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Question regarding focus issues with the Conquest HD 8x32 (1 Viewer)

Odradek

Well-known member
Hi there,

i am planing on buying a Conquest HD 8x32. I had a Conquest 8x32 a few years ago, maybe around 2012/13. Back then i had an issue with the focus unit. After several days of use the dioptre changed. I sended it back to Zeiss, got it back and after a few days i had the same issue again. After they fixed it a second time the problem occurred again. They did not fixed it again and changed my binocular against a whole new Conquest. But i was frustrated and havent even tried how it performed. Instead i sold it because it was new and still sealed.

Now i would like to buy a smaller binocular that i can use besides my SLC 8x42. I also want to have a spare binocular just in case my main binocular nedds a service.
After several threads and reviews my choice felt back to a Conquest HD. All other binoculars with field flattener/rolling ball are out for me since i am very sensitive to that. FL and Ultravid are to expansive for a second binocular. And the cheaper ones i tried, like Kenko Ultraview and Monarch 7, perform not as good as i like. Therefore the Conquest seems to me as a good compromise between price and performance.

But i wonder, is the issue with the focus unit solved or did that happen from time to time?

I found an old thread where Holger Merlitz had the same issue as well as another user. So it wasnt just a lemon i got back then.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
I have had my Conquest HD 8x32 and have used intensively in both the UK and in the south of France. I have never had any problem with its dioptre adjuster and it is one of my favourite binos.

Lee
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
I had a similar problem with a fairly early (2013 vintage) Conquest HD 8x42. It was replaced under warranty and the replacement unit logged 1000+ full days of tropical abuse, being dragged through vegetation and swimming rivers and everything in between, and came out with well tarnished armor but everything functioning perfectly. Very robust binoculars but my impression is that a few early units had this diopter drift problem. I don't recall examples but there were other stories of this early on, and I've not heard of the issue for a long time.

The Conquest 8x32 is near / at the top of its class. The only direct competition that I can think of really is the Meostar 8x32. With the changes from the B1 to B1.1 to B1 Plus (changes in diopter design and armor, not optics) the optically equal and excellent B1 and B1.1 can be found for great prices lately.

Otherwise the Swarovski CL 8x30 and Nikon Monarch HG 8x30 are extremely compact and optically in the running as well. The Swaro does have a flat field but not as flat as the EL series, it seems. The Monarch HG is advertised as having a field flattener but it is not a 100% flat field, field curvature is obvious at about 80-85% of the field of view, and I've not seen many reports of rolling ball with this model.

Cheers and good luck.
 

Odradek

Well-known member
Thank you both for your answers!

I ordered a Conquest HD 8x32 now. I have heared from a little rolling ball with the Nikon HG and i would better avoid testing if it botheres me or not. But i struggeled a while if i should choose the Meostar B1.1. Since it is 100€ more i took the Zeiss.
 

PhilR.

Well-known member
I have owned both the Conquest and the Conquest HD, and did not have any problems with either one. I think that given there hasn’t been any great chatter on the interwebs about ongoing issues with the HD, I think that odds are you will be fine.

Great choice, btw....
 

Odradek

Well-known member
The Conquest HD arrived yet. It is indeed a nice binocular. But unfortunally it has a flaw ...
If i focus from close to far away everything is fine and i instantly find the focus/sharpness. But if i focus from far away to closer objects i dont get the focus at all. It is not that i overshoot. Even if i turn counterclockwise in slow motion i cant get a sharp image. Only if i turn then clockwise a few degree focus snaps in.

When focus from far ayway to near i can see that one eye gets a sharp image, the other one is not sharp. When i slowly turn further the sharpnes jumps to the other eye and the one that was sharp before is now blurry. With other words. When focus from far to near it is not possible to get both eyes sharp at the same time.

Thats disappointing now because otherwise the binocular is quiet good. I had the same issue in the past with a Victory fl 8x32 and even though i had it serviced at zeiss they havent managed to remove that issue. Now i am afraid i get the same trouble again :cry:
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
The Conquest HD arrived yet. It is indeed a nice binocular. But unfortunally it has a flaw ...
If i focus from close to far away everything is fine and i instantly find the focus/sharpness. But if i focus from far away to closer objects i dont get the focus at all. It is not that i overshoot. Even if i turn counterclockwise in slow motion i cant get a sharp image. Only if i turn then clockwise a few degree focus snaps in.

When focus from far ayway to near i can see that one eye gets a sharp image, the other one is not sharp. When i slowly turn further the sharpnes jumps to the other eye and the one that was sharp before is now blurry. With other words. When focus from far to near it is not possible to get both eyes sharp at the same time.

Thats disappointing now because otherwise the binocular is quiet good. I had the same issue in the past with a Victory fl 8x32 and even though i had it serviced at zeiss they havent managed to remove that issue. Now i am afraid i get the same trouble again :cry:
I've had a Conquest HD 8X32 for several years and it's been problem free. Although many of us have yet to have an issue with the binocular it obviously isn't for you. I'd just send it back and go a different direction. Maybe try something like a Monarch HG or a Meopta Meostar..
 

ZeNiTh-PbArM

Active member
Hi

What you describe is a very common issue among cheaper roof binoculars. This is due to backlash in the focuser mechanism.
As a result you have a diopter difference which depends on the focusing direction, which is pretty annoying.
Have the bins repaired if you like the view.

All the best
zp*
 

Odradek

Well-known member
... it obviously isn't for you...
Thank you Chuck! But i dont know why it should not be a binocular for me. Do you think i should use a binocular with a slower focus mechanism?

I tried a bit around today and to some degree i could fix the problem. I was focusing to a certain point from far to close. Again, one eye was always slightly blurry. No i adjusted the dioptre setting and i received a clear view. And that worked everytime perfect.

BUT, now i have the issue when i focus from close to far objects.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Thank you Chuck! But i dont know why it should not be a binocular for me. Do you think i should use a binocular with a slower focus mechanism?

I tried a bit around today and to some degree i could fix the problem. I was focusing to a certain point from far to close. Again, one eye was always slightly blurry. No i adjusted the dioptre setting and i received a clear view. And that worked everytime perfect.

BUT, now i have the issue when i focus from close to far objects.
Check out Post 9. If you like the view, get them repaired.
Lee
 

Conndomat

United States of Europe
Europe
BUT, now i have the issue when i focus from close to far objects.
Hello,

I don't know what's going on at Zeiss with the focusers.

The same problem with a Conquest 10x32, it was sent to service and the error was fixed, however, the repair took over 3 months.

With my 10x56 FL also this error, I had it for service in December and the error is a little better but still there!
The focusers are now extremely tight on both binoculars, almost too stiff.

I am an eyeglass user, so position diopter "0", with the FL I have to go about half a degree in the minus direction, then it works, but is still not perfect, if it holds ok, you can live with it, but it should be worse will not.
Annoying when you have to send binoculars back and forth.

Andreas
 

Odradek

Well-known member
Since it is the third time that i had bad luck with a Zeiss i dont have that much confident anymore. I dont want to blame the company as others have best experience with their Zeiss binoculars. But i havent that luck. And unfortunally my experiences with the service are even worse. Maybe know i understand what Chuck wanted to say, it is just not for me :confused:
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
The Conquest HD arrived yet. It is indeed a nice binocular. But unfortunally it has a flaw ...
nIf i focus from close to far away everything is fine and i instantly find the focus/sharpness. But if i focus from far away to closer objects i dont get the focus at all. It is not that i overshoot. Even if i turn counterclockwise in slow motion i cant get a sharp image. Only if i turn then clockwise a few degree focus snaps in.

When focus from far ayway to near i can see that one eye gets a sharp image, the other one is not sharp. When i slowly turn further the sharpnes jumps to the other eye and the one that was sharp before is now blurry. With other words. When focus from far to near it is not possible to get both eyes sharp at the sa\me time.

Thats disappointing now because otherwise the binocular is quiet good. I had the same issue in the past with a Victory fl 8x32 and even though i had it serviced at zeiss they havent managed to remove that issue. Now i am afraid i get the same trouble again :cry:

Since I first really noticed this issue on my first pair of Tract Toric UHD, I've either been very unlucky or become more and more sensitive to this issue because I've had this problem with an alarming percentage of binoculars.

And that includes the Conquest HD 10x32 that I tried. Wonderful little binocular, but there was a significant difference in diopter alignment depending on focus direction. Thankfully I was able to return it for a refurnd.

Sometimes this misalignment is very slight, so it's hard to diagnose. It might feel like you sometimes have trouble getting perfect focus snap, or that you find you keep trying to reset the diopter but you get very different results and you can't figure out why.

Disappointing for a Zeiss, but then again like the Tract Toric it's really a Kamakura product at its core. Given that the Monarch HG is likely outsourced to some degree, it wouldn't shock me if some of the occasional complaints about lack of sharpness with this model is actually a slight focus misalignment (although, to be fair, the MHG 8x42 that I had was perfect in this respect).

I find this affliction pretty common among cheaper bins, again sometimes so subtle you might miss it. Thankfully/unfortunately, I'm now very OCD about checking this. The Vortex Diamondback HD 8x32 had a bit of it, so did the GPO Spectra 8x32, so did the Styrka S7 8x42, and my current Opticron Traveler 8x32 ED has a pretty obvious differential, about on par with what the 10x32 Conquest HD had.

The common thread here seems to be low to mid priced, outsourced products, and fundamentally I think it's a quality control problem that's endemic to outsourcing as a means to reduce production cost / increase margins.

The bins I've cycled through that have been consistently perfect in terms of focus alignment, independent of direction, have been higher end models produced in-house by top brands -- My Nikon EDG and Leica UV, Swaro CL, Kowa Genesis, Minox HG, Meopta (Cabelas) Meostar, etc.

NOTE: I'm not suggesting this is a widespread problem with the Zeiss Conquest HD, this is a time-tested, high volume selling model. I'm sure the vast majority are just fine in this respect, and that I've been unlucky to some degree. And if you get a model that has perfect focus snap in both directions, it will likely continue to function perfectly for years to come. But I do think the problem is more widespread than people realize, especially among less expensive products.
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
Since it is the third time that i had bad luck with a Zeiss i dont have that much confident anymore. I dont want to blame the company as others have best experience with their Zeiss binoculars. But i havent that luck. And unfortunally my experiences with the service are even worse. Maybe know i understand what Chuck wanted to say, it is just not for me :confused:
Two options in that general price range that IMO are slightly superior optically to the Zeiss Conquest HD, weigh slightly less, and have terrific build quality:

1) Kowa Genesis 8x33
2) Meopta Meostar 8x32

The Meopta Meostar line is often compared favorably to the Swaro SLC you have, similar robust eastern European build quality and a wide, curved field with excellent sharpness, low color fringing, a slight warmth to the view that yields great depth and contrast, and a very large sweet spot. The only downside to this model is the small diameter eyecups, which (similar to those of the 8x30 CL Swaros) can make them ergonomically problematic for non-eyeglass wearers.

The Kowa Genesis is just splendid, with a silky smooth focus and a very wide FOV, almost no color fringing, and very bright optics with nearly perfect color neutrality and superb "micro contrast". The only downside to this model a weird off-axis distortion pattern which causes a ring of blurriness, so they are actually slightly sharper on the edge than they are about 70% out. However that sharper outer part of the FOV is "flattened" so you get some "rolling ball" distortion when panning. They are deadly sharp in the center, and top class in nearly every other respect, but if you're the type who likes to let your eyes wander off axis, the Meostar has a more "traditional" distortion pattern with pincushion and field curvature with gradual softening as you approach the edge.

Both of these binoculars can go toe-to-toe with the Conquest HD optically, and have really well-engineered diopter mechanisms and precise focusing.
 

Odradek

Well-known member
Thank you for your long answer, Eitan!

Did you kept all the binoculars with that issue?

I think too that the issue is not a general problem with the Conquest line. But even if it is one out of a thousand, i got it yet. Or even worse, i got it again. The first Conquest a few years ago had a similar flaw and my later purchased FL too.

I wish Swarovski had a SLC 8x32. Maybe i will try a Meostar 8x32 then. Even though the Kowa is often praised as a great binocular, i will have struggle with the flat field. Thanks for the notice in that regard.
 

Conndomat

United States of Europe
Europe
The common thread here seems to be low to mid priced, outsourced products, and fundamentally I think it's a quality control problem that's endemic to outsourcing as a means to reduce production cost / increase margins.
Hello Eitan,

But the FL are not an outsourced product, they were manufactured in Germany and belonged to the high-end binoculars.
Just think of the "gray" SF version, there were constant focus problems here.
I had the same problem with a Leica Noctivid.

Sometimes it may be due to the quality control, but I think the fundamental problem lies elsewhere, the closer and closer proximity areas make the focusers more and more prone to errors, the effort to create such close targets is much more complex and you have to work more precisely, that makes the focuser prone to failure.
The whole mechanics simply have to run more precisely and malfunctions can occur more quickly.
With a very low close focus, you can buy yourself into trouble.

Andreas
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Hello Eitan,


Sometimes it may be due to the quality control, but I think the fundamental problem lies elsewhere, the closer and closer proximity areas make the focusers more and more prone to errors, the effort to create such close targets is much more complex and you have to work more precisely, that makes the focuser prone to failure.
The whole mechanics simply have to run more precisely and malfunctions can occur more quickly.
With a very low close focus, you can buy yourself into trouble.

Andreas
Andreas, we agree about so many things but I am not convinced that close-focusing binoculars have to be more precise and are more prone to malfunction. This is because, as far as I can tell, the focusing gears are the same as on binos that do not focus closely (much to the disappointment of Alexis who favours variable rate focusing ie faster for closer) and the only thing that is different is that the geared shaft that moves the focusing lens is a little longer to make the lens move further.
Lee
 

Odradek

Well-known member
As i remember, Holger Merlitz said that the quick focus of the Conquest MIGHT be a critical part because it allows less tolerance in the mechanics.
 

Conndomat

United States of Europe
Europe
but I am not convinced that close-focusing binoculars have to be more precise and are more prone to malfunction.

Hello Lee,

this point is of course very controversial, Holger Merlitz said the following ...

"This expectation would be unproblematic if one simply got the property of a short near point as a treat on top. Like a piece of cake that comes with the icing as an extra.

It's different with binoculars, because a short near point can only be achieved with compromises in other performance parameters. Like: The cake with icing is only available with fewer cherries in the batter.

Therefore one should only demand such a function as the near point if one really needs it and is prepared to accept compromises elsewhere (among other things: more complicated, more error-prone mechanics, additional lenses, i.e. heavier and in connection with a light one Loss of contrast, etc."


Andreas
 

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