Zeiss scopes have always been the hallmark for optics of superior quality, but were priced way beyond the budget of the average shooter. To widen their appeal Zeiss introduced the Conquest line.
American hunters an d shooters have similar preferences to Aussies but there’s a vast difference between what appeals to the European market and us. Not many Aussies are conditioned to paying $2000 to $3000 for a riflescope, and while they respect the optical clarity and mechanical quality of Zeiss scopes they are not enamoured of their weight and bulk. European hunting is generally carried out from a hochsitz and hunters frequently shoot in the moonlight, so light transmission matters more than weight or bulk. This is an entirely different scenario from our walk-and-stalk methods. Thus the large 56mm objectives, 30mm tubes and reticles in the first focal plane that grow thicker as the power is increased are not well regarded here, except for guys who spotlight and do all their shooting off the back of truck.
Foot hunters show a distinct preference for smaller, lighter scopes that offer more versatility than those that are purpose-built. Regardless of the influx of high-range variables best suited for varmint rifles, the most popular hunting scopes are a 2.5-8x32 or a 3-9X40 with a Duplex reticle. Recognizing this fact, in 2001 Zeiss introduced a more affordable line of scopes whose German-made optical components were assembled in America. The Zeiss Conquest range took off in the U.S, but didn’t make it to our shores until fairly recently.
Not so long ago the Conquest line-up included a 4x32, 1.5- 5x38, 2.5-8x32, 3-9x40, 3.5-10x44, 4.5-14x44, 3-9x50, 3.5- 10x50, 4.5-14x50AO, 3-12x56, and a 6.5-20x50AO. Today, the choice has been pared down by dropping the 4x32, 1.5-5x and 2.5- 8x from the line-up. The 3-12x56 is the only scope with a 30mm diameter tube and the reticle in the first plane where it grows thicker as power is increased and vice versa; all the other Conquests have one-inch tubes and reticles in the second plane. While Zeiss may not have realized that increasing magnification doesn’t boost utility, they have shored up the Conquest line with popular scopes that neatly bracket the middle ground.