Zeiss Conquest Binoculars
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- Last updated: 23/11/2016
The field of sports binoculars and variety available to the shooters is vast and dare I say confusing, however one thing remains the same, you get what you pay for. Bargains usually come with some form of compromise but with advances, especially in lens coating and construction and light transmission levels, you will find that you can now buy a really good set of binoculars for an affordable price. A good example is top notch makers Zeiss who have now bought excellent optics to the masses. Their new Conquest HD binoculars are such - excellent optics, ergonomics and a great price at £665 (typically).
Two models are available, your typical stalking 8x42mm set which gives you all-round performance even in the worst lightning conditions. Size-wise they are small and light enough yet stable in use! I had the 10x42mm version as I like a bit more mag, especially in Scotland so you can define the quality of antlers better at distance. Actually they are no bigger than the 8x42s and are both 155mm high and weigh only 750g.
Black and rubber-covered for increased protection, Zeiss have thought about how they would be used in the field, so the special grip area has actually had a lot of design process put in. They do feel very comfortable, the rubberised finish is moulded so there is more meat around the outside bell of the ocular which in turn fills your hands well. So putting your forefinger in a relaxed position to operate the central focusing wheel. It may sound a bit OTT but if you use a set of binoculars a lot, comfortable viewing is important.
The Conquests are made in Germany so quality is assured. The 10x42s offer a 115m field of view (FOV) at 1000m and the 8x42s 128m. So the choice is yours as to more magnification or a bit more FOV!
Part of the reason the Conquests are so “handy” is the objective lens are 42mm diameter. Yes 50 or 56mm would gather more light but would compromise the design. At x10 you still have an exit pupil of 4.2mm and with the extra mag a boosted twilight factor of 20.5. Under all normal stalking conditions they will spot and detail any game easily. Interestingly and more for naturalists is that the focus can be reduced to a scant 2 metres.
The focus ring is smooth and lightly ribbed and offers easy and precise adjust for fine detail or quick acquisition that will stay focused where you left it and not wander like cheaper makes will. The eye cups extend for normal or spectacle use and there is a +/- 4 dioptre adjustment.
But best of all are the lens themselves. The HD system gives superbly clean and crisp images with that characteristic cool or neutral colour range that Zeiss has perfected to achieve the best blend of definition where you want it, in low light conditions. They are further enhanced with Zeiss `s proprietary lens coating T* a multi layering that also allows 90% light transmission. If that was not enough the LotuTec protective coating as a last layer is there is repel moisture and rain that would otherwise obscure your vision.
In the field is where it really counts, so I headed off to Surrey after Roe bucks. The Conquests come with a padded carry strap, wide enough not to eat into neck and tucked into my jacket I hardly noticed them at all. The weather was foul, rain and wind, not best Roe conditions as they would be more static but a good test of the LotuTec coatings that do keep the lens mostly clear of water drops. What I really liked was the clarity of the image even in the low light and damp conditions. Where I stalk in Surrey is dense woodland and small open areas planted with new trees where the Roe tend to bed down. With the Conquest HD lens under the tree canopy that was dark and dingy to say the least the image given really popped out at you. What looked like a tree log turned out to be a nice roe buck bedded down that I would have missed otherwise. A shot from my 30-47L Predator rifle and me and the Conquest HD `s had their first blood.
Best of all is the street price, at £665 they are a real bargain. You get all of Zeiss`s optical excellence in a very practical and high quality set of binoculars. Whether you choose the 8x42mm or 10x42mm option the size and weight is just right, there’s enough heft there to feel substantial but not too heavy to tout around all-day on the hill. Because the HD lens are optimised for the best light transmission in low light, it is true the images have that cool/neutral look, but the image is brighter than other binoculars in this price range, which is actually what you want.
For any one you wants a premium brand binoculars without compromise then the new Zeiss Conquest HD`s will not disappoint.