It has to be said, the Dialyt 7x42 B T* binoculars from Carl Zeiss are legendary to this day. Many nature observers love them. And if you possess a pair of those binoculars, you treasure them and watch over them. Sadly, I do not own one of these legends. Which is why I was all the more pleased to hear that Carl Zeiss was once again producing a series of binoculars with the potential to become legendary. Yet I was sceptical, too. I've heard and read a lot about the VICTORY HT. Would my high expectations be confirmed when bird watching?
I made my first experiences with the VICTORY HT on the North Sea coast – a vast landscape, wild sea, and wonderful opportunities for watching birds. On this day, I was heading for a dyked marsh on the Danish border. This dyked marsh is characterised by broad expanses of reeds, flood areas and extensive floodplains. My first stop was at an observation hut behind a strip of reeds, with a view onto the brackish water.
A few Barnacle Geese were resting there, trying to clean their feathers that had got dirty when looking for food in the nearby fields. Black and white, what an opportunity! The white faces of the geese allowed me to test the optics for chromatic abberrations under ideal conditions. The concept delivered what it promised. Chromatic abberrations were barely perceptible. Suddenly a small troop of Bearded Reedlings moved through the reeds right outside the observation hut. Now some fast and precise focussing was required. The little birds weren't going to wait around. I turned the focussing wheel – on the dot, the birds were sharply visible, and without any annoying re-focussing I found the ideal focussing point and was able to enjoy these small creatures in all their magnificence.
Time was getting on. The tide was coming in. Shore birds flew from the mud flats to the swamp to continue their search for food. Their feeding grounds would be largely submerged under water for the next six hours. I started walking. I still had four kilometres on foot ahead of me, before reaching the ideal surface. The binoculars were surpringly comfortable to carry, putting barely any strain on my neck muscles. I reached the place where the shore birds were, feeling surprisingly relaxed.
Some Black-tailed Godwits were already there, breeding pairs perhaps, occupying their territory. The binoculars rendered the colours of the beautiful birds wonderfully. Their brick-red head, neck and breast plumage, the black and orange feathers on their backs, and brown and grey wing feathers. Watching the birds through the VICTORY HT as they searched for food was pure joy. The more the tide came in, the more shore birds arrived. Dunlins, Ruffs, Little Stints and Temminck Stints bustled about on the silt while Eurasian Teal dabbled in the deeper parts of the area. Slowly, the sun began to set behind me. Time to get back to the car as I wanted to look for owls in the last of the daylight.
I didn't pay much attention to the brown monster sitting a few metres distant on my way back to the car. Which was unfortunate, because suddenly, not 20 metres away from me a Sea Eagle took flight. I grabbed my binoculars in haste. My finger was on the focussing wheel immediately and securely. I didn't have to spend time looking for the focussing wheel, and held the binoculars firmly in my grip. Those were the decisive seconds while watching, which I had so often missed with other binoculars, when birds suddenly appeared in front of me as if out of thin air. The Sea Eagle flew off majestically, the geese rising in panic from the salt marshes. But the Sea Eagle didn't appear to be hungry this evening. I had to move on, it was owls I wanted. I began to doubt I would make it on time, the sun was already low. By the time I arrrived in the forest, the sun had set and the last light of day was gone. It was full moon - a questionable consolation.
I could already hear a Tawny Owl calling in the distance. I knew where the tree was that the bird slept in during the day. So I set off. It was quite a bit darker in the forest than at the parking lot. Maybe I would be lucky and see the bird's silhouette, at least. He was still in the tree, and apparently not hungry yet. Expectantly I raised the VICTORY HT 8x42 to my eyes ... wow! I have hardly ever seen a Tawny Owl that clearly at night. Despite the low light I could distinctly see the white plumage around the eyes. The bird's outline was unmistakable against the tree trunk behind it. I could even see the streaks on his chest feathers. What a perfect finish to a brilliant day of bird watching.
My conclusion: these binoculars convinced me from day one. Even today, after long use of the binoculars, I can confirm my impression: VICTORY HT by ZEISS doesn't just have the potential to become legendary. For me it's legendary already.