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Great Optics Broken-down

Optics Quality optics are a must-have for any serious hunter. Discuss them here.

Great Optics Broken-down

Old 12-28-2012, 08:10 PM
  #1  
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Question Great Optics Broken-down

What are the qualities that makes a piece of great optics? Price? Warranty? Range?
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:00 AM
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How about ergos (size, weight, etc), optical quality, lens coatings and overall build quality.
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:23 AM
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First and foremost - it must be reliable.

Last in importance - it must be popular among internet experts.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:37 AM
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Holds zero, clarity even under cold rainy conditions ~ must have a lifetime warranty !
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Uncle View Post
First and foremost - it must be reliable.
Under all conditions.
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Old 02-04-2013, 07:28 AM
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Sorry to bring up an old thread, but this caught my attention and I had to reply. Reliability, clarity, accuracy - that's all good, and you should certainly hope for all that in a good optic, but I think the question is HOW do you determine all this? There's a couple things you should be looking for in any optic, most of which have some wiggle room depending on what you're looking to pay.

Always look for waterproof and fogproof. There isn't an exception to this, even if you don't hunt in inclement weather. Optics that aren't fogproof aren't nitrogen purged and retain some humidity in the air that is inside the scope. Rapid temperature changes (like going from a cold winter day to a warm hunting cabin) can fog up the interior surfaces of lenses in non-purged optics and may take hours (days?) to clear up. This could be a huge problem if you're paying for a hunt and you didn't bring your backup riflescopes.

That also brings up an interesting point about waterproofing. Binoculars, spotting scopes, and riflescopes are only technically waterproof if they are nitrogen purged. Even then, only the lens bodies are sealed, and any moving parts are technically still vulnerable to moisture damage. But unless you're hunting underwater, it's not much of a problem with proper care. Bottom line: Nitrogen purged or it's crap.

As far as lens coatings, there are several different types, the main ones being non-coated, multi-coated, and fully multi-coated. Non means no lens coatings whatsoever, and the least protection from dirt and scratches. Multi-coated means the exterior surfaces are protected, and fully multi-coated means every lens surface (both interior and exterior lenses) have several coatings. Each manufacturer has a different catchy name for the type of coatings they use, but generally speaking, fully multi-coated optics have the best light transmission and abrasion protection available.

When it comes to bodies, good optics will have some inherent durability against field use, which means rubber armor on binoculars, bodies made of lightweight materials like aluminum and magnesium. And one piece construction on riflescopes, usually aluminum. One piece scopes are going to be much more rugged than multiple piece, and are way more likely to retain a zero after you drop it from your treestand. The same rules about nitrogen purging, waterproofing, and lens coatings apply.

Aside from all this, what it really comes down to is personal preference. Weight, size, magnification, effective range, color, turrent types, lens caps, name on the box... All that is superficial stuff that is going to vary greatly depending on who you ask.

Hope that helps.
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Old 02-04-2013, 07:34 AM
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Also, I figured I should mention something about glass type.

There's a lot of hype about ED glass, and to be honest, it's mostly true. ED stands for extra-low dispersion, which helps with image clarity and brightness. ED glass, regardless of whose name and logo is on the optic, is going to produce a brighter, clearer image 99.9% of the time - the other .1% is when it's pitch black and doesn't matter. If you can afford ED glass, you should get it.
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:00 PM
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I am not an expert on the physics of optical instruments at all. I do know what I "see" through excellent binos and scopes. I have viewed through so many brands and so many models these past 10 or so years it is almost funny. About everything from the cheapest BSA's to the most expensive Ziess'. And about everything in between .... Tasco, Barska, Osprey, Nikon, Simmons, Redfield, Swift, Weaver, Swarovski, Bushnell , Pentax, Vortex, Schmitt Bender. from about $35 to about $2500 MSRP.

I learned long ago that you get what you pay for in optical gear. There are no secrets in how to design and build top notch binos or scopes. Patents, sure. But no real secrets. Top end glass, exotic chemical coatings, super precise construction, nearly perfect QA, etc. You cannot and should not expect these in low dollar gear.

On the other hand, one can afford what one can afford. So look for value. A great garauntee helps, but some of the poorest quality scopes come with a lifetime garauntee. Listen to hunters, not the advertisement hype. Does not take $1000 or more to get yourself a good scope. Value scopes can be had in the $250-$600 range. Below that, my experience says it is iffy at best. Above the $600 range almost assuredly hyou are looking at great performance. And should be for that kind of $$$.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:52 AM
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At a certain point, you're spending more to get less. A $1000 optic is going to be far superior to a $100 optic. But a $2000 optic is only going to be marginally better than the $1000 optic. The higher you go in price, the more you have to spend to see a noticeable improvement in image quality.
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:39 PM
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The Law of Diminishing Marginal Returns - a basic principle to learn in life !!!
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