Optics Innovation

Review of Terra ED and Conquest HD

As any scribbled doodle or Google Image search of a “bird-watcher” will prove, binoculars are synonymous with birding. This is the one piece of equipment that no birder can do without. Perhaps you’ve owned a treasured pair for many years, but you feel it may be time for an upgrade judging by the spiderweb of scratches across the lenses. Perhaps you’re new to the birding game, and looking for advice on which pair to buy. Or perhaps you’re wondering why the experts are able to discern so much more detail through their bins than you can through yours.

Buying the right pair of binoculars is a challenge. There are seemingly countless brands and models to choose from, and quite frankly, the differences between the top makes are virtually negligible. In his extensive 2013 review (African Birdlife 1(3):48-52), Peter Ryan and his review team came to a similar conclusion: a convergent evolution of optics, if you will. Traditionally, the big three have always been ZEISS, Leica and Swarovski. Lately, brands such as Minox, Kowa, Vortex, Lynx and several others also offer excellent optics at competitive prices.

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Su Gough and Greg Conway reviewing the ZEISS binoculars

The ZEISS Victory SF binoculars are most definitely are not budget binoculars, however, if you are planning on buying high-end optics you would rightly expect and receive superb image, excellent build quality and excellent after-sales service. So, why the ZEISS Victory SF?
ZEISS and other market leaders have long been the ‘Rolls Royce’ brands of birding optics. Fashions vary and other models are the current birders’ favourites but ZEISS have created a new product which has allowed them to explode back onto the market.
Looking through this ZEISS pair, or equivalent models, most of us would struggle to notice differences between the images, so why choose ZEISS?

They are longer but lighter. I find many binoculars too heavy to carry round my neck for extended periods but these are fine. The narrower, longer barrels are a lot more comfortable for me to hold than the other makes, which I find bulky. Their balance is amazing, with a new arrangement of the internal ‘gubbins’ up at the eyepiece end, making them seem almost weightless in use. In addition I did actually notice a difference in image as well; I love the natural colour – bright but realistic and with an unexpected three-dimensionality – and the field of view width is unsurpassed. The close focus at just 1.5 m is incredible, fantastic for watching insects.

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Follow Ananda Banerjee exploring the islet and its giant variety of birds

The Pirotan Island is a scrubby barren islet with mangroves and no human habitation. One can only travel to the island by boat after obtaining permissions from the forest department.
When we anchored in the sea, at some distance away from Pirotann, I picked up my Victory SF binoculars for a closer look at teeming avian life on the sandy shoreline of the islet.
And what I saw was a scene right out of traffic crazy rush hour at any cosmopolitan city! Only the
city’s busybody’s replaced by a melee of white, black and brown birds, thousands in numbers congregated on the sandy beach.

While some of the birds stood still like statues others were engrossed in foraging. A pair of Ruddy Turnstone, stocky small wading birds in patchy black and white, scurried looking for prey under tiny stones. It was interesting to watch these small birds – with such clear clarity of the lens - flipping each stone that came their way with their long, slender beaks. The Pirotan’s beach was swarming with the Crab Plovers. These medium sized birds with white and black plumage love to eat crabs and are found, in large numbers, in only two places – the Gulf of Kutch and the Gulf of Mannar. I could spot their long, dainty legs as the birds craned their necks while the flock paraded the shore.

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Win a ZEISS Victory SF*

Welcome to the new ZEISS Nature Blog where you will find the latest stories about nature observation and birding.
Discover the unique world of birds, exciting travel destinations and helpful tips and tricks from our nature and birding experts - your outdoor adventure starts here.

To help you experience nature at first hand, we are giving away a pair of the latest ZEISS Victory SF binoculars. Look and identify the birds to be in the image with the chance of winning a pair of the latest ZEISS Victory SF binoculars.

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Digiscoping on Germany’s waterways.

The ground is steaming all around me. Last night’s cooling thunderstorms have done nothing to quell yesterday’s high temperatures. At around 5 a.m. the stunning beauty of the natural world unfolds in the offshoots of the Rhine river.

I’m making my way through the waterways, forests and meadows to discover orchids, observe nature as it is roused from its slumber, and above all to capture magic images of birds using my new spotting scope, the ZEISS Conquest Gavia.

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It has to be said, the Dialyt 7x42 B T* binoculars from Carl Zeiss are legendary to this day. Many nature observers love them. And if you possess a pair of those binoculars, you treasure them and watch over them. Sadly, I do not own one of these legends.

Which is why I was all the more pleased to hear that Carl Zeiss was once again producing a series of binoculars with the potential to become legendary. Yet I was sceptical, too. I've heard and read a lot about the VICTORY HT. Would my high expectations be confirmed when bird watching?

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By David Chandler from Bird Watching Magazine

I’ve been reviewing binoculars since 2005. Normally, I look after them very carefully – it would be embarrassing to return them damaged! But for this test we did a different kind of review. We took a binocular that is meant to be tough, and put that toughness to the test.The binoculars were the CONQUEST HD 10x32. ZEISS knew what we had planned – more or less. They gave their permission, and even came along to watch.

It wasn’t easy doing what we did – this kind of thing doesn’t come naturally to me. But, as professionals, we did it anyway! And everything we did is the kind of thing that could happen to binoculars. Well, most of it is. Read on to find out how this mid-range ZEISS coped.

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