Binoculars review

Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 10x42

Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 10x42
1 August 2016 
The Zeiss Conquest series was launched over ten years ago. These were binoculars produced by Zeiss in their Hungarian factory and, overall, ten models were released with the objective lenses ranging from 30 to 56 mm in diameter.

In January 2012 a new Conquest series, with HD letters added to its name, was released and it was produced in Germany. First the 8x42 and 10x42 models were presented, then the 8x32 and the 10x32 and finally the 8x56, the 10x56 and the 15x56.

The binoculars of this series include a special optical system marked as HD which, joined with antireflection T* coatings, is supposed to offer a very clear and contrasted image. The producer emphasizes the fact that the total transmission of the instrument should reach over 90% even though it features Schmidt-Pechan prisms (more efficient Abbe-Koenig prisms are implemented in the night 56 mm models).

The Conquest HD pairs of binoculars come also with hydrophobic LotuTec coatings so the outer elements are easier to clean. They are also waterproof (submersible up to 5 meters) and nitrogen-purged so they can be used in temperatures ranging from -20 to +63 degrees C.

Buyers get joined caps for objectives and eyepieces, a strap and a hard case with its own strap. The binoculars come with a 10-year guarantee period.

  • Lornetka Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 10x42
  • Lornetka Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 10x42
  • Lornetka Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 10x42
  • Lornetka Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 10x42
Manufacturer data


Carl Zeiss
web site

Distribution / Sales:

M.K. Szuster
web site

Magnification Lens diameter Angular field of view Prisms Eye relief Weight Price
10 42 115/1000(6.6o) BaK-4/roof 18 mm 795 g 4500 PLN
Results of the review
Real front lens diameter Left:   42+/- 0.05 mm
Right:  42+/- 0.05 mm
8 / 8.0 pkt
Real magnification 9.96+/- 0.1x 3/3.0
Transmission 93.1+/- 1% 14/15.0
Chromatic aberration Slight in the centre, a bit higher than medium on the edge. 6.6/10.0
Astigmatism Practically imperceptible. 9.2/10.0
Distortion The distance of the first curved line from the field centre compared to the field of view radius: 92% ± 4% 10/10.0
Coma Starts in a distance of about 75% of the field of view radius and is a bit lower than medium on the very edge. 8.2/10.0
Blurring at the edge of the FOV Blur occurs in a distance of 84% ± 4% from the field of view centre. 6.5/10.0
Darkening at the edge the FOV Negligible. 4.6/5.0
Whiteness of the image Slight loss of red colour and a bit more distinct loss of blue. 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 10x42 - Internal reflections - Left Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 10x42 - Internal reflections - Right
Nice and quite dark area around the exit pupil.
Housing Typical for the 10x42 class. Comfortable to hold and to look through. Rubber armour is a bit too slippery and it sticks out a bit near the objectives. Rubberized eyecups with 4-stop regulation. Produced in Germany. 7.3/8.0
Focusing Comfortable central wheel which turns smoothly but with slight resistance. The angle of full turn amounts to 420 degrees. Individual focusing on the right eyepiece in a form of a comfortable, rubberized and ribbed wheel. It moves the outer element. 4.5/5.0
Tripod There is a tripod exit but a tad difficult to reach. 2.5/3.0
Interpupilary distance from 53.8 to 73.8mm 4/6.0
Closest focusing distance 2.0 meter. 2/2.0
Eyepieces FOV Apparent field of view of 64.8 degrees. 7.5/10.0
Field of view Measured by us amounted to 6.51 +\- 0.04 degrees and it was a bit narrower than stated by the producer in the specifications. A very good field for this class of equipment. 7.5/8.0
Quality of the interior of the barrels Well-blackened and matted tubes, equipped with a lot of apertures and ribs. A bit too light bottom with scratches. Very clean. 4.3/5.0
Left: Right:
Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 10x42 - Vignetting - Left Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 10x42 - Vignetting - Right
OL: 4.45%, OR: 5.99%
Prisms quality High quality BaK-4. 8/8.0
Antireflection coatings Pink-purple-orange on objectives, pink-green on eyepieces, purple-pink on the prisms. Low intensity. 5/5.0
Warranty [years] 10 4.5/6.0
Final result
141.8 / 170 pkt
Econo result 0pkt.


  • solid housing,
  • very good transmission,
  • excellent astigmatism correction,
  • low coma,
  • wide field of view,
  • slight brightness loss on the edge of the field,
  • lack of distortion,
  • good colour rendering,
  • dark area around exit pupils,
  • good darkening inside the tubes,
  • high quality of prisms made of BaK-4 glass,
  • efficient antireflection coatings.

  • truncated exit pupils.

I admit it openly: in my view the Conquest HD series have been one of the most successful launches of binoculars in recent years. Instead of giving you a detailed description of its strong and weak points let me focus on something else.

During this test I had as many as six 10x42 instruments available on my shelf: all the current line-up Zeisses (the Terra ED, the Conquest HD, the Victory HT and SF), the Swarovski SLC and the Leica Ultravid HD Plus. Many times I looked through them from my balcony in order to check how they perform in reality. After some period of time I realized that I was choosing the Conquest more often than the rest. Why? The Terra ED optically lagged behind the whole group, the Victory SF annoyed me with the reflections behind the diaphragm and the Victory HT had a narrower field of view.

To sum up the Conquest HD 10x42 is so good that personally I find it rather pointless to spend significantly more money on such models as the Leica Ultravid HD Plus, the Swarovski SLC or even the Victory HT. Of course different customers have different preferences; I admit that e.g. the casing of the Conquest HD is not as shapely and handy as that of the Leica and the Victory HT corrects the chromatic aberration better. For many people such details might be decisive. Still they cannot change my personal opinion that among the aforementioned pairs of binoculars belonged to the premium class the Conquest HD features the best price/quality ratio.