The changing politics of the Zeiss Sports Optics company has brought many changes in the binocular market. In recent years, it has become possible to own a pair of Carl Zeiss binoculars at an affordable price in the form of the Zeiss Terra ED 10×42 binoculars as they come with a surprising price tag and some fine features.
Although it is not the “alpha” quality binoculars that have the staggering $2,500 price tag attached to it, for a price of about $400 you get awesome attention to detail and some fine engineering. The idea behind the design of the Terra ED binoculars was to make something traditional with the best selling price possible. So, let’s dig in and see what you can get with Terra ED binoculars.
- 10x magnification
- Large fields of view and steady images
- Operating temperature range of 24 to 140°F and the waterproof body
- The binocular is suitable for birdwatching, hunting, nature observation, travelling and outdoor activities
- Compact design and the large lens diameter
- Highest optical precision and hydrophobic multicoating
Body and Build
The body of this binocular is made from durable, high strength glass reinforced polyamide material (also known as Kevlar). The polyamide body is lightweight and well balanced, giving you a comfortable feel without tiring your hands. The design is very ergonomic, and has a durable rubber coating on the outside, for comfortable, non-slip grip and the additional special grip area for secure and comfortable holding.
It is 5.5 inches high and 4.7 inches wide and the overall weight is 24.5 ounces. The color of the finish is black. The design has one central hinge with smooth action, which accommodates pupil distances from 58 to 75.5 mm.
The body is hermetically sealed for a waterproof performance, ensuring the protection of the finest optical elements inside. The O-ring water seals protect the binoculars even in total submersion in up to 3 feet of water. The internal atmosphere is filled with nitrogen gas to provide protection of the internal lens surfaces against fogging.
However, the external surfaces of the lenses will fog up when going from cold to warm environments, but even those are protected by a hydrophobic coating that ensures no water, dust, or oil will stick to them. The Terra ED binocular can be used in temperatures ranging from -15° to +60° Celsius.
This binocular cannot be mounted on a tripod, which is a drawback for a binocular with such large magnification power. It is small and compact enough to fit into your backpack when going hiking and not so heavy to interfere with your gear so you can easily take it with you on your next hunting trip.
Optical Elements and Magnification
The Zeiss Terra 10×42 binocular has a magnification power of 10x, with a large objective lens diameter of 42 mm. This means that the object you observe will be magnified ten times, and the large 42 mm objective lenses will gather more light and give brighter images. This is especially important if you are using your Zeiss Terra binocular in lower light conditions, like dusk, dawn or in wooded or shady areas.
The prisms have roof design, for saving on weight and getting a sleek, streamlined shape, and are made from compact Schmidt-Pechan crown glass with a dielectric phase correction coating for enhancing resolution and contrast. The lenses are made from Schott Extra Low Dispersion (ED) Glass which offers correction for chromatic aberration and gives images with better contrast and brightness.
The lenses also have the proprietary Zeiss anti-reflection fully multi-coatings, and hydrophobic coatings for maximum light transmission, limiting glare, and prevention of dirt accumulation on the lenses.
Focus and Features
The focus on the Zeiss Terra ED binocular is achieved through a large central focus wheel. The action of the wheel is very smooth, and it does not have any slack at all, and it always stays in focus, even when it is not in active use.
The close focus to infinity is achieved with a single, full revolution of the focusing wheel. This enables for fine focusing on details without excessive turning of the wheel. A fast focus feature with half a turn from close to infinity is better for watching speedy events.
A long focus with 1.5 turns from close to infinity is better when wanting to get a finer focus on details. The engineers at Zeiss have made the ideal ratio on the focus wheel, getting a feature that is handy for bird watchers, hunters, plane spotters and sports enthusiasts.
The eyecups on this pair of binoculars are round down style. They can be rolled down or extended in three stages and once set, they stay in place. The eye relief of the Terra ED 10×42 mm is stated at 14 mm; this is a fair size to accommodate for comfortable viewing with or without glasses.
There is also the diopter adjustment, that can be adjusted from -3/+3 dpt and it is located on the right eyecup. The exit pupil diameter is 4.2 mm, a good size for almost all daytime and low light applications.
This binocular has an amazing close focus distance of only 5.25 feet, making it an excellent choice for bird watchers that want to get up close to see detailed images of their favorite objects. The field of view is 330 feet at 1000 yards or 60° apparent viewing angle for wide panoramic views of the landscape.
The Zeiss Terra ED binoculars come with some additions. Rainguard and objective lens covers for protection of the lenses, neoprene neck lanyard, microfiber cleaning cloth, soft carrying bag with drawstring, instruction manual and a hard plastic display case.
The rainguard and lens covers are made from rubberized plastic, which means they stay on with a friction fit, and maybe have some risk of falling off. The neck lanyard fits nicely around your neck for easy carrying of the binoculars, but the rainguard and lens covers are not so practical when the binocular hangs on your chest.
However, the plastic display case is not that practical as a carrying case in the field and the soft carrying case is too soft, offering almost no protection. It is recommended that you get a more durable tactical binocular case.
The name Zeiss Optics by itself screams quality and excellence. Still, there are several features that give the Zeiss Terra ED binocular its unique performance.
Lightweight yet durable body with rubber armor: The body is made from glass reinforced polyamide material with ergonomic, well-balanced design and rubber non-slip grip coating.
Schott prism glass: Prime quality, extra-low dispersion glass made in Germany by Schott, with reflective dielectric phase coating for crisp, clear, bright images.
Waterproof and fogproof performance: The body is hermetically sealed for waterproof performance, filled with nitrogen for fogproofing on the inside. The outside is coated with a hydrophobic coating that prevents fog, water, and dirt to stick to the glass surfaces.
Value for Money and Guarantee
The Zeiss Terra ED binocular is valued at about $400, which is an excellent price for a product of this quality. As we mentioned, the Scott glass is made in Germany so you are sure to get superior optical elements. The body, however, is made in China, to achieve the lower price point.
The Terra ED binoculars sold in the USA and Canada are protected by the Zeiss Limited Lifetime Transferable Warranty. In every other country, the warranty is two-year manufacturer’s warranty. If the serial number of a second hand Zeiss binocular shows the original purchase in the US or Canada, then they are covered under the Limited Lifetime Transferable Warranty. You can register the serial number of your Zeiss binocular at their website.
One of the main competitors of the Zeiss Terra ED 10×42 binoculars is the Nikon Monarch 7 10×42 Binocular. Both binoculars have 10x magnification with 42 mm objective lens diameters, giving it an exit pupil size of 4.2 mm. The Nikon has a very wide field of view for easy spotting of the target. It has larger short focus distance of 8.2 feet compared to the Zeiss Terra’s close focus distance of 5.25 feet.
Same as the Zeiss, the Nikon also has dielectric and phase correction prism coatings for ultra-high contrast images and good color reproduction. The Lenses are also made from ED glass with multilayer coatings for clear, bright images. The Nikon weighs slightly less at 23 ounces and has similar body dimensions.
The body of the Nikon Monarch 7 is rated ATB or All Terrain Binoculars, signifying waterproof, fogproof and shockproof performance. The Monarch 7 comes with a nice carrying case, comfortable neck lanyard, rain guard, flip-on protective lens caps and is protected by a Limited Lifetime Nikon warranty.
The Zeiss 10×42 Terra Binoculars have identical features as the Zeiss Terra ED 10×42 binoculars. The magnification is 10x and the objective lens diameter is 42 mm, and an exit pupil size of 4.2 mm.
They both have excellent quality optical glass elements, with dielectric phase coating for reducing glare and maximum light transmission. The eye relief is 14 mm, the eyecups are roll-down and the focus is achieved by a central focus wheel.
The same accessories like a plastic display case, neck strap and rainguard come with this one too. The main difference is the body finish, which is in camouflage.
The Vanguard Endeavor ED II Binocular is slightly more expensive than the Zeiss Terra binocular. It has the same magnification power of 10x and the same objective diameter of 42 mm, meaning an exit pupil size of 4.2 mm.
The Vanguard has HOYA extra-low dispersion ED glass with significantly reduced chromatic aberration. The glass of the prisms is the BaK-4 system with dielectric and phase correction coatings for better light transmission, reduced glare and true color image representation. The design of the body is an open bridge, made from magnesium alloy chassis for reduced weight and better balance.
The lenses have anti-reflection fully multi-coatings for improved performance even in low light conditions. The Vanguard Endeavor has a little wider field of view at 340 feet at 1000 yards. The eye relief is longer at 18 mm, it has a longer short focus distance at 6.5 feet and weighs slightly more than the Zeiss Terra at 27 ounces.
It is waterproof, fogproof and shockproof, comes with objective lens covers and rainguard, a carry case, neck strap and cleaning cloth. It is protected by the Vanguard Premium Lifetime Warranty.
The Zeiss Terra ED Binoculars is a great option for bird watchers, hunters and hiking enthusiasts looking for a good quality product priced below $500.
The hard, durable glass reinforced polyamide body offers lightweight and the external rubber coating with special grip area enables a secure non-slip grip. The body is designed with a central hinge with smooth operation. The focus is achieved by a smooth operating central focus wheel going from close focus to infinity with one full revolution.
The Zeiss Terra ED has a prime quality Schmidt-Pechan glass roof prisms with dielectric and phase coatings for increased image quality and color representation. The lenses are excellent Schott quality, low dispersion, made in Germany glass, fully multi-coated for increased light transmission for clear, crisp, bright images even in low light conditions.
The body is hermetically sealed for waterproof performance, submersible in up to 3 feet of water. The internal nitrogen atmosphere protects it from fogging on the inside and the Hydrophobe Zeiss MC coating protects the lenses from fogging on the outside. This binocular is operational under harsh weather conditions and temperatures ranging from -15° to +60° Celsius.
- Durable, compact, lightweight body
- Rubber non-slip grip exterior protective coating
- Extra Low dispersion Schott fully multi-coated optical elements
- Superior roof prism system with reflective dielectric and phase correction coatings
- Central focus wheel
- Adjustable eyecups
- Waterproof, fogproof performance
- Zeiss Limited Lifetime Transferable Warranty
- Fairly expensive
- Poorly made display case
- No tactical carrying case
- Body made in China
The eye relief is 14 mm, exit pupil size is 4.2 mm, and closest focus distance is 5.25 feet. The hinge is adjustable to fit pupil distances between 58 and 75.5 mm, and the diopter is adjustable to +3/-3 dpt.
The Zeiss Terra ED binocular comes with a plastic display case, neck lanyard, soft bag, rainguard, and flip-up protective lens caps. It is covered by the Zeiss Limited Lifetime Transferable Warranty that covers all binoculars purchased in the US and Canada. You just need to register the serial number of your Zeiss product and you are all set.
We have made an in-depth review of all the features found on the Zeiss Terra ED binoculars, and also have included a comparative review of its main competitors. If you are looking a mid-range priced binoculars with superior quality optics, then the Zeiss Terra ED 10×42 is the choice for you. Be sure to tell us your experiences and thoughts in the comment section below.