There are so many different models, technical details, and specifications to comb through!
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 eight reasons you should purchase the Zeiss Conquest HD!
Compare Conquest HD Prices!
And two reasons to be hesitant (bonus!).
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.
***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 that I have become such a fan of Zeiss.
The company has been in business a very LONG time ( the first workshop started in 1846 by Carl Zeiss) and have built a fantastic 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!
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 a requirement when purchasing binoculars for bird watching.
Why does this matter?
Well, 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.
But if you’re like me, then you just want to know why ED glass is essential and what it will do for you in the field.
ED glass is excellent 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 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 buying a used binocular is still covered by Zeiss for life.
If you buy a new Zeiss binocular, the warranty gets even better.
This warranty states that Zeiss will repair or replace your binocular if it was damaged during “normal and intended use” without charge. If I accidentally break the Conquest HD while watching birds they will repair it; even it was my dumb fault!
Please note, the 5 Year No Fault Warranty is not transferable, and you need to make sure and register your new purchase within 60 days.
*Zeiss may change their warranties at any time without notice. Please check the current warranty at the time of your purchase.*
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 waterproofed 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 fingerprints 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 a fantastic warranty as back up!!
Roof style binoculars are extremely popular because of their ergonomics, compactness, and lightweight. 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 and highly protected from their competitors. Zeiss gives us a little bit of information and lets the performance of the binocular do the rest of the selling.
Check out this page from Zeiss that gives a pretty good description of each coating. Read below for my summary.
Carl Zeiss T* multi-layer coating: This is the Zeiss signature coating that is continually 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 almost 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 full clarity and sharpness.
Whatever Zeiss does, the coatings are excellent! I could see a significant difference while looking through the Conquest HD compared to other optics in this price range. The colors were vibrant and accurate, and I could see incredible 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 secure grip, and my index finger sat directly over the focusing wheel.
It has a beautiful 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 its price range with the same magnification and objective lens diameter.
Check out this brochure from Zeiss. It has a 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 bird’s mouth!
Close focusing distance measures how close you can get and the binocular stays in focus. So the smaller the number, the better!
The Zeiss Conquest HD 8×42 comes in at a Close Focus of 6.5 feet (2m), which is considered excellent. Again, that means you can be as close as 6.5 feet and the subject stays in focus.
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 helpful 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.
Some binoculars cost roughly half the amount (e.g., Nikon Monarch 7) that provide a similar viewing experience.
So why spend the extra $$$???
The most significant difference is 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 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 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 binocular 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! This is especially true 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: 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 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 the following resource as your next step:
- The Best Binoculars for Bird Watching
- This should give some ideas of other binoculars that would be a great choice for bird watching. It includes optics across all different price ranges. (From $125 to $2,500)
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!
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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 appreciate that as it helps keep this site running and lets me know that this content is valuable! 🙂