I agree the conquest at $1000 price point is right up there with all the other competitors optically. You just can’t go wrong with that glass. Focuser is pretty darn good as well. But the build quality, it’s fit finish, materials and of course the eye cops are just not up to that $1000 standard IMHO. The CL, Trinovid, Genesis even the Monarch HG to name a few have that high quality, more refined feel. Some say that Zeiss spent more on the optics , I’m not buying that, the competitors are equally good.It is possible that the Conquest was never specced to be a $1K binocular, or compete in the $1K arena.
When I tried an 8x32 it was on sale for about 500E and at that price it was phenomenal value. But I paid double and got an a 7x42 Ultravid HD demo unit, which I think played in a different class, in ease of view and color, with no disrespect intended to the Conquest. And to take up the above quote, I guess if the Swaro EL line is now getting sold at the price of a Conquest, the dealer is going to have a tough time persuading the customer that the Conquest is a better glass or better value, whatever the close focus distance of the Swaro.
Pricing is always a problem with products - retailers don't like products that are priced too low because they kill the possibility of greater profit on the competition. This is what may have pushed Zeiss to set the price of the Conquest higher than initially considered, similar to that of the other luxury betas - the Trinovid HD and the Swaro Companions, but in pushing the price up so far they may have created unrealistic expectations of perfection that were not intended at design time, and that were realised in the SF line. And that may also explain why people on this thread - and other places on the net - consider the Conquest as competing on performance and quality with products that are priced much lower.
As far as SF, that’s a whole other world. Was out with my new pair today and leaving out discussion of optical quality the build quality and material are exquisite and elegant and feel great to the touch with fantastic balance. They are a work of art and you pay for that level. Is it worth it on a monetary level, there is no right or wrong answer, there is only, is it worth it to you. You are not just paying for better optics when you go to an SF, NL or Leica, you’re paying for the materials, the fit and finish and how it feels in your hand.
Maybe I misunderstood what you said about the EL, but I’m not seeing EL’s selling at similar prices as the conquest. If I could buy 32mm EL’s for a grand, I’d be all over that. Heck I’d buy two of them.