Review by Cley Spy

The finest binoculars available to humanity are masterpieces of design and engineering using cutting edge chemical and material process. The very best fall into the £1400-£2000+ range, but recently there have been a few models launched by the big names that are highly specified but coming in with a more modest price tag than their flagship lines. Although these are the second from top in the product line ups from their respective manufacturers, they offer a lot of performance for the price. Here is a quick overview of three of the best.


Zeiss Conquest HD. The model above: Zeiss Victory SF.

Zeiss Conquest HD 8x42

Zeiss Conquest HD 8×42

We were impressed with these as soon as we saw them, and even more so when we looked through them. The technical specifications resemble that of top of range models and this backed up by using them in the real world. Without wishing to repeat myself, the contrast, brightness and sharpness are all excellent, and the build quality is to a very high standard with one of the best feeling focus wheels of any binocular at regardless of price. These have Zeiss’s T* and water and grease repelant LotuTec coatings and a 10 year warranty.

Leica Trinovid HD. The model above: Leica Ultravid HD Plus.

Leica Trinovid HD 10x42

Leica Trinovid HD 10×42

The well-respected Trinovid name gets HD added for the first time, and it does a fine job of upholding the models reputation for excellent optics in tough go anywhere bodies. With a price tag hundreds of pounds below that of the Ultravids they have already proved very popular because the image is so good and the build quality feels outstanding. Leica is one of the legendary names in optics and they have only enhanced their reputation with this new model. 10 year warranty.

Swarovski SLC. The model above: Swarovski EL FieldPro.

Swarovski SLC 8x42

Swarovski SLC 8×42

These are the heaviest of this bunch at 832g, but they are well balanced and feel remarkably comfortable in the hand. In terms of image quality these are the exception in this group, in that they are to the same standard as the top model, both having fluorite lenses and the full complement of Swarovski’s latest lens coatings. The difference lies in the tailoring of the coatings and optical system and the design of the body. The SLCs lack the field-flattening lenses found in the ELs and close focusing is 3m versus 1.5m with the ELs   In reality the difference is minimal, both the EL and the SLC giving excellent sharpness, brightness and colour rendition. The SLCs have 10 year warranties and are backed up Swarovski’s superb after-sales service.

You can view more details and specification for all the models mentioned here on our website.


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