From KGM in AK:
I really wanted to like these binoculars...but....
I opened the box and there was the Snazzy binocular box. I opened up the nice packaging to find them flopping around inside. They are supposed to sit in the middle of the box in a nice cardboard display. The cardboard failed and they must of been flopping around in there. No lens covers. Unprotected. I looked them over. No scratches they looked fine, but I was worried.
To make sure that nothing was flopping around on the inside of the bino, I held them up and looked through the Objective lens. They looked clean, but I noticed something strange about the image in one barrel. There was a straight hairline going from one edge to the other. Not a scratch, but a seam of some sort. I'm not a binocular scientist, so I figured, "maybe it's supposed to be like that"...but I was worried.
Other problems: Annoying objective lens cover. The objective lens housing isn't round, which I don't mind; however that means you can't use normal lens covers. Which I don't mind either, except the covers they designed for them won't stay on. Having a cover that doesn't stay on, is like having no cover at all. I had no faith in them. Good luck finding an aftermarket lens cover for that barrel design.
Eyecups. All the way in, I was getting black outs. At their first click stop, I was loosing FOV. Why sell a binocular advertising FOV with eyecups that don't have precision click stops to achieve it. If your eye relief magically corresponds with the the two intermediate click stops, you have nothing to worry about.
Now on to the major problems.
After adjusting my eye relief, the first thing I saw when I looked through them was......Chromatic Aberration. In an HD? Yes. The center of the image was fine, but there was blue halo around the outside edge. It was if there was a blue neon sign just out of sight causing lens flare. Imagine taking a binocular view, printing it on some photo paper and then pulling out a blue highlighter and drawing a ring around the outside edge. I wasn't even looking for it, but there it was. If I looked at a bird and lifted my bino up so the bird was on the edge of the field, a blue wash overtook it.
With all this being said, with all the negative things I brought up...Once I looked at a bird and brought it into focus...wow...amazing.
I saw things on birds I never noticed with my $300-ish binos. Crumbs on the beak, feather groupings. When I looked at a Dark-eyed junco, I could almost see an iris. I let my friend look through them, and he said," You could feel things with these binoculars." That's what it felt like. You could see the textures of the bird feathers. A redpoll landed about 7ft away. It was like a microscope. If that bird had lice, I would of known about it.
When you spend $1000 and want a $2000 view, I expected there to be some compromise. If I looked for CA on the edge, I saw it. When I was looking at a bird, I forgot about it. My compromise...stop looking for CA. Even the annoying lens cover wasn't that big of a deal. If they do fall off and I scratch the lens, Zeiss has a no fault policy for 5 years... and after 5 years maybe they'll come up with better lens covers. The FOV? I was missing some due to the click stops, but it was kinda blue anyways, so why miss it.
I definitely wasn't going back to my $300-ish binocular view over these problems. Besides I was going to the East coast for first time, and was going to see a lot of new life birds. With these binos, I could really see them.
These binos require a lot of mind-over-matter. If you don't mind, the problems don't matter.
Besides, they melted in the hands. I never though about them once, ergonomically. The focus wheel was superb. It was hard to let them go...but I did.
The deal killer......
Depth of focus was too shallow. I didn't notice it at first. Whenever I looked at a bird I had to re-focus. My finger never left the focus wheel. I don't think there was a time that I lifted the binos and saw a bird that was in focus. See a bird, then focus, see a bird then re-focus. I'd even have to re-focus on the Junco when it was running around on the ground. Times that by 50 and at the end of the day....eye strain. Times that by a couple days and I had to return them. I had to return that great view.
The story has a happy ending though. I talked to Eagle Optics (great customer service), and they told me to return them no problem and talked with me about binos. I thought I'd order different binos from them when I got back from my trip( leaving the next day.) I ordered a different model bino and they're going to send them to my friend on the East Coast so I won't miss any good views. I'll be able to use them to see my new life birds! Way to go Eagle Optics!
Epilogue: The Conquest 10x42 HD binos might of been a tad (and I mean slight) dimmer then the Alphas (maybe.) Looking at birds with sand or gravelly backgrounds was not as nice as looking at birds among green leaves (still sharp both ways)
If you're not going to be focusing them very much, you might like them.
Even though the depth of field is very shallow, the focus knob is superb and will get you in focus no problem.