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The Remarkable First Zeiss Conquests (2 Viewers)

Troubador

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While it is true that from time to time, a member will post respectfully or even affectionately about the Mark 1 Conquests, these binoculars simply do not crop up very often on Birdforum, compared with other Zeiss models. Perhaps they were over-shadowed by the FLs, which were the replacements for the Mark 1 Victories, and which were marketed over the same period. Conquest Mk1s were the affordable Zeisses of the period, and the FLs were the flagship range of the time. Whatever the explanation, my misguided impression has been that Conquest Mk1s were unremarkable, but an examination of the Conquest Mk1 range reveals that they were actually quite intriguing, at least when compared with the roof prism model ranges that Zeiss offered prior to the Conquests and since. Note that this discussion ignores Zeiss’s rangefinder binoculars.

Technically the Conquest Mk1s of course lagged behind the FLs, lacking the FL glass and also, taking the Conquest 8x40 and FL 8x42 as typical models, the Conquests had a lesser field of view of 120m (360ft) compared with the FL’s 135m (405ft).

Taking a broader view of Zeiss’s post-Dialyt roof-prism binocular output, and comparing it with the Conquest Mk1s, is where we uncover some quite remarkable (remarkable to Zeiss-followers that is) facts.

I will list the models of the various ranges after listing the following points:

Firstly, the Conquest Mk1 range is the biggest range that Zeiss has ever offered, consisting of no less than 12 different models, including 2 pocket models. The FL range had 7 models (again not including pocket models), the Design Selection range was also 7 strong 4 of whichwere pockets. The Victory Mk1 range consisted only of 5 models and no pockets. The current Conquest HD range is 7 models and of course the HTs and SFs have had 4 models each.

Secondly, the Conquest Mk1 8x50 and 10x50 are the only 50mm roof prism binoculars Zeiss has ever offered under the Zeiss brand name. Several 50mm roof models were sold under the Hensoldt brand name but this again makes it all the more remarkable that while Zeiss adopted and continued to develop and sell the Dialyt 7x42, 10x40 and of course the famously long-lived 8x56, which started their lives as Hensoldts, Zeiss did not do this with the 50mm models.

Thirdly, the Conquest 12x45 is the only 12x model Zeiss has offered other than the rather rare Victory Mk 1 12x56.

Fourthly, the 12x45 and 15x45 are the only 45mm binoculars Zeiss has ever offered for normal nature observation purposes apart from the earlier Design Selection 7x45.

Fifthly, Abbe-Koenig prisms were fitted to the 40mm, 50mm and 56mm models but SP prisms featured in not only the 30mm models, as one might expect, but also, puzzlingly, in the two 45mm models too, despite the fact that the earlier Design Selection 7x45 had AKs.

Sixthly, this range has been the only full range of models made by the Zeiss factory at Mátészalka in Hungary (the Diafuns and Victory Compacts produced there hardly constituted ranges, both numbering only two models), which currently produces Zeiss Vision spectacle lenses, and optical components for Zeiss Sports Optics at Wetzlar. BTW Mátészalka is pronounced Mat-salka.

Summary of the Ranges

Design Selection, 1994-2000.

4x12, 6x18, 8x20, 10x25, 7x45, 8x56, 10x56

Victory Mk 1s, 2000-2005.
8x40, 10x40, 8x56, 10x56, 12x56

Victory FL, 2004-2013.
8x32, 10x32, 7x42, 8x42, 10x42, 8x56,10x56

Conquest Mk 1, 2003-2015
8x20, 10x25, 8x30, 10x30, 8x40, 10x40, 8x50, 10x50, 12x45, 15x45, 8x56, 10x56

Conquest HD 2012-to date
8x32, 10x32, 8x42, 10x42, 8x56, 10x56, 15x56

The more recent HTs only consisted of 8x42, 10x42, 8x54 and 10x54 until the 42s were discontinued, and of course the current SF range’s 8x42 and 10x42 have only recently been joined by 8x32 and 10x32.

If any member finds an error in the above I would be grateful for this to be pointed out. Thanks to Gijs for the information that several 50mm roof prism binoculars were marketed by Zeiss under the Hensoldt brand name upto the 1960's. Thanks for Joachim for pointing out the two Conquest pocket models.

Pics below are Conquest 10x50 (left) and 12x45 (right)

Lee

Con 10x50.jpg conquest-12x45.jpg
 
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PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
Lee, what did you make of the Diafun ? I'm afraid I thought it was awful.....very lightweight / optically underwhelming and felt fragile.
We displayed a range of MK1 Conguest which sold reasonably well - though hard eyecup edges. I quite liked the grey dimpled Mk 1 Victory with the "angled" eyecups and their much larger cousins the Night Owls / Design. The 8 x 56 was like a breezeblock but fantastic for the biceps.
 
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Troubador

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Lee, what did you make of the Diafun ? I'm afraid I thought it was awful.....very lightweight / optically underwhelming and felt fragile.
We displayed a range of MK1 Conguest which sold reasonably well - though hard eyecup edges. I quite liked the grey dimpled Mk 1 Victory with the "angled" eyecups and their much larger cousins the Night Owls / Design. The 8 x 56 was like a breezeblock but fantastic for the biceps.
Hi Pat
I have only briefly looked through a Diafun and my impression was.............not good, in fact pretty much the same as yours. The Terras are much better.

Lee
 

gunut

Registered Offender
I always thought the original Conquest was a good bin...have a 8x30....didnt think the diafun was all that bad.....but it was no Conquest.....:rolleyes:
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
8 x 30 was the pick of the bunch for me. We sold quite a few for those seekin a good lightweight binocular.
 

Gilmore Girl

Beth
Supporter
United States
When I started birding I remember meeting a guy with a Conquest 8x30. I remember seeing the Zeiss badge and asking him what model it was. I believe I saw another of the 30mm about 3 or more yrs ago...maybe it was the same guy. I would have liked to look through one of these original Conquests. I remember considering it when upgrading from my Leupold bino, but I went with CL 8x30 instead. Would have been nice to compare the CL and Conquest 8x30.
 

Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
Lee, post 1,
Zeiss has made quite a few 50 mm roof models not listed in your overview:
  • 1928- 1935: 7x50, 8x50 and 10x50
  • 1936-1943: 7x50, 8x50 10x50 and 16x50
  • 1948-196: 7x50, 8x50, 10x50.
They were made under the name of Hensoldt, but that company was owned since 1928 by Zeiss, so they were essentially Zeiss binoculars.
Gijs van Ginkel
 

Troubador

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Lee, post 1,
Zeiss has made quite a few 50 mm roof models not listed in your overview:
  • 1928- 1935: 7x50, 8x50 and 10x50
  • 1936-1943: 7x50, 8x50 10x50 and 16x50
  • 1948-196: 7x50, 8x50, 10x50.
They were made under the name of Hensoldt, but that company was owned since 1928 by Zeiss, so they were essentially Zeiss binoculars.
Gijs van Ginkel
Hi Gijs thank you for this extra information! I have amended Post 1 and added an acknowledgement to you.

Lee
 

Mark9473

Well-known member
Belgium
There's a Conquest 8x50 that's been on eBay since forever.
I know about the narrower FOV and the lower light transmission compared to later Zeiss binoculars, but other than that, how would this one rate compared to current 8x42 binoculars in the €1K price range?
 

Canip

Well-known member
Beside the much narrower FOV than current 8x42’s like Conquest HD or Monarch HG or others in the same category, less contrast and more CA (no ED glass) and, despite its AK prisms, less brightness.
Still a nice bino, though, and quite light thanks to polycarbonate body (like the other Conquests in Lee‘s good overview; I have 8x50, 10x56 and 12x45).

Canip
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Picking up on Gijs’ post #10, see pages from two Hensoldt catalogues. The first in Spanish from 1937, and the second in English from 1939.

While the first includes all 4 of the x50 models, the second lacks the 16x50. However, as can be seen from the 1939 catalogue
there was also a comprehensive selection of x56 offerings - so a wealth of x50 and x56 choices.
Most striking is the ultra light weight of all the models, and the significantly higher prices of the x56's!

The pages are from Miniature Binoculars, the premier resource for those interested in flyers and such about about older optics
See at: https://www.miniaturebinoculars.com/part1/Page2725.htm
and then go down the right hand side of the page to the headings 'Binocular Catalogues'


John
 

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Troubador

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Picking up on Gijs’ post #10, see pages from two Hensoldt catalogues. The first in Spanish from 1937, and the second in English from 1939.

While the first includes all 4 of the x50 models, the second lacks the 16x50. However, as can be seen from the 1939 catalogue
there was also a comprehensive selection of x56 offerings - so a wealth of x50 and x56 choices.
Most striking is the ultra light weight of all the models, and the significantly higher prices of the x56's!

The pages are from Miniature Binoculars, the premier resource for those interested in flyers and such about about older optics
See at: https://www.miniaturebinoculars.com/part1/Page2725.htm
and then go down the right hand side of the page to the headings 'Binocular Catalogues'


John
Nice, John. And of course Zeiss continued to make the formerly Hensoldt Dialyts in the 7x42, 8x56 and 10x40 formats under the Zeiss name for many years but they steadfastly turned their backs on the 50mm format. I wonder why.

Lee
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi Lee,

thank you for your overview of the Conquest Mk line plus predecessors, successors and contemporaries... I have two remarks:

- the design selection 8x20 and 10x25 pairs seem to be predecessors of the current Victory pocket models with an asymmetric single hinge.

- there also was two Conquest pocket models which were basically rebadged versions of the classic Zeiss 8x20 and 10x25 pocket pairs with double hinges. These were still offered new when I joined BF in 2015 - they vanished a few years later...

Joachim
 

Troubador

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Hi Lee,

thank you for your overview of the Conquest Mk line plus predecessors, successors and contemporaries... I have two remarks:

- the design selection 8x20 and 10x25 pairs seem to be predecessors of the current Victory pocket models with an asymmetric single hinge.

- there also was two Conquest pocket models which were basically rebadged versions of the classic Zeiss 8x20 and 10x25 pocket pairs with double hinges. These were still offered new when I joined BF in 2015 - they vanished a few years later...

Joachim
Excellent information Joachim, thank you. The Design Selection pockets were actually 4-models strong and yes they had the asymmetric design. which featured on the Victory Compacts and the current Victory Pockets.
I have added the two Conquest pockets to the article and acknowledged your contribution for which I am grateful.

Lee
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi Lee,

btw, do you know the wayback machine from archive.org? This lets you see web pages as they were 10 or 15 year ago... Here is the snapshot of the english zeiss.de website from Dec 7th 2015 - which happens to be the last one showing the Conquest Compact models...


If you press blue arrow to the right at the top center to go to the next snapshot from Jan 15th 2016, you just get a 404 and if you surf around a bit on that snapshot, you can see it is not to be found any more...


Joachim
 

Troubador

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Hi Lee,

btw, do you know the wayback machine from archive.org? This lets you see web pages as they were 10 or 15 year ago... Here is the snapshot of the english zeiss.de website from Dec 7th 2015 - which happens to be the last one showing the Conquest Compact models...


If you press blue arrow to the right at the top center to go to the next snapshot from Jan 15th 2016, you just get a 404 and if you surf around a bit on that snapshot, you can see it is not to be found any more...


Joachim
That's cool Joachim, thank you for the tip!
Prosit
Lee
 

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