Champions of the Flyway!

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Review - Zeiss SFL 10x30

(Spoiler alert - this post relates to my role as Zeiss ambassador!)
Released today (see here for details and specifications), I've been looking forward to test-driving the brand new SFL 30s, and this morning was my first opportunity to do so - a beautifully crisp, bright and sunny day here on the North Yorkshire coast, perfect conditions to put them through their paces in a range of habitats. 
I requested a pair of 10x30s to trial (as opposed to 8x30s, also available), so I could compare them directly with the SFL 10x40s. The latter are a fantastic pair of bins (see my review here from last year) - a more affordable, lighter, and in some respects easier to handle addition to the SF range.
But then along come the 30s, and guess what - they're even smaller, lighter and, in some respects, the most comfortable to handle of the whole range. If I was surprised by the (lack of) weight of the 40s, then the 10x30s are, well, ridiculously light; and if I was surprised by the size of the 40s, then the 30s are even more surprisingly small.
SFL 10x30s - so good, they walk on water....

Optically, they're exceptional - super-crisp, super-bright, and of a standard that is counter-intuitive for a pair of binoculars of this size and weight. Ergonomically, they're another step forward - the now trademark large, easy-to-find focusing wheel barely having to move to do its job, and they're wonderful to handle, especially if (like me) your hands are not exactly huge.
... and so light, they rest the surface of a pond (ice not included)

The best way to describe them is perhaps as commanding a unique and, until now, effectively unoccupied niche between top-of-the-range pocket binoculars and more traditional high-end modern x30s. They're so much better than pocket binoculars, and yet fit in your pocket; they're at least as good as most x30s out there, and yet look (and weigh) like they shouldn't be. A serious benchmark, and in all likelihood, a serious bestseller.