Best Zeiss Binoculars Reviewed and Rated for Quality
When we think of binoculars, we usually think of bird-watching. How else are we going to be able to zoom in and magnify species of birds that are hundreds of feet away from us? Binoculars allow you to see, in detail, far away objects from a distance, which is why they’re regularly used in bird-watching. Because you don’t want to frighten or scare away the birds, watching from a distance serves a useful purpose. But what other common uses are there for binoculars? They can also be used for viewing nature, for marine life, safaris, cruises, and astronomy!
- Terra ED 10x42
- 10 Times Magnification
- Terra ED 8x42
- 7.22 Degree Angled View
- Terra ED 8x25
But where did binoculars come from? Binoculars date back more than 100 years, when a man named Carl Zeiss, an optometrist, combined two monocular telescopes to create a combined image. With further developments over the years, this was designed to be more compact and portable, thus creating our modern version of the binocular. It’s safe to say that the Zeiss binoculars are the leader in the binocular industry, with a multitude of models for varying uses. There are models for the everyday user, and more high-tech models for very detailed, in-depth viewing. We researched the top ten Zeiss binoculars on the market today, that vary in use, but will most definitely be the best binoculars you can ever buy for your specific need.
10 Best Zeiss Binoculars
1. Terra ED 10x42
It’s amazing how technology can allow a small item to fit in your jacket pocket and allow you to view objects, in great detail, ten times your distance. This set of binoculars is embedded with glass fibre and has a small, compact body, making this the perfect companion for rough conditions, like safaris and wildlife nature exploring.
High Optical Precision
The high optical clarity and hydrophobic multi coating make this a great tool for viewing in hunting, bird watching, hunting, and nature observation. You are guaranteed clear, brilliant viewing right down to the smallest details.
Cost and Value
Zeiss binoculars are the leading manufacturer in binoculars, and as such, will not come at a cheap price point. This list is dedicated to all Zeiss, so you would have to expect to pay a pretty penny for several of these. Some are less inexpensive than others, and this one falls in the “average” range for what a Zeiss binocular is supposed to be. If you are serious about hunting or bird watching or viewing faraway objects in close, clear detail, a Zeiss binocular will last you a lifetime and give you the top clarity you can get.
42 mm effective lens diameter
Hard case not included
2. Terra ED 8x42
This pair of binoculars is designed to be taken outdoors and has state of the art protective coating that protects your binoculars from adverse conditions, like rain and condensation.
This pair has a 7.2 curved degree angle of view, which makes it easy to get a more panoramic view of your surroundings or object at hand without having to move your physical body or adjust the lens too much.
Cost and Value
This is comparable to our first item in price point. The Zeiss binoculars are heavy-duty, meant to last for a lifetime and customers have said that for this top shelf pair, the price point is reasonable.
Ergonomic eye cups
8 times magnification
42 mm lens
7.2 degree angled view
Straps not included
3. Terra ED 8x25
This is ideal for those who do not need all the high-tech extra functions and zooming capabilities, but need a no-frills viewing device that can provide 8 times the zoom with optimized clarity and light. This has a smooth, exact focusing capability that anyone can use.
This pair is different than the others in that it is more compact as it can be folded down and fit into your pocket. This makes this model ideal for taking with you anywhere, from bird watching to traveling to viewing nature.
Cost and Value
For a Zeiss product, this comes at a great price point. This is intended for anyone who wants a closer look without carrying around a bulky pair of binoculars, and want a product that is extremely easy to use with just a fingertip.
Easy to use
Great price point
8 times magnification
Not intended for hunting
4. 10x54 Victory HT
This innovative new set can transmit over 95% of light, which makes any object clear as day, even when the surroundings are as dark as night. It provides bright, high contrast images through the lens, which is especially important for hunters who need those extra pair of eyes during the night.
Comfort Focus Concept
This pair also has an innovative comfort focus concept, which enables you to get the most precision in viewing without manually focusing every second. It boasts a larger wheel that gives you the utmost precision you need for your focus.
Cost and Value
This is the one of the most innovative and high-tech pair of binoculars offered by Zeiss and comes with a hefty price tag. This isn’t meant for the everyday birdwatcher or traveler (unless you plan to be doing this at night). This product is a tool that many hunters may want to invest in.
Comfort focus wheel
Clear high contrast image quality
High price point
5. 10x42 Conquest HD
This HD lens system has a built in, automatic sensory neutral color reproduction and crystal clear detail provides an enriching visual experience for your outdoor adventures that is unparalleled.
The Zeiss Conquest has 10 times the magnification, and it’s lens system ensures the clearest visibility in any type of weather, fog or twilight. The lens has a coating which ensures rain and fog roll off and does not obscure your vision.
Cost and Value
Like the Zeiss Victory, the Conquest comes with a hefty price point because of its visibility in the dark capabilities. This product is highly rated by customers despite the price tag because of its sheer capability in providing crystal clear visuals.
Can view in darkness
Lightweight and modern design
HD lens system
Rotating and lockable eye cups
LotuTec outer water shedding coating
High price tag
6. 8x42 Victory HT
Zeiss has definitely thought about the form of this model- it has an intuitive grip and is large and comfortable enough to reach in the bridge of the model. Despite its hefty look, it is lightweight and perfect for hunting.
This design follows the classic design from the original 1962 original Zeiss binoculars, with a modern, elevated, and technological twist with all the improvements needed for adverse conditions.
Cost and Value
This is one of the leading products in the Zeiss line, and comes with the heftiest price point to date on this list. If you are an avid traveler or hunter, this may be worth the investment for years to come, to enjoy optimal viewing with your loved ones.
Night viewing capabilities
8 times magnification
7. Terra ED 10x25
The maximum optical precision and 10 times magnification give this pair of binoculars a wide range of versatile use, giving you outstanding clarity and 100% real, natural colors.
Comfortable Fast Focusing
Even beginners can use this pair of binoculars with ease. It has a large and intuitive focus wheel that is easy to use without extra thinking involved.
Cost and Value
This is one of the more affordable products, comparable to the other pocket binoculars. They are intended for versatile use and are well worth the money if you aren’t ready to invest in the night vision binoculars yet.
Compact and lightweight
Robust modern design
May have chromatic aberration in high contrast
8. 8x32 Terra ED Binocular
The Zeiss Terra ED 8x32 provides eight times the magnification to deliver the clearest, sharpest images to make you feel as if you’re right there. You also have a wide field of view at 60 degrees.
You can take this pair of binoculars out in the coldest or warmest of climates, with an operating range between 24 degrees to 140 degrees, making it perfect to view in the outdoors.
Cost and Value
This price is comparable but slightly higher than the other Zeiss Terra ED models, as it offers higher magnification and higher lens focus. Depending on what your needs are for outdoor viewing, this may be worth the slightly higher price point.
Effective lens diameter
Highest optical precision
Suitable for the outdoors
Slightly higher in price than other Terra ED models
9. 524205-9904 Terra 8x42
The last thing you want to do when focusing on your object and blending in with your surroundings is take your eyes off the lens to see where the focus wheel is at. This is large enough and sits perfectly under your finger where your hand naturally lays, so you can place all your attention to viewing.
Wide Angle View
You don’t want to miss a thing when you’re hunting- a fraction of a second can make a difference in your next course of action, and the lens provide a wide angle view so your eyes are always on the prize.
Cost and Value
This is comparable to other Terra ED models, and comes with an 8 times magnification and 42 mm lens. The selling point may be its unique design print, which many hunters who want to stay inconspicuous may want to purchase.
Wide angle lens
Zeiss mc coating
Intuitive focus wheel
Packaging depends on seller
10. Optical 20x60
This pair of binoculars can provide 20 times the magnification, with crystal clear images. Users have stated they can read clearly airplane names and see shooting stars with this particular model.
When you magnify something up close, you may worry that your shaky hands will cause the image to go all over the place. The built in image stabilization provides clear images without shakiness at all.
Cost and Value
This is the most expensive product on our list at a very high price point. Granted, this is going to be for a very specific use for people who need the highest level of viewing and performance, so this would be considered an investment for those purposes.
Made in GErmany
Image Stabilization capabilities
Premium lens coating
Comes with carrying case
If you’re taking the time out of your busy schedule to go bird watching, hunting, or traveling, then you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your experience. Just as you would bring a camera with you to capture memories, the right pair of binoculars can give you the visual clarity you need. It can possibly open up a whole new world that you otherwise would not have been able to see from a far distance, giving you visual memories that can last you a lifetime.
Criteria Used in Choosing the Best Zeiss Binoculars
The average person has probably heard of and have used a pair of binoculars at least once in their life, but haven’t thought about taking the plunge to purchase a pair because there is no immediate use for it in their everyday lives. This article is probably not for that person (although if you are an average use and are thinking of purchasing your first pair, you can also benefit from this list). This article is for the avid traveler, bird watcher, sports fan, hunter, and outdoor adventurer who have a serious need for a pair of binoculars. If you are one of those people, we’ll take you through the list of criteria to consider before making the investment. Even though this list is specific to Zeiss binoculars, the criteria can be generalized to all aspects of a binocular one should consider.
You’ve probably noticed that all the descriptions in the titles of the binoculars have an AxB clarification. This refers to the number of magnification (how many times an object or view is magnified) times the lens size, which allows for how much light goes through. For example, if the binocular is described as 10×42, then it shows the object 10 times closer than it is. If a bird is 100 meters away, then it will appear as if it is only 10 meters away from the eye lens. The magnification you choose to get depends on what you will be using them for. Most of the binoculars on this list range from 8-10, which is a great magnification for many situations like hunting and bird watching. This also allows for easy stabilization with the hands- anything more than a 12 times magnification may require a tripod or stabilization system as your hands may cause shakiness and difficulty in viewing the object at hand.
Lens Size or Diameter
The lens size follows the AxB description portion of the binoculars, with the B indicating the lens size. The objective lens is the one that is opposite of the eyepiece, and determines how much light enters the pair of binoculars. The larger the lens, the more light that enters. You may want to look for larger lens in conditions that have low levels of light. If you’re planning to go hunting or view scenery during dusk, then you probably want to look for binoculars that allow the maximum level of light to go through. But how do you choose what mm is right for you? The mm should always be around 5 times the magnification for ideal clarity. There are lenses from 8×25 and 8×40, and the difference would be that the 8×40 would provide a brighter, more vivid image. You may want to get the 8×25 if you don’t foresee any circumstances where you would ever be in low light.
Lens Coating and Quality
Since you will solely viewing through the lenses, you definitely want to make sure that they are high quality lenses. You should be able to view with ease and get clear images without blurring or scratches. The lens should provide 100% natural and real colors instead of distorting or getting chromatic aberration through the lenses. A coated lens is important because it will limit how much reflection you see through the lens when you are in situations with high lighting. Just as the sunlight glare can limit your view of what’s on the television screen (if it is not properly coated), the view can be distorted or hard to see if it does not have the proper coating. Coating also ensures that there is realistic contrast, so you can see the image as if you were standing right in front of it with no color distortion.
Field of View/Exit Pupil
If you are familiar with photography, then you might know this term depth of field. Field of view refers to the degrees of view you can see through the angles. Instead of having a straight field of view, you want a pair of binoculars that can provide some sort of angular view, so that you can see the surroundings through the lens. This is an aspect that many hunters look for in a pair of binoculars because they do not want to miss a thing, and the tiniest field of view can give them another perspective. Exit pupil refers to exactly what is reflected on the eyepiece for your pupil to view. You calculate the exit pupil by dividing the lens diameter by the magnification level. A 7mm exit pupil is ideal for low light conditions for the dilated eye to see.
Comfort Level for Weight and Eye Strain
You also want to consider how long you will be using the pair of binoculars for. If you’re simply using them for short periods of time and bursts of viewing, then you can probably withstand a heavier model. Do a test and see if using the model causes any strains on your eyes. The average user tends to use them for minutes at a time, and thus may not need a higher quality lens with a protective coating, but an investment in a higher end pair of binoculars may give you the clarity and comfort you need to use them for hours at a time.
You may have noticed that all of the Zeiss binoculars are waterproof. You want to look for waterproof binoculars to protect the outer shell to prevent it from damage. Binoculars are usually used outdoors, so they should have a protectant coating, and you should look for “WP” on the description of the binoculars. This ensures they stay free from damage even in cold or warm conditions, and will be protected from condensation and rain. Some higher-end models (like the Zeiss) can stay submerged in water for hours at a time, making them a great scuba diving companion.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What kind of binoculars do you recommend for people with glasses?
A. If you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, you may benefit from a longer exit pupil distance so that your eyes can get some relief. Eye relief is also known commonly as the exit pupil distance, which we mentioned was the distance that your pupil should be from the eyepiece for optimized viewing. If you wear glasses or contacts, you should look for eye relief or exit pupil distances of at least 15mm or higher, so that you have a little bit more space between your pupils and the eyepiece. This causes less strain and a better viewing experience. However, some people find that they don’t even need to wear their glasses when using the binoculars- that’s because the eyepiece is so close to your pupil, kind of serving as a very magnifying eyeglass itself. If you do wear eyeglasses, make sure you test the binoculars- you don’t want to have double the magnification or blurriness because of your glasses and may find that you don’t even need them. If you have astigmatism, that may be a different story as the lens can provide a different viewing experience. The focal range or focal wheel can be tailored to your vision and compensate for any loss of clarity you get from the loss of your eyeglasses.
Q. Do I need a tripod when using my binoculars?
A. If your magnification is greater than 12x, then you may need a tripod to increase stabilization. Most binoculars are compact and used primarily by the hands. Some higher magnification and high-performance binoculars may need a tripod depending on the use, such as using them for astronomy.
Q. How do I clean my binoculars?
A. Binoculars are meant to be used outdoors, and with enough use, may get dirty, and it is important to give them the proper cleaning and care to ensure they last for years to come. You want to care for the lens the same way you would want to care for a pair of eyeglasses. The case or shell should be able to be easily cleaned with a cloth, but the lens may require a different type of cloth to ensure that they don’t get scratched. High quality binoculars usually come with a coating on the lens, so it is important not to be too rough when cleaning the lens to ensure it doesn’t come off. You want to use a microfiber cloth or soft cleaning brush that is intended for the cleaning of lenses, instead of using a regular washcloth. You want to move in soft, circular movements when removing any type of dirt or speck on the lens, and make sure that the cloth you’re using is free from any type of dirt or speck as well. If you are using your binoculars in rough terrain and have hard to remove dirt on the lenses, then you can purchase special cleaning fluid along with the microfiber washcloth to make sure that the dirt comes off cleanly and safely. The fluid is specially designed to keep the lens and coating free from damage.
Q. What kind of binoculars are best for hiking in the mountains? What about for water activities?
A. If you are going hiking in the mountains, first you want to avoid bringing along anything too cumbersome or heavy, especially if you will be going for hours. If you are hiking, you probably have a hiking backpack full of the necessary hiking companions, like snacks, water, camera, etc. The last thing you want to have is a heavy pair of binoculars that weight you down. You can look for universal binoculars at 10×42, which are compact and not too heavy to carry. These have high lens capacity and bring in a lot of light, so these are great to view at dusk or when the sun goes down. If you want an even lighter pair, then look for ones with lower lens mm, like a 10×25. Most of these are so compact and portable that they can even fit in your pocket, which makes these great for when you go hiking. You may not be able to view out of this pair of binoculars at dusk or night, however. For water activities, you want a pair of robust and heavy duty binoculars that are of course, waterproof or weatherproof. These need to have good quality lenses and stable construction. The lenses should be visible even if water gets on them. The outer coating should be made of rubber so it’s slip-resistant and doesn’t get fully submerged in water (though, you should look for ones that will be free from damage even if they are fully submerged in water). Look for ones that have tight water pressure, as they should indicate on the descriptions. Most binoculars offer up to 5 meters of water depth before they get damaged. If they are nitrogen-filled, this prevents water from getting into the binoculars and cause steam and condensation to fill on the lens, disrupting your viewing. These type of binoculars are commonly used in water sports, sea viewing, boating, marine activities, etc. Because you will be close to large bodies of water, you want to make sure that if you ever drop your binoculars, they can stay afloat, so it may be worth it to get a floatable cover or neoprene strap so they don’t sink. This also ensures that it doesn’t get fully submerged or go beyond the maximum meter level of depth that the pair of binoculars can support.