Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 8×42 Review
The Zeiss Conquest HD has only recently arrived in Australia and Zeiss Official Retailers are starting to receive some stock of them. Similar to the recently released (Not officially available in Australia yet) Victory HT. Zeiss will stagger its launch and only have the 8×42 and 10×42 available on launch. The rest of the variations will still be available in the outgoing Conquest series. However, as productions have stopped, the remaining stock will only be what is available on the market.
The 8×42 and the 10×42 are priced $1199 and $1249 at OpticsCentral. I am glad that the prices for Optics in general have become comparable to the prices in the US and that Australian customers are able to buy binoculars from Australian businesses with fully supported warranties and at a reasonable price when compared to the world market.
Apart from the Vortex Viper HD and possibly the Vortex Razor HD, I can’t possibly think of a well built binoculars with Low Dispersion glass for about $1000 AUD. This will definitely be an eye opener for many other brands such as Steiner, Swarovski and Leica who will definitely be developing something to follow suit.
First Impressions and Unboxing
Anyone who has ever owned a Victory FL or the older Conquest would know that Zeiss is hardly known for impressive packaging. When compared to a Leica with its shiny metallic silver Cardboard Box and a drawer like compartment to store all the included accessories and manuals. I always find opening Zeiss boxes a little boring, Binoculars in the middle and accessories tucked away in the side compartments.
The new Zeiss Conquest HD Binoculars come in a box twice as big as the older models. The binoculars are neatly enclosed in a Zeiss Blue Foam for protection and the rest of the accessories are placed in a second tier. I have to say, it does give you the impression you just bought a Premium binoculars.
Build Quality and Exterior
The new material used in Zeiss Binoculars are a nice step up from the old and dated looking glossy black. The new matte finish with soft grip does make the binoculars more comfortable and nicer to hold. As with previous Zeiss Conquest binoculars, these are Made in Austria and not in the same factory as the Zeiss Victory HT. However, Zeiss has assured all dealers that both the Conquest and Victory binoculars go through the same quality inspections and have the same tolerances.
Some enthusiast may know this but the optics in the Carl Zeiss Conquest HD Binoculars are essentially the outgoing Zeiss Victory FL’s. This is the same for many manufacturers, ie. Vortex Viper HD are essentially the older Vortex Razors. Therefore, looking through them, I knew what to expect from them and my impressions are, I’ve just bought a Carl Zeiss Victory FL for a $1000 discount.
Sharpness is Razor sharp up to the edges, Chromatic Abberation is still very minimal at the edges and almost non-existent in the centre. The focus wheel is still butter smooth and colors are as vivid as can be.
Over the past 3 years or so. We’ve seen ED Glass binoculars for as little as $500 released by Mainstream brand. Compared to what you could get in Australia 5 years ago, you are much better off today. I have never seen such advancements in technology and such massive reductions in price of quality binoculars for quite some time.
Essentially, a Zeiss Victory FL which was still $2000 earlier in the year before the announcement of the Victory HT’s can now be purchased for a little over $1000. These new enhancements of the Victory HT which I reviewed earlier are minor and the improvements while appreciated, are only marginal for the average user.
I personally think the Conquest HD would be all the binoculars you would actually need and I would be surprised if an average user looking to upgrade from their current pair of average binoculars had something to complain about them and felt that they weren’t of decent value.