A good hunter is only as good as his eyesight, and his eyesight is only as good as the pair of binoculars that he carries. That’s why it’s vital that every serious hunter invests in a good pair of optics. However, choosing the best binos for your needs is no easy feat. Even if you settle on a brand, such as Zeiss binoculars, you still need to consider many factors, including cost, construction quality, and last but not least, clarity and brightness.
The good news is that by purchasing from leading binocular labels, you are almost automatically guaranteed excellent design and outstanding vision. And you no longer have to part with thousands of dollars either. Today a few hundred bucks will get you a more-than-decent pair of Zeiss binoculars. Of course, you can also splurge and get something spectacular.
What Makes Zeiss Binoculars Special?
The German industrialist Carl Zeiss founded his leading optics brand more than a century ago. In addition to manufacturing binoculars, Zeiss also produces eyeglass lenses, rifle scopes, microscopes, camera lenses, and optronics. Zeiss’s products are well-loved by the masses. However, the Ferrari Formula 1 team and major Hollywood film studios also use them. For example, "Lord of the Rings" director, Peter Jackson, shot the famous film franchise through Zeiss objective lenses!
Constant innovation is another factor that sets Zeiss apart from others. Most Zeiss binoculars come with advanced features such as water-repelling coatings and ergonomic focus. Their customer service is also worth a mention, and their limited lifetime transferable warranty in the U.S. and Canada is usually all it takes to convince those who are on the fence. There’s a reason why Zeiss binoculars can be seen hanging around the necks of hunters, bird enthusiasts, sailors, and even star gazers in all four corners of the globe.
How Much Do Zeiss Binoculars Cost?
Once upon a time, owning a pair of Zeiss binoculars meant parting with thousands of dollars. Today, however, you can purchase Zeiss binoculars for as little as $ -- or for as much as $$$. Essentially, there's a set for every budget.
Here Are the Products We Selected and Why They Made the List
To help you make a better decision, we consulted expert opinions on all things Zeiss binoculars. We also examined the reviews and ratings left by amateurs and hobbyists. Let's check out the models we selected!
4.6 out of stars
The most affordable of Zeiss binoculars, Zeiss Terra EDs (extra-low dispersion) cost about a fifth of the brand’s “alpha” binoculars. The company assembles these binos in China. However, the German-based Schott, Zeiss’s sister company, manufactures their objective lenses.
To achieve remain lightweight (the binoculars weigh just 26.1 ounces) without sacrificing strength, Zeiss opted to make this model’s chassis out of fiberglass-reinforced polyamide. Thanks to a “hydrophobic” coating, these binoculars are weatherproof. However, the diopter adjustment has no scale either on the binocular frame or on the knob itself. This means that if the knob shifts, you will spend a considerable amount of time trying to move it back to the right position, as the adjustment ring does not lock. Terra EDs also don’t have a tripod mounting thread, much to the disappointment of many.
Zeiss Terra EDs have a 330-foot field of view at 1,000 yards. Eye relief is 14 millimeters, which is adequate for most eyeglass wearers. Interpupillary distance range is from 57.5 to 76 millimeters, which might not be the best for those with narrow faces. A single turn of the focus wheel is all it takes to shift the gearing ratio from close focus to infinity. The multi-coated and phase-coated lenses guarantee optical precision and eliminate color-muddying. It is worth noting that these binoculars perform well in low light conditions.
On Amazon, customers gave these Zeiss binoculars a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars. One customer noted that these Zeiss binoculars are quick to focus and are easy to use and handle in the field. Another customer mentioned that the binoculars produce sharp and well-defined images. However, one customer was annoyed to find that he needed to refocus the focus dials constantly.
- Compact lightweight ergonomic design for ultimate comfort in the field
- LotuTec water shedding outer coatings for all weather use
- Designed and manufactured with traditional German quality
4.3 out of stars
Zeiss Conquest HDs are premium binoculars for half the price. Smooth rubber armoring covers the aluminum chassis. This rubber armoring might be a magnet for dust, but it is also what makes the binoculars so tough. To demonstrate just how robust their Conquest HDs are, Zeiss decided to run an endurance test. Zeiss engineers dropped the binoculars from a height of three and a half meters. They dragged them with an ATV for more than a mile. They held them under ice-cold water. And they even immersed them into flames. Even after all that, the binoculars were fine.
The design of these Zeiss binoculars is pretty impressive. The diopter adjustment requires a little bit of force, but at the same time, guarantees that your settings will hold. The fast focus feature means that only one revolution of the focusing wheel is required to go from close focus to infinity. Schott Extra-low Dispersion glass used in the objective lenses gives a higher resolution of details. An anti-reflective T* coating guarantees brightness and clarity. The LotuTec external lens coating helps shed moisture and prevents scratches.
These Zeiss binoculars have the largest field-of-view in its class (345 feet at 1,000 yards). There is barely any shadowing. According to experts, there is no fuzziness at the periphery either.
Customers gave this Zeiss model a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Pretty much everyone was pleased with the crystal clear view that these binoculars afforded them. Customers also mentioned that these Zeiss binoculars are easy to focus, fit well in one’s hands, and offer excellent eye relief. Nonetheless, some customers complained that the focus knob is too sensitive, which makes it impossible to focus quickly.
4 out of stars
The Zeiss Victory SFs are surprisingly long, even for full-sized binos. Nonetheless, they are not particularly heavy and handle like a lighter instrument. That’s because the binoculars were designed to have more weight in the eyepiece than in the objective end, which shifts the center of gravity towards the eyes. It is this feature that gives the binoculars that perfect balance.
The ergonomics of Victory SFs are truly impressive. The diopter dial turns smoothly. It also has gradations that ensure easy readjustment. Furthermore, LotuTec coating covers all glass surfaces, which keeps water and grease away. However, some might notice that the eyecups feel somewhat cheap and flimsy. Also, there are no thumb-imprints in the rubber armor to guide your hands to the best spot.
Field flattener lenses are used to ensure crisp, high-resolution view all the way out to the very edge. This feature can result in a “rolling ball” effect, which causes the view to “roll” when you pan the binoculars. Zeiss Victory SFs have a 360-foot field of view at 1,000 yards. Eye relief is 18 millimeters, and the interpupillary range is 54 to 76 millimeters. The latter feature makes these binos the perfect model both for those with small faces and close-set eyes and those with more prominent faces and wide-set eyes.
On Amazon, customers gave Zeiss Victory a rating of 4.0 out of 5 stars. The wide angle and the comfortable grip of these binoculars are the two things that impressed customers the most. They also liked the fact that Zeiss Victory binoculars are somewhat lighter than similar binoculars on the market. Only one customer left a complaint, saying that the Zeiss Victory binoculars did not offer the sharpness that he expected.
How Do Other Binocular Brands Compare?
Zeiss binoculars are pretty impressive. But are they the best on the market? To make sure that you get the best deal for your buck we have compared the above three Zeiss binoculars to three similar binocular models from competitor brands.
- All MONARCH 5 binoculars are now built with Nikon's premium ED (Extra Low Dispersion) Glass for a sharper, clearer and...
- Almost an ounce lighter than its predecessor, the new MONARCH 5 is even easier to bring along on your next adventure
- Fully Multicoated Eco Glass Lenses provide a high light transmittance across the entire visible light spectrum
4.7 out of stars
There are a few different Monarch models out there. The Monarch 5, an Amazon bestseller, is one of the cheapest. Still, despite the low price, these binos don’t look or feel cheap.
For 42-millimeter binoculars, they are rather compact, not to mention lightweight -- they weigh just 22 ounces. These weatherproof binos are a composite that features black, grippy armor. The focusing wheel is a bit heavy but smooth and accurate. You can go from close focus to infinity in under 1.25 revolutions of the focus wheel. The diopter adjustment is smooth as well but does not have a locking mechanism.
The model's field of view is 330 feet at 1,000 yards. Be wary that chromatic aberration might be visible with these binoculars. These binoculars are multi-coated and boast dielectric prism coating. However, they are not as good in low light viewing as some might expect. Their close focus range is also mediocre.
Customers gave the Nikon Monarch a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon. They were impressed by just how lightweight these binoculars feel and how easy it is to use them at a moment’s notice. Another customer noted that glassing at a long distance with clarity was not an issue. Some customers, however, complained that the eyepiece wouldn’t stay up. Others found the binoculars difficult to look through.
4.4 out of stars
Swarovski is just as precise and meticulous in the way that it builds its binoculars as it is in the way that it cuts its high-end jewelry.
These have a textured rubber coating with indents for your thumb. The hinge near the objective lens helps keep the lens aligned. The hinge also makes the adjustment of interpupillary distance easier. The focusing knob is also smooth and easy to adjust.
This model has a 436-foot field of view at 1,000 yards. It also boasts field-flattener lenses that keep the image sharp all the way up to the edges. The binoculars have a fluoride coating on them. This coating ensures that even in the dimmest of lights these binos can pick out plenty of detail. All surfaces are also multi-coated, which stops the light from scattering. It takes just over two rotations to go from close focus to infinity.
On Amazon customers gave these binoculars a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. Customers praised the clear, bright view. They also liked the excellent close focus. Others complimented the ergonomics. They marveled at the open hinge design that allows you to grasp onto the barrel firmly and which steadies the hold and reduces fatigue. However, one customer found the eye relief near impossible to adjust.
- Schott HT glass and 12 lens elements; 10 x magnification for optimum resolution of details
- P40 phase-corrected roof prisms; anti-reflection fully multi-coated optics; High Lux and Quadra optical coatings
- Large oculars and long eye-relief distance of 19 mm for overwhelmingly fast impressions and comfortable viewing
4.7 out of stars
When it comes to optics, Leica is a brand that values quality above all else.
This model has an impressive 376-foot field of view at 1,000 yards. It can focus as close as 6.2 feet. Its optimized anti-reflective coatings on all the lenses and prisms transmit the full visible spectrum of light, which gives the binoculars perfect color neutrality.
However, while the clarity and the brightness that this model provides are undoubtedly worth gushing over, the design is somewhat lacking. For example, you need to pull the focus knob all the way back until it clicks before you can use the main focus knob to regulate the diopter. This feature might be convenient, but it is not at all impossible to accidentally yank the focus knob out during normal use. They also don’t have any groove indentation, which might take away from overall comfort. However, its open bridge design means that some people might be able to hold these binoculars with just one hand. Almost two revolutions are required to go from close focus to infinity.
Customers gave the Leica Noctivid a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon. They were particularly impressed with the model's high resolution. On the other hand, one customer thought that the glass used in this model would be ground-breaking and was disappointed to discover that that was not the case.
Choosing the Best Binoculars for Your next Hunting Trip
If you're a serious hunter, then you probably know not to rely on your rifle scope. And you probably know that a pair of decent binoculars can make all the difference in the world when it comes to hunting game. High-quality binos guarantee a better view of your surroundings. They also give you a better shot at getting closer to your target. Perhaps most importantly, with decent binos in your hands, you are also less likely to point your rifle at a fellow hunter.
Cost and performance are probably the two most important factors to take into consideration when choosing a suitable pair of binos. Those looking to enter the world of Zeiss should opt for the Zeiss Terra ED model. They are a decent performer in the mid-range category. Those looking to upgrade to premium binoculars, on the other hand, could do far worse than go for the Zeiss Conquest HD, especially considering how they cost half the price of other high-quality binos. Finally, if you're looking to splurge (and make a long-term investment), you should consider purchasing Zeiss Victory SF. These binos are sure to contribute to some of the most unforgettable hunting moments of your life.
Do you own a set of Zeiss binoculars? Do you recommend them? Let us know!