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Low light comparrison of Swaro models

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2017 at 10:01
R H Clark View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
Optics Apprentice

Joined: July/26/2011
Location: NW Alabama
Status: Offline
Points: 200

I just bought a Swaro Z5 with turret and 4w reticle,my first Swaro. Low light performance is pretty good compared to other scopes I've owned, Kahles, older Zeiss Diavari and Conquest HD,Leupold. It is good enough that I'm considering another Swaro for a different rifle.

I've read somewhere that the Z5 may be better in low light than the Z6,what's your experience between the two? I would like an illuminated reticle but I could make do with the plex if I wend Z5. I have heard the Z8 is excellent in low light but I am stretching to pay 2K much less 3K.

 How does the Z3 compare to the Z5 in low light performance? I am thinking however that I will need the longer  eye relief of a Z5 or Z6 rather than the Z3 for the rifle I want to scope. I have tried a couple of 3.5" ER scopes that wouldn't work for me on that rifle without crawling the stock more than I like.

I am primarily interested in the Swaro scopes but how does the low light performance of the Leica ERi series stack up to the Swaro Z5, primarily the ERi 3-12X50 and the ERi 2.5-10X42 compared to the 3.5-18X44 Swaro Z5? The longer ER of the Leica would solve my ER concerns but I think I trust Swaro warranty more than Leica.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2017 at 12:46
RifleDude View Drop Down

Joined: October/13/2006
Location: Texas
Status: Offline
Points: 15579
I believe what you're referring to is the published light transmission % specs between the various Swaro scope series. The Z3 series and perhaps the Z5 as well shows to have higher transmission % than Z6. This is at least partially due to the fact that Z6 is a more complex optical design, with more lens elements. However, there's much more to low light performance than transmission %, which is a misleading spec in the first place. Resolution, contrast, magnification, and objective diameter also determine ultimate low light performance of an optic. Z6 has a touch better resolution than the Z3 or Z5 series.

As for the low light performance of the Leica ER series, I did a head to head test between my Z6i 1.7-10X42 and my Leica ER 2.5-10X42, and I couldn't tell any significant difference in low light performance between the two. I could discern exactly the same amount of detail in one vs. the other well past legal hunting light. I couldn't say one is better than the other in low light, except for the fact my Z6i has an illuminated reticle and my Leica ER does not. Otherwise, I very slightly prefer the optics in Leica ER over the Swaro Z6, because I like the way Leica enhances contrast and the way it renders colors ever so slightly better. That's a personal preference you may not share, however.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2017 at 13:26
koshkin View Drop Down
Dark Lord of Optics

Joined: June/15/2004
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 12305
Mr RifleDude is spot on.  

All of the Swaro Z scopes are optically excellent (and that includes the new Z8), but in terms of low light performance, the difference in overall light transmission is the last thing you should be looking at.

Between Z3, Z5 and Z6, the Z6 is a better low light scope, but the difference is not large.

Between Z6 and Leica ERi, I think it is very close and the choice comes down to personal preference.

Leica Magnus might be a little better, but I have not thoroughly tested one yet (I plan to shortly).  Magnus probably and the best flare suppression I have seen yet which usually bodes well for low light use.  I should probably get my hands onto the Swaro Z8 and Zeiss V8 for a proper comparison.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/19/2017 at 13:04
cbm View Drop Down
Optics Journeyman
Optics Journeyman

Joined: January/11/2008
Location: SC
Status: Offline
Points: 544

I'm no optics expert but I am a big hunter.

I have had a couple of Swarovski's including a Z5 5-25X52 4w. And I had a Leica ER 2.5-10X42 #1. Comparing those 2, the Swarovski was brighter in last light but the reticle gave out way early. I sent it back to Swaro and had them change it out to a #4 but that was only a slight improvement. I have also had some Kahles and Zeiss.

I sold almost all my scopes and bought a demo Schmidt and Bender Klassic 3-12x42 illuminated L7 reticle. And I absolutley love it. Brighter than the Z5 and has a first focal plane etched reticle and is every bit as usuable as my Leica Ultravid 10x42 bino's. I have never had a scope hang with them in low light(I take that back, I had a 3-12x56 Kahles Helia C that would hang with them but I still don't think it was as good as these S&B).

I liked it so much, I bought another one off ebay, 3-12x42 Klassik with a #4. I hunted the last week of season with it and it is every bit as good as my other one. I had a hard time deciding if I liked one reticle over the other. The #4 is awesome in low light without illumination but is kind of big for target shooting.

I have less than 3k in both of them and I am very pleased. But my eyes may be different than yours, these S&Bs just nail it for my eyes. I can't imagine how a 56mm one does in low light, but then again, after my hunting this season......I can't really see a need for anymore than what I have.

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