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Zeiss Conquest HD 8x42mm Review

Zeiss Conquest HD 42mm Binoculars

by Michael and Diane Porter

Top quality binocular for under $1000

Zeiss Conquest HDIf you want to buy the best full-sized, 42mm binoculars in the world, you'll be shopping for the flagship products from Zeiss, Swarovski, or Leica. They will cost you between $2500 and $3000. Those binoculars, crafted in Europe by highly skilled technicians, have magnificent optical quality.

But those same manufacturers each make a second tier of binoculars, at dramatically lower prices. In 2012, we looked carefully at these tier-two products. They were good.

Of this group of second-tier top binoculars, the one we liked best was the Zeiss Conquest HD 8x42. It has superb resolution, contrast, ergonomics, and engineering. Since that time, in our opinion, no other manufacturer has made a binocular this good in this price range. (See full review here.)

It is more compact than the Zeiss Victory SF models.

A difference between the Conquest and the Victory SF is the diopter adjustment, which is on one eyepiece and does not have a scale or a lock. However, it works well and won't accidentally get turned off its setting, so we did not feel that the lack of a lock was a problem.

The Conquest HD has the same Zeiss LotuTec water-repellent coatings as the highest-priced Zeiss binoculars.

The Zeiss Conquest HD is manufactured in Germany. It gives the opportunity to enjoy European-made, Zeiss binoculars at an affordable price. We deemed it the best buy in a binocular in this price range.

Smooth focus knob

The Zeiss Conquest has one of the smoothest focus knob we have found on any binocular, with butter-smooth, precise action. It turns with the same degree of resistance at all parts of the action. There is no slack. You can make tiny, fine adjustments in focusing. It's a real pleasure to use this instrument.

Outstanding optical quality

The 8x42 Conquest HD has excellent optical quality, as you would expect in a $1000 binocular, and as we count on from Zeiss. It is bright, sharp, and quite free from chromatic aberration. We found no binoculars in its price range with better optics.

Conquest HD 32mmGood close up focus

With a minimum focus distance of 6.5 feet, you are ready if you get lucky and a bird happens to come up close. You won't have to back up to focus!

Or if you're watching humminbirds at feeders, the Zeiss Conquest's close focus lets you experience astounding plumage details.

Eye relief

With 18mm of eye relief, the Zeiss Conquest is easy to use by glasses wearers.

There is an issue for some people who do not wear glasses. This is an unusual problem. Zeiss engineered their eyecups a little too short for some non glasses wearers. As a result, with the supplied eyecups, some users need to hold the binoculars slightly away from their eyes.

The fix

To remedy the problem, Zeiss provides alternative, longer eyecups, on request. It is easy to unscrew the original eyecups and replace them with the longer ones. You can call Zeiss at 800-441-3005 to request the alternative longer eyecups.


Zeiss Conquest HD 8x42

Magnification 8x
Objective lens 42 mm
Field of view at 1000 yds 384 feet
Close focus 6.5 feet
Eye relief 18 mm
Length 4.9 inches
Weight 28 oz.
Warranty 5-year no-fault


You can check on current prices for the Zeiss Conquest HDs here.

Other sizes

Although this review focused on the 8x42 model, the Zeiss Conquest HDs are available in four models:


All of the Zeiss Conquest HD binoculars carry a lifetime warranty against manufacturer's defects. In addition, Zeiss includes a non-transferable 5-year no-fault policy that covers accidental damage.

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