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Conquest HD or Companion CL B?

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Old Wednesday 30th October 2019, 20:40   #1
Brink
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Conquest HD or Companion CL B?

I am having trouble deciding which of these to purchase. My current everyday bin is an M7 8x30. I have liked it well enough over the years, but the rubber armor is destroyed. I would like an upgrade in image quality and build without spending alpha dollars, but am keen on the strong points of the M7 (light weight, fast focus, wide FOV). The Conquest has the fast focus and wide field, but is fairly heavy. The Companion is light, and the FOV is still reasonably large, but I worry that the focus will be too slow. I know they are both optically superior to the M7, but does one of them stand out as better than the other?
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Old Thursday 31st October 2019, 02:03   #2
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I had the Conquest HD and the Companion CL B at the same time and I compared them often and I preferred the Companion CL B. If you like light weight and wide FOV and you want a fast focus I would seriously look at the new Kowa XD II's. They come in 6.5x32, 8x32, 10x32, 8x42 and 10x42 formats and there has been a lot of positive comments on them in the Kowa BDII XD threads. I have the 6.5x32 and the 10x42 and I think they are a good value for the money at $400.00. Here is a Kowa brochure on them and the thread links.

https://www.kowaoptic.com/BDII-XD-brochure.pdf
https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=382697
https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=378863
https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=382765
https://www.usa-binoculars.com/produ...7bdacad2&_ss=r

Last edited by [email protected] : Thursday 31st October 2019 at 02:10.
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Old Thursday 31st October 2019, 10:41   #3
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Brink, I have (and like a lot) the M7 8x30, so light and such a joy to use: fun binocular (I've taken it kayaking in the Mediterranean and on long walk on the Pyrenees: no complain whatsoever. They tend to glare under some circumstances, but I can live with that).
I was in your situation of finding a better 8x30-32. In the past I had a 8x42 Conquest HD which I sold because of the bulk (I loved the focus, though). I tried the 8x32 Conquest and found it too bulky and heavy, especially compared with the likes of M7, Nikon MHG, Kite Lynx, Companion CL. So, although I liked the optics and the focus, these were out of the question.
So I've ended up with the new 8x30 Companion CL (2018). I am pleased with the optics and the build quality (simply outstanding; the M7 looks like a toy binocular in comparison... but what a nice toy it is). The binoculars are very sharp, they wow you with contrast when you look at the bark of a tree or follow a bird among the branches of a tree. However, there are some caveats. For me, the first and foremost (and very personal) are the eyecups. It seems that my eye sockets are pretty large, because the eyecups of the Companion are a little too narrow (I had the same issue with the Meopta Meostar 8x32), so my eyelashes are "pressed" and is not that comfortable. The second caveat is exactly what you mention: focus speed. There is nothing wrong with the focus on the Companion, it is just not as soft and quick as the M7 or the Conquest, and I think I prefer the Nikon or Zeiss approach. Don't get me wrong; these are not the Habicht (those pose a serious trouble for birding in some situations), the manufacturer simply opted for a more slow approach. Probably many people would never even pay attention to this, but I think about it quite often while using them, so if you like a fast focus I suggest you try them first (you might be ok with it).
Image quality wise: I compared the Conquest HD and the Companion in a shop (which is not saying a lot), but the one I've spent more time with is the latter.
Pros: quality, quality, quality. This thing oozes quality. The rubber, the feeling in your hands, everything is so fantastically classy. The view is very bright and sharp (really). Size and shape. The barrels are just a little longer than the M7, so the "handholdability" is superior to my eyes (well, to my hands). Relatively light. Not as light as the M7, and you can notice the difference. This is a case where the M7 seems lighter than it is and the Companion feels heavier than it is, probably because of the metal frame and the fact that if feels so solid and reassuring.
Cons:slow focus, chromatic aberration (if you are bothered by it, you will find it quite often), small eyecups (and they have no intermediate position; it's whether up or down), can feel a little heavier than they are.

All in all, I find the 630 g (and the bulk) of the Conquest HD 8x32 a bit too high if you are looking for a replacement of the M7. I was in that very position a while ago, and my favourite in that price range was the 8x30 Nikon Monarch HG (with a faster focus than the Companion, as well as wider FOV and lighter body). But that particular model simply doesn't fit my eyes. I've tried it several times and every time it is a disappointment because I get blackouts and the viewing position is far from comfortable (to my eyes). Oddly enough, I find the M7 so comfortable and a pleasure to use. So, I said goodbye to the MHG and hello to the Companion, but the eyecup issue I mentioned had led me to the decision of selling them, I'm afraid.
I hope this helps.

Last edited by yarrellii : Thursday 31st October 2019 at 10:45.
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Old Thursday 31st October 2019, 13:04   #4
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I had the Conquest HD and the Companion CL B at the same time and I compared them often and I preferred the Companion CL B. If you like light weight and wide FOV and you want a fast focus I would seriously look at the new Kowa XD II's. They come in 6.5x32, 8x32, 10x32, 8x42 and 10x42 formats and there has been a lot of positive comments on them in the Kowa BDII XD threads. I have the 6.5x32 and the 10x42 and I think they are a good value for the money at $400.00. Here is a Kowa brochure on them and the thread links.

https://www.kowaoptic.com/BDII-XD-brochure.pdf
https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=382697
https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=378863
https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=382765
https://www.usa-binoculars.com/produ...7bdacad2&_ss=r
These seem great on spec, and the reviews are all positive. How can I be getting a better binocular for so much less money? Is there something I am missing here? Even the top Chinese optics (Vortex Razor) cost way more than these things, so it just feels like corners must have been cut somewhere. Even the warranty and company both look good.
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Old Thursday 31st October 2019, 14:17   #5
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These seem great on spec, and the reviews are all positive. How can I be getting a better binocular for so much less money? Is there something I am missing here? Even the top Chinese optics (Vortex Razor) cost way more than these things, so it just feels like corners must have been cut somewhere. Even the warranty and company both look good.
It seems to me Kowa did a really good job on these optically and build quality wise especially for a MIC binocular. They are surprisingly good for their price. The Kowa BDII XD 6.5x32 is as small and light as the Swarovski CL B 8x30, Nikon Monarch HG 8x30 and the Nikon M7 8x30 and I prefer it over all of them.The Kowa has a bigger FOV, bigger exit pupil with less blackouts, it is brighter, it has better DOF and more comfortable eye cups.

Last edited by [email protected] : Thursday 31st October 2019 at 17:09.
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Old Tuesday 5th November 2019, 16:58   #6
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When my wife was shopping for new binoculars this past Spring, I had a chance to look through the 8x30 M7, the 8x32 Conquest HD and the Companion CL B one after the other. We ended up buying the Companions. I liked the form factor of the M7s, but as you say, optically they are not in the same class. I also personally found them very finicky with eye placement and I had lots of blackouts looking through them. The Conquests felt big and clunky in comparison to the other two and just not as enjoyable to look through as the Companions. The Companions are small, light, optically very nice, and were a good fit for my wife's small hands. We also compared them to a pair of Swarovski 8.5x42s. Those were definitely nicer binoculars, but at a substantial increase in cost and size.

Since we've had them, I've borrowed them once or twice and found them very enjoyable to use. I'm currently using 10x42s and although I don't have problems with my hands shaking, I do find that the lighter weight of the 8x30s makes a big difference in terms of how long I'm willing to look at an individual bird and how my neck and shoulders feel at the end of a trip. The focus is slower than my 10x42s, but with the greater depth of field, I'm not focusing as often so that is not really a problem for me. I'm planning on buying my own pair of Companions in the new year.

I was quite interested in the Kowa 6.5x32s when they were announced, the lower magnification and large field of view sounds quite nice. But since I know I'll get on with the Companions, to me, it's not worth the risk of eventually wishing I had bought them instead.

Hope this helps.
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Old Tuesday 5th November 2019, 17:14   #7
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Originally Posted by Brink View Post
These seem great on spec, and the reviews are all positive. How can I be getting a better binocular for so much less money? Is there something I am missing here? Even the top Chinese optics (Vortex Razor) cost way more than these things, so it just feels like corners must have been cut somewhere. Even the warranty and company both look good.
While the old BD XD line was a bit so-so, it seems Kowa has taken some time to read the reviews and did a lot of things right with the successor. Plus they added the quite unique 6.5x32 wide field offering, which is a major draw for the bino geeks...

Joachim

Last edited by jring : Tuesday 5th November 2019 at 17:17.
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Old Saturday 9th November 2019, 16:20   #8
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Originally Posted by dminor View Post
When my wife was shopping for new binoculars this past Spring, I had a chance to look through the 8x30 M7, the 8x32 Conquest HD and the Companion CL B one after the other. We ended up buying the Companions. I liked the form factor of the M7s, but as you say, optically they are not in the same class. I also personally found them very finicky with eye placement and I had lots of blackouts looking through them. The Conquests felt big and clunky in comparison to the other two and just not as enjoyable to look through as the Companions. The Companions are small, light, optically very nice, and were a good fit for my wife's small hands. We also compared them to a pair of Swarovski 8.5x42s. Those were definitely nicer binoculars, but at a substantial increase in cost and size.

Since we've had them, I've borrowed them once or twice and found them very enjoyable to use. I'm currently using 10x42s and although I don't have problems with my hands shaking, I do find that the lighter weight of the 8x30s makes a big difference in terms of how long I'm willing to look at an individual bird and how my neck and shoulders feel at the end of a trip. The focus is slower than my 10x42s, but with the greater depth of field, I'm not focusing as often so that is not really a problem for me. I'm planning on buying my own pair of Companions in the new year.

I was quite interested in the Kowa 6.5x32s when they were announced, the lower magnification and large field of view sounds quite nice. But since I know I'll get on with the Companions, to me, it's not worth the risk of eventually wishing I had bought them instead.

Hope this helps.
dminor,

Nice post. In your situation I would get the Kowa 6.5 since you already have the Companion in the family. I own and love both. The Kowa image is unique, quite different form what you already have. ER on both is excellent. One thing, the diameter of the Kowa eyecups is noticeably larger if that might be an issue for you or your wife.

Mike
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Old Saturday 9th November 2019, 23:13   #9
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"One thing, the diameter of the Kowa eyecups is noticeably larger if that might be an issue for you or your wife".

Mike,

I totally with agree with this observation, and could be an issue for some.

Andy W.
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Old Saturday 9th November 2019, 23:36   #10
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I got the bdii today in 8x32. I didn't have much time with them but did a quick comparison to my m7. The Kowa has a bit more light transmission and is a bit sharper with a pretty large sweetspot and larger FOV. The m7 has the advantage with CA, though neither is bad, especially at center FOV. There is some globe effect with the bdii as well that didn't bother me much during a few quick pans. Overall it is superior optically to the m7 and the build quality seems much better. The m7 feels a bit more comfortable ergonomically, but this might just be because I have carried it for 5 years. The bdii feels pretty nice in hand, but the eyepiece covers are too snug. Hopefully they will loosen up
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Old Saturday 9th November 2019, 23:44   #11
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Also they both show some flare/glare, the m7 moreso than the bdii. I have never found this to be a real issue in the field with the m7 like some others have.
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Old Monday 11th November 2019, 18:37   #12
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dminor,

Nice post. In your situation I would get the Kowa 6.5 since you already have the Companion in the family. I own and love both. The Kowa image is unique, quite different form what you already have. ER on both is excellent. One thing, the diameter of the Kowa eyecups is noticeably larger if that might be an issue for you or your wife.

Mike
Mike, thank you for your suggestion. My biggest concern was that the Kowas would suffer in comparison to the Companions and I would eventually end up disappointed with them. From what you've said, it sounds like they are actually a nice complement to what we have already. Definitely something for me to consider!

Dan
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