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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/05/2008 at 23:55
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I am finally back home.  Over the next couple of days, I'll be posting my impressions of products of various (primarily optics) companies I saw at the show.

I tried to visit every optics manufacturer there, but the show is so huge I could have missed some.  There were several chinese optics makers' booths I visited that I am not going to write about, mostly because they were peddling crappy optic.  If you have a question about any specific company/product, ask in this thread (my PM box is kinda overflowing already).

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 00:12
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was the the show in Las Vegas??
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 00:23
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Some general comments:

New Millett LRS scope, for the money, will knock your socks off.  The glass looks like a solid improvement over TRS.  I should be doing a review some time this month.

Nightforce is going to be offering all of their scopes with FFP and zero stop as an option.  I am still underwhelmed with their glass for the money, but mechanically, they are superb.

Zeiss had a new binocular/rangefinder that ha several trajectory curves built in, so that it can tel you how much to holdover.  Very neat and seemed to work.  Probably ridiculously expensive, but it has gotten me thinking about the 8x45 model.

Vortex people were the nicest and friendliest bunch I have ever seen in a trade show booth.  Good products too.  I think in their respective price ranges Vortex products are hard to beat.  If I decide that Zeiss Victory RF is too expensive (above), there is a Vortex Razor 8.5x50 in my future. 

Para-Ordnance lost a customer a couple of days ago.  I will never buy anything peddled by that company.

Nikon EDG binocular is impressive.  I think it can go head to head with the Germans and maybe even beat them.  It will be interesting to set up a comparison.  On a side note, they discontinued the LX-L line which is a bummer.

Leica HD binoculars look very nice.  Awesome contrast, but I think the Zeiss has a touch better resolution.  Both Zeiss and Leica had range finders on display, so I lasered a spot on the wall that was the same distance from both booths and spent some time going back and worth and looking through their binoculars at the same spot.  The germans thought I was nuts.

Minox had a very small booth with a new super compact spotter which was pretty nice.  There was not all that much else to see there and the rep was not the friendliest.

IOR had their 40mm riflescopes on display that were very impressive optically (and could be used to bludgeon someone to death if need be).  They plan to have a version of their 3x25 scope without the built in mount and a version of a 2-12x32 scope without a parallax adjustment knob and with a BDC knob for 308.  Both look very promising to me.

Bushnell's Elite 6500 line has impressed me. Very nice scopes.  They are also developing a 1-6.5x model.  I inquired who I should write a check to get that one.  The rep was friendly and informative and some of my initial reservations about 6500 line were put to rest.

Leupold was ... Leupold.   Good line-up of overpriced scopes and binoculars.  I think they are in denial.  I made a mistake of going there after visiting Leica, Zeiss and Nikon booths.  Otherwise, Gold Ring HD binoculars would be much more impressive.

Kahles has a couple of new scopes: K418 and K312.  K418 is a 4.5-18x50 with a 30mm tube and K312 is a 3-12x50 with a 34mm tube.  Both were optically spectacular.  K312 has some sort of a new knob design that has, quite possibly, the best clicks I have ever seen.  Kahles is now distributed by Legacy Sports.  We'll see how it goes for them.  2-7x36 scopes will no longer be imported to US, which is a shame (still available in Europe though).

S&B has a 1.5-6x20 version of the Short Dot available as a special order item.  I am not a big fan of Short Dots, but I think 1.-6x20 is a pretty usable design.

There was some chinese optics company that had a red-dot sight attached to a huge spotting scope.  When I wondered what purpose it served, they were not sure.  Any ideas?


ILya

Edited by koshkin - May/18/2008 at 23:17
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 00:24
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Originally posted by dunagan15 dunagan15 wrote:

was the the show in Las Vegas??


Yep.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 04:01
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Thanks Koshkin,
Nice bit of info you have passed on. It seems like the Bushnell and Kahles are the scopes at the moment???
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 06:07
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What did P.O. do to po you?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 06:08
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Thank you Koshkin, If they'd known you were the DarkLord of Optics here at OT they would have been alot nicer to you I'm sure.
Is the LRS really that good? What would you compare it to optically speaking?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 06:09
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Thanks Koshkin!!
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 06:15
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ExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellent Thanks ILya, we are fortunate to have your dedication to keeping us informed.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 07:32
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What happens in Vegas-----makes it to the forum__thanks
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 08:12
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ere was some chinese optics company that had a red-dot sight attached to a huge spotting scope.  When I wondered what purpose it served, they were not sure.  Any ideas
Large power optics are difficult to pick up the "target object" quickly because of small FOV. the dot allows a quick aim that will give a pretty close proximity without panning all over the place.
Is NF doing their own reticles or sending them to Premier, and did you get to Premier's booth?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 08:45
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Thanks for the info, ILya!  I always look forward to hearing your take on new products!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 09:11
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 Thanks for the behind-the-lines recon, Koshkin.
 
 Edited to add: Dale hit the spotting scope thing.  I've seen similar setups on astronomical telescopes, but with a small fixed-power crosshair sight instead of a red dot. (Otherwise you might think you were looking at Jupiter, but it was nothing more than a red dot!)


Edited by RONK - February/06/2008 at 09:16
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 09:36
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Koshkin
 
You ROCK!
 
Thanks.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 09:59
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How did the Busnell 6500 compare in glass quality and over-all quality to Zeiss, Kahles, Swarovski, Nikon, etc. I'm interested in the 2x16 42. They seem like they might be a winner if their glass and resolution are on par with the German lines. I would believe they will be as rugged as the 4200 series which will be a +. I'm wating on a review of this scope and a in-person look.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 11:56
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good feedback, Ilya - thanks!!!
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 12:23
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Originally posted by silver silver wrote:

What did P.O. do to po you?


I had two trips to P.O. booth.
P.O. rep ignored me for a little bit.  Then condescended to talk to me.  Then assumed I was incompetent before I hardly opened my mouth.  Then after a couple of very specific questions about gun fit, grip and a couple of other things, suggested that I need some training to be able to use their guns properly.  It went downhill from there.
Basically, I do not appreciate it when people assume I am an imbecile.  I am not the greatest shot in the world, but I am not a total incompetent.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 12:27
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Originally posted by Dale Clifford Dale Clifford wrote:

ere was some chinese optics company that had a red-dot sight attached to a huge spotting scope.  When I wondered what purpose it served, they were not sure.  Any ideas
Large power optics are difficult to pick up the "target object" quickly because of small FOV. the dot allows a quick aim that will give a pretty close proximity without panning all over the place.
Is NF doing their own reticles or sending them to Premier, and did you get to Premier's booth?


With telescopes and stuff, to pick up the target, a lower powered optic is typically used.  A general rule of thumb, if memory serves me right, is that a viewfinder should have about  one fifth or one sixth of the magnification of the main telescope.

I am not sure about the reticle in Nightforce and I did not talk to Premier.  Premier's booth was next to S&B, but when I stopped I could not get anyone to talk to me, so I walked off.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 12:33
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Originally posted by Lawnfella Lawnfella wrote:

How did the Busnell 6500 compare in glass quality and over-all quality to Zeiss, Kahles, Swarovski, Nikon, etc. I'm interested in the 2x16 42. They seem like they might be a winner if their glass and resolution are on par with the German lines. I would believe they will be as rugged as the 4200 series which will be a +. I'm wating on a review of this scope and a in-person look.


Without a side by side comparison, I can not say exactly how things compare.  I think 6500 may be a touch better than 4200.  That puts it into Conquest territory, I think.  However, I would need to do some comparisons before I can come with anything definitive.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 13:15
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I am a little bit short on time, so this mostly the stuff off the top of my head.  Over the weekend, I will try to go over some of my notes and product literature I collected. 

A few more companies:

USO -- I talked to JW.  He was very polite and friendly, which tends to go a long way with me.  I looked at the new spotter and a new 1.5-6x24 scope they have.  The spotter was pretty decent, but it has a very long eye relief (~2-3 inches).  While that would work well if you are wearing a gas mask, it was hard for me to get a consistent eye position.  Also, because of the eye relief a lot of ambient light gets to your eye which really defeats the purpose of a spotting scope. They need to come up with some sort of a collapsible eye cup.  The 1.5-6x24 compact was a bit of a disappointment optically.  I have a fairly well calibrated eyeball and that scope did not look up to the quality I have seen from USO lately.  I hope they are not sliding back to the days of varying glass quality.

Meade/Weaver/Redfield/Simmons  -- there is a new tactical version of Weaver Grand Slam in 4.5-14x and 10x configurations: SFP with mildot and taller knobs.  Redfield is gong through another redesign: they say next year.  Simmons is ... still Simmons.  There are better ways to throw away money.  When asked about deteriorating quality of Grand Slam glass, the rep said that they Light Optics Works had a couple of bad glass batches.  I have a suspicion that Grand Slam production got moved to LOW's plant in the Phillipines.

Burris -- Compact/Short Mag scopes are gone and replaced with a cheaper line of scopes called Timberline (made in Phillipines).  They were actually nice compact scopes.  They have a new reticle for the 1-4x24 XTR, that is kinda like a circle-dot with holdover marks.  I hear that these XTRs are made in the Phillipines.  I could not get a straight answer out of the Burris rep.  The glass is pretty good, so I suspect it is sourced from Japan, but the assembly could be in the Phillipines (personally, I could not care less where it is assembled as long it is assembled well).

Nitrex Optics -- These are Japanese made scopes. They are manufactured by LOW.  I could be wrong of course, but I think this is what Weaver Grand Slam used to be: solid Japanese made hunting scopes.  The rep was friendly and informative. The scopes looked nice and clear.  I have not compared them side by side, but I think these could be a touch better than the current Meade-owned Grand Slam. 

Sightron -- I spent a fair amount of time talking to Alan Orr.  For this year, S2SS and S3SS are getting the Big Sky treatment.  Alan tells me that the coatings have been improved throughout and the total light transmission is 2-3% better despite the fact that S2 Big Sky has extra four lenses compared to the old S2.  Alan and I had a long discussion about reticle.  I was trying to talk him into putting a #4 or a similar low light reticle into the little 1.75-5x20 S2 Big Sky scope.  I promised to ask around to giving some feedback regarding what people want.  I think I'll start a poll on that.  I like the Big Sky scopes.  I looked through a bunch more and they have a nice combination of good optics and long eye relief.

ILya


Edited by koshkin - May/18/2008 at 23:19
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 13:53
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 17:03
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A few more companies:

Docter Optics products are now distributed by MerkelUSA along with Merkel and Anschutz rifles.  Nice scopes and binoculars, but long term availability of service and support is still an issue.  Docter has gone through a lot of distributors.  I like their Nobilem porro prism binoculars.  The 8x56 model, although very large, is one of the better low light binos I have seen.

Optolyth did not have anything new that I am aware of, but I know that they are working on an eyepiece with a reticle for their TBS/TBG spotters.  I have played with their spotters in the past and they are very good, especially the fluorite models.  Optolyth's Alpin classic binoculars are nice and light porros of traditional styling.  Their prisms are, I think, a touch undersized, which on one hand reduces weight, but on the other hand makes them resolve a bit worse near the edges.  Center field resolution is very good.   Via Nova roofs were actually quite good as were some traditionally styled roofs (do not remember their name) of 15x63 and 10x63 configurations.  The 7x42 Via Nova roofs were very nice.  Optolyth roofs use Abbe-Koenig prisms (Zeiss is the only other company to do that, I think), so they are a little longer than comparable Schmidt Pechan models.  I will need to test these at some point. 

ILya


Edited by koshkin - May/18/2008 at 23:20
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 17:55
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Originally posted by koshkin koshkin wrote:

Some general comments:

IOR had their 40mm riflescopes on display that were very impressive optically (and could be used to bludgeon someone to death if need be).  They plan to have a version of their 3x25 scope without the built in mount and a version of a 2-12x32 scope without a parallax adjustment knob and with a BDC knob for 308.  Both look very promising to me.

 
Saw that one coming.....Wink 
 
Excellent report, Your Evilness.  
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 18:23
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koshkin,
Anything new and different from Swarovski and Vortex? Some have commented that, I think it was  the focus  knob is a little bit hard to turn on the Razor. Just wondering if they (Vortex) are continuing to improve a very good product. I agree with you though, I think a razor is in my future also.
Sam
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2008 at 18:34
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Originally posted by SamC SamC wrote:

koshkin,
... Some have commented that, I think it was  the focus  knob is a little bit hard to turn on the Razor. Just wondering if they (Vortex) are continuing to improve a very good product. I agree with you though, I think a razor is in my future also.
Sam
 
Sam, although I'm not Koshkin, I can tell you I had the original version of the Razor 8X42, which did have a stiff focus knob.  I dropped it from a deer stand and bent the barrel of one of the eyecups, so I sent it in for repair.  They just sent me one of the new generation Razors instead, and the focus knob is MUCH improved!  It is a very smooth focuser now, with just the right amount of resistance IMO.
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