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Zeiss Terra ED 8×42 Binoculars: Our Review

Zeiss's most affordable 8x42 model offers a great image and incredible close focus, although the focus wheel is a little stiff. We rate it a Solid Choice.

At A Glance

Zeiss Terra ED 8x42 binoculars.
Zeiss Terra ED 8×42 binoculars. Image by Hugh Powell.


  • Crisp, bright, colorful image
  • Excellent close focus


  • Focus wheel is a little stiff


  • Price: $449 MSRP at press time. Prices often fluctuate, so check with retailers
  • Close focus: Listed at 5.3 feet (160 cm). In tests, we could focus these binoculars a bit closer, down to about 4.8 feet (145 cm)
  • Field of view: 7.1° (373 feet at 1,000 yards). More about field of view 
  • Weight: 26.2 oz (743 g)—that’s about 0.5 oz (14 g) heavier than the average for 8×42 binoculars in our review
  • Eye relief: 18 mm

Viewing Experience: From one of the longtime leaders in premium optics comes the affordable-range Terra ED. These nicely made binoculars offer a crisp and colorful image that yields plenty of detail and remains sharp nearly all the way to the edge of the image. Watching a fall Yellow-rumped Warbler move through a high treetop, the Terras easily picked up the yellow rump peeking out from under the folded wings, and even registered quick flashes of white tail spots as the bird flicked its tail. The close focus seems about as good as it can get: we were able to focus on the pavement in front of our toes.

Feel and Build: These are sturdy binoculars with a comfortable feel and a slight texture on the barrels for grip. Several testers remarked that they found the focus wheel a bit stiff and slow to move. Likewise, the eyecups are sluggish to dial into position, although this also helps keep them from slipping out of position. Our review pair was two-toned green and black that some testers liked; an all-black option is also available. The two objective lenses are protected by a single lens cover that snaps on securely, and the binoculars come in a zippable, semi-hard clamshell case for easy stowing and transport.   

More on Binoculars

Comments From Testers: 

  • Great sharpness, but a bit slow to focus
  • Distant objects are sharp
  • I preferred how these had one lens cap that could be removed from both lenses at once   
  • Comfortable, nice looking
  • Movement of eyecups, focus wheel, and hinge was stiff. Otherwise good 

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 8×42 binoculars.  

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