Varmint Hunters Forum banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
274 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Some weeks back I posted some findings about a spotting scope comparison I made. I had compared Leica 77mm APO, Zeiss 65mm, Zeiss 85mm, and Swarovski 85mm (non HD).

When I posted the study someone on this forum told me that the Meopta 75 would beat the Euro glass, so I decided to have a look and add it to the lineup.

Following are my observations. I offer them up because making these comparisons isnt easy - it required me to buy all three scopes and return ones I didnt want. I took a beating from the mop squeezer over this one, since she seemed to think buying groceries was more important than spotting scope comparisons. This cost me bucks, and maybe someone can save some money and learn from what I learned.

I purchased three scopes for round two of the evaluation - knowing I would keep one of the three. A Leica 77 APO, a Zeiss 85mm, and a Meopta 75 APO. Had I known what I know now, I would have subsituted a Kowa for the Meopta. More on that in a minute.

I studied the three scopes over the course of three days, in early morning, morning, afternoon, late afternoon, dusk, and pitch dark. The following observation are not mine alone, a friend was with me on half of it, and once again we had identical findings. We even wrote them down so we wouldnt influence each other - then compared notes.

Meopta - not worth the money IMHO. Single large focus ring does not lend itself well to fine focus. Glass is close to being good, but has irregularities, such that one can get a better focus merely by shifting one's head slightly side to side - to get on a different section of the glass. The eyepiece glass is small in diameter, which doesn’t lend itself to easy viewing, because eye alignment is critical. Pain in the butt. I stopped looking through it right away - removed it from the lineup.

Now down to Zeiss 85 vs. Leica 77 - As a rule, the Zeiss beats the Leica in resolution in low light only. Several times throughout the day, as the light was lost due to cloud cover, the better resolution was sometimes found with the Zeiss. In total darkness this difference is easily demonstrated- the Zeiss' better light gathering (bigger objective) simply provides more light and hence gives higher apparent resolution. But in most daylight conditions, the Leica was better and provided that extra crispness that resolves small subtle details. When the Zeiss was better in daylight hours it was subtle. When the Leica was better it was noticeable and there was no ambiguity about it. For example, at 2000 yards or so in bright light I could see something on a roof top with the Zeiss, and make out it was the size of a sparrow,but with the Leica I could get the tiny bit of extra crispness in focus and see it was round, black, and probably the stub of a roof vent.

The design of the Leica eyepiece is far far better than the Zeiss - the way it clicks into place with the button - very precise and extremely close tolerances to the tube. The Zeiss is much less precise in the eyepiece fit, but once in, it is unlikely to be removed anyway.

Overall I gave the Zeiss the higher marks because of low light resolution, because it is noticeably lighter, has shorter length, and has a great matte green and black finish - it isnt shiny, all important considerations to a hunter. No doubt in my mind. I bought the Zeiss. Well, okay, a little doubt. It was a very tough decision. They were both outstanding scopes.

But if Leica lightened up their scope, and didnt have a shiny finish on it that would shine like a diamond in a goats butt, I would have picked it in a second. I love resolution.

Lastly, I didnt have the money to add a KOWA to the list, since that would have been four scopes. Wish I had replaced the Meopta with a Kowa for the study, as I have heard they are also good. They are not cheap however, they are on a par with the two I looked at.

Many many thanks to Chris at SWFA , now riflescopes.com (Board Sponsor) for being such a gentleman and tolerating my study. He is quite a nice man and wonderful to do business with. I have bought several scopes over the years from SWFA and have always been pleased with their price and fast pleasant service. He lost money on this transaction because I foolishly used a credit card, and they get dinged on both the sale and the return when a CC is used.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,164 Posts
Spotter Test

FF , thanks for the info . I know what its like to accumulate a ton of stuff just to see what you prefer , and I am doing this with Riflescopes but I still need to get my hands on one or two IORs , and a Zeiss Conquest ( forget the US Optics and S&B ....I'm not going there ). To make your comparison even more complicated , you would have seen slight differences in Resolution based on which eyepiece you tested . In my own case , I don't care anything about low light conditions , so my choice was Leica . I also like the way Leica Spotters and Binoculars Focus ..... very precise . Hard to describe , but sharp Focus is one small spot on the Dial . I bought a used Leica 77 APO , and it is something to behold . Heavy sucker though , but again not a consideration for me since it will only be used from the Bench or my backyard . What I would really like is to get another Leica and make the Ultimate Big Eyes ....... maybe someday . I'm sure you will love the Zeiss . Oh , BTW , maybe you can convince your better half that you will be forever in mental conflict until you include Swaro , Nikon , and Kowa in your test ! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,491 Posts
Meopta

I use a Meopta TGA75(one of them that extends outof itself, APO?) with a fixed 30x eyepiece.While I have not compared it to a Leica or Zeiss it is definitely better than any and all Kiowa's I have had the pleasure to look through.True the adjusting ring is a little coarse and the eye piece could be better.The price at time of purchase was ½ of the two you mentioned so it was an easy choice for me.As long as I never look through any of the high end spotters I'll be more than happy with the TGA75:cool:
Just out of curiosity what was the price of the three units?

xring
I'd send you one of my IORs to try but unfortunately none of them are current production models and would not make for a good comparison.If the new 35mm scopes are like the prototype I have you will not find better glass!! The glass will outdo NF,Zeiss Conquest and keep right up with Zeiss,S&B or USO,the others may have the benefit of features or reliability but IOR got my vote.
Interesting to hear product reports from others .............a lot cheaper than doing it ourselves that fer sure.Sometimes there ain't no right or wrong just different opinions
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
274 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
XRING
You did well to keep the Leica. The decision was not easy for me to make, and when I put the 77APO back in the box, I took it out again several times. Ha ha ha - I wish I were kidding. It boiled down to a list of features I liked on the Zeiss just a tiny bit more, even though the Leica is better glass. I do love the Leica brand. Over the years I have accumulated a Leica 4.5-14 scope, Leica 10x42 binos, and a Leica rangefinder. Next year, when the bruises have healed, I am going to sell my binos and rangefinder, and purchase the new Leica Geovids. They are NICE!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
142 Posts
Spotting Scopes

Thanks for the review. I am about to do a sidexside with several riflescopes if the weather ever warms up up north here. I too use Leica binoculars and like the Leica scope as well but use a Swarovski as the leica was just coming out when I bought my scope.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,164 Posts
Optics

FF , back when I first started out buying stuff , it always seemed that Zeiss and Leica were my favorites , but all I could afford were Bushnell Customs . I figured they were about 90% as good as the best , and I was satisfied . The same two Companies produced what I thought were the best Lab. Microscopes ., etc . so that's what I ordered ( ala Big Blue) and I was a happy camper. I worked in a high Tech. Photolab in those days . We had a Dekkacon Camera which weighed Tons and reduced Images by 100X ( maybe it was 1000X or more ) . Whenever we had to produce Photomask Images of 0.0001 inches or smaller the chief Engineer brought in his personal Leica Camera Lens and set it up the Dekkacon . Would I lie ??? CJ , I would be astounded if the IOR beat the Nightforce or the USO or S&B . Guess I will find out when I get my hands on an IOR . Don't think I will ever get a chance to look thru a $3K USO or S&B . One other thing : I notice as the years creep on .....my hold on Binocs is pretty shaky beyond about 8X . Saw a Post on Image Stabilized Binos ( internal gyros ) and bought a Canon 10X IS .....cheap and they really work . When it warms up , just for fun I'm going to test Resolution against my 10X Leicas both from a rest and freehand . Should be interesting ! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
274 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
CJ
In writing what I did, I run the risk of offending someone who has a Meopta. I probably put that badly. For over six years now I have used a Tasco. No kidding. I paid a guy at the range five bucks for it. Quality is a relative thing. I used to eye fancy spotting scopes, and be jealous, but I always managed to find something else to spend money on. I finally decided this year that I needed a good scope, that money was no object and I was going to have the best. So when I say that that Meopta was not worth the money, I meant in the context of spending over $1K. It wasnt about the money, it was about resolution. Once I was over the pain threshold I expected a lot, and the Meopta didnt have the extra resolution I wanted.

You can find the prices for all three scopes on the riflescopes.com website. Check out the samplelist link. The Leica I evaluated came from that listing, and I was impressed. It looked brand new, functioned perfectly, and was $500less than a new one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,491 Posts
No Offence taken

You did a good review,funny how side by side some options just elliminate themselves.I checked my facts and realized the APO and TGA's are different,I would not have baught the APO either.Really only ment to point out that the TGA 75 has ben put againt a few older Kiowa's and is at least as good and better in a few cases.I like the TGA because it is fully rubberized,compact,packs very well and was a lot cheaper but still filled my needs.If I was more carefull with equipment I would have probibly went with one of the higher end units too:D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,725 Posts
Now if all our eyes were like yours

Some weeks back I posted some findings about a spotting scope comparison I made. I had compared Leica 77mm APO, Zeiss 65mm, Zeiss 85mm, and Swarovski 85mm (non HD).

When I posted the study someone on this forum told me that the Meopta 75 would beat the Euro glass, so I decided to have a look and add it to the lineup.

Following are my observations. I offer them up because making these comparisons isnt easy - it required me to buy all three scopes and return ones I didnt want. I took a beating from the mop squeezer over this one, since she seemed to think buying groceries was more important than spotting scope comparisons. This cost me bucks, and maybe someone can save some money and learn from what I learned.

I purchased three scopes for round two of the evaluation - knowing I would keep one of the three. A Leica 77 APO, a Zeiss 85mm, and a Meopta 75 APO. Had I known what I know now, I would have subsituted a Kowa for the Meopta. More on that in a minute.

I studied the three scopes over the course of three days, in early morning, morning, afternoon, late afternoon, dusk, and pitch dark. The following observation are not mine alone, a friend was with me on half of it, and once again we had identical findings. We even wrote them down so we wouldnt influence each other - then compared notes.

Meopta - not worth the money IMHO. Single large focus ring does not lend itself well to fine focus. Glass is close to being good, but has irregularities, such that one can get a better focus merely by shifting one's head slightly side to side - to get on a different section of the glass. The eyepiece glass is small in diameter, which doesn’t lend itself to easy viewing, because eye alignment is critical. Pain in the butt. I stopped looking through it right away - removed it from the lineup.

Now down to Zeiss 85 vs. Leica 77 - As a rule, the Zeiss beats the Leica in resolution in low light only. Several times throughout the day, as the light was lost due to cloud cover, the better resolution was sometimes found with the Zeiss. In total darkness this difference is easily demonstrated- the Zeiss' better light gathering (bigger objective) simply provides more light and hence gives higher apparent resolution. But in most daylight conditions, the Leica was better and provided that extra crispness that resolves small subtle details. When the Zeiss was better in daylight hours it was subtle. When the Leica was better it was noticeable and there was no ambiguity about it. For example, at 2000 yards or so in bright light I could see something on a roof top with the Zeiss, and make out it was the size of a sparrow,but with the Leica I could get the tiny bit of extra crispness in focus and see it was round, black, and probably the stub of a roof vent.

The design of the Leica eyepiece is far far better than the Zeiss - the way it clicks into place with the button - very precise and extremely close tolerances to the tube. The Zeiss is much less precise in the eyepiece fit, but once in, it is unlikely to be removed anyway.

Overall I gave the Zeiss the higher marks because of low light resolution, because it is noticeably lighter, has shorter length, and has a great matte green and black finish - it isnt shiny, all important considerations to a hunter. No doubt in my mind. I bought the Zeiss. Well, okay, a little doubt. It was a very tough decision. They were both outstanding scopes.

But if Leica lightened up their scope, and didnt have a shiny finish on it that would shine like a diamond in a goats butt, I would have picked it in a second. I love resolution.

Lastly, I didnt have the money to add a KOWA to the list, since that would have been four scopes. Wish I had replaced the Meopta with a Kowa for the study, as I have heard they are also good. They are not cheap however, they are on a par with the two I looked at.

Many many thanks to Chris at SWFA , now riflescopes.com (Board Sponsor) for being such a gentleman and tolerating my study. He is quite a nice man and wonderful to do business with. I have bought several scopes over the years from SWFA and have always been pleased with their price and fast pleasant service. He lost money on this transaction because I foolishly used a credit card, and they get dinged on both the sale and the return when a CC is used. SWFA sometimes imposes a restock fee to cover the gouging they take from the CC companies on returns. Chris didnt do that in my case. I am extremely grateful to him.
Wow! I'm impressed with your scientific approach, buddy! Excellent search - way beyond that which most of us ever get done on a product. Good on you. :) (Now if you were as objective of a political analysist...heh, heh, heh:rolleyes: Juuuuuuust pullin yer tail :D )

Thank you for the report!

P.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
446 Posts
Lastly, I didnt have the money to add a KOWA to the list, since that would have been four scopes. Wish I had replaced the Meopta with a Kowa for the study, as I have heard they are also good. They are not cheap however, they are on a par with the two I looked at.
FF,
Your comparison was quite interesting, realistic, pratical, and objective. good works, thanks for sharing your findings.

Would you like to borrow my KOWA to evaluate and let everyone here know the results?

(I'll pay shipping w/insurance to you, and you pay the return S&I.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
274 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hmmmmm

FF,
Your comparison was quite interesting, realistic, pratical, and objective. good works, thanks for sharing your findings.

Would you like to borrow my KOWA to evaluate and let everyone here know the results?

(I'll pay shipping w/insurance to you, and you pay the return S&I.)
Thanks for your kind words, and a very nice offer. I think it would be a really interesting to do that. Do you know what the insurance cost is? I am just curious enough that I might be interested in taking you up on it if I can afford it. Insurance can be pricey. Also, just so you are aware of it, the comparison would now be limited to the Kowa and the Zeiss 85mm, because all I have at the house now is the Zeiss. What model of Kowa do you have?

Chris at SWFA told me that if I had talked to him before I placed the order he would have talked me out of the Meopta, and added the KOWA to the lineup.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top