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Zeiss Conquest HD vs Swarovski Companion CL — Review

Compact 30-32mm Binoculars

Hands-on comparison

by Michael and Diane Porter
March, 2017

A high-quality 32mm-sized binocular in the $1000 price range seems hard to find. The Zeiss Conquest HD is one, and its nearest competitor would the slightly smaller Swarovski CL Companion in 8x30 and 10x30.

We did a careful side-by-side comparison, and here is what we found.

C0nquest 32mm and CL Companion 30mm
Zeiss Conquest HD 32mm Swarovski CL Companion 30mm

Great Travel Binoculars

They can be slipped into a cargo pocket or concealed beneath a jacket. Very nice. When you're traveling in a foreign country, you want your binoculars quickly available but not necessarily always on display.

Weight and size

Although both are compact and quite a manageable weight, Swarovski has the clear advantage in this respect. It is shorter and weighs less than the Zeiss.

and model

Length of
Weight of
Swarovski CL Companion 4.7 inches 17.6 oz.
Zeiss Conquest HD 4.9 inches 22.2 oz.

Optical quality

Both have excellent optical quality. Both are bright, sharp, and quite free from chromatic aberration, as you would expect in a $1000 binocular. We would have to call them equal.

They're both better than most binoculars, and it's doubtful if you would ever find a situation in which you can't identify a bird with one of these but you could have done so with a different binocular. They're as good as binoculars need to be, and better.

Field of view

In the 8-power comparison, the Zeiss view is 13% wider.

and model

Field of view
at 1000 yards

Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 420
Swarovski CL Companion 8x30 372

In the 10-power comparison, the Zeiss advantage is even greater, or 18% wider.

and model

Field of view
at 1000 yards

Zeiss Conquest HD 10x32 354
Swarovski CL Companion 10x30 300

Our experience looking through them is that the wider field of view of the Zeiss gives a much more immersive experience, more as if you are right there in the scene.

Close focus

The Zeiss models focus closer, with a minimum focus distance of 4.9 feet, compared to 9.8 feet for the Swarovskis. This probably does not make a big difference most of the time. However, if you get lucky and a bird approaches you closely, or if you're watching humminbirds at feeders, the Zeiss Conquest's almost-arm-length close focus capability can be a real joy to experience.

Eye relief

Zeiss 16mm. Swarovski's 15mm. The small difference will not matter at all if you don't wear glasses, and most glasses wearers seem to be able to use the Swarovski without any problem.

For the Conquest, there is an ususual problem for people who do not wear glasses. You might need to change out the eyecups for a special, longer pair. Zeiss engineered their eyecups a little too short for some non glasses wearers, requiring users to hold the binoculars slightly away from their eyes. To remedy the problem, Zeiss made alternative, longer eyecups. It is easy to remove the original eyecups and replace them with the longer ones. You can request the special eyecups from Zeiss at no additional cost with your purchase.


Both companies offer a lifetime warranty against manufacturer's defects. In addition, Zeiss includes a non-transferable 5-year no-fault policy that covers accidental damage. Swarovski does not offer any warranty against damage, but they have a longstanding reputation for being very generous about fixing damage if when technically not required to do so. Both companies are known to take good care of customers.


The 32mm Zeiss Conquest HDs cost less than the Swarovski Companion CLs. You can check on current prices for the Zeiss Conquests here and for the Swarovski CL Companions here.

Other sizes

Swarovski makes the CL Companion line only with 30mm objective lenses — the 8x30 and 10x30 discussed here. Zeiss makes the Conquest HD in both 42mm versions and in the 32mm versions considered here.

Birdwatching Dot Com

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