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Binocular advice (help me spend or maybe save money) (1 Viewer)

Crazyjoe

Member
Forgive me if this is somewhat rambling, I’ll try to be concise but other than my own I’m limited in experience with bins. I’m not a hardcore birder but am an all round naturalist who birds a lot. For years I used 12x42 Bushnell Excursions (in hindsight they are rubbish) then moved onto Zeiss Conquest HDs a few years ago. Other than needing a service they are great, exactly what I want for dragonflies, reptiles etc and generally for birds too. My issue with the 12x42 was always losing the subject going from naked eye to binocular due to the magnification. I’m considering investing in some good bins, £1-£1.5k but wanted advice as to whether spending that kind of cash is worth the upgrade from the Conquests? I do sometimes get frustrated with the 8x being a bit low but spending that kind of cash isnt a decision I can afford to take lightly! I don’t scope bird enough to justify spending it on a scope. I have a Celestron Regal M2 80 which when I’ve compared with top end scopes holds up very well. The only difference is size. If I do spend this much on bins they need to be my everyday ones Rather than for specific scenarios like sea watching which I do infrequently.
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
So let me ask you a question... What is it about the Conquest HD 8X42 that you aren't satisfied with?
 

Crazyjoe

Member
Good question. I guess in part it is the assumption that a binocular twice the cost is twice as good. Obviously atm trying others out is a no go but where I live there’s never much opportunity to try out top end, certainly not Swarovski or Leica etc. I suppose it’s the 8x mag and possibly the performance in low light (but this may not be any different to higher end models) But to say I’m dissatisfied is probably an exaggeration. It would be useful to hear from folk who have experience of both the conquests and more expensive. Do they perform £1000 better than the conquests?
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Good question. I guess in part it is the assumption that a binocular twice the cost is twice as good. Obviously atm trying others out is a no go but where I live there’s never much opportunity to try out top end, certainly not Swarovski or Leica etc. I suppose it’s the 8x mag and possibly the performance in low light (but this may not be any different to higher end models) But to say I’m dissatisfied is probably an exaggeration. It would be useful to hear from folk who have experience of both the conquests and more expensive. Do they perform £1000 better than the conquests?
Joe the value for money aspect is something only you can decide. But consider these facts Zeiss SF 8x42 has an area of view 34% bigger than the Conquest HD 8x42 and focuses as close as 1.5 metres instead of the Conquest's 2 metres. When dragons are zooming around it is easy to lose sight of them when you get the binos up to your eyes but a bigger area of view helps enormously. And when a dragon or damsel perches a good close focus helps too especially when you find yourself close to one and you don't want to have to step back to view them because you might scare it off.
On the other hand you might want to consider the Conquest HD 8x32 as a companion to your 42 because its area of view is 20% bigger than the 8x42, its close focus is 1.5m and its focus speed is twice as fast as SF 8x42 (so you can go from nearby dragon to distant bird then back to a dragon again very quickly) and it is a lot cheaper than the SF.

Lee
 

Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
Crazyjoe, post 1,
If you really want to change binoculars you could compare the Meopta B1 8x32 and the Conquest 8x32; FOV practically equal (140m/1000m) as well as close focus (1,6 m), eyerelief also almost identical as well as light transmission (around 90%. Weight is different : Conquest 643 g, Meopta 588 g. Prices are also almost identical: around 860-890 euros may be now a bit more. Handling is different; in my hands the Meopta feels better but that is personal, you have to try yourself.
Gijs van Ginkel
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Gijs is absolutely right about the quality of Meopta's MeoStar 8x32 but its focus speed is only a little faster than SF 8x42 so while it is fine for most nature observing, I do not find it as useful when observing dragonflies. But for sure it is a terrific bino and deserves trying out.

Lee
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
Good question. I guess in part it is the assumption that a binocular twice the cost is twice as good. Obviously atm trying others out is a no go but where I live there’s never much opportunity to try out top end, certainly not Swarovski or Leica etc. I suppose it’s the 8x mag and possibly the performance in low light (but this may not be any different to higher end models) But to say I’m dissatisfied is probably an exaggeration. It would be useful to hear from folk who have experience of both the conquests and more expensive. Do they perform £1000 better than the conquests?
Quite honestly, it's going to be hard to better your Conquest HD, period. Quite frankly, the optics are excellent. It's an EXCELLENT binocular. You can better it, a LITTLE bit but at 2X the price. I might look at a binocular that has a flatter FOV and/or a little more FOV. So I'd probably look at a Swarovski EL or a Zeiss SF. In this group I like the EL 8.5X42...
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
Other idea. On the subject of magnification, given that the OP comes from a 12x and finds an 8x a little lacking, a 10x could be a nice compromise and seems an obvious choice. There are a number of nice 10x with nice FOV (and actually a more immersive view than the 8x42 Conquest HD, given the AFOV). In this case, my personal consideration is that 10x can be great only if the "fit" is right. This is, they feel right on the hand and you are able to hold them steady. I think this is a very personal matter, some people find that a particular set of binoculars can be held very steady, while others disagree. For example, the Zeiss SF has a great reputation for steadiness, and the 10x42 boasts a 6,8 º FOV, 120 m/1000, which is only marginally smaller than the 8x42 Conquest HD at 128 m/1000 (by the way, a wild card could be a 10x32 Conquest, that also boasts a 6,8 ºFOV).
In short: if you find 8x a little too small, 10x could be great but in order to take advantage of that you need to be able to hold them steady enough, and I'm afraid there's no substitute for trying them first hand.
 

Crazyjoe

Member
Thanks for all the replies. Sounds like I may simply be suffering from high end envy needlessly. I’ll probably get my conquests serviced and then wait for the world to settle down and have a try of a few others but it may be that I can better spend my money!
 

Royfinn

Well-known member
Thanks for all the replies. Sounds like I may simply be suffering from high end envy needlessly. I’ll probably get my conquests serviced and then wait for the world to settle down and have a try of a few others but it may be that I can better spend my money!
+1 for those thoughts. (y) I have settled for 300 € binos, because they are good enough and identification wise, more expensive binos don't help much. So, if you are not pro birder with 8 hours of a day in migration watch, uppgrading would propably be just waste of money. If you have extra money waiting in the wallet, I suggest buying a zoom camera, which is good addition to bins and scope.
 

Maljunulo

Well-known member
I respectfully disagree.

"I'm not a serious birder, so lower-tier optics are 'good enough' for me." is a specious argument, I think.The idea that the only application for good optics is birding, and that the quality of one's optics must be appropriate to how "serious" one is leaves me a bit taken aback. As an "all-around naturalist" you should be using binoculars for virtually all of your activities, not just birds, or even natural history. the things one can see with augmented vision are truly amazing.

Try some "I don't have a clue what it is, but it sure is pretty, so I'll just watch it for a while." birding. Try to sit somewhere in sight of a stone wall, if you can, and just observe the comings and goings of the local residents, be they birds, reptiles, amphibians or mammals. This will provide an entire afternoon's entertainment.

The absolute best optics are truly different, and have a character to the image which must be seen to be appreciated.

If one has the eyesight to see the difference, good optics are a lifetime purchase, at least until improvements begin to accumulate. (then you want a new, even better pair) Some comments I read make me wonder if a visit to an ophthalmologist might not be in order for some posters.
 

Foss

Well-known member
Thanks for all the replies. Sounds like I may simply be suffering from high end envy needlessly. I’ll probably get my conquests serviced and then wait for the world to settle down and have a try of a few others but it may be that I can better spend my money!
Yup. Servicing the Conquests is a great first step. Waiting until you can audition for a replacement (in the upper range of what you've got to spend, you should find one that will amaze you), seems the best second step.
 

Crazyjoe

Member
I respectfully disagree.

"I'm not a serious birder, so lower-tier optics are 'good enough' for me." is a specious argument, I think.The idea that the only application for good optics is birding, and that the quality of one's optics must be appropriate to how "serious" one is leaves me a bit taken aback. As an "all-around naturalist" you should be using binoculars for virtually all of your activities, not just birds, or even natural history. the things one can see with augmented vision are truly amazing.

Try some "I don't have a clue what it is, but it sure is pretty, so I'll just watch it for a while." birding. Try to sit somewhere in sight of a stone wall, if you can, and just observe the comings and goings of the local residents, be they birds, reptiles, amphibians or mammals. This will provide an entire afternoon's entertainment.

The absolute best optics are truly different, and have a character to the image which must be seen to be appreciated.

If one has the eyesight to see the difference, good optics are a lifetime purchase, at least until improvements begin to accumulate. (then you want a new, even better pair) Some comments I read make me wonder if a visit to an ophthalmologist might not be in order for some posters.
unfortunately my bank balance doesn’t consider the conquests lower tier!
 

WJC

Well-known member
Good question. I guess in part it is the assumption that a binocular twice the cost is twice as good. Obviously atm trying others out is a no go but where I live there’s never much opportunity to try out top end, certainly not Swarovski or Leica etc. I suppose it’s the 8x mag and possibly the performance in low light (but this may not be any different to higher end models) But to say I’m dissatisfied is probably an exaggeration. It would be useful to hear from folk who have experience of both the conquests and more expensive. Do they perform £1000 better than the conquests?
A good saw from the realm of optical engineering is:

"It takes 90% more money to achieve a 10% improvement in performance."

From Me:

"That 10% improvement can't be recognized by 90% of the observers who swear it can."

Bill
 
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Maljunulo

Well-known member
Throughout life, one must always buy according to one's means ........... to do otherwise is folly.

Just buy the best you can reasonably afford, enjoy the images they bring you, and take delight in all the things you see with them that you would have never even known were there.

Good luck in your quest, and let us know what you decide on.
 

Crazyjoe

Member
My primary concern atm is being without my bins for a few weeks. My back ups are Bushnell excursions 12x42, they don’t compare
 

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