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Thread: Optics; side-by-side comparison or buy by reputation ?

  1. #1

    Optics; side-by-side comparison or buy by reputation ?

    As per thread title I am curious whether folks do any direct side-by-side comparison when considering optics for their rifle(s) or whether you mainly buy a 'known quantity' on the basis of reputation.

    There are the obvious more desirable names in sporting optics but there are also a lot of alternatives that don't cost various degrees of serious investment that offer great clarity and low light performance and excellent warranty cover.

    So who goes direct to the top shelf and who spends time comparing products under field conditions (which is often very challenging to organise) ?

  2. #2
    Buy what suits YOU.

  3. #3
    i compared z6i and zeiss victory ht and could not see much of a difference.but i went for the z6i because of the bt turret it will suit my shooting.

  4. #4
    The question you really need to ask is why don't the various shooting mags do a similar comparison? Say get 10 scopes and 10 people and put up a bit of newspaper as the light fades and record the times when the testers could no longer read the headline. Can you imagine the impact on advertising revenue?

    In answer to your question I've done some side by side testing at last light but as you say the problem is getting a reasonable selection of scopes - you just have to test with what you can get. Also such a test might tell you which has the best glass but it doesn't always tell you what you need to shoot a deer at last light - for example my testing put Swaro and S&B joint 3rd in last light performance but I own the S&B used and I've always decided it was too dark to shoot before I've found myself not able to see the deer. Given that I suspect that most of the "good" scope manufacturers make scopes which are adequate for deer stalking and the "need" to have the best or buy into the latest marketing is not driven by necessity.
    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by caorach View Post
    The question you really need to ask is why don't the various shooting mags do a similar comparison? Say get 10 scopes and 10 people and put up a bit of newspaper as the light fades and record the times when the testers could no longer read the headline.
    I have wanted to upgrade both my scope and binos for some time but have been put off by the lack of any proper science based review.

    Comparing optics in a shop in daylight is not that helpful, Shooting Times did a comparison of 3 top end scopes but this was based solely on the opinion of the reviewer and the write ups in Sporting Rifle read like a promotional brochure from the manufacturers.

    The newspaper test that you suggest seems to be an excellent idea, if only this could be arranged and published.

    atb Tim

  6. #6
    I agree with caorach that opportunity to test a range of products, when it matters i.e. very first and very last light, is difficult to achieve.
    A year or two ago I was allowed to do so with binoculars and the result was interesting to say the least. The Meoptas held their own against the top brands at well under half the price.
    I also had with me my old faithful Swaro 7x42 porro prism rubber armoured binoculars and guess what, they were brighter than all the roof-prism modern ones.
    When I asked someone who is an importer why, it was explained that porro prisms will always be brighter in a like-for like comparison. I didn't quite grasp the technicalities of why but there it is. Needless to say but the old porros remain in my stalking bag and money in the wallet.

  7. #7
    Instead of reading a newspaper at last light you should use mock antlers or some such feature that's relevant to shooting the deer. Different wavelengths etc. make a big influence in actual performance of optics while hunting. Of course it's best to use actual deer...

    I use a combination of educated guess (manufacturer/internet/other hearsay), my own experience with make and hopefully the actual model I'm looking to buy and also try to compare optics once in a while. I own a selection of Zeiss, Swarowski, S&B, Meopta and a few other non-European makes. Currently I just buy Meopta, based on the price and it's adequate for my needs. When you need to buy optics for several firearms it gets expensive, fast. I know I could get slightly better performance and noticeably better ergonomics/durability/etc. by going with more expensive makes.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Norm View Post
    I also had with me my old faithful Swaro 7x42 porro prism rubber armoured binoculars and guess what, they were brighter than all the roof-prism modern ones.
    When I asked someone who is an importer why, it was explained that porro prisms will always be brighter in a like-for like comparison. I didn't quite grasp the technicalities of why but there it is. Needless to say but the old porros remain in my stalking bag and money in the wallet.
    The total transmission loss comprises of the losses in optical surfaces inside the bino. In porro design some of the surfaces are lossless ("totally reflective") whereas in roof prism design they're all lossy. So given the same quality of glass, porro transmission is always potentially better (I don't remember the actual number of surfaces in different designs and also phase correnctions etc. take effect).

    Porro design also gives potentially better depth perception, but the downside is that it needs some width for viewing (so narrow windows in enclosed high towers are problematic etc.)

    I'm currently using these, since they met my criteria (center focus and best performance while keeping cost reasonable):

    Docter Nobilem 8x56 B/GA - binoculars review - allbinos.com

  9. #9
    I have in the past had Swarovski, Ziess, S&B and a skip load of others.

    After chucking unknown amounts of money at them all. All I have and now use exclusively is S&B zenith. 2.5 - 10 x 56 illuminated in FD7 on all my rifles with a 3-12 x50 same spec on a .22 LR . Cross hair are nice and thin and the illuminated reticule is superb as are the optic glass and build quality is brilliant never had a problem with any of em

    for they are a cracking no frills do what they say they do optic and superb quality.

    My thinking is that some top level optic companies are now in a gimmick race, this is defo not for any gain for the end user

    Measure twice cut once on optics, once purchased at the price they are now, the wallet takes a sever bashing

    Atb

    ​Phil
    Last edited by philip; 28-07-2013 at 08:09.

  10. #10
    Hi,
    I recently read an article in the SCI Magazine by Jon Sundra, who was visiting the Swarovski factory, which indicated that "Light Transmission" was not the only important factor in glass. He says some companies claim 95% transmission, while Swarovski only claim 90-91%, because they believe once you get beyond 90% level, other issues are compromised, not least Colour Fidelity. I have noticed that my Leica Binos have a different colour tinge (red/green) from my Zeiss Binos (blue). This is all rather subjective, and personal, but may be worth further consideration ?

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