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High Def glass

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/09/2009 at 21:30
Kickboxer View Drop Down
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This post was moved here as a suggestion that it would probably create more controversy commentary under this heading...
 
First the mea culpa.  I made an assumption I shouldn't have about Super Sniper glass.  I assumed that heavy duty translated the same as in "my world" where heavy duty in glass is equivalent to high definition.  Wrong assumption, I guess.  For that, I am sorry if I misled anyone on Super Sniper glass.  While Super Sniper 10x HD glass IS of very high quality, SWFA may not want to call it HiDef in order to separate from those marketers who abuse the concept.  IF SWFA wanted to call their glass High Definition, they could justifiably do so.
 
High Definition gets a lot of bad press because it is a marketing tool.  It is TRUE that in many instances, High Definition is used as a marketing tool.  Many of the lower - middle end rifle scope makers plunk the term HD or High Definition on their products in order to gain "'creds" they don't really have.  In most cases, not all, it can be, somewhat reasonably, explained that they have upgraded their glass.  Does a single step glass upgrade qualify to be called HD??? In some cases, definitely yes... when the beginning glass was so bad it was almost like looking through the bottom of a 1950's Coke bottle, any upgrade that would allow one to actually SEE through the scope could be considered High Definition.  In some cases, glass quality is significantly improved and if the company wants to market that as HD, it doesn't really bother me.  Generally, the better the quality of the glass (and other mitigating factors), the less dispersion/chromatic dispersion there will be.  That is a good thing, even if it is a marketing tool. 
 
The first company to produce High Definition glass was Nikon in 1975, but its name was ED or Extra-low Dispersion glass.  Many have jumped on the bandwagon since.  ED was not used in rifle scopes until very recently.  The constant demand for better and better quality has forced rifle scope makers to answer the calls for better and better optical glass.  I won't enter into a discussion of how "good" rifle scope glass is overall.  Some would be very depressed.  A number of the high-end camera lenses are good old Nikon ED glass...
 
HOWEVER, High Definition DOES have meaning.  I thought I read some time ago about the specifications on HD, (and have discussed at various of the laboratories I frequent) but was convinced by a significant number of others that I was in error.  I conceded for a time, but it kept bothering me, as I know my memories are only slightly enhanced over reality.  So, in the manner of a true investigation and review, I called the companies.  "Which ones??", someone might ask.  The ones I originally suggested actually HAD REAL HD glass.  SWAROVSKI and ZEISS. 
 
In speaking with a representative of Swarovski, he CONFIRMED that Swarovski does, in fact, produce a High Definition glass with an appropriate specification using calcium fluoride as an anti-dispersive additive.  It is a complicated process and I don't intend to go into it here.  If you want to know more, call Swarovski... maybe they'll 'splain it to you.  Lens alignment and orientation is also a factor, but HD Glass is a factor in the production of ALL Swarovski Z6 rifle scopes WITH side focus adjustment.  Currently ONLY those Swarovski riflescopes have the HD glass, but binoculars and spotting scopes also have it.  It has a specification Swarovski uses to reproduce this HD glass for every product they market it in. 
 
Zeiss labels their HD glass "FL" and it is currently only used in the 6-24x72 and all the tactical Hensoldt scopes.  (Yes, RC, you have some HD glass.)  Zeiss does have a specification for the HD/FL glass making process. 
While zealous, exhuberant and quite often abrasive, I do my homework.  HD glass is "real", if only for a small few rifle scope makers. 
There SHOULD be a standard for HD glass, but there is not.  There are, however, specifications for at least two brands plus the ED glass.  There is also a labeling of UD (ultra low dispersion) which I am told may also enter the rifle scope market in a not TOO distant future.  But it will be expensive.  The "highest quality" optical glasses are not used in rifle scopes because it is cost prohibitive. 
 
The next question is... Is it really needed?  I have not yet looked through the newest Hensoldt scopes (my attempts to meet up with the rep in this area have failed, so far), my experience with Hensoldt is much older.  It was "top of the line" back then.  However, in talking with the Swarovski engineer, he assured me that only the MOST discerning eye would be able to tell a difference between my Zeiss Victory Diavari and the Swarovski Z6 with HD glass.  He said the Zeiss is about as good as it gets and their coatings are some of the best in the world.  High praise from a competitor.  But he did say some COULD see a very slight difference at the edges especially at high angles to the light source in "rapidly" changing light conditions. 
The SS10xHD has a very good quality glass.  It does perform less well than the Zeiss Victory Diavari, BUT it is expected to.  What is not expected is how close it comes...


Edited by Kickboxer - December/14/2009 at 16:53
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/14/2009 at 16:56
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OK, I moved it...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/14/2009 at 17:20
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KB, this is very interesting information. It would be nice if there were at least some minimum standards to meet. I didn't realize that ED glass has been around so long...had thought it was a relatively recent development.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2009 at 07:53
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I think it is destructive that there is not a true "standard" for HD.  It would elmininate the low end misuse of the term and give the purchasing public a verifiable "point" upon which to base a purchasing decision.  
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