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Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

I tried a slug of $1K roof-prism binoculars and I think the Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 is still the best for the money! (1 Viewer)

[email protected]

Well-known member
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I tried a slug of $1K roof-prism binoculars simultaneously, and I think the Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 is still the best for the money! I have been in the market for a good mid-range roof at about the $1K mark in either 8x32 or 8x42, so I ordered a bunch of them and compared them all together. To cut to the chase, I liked the Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 the best overall. When I would compare them side by side, I would consistently be struck with the almost ungodly on-axis sharpness of the Zeiss and the overall brightness. The awesome optics combined with the best smoothest fastest focuser that you can use with one finger and the ergonomics and compact shape helped me make my decision to keep the Zeiss over all the other excellent binoculars. The Leica Trinovid 8x32 had beautiful saturated colors, but the FOV was narrower than any of the other binoculars and the eye cups were not long enough for the eye relief with my shallow eye sockets. The Vortex Viper HD 8x42 deserves "Honorable Mention" because it was the best binocular at its price point of $500, but it wasn't quite as sharp or as bright as the Zeiss and the focuser wasn't as smooth. The Vortex Viper HD 8x42 is a better binocular than the newer Nikon M7 8x42 or the Fujinon HC 8x42. If you can only spend $500, and you want a roof binocular, I would highly recommend it. The Fujinon HC 8x42 has terrible ergonomics with its square shape and almost all metal eye cups which are cold against your face on a cold day. The Meopta Meostar and Nikon MHG were middle of the pack. Good, but not as sharp as the Zeiss, especially on-axis. Of all the other binoculars I tried the Maven B1.2 8x42 was probably the closest optically to the Zeiss, but it wasn't quite as sharp on-axis, and it was heavy even for a 42 mm at 31 oz. and the focuser was tighter and not as smooth. Every time I went back to the Zeiss it would WOW me with its big bright FOV and extremely sharp, clear on-axis view. The Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 is fairly light at 22 oz. and it is pretty small and compact in your hands, and the armour feels very comfy and warm. The eye cups are still stiff when you extend them, but if you leave them in one position it is not a problem. The objective covers work good, the rain guard fits well and works good, the case is one of the best and the strap is great. The Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 looks tough, and it is. The build quality is excellent. It is an exceptional birding tool for $1K. I have had the Zeiss FL 8x32 and the Zeiss SF 8x32 and I don't feel they are worth twice the price of the Conquest HD for maybe 5% more performance. For $1K, the Zeiss Conquest HD IMO can't be beat. Here is a list of the binoculars I tried. I also have the Nikon E2 8x30 porro-prism and I think it is one of the best porro's you can buy, but that is another story!

Kowa Genesis Prominar 8x33
Leica Trinovid HD 8x32
Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32
Vortex Viper HD 8x42
Nikon M7 8x42
Fujinon HC 8x42
Maven B1.2 8x42
Meopta Meostar B1 Plus 8x32
Nikon Monarch HG 8x42
 
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Ontario

Well-known member
Canada
Dennis how does the E2 compare with the Monarch HG 8x42? and BTW binomania has a review of the new M7 on his website
 

Dr. K

Bad Weather Birder
United States
You put in a lot of work! I’m always interested in perspectives with ranks given a particular constraint - this one being ‘under $1k’ - though I’m uneasy with the judgments about “worth.” You don’t think the SF is “worth” twice the price of your pick, but that’s so subjective I don’t know the purpose, or value, of the comment.

I also noticed the comment that the conquest is “fairly light at 25oz” and chuckled. I’m trying to get used to the weight of my 29oz el42, which I would call “quite heavy” - again very subjective and super variable in how important it is.

My father loves his Nikon Monarch 7 8x30 - he immediately rules out any Bino that’s heavier because it would slow him down on canoe trips, regardless of other qualities - and my mother loves her monarch 7 8x42 - she thinks there does not exist a binocular that is worth more than $500. Personally I think I would see the worth of the conquest over the monarchs, but then again for me, I would push the envelop and go with the swaro CL 8x30, for the high end optics and low weight (and in fact I did buy this for my wife for these reasons, and have considered one for my travels). All subjective.

I do think the comparisons of the optical qualities interesting and, this not being the first high praise I’ve read about the conquest, I am certainly curious to try one out. Thanks for sharing.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Dennis how does the E2 compare with the Monarch HG 8x42? and BTW binomania has a review of the new M7 on his website
That is a good question because even though it is somewhat like comparing apples and oranges because the E2 is a porro and the HG is a roof, they do do have similar specifications. Obviously, the E2 has a noticeably bigger FOV than the HG, and it has that 3D stereoscopic view that porro's are well known for. They both have similar transmissions, but the HG has a bigger aperture, so under low light it will perform a little better than the E2 if that is important to you. I find CA is better controlled in the E2 with the HG showing quite a bit of CA especially on the edge even though it has ED glass. I would say if you don't need your binocular to be waterproof, the E2 is a better value than the HG because it is 1/2 the price and really will give you a bigger FOV and better 3D under daylight conditions with less CA. The E2 is a better bang for the buck no doubt then the HG if you're not birding in the rain.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
You put in a lot of work! I’m always interested in perspectives with ranks given a particular constraint - this one being ‘under $1k’ - though I’m uneasy with the judgments about “worth.” You don’t think the SF is “worth” twice the price of your pick, but that’s so subjective I don’t know the purpose, or value, of the comment.

I also noticed the comment that the conquest is “fairly light at 25oz” and chuckled. I’m trying to get used to the weight of my 29oz el42, which I would call “quite heavy” - again very subjective and super variable in how important it is.

My father loves his Nikon Monarch 7 8x30 - he immediately rules out any Bino that’s heavier because it would slow him down on canoe trips, regardless of other qualities - and my mother loves her monarch 7 8x42 - she thinks there does not exist a binocular that is worth more than $500. Personally I think I would see the worth of the conquest over the monarchs, but then again for me, I would push the envelop and go with the swaro CL 8x30, for the high end optics and low weight (and in fact I did buy this for my wife for these reasons, and have considered one for my travels). All subjective.

I do think the comparisons of the optical qualities interesting and, this not being the first high praise I’ve read about the conquest, I am certainly curious to try one out. Thanks for sharing.
I also tried the Nikon M7 8x30, Nikon HG 8x30 and Swarovski CL 8x30 but did not put them in the test because they are 8x30's. IMO the 8x30 is really at the edge of a usable full time birding binocular largely because of the smaller exit pupil which makes for difficult eye placement even with the CL 8x30 which is designed with an "optical tube" to compensate for this weakness. The Nikon M7 8x30 and 8x42 are good binoculars at their price points, IMO they are just not the best. It surprised me that the Vortex Viper HD 8x42 was better optically than either. For a $500 roof prism, I think the Vortex Viper HD 8x42 is hard to beat. The really exceptional thing about many Zeiss binoculars, be it the Conquest HD, FL or SF, is their on-axis sharpness. Swarovski's might be sharper at the edge, but Zeiss are sharper on-axis. It is probably because of compromises in their optical design.

 

A2GG

Beth
United States
The Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 is fairly light at 25 oz. and it is pretty small and compact in your hands, and the armour feels very comfy and warm.

Nice review Dennis. I have to disagree about it being light weight, however. The specs list the 8x32 at 22 ounces. Is it really 25 ounces?
If so, that's super heavy for 32mm.

I agree the Conquest HD is excellent. I tried the 8x32 several times and each time liked it very much. I found it comfortable using it with my eyeglasses. I found it better with glasses than my 8x30 Nikon HG. The slightly bigger exit pupil does help IMO.

I really like my HG, but I would have purchased the Conquest if it was lighter and perhaps a little slimmer; the armor is thick on the sides.
I went with the Nikon mainly for its truly compact size and lighter weight.

I would love to see a new lighter and slimmer Conquest 8x32 someday.
 

dries1

Member
Sorry but I cannot agree with the outdoor lab review, subjective opinion. These reviews are subjective, some folks might have preferred the Hg over the Conquest so it does not really say ....anything, except ones opinion.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Sorry but I cannot agree with the outdoor lab review, subjective opinion. These reviews are subjective, some folks might have preferred the Hg over the Conquest so it does not really say ....anything, except ones opinion.
It is true that it is just their opinion, but when I agree with them, I tend to value their opinion more. I honestly do agree with them on their ranking of the Vortex Viper HD over the Nikon M7. The Vortex frankly surprised me how good it was. I had to think twice about the Zeiss even at twice the price.:)
 
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[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Nice review Dennis. I have to disagree about it being light weight, however. The specs list the 8x32 at 22 ounces. Is it really 25 ounces?
If so, that's super heavy for 32mm.

I agree the Conquest HD is excellent. I tried the 8x32 several times and each time liked it very much. I found it comfortable using it with my eyeglasses. I found it better with glasses than my 8x30 Nikon HG. The slightly bigger exit pupil does help IMO.

I really like my HG, but I would have purchased the Conquest if it was lighter and perhaps a little slimmer; the armor is thick on the sides.
I went with the Nikon mainly for its truly compact size and lighter weight.

I would love to see a new lighter and slimmer Conquest 8x32 someday.
The 25 ounces was with the rain guard and objective covers and strap attached, so the binocular by itself is closer to 22 ounces. I just tried the Nikon HG 8x30, and it didn't work for me. I have shallow eye sockets, so a lot of binoculars don't have long enough eye cups for their eye relief, and the HG was like that. I got blackouts with it. I call a binocular like that a "floater" because I have to float my eyes in front of the eye cups to avoid black-outs. I also find the 8x30's like you do a little on the finicky side as far as eye placement. It is funny how 2 mm of aperture can make a difference. The Zeiss FL 8x32 is a little lighter than the Conquest HD at 20 oz., and the new Zeiss SF 8x32 is lighter at 21 oz. and certainly slimmer but a little longer. If you like a slim fairly light binocular and prefer an 8x32 and money is no object, the Zeiss SF 8x32 is an excellent binocular with a big well corrected FOV. It is not finicky at all for an 8x32.
 
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Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
I tried a slug of $1K roof-prism binoculars simultaneously, and I think the Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 is still the best for the money! I have been in the market for a good mid-range roof at about the $1K mark in either 8x32 or 8x42, so I ordered a bunch of them and compared them all together. To cut to the chase, I liked the Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 the best overall. When I would compare them side by side, I would consistently be struck with the almost ungodly on-axis sharpness of the Zeiss and the overall brightness. The awesome optics combined with the best smoothest fastest focuser that you can use with one finger and the ergonomics and compact shape helped me make my decision to keep the Zeiss over all the other excellent binoculars. The Leica Trinovid 8x32 had beautiful saturated colors, but the FOV was narrower than any of the other binoculars and the eye cups were not long enough for the eye relief with my shallow eye sockets. The Vortex Viper HD 8x42 deserves "Honorable Mention" because it was the best binocular at its price point of $500, but it wasn't quite as sharp or as bright as the Zeiss and the focuser wasn't as smooth. The Vortex Viper HD 8x42 is a better binocular than the newer Nikon M7 8x42 or the Fujinon HC 8x42. If you can only spend $500, and you want a roof binocular, I would highly recommend it. The Fujinon HC 8x42 has terrible ergonomics with its square shape and almost all metal eye cups which are cold against your face on a cold day. The Meopta Meostar and Nikon MHG were middle of the pack. Good, but not as sharp as the Zeiss, especially on-axis. Of all the other binoculars I tried the Maven B1.2 8x42 was probably the closest optically to the Zeiss, but it wasn't quite as sharp on-axis, and it was heavy even for a 42 mm at 31 oz. and the focuser was tighter and not as smooth. Every time I went back to the Zeiss it would WOW me with its big bright FOV and extremely sharp, clear on-axis view. The Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 is fairly light at 25 oz. and it is pretty small and compact in your hands, and the armour feels very comfy and warm. The eye cups are still stiff when you extend them, but if you leave them in one position it is not a problem. The objective covers work good, the rain guard fits well and works good, the case is one of the best and the strap is great. The Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 looks tough, and it is. The build quality is excellent. It is an exceptional birding tool for $1K. I have had the Zeiss FL 8x32 and the Zeiss SF 8x32 and I don't feel they are worth twice the price of the Conquest HD for maybe 5% more performance. For $1K, the Zeiss Conquest HD IMO can't be beat. Here is a list of the binoculars I tried. I also have the Nikon E2 8x30 porro-prism and I think it is one of the best porro's you can buy, but that is another story!

Leica Trinovid HD 8x32
Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32
Vortex Viper HD 8x42
Nikon M7 8x42
Fujinon HC 8x42
Maven B1.2 8x42
Meopta Meostar B1 Plus 8x32
Nikon Monarch HG 8x42
Sounds like you had some fun in your quest for the conquest. I would like to ad some food for thought. I think there were really only two on your list were truly comparable to the conquest, the HG and the Tinovid. The rest are mostly half the price and are really not comparable to the conquest and in the $1000 price point.

I am a little surprised you thought the 8x42 HG was clearly inferior considering its optics are right up for that price point and are brighter in most conditions other than perfect sunny day due to the larger exit pupil. I have to wonder if there was any issue with that specific example. A few other that would’ve been more an apples to apples comparison would’ve been the Vortex Razor HD and the Kowa Genesis.

As far as the FL and SF that’s a whole other story. They are on a different level not just in optics but build quality as well. But of course value is in the eye of the beholder. It’s funny but some people say the same thing when buying $500 binos and say they dont think the conquest or any $1000 binocula is worth that much for a small improvement. It’s all relative I guess.

Enjoy the Conquests

Paul
 

Upland

Well-known member
Have had an incredibly hard time keeping the Conquest 8x32 in focus and not because of the focus speed. This hard to keep in focus issue has been noted in many reviews I’ve read and match my experience. Have used plenty of other glasses with the same or speedier focus and they just stay in focus so much better. Many describe the focuser on these as buttery. I think since it has no firmness at all to it that makes it sloppy. Also has very mediocre contrast. Especially noticed this comparing to other 8x32s. My Cabela’s guide series has much better contrast for a fraction of the price.

Also don’t think the Vipers come close to the M7s. Very poor QC and build quality. Mediocre optics with many internal barrel reflections. Yes this is my very subjective opinion. Goes to show everybody has different eyes. Not saying you’re wrong. Sure those are best for you but not for everybody. Best to test them personally and decide what works best for you.
 

Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
It is true that it is just their opinion, but when I agree with them, I tend to value their opinion more. I honestly do agree with them on their ranking of the Vortex Viper HD over the Nikon M7. The Vortex frankly surprised me how good it was. I had to think twice about the Zeiss even at twice the price.:)
Lol, if it was a tough choice between the Viper and conquest, good thing you didn’t try the razor. Then your post of your observation opinions would’ve been completely different. Razors are substantially better than viper and there in the same price point as the Conquest. Maybe your eyes are sensitive to the Vortex glass.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Lol, if it was a tough choice between the Viper and conquest, good thing you didn’t try the razor. Then your post of your observation opinions would’ve been completely different. Razors are substantially better than viper and there in the same price point as the Conquest. Maybe your eyes are sensitive to the Vortex glass.
I have tried the Vortex Razor 8x42 twice before, and it never wet my whistle because of the narrow 7.4 degree 388 foot FOV compared to the 7.8 degree 409 feet of the Viper. I also didn't think the on-axis view or sharpness was that much better than the Viper. IMO, the Viper is the sweet spot in the Vortex line and represents the best value.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Have had an incredibly hard time keeping the Conquest 8x32 in focus and not because of the focus speed. This hard to keep in focus issue has been noted in many reviews I’ve read and match my experience. Have used plenty of other glasses with the same or speedier focus and they just stay in focus so much better. Many describe the focuser on these as buttery. I think since it has no firmness at all to it that makes it sloppy. Also has very mediocre contrast. Especially noticed this comparing to other 8x32s. My Cabela’s guide series has much better contrast for a fraction of the price.

Also don’t think the Vipers come close to the M7s. Very poor QC and build quality. Mediocre optics with many internal barrel reflections. Yes this is my very subjective opinion. Goes to show everybody has different eyes. Not saying you’re wrong. Sure those are best for you but not for everybody. Best to test them personally and decide what works best for you.
It is true that some people like hunter's especially would prefer a tighter focuser, so it doesn't move easily if you are scanning at a set distance, but I think for birding the speed and easy fluidity of the Conquest focuser is hard to beat. You can stay on a bird better, especially fast moving birds like Warblers, at different distances. One reason you could have had a hard time keeping it in focus is because it is so sharp that the perfect focus point can seem difficult to find. The contrast on the Conquest may not seem as good as a cheaper binocular like the Cabela's guide series because overall the Conquest HD has much higher transmission, and it is brighter overall, so you don't see as much difference in the darker and lighter areas of the FOV. I didn't notice the poor build quality on the Viper, although I do know sometimes MIC binoculars can vary in quality, although Vortex watches their quality pretty close. Allbinos and Outdoor Gear Lab ranks the Vortex Viper HD 8x42 above the Nikon M7 8x42, and I have to agree with them. Don't get me wrong, the M7 is a good binocular, but the Viper HD is a little better. I agree with you that personal preference is the biggest factor in deciding what binocular works best for you. That is why I personally tried all these different binoculars, and I am not saying the Conquest HD is the best for everybody, it is just the best for me in this price range.

 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Sounds like you had some fun in your quest for the conquest. I would like to ad some food for thought. I think there were really only two on your list were truly comparable to the conquest, the HG and the Tinovid. The rest are mostly half the price and are really not comparable to the conquest and in the $1000 price point.

I am a little surprised you thought the 8x42 HG was clearly inferior considering its optics are right up for that price point and are brighter in most conditions other than perfect sunny day due to the larger exit pupil. I have to wonder if there was any issue with that specific example. A few other that would’ve been more an apples to apples comparison would’ve been the Vortex Razor HD and the Kowa Genesis.

As far as the FL and SF that’s a whole other story. They are on a different level not just in optics but build quality as well. But of course value is in the eye of the beholder. It’s funny but some people say the same thing when buying $500 binos and say they dont think the conquest or any $1000 binocula is worth that much for a small improvement. It’s all relative I guess.

Enjoy the Conquests

Paul
The Fujinon HC 8x42 and Meopta Meostar 8x32 were also pretty close in price to the Conquest HD and I did test the Kowa Genesis Prominar 8x33, but I forgot it on my list. I felt the Kowa was about equal to the Meopta Meostar 8x32, or slightly better than the M7 or Viper HD. I threw the Vortex Viper HD in because even at 1/2 the price, it does compete with some of these higher price binoculars. For example, I prefer it over the Leica Trinovid 8x32, which is more expensive. I didn't test these under extremely low light conditions, where obviously the 8x42's like the HG would have an aperture advantage over the 8x32's. I tested them in normal daylight conditions where most birders will use them and under those conditions an 8x32 will perform just as well as an 8x42 with an added weight advantage. I have tested the Vortex Razor and I didn't feel optically it was worth the difference in price over the Viper HD and I didn't care for it's narrower FOV of 7.4 degrees and 388 feet versus the 7.8 degree 409 feet FOV of the Viper HD. There is a bigger difference usually in a $500 binocular versus a $1000 binocular than there is between a $1000 binocular and a $2000 binocular. The law of diminishing returns. I think a $1000 is the sweet spot for optimum value for your dollar. As you go higher and up to the alphas, you are paying for very minor improvements that are not going to significantly improve your enjoyment of birding. Unless you feel you have to have the best and price doesn't matter.
 

AlphaFan

Well-known member
United States
Dennis, thanks for taking the time to share your impressions. Good write up. I don’t own the 8x32 Conquests but sampled and direct compared them a number of times. The latest was at a Zeiss event just this past September. Agree that the optics are simply excellent, and IMO the 8x32 is the cherry of the Conquest HD line. Would own one except for the fact that I already have an FL 8x32 - the optics are very close but the FL handling and haptics are clearly better. The Conquest HD feels like a bit bigger and heavier glass, but still a very robust and rugged binocular that offers a very bright, crisp and detailed view. It is a great performer and offers significant value as a $1k 8x32.

Like Paul and others I was a bit surprised by your comments on the MHG 8x42. After extensive direct comparison I‘ve consistently found this glass optically among the best and as an overall optics/handling optical device simply exceptional at the $1k price-point. Recently compared it with the new Maven B1.2 and initially, in full, open, ideal daylight found the optics very close. However, when comparing the two in a forested environment I personally found the MHG a more consistent performer under a wider variety of field and lighting conditions.

Was also a bit uncertain as to the focus and limits of your review - appeared to be a mash-up of $500-1000 and even $2500 binoculars with a bit more focus on the ~$1k range. If $1k is the focus, I would invite you to sample the new Maven B6 10x50. It has all the advantages of a 50mm, but is in the size/weight range of a 42mm. I find it a better performer than the new Maven B1.2.
 

Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
The Fujinon HC 8x42 and Meopta Meostar 8x32 were also pretty close in price to the Conquest HD and I did test the Kowa Genesis Prominar 8x33, but I forgot it on my list. I felt the Kowa was about equal to the Meopta Meostar 8x32, or slightly better than the M7 or Viper HD. I threw the Vortex Viper HD in because even at 1/2 the price, it does compete with some of these higher price binoculars. For example, I prefer it over the Leica Trinovid 8x32, which is more expensive. I didn't test these under extremely low light conditions, where obviously the 8x42's like the HG would have an aperture advantage over the 8x32's. I tested them in normal daylight conditions where most birders will use them and under those conditions an 8x32 will perform just as well as an 8x42 with an added weight advantage. I have tested the Vortex Razor and I didn't feel optically it was worth the difference in price over the Viper HD and I didn't care for it's narrower FOV of 7.4 degrees and 388 feet versus the 7.8 degree 409 feet FOV of the Viper HD. There is a bigger difference usually in a $500 binocular versus a $1000 binocular than there is between a $1000 binocular and a $2000 binocular. The law of diminishing returns. I think a $1000 is the sweet spot for optimum value for your dollar. As you go higher and up to the alphas, you are paying for very minor improvements that are not going to significantly improve your enjoyment of birding. Unless you feel you have to have the best and price doesn't matter.
Very interesting, how some people can see things so differently. The Razor (indifference of FOV) is a full step ahead of the viper line in almost every optical measurement (except obviously in someone’s eyes). I had multiple people compare the conquest to the Genesis (half a dozen) and every one thought the Genesis was brighter, had more contrast and build wise everyone agreed was impressive. What’s interesting about it, was three of those people were novices and could still see the difference. In all respect, I can’t help but sense a predetermined Zeiss preference in your choice.

I find the last 5 years or so the difference in the $500 to $1000 range, optically isn’t so far off as an all around everyday binocular. I think it’s more about Origin of manufacture. The differences seems to be much more in build quality materials. which leads me to think that if you had to take another look at the viper and thought it was that close to the conquest, then maybe that extra $500 was not worth the difference. Some do feel that way, that’s why vipers sell so briskly. I think most people agree ,especially today the sweet spot for quality binoculars is the $500 price point. Not everybody has a grand to throw at binoculars. If you notice, theres so many of the posts here are people trying to legitimize the $1000 price point because of the shortcomings. Let’s face it, when someone is looking to buy a true alpha , there not trying out 10 binoculars to help them make a decision to legitimize their purchase.

As far as the best of the best Alphas, those improvements are paying (a premium for sure) for the best material, modern design, balance and mechanical feel that can be produced in our time. Which all significantly improve the enjoyment of use in the field. It’s not always about feeling you have the best of the best, it’s more like knowing you have the best of the best. It’s more about how good they feel in the hand ,knowing your not dealing with clunky eyecups that you spent a $1000 for.

Thank you.
 

A2GG

Beth
United States
I agree with Dennis about the new MIC Viper HD. I tried the 8x42 and liked it more than the original version. I’ve owned the MIJ Viper HD 8x32 and 6x32 years ago and thought they were very good. Seems like they won’t make 8x32 in the latest version which is a shame. I do prefer the Razor HD over the Viper. I came close to buying a 8x42 Razor HD in the past.

I do see a difference in the FL over the Conquest HD. The FL has awesome resolution and is still a premium bino IMO. At one time I had a 2017 manufactured FL. A Zeiss tech guy told me once they updated the coatings in the FL periodically.
I do not feel the MHG or Conquest HD rise to the level of the FL and they are priced appropriately although I think the FL price should have actually been priced around 1500 (not 2100) new in its last years.
 

Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
Dennis, thanks for taking the time to share your impressions. Good write up. I don’t own the 8x32 Conquests but sampled and direct compared them a number of times. The latest was at a Zeiss event just this past September. Agree that the optics are simply excellent, and IMO the 8x32 is the cherry of the Conquest HD line. Would own one except for the fact that I already have an FL 8x32 - the optics are very close but the FL handling and haptics are clearly better. The Conquest HD feels like a bit bigger and heavier glass, but still a very robust and rugged binocular that offers a very bright, crisp and detailed view. It is a great performer and offers significant value as a $1k 8x32.

Like Paul and others I was a bit surprised by your comments on the MHG 8x42. After extensive direct comparison I‘ve consistently found this glass optically among the best and as an overall optics/handling optical device simply exceptional at the $1k price-point. Recently compared it with the new Maven B1.2 and initially, in full, open, ideal daylight found the optics very close. However, when comparing the two in a forested environment I personally found the MHG a more consistent performer under a wider variety of field and lighting conditions.

Was also a bit uncertain as to the focus and limits of your review - appeared to be a mash-up of $500-1000 and even $2500 binoculars with a bit more focus on the ~$1k range. If $1k is the focus, I would invite you to sample the new Maven B6 10x50. It has all the advantages of a 50mm, but is in the size/weight range of a 42mm. I find it a better performer than the new Maven B1.2.
I agree 100% with you Alpha fan. The MHG are a fantastic example of what $1000 binoculars should be. Optics leave nothing to be desired, the focuser is beautiful and buttery smooth (as long as you have a good example ) without being so fast you pass focus and have to come back. The magnesium body and the synthetic leather wrap has a luxurious quality feel to it. The eye cups are excellent. At 23 ounces, the 42mm is almost the same weight as the 32mm conquest. The Nikon has a larger FOV as well as a larger exit pupil which makes it a better all around binocular, unless of course your a Zeiss fanboy, been there done that. I own a lot of Zeiss , but I’m not a brand loyalist.

I feel a good analogy for our discussions of low to high grade optics is like this, you to a cheap restaurant and get some cheap food, not impressed either way. Then you go to a more expensive restaurant and pay a premium and the food isn’t always so much better. You come out disappointed that it cost so much. But then you go to the 5 star eatery and spend lots of money for your meal, but this time the food is mouth watering. You leave after paying the ridiculous bill and say that was the best food I ever ate, but it’s very expensive and won’t be going back every week. But when you want the best food, you know where to go and that you’ll pay for it.

Thank you
 

Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
I agree with Dennis about the new MIC Viper HD. I tried the 8x42 and liked it more than the original version. I’ve owned the MIJ Viper HD 8x32 and 6x32 years ago and thought they were very good. Seems like they won’t make 8x32 in the latest version which is a shame. I do prefer the Razor HD over the Viper. I came close to buying a 8x42 Razor HD in the past.

I do see a difference in the FL over the Conquest HD. The FL has awesome resolution and is still a premium bino IMO. At one time I had a 2017 manufactured FL. A Zeiss tech guy told me once they updated the coatings in the FL periodically.
I do not feel the MHG or Conquest HD rise to the level of the FL and they are priced appropriately although I think the FL price should have actually been priced around 1500 (not 2100) new in its last years.
You should see a difference in the Zeiss FL line. It’s a high quality, true alpha binocular. The FL would be more comparable to the Swaro EL, Leica UVHD to to name a few. Conquest, MHG and Razor are all give or take in the same league.
 

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