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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Conquest HD 8x42 vs Swarovski slc 8x42 (1 Viewer)

Have been a long time lurker. I would like to post some findings.

I want to upgrade from my current Monarch 5 ED 8x42. I really like these binoculars but I always felt like I could have a little bit better glass in terms of chromatic aberration, sharpness and brightness.

Aspects of the Monarch 5 ED I really like:
- Ability to use without glasses (overdrive past infinity)
- ergonomics
- Performance to Price ratio

I narrowed my choices down to Zeiss Conquest HD 8x42 vs Swarovski SLC 8x42
(based on IPD and price and reviews)

I have both of them in hand to try out at home

The SLC is superior to the conquest in the following regards

- Less chromatic aberration (almost none, very impressive)
- Brighter image esp in shadows
- More depth stays in focus at once (Ziess has thinner focus depth)
- better build quality (doesn't really impact actual function/use)
- Superior focus wheel with integrated diopter adjustment
- Lighter weight magnesium body
- better center sharpness (only slightly, very very slight but can find it if you look for it)
- Less work to get the image because of more depth of focus

The Conquest is better in the following regards

- Ability for me to use without glasses (overdrive past infinity)
- Better edge to edge sharpness (minor you have to look for it)
- Less expensive - Less than 1/2 the cost of SLC (I found a good deal)
- Faster focus speed and very light wheel (prob necessary because thin focus depth)
- very durable (feels like a tank)

People have complained about Conquest eye cup. I have not found it problematic

For me the price premium for the SLC is not an issue. The big issue I have with it is my inability to use them without glasses, which is almost a deal breaker. When I use both the Conquest and the SLC with glasses all of the above comparisons hold true. Since I can't use the SLC without glasses I thought, for my use, It is only fair to compare them how I would use them. That is the Conquest with no glasses and the SLC with glasses. Here is where the tables turn in the favor of the Zeiss conquests.

Conquest positives without glasses over SLC with glasses

- More stable (rest eye cups on nose bridge and i can hold binos towards front)
- Way more comfortable (feels lighter b/c some weight on nose)
- Less ambient light leak
- Less black out Since I can anchor eye cups on my nose
- Less or equal work to get image vs SLC with glasses
- I Feel more "one" with the binocular (easier to track moving subjects)
- Looking at stars no steak distortion (halo effect)
- Can easily shift images to center of binos where there is no CA on conquest
- This is how I am used to using my Monarch 5s
- I can still use with glasses if I want to

If I could use the SLCs without glasses I think I would be keeping those (however at double the cost it still makes the conquest an incredible pair of bions)

Ziess has put a lot of thought into the design and it shows. I feel like some design choices make up for some of the glass limitations (ie fast focus wheel and thin focus depth).

I do feel like the SLCs are in a different league but they should be at 2x the price. I can justify the extra cost (just barely justiy) however the deal breaker for me is the inability to use them without glasses.
 
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[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I would get the Nikon Monarch HG 8x42s refurbished at Nikon for $685.00. They have a bigger FOV and are much lighter than either of your choices. It is hard to find anything wrong with them. According to Allbinos rankings of 10x42 binoculars the HG will eat the SLC and Conquest HD for lunch.

https://www.nikonusa.com/en/nikon-p...d-binoculars/monarch-hg-8x42-refurbished.html
https://www.allbinos.com/allbinos_ranking-binoculars_ranking-10x42.html
https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=340317
https://www.fieldandstream.com/top-10-binoculars-2017/
 
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Thank you for your suggestion. The Nikon HG 8x42 was on my also a contender on my radar. It fell off after I saw a review that said it would only slightly edge out the Monarch 7.

After your suggestion (and price find, thanks) and after watching a couple more reviews on youtube (esp one favoring it to the SLC) I just ordered a pair and they are in the mail.

As long as I can use these without glasses, its ergonomics are similar to the Monarch 5 and the optics are better than the conquests (hopefully similar to SLC as a review mentioned) I will be over the moon! I think this is going to check all the boxes esp from the reviews I saw. I think this is going to be the winner.

Looking forward to magnesium body and a Made In Japan Pair of bions for cheaper than the Zeiss Conquest.

Thanks again for the suggestion! :t:
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Thank you for your suggestion. The Nikon HG 8x42 was on my also a contender on my radar. It fell off after I saw a review that said it would only slightly edge out the Monarch 7.

After your suggestion (and price find, thanks) and after watching a couple more reviews on youtube (esp one favoring it to the SLC) I just ordered a pair and they are in the mail.

As long as I can use these without glasses, its ergonomics are similar to the Monarch 5 and the optics are better than the conquests (hopefully similar to SLC as a review mentioned) I will be over the moon! I think this is going to check all the boxes esp from the reviews I saw. I think this is going to be the winner.

Looking forward to magnesium body and a Made In Japan Pair of bions for cheaper than the Zeiss Conquest.

Thanks again for the suggestion! :t:
You're welcome!
 

giosblue

Well-known member
I would get the Nikon Monarch HG 8x42s refurbished at Nikon for $685.00. They have a bigger FOV and are much lighter than either of your choices. It is hard to find anything wrong with them. According to Allbinos rankings of 10x42 binoculars the HG will eat the SLC and Conquest HD for lunch.

https://www.nikonusa.com/en/nikon-p...d-binoculars/monarch-hg-8x42-refurbished.html
https://www.allbinos.com/allbinos_ranking-binoculars_ranking-10x42.html


Well, the Allbinos rankings are to be taken with a pinch of salt. I have tried both and still have the SLC's. Zeiss, Nikon, Vortex, Swarovski 10 x42 are all excellent bins. Different, but nonetheless, excellent.
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
Thank you for your suggestion. The Nikon HG 8x42 was on my also a contender on my radar. It fell off after I saw a review that said it would only slightly edge out the Monarch 7.

After your suggestion (and price find, thanks) and after watching a couple more reviews on youtube (esp one favoring it to the SLC) I just ordered a pair and they are in the mail.

As long as I can use these without glasses, its ergonomics are similar to the Monarch 5 and the optics are better than the conquests (hopefully similar to SLC as a review mentioned) I will be over the moon! I think this is going to check all the boxes esp from the reviews I saw. I think this is going to be the winner.

Looking forward to magnesium body and a Made In Japan Pair of bions for cheaper than the Zeiss Conquest.

Thanks again for the suggestion! :t:

The Nikon MHG 8x42 are really excellent binoculars, but I would not set your expectations for them to be optically closer to the SLC than the Conquest HD.

Other than the major gain in FOV, the optical quality is fairly similar to the Conquest HD. They are both ~$1K Japanese binoculars, whereas the SLC is alpha glass (the same binocular sold for close to $2K in its previous SLC-HD guise).

What makes the MHG so great is the all-around package, not the raw optical quality. Not that the optics aren't good, they are excellent and competitive with anything in the $1K range (and in terms of FOV they are class leading). But when you combine those nice optics with the super light weight, good close focus, smooth focus action (as smooth as the Conquest HD but a bit slower so not as finicky), long eye relief and easy eye position... they are just super handy and easy to use and after the Conquest HD and SLC they will feel practically weightless in your hands.

BUT, they don't have that alpha "pop" and "depth" that the SLC has, because the SLC is 2x as expensive. It's better glass. But the MHG is a more practical overall package.

As you have found for yourself already, slightly better optics isn't worth much if you can't use them due to some ergonomic or functional issue.

My point is that you shouldn't be disappointed if the MHG is a slight notch below the SLC optically, because it is. Instead, focus on the binocular that is the "easiest" for you to just grab and use in the field without having to fiddle. When you're using them for hours and hours in the field, comfort and handling and easy eye placement makes a big difference.

Small final note: don't expect them to be ergonomically similar to the Monarch 5. The "regular" Monarch (3/5/7) have a thicker, more contoured rubber armor and a larger bridge. The HG has very thin faux leather "armor" and a narrow, high bridge, so they feel a bit more "slick" and less "cushy", and the shape is different: there's no contour, not much bridge to lay your fingers on, and a lot of exposed barrel. The Monarch 5 is more of a "wrap your mitts around it" feel like the Conquest HD, soft and contoured with room to rest your fingers on top of the bridge; whereas the slender / high bridge / open barrel Monarch HG has a very different hand feel.
 

kestrel1

Well-known member
Hello,
swimming upstream into alpha segments, made my opinion way more biased :)
But what is objective, for sure the Swarovski has great aftersales service.

I sent my SLC HDs 2010s to Absam this month, basically as the 10year warranty was going to expire,
I use this opportunity to renew binocular, and to check their reaction.
Basically in return form I stated they should adjust collimation, focus mechanism and to (please resist laugh)
"re-silver the hawke badge on armoring" . Swarovski reply was the service will be carried free of charge and I am now waiting till it will be shipped back. They are really great in aftersales, which distinguish them from other brands.
 
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SimonLS

Well-known member
I would get the Nikon Monarch HG 8x42s refurbished at Nikon for $685.00. They have a bigger FOV and are much lighter than either of your choices. It is hard to find anything wrong with them. According to Allbinos rankings of 10x42 binoculars the HG will eat the SLC and Conquest HD for lunch.

https://www.nikonusa.com/en/nikon-p...d-binoculars/monarch-hg-8x42-refurbished.html
https://www.allbinos.com/allbinos_ranking-binoculars_ranking-10x42.html
https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=340317
https://www.fieldandstream.com/top-10-binoculars-2017/

Is the warranty on refurbished Nikons still only 90 days?
 
Thank you for all the responses.

I would love to keep the SLC but not being able to use them without my glasses is a total deal breaker. I am so bummed about this, If i could use the SLC without glasses it would be no question and they would stay and I would've not ordered the HG and zeiss would've gone back.

So it really has become Conquest 8x42 vs HG 8x42

I like the conquest but i find the CA a little worse than i would like and the narrow focus depth and a bit more black out than the SLC. The SLC's CA control is fantastic, I wish all glass had this level of CA control.

Optica exocita on YouTube praised the HG for great CA control and knocked the conquest multiple times for poor CA control (separate videos, not a side by side comparison). In his review of the HG 8x42, i noticed some CA in the prepherial view with very minor to none in the center.

Can anyone comment on the differences in CA between the Conquest 8x42 and the HG 8x42? Does the HG control CA better the the Conquest?

Thanks in advance
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Thank you for all the responses.

I would love to keep the SLC but not being able to use them without my glasses is a total deal breaker. I am so bummed about this, If i could use the SLC without glasses it would be no question and they would stay and I would've not ordered the HG and zeiss would've gone back.

So it really has become Conquest 8x42 vs HG 8x42

I like the conquest but i find the CA a little worse than i would like and the narrow focus depth and a bit more black out than the SLC. The SLC's CA control is fantastic, I wish all glass had this level of CA control.

Optica exocita on YouTube praised the HG for great CA control and knocked the conquest multiple times for poor CA control (separate videos, not a side by side comparison). In his review of the HG 8x42, i noticed some CA in the prepherial view with very minor to none in the center.

Can anyone comment on the differences in CA between the Conquest 8x42 and the HG 8x42? Does the HG control CA better the the Conquest?

Thanks in advance
According to Allbinos in the 10x42 format the HG and the Conquest are about the same for CA control and the SLC is a tad better. But keep in mind a 10x will usually show more CA than a 8x because of the higher magnification. In post 7 above Elton says the SLC would have more pop and depth(I am not sure what he means by depth because 8x binoculars will have the same DOF) than the HG being alpha glass and that could be true but don't forget the HG has a way bigger FOV of 6.9 degrees versus 6.2 degrees on the SLC, less distortion because it uses a field flattener or it is a flat field design and has a much better close focus of 1.65 meters versus the rather long 3.3 meters of the SLC which could be important if you use your binoculars for bugs or close up observing at all. A lot of these differences are why Allbinos has the HG ranked above the SLC. Just something to think about. Deciding between the SLC and HG also depends on if you prefer flat field design or not. The HG is flat field and the SLC is not. Allbinos prefers flat field design, and they rank them higher. That is why binoculars like the SF and SV are always near the top. Some people don't like flat field though because of problems with RB and AMD distortion.

https://www.allbinos.com/allbinos_ranking-binoculars_ranking-10x42.html
 
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eitanaltman

Well-known member
The MHG is decent with CA control but not great. In typical viewing in good conditions you’ll notice minimal CA in the center and some on the periphery. But in harsh conditions (like looking up at birds perched in gray overcast with backlighting) you will notice it if you’re sensitive. It’s probably slightly better than the Conquest HD but not at elite levels. At that mid level price point the Kowa Genesis and Vortex Razor HD are the only two I can think of that have really top notch CA control.

Regardless you’re doing the best thing by ordering it so you can compare for yourself. What matters is how it looks and feels to you.

If you’re especially sensitive to CA you may want to look at a used Zeiss FL 8x42.
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
All three are excellent but as others have said, the MHG is the winner in terms of all-around package. It is so lightweight and ergonomically pleasing, has the best contrast, focuser, and FOV. The ONLY place where the Conquest or the SLC outcompete are CA handling and perhaps robustness/durability of the armor/exterior.

Personally I'd take the MHG but I'd also personally be pleased to use any of them if it were what I had on hand.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
It is a "No Brainer" to get the HG when you can get them for $685.00. I picked up a refurbished one on eBay for $600.00 and I think a few members even got them for $500.00 when Nikon reduced the refurbished ones for a while. They are hard to beat at those prices, especially when the SLC is about $1500.
 
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Thanks for the responses. I will wait and see what the MHG is like. Keeping fingers crossed for good CA control. I might be able to live with the CA if the binos are that good.

With the SLC I have to "hunt" or look for the CA to find it. Where as with the Conquest I often notice the CA and I find my self pulling the image to the center of the field of view to remedy the CA. I find that annoying. This is esp noticeable to me with birds in flight against the sky. It looks like there is a little purple force field around the bird, LOL.

I am really hoping the MHG works out. I am getting tired of ordering binos and I am pretty confident if the MHG doesn't cut it the next stop is Zeiss FL 8x42.

Is the Zeiss FL on the optical level of the SLC?
 
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[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Thanks for the responses. I will wait and see what the MHG is like. Keeping fingers crossed for good CA control. I might be able to live with the CA if the binos are that good.

With the SLC I have to "hunt" or look for the CA to find it. Where as with the Conquest I often notice the CA and I find my self pulling the image to the center of the field of view to remedy the CA. I find that annoying. This is esp noticeable to me with birds in flight against the sky. It looks like there is a little purple force field around the bird, LOL.

I am really hoping the MHG works out. I am getting tired of ordering binos and I am pretty confident if the MHG doesn't cut it the next stop is Zeiss FL 8x42.

Is the Zeiss FL on the optical level of the SLC?
"Is the Zeiss FL on the optical level of the SLC?" A little bit beyond IMO especially with CA control. As Eitan says above the FL is the champion of CA control in the alphas with the EDG being pretty good to. The FL is more like the SLC in that it is not a flat field binocular so it will show much more distortion than the HG. The best mid-range binoculars for CA control are as Eitan says the Kowa Genesis Prominars and the Vortex Razor HDs. If your considering an FL you are getting up into the alphas and they are going to have a little more pop and a little better clarity than the mid-range binoculars. If you are going to spend $2K to $3K you have to decide if you want flat field or not. If you want flat field with sharp edges there is the NL, EL, EDG or SF and if you don't there are the Leica Ultravid HD + and Zeiss FL.
 
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Swedpat

Well-known member
A year ago I compared my Conquest HD 8x42 to SLC 8X42. SLC has larger FOV and felt more comfortable in the hand. While eye relief is sufficient for eyeglasses with both it felt slightly better with Conquest HD. Optically I had very hard to see a difference, I found them to be very much in par.
If I had not already have Conquest HD since 6 years I would consider to get SLC. Especially taken in consider the price of Conquest HD has raised 50-60% since I bought it and it now is around 80% of the price of SLC.
 

jgraider

Well-known member
I would get the Nikon Monarch HG 8x42s refurbished at Nikon for $685.00. They have a bigger FOV and are much lighter than either of your choices. It is hard to find anything wrong with them. According to Allbinos rankings of 10x42 binoculars the HG will eat the SLC and Conquest HD for lunch.


Thanks for the comedy.......
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
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