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Zeiss Terra ED 8×32 Binoculars: Our Review

Excellent image in a somewhat bulky package for a compact binocular. In our full review we rated these a Solid Choice.

At A Glance

Black binoculars
Zeiss Terra ED 8×32 binoculars. Photo by Hugh Powell.


  • Bright, colorful view that fills the eyes
  • Great sharpness
  • Quick-adjusting focus wheel
  • Big lenses make these good for glasses-wearers


  • Bigger, bulkier design than many compacts
  • Stiff, hard-to-adjust eyecups


  • Price: $400 at press time. Prices often fluctuate, so check with retailers
  • Close focus: 5.3 feet (160 cm)
  • Field of view: 7.7° (404 feet at 1,000 yards). More about field of view 
  • Weight: 19.5 oz (554 g)—that’s about 1.8 oz (52 g) heavier than the average for compact binoculars in our review. Compare binocular sizes and weights
  • Eye relief: 16.5 mm

Viewing Experience: With the Terra ED, Zeiss brings their longstanding optics expertise into the affordable compact field. Large eyepieces provide a big, eye-filling image and suggest they’d be a good choice for people with eyeglasses. During a morning daycare run, one tester pulled these out of a car’s glovebox to check out a Merlin at the top of a distant spruce. The Terra ED crisply defined the brown breast streaks and tail bands, and brought out the contrast of the gray back. Images were crisp and colorful—it was thrilling to watch an Eastern Kingbird’s acrobatic flight over a river in pursuit of (and finally catching) a bright-yellow butterfly. The focus wheel was smooth, quickly and precisely adjusting from near to distant objects. Panning produced only a very slight “fishbowl” distortion effect.

Feel and Build: Zeiss has housed the Terra ED’s quality optics in a well-armored but rather bulky package. After testing some of the slighter binoculars in this review, the Zeiss almost felt like full-size binoculars in the hands. They had a heavy feel, and the build seemed very solid. The eyecups have four settings, but are difficult to adjust in and out. The black rubber housing is soft with pleasingly nubbled grip panels along the top and bottom. Both the eyepiece lens covers and the objective lens covers can attach to the neck strap on both sides, via plastic clips. This should help users to hang on to these easy-to-lose items, although they can feel a little fiddly. The stock neck strap is moderately padded and comfy.

Tester Comments:

  • Bright, big image
  • Heavy-duty construction makes them a bit bulky to hold
  • Great quick focus adjustment

This article is one in a series of mini-reviews. To see how these binoculars compare to others we’ve tested, see our full review of affordable compact binoculars.

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