(NB - this post is related to my role as a Zeiss ambassador!)
We all need a good reason to go home sometimes, and having been away for a few weeks, I was looking forward to getting back to field-test the new Zeiss SFL
(SmartFocus Lightweight) - my choice being the 8x40 model.
Before I left for the US, spring was barely registering, but over these past two days, it's finally kicked in - the perfect time to take out the SFLs for a test drive in various birding scenarios. Yesterday I chose Buckton, where one of the first birds they picked up was a cracking, chacking, fresh-in male Ring Ouzel and an equally smart male Wheatear on the clifftop; today I was surveying in an industrial area on the Humber, where they helped me find a pair of displaying Little Ringed Plovers among the factories, juggernauts and cranes. So far, so good....
The first, and most striking thing about the SFLs is their weight. They're so light, I barely registered them around my neck; they feel very much like a serious step forward in lightening the load of top-quality binoculars. They're dinky, compact and a dream to handle, exacerbated by the large, central focus wheel - which is particularly beneficial when using gloves (yep, it's still cold enough here....).
Another excellent feature is the especially large exit pupil, which means they're even easier and more comfortable to use than you'd expect; the lightweight magnesium housing feels great, and the close-focusing is superb - billed as 1.5 metres, but perhaps even a shade better than that.
Overall? Superb, in every respect. Another step forward in top-quality binocular evolution, and highly recommended!
The new SFL 40 will be available from July 2022. More info here: www.zeiss.com/nature/sfl