Zeiss Conquest Gavia 85 Spotting Scope Review

The Conquest is lighter and more functional than scopes in its similar price point and has glass quality of spotters considered a step above.
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    Zeiss Conquest Gavia 85 Spotting Scope Review

    My first day to use the spotter in the field was while confirming DOPE out to 1000 yds for an upcoming local PRS shoot. The particular gun club I am a part of in northeast Colorado has hands down the worst mirage I have ever experienced. Coming from the Southeast, that’s saying something. Let me tell you, the Conquest stood up to the test.

    While I was initially concerned about the lack of a fine adjustment knob for focus, what I considered a must for such high mirage, the large textured focus ring was quite easy to dial in to a desired setting. Not only could I see the actual shapes of the targets at 1000 (which is more often than not quite difficult), I could actually make out individual impacts on the steel with ease. I could stop right there and call this spotter a winner, but we’re not done.

    The conquest ready for spotting on the shooting pad of my local range

    Picture through the Conquest of steel at the 1000 yard line

    For sake of thoroughness, I decided some side-by-side comparison should be done. The only spotter I own at the time is a Vortex Razor HD 11x33. While a great scope, I wanted something a little more on par size and pricewise with the conquest. Thus, I got my hands on a Swarovski ATS 65.

    This is a good time to mention that MSRP for the Zeiss Conquest is $1999. Street price can vary. Given that the Swarovski is 20-60x power and has an MSRP pushing $3300 for the 80mm bell, it makes a good comparison to evaluate bang for your buck. If the Conquest even held its own side-by-side in terms of use and clarity, then it would be more than I could ask for.

    I ran the two spotters side by side at a local shoot and was immediately blown away. Mirage was quite high that morning, and I found myself seeing bullet wash and impacts more easily with the Conquest than with its more highly regarded and higher priced peer. I had the match director run it for a while as well, and he could not say enough about how clear it was. I then carried the two scopes for a nice ride with the wife through the mountains, and once again the scopes were indistinguishable, if not the edge for clarity going to the Conquest.
    Aug 18, 2017 | Updated: Sep 5, 2017

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  1. DrillDog
    Your review is interesting, but unfortunately quite biased.

    You can't compare an 85mm objective scope to a 65mm objective scope. That is no comparison at all. I'm sure the Zeiss is nice, but of course it will seem brighter and a little sharper than a smaller scope. The 85mm objective will have a bigger 'sweet spot' and draw in way more light. Only a comparison to another $2000+ spotter with a minimum of 80mm objective would be a feasible test.

    Front objective lens size has nothing to do with field of view either. FOV is determined by the positioning of the prism and lenses in the body of the optic and the eyepiece construction. That's why you witnessed a 65mm spotter having the same field of view as an 85mm spotter.

    Im not saying the Conquest isn't an amazing scope, but I would like to see it compared the the Swarovski ATX 85mm spotter or the Meopta S2 HD 82mm spotter. That would be a true test of apples to apples that would determine if it belongs with the big dogs regardless of a little cheaper price point. Though for $2K, it better be darn good glass! ;)
  2. EdWalton
    How's the Gavia's end of day performance?
    Thank You!
    1. jmgardner
      Great! large objective and glass do a great job gathering light.
  3. xTapouTx
    This is fantastic, thank you for your time on this!
      jmgardner likes this.
    1. jmgardner
      Thank you very much!
  4. catorres1
    How was the eye relief, especially in comparison to the other two scopes you tried? The only scopes I can use at top power and still see the whole image are the Cabelas/Meopta and the Leupold. Would like an alternative.
      jmgardner likes this.
    1. jmgardner
      I never noticed any issues. but I also ride scopes (spotter or rifle scopes) a lot closer than the average person. That being said though, I had alot of people get behind it to give me their opinion, and never had eye relief mentioned. Considering how many of these guys are optics snobs, I would say no news is good news.