The Terra series of binoculars and rifle scopes is Zeiss’ recent entry into the mid-range optic market segment. Traditionally, Zeiss produces mostly high-end optics. The Terra line was created to expand Zeiss’ market share by offering affordable Zeiss products to the masses.
I have owned my Zeiss Terra ED 10×42 binoculars since the end of 2013. This review is based on my long term user experience with them. Unlike the much more expensive Conquest and Victory series, the Zeiss Terra ED is assembled in China with German Schott ED elements. Although, I don’t believe all of its optical components are German made. While the Terra ED’s lens are multi-coated, the coatings seem to be very different than those found on the higher end Zeiss models. The Terra ED binoculars also use glass fiber-reinforced polymer bodies instead of magnesium alloy.
One of the things that I really like about Zeiss binoculars is their superb ergonomics. The Terra ED model is no exception. The large center focus knob is very comfortable to use with the index finger or thumb of both hands even when wearing heavy gloves. The focus mechanism is fast and smooth. The depressed patterns on the top and bottom of the full-body rubber armor are more than just for decoration, those fit the fingers and thumbs perfectly.
The Zeiss Terra EDs are available in 10x and 8x magnification. While both models feature the same size, weight and close-focus distances, the 8×42 version has a slightly wider field of view. Its longer eye relief and larger exit pupil gives it a bigger eye box. The 10×42 model has a longer reach and it’s brighter in low light, but costs $50 more.
I had a chance to compare the Terra ED with the top of the line Zeiss Victory binoculars at an industry event. I used the grass on the range berm at the various range markers as my test subject. The Terra ED 10×42 produced a accurate natural color rendition with good details on the grass. With the Victory HT 10×42, I could see every blade of grass and as the light faded the performance gap grown even wider. Just keep in mind that the Victory HT 10×42 costs 4 times that of the Terra ED 10×42.
Overall, the Zeiss Terra ED 10×42 is a very good performer in the mid-range binocular category. While it’s not quite the same level as the made in Germany Conquest and Victory models, it’s also much more affordable. Like all Zeiss optics, the Terra ED series comes with limited lifetime warranty in the US market.
Zeiss Terra ED 10×42 Specification:
Exit Pupil: 4.2mm
Eye Relief: 16mm
Diopter Adjustment: +4/-4
Prism: Roof Prism
Close Focus Distance: 5.25 ft / 1.6 meter
Field of View: 330 ft @ 1000 yd / 110m @ 1000m
Len Coating: Multi-coated, Hydrophobe
Weight: 24.3 oz / 690g
Length: 5.5 in / 142mm
Body Color: Blue, Grey and Black
Price: $449 MSRP