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S&B vs. Swaro PH series vs. Zeiss VMV

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/01/2004 at 07:01
SAKO75 View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
Optics Apprentice

Joined: February/29/2004
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 246

Chris or anyone else,

I was wondering if you could comment on what you feel the difference is between these 3 premium scopes. Which do you like best and why for general hunting purposes? Resolution, light transmission---is 1 clearly worse or clearly better? What about S&B's new zenith series are they better optically than their regular line? Just curious what a guy like you think considering you can look through all of them. I know they are all 30mm tubes and all 1st focal plane reticles. What about durability, customer service etc.??

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/02/2004 at 16:29
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Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper

Joined: March/02/2004
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 5


I’ve done a side by side comparison of the following scopes. S&B 3-12x50 Zenith, VMV 2.5-10x50, PV-I 1.5-6x42

Here are my findings

a) Day Resolution All at 6x Tested resolution chart  1-!-S-5-G-E-B-:-.-%-0-O-D-4-G-& 1  pattern. Pattern was chosen to have minimal differentiation from symbol to symbol, for example 0-O-D can be confused if scope is not sharp, S-5-G similarly.

1st S&B

2nd PV/VMV even though the PV was a 42mm scope!

Results coincided with those when viewing fine bush root branches, tree branches and other natural color patterns etc…

In some cases, the S&B was the clear winner, hands down. In some other test/COLOR patterns, the differences minute and few had the VMV/PV as the winner.

b) Day Resolution S&B/VMV 10x. Its important to test a scope for resolution at it’s highest magnification, as there is were the differences become more apparent… I kept the max power @ 10x for a fair comparison though.

1st S&B

2nd VMV

In some color test pattern instances, the differences were small to non-existing, but for all resolution cases (eye chart, tree branches etc) S&B was better

d) Night Resolution All 6x. Here the test pattern was a set of lines of the same thickness but various shades of grey, starting from white all the way to black, against a black background. The objective was to be able to distinguish the line’s outline. In real hunting conditions you have a brown/dark animal against brown/dark/green background. Another pattern was a set of brick roof tile trying to distinguish individual tiles

1st S&B

2nd VMV

3rd PV. The PV was a very very close 3rd

e) Night Resolution S&B/VMV 8x

1st S&B

2nd VMV


In general, day or night, I could see more details with the S&B regardless if the image appeared to be brighter or not. Color intensity was not what gave image definition. The question for me was “Is the S&B better enough to justify the extra weight and the less field of view 3x vs 2.5x?”


f) Construction. I liked the Swaro PV’s construction. Simple and to the point, not over done, not under done. The S&B was the heaviest but it’s construction was the most solid. It’s a smooth scope.  It’s turrets were the best. The VMV had bad turret markings and feel. The PV was in between even though it had the smallest turrets in diameter, they were very visible and user friendly. The VMV turrets look very similar to the Conquest ones. All had very crisp, repeatable and very positive clicks. The best was the S&B, second was the VMVs (off course the PV was not new) The S&B and PV have the largest ocular. I like that since it tends to shown quality. The ocular is a very important piece in an optical instrument. The power ring of the Swaro I liked the most. Had slightly elevated power markings making it easy to set from a shooting position. Off course in the field that is not an issue. All were smooth. I liked the VMV’s power ring the least. Maybe it was too smooth for a new scope. Off course I have no idea how they would perform at 0F degrees…As for the fast focus piece/ring, the Swaro has the retracting focus whick I like very much. Off course it has 0.35” less eye relief but the retracting portion makes up for 0.2” of it plus it acts as some additional sun shade…The VMV has a plastic focus ring. Hard and maybe more durable…since it doesn’t bend etc but still plastic. Unlike others, I like the plastic turret caps of the VMV since they are more durable and provide cushion BUT I wish they had metal threads…I don’t mind a plastic cap as long as it encloses and protects a metal cap. The VMV’s were all plastic and I didn’t like that after all... Size and weight wise, the VMV is the winner. Very compact and very versatile. Hands down the most compact, considering as well the thinner ocular(that earlier called a minus…)  The S&B was hefty but all the heft is toughness and quality. So still acceptable to me. The S&B had the nicest turrets with lockable zero reset BUT had the least adjustment range of them all(by 20% which is not a big deal for hunting, assuming you mount the scope properly without wasting most of your adjustment range for bore sighting ) but the biggest problem I could see was the smallest adjustment range per turret’s revolution. Again for hunting I don’t think it’s a problem but others might thing otherwise. Regardless of that, still the nicest turrets with zero travel and ultra positive. If you don’t care for an illuminated reticle, then the Swaro and the S&B have about the same waterproof”ness”  specs and temperature ratings. The VMV is not guaranteed water proof without the turrets on. It might be and I know people that take the VMV’s to the harshest conditions of the pacific north without a problem, over and over again and always will according to their saying, but the manual does not make such a claim. 

g) Reticle. If you don’t care about illuminated reticles, then all 3 brands have similar reticle offerings to cover all your particular needs. If you like illuminated reticles, then the PV-I reticle 4A-IK is one of the most versatile reticles. Works for both day and night shooting

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