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Nightforce glass vs. Zeiss & Swarovski

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/16/2008 at 16:52
Mike VS View Drop Down
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I was wondering if anyone can provide feedback on how Nightforce glass compares to the Ziess Diavari's and Swarovski PH's and Z6's?  Is Nightforce close or not even in the same ballpark from a glass quality (brightness, clarity, distrotion) standpoint? Thanks.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/16/2008 at 17:57
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Welcome to OT, Mike!
 
I have all of the above except the Swaro Z6.  Nightforce glass is quite good in my opinion, but not in the same class as Zeiss & Swaro.  IMO, and others will likely disagree, it's really not that far behind, when you consider the power range and compare directly to the Euro glass of similar power range.  Most of NF scopes are high magnification variables, and higher magnification amplifies any optical aberrations.  Beyond a certain quality level, you don't gain a huge improvement in optical performance relative to the increase in cost.  No doubt that Zeiss Diavari and Swaro are better, though.  NF glass compares favorably to the Zeiss Conquest, though.


Edited by RifleDude - December/16/2008 at 17:58
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/16/2008 at 18:10
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Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:

Welcome to OT, Mike!
 
I have all of the above except the Swaro Z6.  Nightforce glass is quite good in my opinion, but not in the same class as Zeiss & Swaro.  IMO, and others will likely disagree, it's really not that far behind, when you consider the power range and compare directly to the Euro glass of similar power range.  Most of NF scopes are high magnification variables, and higher magnification amplifies any optical aberrations.  Beyond a certain quality level, you don't gain a huge improvement in optical performance relative to the increase in cost.  No doubt that Zeiss Diavari and Swaro are better, though.  NF glass compares favorably to the Zeiss Conquest, though.
 
Welcome to the OT Mike.  Ted better get with the program with a Z6.  You have a boatload of cash there Ted, and you are probably just waiting for the right rifle?Big Grin
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/17/2008 at 13:59
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Originally posted by Mojo Mojo wrote:

  You have a boatload of cash there Ted...
 
Really?!!!  Where?!!!Loco
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/17/2008 at 14:17
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yeah ted you should put a new z6 on your (cough cough) .338fed
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/17/2008 at 15:56
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Originally posted by pyro6999 pyro6999 wrote:

yeah ted you should put a new z6 on your (cough cough) .338fed
 
What... (cough, cough) are you talking about?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/17/2008 at 15:57
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Big Grin
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/17/2008 at 16:10
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oh uh cough cough i was thinking of somebody else my bad!Top Secret
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/17/2008 at 19:26
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Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:

Originally posted by Mojo Mojo wrote:

  You have a boatload of cash there Ted...
 
Really?!!!  Where?!!!Loco
 
 
 
Thought that it was you for sure that snapped up that Z6 that Chris had on sale!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/19/2008 at 18:54
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Night Force lens are made in Japan with glass comparable to the Nikon Monarch Gold.Of course its good but not in the same league as Zeiss or the Swaro.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/19/2008 at 20:56
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Originally posted by hunter12345 hunter12345 wrote:

Night Force lens are made in Japan with glass comparable to the Nikon Monarch Gold.Of course its good but not in the same league as Zeiss or the Swaro.



The glass is Japanese, but far superior, in my opinion, to anything Nikon makes.


Nightforce (not F1 series)has good glass, their real value is in durability and repeatability.  Their glass is not as good as the best Zeiss and Swaro, but still very good.

I've owned Nikon Monarch and looked through the new Monarch Golds, to say Nightforce is comparable means you looked through a crap Nightforce or an amazing Monarch.

Glass-wise, Nightforce's older stuff (or non-F1) isn't in the same category with best Swaro and Zeiss, I'd say it is in with IOR (but with much better internals than IOR.)

Nightforce makes a damn fine scope, very durable, good glass, and great internals. Also, their reticle selection is fantastic.

The only negatives to Nightforce:
1.  Theya re not sold by SWFA - this is a big deal, Chris takes care of his custoemrs.
2.  The illumination system is good, but a real pain to change.
3.  As you change power, the entire ocular spins, putting the button on your Butler Creek in different places depending on power.

Just FYI.  Even with these, I've bought Nightforce and will by again!

Now, the F1 series (FFP reticle, zero stop) , the glass in it is every bit as good as the best Euro glass.  But it is also $2,500, so it better be damn good.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/19/2008 at 20:57
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RifleDude's comments I think are quite accurate and well thought out. And in my experience I agree. I do how ever feel that the NF is a step or two above the Nikon's though.

For another perspective. You might want to take a look at the SWFA scope rating scale.

http://www.opticstalk.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=8185
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/19/2008 at 21:04
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Well if I had waited a few minutes I would not have felt the need to reply since Rancid said it all. And very well I might add.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/20/2008 at 08:34
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Thanks for the invite to the forum and your insites on my question!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/20/2008 at 18:29
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OK, the vs. IOR "observations" have been done to death, but I've got to ask:
Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:

Now, the F1 series (FFP reticle, zero stop) , the glass in it is every bit as good as the best Euro glass. 

How did you come up with that?  Do you have one, to what have you compared it and how?

The only comparo I've seen so far is the thread on SH where a whole bunch of people compared one to a Premier, side by side.  Every single last one of them, including the NF fans, felt the glass was better in the Premier.  When something (that many often claim is subjective without instrumentation) is agreed upon by every single person that compares, that really means it was no contest--the difference between the two must have been blatantly obvious.

They're nice scopes, but the guy is asking for information--specifically on glass quality.  $2500 is a lot of money.   If somebody dropped that much on one because I said its glass was as good as S&B or top level Zeiss...hopefully I wouldn't need to go into hiding....       Shocked
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/20/2008 at 18:48
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Not to change the subject, BUT, I guess I am changing the subject.  JonA, there is a nice NEW forum topic.. THE RANGE REPORT... designed specifically for a FULL SCALE, DETAILED report on the Premier Heritage....

Know anyone who has one?????????
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/20/2008 at 19:33
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Originally posted by Jon A Jon A wrote:

The only comparo I've seen so far is the thread on SH where a whole bunch of people compared one to a Premier, side by side.  Every single last one of them, including the NF fans, felt the glass was better in the Premier.  When something (that many often claim is subjective without instrumentation) is agreed upon by every single person that compares, that really means it was no contest--the difference between the two must have been blatantly obvious.


How many is a whole bunch?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/23/2008 at 10:46
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I've read the SH opinions, and mostly agree. They compared the Premier (maybe that thread, maybe another) with S&B and said the glass in the Premier was at least as good as the S&B and probably  a little better (I don't yet own Premier, have looked through one side-by-side with PM2 and agree with the statements.)

I said it was as good as Euro glass ("tactical Euro glass" was inferred) thus making the F1 on par with S&B but not as good as the Premier.

Another note of interest:  I don't yet count Premier as anything since it just came out and is not proven.  The Nightforce is a known value with a well-earned track record.


lastly, glass quality is subjective, I know.  I know a few with Heritage and have compared, side-by-side with S&B, USO, and Nightforce, and the glass at that level is tough to call - but the Heritage looked damn nice.  I have no reluctance in recommending the F1 (if you can get one) and would relay my experiences with the Premier (limited as they are) but cannot recommend it yet - too new.

However, new as the Premier is, I will own one soon!  Maybe the new 5-25 coming out in Spring 09.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/23/2008 at 19:53
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I think the guys only talking about hunting scopes, so bringing in high end tacticals is somewhat pointless-- which brings the only scope in the hunting catagory of NF to compare or their new 2.5x10x33 (?) which really isn't a fair comparison. If you compare NF bench models its still apples and oranges because of such features as zoom ratio, AO, reticle subtensions etc.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/25/2008 at 16:43
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Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:

I said it was as good as Euro glass ("tactical Euro glass" was inferred) thus making the F1 on par with S&B but not as good as the Premier.

OK, first how do you know the glass in the Premier is not "Euro?"  You don't.

Secondly, I have compared the Premier with S&B and I and everybody else I know of who has say it's really damn close.  The Premier might be a tiny bit better but they are so close it is really, really, hard to even tell them appart, much less declare a definitive winner.

If you think the comparo would have gone from unanimous to anything but had the Premier been swapped with a S&B, you're fooling yourself.  And the OP.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/25/2008 at 16:46
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Originally posted by Sparky Sparky wrote:

How many is a whole bunch?

I don't remember exactly, 1/2 dozen, a dozen, somewhere in there.  Enough it's pretty hard to spin it into being a coincidence.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/25/2008 at 16:54
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Argue  OK already! (opinions)
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/02/2009 at 00:51
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It never ceases to amaze me how many people get on message boards and speak with authority, but really dont have a clue as to the most basic of specifications.
 
Nightforce scopes are made in Japan and have decent glass with this being considered. Nightforce claims excelent resolution and I suppose this is true for the black and white resolution chart that they test with. Unfortunately we do not live in a black and white world. NF glass is the leaded compound and I believe is corrected for one or two of the main spectrums of light; there are three. As a result, these optics suffer from chromatic and slight spherical abberation.
 
The highest grade of european optics use fluorite lenses, not glass, or at the least apochromatic glass. They are corrected  for chromatic abberation in all three spectrums, spherical abberation, and can achieve light transmission rates as great as 99.8% per air to glass surface. NF has nothing to compare with this.
 
The NF FFP uses the same glass as the other models so tell me why the image is better.... It isn't. This model is more expensive because it is a profit horse and it is more difficult to make FFP scopes. The tiniest of trash on the reticle is amplified with the zoom ring so cleaner building techniques must be applied.
 
Optical evaluation is not "subjective" it just requires a little research.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/02/2009 at 01:54
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Jus tto point out that some Japanese scopes (not Nightforce, to the ebst of my knowledge) now also use ED glass.  THe two I can think of off the top of my head are SIghtron S2 8-32x56 and Nikon Monarch 8-32x50ED.

On Nightforce: I have not yet seen the new FFP Nightforce scopes, so I can not comment on those.  The other Nightforce scopes I have spent some time with (mostly NXS ones) and their glass is quite good, but not in any danger of beating the better Euro scopes (IOR, Zeiss, Swaro, Khales, etc).  It does deliver good resolution and good depth of focus.  THe resolution, however, was notably worse closer to the edges (probably not especially important on riflescopes though).  Contrast is not quite up to par in my opinion.  Flare is typically well controlled, but chromatic aberrations are quite visible.  On the plus side, Nightforce scopes are superb mechanically with a good combination of precision and durability.

Nightforce scopes I have looked at were clearly tactical scopes.  There are not all that many similarly specced scopes coming out of Europe and the ones that do exist are typically a lot more expensive (S&B and Henslodt).  Nightforce's most direct European competitor is IOR.  I think IOR has a definite edge in glass quality.  As for weaker internals, a few of IOR scopes with 35mm tubes had teething problems, but that had gotten a lot better.  Core 30mm scopes (2.5-10x42 and 4-14x50) have been pretty rock solid, to the best of my knowledge.

Up and coming Ellis scopes will also compete directly against Nightfore, but it is too early to say where they fit.

On the lower price end, Sightron's redesigned S3 scopes, I think, optically have an edge over the Nightforce scopes I have seen.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/05/2009 at 16:57
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Originally posted by optik optik wrote:

It never ceases to amaze me how many people get on message boards and speak with authority, but really dont have a clue as to the most basic of specifications.
What prompted this rather condescending comment?Loco 
Originally posted by optik optik wrote:

NF glass is the leaded compound and I believe is corrected for one or two of the main spectrums of light; there are three.  As a result, these optics suffer from chromatic and slight spherical abberation.
Spherical aberration isn't related to the glass formulation used; it's related to lens design.  Many manufacturers' HD glass contains (or until recently, used to contain) heavy metals like lead -- on purpose -- because like fluorite, these elements imparted refractory characteristics on the lens that improves image quality.  The newest trend toward "lead and arsenic-free" glass is geared toward being eco-friendly, not due to any optical improvements as a result of removing these elements.  Since NF scopes are made by L.O.W., one of the major Japanese manufacturers, I have a hard time believing they too haven't gone entirely to eco glass.
Originally posted by optik optik wrote:

The highest grade of european optics use fluorite lenses, not glass, or at the least apochromatic glass.
Very rarely are fluorite or apo lenses used in riflescopes, though. 
Originally posted by optik optik wrote:

...and can achieve light transmission rates as great as 99.8% per air to glass surface. NF has nothing to compare with this.
How do you know this?  Also, I don't place much stock in manufacturers claims of transmission % per air to glass surface, because those claims don't specify which light spectrum the transmission values are valid for or how this was measured.
Originally posted by optik optik wrote:

The NF FFP uses the same glass as the other models so tell me why the image is better.... It isn't.
How do you know this?  Do you own one of each?  I haven't seen the new NF scope, but superb image quality is the result of the combination of good glass, coatings, precision of the lens grind, alignment of lens elements, and optimized optical design, not just the quality of the lenses themselves.  The new Swarovski Z6 uses the same glass and coatings as all the previous Swaro scopes, yet reportedly it is optically superior to the PH and AV. 
Originally posted by optik optik wrote:

This model is more expensive because it is a profit horse and it is more difficult to make FFP scopes. The tiniest of trash on the reticle is amplified with the zoom ring so cleaner building techniques must be applied.
Actually, the reverse is true -- SFP scopes are more difficult to manufacture, because a higher level of precision is required to prevent the reticle from shifting during power change, since the reticle cell sits in the zoom tube and the reticle focal plane is independent of the target image focal plane.  They even explain this in the "Facts" section of the Schmidt & Bender site.
Originally posted by optik optik wrote:

Optical evaluation is not "subjective" it just requires a little research.
Please cite the source of yours for the claims you make in your post.
While I agree somewhat, a great deal of subjectivity will always play a part in optics evaluation, because different people's eyes perceive images differently.
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