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Individual High-end Optics Reviews

Testing the Best 8x42 Binoculars on the Market!

by Michael and Diane Porter, excerpted from the May/June 2012 issue of Bird Watcher's Digest

Zeiss Victory FL T* 8x42

The Zeiss Victory FL got the top overall score and tied for the top resolution score. With its wide field of view (405 feet) and outstanding optics, it creates a breathtaking experience of being immersed in the image.

Zeiss attributes the bright, clear image and its great contrast and color in part to the special FL glass containing fluoride ions. A thin lens design, employing air-spaced elements, contributes to the excellent resolution and the light weight. Of the top five scorers, the FL weighs the least, at 26.6 ounces.

It's a comfortable and universal ergonomic design. The barrels curve outward, gracefully fitting the shape of the palm of the hand. Ridges run lengthwise, with no thumb indentations to restrict where you put your thumbs. You can grip wherever feels natural to you.

The smooth-turning focus knob is wide enough to turn with two fingers or with gloves. Its fast focus goes from lock to lock in just 1.1 turns. You can focus from 20 to 100 feet without lifting your finger from the knob. Close focus or infinity requires only one repositioning of your finger. The diopter adjustment mechanism, on the focus knob, has both a scale and a lock. The action is smooth and precise, with a detent at the center setting.

Twist-up eyecups provide four extension adjustments, with detents. Although Zeiss claims only 16mm of eye relief, the FLs worked great with all of the judges' eyeglasses. The interpupillary distance of 54 to 74mm offers the narrowest setting in our survey, helpful for people with close-set eyes.

LotuTec coatings on the exterior surfaces of the lenses repel water and dirt and allow easy cleaning.

Warranty: Zeiss limited lifetime transferable warranty.

Caveat: None.

Next review (2/12): Swarovski EL Swarovision 8.5x42 »

BWD Bino Harness

Designed to distribute the weight to the shoulders rather than concentrating pressure on the neck, this fully adjustable black elastic strap system keeps binoculars secure but readily available. The bino harness adapts to all sizes and models of binoculars and cameras.

Pajaro Original Waist Pack

The Pajaro Field Bag has become the outdoor enthusiast's best friend. Its seven pockets are perfect for carrying binoculars, field guides, maps, pens, etc. Made of rugged Cordura fabric, it's lightweight and designed for maximum comfort.

Protect Your Binoculars With BinoBib

BinoBib is constructed of high-quality neoprene laminated with nylon. Its simple design safeguards your binoculars from dings and scratches, dust, dirt, and moisture. The shock- and moisture-absorbing neoprene helps draw moisture and condensation away from your optics and helps protect them from the elements.

Reduce Window Strikes With Featherguard

It has been estimated that as many as 975 million birds are killed each year in North America in collisions with glass windows and buildings. FeatherGuard is uniquely effective because it combines bright color, motion, and the birds' natural aversion to loose feathers. In nature loose feathers are often a sign that a bird has been killed by a predator. Try FeatherGuard today and make your windows safer for your wild birds.

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