Jump to content


Photo

Advice on Zeiss Binoculars

  • Please log in to reply
32 replies to this topic

#1 saptharishi

saptharishi

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 200
  • Joined: 15 Jun 2012
  • Loc: Bangalore, India

Posted 16 January 2013 - 03:51 AM

I want to hear the user experiences on Zeiss Conquest 10x56 T binoculars. Request members to share their experience.

Regards,
Umasuthan.

#2 Mark9473

Mark9473

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 8604
  • Joined: 21 Jul 2005
  • Loc: 51°N 4°E

Posted 16 January 2013 - 05:05 AM

Welcome to the forum. I don't think these have ever been discussed here, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that somebody has some information for you.

In the tradition of this forum ;) I'm sure we'd like to offer some advice on binoculars, so if you can tell us what it is you intend to use them for, that would be helpful. I don't think Zeiss Conquest would rank among the first choices for astronomy.

#3 saptharishi

saptharishi

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 200
  • Joined: 15 Jun 2012
  • Loc: Bangalore, India

Posted 16 January 2013 - 06:16 AM

Hi Mark, Thanks for the reply. Primary purpose is for astronomy. I am looking for a light weight (less than a kg) equipment. You had mentioned that Zeiss Conquest may not be ideal for astronomy. Any alternatives that you can suggest?

Thanks so much :)

#4 Mark9473

Mark9473

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 8604
  • Joined: 21 Jul 2005
  • Loc: 51°N 4°E

Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:36 AM

Well if you say lightweight then I am thinking this will be for hand-held use. Then typically you will get the advice to go for 8x binoculars, because they're just so much more stable. I think 8.5x magnification is the ideal trade-off magnification between steadiness and detail.

Personally I use even my 15x60 mostly hand-held but I've had years of getting used to it.

Do you currently have any other binoculars?

In general the main consideration for handholding is the magnification, the lower the better, but for the weight it's actually the opposite. Higher weight dampens down the shakes a bit.

The best 10x binoculars for astronomy would be the Fujinon 10x50. BTW this is a porro binocular (avoids the diffraction spike you'll see on bright objects with roof prism binoculars such as the Conquest). It is however an IF model (individual focus at each eyepiece, instead of a central focus wheel) and is quite heavy. The Nikon SE series have also received high praise, they come in 10x42 and 12x50 (and 8x32 which is more for birders) and are a CF porro.

I think for further advice we'll need to know your budget, your preference on CF or IF, whether or not you wear glasses, the quality of your sky, the size of your eye pupils at night, the distance between your eyes (IPD) ... I could come up with a few more. ;)

Here's some reading material for you:
http://www.cloudynig...hp?item_id=1770
and there's several more where that came from.

#5 saptharishi

saptharishi

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 200
  • Joined: 15 Jun 2012
  • Loc: Bangalore, India

Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:26 AM

Thanks again. I am using an Olympus 10x50 entry level one. I was considering Canon 15x50 All Weather IS model originally. Since Zeiss is good in their optics I was considering Zeiss also. My budget is around 1.5 to 2K USD. I do wear glasses. :)

#6 Mark9473

Mark9473

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 8604
  • Joined: 21 Jul 2005
  • Loc: 51°N 4°E

Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:29 AM

The Canon 15x50 would be a huge upgrade with regard to what you can see in the sky, on account of its higher magnification. In comparison, upgrading to a top quality 10x binocular is more about seeing "better" and not so much "more".

I would encourage you to reconsider the Canon 15x50. Otherwise in your situation I would probably pick the Nikon SE 12x50.

Zeiss has good optics but the Conquest is probably the least convincing optic they made in the last two decades. Just my impression from reading BirdForum. With a $2K price cap I would be looking at a Leica Ultravid if I wanted something from the "alpha" brands, or if I could go a bit higher then definitely the Swarovision 10x50 which is the most impressive binocular I have ever looked through (not that Ive seen all of them).

#7 saptharishi

saptharishi

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 200
  • Joined: 15 Jun 2012
  • Loc: Bangalore, India

Posted 16 January 2013 - 01:28 PM

:) The very reason I didn't prefer cannon is due to the high magnification. I wanted a larger field of view. The bino will complement my 5" triplet telescope. Nikon SE 12x50 seems to be a great alternative. I will check this out. Another reason I am bit hesitant on Cannon is due to its IS feature. I want a pure optical/mechanical instrument without electronics :)

#8 KennyJ

KennyJ

    The British Flash

  • *****
  • Posts: 34239
  • Joined: 27 Apr 2003
  • Loc: Lancashire UK

Posted 16 January 2013 - 06:07 PM

Welcome, Saptharisha !

I speak as a great admirer and former proud owner of Zeiss BGAT binoculars. I was never overly impressed with the Conquest offerings.

I think Mark has already provided great advice and good food for thought, the most appetising of all for out and out astro use being the Fujinon 10x50
FMTSX.

I'm sure other experienced members will chime in with theirs,but my own overall recommendation differs slightly because for one thing, astro use is a minor consideration for me .

In addition, I find non-stabilised 12x binoculars just a little too shaky to hand - hold to complete satisfaction and also find 5 degrees true field of view just a little too narrow for scanning the night sky without a hint of frustration and stress sneaking into the experience.

I would therefore suggest the model that has become practically the ONLY ONE I ever use now, after around 50 years of trying and buying.

It's the Nikon 10x42 Superior E.

Kenny

#9 teelgul

teelgul

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 268
  • Joined: 02 Sep 2011
  • Loc: Australia

Posted 17 January 2013 - 01:58 AM

Hello sapatarishi
swarovski,10x50 and 12x50EL could be a choice .of course the price is higher.
Both weigh 998grams ,and have great optics ,built in flattener ,and
no IS. But excellent balance.
Rgds
Vaidya

#10 saptharishi

saptharishi

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 200
  • Joined: 15 Jun 2012
  • Loc: Bangalore, India

Posted 17 January 2013 - 02:31 AM

Thank you all for the advices. I think it is better for me to try out a couple of premium Binos, before making a decision. I will first check with the local nature club on this.

#11 saptharishi

saptharishi

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 200
  • Joined: 15 Jun 2012
  • Loc: Bangalore, India

Posted 03 February 2013 - 02:08 PM

Hi Vaidya,

It will be helpful if you can share your experience with Swarovision 10x50 and/or 12x50EL (specifically for handheld stargazing)

Thanks.

#12 teelgul

teelgul

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 268
  • Joined: 02 Sep 2011
  • Loc: Australia

Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:18 AM

hello
saptarishi
the 12x50 due to its weight and magnification always performs better with a slight support like resting the arm on some thing or leaning against the wall. For nature observation full handheld is fine . For astro ,short periods ,scanning is fine but bracing or lying on the back is much better. its a well balanced bino ,so the handling or the feel gets better as we hold it longer. optics quality i feel is same as any top APO like the Televue NP101 or a TAK.it was a tough choice between the 12X and the 10x. even the 8.5 and 10 x 42 are worth considering for their weight advantage,
regards
vaidya

#13 saptharishi

saptharishi

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 200
  • Joined: 15 Jun 2012
  • Loc: Bangalore, India

Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:41 AM

Hi Vaidya,
Thanks for the details. Going by your description I think you own a SV 12x50 :) How is the hand tremor in 12x50 if you view for 30 minutes continuously? is it so bad compared to 10x50? I know this is more dependent on individuals and their way of holding the bin, but wanted to get an opinion from you as you actually own one.

#14 teelgul

teelgul

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 268
  • Joined: 02 Sep 2011
  • Loc: Australia

Posted 07 February 2013 - 07:01 PM

hello saptarishi
i have not tried for that long a time in a single stretch. its always a few minutes on and off. both weigh same almost a kilo and from my experience some thing like 30 minutes will produce instability for 12X or 10X.i got the 12X as i wanted for both birding and astro ,but tried all the models just for comparison
in that sense the 8.5/42 and 10/42 are good enough for stable viewing for much longer periods.you may have already seen this links but in case web page and also Binocular Resolution Handheld versus Mounted :)

#15 saptharishi

saptharishi

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 200
  • Joined: 15 Jun 2012
  • Loc: Bangalore, India

Posted 08 February 2013 - 12:22 PM

Vaisya, thanks so much for sharing the details and links. You are right. In Astro viewing, we generally don't watch through bins for 30 mins continuously. Will probably get either a zeiss 56 FL or a 12x50 SV . I did see through 56 fl and it is a beautiful bin. Yet to check SV.

#16 teelgul

teelgul

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 268
  • Joined: 02 Sep 2011
  • Loc: Australia

Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:09 PM

yes zeiss is a good combination of aperture and pupil.
it would be worth trying all all the three----swaro,leica and zeiss if possible.another good one is Docter
but not many dealers around.
regards

#17 Erik Bakker

Erik Bakker

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3139
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2006
  • Loc: The Netherlands, Europe

Posted 09 February 2013 - 04:14 AM

Recently, I tested the Swaro 12x50 and Zeiss Victory 10x56 FL. The Swaro is smaller, lighter, well balanced and has better edge of field sharpness. Feels like a 40mm bin on steroids. The Zeiss 10x56 FL is a different animal. Bigger, (front) heavier, this is a substantial bino. I love the 4 lock-position eyecups. On-axis sharpness is comparable. But the Zeiss has better contrast, transparency and most of all is a lot brighter than the 12x50 Swaro. Side by side, the 12x Swaro looks a bit dull. Under the stars, the Zeiss is fantastic. When you take the price into consideration, the Zeiss Fl 10x56 is a bargain compared to the Swaro 12x50. The Conquest 10x56 is in a different league. Smaller AFOV, more chromatic aberration and less bright. It is lighter than the Victory, more like the Swaro.

The ergonomics and viewing characteristics of a bino have different interaction with different people, so try before you buy if at all possible. And see if you are happy with the price of admission for a particular viewing experience.

#18 Binojunky

Binojunky

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2764
  • Joined: 25 Dec 2010

Posted 09 February 2013 - 12:03 PM

Well I bought the 8x30 Conquest and it performs like a 40mm regarding resolution and brightness, made in Hungary it is a favourite of mine, as for the bigger brothers, I don,t know,DA.

#19 saptharishi

saptharishi

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 200
  • Joined: 15 Jun 2012
  • Loc: Bangalore, India

Posted 10 February 2013 - 01:21 AM

Erik, that was good comparison between 12x10 SV and 10x56 FL. You had mentioned that FL is brighter than SV. Do you attribute it to the extra 6mm of aperture and 2x less magnification? I feel that could be a reason. Let me know your thoughts too. Any idea the % of light transmission in SV? I have read FL has ~90% light transmission.

Vaidya, I am seriously hesitant to see through 12x50 SV as I fear I will be tempted to own both FL and SV :)

Regards,
Umasuthan.

#20 John F

John F

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 619
  • Joined: 16 Feb 2004
  • Loc: Washington State

Posted 10 February 2013 - 02:55 AM

Erik,

In contrasting the relative advantages and disadvantages of the 10x56 Zeiss FL versus the 12x50 Swarovski EL it seems to me that you overemphasize the relative importance of the 10x56's brightness advantage over the 12x50s. As you stated elsewhere in your mini-review, these two binoculars are different animals.

By virtue of its larger aperture a 56mm binocular will collect 25% more light than a 50mm binocular will. Also, the lower power (i.e., both absolute and relative to its lens size) of the 10x56 contributes to it having a significantly larger exit pupil than a 12x50 does. It is those factors which enable the 10x56 to produce a much brighter image than even the best 12x50 ever could provide.

Now let's take another example. I have a pair of 10x70 Nikon binoculars and they have the same magnification as the 10x56 FLs. However, because of their significantly larger aperture (which collects 56% more light than a 10x56 does) and also because its exit pupil is 25% wider in diameter, the 10x70s will far outperform the 10x56s from a brightness perspective (and relative to the Zeiss 10x56s, they cost significantly less as well). Of course, I understand that those two binoculars are "different animals" and that a number of factors beside their relative brightness and cost to each other have to be taken into consideration when trying to determine which one of two would better suit the particular observing needs of a particular class of users.

When Swarovski announced their 10x50 & 12x50 EL SV models in 2011 I was not particularly excited about it because of my past experience with 12x50 binoculars being difficult to hand hold steady. But recently I read a couple of reviews that said that they were so well balanced and ergonomically designed that they represented a major advance in user friendliness for a 50mm size binocular. So I went over to a nearby Cabelas store to try them out and was myself very impressed with how comfortable they were to hand hold and the fact that I could hold them steadier than any 12x glass that I've used in the past. So after mulling it over for a night I ordered a pair the next day and they just arrived yesterday.

They're not that much larger or heavier than my 8.5x42 Swaro ELs and I've had far less problems holding them than any of the other (actually 3) world class 12x50s that I've owned in the past. As for their optical quality, they're very much in the same class as their smaller 8.5x42 brothers. However, and as result of their differences in aperture size and magnification, there are some significant differences between them and each has some advantages and disadvantages vis-a-vis the other.

Although I have yet to try them (i.e., the 12x50 ELs) astronomically, from my past experience with 12x50 binoculars I strongly suspect that on most individual deep sky objects the 12x50s will clearly outperform the 10x56s as a result of their higher magnification. The Adler index (which so far has proven to be the most accurate of the various indexes for predicting binocular performance for astronomical use), yields a 85 value for 12x50s, a 75 for 10x56s, a 71 for 10x50s and if Zeiss were still making 12x56s it would earn a score Adler index score of 90.

In any case, to make any serious headway with respect to being able to determine which Zeiss (or pier competitors) binocular is most likely to be the one that is best suited to meet the needs of this or that particular individual it requires that you know what particular application(s) that person primarily plans to use them for.

Assuming that the binoculars are going to be mostly hand hold rather than mounted, I'd favor 12x50 or 10x50 (as an astronomer) if I found a model that I could hold steady enough that I enjoyed using them. For hunting, an 8x56 or 10x56 is great because their larger aperture enables them to perform especially well during the morning and evening twilight hours. For marine use (on a boat) a 7x42 or 7x50 (which have large exit pupils is a good choice) for most other terrestrial applications a 7x42, 8x42 or 10x42 will work best overall for most users.

John Finnan

#21 teelgul

teelgul

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 268
  • Joined: 02 Sep 2011
  • Loc: Australia

Posted 10 February 2013 - 03:08 AM

Light transmission is 90% in all EL and and the 10x50 by a whisker brighter ,which is more apparent in low light . I went for the swaro only for its size /flat field and use it for travel,nature,astro ,But you can't go wrong with the zeiss .of course nothing like having both . :grin:

#22 John F

John F

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 619
  • Joined: 16 Feb 2004
  • Loc: Washington State

Posted 10 February 2013 - 03:14 AM

I am seriously hesitant to see through 12x50 SV as I fear I will be tempted to own both FL and SV :)

Regards,
Umasuthan.


Umasuthan,

Be patient. I recently bought (prior to deciding to also get the 12x50 Swaros) a Zeiss 10x56 Night Owl binocular. This is model was made in the late 1990's and was the last binocular type that Zeiss made which still used lead glass (which they spent 100 years perfecting) and it enjoys an excellent reputation for superb performance. That binocular hasn't arrived yet but it should in a week or so.

In any event, next August or September I'll be taking both that binocular and my new Swaro 12x50s with me to one of my multi-night high elevation/very dark sky observing sites and I will have an opportunity to compare both binoculars using them both in hand hold-able and mounted modes.

The place I go to observe is in the Southeaster Corner of Oregon State in the US and the region has lots of great scenery as well so I'll also be able to try the binoculars out on terrestrial targets as well.

So late next Summer I will write up my impressions of the two binoculars and post them here the Cloudy Night site.

John Finnan

#23 saptharishi

saptharishi

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 200
  • Joined: 15 Jun 2012
  • Loc: Bangalore, India

Posted 10 February 2013 - 04:09 AM

Hey John,

I never thought about the exit pupil difference between 10x56 FL and 12x50 SV. Thanks for pointing. Looking forward to read your report :)

#24 teelgul

teelgul

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 268
  • Joined: 02 Sep 2011
  • Loc: Australia

Posted 10 February 2013 - 05:30 AM

Hey John,

I never thought about the exit pupil difference between 10x56 FL and 12x50 SV. Thanks for pointing. Looking forward to read your report :)

Also a larger exit pupil may not always be an advantage as depends on age and individual.
Above 40 the iris max dia may only be up to 5mm.
A higher magnification,Smaller exit pupil,so better contrast .
any way the dark sky report will be interesting.and as John said each will have its strong points depending on application.


#25 Erik Bakker

Erik Bakker

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3139
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2006
  • Loc: The Netherlands, Europe

Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:00 AM

Hi John,

I agree with you. All I did was compare the 12x50 Swaro vs 10x56 FL, and that is how they compare to me. During daylight, the FL was the brighter bino, indicating better transmission. Under the stars, the 12x helps the EL a lot to see more detail. It's lighter weight and better balance help in hand-holding. I find the 10x56 FL to (front) heavy for prolonged hand-held observing. They have no solid tripod support like the Swaro SLC's or the Nikon 18x70. Since I already have the incredible Nikon 18x70 tripod mounted, I decided not to buy the FL 10x56.

Instead I bought the FL 10x32. The sharpest 10x I have used with a beautiful very wide and quite sharp AFOV. Nagler-in-an-APO like feeling. Bright? No. Tiny? You bet!

Enter the FL 7x42. Bright? Yes! Wide true field? Yes! Lightweight and well balanced too. A great pair with the 10x32 for handheld observing for me. My eyes plague me with increasingly imperfect stars with exitpupils bigger than 3mm due to astigmatism. But I don't like observing with glasses, so this is my solution for that. Sharp stars? 10x32. Wide and bright? 7x42. And it has such an easy view. So last week I got those 2 FL's and really enjoy them.

On a tripod, there is nothing quite like the Nikon 18x70. I even prefer it to my Tak FS102 on low power deep-sky. Gorgeous views.







Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics