To truly enjoy birdwatching and accurately identify birds, binoculars are an essential tool. I can still clearly remember the first time I had an opportunity to look through a pair of top quality binoculars. I was on my way to Vietnam and stopped at an overlook on the road to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park in 1970. I was looking through my Tasco 7x35s at a Redtail circling above us. A couple from a car with Virginia plates (my home state) were also birdwatching and soon we were chatting. Alas, I can’t remember their names, but he handed me his Leica 8x40 Trinovids and said give these a try. Wow, what a treat! Not long thereafter, on R&R from the Delta, I purchased Leica Trinovids in Singapore, I believe for about $600, and they served me well for many years.
Fast forward thirty-five years, at an annual meeting of the Virginia Society of Ornithology in Norfolk, Richard Moncrief of Carl Zeiss Optical invited me to try their Victory 8x42 FLs and I was astonished at my ability to see well in dark shrubbery at close range with ease of focus. Now that I lead birdwatching trips to Panama on a regular basis, I qualified as a Zeiss Certified Guide & Outfitter which enabled me to purchase my first Zeiss Victory binoculars. For reasons too painful to reveal, I lost my Zeiss Victory HT 8x42s and had to replace them with the Zeiss Victory SF 8x42s. I have field tested the Zeiss Victory line both at home and abroad and can say without hesitation that I don’t think they can be beat.
Which brings me to the point of this discussion which is: why not have best. I know that prices for high end binoculars are mind boggling (I bought a Ford F-100 pickup in 1974 for less). However, for the serious birdwatcher, I believe the investment is worth it if you can afford it. Zeiss is coming out with two new Victory models: the Victory SF 8x32 and Victory SF 10x32. The 32s offer a significant advantage over the 42s in terms of both weight (almost 8 ounces lighter) and length (almost an inch shorter) with performance that approaches that of the 42s. These models will ship late August or September and for each pre-order by August 14th, Buteo Books will be offering a significant discount and Zeiss will include a free TERRA Compact Binocular with your purchase. Call us at Buteo Books by August 14th for details and/or to place your order.