Testing the Zeiss Terra 8x25 (1 Viewer)

james holdsworth

Consulting Biologist
I’ve had a 8x25 Terra for a week now - managed to find one for a reasonable $300 USD - and have been able to test it in a range of conditions. I tell you though, for real testing of CA, colour-balance and whiteness, you have to test in a snow-covered landscape – the stark differences observed just cannot be seen in regular viewing. We have had mostly dim, gloomy, snowy days here for quite some time, so conditions would be considered challenging for any binocular. I have no other modern compacts, so can only compare to my 8x42 Terra [as siblings] and my 8x32 Conquest [as a benchmark for the price-range]

Build quality - excellent - appears high quality in fit / finish and material. Barrel interiors immaculate, nary a speck of anything.

Focus - started off stiff, now much better. Zero slack. Fast but very precise, can be easily used in sub-zero temps with gloves, with one finger. Close focus to 4 feet. Terra 8x42 feels spongy, imprecise in comparison.

Eyecups – Move with a smoothness and lightness totally lacking in the 8x42 Terra, click firmly in place with no play.

Optics

Straight out of the box, with zero adjustment, you realize you are dealing with optics on a different level than those found in the Terra 8x42 – instantly ‘snaps’ into best focus with no fiddling. Instantly visible, especially in viewing of snow, is the fantastic white rendering – perfect to my eye. The 8x42 looks positively yellow-brown in comparison and even the Conquest looks just a bit creamy. Overall colour seems very neutral while the 8x42 is distinctly warm, with over saturated reds and yellows.

Brightness is hard to judge - the 8x25 works fine in daylight but suffers noticeably as the light drops. I would not be relying on these for any dawn / dusk work but that was a given from the start.

Sharpness and contrast is exceptional, a different league than the 8x42, with a view that is closer to the Conquest than a Terra. While the 8x42 Terra has a small sweet spot and noticeably soft edges, the 8x25 has a much larger area of best sharpness and minimally less sharp edges, giving a really eye-pleasing view with no distractions. I always fond myself rocking the 8x42’s focus, to hit the perfect spot, but I have none of that with the 8x25 – you just lock right in to sharpness with no hunting.

CA, oft times bright and objectionable in the 8x42, is almost completely suppressed, with only a little visible towards the outer edges, Conquest HD level good. Best eye position is needed however, as a bit of de-centering will produce more central CA.

Glare / Flare / Veiling Glare testing was limited to a few hours of bright conditions and testing of interior lights and streetlights. The 8x25 showed only slight crescent glare against a strong sun and very slight ghosting against artificial lights. In comparison, the Terra 8x42 was similar, the 8x32 Conquest worse, the 10x42 FL similar, the HT better – so not bad company!

Ergonomically, I have always hated compacts and have never found one that could be used comfortably. The Terra 8x25, for me, can actually be used like a regular binocular as the eyecups actually fit my eyes and I get the full field of view without all kinds of vignetting. That said, such a small device will never replace a proper full sized bin in comfort or usability, especially when the light is challenging and conditions are difficult. I have used the 8x25 Terra for hours at a time, for casual birding, and it works great for that, no strain and a relatively easy, relaxing view but would grab a bigger gun for raptor / shorebird / lake watching.

So, accepting its’ limitations from the start, the 8x25 Terra is, for me, a revelation. A bargain at $300 USD, Zeiss could have easily slapped a ‘Conquest’ label on it, doubled or tripled the price and likely would have sold many. This 8x25 is the Terra I was hoping Zeiss would make with the brand introduction – Zeiss quality – not just average but well above – at very reasonable pricing.
 

james holdsworth

Consulting Biologist
God, polluted already. Any other forums that aren't full of narcissistic blow-hards?

Only 3 days ago, this from Dennis...

''If it's too dark to see that resolution it won't help you. No, the Zeiss Terra HD 8x25 must be a good compact. There is a guy on Cloudy Nights that wrote a review comparing it to the Swarovski 8x25 CL-P and he liked the Terra better saying it was sharper and all the reviews on it are 5 star. I like the fact that it is made in Japan versus China like the bigger models of Terra's are. It appears to be an excellent value. It would be a little less bright than the bigger aperture Maven 8x30 under low light conditions but if your use was mainly daylight it would be a good little compact. Here is the review from Cloudy Night's.

http://www.cloudynights.com/topic/52...8x25-a-review/''

So, in three days you ordered one, didn't like it, and returned it. And made no mention of it until now. Sure.

And, so much for not needing an 'alpha', or a brand-name anymore. Maven makes an 8x30, why would you order a Zeiss 8x25? I think you have either forgotten most of what you said, or there really are two of you.
 
Last edited:

mfunnell

Registered Confuser
That is just my opinion though because many people use compacts and are fine with them.
Sure, when I use my Terra 8x25s I can think "I'd prefer a larger exit pupil" - but the compacts are with me in circumstances where, I assure you, my 10x56 FLs have stayed home. Even my 6x30 Mavens have stayed home. Sometimes "compact" is better than "better".

...Mike
 

Pinewood

New York correspondent
United States
Sure, when I use my Terra 8x25s I can think "I'd prefer a larger exit pupil" - but the compacts are with me in circumstances where, I assure you, my 10x56 FLs have stayed home. Even my 6x30 Mavens have stayed home. Sometimes "compact" is better than "better".

...Mike

Hello Mike,

The binocular you have is far better than one you do not have.

Some years ago, while working I learned that a boreal owl was reported in Central Park. After work, I could arrive there at twilight but all I had at work was a fifty year old binocular. Even ab old 8x30 was useful in observing that rare visitor.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur :hi:
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Sure, when I use my Terra 8x25s I can think "I'd prefer a larger exit pupil" - but the compacts are with me in circumstances where, I assure you, my 10x56 FLs have stayed home. Even my 6x30 Mavens have stayed home. Sometimes "compact" is better than "better".

...Mike
I understand that. A compact is better than nothing if that is what you have with you. When I think about this whole exit pupil thing it makes me realize how important to comfort and eye placement exit pupil is. I am starting to really appreciate a 5mm exit pupil or above. I know it was a big reason I preferred the Tract Toric 8x42 over the Swarovski SV 8x32. I know it is a big reason why I like the Maven B.2 9x45.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
So, accepting its’ limitations from the start, the 8x25 Terra is, for me, a revelation. A bargain at $300 USD, Zeiss could have easily slapped a ‘Conquest’ label on it, doubled or tripled the price and likely would have sold many. This 8x25 is the Terra I was hoping Zeiss would make with the brand introduction – Zeiss quality – not just average but well above – at very reasonable pricing.

Nice review James. I have only spent a very little time with this model so maybe I should have another look.
One thing I noticed was that adjusting the dioptre was as fiddly as on the Victory Compact with that little wheel down at the bottom of the hinge. It was no deal breaker but if you share your bins regularly it might be an issue if the dioptre needs setting and resetting.
Otherwise I thought at the time it was a fun intrument but in the testing conditions you experienced it seems it is on a much higher level than that.

Is this a result of the switch to Japan for this model and is it a signpost indicating Zeiss is going to take Terra up a couple of notches?

Lee
 

james holdsworth

Consulting Biologist
Yeah, the dioptre is very fiddly, with markings so small that I need a torch to really see them. But, for me, this will be set-and-forget so not a problem. And, it is recessed, so less likely to get bumped.

The improved quality seems to come part from better materials but more from the initial design - not sure if this is an OEM commissioned by Zeiss or a full-on Zeiss design.
 

Theo98

Eurasian Goldfinch
...So, accepting its’ limitations from the start, the 8x25 Terra is, for me, a revelation. A bargain at $300 USD, Zeiss could have easily slapped a ‘Conquest’ label on it, doubled or tripled the price and likely would have sold many. This 8x25 is the Terra I was hoping Zeiss would make with the brand introduction – Zeiss quality – not just average but well above – at very reasonable pricing.

Thanks for your great review of the Terra pockets, James! Very interesting perspective and performance at a great price. I had similar findings with my CL-P 8x25's (but @ 2.5X the price...used) :eek!:. You stated the Terra eye cups fit your eyes well (w or w\o glasses?), something I had an issue with in the pocket swaros (no glasses). I needed another 2-3mm of eye relief to get a full FOV...achieved this by resting the fully extended eye cups on my index fingers on my brow. However, I ultimately moved them on to get my first EL SV!

At this price, I'm interested in these little Terra's and curious if you've ever had the opportunity to glass with the CL-P's and can offer any comparative comments (especially on eye comfort)?!

Ted
 

james holdsworth

Consulting Biologist
Sorry Ted, no I haven't tried the CL-P's. Of course, try before you buy, but I find the Terra eye-relief [no glasses] quite forgiving for a compact and I can use them with my eyes out from the eyecups as well as jammed right in there.
 

Pinewood

New York correspondent
United States
Hello James,

Do you find the FOV to be adequate? One vendor has the FOV as 119m/1000m. That works out to 6.9º.
Obviously, this is a design compromise to reduce the binocular size.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur :hi:
 

james holdsworth

Consulting Biologist
Arthur, the FOV appears [in usage] identical to the 8x42 Terra, which I find adequate but not exceptional for a full-sized bin. For a compact, I find the FOV to be quite acceptable.
 

james holdsworth

Consulting Biologist
Have had a chance to use these Terra's extensively over the past week and continue to be very impressed with them.

Finally had some bright, sunny and very cold weather to try them out. In temps of -20 C, everything worked as expected and focus effort was completely unchanged. In bright sun, the little Terra does an exceptional job [for a compact] with glare, with just a bit of crescent glare and very low veiling glare. This performance is better than any compact I have tried and better than most 8x30 / 32's I have used, including my Conquest HD 8x32.

Ease of use, which was a bit of a bother at first, is now right up there with a 'regular' binocular. I find eye-position / comfort now good enough that I could use these as a primary binocular, for long hours of birding. It does take some practice to find the best set-up and eye position but the bino works very well after you find that sweet-spot. They really are only limited by aperture.

Great sharpness and transparency still impress with every view. I have no idea why these didn't get a Conquest label. Heck, a bit of FL glass and they could have called them Victories...
 
Last edited:

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Have had a chance to use these Terra's extensively over the past week and continue to be very impressed with them.

Finally had some bright, sunny and very cold weather to try them out. In temps of -20 C, everything worked as expected and focus effort was completely unchanged. In bright sun, the little Terra does an exceptional job [for a compact] with glare, with just a bit of crescent glare and very low veiling glare. This performance is better than any compact I have tried and better than most 8x30 / 32's I have used, including my Conquest HD 8x32.

Ease of use, which was a bit of a bother at first, is now right up there with a 'regular' binocular. I find eye-position / comfort now good enough that I could use these as a primary binocular, for long hours of birding. It does take some practice to find the best set-up and eye position but the bino works very well after you find that sweet-spot. They really are only limited by aperture.

Great sharpness and transparency still impress with every view. I have no idea why these didn't get a Conquest label. Heck, a bit of FL glass and they could have called them Victories...

They sound terrific James and I think the production units must be better than the ones we saw at Bird Fair as I remember calling them 'fun' and Typo disagreeing and probably wanting to call them something worse.

It sounds as though you get on OK with the double hinges. Do they stay in position when you are focusing?

Lee
 

Bloodstriker

Well-known member
I just got my Terra 10x25 today. I paid $230 USD for them on REI. I really don't need these, since I have the Swarovski 10x25, but after reading the Cloudy Nights thread and James' review, I had to buy them when I saw them on sale.

To sum up my thoughts: These are fantastic for the price paid.

However, if cost is not a factor, the Swarovski is the better optic. The Swarovski is slightly smaller, easier to get a full picture, better focus wheel, better CA control, better resolution. The view through the Ziess is good, just slightly worse. What I really don't like about the Zeiss is how stiff the focus wheel is. I'm hoping it will loosen up after time. In comparing the Zeiss Terra ED 10x25 with my Conquest HD 10x42, the Conquest wins. Better ergos (obviously), sharper image, better CA control.

However, don't get me wrong. The Terra is fantastic and is an excellent buy.
 

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast.
United States
I've generally sworn off messing with cheap binoculars, but since I have been on the lookout for a bin for a child--with good close focus (i.e. better than Leupold Yosemite and equivalents) and very narrow minimum IPD--I decided to give the Zeiss 8x25 Terra a try from REI on sale for $209. Haven't had time to test them thoroughly but I note one big problem immediately out of the (broken plastic display) box--both hinges are floppy, very floppy. Combined with the stiff focus, it makes the bin unstable in the hands and in my opinion entirely unacceptable. Ugh! I always have such bad luck with binocular purchases, it seems there is always something to sort out, it's never simple, there's always more time and money involved to sort things out and get what I want.

For those who own 8x25 Terra, how's the tension of the hinges of your unit?

--AP
 

gunut

Registered Offender
I got 2 of the 8x25 terras from REI....both were open stock ...display model?..holiday returns??...demos??...the hinges on one are stiff like they should be the other is a little looser and will sag If you hold the bin by just one barrel...but they are not floppy.....one of them showed up in a 10x25 plastic case/box without the packing support foam...they must have put it in the wrong packaging when packing it up....the other was packaged correctly....one came from Colorado the other from Alaska.....sent a nasty note about each to their customer service reps....and let them know that folks expect sealed packages unless otherwise noted in the sale add....I'm sure they knew that already but just don't give a damn....I kept both of them because they both work fine and they do give a v-good view at that price.......don't know if you can tighten the hinges or not but if they are as loose as you say that could be a problem....
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top