Eliminating Surprises With Zeiss

Eliminating Surprises With Zeiss

Sometimes, I wish binoculars had some kind of headgear that would allow me to flip them down at will. That's how important I believe good optics are, no matter what sort of game is being hunted.

When sitting in a treestand, I'm always scanning the woods for deer. The same goes when hunting pronghorns from a ground blind, elk in the dark timber, caribou on the tundra, or muleys on the plains.

Why? Besides the obvious -- I hate surprises.

My goal is to see game at the earliest possible moment. High-quality binoculars or a spotting scope help me accomplish that goal.

It's hard to imagine any experienced hunter who would need to be introduced to Zeiss, one of the premier optics manufacturers on Planet Earth. This company epitomizes the phrase "high-quality optics," and Zeiss is always improving its products and working to give hunters superior glass. Here's a rundown of the latest innovations and products from Zeiss.

LOTUTEC COATING

The engineers at Carl Zeiss Sport Optics have long been known for their innovation and expertise when it comes to coatings that enhance all sorts of optics. That innovation continues with their latest coating, LotuTec, inspired by the water repellency of the lotus leaf. LotuTec is a hydrophobic outer coating applied to the lenses of their Victory line of optics, that repels moisture, dust, and dirt.

On lenses treated with LotuTec, a water droplet takes a spherical shape, rather than flat like you see on untreated lenses. Because the contact surface is much smaller, the drops tend to be easily repelled and either pearl off or can be easily wiped off, keeping your lenses much clearer.

LotuTec coated lenses don't allow dirt and fingerprints to adhere to the surface, and they clean easier without leaving residue. This new coating is abrasion-resistant and does not affect light transmission or the clarity of the glass. Adverse conditions are generally when you need your optics most, and LotuTec helps make certain the clarity of your Victory binoculars is always there when you need it.

LotuTec hydrophobic outer coating
applied to the lenses of Victory line optics.

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VICTORY BINOCULARS

The pinnacle of the Zeiss line of field glasses is the Victory FL. The FL indicates the glass in this binocular contains fluoride, which enhances brightness, clarity, and color fidelity. This spectacular binocular is further enhanced with T* (T-Star) multi-coatings that have kept Zeiss optics at the top of the heap when it comes to light transmission, color correction, and turning away unwanted reflections.

To deal with a problem inherent in roof prism glasses -- phase shifting -- Zeiss also introduced P* phase correction coating in 1988. This technology sharpens the view and brings out the tiniest detail, like a muley buck's antler tips at 500 yards.

All this technology is packed into a line of binoculars that are very light, impervious to weather, and rubber-armored against impact and noise.

For the western bowhunter who seeks longer visual reach, the Victory 10x42 T* FL binocular is a great choice, weighing in at 27 ounces. If light is more important and weight is less of a factor, the Victory 10x56 T* FL will pull in all available light. This newest addition in the Victory line is a bit heavier at 44 ounces.

If less magnification fits your style of hunting, the 8x42 T* FL Victory binocular is perfect, and you can even drop one notch in magnification and go to the 7X model. Both models weigh the same as the 10X versions at 26 ounces.

Sometimes, I'm willing to give up objective lens diameter for a binocular that's smaller in size and less bulky on my chest. That's when the Victory 32mm binoculars enter the scene. Available in both 8X and 10X, the 32mm binoculars are about 1.5 inches shorter than the 42mm glasses and weigh 6 ounces less. They're easy to hold with one hand and will stay out of your way when not in use.

You can take size and weight down to the next level by going with the compact binoculars. The Zeiss Victory 8x20 T* and 10x25 T* are ultra-small, weighing 8 and 9 ounces, respectively.

Also available is a 3X multiplier that you can attach to one side of your full-size Zeiss binocular as an "optical intensifier."

Victory 10x32 T* FL (left) and 10x42 T* FL (right) binoculars.

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Conquest 8x40 binoculars.

CONQUEST BINOCULARS

If your optics budget won't handle a pair of Victory binoculars, but you still want Zeiss quality, look to the Conquest line of field glasses. You still get the T* multi-coatings on high-grade glass, along with rubber-armoring and water and dustproof construction.

The newest Conquest optics feature 50mm objective lenses. The 8x50 T* and 10x50 T* binoculars give you twilight factors of 20 and 22.4, respectively.

If you're looking for higher magnification for your scouting and hunting, check out the 12x45 T* or the 15x45 T* Conquests. For high-power binos, they are super light at just over 21 ounces!

Conquest binoculars are available in the more popular sizes of 8x40 and 10x40, and in the trimmer 30mm versions in both 8X and 10X. The Conquest Compacts in 8x20 and 10x25 will fit into both your budget and a small pocket. All Conquest binoculars feature the T* coatings and a price that will make you wonder why you weren't carrying Zeiss glass long ago.

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DC-4 scope eyepiece
and digital camera.

SPOTTING SCOPES

Zeiss has only one model of spotting scope, and it pretty much says it all. The Victory Diascope is a phenomenal piece of optical gear that is an investment in visual excellence. If you must see the smallest detail at the longest distances and you demand uncompromising quality, the Diascope is for you.

Available in both 65mm and 85mm versions, the Diascope features fluoride glass and T* multi-coatings. Both sizes are available in straight or angled models and in silver or green.

The 85mm version weighs 51 ounces, while the 65mm tips the scale at 39 ounces. Eyepieces for the 85mm Diascope come in 30X, 40X, and a 20-60X power zoom. The 65mm fits with a 23X, 30X, or 15-45X zoom eyepiece.

Long-range viewing has never been sharper or brighter, but yet an

other option is available for those bowhunters who also enjoy wildlife photography. The DC-4 is a combination camera-eyepiece that takes "digiscoping" digital photography to the next level.

The DC-4 acts as the eyepiece on your Diascope spotting scope, as well as the camera, so no time is spent converting your spotting scope by mounting a digital camera in front of the eyepiece. A 2-inch LCD screen displays the same image found in the eyepiece. Once you have an image in the scope you'd like to preserve, you can use the wireless remote to trigger the shutter, leaving the scope untouched and steady on the tripod.

The CCD sensor on the DC-4 is low-noise, 4 megapixel tailored specifically to the Diascope. This design eliminates the stray light that causes problems with outfits that simply position a digital camera in front of the scope's eyepiece.

The DC-4 is a limited-edition product, so if you want one, you'll have to make your move quickly.

Victory Diascope 65mm (top) and 85mm spotting scopes.

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Z-POINT BOW SIGHT

If bow-mounted electronic devices are legal where you hunt, and/or it doesn't bother you that Pope and Young prohibits electronics, then you might consider the Zeiss Z-Point bow sight.

This 3.5-ounce optical device replaces your current sight and peep, attaching behind the riser, where it's protected from abuse. This red dot sight does not have any magnification so you can shoot with both eyes open -- always a good thing in low-light conditions.

The Z-Point employs a red diode as a single sight pin, or dot, if you will. A pushbutton on the side of the sight adjusts the brightness of the dot so you can see it in bright light or turn it down so it doesn't blind you in low light. Once you set it to low, average, or high, it will automatically adjust to the ambient light.

Zeiss recommends you set the Z-Point for dead-on at 25 yards, and then simply aim a bit low at 15 yards and a bit high at 30 yards.

This sight is great for those whose eyesight isn't what it used to be, and it snaps on and off the mounting and can be snapped onto a muzzleloader, shotgun, or handgun without tools. A solar panel on the top extends battery life, and the unit is waterproof.

The name Zeiss has long been associated with the highest quality optics for the hunter, and considering the products and innovation coming from Carl Zeiss Sport Optics, that isn't about to change. If your optics have the word Zeiss on them, you'll know you haven't compromised your hunting. Check out all Zeiss products at www.zeiss.com.

Zeiss Z-Point bow sight.

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