The HabEx study is defining a concept for a new space telescope with the primary mission of detecting and characterizing planetary systems around nearby stars. The telescope is designed specifically to operate with both a high contrast coronagraph and a starshade, enabling the direct optical detection of exoplanets as close as 70 mas from their star. The telescope will be equipped with cameras for exoplanetary system imaging and with spectrometers capable of characterizing exoplanet atmospheres. Gases such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, water vapor and methane have spectral lines in the visible and near infrared part of the spectrum and may indicate biological activity. In addition to the study of exoplanets, HabEx enables general astrophysics with two dedicated instruments. One instrument is a camera enabling imaging on a 3 arc minute field of view in two bands stretching from the UV to the near infrared. The same instrument can also be operated as a multi-object spectrograph, with resolution of 2000. A second instrument will be a high resolution UV spectrograph operating from 120 nm with up to 60,0000 resolution. We discuss the preliminary designs of the telescope and the optical instruments for the observatory.