Leica Noctivid and Zeiss Victory SF users over Swarovski EL?

mgebs311

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I am in the market for one of these bino’s come spring time. In my research there is an overwhelming amount of info for the EL’s over the other two on Rokslide. Don’t get me wrong, I have researched plenty about the Victory’s and the Noctivid’s and I have read Matt Cashell’s review’s on them as well. I trust hunters reviews on Rokslide over birders because I just feel like we have a different perspective on what we look for in bino’s to a certain point and that matters to me.
I would like to hear from some of you on here that use Victory’s or Noctivid’s over the EL’s and why. Right now I am leaning towards the EL’s because I am convinced that whatever I choose among the 3 I will not be disappointed in (I know that. Upgrading from Viper HD’s). Part of what causes me to lean towards Swarovski is that I have heard a lot of positive reviews about their customer service.
I know some of you like the SLC’s over the EL’s and that is up to each person. I have looked through both outside of a few different places and I like the EL’s more so I’m not really considering that right now. I have not personally looked through the Victory SF’s but I have looked through the Noctivid’s. The only thing I didn’t like was the twist eye cups, they were not very smooth and that may just be that this display pair at the store has been abused or something, who knows. So I’m not writing those off either yet. I just want to leave no stone unturned when it comes to this type of purchase. NL’s are out of my price range. I am looking at either 8x or 10x42 models. Live in Idaho, hunt out west 100% of the time up to this point.Thanks.
 
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JohnJohnson

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I own both Swarovski 10x50 ELs and Zeiss Victory SF 8x42s. My strong preference is the ELs. But that's for my eyes so your mileage may vary.
 

Eagle

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I had a major rolling ball effect with the 10x42 swaro el's, but don't experience the same issue with the zeiss victory sf 10x42's I currently own/use. I have major motion sickness issues as well, and there seems to be a correlation between people that deal with motion sickness and experiencing the rolling ball effect with the el's, so something to think about if you get motion sickness.

From what I've been told, the new swaro nl's aren't as bad, due to the much larger fov, but I'd want to test some before buying based off what the el's did to me.
 

Spiral Horn

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If folks actually looked through and handled the Zeiss Victory SF T* 10x42 prior to deciding on an Alpha Glass my guess is that a lot more would end up buying them. I went through this same exercise a few years ago and based on many recommendations the Swarovski ELs were the front runner out of the gate. But they are actually a pretty dated design and after a lot of side-by-side comparisons I forgot all about the ELs and Noctovids and the Zeiss clearly won out. Spectacular image, expansive FOV for a 10x, great depth of field, no roller-ball, and ergonomics/handling is second to none. Their great balance makes them feel much lighter in the hand than they actually are. I’ve used them on many hunts now and they‘ve simply been spectacular. However, all three are great binoculars and there isn’t a loser in the bunch.

Anyway, my 2 cents. The big 3 make some great binoculars, including the new NL Pure (which I’ve never handled) and everyone’s eyes are just slightly different. Would suggest side-by-side comparison prior to purchase if that is at all possible where you live.
 
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mgebs311

mgebs311

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If folks actually looked through and handled the Zeiss Victory SF T* 10x42 prior to deciding on an Alpha Glass my guess is that a lot more would end up buying them.
That’s a good point. I have a decent sporting goods store, a Cabelas, and a Sportsmans Warehouse in my town and none of them carry the Victory SF’s so I have not been able to look through those ones. I will have to keep checking in on those places though. I have heard a lot of good about the Victory SF’s. How do you tripod mount yours?
 

Steve O

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When you get to that point it is more about your personal taste than performance. Best thing to do is look thru all 3 and pick the one YOU like and feel works best for you. You are not going to be wrong with any one of those choices. It’s a great spot to be in.
 

Eagle

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That’s a good point. I have a decent sporting goods store, a Cabelas, and a Sportsmans Warehouse in my town and none of them carry the Victory SF’s so I have not been able to look through those ones. I will have to keep checking in on those places though. I have heard a lot of good about the Victory SF’s. How do you tripod mount yours?

I use the outdoorsmans stud on mine.
 

Spiral Horn

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Unfortunately, the internet put quite a few great optics shops out of business and Cabelas doesn’t carry a lot of the high end stuff they used to. If you have a high-end birding shop anywhere near you that would be a good place to look. About the only place you can count on having high end optics these days are Sportsman’s Shows like, Shot Show, SCI, DSC, Western Sports Expo, Sheep Show, etc.

Never mounted the SFs on a Tripod - use that for my spotter.
 

2ski

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Listen to the Mossback Kifarucast. Those guys were talking about having pretty much tried them all and Swarovski was the clear winner.

As to me, I have no experience with any. I use Zen Rey Primes that need warranty work on the eye cups. But since the company is out of business.....I would buy Swarovski if I could.
 

JohnJohnson

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If you have a high-end birding shop anywhere near you that would be a good place to look.
This is exactly where I checked out my Victory SFs for the first time. Birders are a lot higher on them than hunters are. As I said, I personally prefer my ELs and really need to get around to selling my Victory SFs but I'm just being incredibly lazy.
 

Spiral Horn

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This is exactly where I checked out my Victory SFs for the first time. Birders are a lot higher on them than hunters are. As I said, I personally prefer my ELs and really need to get around to selling my Victory SFs but I'm just being incredibly lazy.

Agree that there is an overwhelming Swarovski fan base here on Rokslide and on some other hunting sites. That’s been a huge disappointment as it shuts down any comparative discussion. Personally own Swarovski, Zeiss, Leica, Meopta, etc and all are great hunting optics. However, your premise that Zeiss is disfavored by hunters is incorrect. I’ve been hunting many years in many places and have seen an incredible number of Zeiss Binos in hunting camps and around the neck of many a seasoned guide, especially on Ovis and Capra hunts. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that until Zeiss quit making them the 10x40 Classics were probably the most popular Alpha on mountain hunts.

Just pointing out that I’m a seasoned hunter and would and did buy the SFs over the ELs and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. I’ve used them to take Dall Sheep, Snow Sheep, Ibex, Chamois, Aoudad etc. and they are a superb hunting binocular. I can use them all day without eye strain and they handle like a dream.
 
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JohnJohnson

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Agree that there is an overwhelming Swarovski fan base here on Rokslide and on some other hunting sites. That’s been a huge disappointment as it shuts down any comparative discussion. Personally own Swarovski, Zeiss, Leica, Meopta, etc and all are great hunting optics. However, your premise that Zeiss is disfavored by hunters is incorrect. I’ve been hunting many years in many places and have seen an incredible number of Zeiss Binos in hunting camps and around the neck of many a seasoned guide, especially on Ovis and Capra hunts. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that until Zeiss quit making them the 10x40 Classics were probably the popular Alpha on mountain hunts.

Just pointing out that I’m a seasoned hunter and would and did buy the SFs over the ELs and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. I’ve used them to take Dall Sheep, Snow Sheep, Ibex, Chamois, Aoudad etc. and they are a superb hunting binocular. I can use them all day without eye strain and they handle like a dream.
It's not really a statement on the brand's favorability to hunters as a whole. Just saying that hunters, when they are buying in the price bracket in which the ELs/Noctivids/Victory SFs are, tend to favor Swarovski more than Zeiss. Whereas birders are much more favorable towards Zeiss when buying in that specific price range. I genuinely don't care either way and all I can relay is my experience with my specific eyes (and I wear glasses so YMMV).
 

Ten Bears

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I have owned the 1st Gen 8x42 Zeiss Sf's, the 2nd Gen 10x42 Zeiss Sf's and currently own the latest 10x42 El's. For my eyes I preferred the glass in the Zeiss 10x42's, the colors seemed to pop more and the FOV was easier to dig into, but it really was splitting hairs. I preferred the size, focus wheel, and comfort in hand of the Swaro's. I received my EL's as a gift from a client at work and would have kept the Zeiss but felt it was rude to sell such a thoughtful gift immediately and being the same quality.

After 2 years of EL's and changes to my needs I plan on selling the EL's to fund a pair of the new SF 8x32's and purchase a pair of the NL 12x42's for tripod use.
 

Lionhound1975

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I have tried all 3 in 10x42 and thought that the ELs had the best image on a tripod, the SFs had the best ergonomics and felt the lightest in my hands, and the Noctivids had an incredible 3D look whereas the ELs kind of looked flat like you were looking at a very high resolution photo. All 3 are spectacular and i think you really need to try all of them and see what works for you.

Any of them will be night and day better than the Viper HD. I am not a big Vortex fan but I do have a Viper HD in 6x32 that was made in Japan that is a great woods bino. I wish there were more 6x and 7x binos around since they are my favorite for deep woods with their depth of field.
 
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mgebs311

mgebs311

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Do Zeiss and Leica have a location in the United States to send bino’s in for repair and warranty work if needed like Swarovski does? What has been your experience on that regard?
 
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mgebs311

mgebs311

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Unfortunately, the internet put quite a few great optics shops out of business and Cabelas doesn’t carry a lot of the high end stuff they used to. If you have a high-end birding shop anywhere near you that would be a good place to look. About the only place you can count on having high end optics these days are Sportsman’s Shows like, Shot Show, SCI, DSC, Western Sports Expo, Sheep Show, etc.

Never mounted the SFs on a Tripod - use that for my spotter.
Great idea. Closest show for me will be down in Salt Lake in February. I will be sure to make it down and check it out for sure.
 

The Fish Box

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Just keep your vortex, they are the best glass around.🤪


But seriously you can’t go wrong with any of the be big ones, I have the zeiss and I personally prefer the brightness to my eyes over the Swarovski Binos that again to my eye appear to have a deeper color to them if that makes sense. I know some guys swear the deeper color allows them to spot more game.
 

Spiral Horn

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Do Zeiss and Leica have a location in the United States to send bino’s in for repair and warranty work if needed like Swarovski does? What has been your experience on that regard?

All 3 companies have done right by me in customer service. If folks use their optics as much and in the environments we do even the most rugged designs can wear out or break. Funny you should bring this up as I’d had repair work done by all 3 within the past few years. These were my experiences with each (keep in mind they are just individual examples):

Swarovski - Had a Z5 Scope that was no longer holding zero. Sent it to Swaro and they said the tube was damaged (don’t know how) and it was putting pressure on the reticle. They used a new tube and basically rebuilt the scope. Charged me a few hundred $ and wanted a $150 more if I wanted an expedited repair. Had another scope fog on the inside and they repaired it for free.

Zeiss - Had an old scope finally lose zero, they repaired it for free, Had an old 10x40 Classic whose main hinge simply wore out. Being a discontinued model they had to send it back to Germany for repair. They fixed the hinge, replaced the eyecups and completely cleaned it up for free - even inserted a note of apology for having to send it to Germany and it taking a while.

Leica - Service years ago was abysmal. However, the company has rededicated itself to quality customer service. I recently sent back a malfunctioning CRF and the service could not have been better. Engaging, courteous, lightning fast, and they could not fix but replaced the item free of charge.

These were my actual experiences- but of course, your actual mileage may vary.
 

Novy

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I own a pair of EL's but a friend bought a pair of sf and let me borrow them for a few days. I spent a bunch of time behind them off a tripod comparing the 2. In my opinion the sf were brighter all around but the el had more depth. I kept my els but he also kept the sf doing the same testing. They are both so close and you can't go wrong with either.
 
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