Zeiss Victory SF vs Swarovski EL 8×42 & 10×42

Today, upon request by a  reader, who wanted me to compare the Zeiss Victory SF vs Swarovski EL 8×42 & 10×42 binocular models. I  will be comparing these two premium binoculars from Zeiss a German company and Swarovski an Austrian company.

But before I get into the features and specifications, let’s have a look at a brief history of the two companies.

Zeiss which was formerly called Carl Zeiss is a German manufacturer of optical systems, industrial measurement, and medical devices. It was founded in Jena Germany in 1846 by an optician called Carl Zeiss. Together with two other co-founders named Abbe (joined 1866) and Otto Schott(joined 1884) they built a base for modern optics and manufacturing.

Zeiss Victory SF vs Swarovski EL
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Swarovski, headquartered in Wattens is an Austrian producer of Lead glass. The company is split into three major industry areas. The Swarovski Business, which produces crystal jewelry and accessories Swarovski Opti, which produces optical instruments such as binoculars, telescopes, telescopic sights for rifles, etc. and Tyrolit, which produces grinding, sawing, drilling and dressing tools, as well as supplier of tools and machines.

Zeiss Victory SF vs Swarovski EL 8x42 & 10x42
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Zeiss Victory SF vs Swarovski EL 8×42 & 10×42 Binoculars – Specs Compared

NameZeiss Victory 8x42 BinocularSwarovski EL 8.5 x42 BinocularZeiss Victory 10x42 BinocularSwarovski EL 10x42 Binocular
PriceSee Current Price at AmazonSee Current Price at AmazonSee Current Price at AmazonSee Current Price at Amazon
Objective Lens Diameter42 mm42 mm42 mm42 mm
Field of View148 m @ 1000 m399 ft at 1000 yrds120 m @ 1000 m336 ft at 1000 yrds
Eye Relief18 m20 mm18 m20 mm
Focus TypeCenterCenterCenterCenter
Min. Close Focus5 feet 4.9 feet5 feet4.9 feet
Exit Pupil diameter5.3 mm4.9 mm4.2 mm 4.2 mm
Tripod MountYesYesYesYes
Weight 780 g29.5 oz / 835 g780 g 29.6 oz/ 840 g
Dimensions6.8" x 4.9"6.3" x 5.2"6.8" x 4.9"6.3" x 5.2"
Waterproof & Fog ProofYesYesYesYes
Lens CoatingsExtra-low dispersion fluoride lensesfluoride-containing HD glassExtra-low dispersion fluoride lensesfluoride-containing HD lenses

Optical Performance

When it comes to the optical performance of these two brands, the view is amongst the very best. You get very bright, detailed and very sharp images. By any standard, the view is excellent, aberration-free and natural.

According to one user who has had the opportunity to own both the Zeiss Victory SF and the Swarovski EL, The color balance of the Zeiss Victory EL binoculars is slightly less vivid than the Swarovski ELs and are lacked the absolute crystalline clarity and supreme resolution of the Swarovski EL binoculars. But that might just be a personal experience.

Both the Zeiss Victory SFs and the Swarovski EL binoculars focus closer at 5 feet than just about any other binoculars. This makes them wonderful for examining flowers and insects and your ideal bird watching binoculars. Since birders like binoculars with very close focus.

The actual field of view for the Zeiss Victory 10×42 is 120m at 1000m, giving an apparent field of 64°. By comparison, Swarovski’s 10×42 ELs have a field of 112m at 100m, which translates to a noticeable four degrees less apparent width.

Eye Relief wise, although both the Zeiss SFs and the Swarovski ELs have long eye relief at  18 mm and 20 mm respectively. Which are very comfortable to accommodate eyeglass wearers as well.

Also read: Vortex Crossfire vs Diamondback binoculars


When it comes to prices of these binoculars, both are at the premium. They are all in thousands of dollars. But that is because they offer excellent and premium quality images to the viewer. Funny enough both the Zeiss Victory SF 8×42 and 10×42 binoculars and the Swarovski 8×42 and 10×42 binoculars are almost the same prices on Amazon at the time of writing this comparison. Both models are in the range of $2600 and $2800.

Body Construction/ Weight

The  Zeiss Victory SF binoculars look so much like the  Swarovski EL binoculars. Their slim open-bridge design looks almost like the Swarovski EL models that one might be tempted to they copied Swarovski EL.

The  Zeiss Victory SF 8×42 and 10×42 binoculars appear longer than the Swarovski’s ELs. Looking at the comparison table above the Zeiss Victory models are a whopping 30mm longer than the Swarovski EL models.

However, even though Zeiss Victory look and appear longer, they are surprisingly lighter than the Swarovski ELs. Both the Zeiss Victory SF 8×42  binoculars and the Zeiss Victory SF 10×42 binoculars weigh the same at 780g. This makes them lighter than many of their competitors including the Swarovski EL binoculars.

With both the Swarovski EL 8×42  and 10×42 binoculars weighing 835g and 840g respectively, It is obvious that the Swarovski EL binoculars are about 100g heavier than the Zeiss Victory SF binoculars.

That low weight is partly due to magnesium construction, partly to the thinner, simpler long focal-length objectives that a longer body allows. However, Zeiss has clearly had to do some weight shaving elsewhere: the armor is thin and the eyecups vague and flimsy.

By looking at the Zeiss Victory SF binoculars, their body barrels are plain tapered tubes and don’t have the thumb indents you get with Swarovski’s ELs.


Final Verdict

In summary, the comparison of the Zeiss Victory SF vs Swarovski EL binoculars is a tight one. Both the Zeiss and the Swarovski are premium brands and these models are ideal for bird watchers, hunters and nature lovers alike. They both offer excellent features.

But in terms of field of view, handling, eye relief, and focus, the Zeiss Victory SFs binoculars have a slightly upper hand than the Swarovski ELs. They do have a slightly more curved field than the ELs, with little astigmatism at the edge that the ELs don’t have, but the compensation is that wider view.

At high-end price ranges like these binoculars. What you get is almost excellent quality. At this level is mostly a personal choice.

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