Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Zeiss - Always on the lookout for something special – Shop now

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32: highs and lows

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old Thursday 5th May 2016, 22:48   #1
ABCY 1
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Canberra
Posts: 64
Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32: highs and lows

I've been using these binoculars for less than a year and they have quickly become my first choice for fieldwork - bright, sharp, excellent contrast, quick and precise focussing, great FOV, good eye relief with glasses, lightweight - for my eyes they tick all the boxes.

Until ... a month ago, days before an overseas birding trip, the focussing suddenly (in mid-turn) became dry/sticky and somehow jerky, so that instead of being smooth it jumped in tiny increments. I had no time to return them to Zeiss, which in Australia takes several weeks, so I crossed my fingers and took them off to Sri Lanka for a fortnight's birding and wildlife-watching (awesome trip, highly recommended). And the Zeiss sometimes focussed as smoothly as before, sometimes reverted to being 'dry' and jerky, to the extent that I had to turn the wheel back and forth pinched between finger and thumb instead of just rolling it. I generally managed to get sharp focus on what I was looking at if it was stationary, but couldn't follow e.g. flying birds - very frustrating. So I had mentally composed a cranky letter to Zeiss as I packed up to come home, only to find they have worked flawlessly ever since. I'm almost afraid to return them under warranty if there is no apparent fault now.

Interested to know if any forum members have encountered this sort of intermittent problem with Conquest HD.
ABCY 1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 5th May 2016, 23:26   #2
Ratal
Registered User
 
Ratal's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Scotland
Posts: 1,030
That needs returning. There is a major no no in the world of engineering, and that is some thing designed to do A, but does B at irregular intervals. It is a sign of something about to go drastically wrong.
Ratal is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 6th May 2016, 00:14   #3
james holdsworth
Consulting Biologist
 
james holdsworth's Avatar

 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: ontario
Posts: 3,298
Unless it was a bit of grit / debris that was sticking in the focus system...that is now gone?
__________________
''serenity now....insanity later.'' - Lloyd Brawn
james holdsworth is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 6th May 2016, 13:12   #4
Wayland
Registered User
 
Wayland's Avatar

 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Hannington
Posts: 45
I've got the same bins and I had no end of problems with them involving the focus.

The initial problem was the focus wheel feeling sticky but then suddednly freeing after moving a few turns. It did this every time I used them. I sent them back and upon return they were ok for a few weeks and then same problem again.

They were returned a further 2 times. One time they came back damaged; another time no different to when they were sent out. In a moment of frustration I put a minute drop of oil inside the focus wheel. Bingo! The focus became instantly silky smooth and I realised what was causing the problem - something the Zeiss technicians failed to do on 3 occasions - the rubber thumb wheel was rubbing on some part of the mechanism creating friction.

This sounds to me to be very much like what you have experienced.
__________________
"Wear your boots out before you wear them in"
Wayland is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 6th May 2016, 20:51   #5
ABCY 1
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Canberra
Posts: 64
Thanks all, much appreciated. Taking your replies in order:

Ratal - yes, agree there is something seriously wrong and Zeiss should fix it, just looking for any other instances of this happening

James - the grit/debris theory is plausible but this really feels like the lubricant intermittently going missing, which takes me to..

Wayland - yes, this sounds like my bins, and good to hear about another case. Your description of the rubber thumb wheel rubbing on something seems spot on to me. I'm reluctant to put oil into the focus wheel myself but I'll send them off to Zeiss and if the problem isn't permanently fixed I might ask you for more detail on how you did this (before I do something that would void the 5-year warranty)

cheers, Peter
ABCY 1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 9th May 2016, 22:46   #6
perseid28
Registered User
 
perseid28's Avatar

 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 113
I have experienced the exact same thing as Peter, though to a far lesser extent. In fact, the 8x32 Conquest HDs I currently own are a warranty replacement for a pair that had the same issue, and these also exhibit the problem.

In my current pair, right out of the box I noticed that the focusing could be significantly stiffer than normal if the focuser hadn't been adjusted for awhile. It didn't happen every time, but when the binoculars first arrived it happened quite often. Moving the focuser back and forth eventually resulted in an "unsticking" sensation, and the binoculars were suddenly focusing as smoothly as ever. This unsticking feeling did feel like the focuser somehow became lubricated, and was not previously. I don't know why, but when I left the focuser alone for a few minutes (while walking around or staring at the same bird), it would often give more resistance again, which was usually solved by rocking the focuser back and forth some more. The focuser never became stiff while I was already focusing--only when it was left alone.

Since it was my second pair of binoculars with the same issue, I decided to keep them for awhile longer and see if the problem deteriorated or improved with time. Now it's been 5 months and I don't recall the focusing issue happening lately, although the focusing generally seems a little stiffer than it used to be (but still quite smooth). I have never noticed anything strange optically, such as a focusing dead spot or uneven focusing in both eyepieces.

If Zeiss' turnaround times on binocular repair was shorter than 10 weeks I probably would have sent them back for evaluation, but thankfully the issue seems to have resolved itself in my case.
__________________
Mark
perseid28 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 9th May 2016, 23:46   #7
NDhunter
Registered User
 
NDhunter's Avatar

 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: ND
Posts: 4,121
My Conquest 10x42 HD has one of the smoothest focusers of any binocular that I have ever
tried. I find it excellent.

The reason I am posting, is to mention that there may be differences in some models of any
binocular line.

It is surely not a Zeiss trait.

Jerry
NDhunter is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 10th May 2016, 00:15   #8
perseid28
Registered User
 
perseid28's Avatar

 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by NDhunter View Post
My Conquest 10x42 HD has one of the smoothest focusers of any binocular that I have ever
tried. I find it excellent.

The reason I am posting, is to mention that there may be differences in some models of any
binocular line.

It is surely not a Zeiss trait.

Jerry
It's certainly not a Zeiss trait, and I'm confident it's not even a trait that is common to all 8x32 Conquests--the binocular has been out for several years and this is the first time I've seen this issue mentioned at BF. In fact most people praise the action of Zeiss focusers. I don't think anyone was going to jump to the conclusion that all Zeiss focusers have sticking issues.

I'm glad to read that someone else's binocular had a similar issue to mine though--if my focuser starts acting up again I will be more likely to send it in for evaluation, now that I know the issue can get a lot worse in a hurry.
__________________
Mark
perseid28 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 10th May 2016, 04:04   #9
ABCY 1
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Canberra
Posts: 64
Just stressing I am a big fan of these binoculars, and I want to be able to rely on them. When I do send them back under warranty it's very helpful to be able to point to feedback from other users who have encountered something similar. My worry was they would arrive at Zeiss in apparently perfect working order and just get sent straight back - this way I can provide a bit of background. Appreciate all the comments!

cheers, Peter
ABCY 1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 11th May 2016, 05:43   #10
cycleguy
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: mile high, colorado
Posts: 928
I have not had these problems - knock on wood and fingers crossed!

It is a very soft, least resistance, focuser when compared to many others. Side by side, I prefer Nikon focus mechanisms, but don't find problems with this one.

CG

Last edited by cycleguy : Wednesday 11th May 2016 at 05:47.
cycleguy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 11th May 2016, 15:28   #11
Jonno52
John
BF Supporter 2019
 
Jonno52's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 3,751
I've had mine since August last year and the focusing is still "buttery smooth", better than that of any bin I've owned, including my Swaro SV 10x42s (though I'd never part with either pair). I too have never seen a previous report of this Conquest model doing what you describe. But certainly your pair should go back to Zeiss. It's awkward having to ask them to fix a problem that seems to have gone away for the time being, but I'm sure they'll believe you do have an intermittent problem needing investigation. After all, what would be the point of sending back a pair if it has always worked perfectly?

IIRC, there's someone from Zeiss who very occasionally posts here when people have reported problems with a Zeiss product - just possibly they might see this thread.

Best of luck!
__________________
John
Jonno52 is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2016 2017 2018 2019 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Wednesday 11th May 2016, 21:09   #12
ABCY 1
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Canberra
Posts: 64
Thanks all. The binos are now on their way back to Zeiss ( returns in Australia go to Germany apparently). I've also sent a link to this thread to provide a bit of context. Will let you know how it turns out.

cheers, Peter
ABCY 1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 14th May 2016, 18:58   #13
b-lilja
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: US
Posts: 112
No probs with mine. I absolutely love them.
b-lilja is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 27th May 2016, 14:31   #14
Luddify
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Rochester, MN
Posts: 1
If turnaround times are anything like they are in the US (where they also get sent back to Germany), be prepared for a lonnngggg wait. I'm at three MONTHS and counting for what I thought would be a simple loose eye cup and focus adjustment.
Luddify is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 3rd June 2016, 12:19   #15
perseid28
Registered User
 
perseid28's Avatar

 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 113
I believe I was right around the 6-8 week mark when they finally came back. My experience with the service departments at Eagle Optics and Nikon was thats you're looking at 2 weeks tops before the binoculars are returned. Hopefully Zeiss can develop a way to drastically shorten that turnaround time; I ended up buying a pair of Terras to use while the Conquests were away.
__________________
Mark
perseid28 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 3rd June 2016, 13:11   #16
mfunnell
Registered Confuser
 
mfunnell's Avatar

 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Sydney Australia
Posts: 426
Quote:
Originally Posted by perseid28 View Post
I ended up buying a pair of Terras to use while the Conquests were away.
I'll take advantage of your misfortune (sorry about that) by asking: how do you find the Terras in comparison to the Conquests?

...Mike
__________________
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness." Dave Barry

Some photos of my local birds on flickr.
mfunnell is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 7th October 2016, 02:52   #17
twest820
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Earth, usually
Posts: 14
Well, seems safe to assume Mark isn't going to reply. But I'll pitch in for the record. My Conquest HDs are just back from service so, owing to some quirks of fate, it happens I have Terra ED 8x32s, Conquest HD 8x32s and Victory T*FL 8x32s of the moment. Honestly, in friendly light there's little difference between the three for most practical purposes---one's to unlikely see anything with Conquests and Victories which would be missed with the Terra EDs. One will see it better but, for typical center of FoV use, the Terras have excellent price/performance. From a standpoint of simply seeing stuff combining Terras with Canon IS bins or a scope has a good chance of doing more than equivalent spend up on Conquests or Victories. If one has budget to spare or is regularly in critical viewing situations where 8x32s are going to be the only optics along well, that's different.
  • colour: As has been commented on widely, the Terras run yellow-brown. Seems to me much of the difference to the Conquests and Victories is the higher cost models make the rest of the spectrum as good. If I'm looking at, say, trees usually I can't tell much of a difference. Reds, greens, and purples on birds do pop more on the higher models.
  • sharpness: The Terras are a little soft compared to the other two, particularly off center. In practice much more often the limiting factors in making out fine detail is how steady you can hold the bins, how precisely focused they are, and how careful you've been with setting the barrels' individual focus. The Conquest HDs and Victories are a little better, primarily for on distant subjects, but reality is unless there's something to brace elbows on much of the extra performance one paid for gets wasted.
  • veiling glare: All three models behave somewhat differently so, in any given situation, one may flare when the others don't. This is an area in which there's arguably a bit of silly design as the Conquest and Victory objectives are set farther back in the housing than the Terras and hence are less prone to glare simply because they're more shaded. The Terras are small and light so it's not much fuss to compensate by providing extra shade with one's fingers but the manufacturing cost for a little bit more housing is not much either. Optically there is a massive improvement in robustness from the Terras to the Conquests. If one's viewing encounters frequent glare this is a reason to spend up for the Conquests. Overall the Victories do tend to do a little bit better than the Conquests but the improvement is slight.
  • chromatic aberration: In the right conditions the Terras are better than the Conquest HDs. Really. For typical cases like a black bird or branches against sky the Terra CA bands are 3-4x the size of the Conquests, enough I find them large, obnoxious, and start to wish for higher spec bins. In comparison, folks often say they can't see CA on Victories. I can spot it on my pair no problem. It is well controlled and a substantial improvement from the Conquest HDs, probably the main optical differentiator between the two models.
  • handling: Some folks find the Conquest HD 8x32s too small. Personally I find them uncomfortably big compared to the Terras and Victories; after a while they become uncomfortable to hold. The extra weight is noticeable too, enough so that in a lot of cases I'd rather use the Terras. I don't particularly notice any difference in focus knob behaviour between the three. IMO the knob on the Victories is a bit oversize so the Terras and Conquests are a smidge preferable.
  • eyecups: This may prompt some objection but, as there's little difference in apparatus between models, my feeling is Zeiss ships crippleware. There's really no cost or engineering reason to use less ergonomic plastic mold shapes which force the binoculars farther away from the eye on the Conquests than on the Victories and yet further on the Terras than on the Conquests. It does make the lower cost bins somewhat less comfortable and allow more light to come in from behind. Depending on viewing conditions the difference can be substantial, though usually it doesn't matter. If you wear spectacles when viewing it doesn't matter anyway.
  • caps: I have to put Zeiss's notoriously poor objective caps under crippleware as well. The Victories actually have a normal arrangement and hence manage something resembling average. The Conquest caps fall off decidedly less than the Terra caps but still require excessive care and management. The eyepiece caps are all fine for retention but, if you have a narrow IPD, the Terra and Conquest caps have to be trimmed with scissors to keep from pushing into the eyepieces and sticking. Really, Zeiss? Really?
  • goofs: Which of the three would you rather drop, break, lose, or have stolen? Terras. Which would you leave in the car to have bins handy just in case? Terras. Which do you care the least about having the armor get scuffed from rubbing in pocket? Terras.

If there are other questions I can get the bins out and type something up.

Personally, a pair of 8x32s is as much binocular as I'm likely to carry. I wouldn't want any less binocular. And, at least for my personal use, the next meaningful increment would be something like the Canon 15x50 IS, which is comparable to the smaller end of photography long glass in weight and cost whilst being less versatile. Having something nicer than the Terra EDs to go with the lens is nice but that's all it is. The Terras do everything I need for work and live comfortably in the everyday work pack. So they're the ones which see most of the routine use.

Last edited by twest820 : Friday 7th October 2016 at 15:34.
twest820 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 7th October 2016, 13:06   #18
mfunnell
Registered Confuser
 
mfunnell's Avatar

 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Sydney Australia
Posts: 426
Quote:
Originally Posted by twest820 View Post
Well, seems safe to assume Mark isn't going to reply. But I'll pitch in for the record.
Thanks - there's some very good info there, which really should be on the record.

My bit for the record is that I've not tried the Conquests as they seemed a bit large and heavy for what I was after in an 8x32 bin.

I ended up going with the 8x32 FLs as my primary binoculars - mostly for their small size, but I'm not at all unhappy that they're optically excellent. They cost a good deal more than I'd have liked - but since I couldn't find anything else I could live with optically that also met my small-size requirement I guess I just have to accept that. They are my most-used bins, and that counts for a lot.

I have tried the 8x32 Terra EDs. While I guess they're OK enough, for some reason I don't like them nearly as well as the 8x42 Terras. I've not really analysed why that might be, but do know that the one suits me and the other just doesn't.

...Mike
__________________
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness." Dave Barry

Some photos of my local birds on flickr.
mfunnell is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 8th October 2016, 00:52   #19
twest820
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Earth, usually
Posts: 14
Aye, thanks. I'd not have the Conquest HDs or Victories if I hadn't the good fortune to come across used pairs at very good prices. Dimensions aren't included in the Cornell Bird Lab's 2013 survey but, in what one might call the quality 8x32 range, weights are from 535g (Opticron Oregon LE) to 655g (Nikon EDG). At 630g Conquest HDs are second heaviest whereas the 560g Victory T*FLs are pretty average. Terra ED 8x32s came out later and aren't in the Cornell list but, at 510g, they're closer to the 500g Swarovski CL 8x30s than any other 8x32 I have data handy for.

Overall, basically a 10% range. Not big differences but it happens the Terras and Conquests are about as far apart as one can get. For the price and quality I think I'd be OK with either the larger size or extra weight of the Conquest HDs. But the combination of the two, eee, not so much. I did, however, want a high quality, cost effective optic smaller than 42s. The Conquest HD 8x32s do that very well.
twest820 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 8th October 2016, 23:28   #20
ABCY 1
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Canberra
Posts: 64
Backtracking to the start of this thread, I have another query for users of the HD 8x32 which I now have back after repair (see posts 29 and 30 here: http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=327713&page=2)

The focus now seems as good as new after replacement of a substantial number of parts - great. However, since their return I noticed an occasional new clicking sound when I raised and lowered the binoculars, and eventually tracked it down to the front plate of the focussing wheel (see attached photo; tip of yellow post-it), which is loose enough to rattle when the frame is tipped, and can be rotated independently of the focussing wheel. This seems a problem for sealing and waterproofing. I queried it with Zeiss, using this same photo, and got a reply saying "Due to to design of the center focus system , this disc must run free. Otherwise the hinge would not work properly" . I suspect a linguistic misunderstanding here. Before I go further, could other users of the HD 8x32 take a quick look at this component and see if it is loose and can be rotated?

Thanks in advance, Peter
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Conquest focus.jpg
Views:	236
Size:	505.3 KB
ID:	601135  
ABCY 1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 9th October 2016, 01:51   #21
james holdsworth
Consulting Biologist
 
james holdsworth's Avatar

 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: ontario
Posts: 3,298
It's a dust baffle on the back of the rotor, normal for it to be free but mine [HD] is not as loose as yours appears to be. That said, my FL's have the same baffle and it is loose and rattles a bit. I would pay it no heed.
__________________
''serenity now....insanity later.'' - Lloyd Brawn
james holdsworth is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 9th October 2016, 03:29   #22
twest820
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Earth, usually
Posts: 14
Don't think there's a linguistic misunderstanding. More specifically, if you were to pull the knob off (not recommended unless you're mechanically handy and used this sort of disassembly) what you'd see is the focus assembly is fixed to one side of the bridge (my memory is it's the left with the objectives facing away from oneself) and configured to provide a floating drive to the focus rod on the other side as the IPD's changed. Calibration for the independent focus adjust anchors to the fixed side and the primary focus tracks with it as well, relying on the float to keep the other barrel in sync. For the focus knob to work it needs a fixed point to push against to move the rods, screws, and sliders which make all this go. That's provided by a snap ring on the shaft on the center of the bridge with the dust baffle in question sitting towards the objectives from the ring. If the baffle wasn't free the focus knob would drag or jam when turned or the IPD adjustment would hang up.

The baffle on the Conquest HDs I just got back is free but sits very snugly. There has to be some mechanical slop but it's below what I can detect. The Terra EDs have the same design but the baffle seems lighter and flexes a little under a fingertip. No rattle on my pair and I'd just as soon have the weight savings, slight as it is, from the lighter build as there's no functional consequence to it. My T*FLs don't seem to use this design---the bridge housing flares outwards to match the focus knob instead. They do have a slight crunch at one point in the focus throw but I suspect that's related to their fancier independent focus design and possibly some grit from one of the previous owners.
twest820 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 9th October 2016, 05:04   #23
ABCY 1
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Canberra
Posts: 64
Thanks James, twest820

That's reassuring. Sounds as if there is some variation in how loosely this plate sits, but it's working as it's supposed to.

Cheers, Peter
ABCY 1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 14th October 2016, 17:17   #24
twest820
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Earth, usually
Posts: 14
Cool, cool. I'd forgotten about it but happened to be checking back on some things and was reminded the allbinos Victory 8x32 T*FL review includes a cross section showing (among other things) the drive rod from the focus knob to the focusing element between the objective group and the prism.

As an aside, folks interested in point by point comparison between models may find the allbinos Conquest HD 8x32 review also helpful. No allbinos Terra ED 8x32 review at this time, though.
twest820 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 21st September 2019, 21:42   #25
ABCY 1
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Canberra
Posts: 64
Not a reply, more of a return to the origin of this thread. After repair my Conquests worked fine for a year or so, then the intermittent sticky focus began to return. It was minor enough to live with for a while, but has become worse over time and I’ve reluctantly sent them back to Zeiss again. I’m hoping for a quick replacement rather than a three-month turnaround for repair. I still love everything else about these binos and find it hard to work without them (back to using my old Zen Ray ED 9x36, with marginal eye relief, narrow FOV and very slow focus - pretty good once you do lock on though).
Interested to hear if other forum users have had problems with Conquests that persisted after warranty repairs.
ABCY 1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Garden bird highs and lows (BTO) BF Newsroom Latest news from the BTO 0 Tuesday 18th November 2014 16:10
Highs and Lows of 2010 greater Birds & Birding 16 Friday 31st December 2010 16:18
Woodpecker highs and lows Neil Grubb Garden Birds, Bird Feeding & Nestboxes 10 Friday 24th August 2007 14:55
Highs 'n' Lows bartooon Birds & Birding 3 Monday 11th December 2006 22:05
Lows and Highs of Birding ChinaBirds Your Birding Day 10 Sunday 12th February 2006 20:46

{googleads}

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.18470192 seconds with 40 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 03:06.