#1 Leupold and Zeiss are far from the same company. The Conquest is made by Meopta at the Meopta plant in NY.
#2 if you are paying that much for a 4.5-14x44, you need to look harder because you are paying too much.....try looking here
I think this just goes to show that if you ask 10 different people "hey what scope should I get", you will usually get 8 different answers in most
That all being said I personally think you are buying a better optical system with the Zeiss Conquest over the Leupold. Better color, contrast, resolution, and brightness in my opinion. Don't count the Meopta out either. Like I said before they make the Conquest for Zeiss using the same glass they use in their own rifle scopes. They do a 6-18x50 in their Meopro
series that should run you 599ish.
You are lucky that you live in today's time period because their is a great number of solid scope manufactures. Just need to find the one that fits you and your personal preference.