MIKE WEEDON’S REVIEW
Each year at the Birdfair, when it was sunny, one of the Zeiss team would declare it ‘rubbish optics weather’. When the light is superb, even ‘rubbish’ optics make things look good. It is only when the weather is gloomy that you can separate the optical wheat from the chaff; the finest gear comes to the fore and the best optics bring out a level of clarity and detail that lesser equipment can only dream of. It was just as well, then, that when a group of journalists and dealers were invited to Poland to try out the Zeiss Conquest Gavia scope in spring 2016, that the weather was often poor! Birding in the gloom of drizzle in a Polish forest is a great test for any optical equipment. Of course, it helps you want to extract the very best from a telescope when the subject is a bedraggled Ural Owl or a hunting Pygmy Owl, or perhaps one of the several woodpecker species found in these magnificent woods. And it was here that the Gavia shone through, delivering excellent images with a speedy and accurate focus mechanism making forest birding a pleasure. It may not produce the mind-blowing views you get from a scope costing twice as much. But it comes very close and the whole point of the Conquest range is to produce optical excellence and usability at an affordable price. And in this, the Conquest Gavia really shines.