to rifle for me this year so I’m also interested in that path.

Thanks again
I won’t use a dedicated RF, just one more item to fiddle with in the heat of the moment.

I”m running the Swaro EL TA 8x. Zeiss’ combo RF/bino is very highly rated on this forum but I’m color blind and had a hard time seeing their shade of orange in the view. Swaro’s is easier for me so went that route. Either one is a great choice.
 

Bluto

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Makes sense to me. And not many folks have wrung this stuff out to your level. We all appreciate you sharing thoughts.

8’s is another can of worms with the different objective sizes, weights, etc. but it seems to make the most sense for me.
 
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robby denning

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Makes sense to me. And not many folks have wrung this stuff out to your level. We all appreciate you sharing thoughts.

8’s is another can of worms with the different objective sizes, weights, etc. but it seems to make the most sense for me.
Another can of worms is 7X. That’s actually what I have the most experience with because I hunted 15+ years with them and really liked that power level for steadiness, twilight performance and field of view.
 

ChrisAU

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Ordered 8x40's Sunday, excited to get them. Best I can tell this is as close to Alpha as a ~22 oz bino with a 5mm exit pupil can get. I went with FOV and exit pupil of the 8's over the 10's, going to put them to work on my first mule deer hunt in a few weeks and then the bulk of their duty will be Eastern whitetail hunting.
 

timberlinehunter

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Not to hijack the thread but how do the SFLs compare to the Swaro 8x32 ELs? I know they aren’t apples to apples but I am looking for a lightweight chest bino and these seem like front runners to me.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

General RE LEE

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Not to hijack the thread but how do the SFLs compare to the Swaro 8x32 ELs? I know they aren’t apples to apples but I am looking for a lightweight chest bino and these seem like front runners to me.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Some people have said their SFL is close to the NL Pure
 

Spiral Horn

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Thanks for your review Robby. Always find a few useful nuggets to commit to memory.

Just received my 8x40 SFLs yesterday and been having some fun with them. This was an absolutely ridiculous purchase on my part as my stable of optics is already unreasonably bloated.

A few things I immediately noticed were:
- very light weight and handle like a dream (I think Zeiss really hit the mark here)
- focus wheel is slightly firmer than my SFs, but they probably need to be as focus is very fast (I like it)
- build quality appears very high = more refined than Conquest and leans more toward SF
- the view is wide, crisp, and deeply saturated, with very accurate colors - very comfortable
- had them side by side with Monarch HG and SLC 42mms - a bit more refined than MHG with more accurate colors and handle glare better, closer to SLC view - a smidge wider view and noticeably lighter

Things I don't like:
- no locking diopter - the ring is stiff and really needs to be bumped hard to accidently move it
- the position and diameter of the focus ring makes it really stick up in the middle of the frame, which makes it a bit clumsy to use with an enclosed harness, but this is a bino that most will likely use with a neck strap

Overall, they look like a "keeper" out of the gate. Do I think the image equals the SF 42mm? Close, but not quite. But they are targeted to be a handier, more compact binocular, with premium optics - I think they nailed it. Time will tell if Zeiss hit just the right confluence of features with this model
 

Spiral Horn

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how do the SFLs compare to the Swaro 8x32 ELs?
This is a bit of an apples to oranges comparison. The 8x32 EL and 8x32 FL are no longer offered, but both were exceptional optics. I own the FLs and can say the SFL optics are probably a smidge better, and will outperform either in low light. The 32mm FL is one of the most compact high-performing binoculars, the Leica Ultravid HD+ is even more compact with a stunning view for its size.
 

Spiral Horn

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That Birdforum has to be the stuffiest forum I’ve ever been a member. I’ll ask a question and some stiff will post a link and smugly say this was addressed already on page 8 post # 692 of said thread. Well excuse me for living cat lady cork sniffer.
Lurking on Birdforum is a great way for folks to become much better informed about all manner of optics. A good number of members there are decades-long optics aficionados that not only know the complete lines of premium and near-premium binoculars in-depth, but also the history of those companies and how specific designs and components can affect image and performance. Several are even optics professionals, engineers, and even a physicist or two.

More often than not they discuss and compare new models ad-nauseum. So, yeah. They can sometimes get impatient when folks come in with a question related to something they've just been hammering on for weeks on end. Another consideration is that site is much more international and multi-cultural. So folks from the UK or other EU nations will often respond much differently than Americans, especially when someone leads in by declaring they have a question about optics for hunting.

After all, it's not like anyone ever responds rudely on Rokslide ;-). Point is - they certainly aren't the enemy and we actually have common interest in understanding and comparing optics. I often get a lot out of their threads (and am sometimes very amused by their jabbing and banter). It is certainly more informative than the someone just posting "buy Swarovski ... nuff said."
 
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