Zeiss Conquest HD Review: The 8 Reasons To Purchase Today! (And the 2 Reasons You Shouldn’t)
There are so many makes and models, technical details and specifications!
It would be nice to have the best features of each binocular condensed into a simple and easy to read list.
Lucky for you!
In this review I am going to share the 8 reasons you should purchase the Zeiss Conquest HD!
And 2 reasons to be hesitant (bonus!).
Quick note before we begin: This list is tailored for a Zeiss Conquest HD 8×42. An 8x magnification and 42mm objective lens diameter is what I use and recommend for birding and nature observation. But most of this list is still applicable no matter what size Conquest HD you select and prefer.
***Related Link: Check out my complete list and comparison chart of The Best Bird Watching Binoculars***
1. Made By Zeiss
While testing and researching dozens of binoculars, I was continually impressed with anything that Zeiss made. A big reason that I am a fan of the Conquest HD is because I have become such a fan of Zeiss.
The company has been in business a very LONG time ( first workshop started in 1846 by Carl Zeiss) and have built an amazing reputation for building products that have the latest technology but are functional in the field. Their products are made and designed in Germany, which is a good thing (instead of China) but sounds even better!
When it comes to spending my money on an expensive binocular, trusting the manufacturer is extremely important. From talking to local experts to speaking with representatives from Zeiss, I have been continually impressed with the company and their reputation is justified.
Extra Low Dispersion Glass (ED) is a great feature and a requirement when purchasing bird watching binoculars.
Why does this matter?
Well, if you want to get really nerdy just Google “What is extra low dispersion glass?” and you will get entire pages and posts dedicated to the science behind ED glass, complete with diagrams and lots of talk about dispersion through prisms.
But if you’re like me, then you just want to know simply why ED glass is important and what it will do for me in the field.
ED glass is great at minimizing color fringing (also called chromatic aberration), which is the inability of a lens to bring all the wavelengths of color together. Color fringing makes the image looked blurry or appear to have a noticeable color (e.g. red, blue, yellow or green) around the edges.
So ED glass makes the image look better, especially in high contrast situations. You will see a remarkable difference in image sharpness, clarity, detail, contrast and brightness.
Testing in shaded woods, I found the images very bright and clear. I didn’t have a chance to try them at sunset or sunrise, but I am told they are excellent.
One last word about glass. The “HD” in the name Conquest HD stands for High Definition. This is a marketing term and HD is another term for Extra Low Dispersion Glass (ED).
High Definition sounds awesome though, right?
Do you love paying money for a warranty as much as me?
I hope the sarcasm came though in that sentence! I hate paying for warranties and wish that companies would just stand behind their engineering and product design.
Luckily, I have great news. This is one of the best features of a Zeiss binocular.
First, Zeiss gives a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects! And this warranty is entirely transferable. This means buying a used binocular is still covered by Zeiss for life.
If you buy a new Zeiss binocular, the warranty gets even better.
This means that Zeiss will repair or replace your binocular if it was damaged during “normal and intended use” without charge. Basically, if I accidentally break the Conquest HD while birding they will repair it, even it was my own dumb fault!
***Please note, this warranty is not transferable and you need to make sure and register your new purchase within 60 days.***
4. Waterproof , Fog Proof and Durable
Unless you plan on watching your neighbors with your binoculars (please leave this site if that’s the case!!) then it’s likely they are going to be exposed to water, wind and dirt.
Luckily, the Zeiss Conquest HD is ready for your next adventure.
They are water proofed to a depth of about 13 feet and the body is filled with dry, nitrogen gas to prevent molding.
Also, the innovative Zeiss LotuTec® coating is included on the lens and eyepiece. This special coating was designed to let water and dirt roll off the glass surface and prevent finger prints from sticking. This should mean you have to spend less time cleaning and more time watching nature!
Lastly, the Conquest HD has a nice rubber coating that helps protect the aluminum body from the inevitable drop or crash.
And if all of this fails, remember you have an amazing warranty as back up!!
Roof style binoculars are extremely popular because of their ergonomics, compactness and light weight. But roof style binoculars have some problems that have to be addressed to make sure the image still appears clear and bright.
As light enters the binocular and moves toward your eye, some of the light gets lost on the journey which can negatively affect the final image.
This is why the coatings on your binocular are so important. They are used and applied to ensure that as much of the precious light as possible reaches your eye.
Zeiss has spent years and countless hours perfecting their coatings. As you can imagine, many of the specifics of their coatings are industry secrets, highly protected from their competitors. Zeiss gives us a little bit of information and let’s the performance of the binocular do the rest of the selling.
Check out this page from Zeiss that gives a pretty good description about each coating. Read below for my brief summary.
Carl Zeiss T* multi-layer coating: This is the Zeiss signature coating that is constantly being improved and perfected. Their “anti-reflection” coating guarantee’s “brilliant, high-contrast images” in challenging light environments like sunrise or sunset.
Phase Correction Coating: This is applied to all Zeiss binoculars that use the roof prism design (which is basically all of them). The roof prism can create some weird optical effects, but having the Zeiss “P coating” coating prevents that from happening and ensures fully clarity and sharpness.
Whatever Zeiss does, the coatings are excellent! I could definitely see a major difference while looking through the Conquest HD compared to other optics in this price range. The colors were very rich and true and I could see amazing detail, even ones that I didn’t know existed!
6. Design and Ergonomics
Here’s the deal:
The Conquest HD fit very well in my hands. It had a nice secure grip and my index finger sat directly over the focusing wheel.
It has a nice slim and sleek design. I see no problems carrying it around for a full day of birding!
Personally, Field of View is one of the most important features that I review and consider.
Why does it matter?
Unfortunately, I have this problem where birds don’t realize I need them to stay still so I can watch them! They tend to fly, flap and flutter around and it can be hard to follow them through the binocular.
Having a wide FOV helps solve this problem. More area is visible and I find it much easier to track my subject.
The Conquest HD 8×42 sports an amazingly wide FOV of 384 feet! This compares extremely well to other binoculars in it’s price range with the same magnification and objective lens diameter.
Check out this brochure from Zeiss. It has a nice table comparing the Field of View between the different size Conquest HD binoculars (8×32, 10×42, 8×42, 10×56, etc).
Most bird watchers do!
Personally, I love seeing up close the vibrant feather colors, field marks or even the small caterpillar hanging out of the birds mouth!
Close focusing distance measures how close you can get and the binocular stays in focus. So the smaller the number the better!
With a Close Focus like that, you may even get into looking at butterflies, moths and frogs!
Check out this brochure from Zeiss. It has a nice table comparing the Close Focusing Distance between the different size Conquest HD binoculars (8×32, 10×42, 8×42, 10×56, etc).
2 Reason’s Not to Buy the Conquest HD:
1. Price: The awkward middle
From a pricing perspective, the Zeiss Conquest HD is right in the middle.
Let me explain.
So why spend the extra $$$???
The biggest difference will be seen while using in low light situations like the dark forest, sunrise or sunset. The Zeiss Conquest HD will significantly outperform it’s lower priced competitors.
But if you are mostly using your binoculars in the daytime with good light, you probably won’t see much of a difference by puchasing a less expensive binocular.
On the other hand, if you are a fan of Zeiss, for around $2,500 you can purchase one of the best binoculars money can buy:
The Zeiss Victory SF: You would see an improvement in the image quality, field of view and close focusing distance over the Conquest HD.
If you are already going to pay $1,000 for a Conquest HD, why not go all in for the Zeiss Victory SF?
To be honest, it all comes down to your budget. As with most items, you get what you pay for!
If you are going to spend $1,000, it’s hard to find a better purchase than the Conquest HD.
Compared to other 8x42mm binoculars, the Conquest HD is a few ounces heavier than most at 28 ounces.
This may not sound like a lot, but when you have to carry these around your neck all day, every ounce counts! Especially if you are more sensitive to weight or tire easily.
Next Step: Please do 1 of the following 2 things:
1. Buy the Zeiss Conquest HD from one of these three places:
Are you convinced the Conquest HD will transform you into the next John James Audubon? If so, I have done a lot of research to find the best places to purchase.
- Amazon: Zeiss Conquest HD 8×42
- Normally priced around $1,000. I love their customer service, fast shipping and amazing prices.
- Check Current Price
- B&H Photo Video: Zeiss Conquest HD 8×42
- Experts at anything optics, photo or video. Prices are vary comparable to Amazon, sometimes better with free 2 day shipping.
- Support a local business!
- Find a local dealer and purchase in person. It will probably be a bit more expensive but you will receive the expertise of a local professional.
2. Keep Researching!
Not convinced the Zeiss Conquest HD is the best choice?
I completely understand. Buying binoculars is a big decision and it’s best to take your time and do your research!
I recommend checking out one of the following resources as your next step:
- The Best Binoculars for Bird Watching
- This should give some idea’s of other binoculars that would be a great choice for bird watching. Includes optics across all different price ranges. (From $125 to $2,500)
- The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Bird Watching Binoculars
- Were some of the terms used in this post unfamiliar? If so, please read this guide to understand the lingo, specifications and technical data of binoculars.
One Last Thing….
I have a serious question for you and I want honest feedback.
How can I improve this review of the Zeiss Conquest Hd?
Please tell the truth. What questions didn’t I answer? What are you still looking for as you search the internet for more answers? I want this review to be the best!
If this was helpful, please subscribe via email at the top of the page to receive updates when new posts arrive!
Thanks again. Happy birding!
p.s. If you end up purchasing a binocular, please use one of the links provided on this page. At no cost to you, the providers may give a small portion of the sale to me. I would really appreciate that as it helps keep this site running and lets me know that this content is valuable! 🙂