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Zeiss Terra ED 8x32 Review

Price:   $439 List | $249.95 at Amazon
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Pros:  Excellent field of view
Cons:  Much darker than expected, not very comfortable
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Zeiss

Our Verdict

Zeiss says that the Terra ED 8x32 is the perfect companion for great adventures in nature. It does have the best field of view in our test. This Zeiss model comes with an underarmor binocular harness and also has a nice plastic case for storage and a velvet bag to keep the binoculars in.


RELATED REVIEW: Best Binoculars of 2017 for Birding and Hiking


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Michael Payne
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Sunday
April 10, 2016

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As a brand with a quality reputation, Zeiss makes quality products. We found the Terra ED to be darker than expected and also not as comfortable as we would like when held to the face, but this pair has the best field of view in our test.

Performance Comparison


The Ziess Terra ED 8x32 produces a very clear image but is darker than we would prefer.
The Ziess Terra ED 8x32 produces a very clear image but is darker than we would prefer.

Clarity


The Zeiss Terra ED 8x32 starts to live up the Zeiss name when it comes to clarity. In our clarity test, Zone 9 was seen nice and crisp on the ISO 12233 chart with no noticeable chromatic aberration around the edges. We could see some defocusing around the edges.

With a view of 404 feet from 1000 yards  the Ziess Terra ED has the best field of view in our test.
With a view of 404 feet from 1000 yards, the Ziess Terra ED has the best field of view in our test.

Brightness


We were surprise at how dark the Zeiss Terra ED 8x32 was compared to the competition. The Zeiss name has a really good reputation for making good glass. The Zeiss Terra ED are fully multi-coated but the 32mm objective lens is smaller than some of the other binoculars with 8x magnification, which affects the overall brightness.

Ease of Adjustment


The hinge point for adjusting the interpupillary distance is stiff and hard to move. This makes the binoculars stay in place better, but can also make them difficult to adjust. The focusing knob is smooth and focuses fast and easy. The diopter is located on the right eyepiece and is easy to adjust but has no locking mechanism to keep it from accidently moving.

We found the adjustments on this pair to be stiff and the interpupilary distance to be uncomfortable when viewing through.
We found the adjustments on this pair to be stiff and the interpupilary distance to be uncomfortable when viewing through.

Field of View and Close Focus Range


The Zeiss Terra ED 8x32 has the greatest field of view of the binoculars we tested. You have a view of 404 feet at 1000 yards. It is able to focus on objects just 4.9 feet away, which makes it tied for second place in close focus range.

Comfort


While testing the Zeiss Terra ED 8x32 we found that the interpupillary distance would put pressure on the ridge of some testers' noses. Not all of the testers found it to be uncomfortable to use, but most did. It provides an eye relief of 16.9mm, which is in the middle of the test group and should provide adequate strain relief for most users. The Zeiss Terra ED 8x32 comes with an UnderArmor harness for strapping the binocular to your chest. This was the most comfortable pair of binoculars to carry because of the ease of access.

Construction Quality


These binoculars are designed by Ziess but made in China. As with most of the binoculars in this review, being made in China does not signify poor quality. The binoculars are coated in a thin layer of rubber which makes gripping secure, but it doesn't seem like it would do much to protect from drops or bumps. The front guards for the objective lenses do come off really easily, but are secured to the binoculars so you won't lose them.

Best Application


The size of these binoculars is smaller than the Vortex Viper HD 8x42. With that in mind, they would make a good pair of hiking or birding binoculars for someone who doesn't want to carry a larger pair, doesn't want to spend the money on a pair of the excellent and compact Leica BCR 10x25, and wants something with better quality than the Best Buy winning Vortex Diamondback 8x28.

The 8x magnification binoculars in our test. This magnification is often considered the sweet spot because it gives you plenty of enhanced vision but reduces vibration from your hands which is sometimes apparent in 10x binos. From L to R: Nikon Monarch 5  Swarovski EL  Steiner Predator  Vortex Viper  Zeiss Terra  Vortex Diamondback  REI XR.
The 8x magnification binoculars in our test. This magnification is often considered the sweet spot because it gives you plenty of enhanced vision but reduces vibration from your hands which is sometimes apparent in 10x binos. From L to R: Nikon Monarch 5, Swarovski EL, Steiner Predator, Vortex Viper, Zeiss Terra, Vortex Diamondback, REI XR.

Value


At $439 these are priced similar to the Vanguard Endeavor ED II 10x42 and the Nikon Monarch 7 ATB 10x42. Both of those binoculars out-performed the Ziess Terra ED in our test, so we would be hard pressed to say that this pair is an excellent value. However, if you find them on sale, this is not a bad product.

The Ziess Terra ED 8x32 is a small and lightweight pair of binoculars and the UnderArmor harness makes it easy and comfortable to carry.
The Ziess Terra ED 8x32 is a small and lightweight pair of binoculars and the UnderArmor harness makes it easy and comfortable to carry.

Conclusion


These binoculars definitely cover a niche in our testing group. With the 32mm objective lens, they are smaller and lighter weight than those binoculars with a 40mm objective lens. They are brighter and have a better quality than the Vortex Diamondback but also cost more. They find a nice middle ground between everything that we tested. Our advice would be to try them first since they can be uncomfortable on the face for some users.
Michael Payne

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Most recent review: April 10, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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