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The Binocular Advisor

Binoculars of Note

Zeiss Victory FL
High-end Binocular Review, 2008

by Michael and Diane Porter

Zeiss Victory FLTop among tops

The Zeiss Victory FL has outstanding optics. In our review of high-end binoculars for Bird Watcher's Digest, our Ratings Chart shows the Zeiss FLs tied with the Swarovski ELs for best optical quality. Zeiss uses FL fluorite lenses to reduce color dispersion and color aberrations and create a crisp, exceptionally sharp image.

It's hard to express the beautiful image that these binoculars present. We noticed that when people look through them for the first time, they say "Wow!" With the 8x42 FL, a large part of the Wow is the generous field of view.

Yay for simple design!

The FL has a classic, simple, elegant design. For example, there are no thumb indents on the underside of the barrel. The outside of the barrel bears just four ridges. It fits hands of all sizes. The barrels curve outward under the ridges, fitting the hollow of the hand. This binocular is a paradigm of simple design. All the FLs are remarkably lightweight for their size and have perfect balance.

The focus knob is one of the best—large enough to be turned with two fingers, or with gloves. It's smooth and precise, intelligently geared so that you can focus from 6.6 feet to infinity in just over one turn of the wheel. We found it an ideal balance of speed and precision.

Good engineering. What a pleasure!

Fresh as a flower

LotuTecLotuTec™ coatings protect the FLs' external glass surfaces. LotuTec stands for "lotus flower effect," in which water beads up on the surface of a lotus leaf and runs off easily. LotuTec makes for streak-free cleaning and easy removal of dirt and fingerprints. (Click the image for more details.)

We were especially impressed with the midsized 8x32 FL, which barely nosed out the Swarovski EL 8x32 for overall quality, by virtue of a 5-inch-shorter close focus score. Wonderfully light and compact, it has all the ergonomic features of its bigger brothers.

Kindness in a strap lug

Zeiss Lug on 8x32 FLA fine detail on the much shorter length 8x32 FL is the placement of the strap lug closer to the eyepiece, where it is less likely to hit or irritate the web of the hand. This is the kind of attention to ergonomics that makes the Zeiss Victory FL such an pleasure to use.


Zeiss's lifetime warranty covers manufacturer's defects and is transferable to subsequent owners. To ensure that your Zeiss FLs carry a US warranty (if you're in the United States) make sure that you purchase your Zeises from an authorized Zeiss dealer.

The Zeiss Victory FL is available in 10x42, 8x42, 7x42, 8x32, 10x32, 10x56, and 8x56.

See price

Bird Watcher's DigestCopyright 2008 by Michael and Diane Porter.

This article appears as part of the High-end Binoculars Round Up in the September, 2008, issue of Bird Watcher's Digest.

Photo of magazine copyright 2008 Bird Watcher's Digest. Image of Zeiss 8x32 lugs is copyright Michael and Diane Porter 2008.


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