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Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 vs. 8x42 for birding (1 Viewer)

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Well-known member
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I recently placed an order for Conquest HD 8x32. It will be interesting to see how I perceive them side by side compared to the 8x42.
The 8x42's will be brighter especially in low light and have easier eye placement than the 8x32's but the 8x32's will have a noticeably bigger FOV. Of course, ergonomically, the big advantage of the 8x32 is the smaller size and weight.
 
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Swedpat

Well-known member
I received Conquest HD 8x32 yesterday. My impression from the try in the store was the same when it comes to size and weight compared to the 8x42. It's a clear advantage to 8x32.
I see the entire FOV with eyeglasses.
Compared to 5+mm exit pupil there is a certain difference when it comes to eye placement, but not big.
But now I will come to the ease of view. As I already knew eye relief is shorter than the 8x42 and Vortex Viper HD 6x32. And while I clearly see the entire FOV I found my self constantly pushing the binocular to my eyeglasses in order to come closer.
I compared to the 8x42 and 6x32. The difference of ease of view is significant. I cannot get rid of the feeling of not easy being able to "climb into" the image like with the 6x32 and 8x42(NL Pure 8x42 as well). When I first look through the 8x32 and directly after through Viper 6x32 I find the view with 6x32 more relaxed in comparison.
What on the first short glanze in the store seemed to be good enough now with a careful test showed up to not being as good as I first thought.

Optics: while Viper HD is a great binocular, Conquest HD is at least a small step up.
On axis the 8x32 is super sharp, actually sharper than Conquest HD 8x42. But I perceive the 8x42 to have a bit larger sweet spot.

Conquest HD 8x32 is an excellent binocular.
I really like it, but I am a bit doubtful about the issue I described. To really get that perfect open even illuminated image(which I describe as "climbing into" the image) I need to push the binocular on the eyeglasses so they come some millimeter closer to the eyes. It works but is not comfortable. Or will I be used to it?...

I definitely recommend Conquest HD 8x32 for the hold comfortability and optical quality. I doubt there is better for the price.
But try before buy, or get it on an "open purchase" like I did (don't know if that's the right term in english) so you can send it back if it will not be to your satisfaction.

I will wait some day more until I make the decision whether I keep it or not. I am careful not to regret that I sent it back.
 

Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
I received Conquest HD 8x32 yesterday. My impression from the try in the store was the same when it comes to size and weight compared to the 8x42. It's a clear advantage to 8x32.
I see the entire FOV with eyeglasses.
Compared to 5+mm exit pupil there is a certain difference when it comes to eye placement, but not big.
But now I will come to the ease of view. As I already knew eye relief is shorter than the 8x42 and Vortex Viper HD 6x32. And while I clearly see the entire FOV I found my self constantly pushing the binocular to my eyeglasses in order to come closer.
I compared to the 8x42 and 6x32. The difference of ease of view is significant. I cannot get rid of the feeling of not easy being able to "climb into" the image like with the 6x32 and 8x42(NL Pure 8x42 as well). When I first look through the 8x32 and directly after through Viper 6x32 I find the view with 6x32 more relaxed in comparison.
What on the first short glanze in the store seemed to be good enough now with a careful test showed up to not being as good as I first thought.

Optics: while Viper HD is a great binocular, Conquest HD is at least a small step up.
On axis the 8x32 is super sharp, actually sharper than Conquest HD 8x42. But I perceive the 8x42 to have a bit larger sweet spot.

Conquest HD 8x32 is an excellent binocular.
I really like it, but I am a bit doubtful about the issue I described. To really get that perfect open even illuminated image(which I describe as "climbing into" the image) I need to push the binocular on the eyeglasses so they come some millimeter closer to the eyes. It works but is not comfortable. Or will I be used to it?...

I definitely recommend Conquest HD 8x32 for the hold comfortability and optical quality. I doubt there is better for the price.
But try before buy, or get it on an "open purchase" like I did (don't know if that's the right term in english) so you can send it back if it will not be to your satisfaction.

I will wait some day more until I make the decision whether I keep it or not. I am careful not to regret that I sent it back.
Conquest are phenomenal binoculars and are very high quality binos.

There are others that compare very well to the conquest and some slightly better, eyebox, CA control , immersive image. Nikon MHG, Kowa Genesis, Leica Trinovid to name a few. But none of those are in the same league as the NL, EL or even UVHD. If you got the SF or NL in 32 we would not be having this conversation 😜

You’re probably spoiled for life now after having the NL‘s. 😧
 
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Swedpat

Well-known member
Conquest are phenomenal binoculars and are very high quality binos.

There are others that compare very well to the conquest and some slightly better, eyebox, CA control , immersive image. Nikon MHG, Kowa Genesis, Leica Trinovid to name a few. But none of those are in the same league as the NL, EL or even UVHD. If you got the SF or NL in 32 we would having this conversation 😜

You’re probably spoiled for life now after having the NL‘s. 😧

Yes, NL Pure is in another league when it comes to contrast and flat field. Still I have no problem with the smaller sweet spot with Conquests.
The optical "problem" with 8x32 is because of the shorter objective lens focal length, which requires a shorter eyepiece focal length for a certain magnification. And shorter eyepiece focal length means shorter eye relief. That combined with that the manufacturers typically choose wider FOV eyepieces for 8x32 than 8x42, which shortens the eye relief even more. I wish there could be a 8x30/32 with 55-57 deg AFOV to gain eye relief. Still, Conquest HD 8x32 has one of the longest ER of 8x32s with 60+ deg AFOV.
I tried Swaro EL 8x32 a few years ago, and it may be even better than Conquest HD 8x32 in this respect.
 
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Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
Yes, NL Pure is in another league when it comes to contrast and flat field. Still I have no problem with the smaller sweet spot with Conquests.
The optical "problem" with 8x32 is because of the shorter objective lens focal length, which requires a shorter eyepiece focal length for a certain magnification. And shorter eyepiece focal length means shorter eye relief. That combined with that the manufacturers typically choose wider FOV eyepieces for 8x32 than 8x42, which shortens the eye relief even more. I wish there could be a 8x30/32 with 55-57 deg AFOV to gain eye relief. Still, Conquest HD 8x32 has one of the longest ER of 8x32s with 60+ deg AFOV.
I tried Swaro EL 8x32 a few years ago, and it may be even better than Conquest HD 8x32 in this respect.
Eye Releif
Conquest 8x32 16mm.
Options all with wider FOV and premium (alpha) optics.
NL 18
SF 19
EL 20
 

Swedpat

Well-known member
Eye Releif
Conquest 8x32 16mm.
Options all with wider FOV and premium (alpha) optics.
NL 18
SF 19
EL 20

These numbers look good! Still I am not sure they are comparable in practise. In many cases the stated ER has to be taken with a pinch of salt.
But I want to try out other models in the NL Pure line.
 

Swedpat

Well-known member
Today I made the decision to make use of the open purchase on Conquest HD 8x32.
A decision that hurts for this is an excellent pair of binoculars. Perfect in the hand. Super sharp on axis, in my eyes rivalling NL Pure 8x42.
But when I get used to and learn to appreciate a relaxed image with long eye relief, I will always have that reference. I may have become spoiled on this, but the ease of view is for me more important for the viewing enjoyment than sharpness and FOV. Conquest HD 8x32 almost meet my requirement here. Very close but not enough.

If you don't wear eyeglasses and don't want to spend 2000+$ it's another thing. BUY THEM. Just contact Zeiss for the extended eyecups, because the included eyecups are way too short.
 
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Maximc1

Member
United States
Hmmmm... I've run into this a few times BUT low/poor light is just that. I have never seen a difference comparing 8X32 and 8X42. I talking about carrying both binoculars to the field at the same time. I can see SOME difference with a 10X56...prob not enough difference to ID a bird. There is no reason to not use a 8X32 you like IMO. The Conquest HD 8X32 is a great choice. Now if you just WANT a 8x42, get it. But don't expect any meaningful lowlight performance increase.
Switching between my 8x32 EL's and 8x42 SLC's doesn't provide me with a noticeable increase in brightness during normal daytime viewing. But I do sometimes notice that the larger aperture of the SLC's sometimes reveals very fine details that the EL's don't quite show. It's similar to a 6" telescope resolving finer details of lunar craters than a 4" scope will due to its larger aperture.
 

sope0018

Member
United States
I thought I would check back in after several weeks of trying a bunch of different binoculars and weighing the pros and cons of each, and trying to dial in exactly what it is I'm looking for in a binocular. In the end, I determined there probably isn't any one binocular that will fully satisfy all use cases, which seems obvious to me now. I also found that, for my eyes, there really was not much of a difference between an 8x42 and 8x32 in the types of low light situations I found myself in (I'm typically not observing until can no longer resolve an object, for instance). This was actually somewhat of a relief, as I really enjoy the lighter weight of the smaller objective formats.

It got me thinking about even smaller objective formats, like 8x20 or 8x25. I tried out the Zeiss Victory Pocket 8x25 and the Leica Ultravid 8x20 BR. In these smaller formats, I can definitely notice a difference in very low light scenarios. As an example, I was looking through the little Ultravid and a pair of 10x42 Vortex Diamondback HD binoculars I've had for awhile during a very heavy thunderstorm taking place in the middle of the day. Not quite night light, but pretty dark, similar to well-after-sundown conditions. The 10x42 format produced a brighter image, while the 8x20 was darker by comparison. This was expected.

The more I experimented with the compact formats, the more I found myself finding excuses to take binoculars with me! I took them hiking, dog walking, to various outdoor events in the community, on bike rides, long walks exploring the city I live in, and on vacation. Generally they are with me anytime I'm outside. The larger formats weren't as exciting to take with me on these non-dedicated-birding outings, where they were a bit more cumbersome and not as discrete, so they often wouldn't come along.

I ended up purchasing the Leica Ultravid 8x20 BR. It's combination of excellent build quality, ergonomics, image quality, color rendition, slick locking diopter adjustment, ease of view (with a bit of practice, and ability to see the entire field of view) with either sunglasses on or without, ultimate portability, and versatility for daylight use won me over. When I began this post, I was very concerned about field of view, apparent field of view, low light performance, etc., but after actually trying out a bunch of different bins, it's interesting to me how my preferences shifted! Between it and my 10x42s, I think I have my bases well-covered for the time being.

As an aside, there is definitely a subtlety about Leica color rendition that I really enjoy. The red part of the spectrum pops more noticeably with these than any other binocular I tried. The images it produces during twilight hours when the sun is at a low angle on the horizon are especially beautiful to my eyes. I loved the view through the Zeiss optics I tried as well. I appreciate them both.
 

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