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

    I ran the Conquest at a few more range days and local shoots with the same results. Yet, no long stretch of time was spent behind the glass without a break. However, I recently had the opportunity to RO the National Rifle League’s Mile High Shootout in Craig, CO. This meant 12+ hours on Saturday and 9+ hours Sunday of spotting for 115 shooters each day.

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    Comparing the Zeiss Conquest and the Swarovski ATS 65 in the Front Range of Colorado

    It had rained the previous two days, and forecasts called for lows in the 40’s and highs in the 90’s. You can only imagine the type of mirage that would cause. Saturday morning, I preemptively put some Tylenol on the counter preparing for the type of headache I would have when I returned.
    Words cannot express how thankful I was to have the Conquest that weekend. I had absolutely zero trouble cutting though the mirage to spot impacts from 400-800 yds. With heavy AR steel and these light 6mm cartridges that are all the rage in PRS style shooting these days, that is really saying something. And at the end of each day, I could not believe how unfatigued my eyes were. Physically I was tired, but my vision was no worse for wear than when eating breakfast both mornings. No Tylenol needed. That was the moment that solidified for me just how great this spotter is.

    Now no review would be fair without candid discussion about any dislikes. I tried long and hard to find more, but I have only one: Field of view. To be fair, it’s not even really a dislike as much as just a “didn’t meet expectation.” For reference, FOV at max power is claimed at 69’ at 1000 yards. A Vortex Razor HD 27-60x is claimed at 68’, and the Swarovski ATS 65 at 60’ at max power for the same distance.

    With an 85mm bell and the Zeiss website claiming a “wide-angle field of view,” I found myself surprised at how difficult it would be to quickly acquire targets 200 yards and in. Quick transition between targets during a given stage of fire could be troublesome at times as well. Additionally, when ran side by side with the 65mm bell of the Swarovski, FOV seemed almost identical between the two at any given power. One could and would likely get used to this over time and it would become of no concern. Even over my few weeks of use, I noticed it less and less. Like I said, field of view just didn’t quite meet my expectation in that area.

    Be that as it may, it is a small ding on an impressive resume when it comes to this spotter. The Conquest is lighter and more functional than scopes in its similar price point and has glass quality of spotters considered a step above. In my mind, it would be near impossible to find a better combination of glass clarity and ease of use in a sub $2000 spotter. If you want a spotter that fits my personal mantra of “buy once, cry once” without actually making your wallet cry at all, the Zeiss Conquest Gavia 85 is what you need.

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    Jose Gardner has been shooting and hunting since the age of 5, running hounds for big game in the Southeast. Moving to Big Sky country for school and work, he quickly found a passion for long range shooting. Still an avid hunter, he now also enjoys PRS style matches any time he gets a chance. He currently works as a food scientist and product developer in the beef, pork, and poultry industries.
    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.