Are you considering the Zeiss Conquest HD Binocular?
I think you will agree that shopping for new bird-watching binoculars can be time-consuming and overwhelming! There are so many different models, technical details, and specifications to comb through. It would be nice to have the best features condensed into a simple and easy-to-read list.
Luckily, I agree, and I’ve compiled that list for you here!
8 Reasons to Purchase the Zeiss Conquest HD:
A 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.
#1. Made By Zeiss
While testing and researching dozens of binoculars, I’m continually impressed with anything that Zeiss makes. A big reason that I am a fan of the Conquest HD is that I have become such a fan of Zeiss.
The company has been in business for a very long time (the first workshop was started in 1846 by Carl Zeiss) and has a fantastic reputation for building products that have the latest technology but are functional in the field.
But 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, in my opinion, a requirement when purchasing binoculars for bird watching.
Why does it matter?
If you want to get 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.
Here’s the short version:
- ED glass minimizes color fringing (also called chromatic aberration). Binocular lenses often struggle to bring all the wavelengths of color together. Color fringing makes the image look blurry or gives the edges of an image a noticeable tint (e.g., red, blue, yellow, or green). So, ED glass prevents issues with image quality.
- ED glass improves image quality 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 the glass. The “HD” in the name Conquest HD stands for High Definition, which is just a marketing term! HD is another name for Extra Low Dispersion Glass (ED). High Definition sounds awesome, though, right? 🙂
Do you love paying money for warranties as much as me?
I hope the sarcasm came through 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. The warranty is one of the best features of a Zeiss binocular.
- First, Zeiss gives a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects, and it’s entirely transferable. This means a used binocular is still covered by Zeiss for life, so you don’t have to worry about buying secondhand.
- If you buy a new Zeiss binocular, the warranty gets even better. New Binoculars come with a 5-Year No Fault Warranty. This warranty states that Zeiss will repair or replace your binocular if it’s damaged during “normal and intended use” without charge. So if I accidentally break the Conquest HD while watching birds, they will repair it, even if the damage was my dumb fault!
- Please note the 5-Year No Fault Warranty is not transferable, and you need to make sure you register your new purchase within 60 days.
Zeiss may change their warranties at any time without notice. Please check the current warranty policy at the time of your purchase.
#4. Waterproof, Fog Proof and Durable
If you’re using your binoculars to their full potential, 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 waterproofed to a depth of about 13 feet, and the body is filled with nitrogen gas to prevent mold and moisture buildup.
- In addition, the lens and eyepiece are coated with the innovative Zeiss LotuTec® coating. This special coating was designed to let water and dirt roll off the glass surface and prevent fingerprints from sticking. This means you can spend less time cleaning and more time watching nature!
- Lastly, the Conquest HD has a thick rubber coating that helps protect the aluminum body from the inevitable drop onto a rock or similar accident.
And if all of this fails, remember you have a fantastic warranty as a backup!!
Roof-style binoculars like the Conquest HD are extremely popular because they’re ergonomic, compact, and lightweight. However, they present a major problem that needs 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 applied to ensure as much light as possible reaches your eye, which helps create a high-quality image. Zeiss has spent years and countless hours perfecting their coatings. As you can imagine, many of the specifics are industry secrets, but Zeiss gives us a little bit of information and lets the performance of the binocular do the rest of the selling.
- Carl Zeiss T* multi-layer coating: This Zeiss signature coating is continually improved and perfected through research and development. Their “anti-reflection” coating guarantees “brilliant, high-contrast images” in challenging light environments like sunrise or sunset.
- Phase Correction Coating: This coating is applied to all Zeiss binoculars that use the roof prism design. The roof prism can create some weird optical effects, but having the Zeiss “P coating” prevents that from happening and ensures full clarity and sharpness.
Whatever Zeiss does, the coatings are excellent! I could see a significant difference while looking through the Zeiss Conquest HD compared to other optics in this price range. The colors were vibrant and accurate, and I could see incredible detail!
#6. Design and Ergonomics
Finding a binocular that’s comfortable for you can be difficult because it’s more about personal preference than superior specifications. There are a few things to consider when you decide what will be best for you:
- Size: are you able to grip the binocular and hold it steady in your hands? If the optic is too small or large to be comfortable, you probably won’t want to use it on long bird-watching days in the woods. The Conquest HD’s width is about 120 mm (4.7 in).
- Weight: similar to size, a binocular that’s too heavy isn’t going to do you any good. What’s the point of carrying it if it’s not easy to use? This model’s weight is 795 g (28.0 oz).
- Design: some binoculars feature a slimmer design or have an open structure. Again, it just depends on what you prefer! The Zeiss Conquest HD has a beautifully slim and sleek design.
Personally, the Conquest HD fits very well in my hands. It has a secure grip, and my index finger sat directly over the focusing wheel.
The field of View is one of the most important features that I review and consider for binoculars.
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 similar binoculars in the same price range.
Do you like to get as close as possible to the birds you’re observing? Most bird watchers do! I love seeing their vibrant feather colors, field marks, or even the small caterpillar hanging out of the bird’s mouth!
Close focusing distance measures how close you can get and still have an optimal focus on the image. So the smaller the number, the better!
The Zeiss Conquest HD 8×42 has a Close Focus of 6.5 feet (2m), which is considered excellent. That means you can be as close as 6.5 feet, and the subject stays sharp and clear. With a Close Focus like that, you may even get into looking at butterflies, moths, and frogs!
2 Reasons Not to Buy the ZEISS Conquest HD:
Price: The awkward middle
From a pricing perspective, the Zeiss Conquest HD is right in the middle. It’s not at all cheap, typically around $1,000. Some binoculars cost roughly half this amount (e.g., the Nikon Monarch 7) and provide a similar viewing experience.
So why spend the extra money?
The most significant difference is the image you get in low-light situations like a dark forest, sunrise, or sunset. The Zeiss Conquest HD will significantly outperform its 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 purchasing 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’re 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 your budget is $1,000, it’s hard to find a better binocular than the Conquest HD.
Compared to other 8x42mm binoculars, the Conquest HD is heavier at 795 g (28.0 oz).
This may not sound like a lot, but when you have to carry them around your neck all day, every ounce counts! This is especially true if you are more sensitive to weight or tire easily.
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: Zeiss Conquest HD (8×42)
- Experts at anything optics, photo, or video. Prices are sometimes lower than Amazon, and they may even include a bonus giveaway.
- Support local businesses!
- 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.
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:
- This should give some ideas of other binoculars that would be a great choice for bird watching. Includes optics across all different price ranges. (From $125 to $2,600)
- The Zeiss Victory SF is one of the BEST binoculars available and is worth checking out before purchasing.
Do you have the Zeiss Conquest HD Binoculars?
Tell us about your experience in the comments!