I'll just add my two cents on this thread. My uses include both birding and hunting, plus I'm a wildlife biologist who uses optics in my job often. I currently own the Conquest HD in 10x42 and I think they are very good. They don't stack up to the alphas and no one should expect that they do as they are less than half the price of the top end optics. Previously, I owned the older version of the vortex viper in a 10x50 model. The 10x50's had a very narrow field of view which is why I don't own them anymore, but my gosh they were good in low light and the resolution was outstanding. I feel like with the Conquest HD, I have similar performance but in a lighter package and with a wider field of view. But I will admit that they are not as good as the 10x50 vipers in low light. When the new Vortex Vipers came out, I actually think they took a step back. The older vipers were made in Japan, whereas the newer versions were made in China. They did have a wider field of view but I thought they sacrificed more distortion on the edges, and I don't think glass quality measured up. I found the brightness less and the resolution worse. It seems the Allbinos website agrees with me as they report the view got less bright as well, going from 89% transmission in the older version down to 81% in the new (comparing the two 10x42 models). When I purchased my viper 10x50s, I compared them for about an hour in the store with the Nikon M7 and I thought the vortex had an ever so slight edge on optical properties, but I almost went with the Nikon's because of the field of view. In the end I felt optical performance meant more to me than field of view. While they were very good for looking for animals at long distances, the narrow field though did bother me enough that I upgraded. And I never felt that they competed very well against that $1000 class of binoculars. They are almost as good, and for some may not be worth the money to make the jump, but there is a noticeable drop in optical performance. They really arn't in the same class with $1000 glass but they get you almost there at half the price. The narrow field of view bothered me enough on birding trips that I sold them and went shopping for a $1000 class binocular. As I wildlife bio with a large family I don't have the funds to be frivolous and reaching up to the $1000 class was a stretch for me. So I spent the time really comparing many of the options in that price range. I ordered the Tract Toric UHD 8x42's, and took them over to the local sporting goods store and compared them side by side with the Vortex Razor, the Zeiss Conquest HD, and the Leica Trinovid. I quickly realized that the Zeiss, Tracts and Razor were slightly better than the Trinovid so I eliminated them first. I really could not see a difference in the Tracts compared to the Zeiss Conquests HD's except that the Tracts seemed they did not magnify as much as they claimed. Objects were noticeably smaller in the Tracts vs 8x bins in the Conquest and the Razor. They were very good though and I would have been happy to keep them but I found very quickly that I prefer the 10x compared to 8x binoculars and returned them. I thought the Vortex Razors are a very competitive binocular at that price point with the Zeiss Conquests. I found the brightness ever so slightly better in the Conquest, but preferred the feel and build of the Razor and the color in the Razor I thought was more preferable. I liked the diopter in the Razors better too. The Zeiss had a bit more of a cooler color profile vs the warmer vortex razor. That's just personal preference in my opinion and not really a performance issue. I thought CA was a little better in the Razor also for what its worth, just barely. I do like a brighter binocular so was leaning towards the Zeiss. I almost did go with the Tract's because like, why pay for a $999 binocular when one that costs $694 can do the same thing? What ultimately drove my decision is that I caught a pair of Zeiss Conquest HD's on sale for $649 and at that price why not go with the known name? I never could find the Razors for less than about $1200 at the time, otherwise I would have owned the Razors. After a few years of use now, my thoughts are that the Zeiss Conquests have really, and I mean really good resolution when they are on a tripod. They are so good, I prefer them to my budget spotting scopes even at far distances. I can see incredible detail with them. It's only when I get out past about a 1000 yards do I prefer the spotters. They are breathtaking in early morning and late evening light, but they don't pop for me in full sun conditions. A coworker wildlife bio had a pair of Meopta Meopros one day in the field when we were looking at bighorn sheep. I thought the Meopros were very competitive with the conquests. I would have taken a closer look at those had I been able to test them. The Meopros have since increased in price from what he got his for. I also had a chance on a hunt to test out a pair of Nikon HG's. I liked the flat field and the wider field of veiw alot, but I thought low light performance was just a little better in the conquest. I thought they were very good also and had they been available at a lower price I would have strongly considered them. Really those in the $1000 price class are all really excellent, and so close performance wise one must split hairs to find true differences. So which ever one you can find on sale is a good bet. They are all better than the vortex vipers, no question. I have looked through several pairs of alphas and compared them to the Conquests. Alphas are definitely noticeably better and should be, as they sometimes cost almost three times more. Swarovski's in my opinion are the best of the alphas, no question for me. I recently looked through the NL pure binoculars and thought my gosh how do they do that!!!!??? Those are the cats meow in my opinion! If I had monopoly money or somehow left the wildlife biology profession for more pay, I might own a swaro, but I would rather have a new truck first. Cheers all and happy birding.