In this Zeiss Conquest HD 10×42 review we take an in-depth look at how the Zeiss Conquest binoculars stack up against the competition in their respective price category. The $1000 price category that these Zeiss Conquest HD binoculars sit in is extremely competitive, and the distinctions can be tough to find. However, we had the distinct pleasure and opportunity to test out these Conquest HD binoculars next to 25 others in many different lighting conditions to see the difference. Check out that review to see how they ranked in our testing!
When you jump to the $1000 price point where these land, you can really start to see some additional quality performance and features vs the $500 price point. After putting $500 binoculars next to $1000 binoculars, it became very evident what you are paying for, and we found that the jump in performance is more notable than the jump from the $1000 price point up to the $1500 price range. The law of diminishing returns really kicks in past the $1000 price bracket, but you certainly do see improved performance in the more expensive binoculars. That extra performance just costs a lot more proportionally.
The Zeiss Conquest HD binoculars come in a variety of configurations to cover most applications you may find yourself wanting. You can pick them up in the following configurations:
- Conquest 8×32
- Conquest 10×32
- Conquest 8×42
- Conquest 10×42
- Conquest 8×56
- Conquest 10×56
- Conquest 15×56
There is literally a size for every activity you may want to engage in. Now, let’s dive into how they performed, some pros and cons, and what we liked and didn’t like about them.
Love optics? We certainly do here at Backwoods Pursuit, so make sure to check out our MONSTER 26 BINOCULAR REVIEW, as well as our massive 19 SPOTTING SCOPE REVIEW. For both of those reviews, we lined up the optics and tested them side by side!
If you are in the market for some top tier binoculars, make sure to check out our review comparing the Swarovski NL Pure vs Zeiss Victory SF vs Leica Noctivid binoculars. We dive deep into the performance differences of those three pairs of binoculars.
The Specs: Zeiss Conquest HD 10×42 Binoculars
The Zeiss Conquest 10×42 binoculars are very lightweight for their class at just 28 oz, making them easy to carry all day long with out worrying about extra weight. While not the lightest weight binoculars in the $1000 category, they were certainly not the heaviest either. They are nice and compact, comfortable in had as well, and have a generous field of view of 345 feet at 1000 yards coming in 3rd place for this category, with only the Meopta Meopro Air (360ft) and Vortex Razor HD (362ft) having larger fields of view respectively.
Here are the rest of the specs for the Zeiss Conquest HD 10×42 binoculars:
Eye cups: Zeiss Conquest HD Binoculars Review
I know I’m not the first, nor will I be the last, to not love the eye cups on the Zeiss Conquest HD binoculars. They are quite comfortable and lock nicely into place once they are set. So much so that for a large part of this testing, I didn’t realize that there were two more “clicks” in adjustment to the eye cups.
Initially I thought there were just 2 positions, but once it was realized that there were two more adjustments out, we liked the eye cups a lot more. They lock into place so well you almost think you are going to break them when twisting them out to the last two eye cup positions. Admittedly, I should have read the directions where it points out that there are 4 positions for the eye cups, but I didn’t, so there was certainly some user error here.
The extra two clicks we finally discovered allow better usage of the awesome 18 mm of eye relief that the Zeiss Conquest HD binoculars offer, but still don’t allow for full usage of that eye relief. We contacted Zeiss and they provided us with extended eye cups that solved this issue with the stock eye cups and really made a difference.
The eye cups give you 4 positions to choose from, but the extended eye cups really upgrade these from “so-so” eye cups, to “very good” eye cups. The edges of the eye cups are soft and pliable, almost too much so, which aids in comfort. I prefer a more rigid edge to the eye cups, but it’s not a huge deal. Durability is definitely a concern on these eye cups as one of them did come apart when removing them to put the extended eye cups on.
Tripod Adaptability: Zeiss Conquest HD Binoculars Review
The Zeiss Conquest binoculars are nicely threaded for a stud, and it is located in what I consider to be the perfect place. The placement allows for maximum stability when using a binocular tripod adapter and gives you the ability to use a number of tripod adapters on the market.
I noted that I had trouble getting the Swarovski SLC TA and the Outdoorsmans Tripod Adapter studs screwed into the Zeiss Conquest HD binoculars because the rubber molding surrounding the threads was too thick to allow the threads of the SCL and Outdoorsmans adapters to grab on. I was able to get the Bushnell Quick Release Adapter screwed in easily, because the base was much narrower and it fit right in the cutout perfectly. Obviously, the Zeiss Tripod Adapter is made for the Conquest and Terra ED binoculars, so it will work perfectly, but I was bummed that the Swarovski SLC TA and Outdoorsmans adapter I already had didn’t work with them.
Check out Our Video Review of these 4 Great Tripod Adapters
We’ve tested a number of other tripod adapters as well, so take a look at our comprehensive binocular tripod adapter review for additional options!
Focus Mechanism: Zeiss Conquest Binocular Review
The focus mechanism of the Zeiss Conquest HD binoculars is silky smooth and was one of the favorites of the group, with one exception. The focus wheel is absolutely buttery smooth, but doesn’t offer quite enough resistance, making it more likely to move on you when taking them in and out of your binocular harness. While I always find myself having to adjust my binos every time I pull them out because I’m always focusing on objects at various distances, the focus wheel moving so freely tends to make it move more than others. I did notice an absolutely minuscule amount of play in the focus wheel, but that’s being extremely nit picky. The focus speed is perfect.
Diopter Adjustment: Zeiss Conquest HD 10×42 Review
The diopter adjustment on the Zeiss Conquest 10×42 binoculars presents a couple of things that are not a favorite. First, the diopter does not lock, which wouldn’t be a huge deal if it had more resistance to being moved. Unfortunately, the diopter moves far too easily for our liking and that paired with the fact that it is not a locking diopter, allows for unintentional movement simply by handling or taking the Conquest HD binoculars out of your binocular harness. For binoculars at this price point, I’ve come to expect a locking diopter, but the Conquest HD binoculars don’t feature this.
Now, during our extensive testing for our huge 26 binocular review we noted that even some of the binoculars in the $1000 and above price category didn’t have a locking diopter, so it’s not unheard of, but it certainly would be an improvement for these Zeiss Conquest HD binoculars. I always prefer a locking diopter so it’s a “set it and forget it” kind of thing.
Feel/Rubber Armor: Zeiss Conquest HD 10×42 Binoculars Review
The Zeiss Conquest HD binoculars are protected by a rubber armor that have a smooth, but non-slip feel to them. At 28 oz, their weight makes them feel plenty stable in hand. The hinge offers nice resistance and stays in place nicely when adjusted to your interpupilary distance.
Field of View: Zeiss Conquest Binocular Review
During this Zeiss Conquest HD binocular review we enjoyed the wide field of view they offer. While comparing all the 10×42 binoculars in our huge 26 binocular side by side comparison, the typical field of view we saw was around 340 feet at 1000 yards, so the 345 feet the Zeiss Conquest HD 10x42s offer is above average compared to the others.
Color and Clarity: Zeiss Conquest HD Binoculars Review
The color and clarity of the Zeiss Conquest HD binoculars were top of their class according to our group of 10 volunteer testers. After multiple sessions in the field testing these Conquest HD binoculars alongside the others in this price class, the average scores put these as the winner in the optical performance category. While it was a close race, the image clarity, low light performance, and edge-to-edge clarity were best in class with these Zeiss Conquest HD.
The image these Zeiss Conquest HD 10×42 binoculars produced is extremely sharp, well-contrasted, and free of much chromatic aberration. They’re not perfect as we noticed a little bit, but they were extremely good and still top of their class.
Edge-to-Edge Clarity: Zeiss Conquest HD 10×42 Review
The Zeiss Conquest HD 10×42 binoculars are amazing in the edge-to-edge clarity department. As noted above, they took the top spot and provided a fantastic, best-in-class edge-to-edge clarity according to our group of volunteer testers. Again, the edge-to-edge clarity isn’t perfect, but you wouldn’t expect that in binoculars in the $1000 price category, but they are excellent with only the outer 15% or so suffering from loss of image clarity. Given the extremely light weight and compact size of these Zeiss Conquest HD binoculars, that’s very impressive!
Low Light Performance: Zeiss Conquest HD 10×42 Review
During our testing for this Zeiss Conquest HD 10×42 review, we had the opportunity to put them side by side vs 8 others in low light situations and monitor how they performed as light faded into the evening. This is where the Zeiss Conquest HD binoculars showed their superior performance and again, came out on top. They simply provided a better, more crisp, contrasted image in low light, and were the brightest of the group. For us hunters who are needing low light performance, this is a critical piece to the puzzle.
Check out the full review of that 26 binocular comparison here!
Eye Strain: Zeiss Conquest HD Binoculars Review
Another big factor in our testing during this Zeiss conquest HD 10×42 review was looking for any eye strain. The Conquest HD binoculars are excellent in this department and provide a nice, relaxed viewing experience. Long periods of glassing will certainly cause eye fatigue if you are experiencing eye strain with binoculars, but we didn’t notice any eye strain with the Zeiss Conquest, making long glassing sessions a breeze.
Chromatic Aberration: Zeiss Conquest HD Binoculars Review
While testing for chromatic aberration, we didn’t see much at all when looking at the edge of a leaf, rock, or object with sharp edges. The edges of objects were sharp and clear, with only a very small degree of chromatic aberration. Again, the Zeiss Conqeust HD binoculars were best in class for this group as well.
What I liked: Zeiss Conquest HD Binoculars Review
There is so much to love about these Zeiss Conquest HD binoculars. They are super lightweight, built on a durable, well-built housing, have a great ergonomic feel, and feature a super smooth focus wheel. They have great tripod adaptability, are best-in-class for low light performance, and have the clearest image in their class.
- Low light performance
- Image clarity
- Edge -to-edge clarity
- Smooth focus mechanism
- Very light weight
- Compact size
- Great rubber armor and housing
- Threaded for a tripod adapter
The Zeiss Conquest HD 10×42 binoculars came out on top of the $1000 price category in our testing, and for good reason. They are flat out great performers optically!
What i didn’t like: Zeiss Conquest HD Binoculars Review
The Zeiss Conquest HD 10×42 binoculars have a few things I feel could be better.
- Ever so slight play in focus wheel
- Eye cups needed replaced
- No locking diopter
- Diopter moved to easily
Zeiss Optics lifetime Warranty
Zeiss Optics covers the Conquest HD binoculars with their “5 Year No Fault Policy” which is nice to have. It is limited to one use per product, however. Additionally, the binoculars are covered by a “Limited Lifetime Warranty” against defects, etc, so your investment is protected in the event something does happen. The warranty does state the original owner must register the product and be purchased from an authorized Zeiss dealer. It is fully transferable, which is also nice. This isn’t the best warranty we’ve seen, but it certainly covers you if something unfortunate does happen to your optics.
Conclusion: Zeiss Conquest HD Binoculars Review
At the end of the day, not everyone can afford to drop thousands of dollars on high end binoculars, but still need to get great performance in the field. The Zeiss Conquest HD binoculars fit that sweet spot of near top tier performance, while still in a more affordable price point of roughly $1000 (at the time of this writing). They offer best-in-class optical performance and do everything most of us need. While they don’t have the edge-to-edge clarity or low light performance like the Swarovski NL Pure or Zeiss Victory SF, or Leica Noctivid (check out that comparison review here), they do offer you a phenomenal value at a fraction of the cost.
We had the distinct pleasure of being able to extensively test these Zeiss Conquest HD binoculars against 25 others, so we were certainly spoiled in that regard. Doing that massive optics review project ruined us all for life when it comes to analyzing glass, but at the same time, we gained invaluable knowledge with a majority of the binoculars we use and learned how they all perform in various conditions.
During that review, we all saw first hand the difference between $300 binoculars and higher end binoculars (as much as $3000). The difference is absolutely undeniable. With that being said, it certainly doesn’t take high end binoculars to be successful in the field or effectively glass a basin thousands of yards away. The $1000 price point seemed to be a sweet spot when it comes to the balance of performance and value, and these Zeiss Conquest HD binoculars led that category in most of our testing.
If top tier binoculars are not quite in the budget for you, but you still need good quality glass, the Zeiss Conquest HD binoculars deserve a good hard look. They’ll do almost everything most of us need when on a hunt or pursuing the backwoods.
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2 thoughts on “Zeiss Conquest HD 10×42 Review | Best in Class Binoculars”
Great review! Bought the Zeiss conquest HD prior to the season this year and they performed great. The extended eye cups work great for me and I never had an issue with diopter, and I personally love the focus wheel… butter smooth, which is really nice when glassing off a tripod (minimal movement while focusing).
Thanks, Roy and thank you for sharing your experience! They are fantastic binos!