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Binoculars review

Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32

Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32
26 August 2015
Optyczne.pl 
The Zeiss Conquest series was launched over ten years ago. It consisted of pairs of binoculars produced by Zeiss in a Hungarian plant; overall they released as many as ten different models with the objective lenses diameters ranging from 30 to 56 mm.

In January 2012 a refreshed Conquest series was shown on the market with HD letters in their names; its production was moved back to Germany. 8x42 and 10x42 models were launched as the first, then 8x32 and 10x32 joined them and finally they launched 8x56 ,10x56 and 15x56 models.

Binoculars from that series are supposed to have a special optical system marked as HD which, combined with antireflection T* coatings, allegedly guarantees bright and properly contrasted images. The producer emphasizes the fact that the overall transmission of a pair of binoculars should reach 90% even though weaker Schmidt-Pechan prisms are used inside ( Abbe-Koenig prisms, which are better, can be found in the low light models with an objective lens of 56 mm).

The Conquest HD series binoculars boast LotuTec water shedding outer coatings for all weather use and easier cleaning; they are also nitrogen-filled, fully armored and waterproof up to 5 meters. They can be used in temperatures ranging from -20 to +63 degrees Centigrade.

Buyers get a rainguard and lens cups, a strap and a hard case with a strap of its own in the box. The product comes with a 10-year guarantee period.

Pictures
  • Lornetka Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32
  • Lornetka Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32
  • Lornetka Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32
  • Lornetka Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32
Manufacturer data

Manufacturer:

Carl Zeiss
web site

Distribution / Sales:

M.K. Szuster
web site

Magnification Lens diameter Angular field of view Prisms Eye relief Weight Price
8 32 140/1000(8o) BaK-4/roof 16 mm 630 g 3600 PLN
Results of the review
Real front lens diameter Left:   32.1+/- 0.05 mm
Right:  32.1+/- 0.05 mm
8 / 8.0 pkt
Real magnification 8.03+/- 0.05x 3/3.0
Transmission 88.1+/- 1% 12/15.0
Chromatic aberration Slight in the centre, a bit higher than medium on the very edge of the field of view. 6.8/10.0
Astigmatism .Corrected in a sensational way. Point-like images of stars close to perfection. 9.5/10.0
Distortion The distance between the first curved line and the field centre compared to the field of vision radius : 49% ± 5% 5/10.0
Coma Appears in a distance of 80% of the field of vision radius and is medium on the very edge 8.2/10.0
Blurring at the edge of the FOV The blur occurs in a distance of 84% ± 5% from the field of vision centre. 6.5/10.0
Darkening at the edge the FOV Slight. 4.4/5.0
Whiteness of the image A slight loss of the red colour (3.0%) and a more noticeable loss of the blue colour. As a result images have a delicate greenish hue. 4.1/5.0
Collimation Perfect. 5/5.0
Internal reflections
Left: Right:
Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 - Internal reflections - Left Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 - Internal reflections - Right
Nice, dark area around the exit pupil.
4.6/5.0
Housing Typical dimensions for the 8x32 class. Comfortable to hold and to look through. The rubber armour covering it seems a bit too slippery and it sticks out a bit next to objectives. Eyecups rubberized and with 4 regulation stops. Produced in Germany. 7.3/8.0
Focusing Comfortable central wheel which moves smoothly but with some resistance. A full turn takes about 420 degrees. Individual focusing on the right eyepiece in a form of a comfortable ring covered by rubber and ribbed. It moves the outer element. 4.5/5.0
Tripod No. In tests of 8x32 pairs of binoculars all devices were given here an average value of 1.5 points. A tripod exit is, after all, rarely used in this class of equipment. 1.5/3.0
Interpupilary distance from 53 to 74.2mm 5/6.0
Closest focusing distance 1.40 meter. 2/2.0
Eyepieces FOV Apparent field of view of 64.7 degrees. 7.5/10.0
Field of view Measured by us amounted to 8.06 +\- 0.03 degrees and it was a tad wider than stated by the producer. A very good field for this class of equipment. 6.5/8.0
Quality of the interior of the barrels Tubes are property darkened and matted; they come with an appropriate number of apertures and ribs. The bottom a bit too light and some specks of dust. 4/5.0
Vignetting
Left: Right:
Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 - Vignetting - Left Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 - Vignetting - Right
OL: 1.5%, OR: 6.7%
2.5/8.0
Prisms quality Good quality BaK-4. 8/8.0
Antireflection coatings Purple-pink-blue on objectives and eyepieces; purple-pink on prisms. Low intensity. 5/5.0
Warranty [years] 10 4.5/6.0
Final result
79.6%
135.4 / 170 pkt
Econo result 0pkt.

Summary


Pros:
  • solid casing of good quality,
  • sensible transmission,
  • excellent astigmatism correction,
  • lack of problems with chromatic aberration,
  • low coma,
  • wide field of view,
  • slight brightness loss on the edge of the field,
  • good colour reindition,
  • dark area near the exit pupil,
  • proper darkening of the interior of the tubes,
  • good quality prisms made of BaK-4 glass,
  • efficient anti-reflection coatings,
  • sharp image already from 1.4 metres.

Cons:
  • truncated pupils.



One glance at the parameters of the tested Conquest HD 8x32 (especially its wide field of view) and its result in our test and you know everything you need to know about that device.

Some very strong competitors the Zeiss might find among top-of-the-range pairs of binoculars produced in Japan. For roughly the same amount of money you can buy the Nikon HG 8x32, the Leupold Golden Ring 8x32 HD (unfortunately already unavailable) and the Alpen Ranier 8x32. Still in each cases the Zeiss is able to present something more. It is physically lighter and comes with a wider field of view than the Nikon. The Leupold would be a very serious opponent but it is already unavailable; the Alpen comes with the same field of view but is heavier. Apart from that the tradition and renown of the Zeiss brand name cannot be ignored too. Many people choose Zeiss only because they would actually prefer wearing a piece of equipment with the logo of that German producer rather than an Alpen or Leupold set of binoculars even though those can be bought for roughly the same amount of money.


Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 and Kowa BD 8x32 XD Prominar


It’s worth noticing that the level of 130 points has been gnawed at more and more often by the best pairs of binoculars produced in China. That’s why the Zeiss should also prepare for competing with such devices like the Kowa BD 8x32 XD Prominar or the Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8x32. Still the price might be crucial here as Chinese products are significantly cheaper and for many buyers 500 Euro constitute an impassable limit and an absolute maximum of what they are prepared to spend on a set of binoculars.

Anyway the result of the Conquest HD 8x32 would have been outstanding if not for one slip-up we simply have to write about. Such truncated exit pupils ill befit such a renowned producer – what a disgrace!

Still we wouldn’t like to end this test on a pessimistic note; the tested Zeiss product, doesn’t deserve it at all. In my opinion the whole Conquest HD series is actually a great idea – for a quite sensible price you get devices which are hardly worse than the previous top-of-the-range Victory FL series and can compete successfully even with Ultravids or EL-series binoculars manufactured by Swarovski.


Attention! In this test the transmission value has been measured only for two wavelengths: 532 nm (green) and 657 nm (red) with a margin of error never exceeding 1%. Four measurements have been taken for each optical path and the results have been averaged out.