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Swaro vs Bushnell

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/09/2010 at 21:27
Rich Coyle View Drop Down
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The Swarovski Z5 5-25X52 arrived last night, 11/8/10, after dark. All day at work I wanted to be home to check out my new toy uh tool. So on to the test; which is a comparison of the Z5 with the Bushnell 6500 4 ½-30X50, NightForce 12-42X56 and the Minox 13X56 binoculars. The Swarovski has a 1” tube and the other two have 30MM tubes.

First let me tell you, who don’t know, a scope is a tube. All tubes have a wall thickness which is probably pretty thin. The “wall” thickness in the Swarovski appeared to be a little over .100”. The “wall” thickness in the Bushnell looked to be maybe .150”. I never gave it a thought before but the “wall” thickness in the NightForce seemed at least .250”. Never noticed it on the Night before.

The field of view between the Swaro on 5X and the Bush on 4 1/2X favored the Swaro by a foot or so at the pump house 127 yards away. The Swaro at 17 ½ ounces is about three and a half ounces lighter that the Bush. The ocular adjustment on the Bush is a little stiffer than that on the Swaro. I prefer the stiffer feel. Both are fine, though. The crosshairs in The Swaro are, to me, the old fashion plex with the thick section thinner than those in the Bush. The Bush has a mill dot with nice heavy thick sections. The thin section openings at twenty-five yards seems to be almost 6” in the Swaro and about 17” in the Bush. The Swaro might be a little better than the Bush if it showed up in the dark woods.

When I looked through the Swaro on its lowest magnification my first impression was, “This is bright.” Then I looked through the Bush and had the same reaction. Both are pretty nice. You will see later the Night is better than either when it comes to low light performance.

By the time I got home from work, adjusted the crosshairs for my eyes and set out the scopes on sandbags on the porch aiming at the pump house and got them all pointed at the “THIS SIDE DOWN” it was about 4PM. Fortunately the rain stopped, but it was still very overcast.

I worked as quickly as I could to read the words instead of making out letters. The settings were: Swaro – 9 1/2X, Bush – 12X, and of course the Night was 12X and the Minox could not read the letters, so I put it away.

By 4:10 the Bush had to go to 14X but the Swaro did not move up until 4:15 when I turned up to 12X. At this time I looked through the Night since we are at or above 12X. It is way better at this low light game than the other two.

At 4:22 I had to turn the Bush up to 22X to read the words. Just one minute later even 30X didn’t help. It took another minute for me to get to the Swaro.

At 4:23 the Swaro needed 16 1/2X to still read the words and not try to make out letters. But the Night didn’t need more magnification yet. It was still on 12X.

At 4:30 the Swaro was on 25X and I could read the words, but thirty seconds later I could not. I turned the Night up till I could easily read the words (26X) and waited a minute and checked it again. No problem. One more minute and the same thing. This continued until 4:37 when it started to drizzle which cheated the Night out of a couple minutes I think.

Saturday, if the Lord wills, I will try some different tests involving only the two hunting scopes. I plan to set out my Mule Deer designed eye chart with the 1” thick lines and spaces getting thinner down to about . I will determine at what distances I need to turn up the magnification to see the bottom line as I move from say twenty-five yards on out starting on the lowest settings on the scopes.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/10/2010 at 08:50
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Hi Rich - interesting test. I will look forward to seeing your next results:-) What Minox binos were you using?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/10/2010 at 09:22
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Thanks for sharing Rich. Sounds like a 56mm bell makes a difference during low light conditions.

Love the Grants Pass area, my mom used to live up there and I got quite familiar with fishing the rivers in the surrounding areas.



(edited for grammar)


Edited by mike650 - November/15/2010 at 09:28
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/10/2010 at 20:41
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After two gunsmiths compared the three scopes today during the daylight I have more opinions.  One looked through them during my lunch and the other after work.  I tried to influence them by saying, "Look though the Bushnell first then you can see how the Swarovski is brighter."  It didn't work.
 
At lunch the sky was cloudy with some blue sky showing.  The funsmith looked through the Bush first and then looked through the Swaro.  He said, "I don't notice any difference."  Then we turned them up to 12X so he could compare them with the NightForce.  Again he didn't notice any difference.  He said, "The Bushnell seems to be as good as the NightForce."  I have noticed that same thing during the day.
 
After work I went to another funsmith.  I tried the same thing with him about looking through the Bush first.  Never the less, he went right for the Swaro.  The sky was totally overcast when he started.  This is very significant.  After he considered each on their lowest setting, he said, "No comparison.  The Swaro is much more defined."  About that time the sun came out.  He looked through each for several seconds and back to the other.  Finally he made a rather odd observation.  He said, "When the sun is out the Bushnell is brigher.  When the sun goes behind the cloud the Swarovski is brighter."  I aked him for an overall impression if the Swarovski was brigher.  After a pause he finally said, "I would say 'Yes'."
 
Finally we got to 12X.   After he gave them a few minutes observation he said, "Hands down, the NightForce is the brightest and has better defination.  This is the finest scope I have ever handled."
 
The most interesting thing I got from this is the Swaro is brighter in the dim light and the Bush is brighter in the full sun.
 
I forgot to mention in the first post the NightForce is over thirty ounces.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/11/2010 at 19:53
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This is an odd test.  Usually, as the sun sets I need to lower magnification to see something, while you seem to be increasing it.

Something here doe snot compute.

Aside from that oddity, your three scope all have different objective lenses, so the Nightforce advantage you are seeing is more than likely due to that.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/11/2010 at 20:09
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Originally posted by koshkin koshkin wrote:

This is an odd test.  Usually, as the sun sets I need to lower magnification to see something, while you seem to be increasing it.

Something here doe snot compute.

Aside from that oddity, your three scope all have different objective lenses, so the Nightforce advantage you are seeing is more than likely due to that.

ILya
koshkin,
 
I tried the other way and immediatley discovered I see more surroundings, but the detail that I am trying to see is to small or blured by darness to make out.  I want to improve my early and late vision.  Twice, once at day break and once after sunset which is enough, I could not make out whether a buck was a fork or a spike so didn't fire.  Now tht I can afford something that might be better than what I have I want it.  But I don't want to pay a grand more for a tiny bit more.  Also I don't want to pack a 30 ounce NightForce scope on an UltraLight Weatherby.  The Bushnell at 21 ounces is more than enough.
 
You mentioned the difference in the objectives.  Durning the day almost no one can see a difference between the Bushnell and the NightForce.  The other day the first gunsmith, when comparing all three at about 11 AM did not notice any difference when they were all set for 12X.
 
Not only that, the 13X56 Minox was not even in the running to be able ot read the words.  The much larger objective did not allow it to be competitive with the smaller objective rifle scopes.
 
By the way, you are in a very small group that I respect over at the 'fire.  Thanks for teaching.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/11/2010 at 20:17
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Larger objective lens will make the most perceptible difference at higher magnifications.

During the daylight, your eye pupil is sufficiently small to make sure that at 12x the objective lens of the scope will not have an effect.  As the light gets lower and your eye pupil dilates, it will start to make a difference.  If you increase the magnification, it will exacerbate the differences due to the objective lens.

All that aside, you and I have different eyes.  In truly low light, I clearly see more detail at 16x, than at 24x with a 6-24x scopes I did this experiment with some time ago.  

There is a tradeoff point between magnification and exit pupil that is a little different for everyone.  Yours comes at a higher magnification than that of anyone I have ever met.

Personally, I think you should be looking for a scope with large objective lens and comparatively light weight.

The best I can think of is one of Zeiss Victory FL scopes, but they still might be heavier that you'd like.  Also, unless this goes on a high recoil rifle, shorter eyerelief will also help.

ILya


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/11/2010 at 20:43
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koshkin,

The Bushnell offers a constant 4" of eye relief and the Swarovski give 3.7".  Both are more than adiquate for my .257 Weatherby.  You probably already know I want at leas 18X or more at the top end with about 21'-22' on the bottom end.
 
The 17 1/2 ounces of the Swarovski really looks good to me.  I will have to give the Zeiss a look see.    I have not given it any thought.  Google is my friend.Big Smile
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/11/2010 at 20:46
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Originally posted by koshkin koshkin wrote:

This is an odd test.  Usually, as the sun sets I need to lower magnification to see something, while you seem to be increasing it.

Something here doe snot compute.

Aside from that oddity, your three scope all have different objective lenses, so the Nightforce advantage you are seeing is more than likely due to that.

ILya


56mm bell...  Wink
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/11/2010 at 21:43
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When it gets warmer (when there is plenty of mirage) and in the heat of the afternoon turn the Bushnell and Swarovski up to max power (I believe you mentioned 30x) and compare the optic quality then.
 
In broad daylight my Nikon Monarch is as clear as bright as my Swarovski, Zeiss and Leupold, until about 18x where the sharpness starts to fall off.  It's still just as bright as the others, just not quite as crisp.
 
When I got my VX-3 a few years back it looked pretty close to the Zeiss Conquest but I've gotten smarter since then so another test (in low light) is in order, which I'm hoping to do this winter at my range.
 
Nonetheless, thanks for the review.
 
Jim    
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2010 at 09:23
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I'm with Koshkin: in low light, back the power down for a better view.


Then again, I hate scopes with power > 20X, due to many factors.

To each, his own.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2010 at 18:55
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Rancid Coolaid,
 
Are you saying the facts of the test are no valid?
 
I don't understand the backing down on the magnification to get a "better view" at something.  I already tried that and it doen't work if you're trying to distinguish detail.
 
Hating scopes with power greater than 20X does not make sense to me.  Upon what do you base you hate.  I am very curious
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2010 at 20:32
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If you are looking for better detail as the light fades, try adjusting the focus rather than increasing the magnification.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2010 at 20:42
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Originally posted by pass-thru pass-thru wrote:

If you are looking for better detail as the light fades, try adjusting the focus rather than increasing the magnification.
 
I did that throughout the test.  Increasing the magnification and adjusting the focus to compensate work together.   Tests are a wonderful things.
 
Facts can be ignored or rejected, but those tactics don't change the facts.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/13/2010 at 11:20
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The level of detail is a function of the light available to the eye.   I won't get too deep in the weeds (as I'd say it wrong, and I'm just a dumb ol' Marine) but "exit pupil" is a term used to denote the apparent aperture through which usable light can pass.  A smaller exit pupil means less light gets to the eye, a larger exit pupil, more light.  An exit pupil less than about 3-4 will almost never be a particularly pretty picture through an optic, it will never appear bright and clear in low light.  An exit pupil of about 7 will usually (in almost any usable lighting condition) give a nice, clear image (depending on glass quality and the quality of the eye at the end of the optic.)

At 20X through a 50mm objecitve, the exit pupil is 2.5 - which, with the very best glass, will be a decent image quality in direct sunlight.  In low light, dialing up the magnification will dial down the exit pupil, and the eye just cannot get enough light to distinguish detail. Keep in mind that no optic transmits 100% of the light that hits it, so there is always light lost due to the optic.  Good glass helps diminish this, but you are limited by the optic.  And optics do not "gather" light, that bugs the hell outta me.

In low light, most will dial back magnification, which reduces (appearnat) image size, but allows more light for more detail.  (Keep in mind, in low light, you will not - normally - be shooting at 1" tall letters on a pump house 100 yards away.)

So, in low light, lower power will give better image quality (or, said another way, try to obtain an exit pupil of about 7, which is about the max amount of light your eye can use.)

As for high magnification scopes: on the bench, the sky is the proverbial limit, more magnification is great.  Most of my shots are taken from positions other than a very stable bench.  If any movement at all is in the shot, it will be exaggerated in the reticle oif a 20X scope, I don't like that.  Additionally, 20X yields a very narrow field of view.  Unless shooting at a target 1000 yards away, if the target moves just a little, it is no longer in your FOV.  That too sucks.

I don't shoot much past 600 yards with regularity any more (too few options around me to do so) so my max power is about 15X and most shots are around 10X (heat causes mirage, mirage sucks at high magnification.)  For a 1500 yard gun, I would absolutely have a 20X or more scope.  Or for a dedicated bench gun, that too would work.  At this moment, I own neither (dedicated bench or 1500 yard gun) so I stick with lower mag scopes.  I do find that many shooters buy more amgnification than they need, thinking a bigger look at the target will mean more precision and accuracy, that too is a fallacy in most situations.

Many times, too much magnification is a bad thing.

I am not saying your test results are invalid, just questioning the testing methodology and asking if perhaps an improvement in experiment design might lead to results that more accurately mimic a real-world usage of the optic.  Unless you plan to use the rifle to engage signs on pump houses.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/13/2010 at 14:18
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I am interested in the original posters age.  20s or 40s it may have something to do with the older eye needing more magnification to discern the target.
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Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:

The level of detail is a function of the light available to the eye.   I won't get too deep in the weeds (as I'd say it wrong, and I'm just a dumb ol' Marine) but "exit pupil" is a term used to denote the apparent aperture through which usable light can pass.  A smaller exit pupil means less light gets to the eye, a larger exit pupil, more light.  An exit pupil less than about 3-4 will almost never be a particularly pretty picture through an optic, it will never appear bright and clear in low light.  An exit pupil of about 7 will usually (in almost any usable lighting condition) give a nice, clear image (depending on glass quality and the quality of the eye at the end of the optic.)
 
Maybe you remember the term "sectional dencity".  It was very meaningful when a guy compared 150 grain .30 caliber to a 180 grain .30 calibber prior to 1988.   Then Barnes came on the scene and changed everything.  Now one does not need to tolerate the recoil  generated by a 180 bullet to get the penetration of a few years ago.  (I have a recoil slide and have proven conclusively that heavier bullets from the same rifle generate more recoil.)  I think you might be caught in that same mental area of "exit pupil" prior to the fantastic new coatings on the better glass today.  You are talking theory and I did a test on two ocations and came up with the same results both times.  Increasing the magnification helps descern detail.  Period.  Whether it is low light or high noon on a sumer day in Arizona.
 
Quote At 20X through a 50mm objecitve, the exit pupil is 2.5 - which, with the very best glass, will be a decent image quality in direct sunlight.
 
I know.  I have done that.  Not only that I did it way after sunset and discovered the same thing aplies then also.  If you want to see more detail, turn up the magnification.
 
Quote In low light, dialing up the magnification will dial down the exit pupil, and the eye just cannot get enough light to distinguish detail.
 
This may have been true a few years ago.  But with the new high quality glass used in the Swarovski Z5 and Bushnell 6500 and NightForce I have turned them up to over 20X and made out more detail during the day and after sunset.  The Swarovski has a 52mm lens and the Bushnell has a 50mm lens.  That means a 2mm exit pupil.  But it does not change the fact that both pass enough light for me to make out more detail than on lower settings.
 
Quote In low light, most will dial back magnification, which reduces (appearnat) image size, but allows more light for more detail.

Most may dial back, but I wonder why they had the power turned up in the first place.  Mine is only turned up after I find game that is a distance away.  I also turn it up when I see game early or late when it is too dark to make out detail on the lowest setting.  Because I have run test to know what goin' on in the real world.
 
Quote So, in low light, lower power will give better image quality (or, said another way, try to obtain an exit pupil of about 7, which is about the max amount of light your eye can use.)

I have proved that wrong to my satisfaction twice.
 
Quote I am not saying your test results are invalid,
 
That's a good idea since you are working in theory and I am working in real world testing.
 
Quote perhaps an improvement in experiment  
 
Let me know what that experiment is and I will most likely gladly give it a try.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/13/2010 at 18:08
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Originally posted by Phoenix356 Phoenix356 wrote:

I am interested in the original posters age.  20s or 40s it may have something to do with the older eye needing more magnification to discern the target.
 
I don't know if I've been here long enough to welcome you to opticstalk or not.  But.....welcome anyway.
 
I am a tired old man with great hiking legs.  I try to keep my legs in shape for hunting season.  Anyway I am sixty-six.  I wear glasses to correct nearsightedness since I was 14.
 
I love experiments that have to do with shooting.  I don't know if there is a place at this site to post the results of different slide distances, on the recoil slide, with different bullets and with and with out muzzle brakes.  If there is, let me know.
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Man, I never knew a scope with a 2mm exit pupil would turn out to be better in low light than one with a 6-7mm EP.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/13/2010 at 18:22
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Originally posted by Rich Coyle Rich Coyle wrote:

I don't know if I've been here long enough to welcome you to opticstalk or not.  But.....welcome anyway.
 
 
You need 50 posts or more to welcome people here at OpticsTalk.
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Originally posted by Roy Finn Roy Finn wrote:

Man, I never knew a scope with a 2mm exit pupil would turn out to be better in low light than one with a 6-7mm EP.
 
Try it.  I think you will like it.
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Originally posted by Rich Coyle Rich Coyle wrote:

Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:

The level of detail is a function of the light available to the eye.   I won't get too deep in the weeds (as I'd say it wrong, and I'm just a dumb ol' Marine) but "exit pupil" is a term used to denote the apparent aperture through which usable light can pass.  A smaller exit pupil means less light gets to the eye, a larger exit pupil, more light.  An exit pupil less than about 3-4 will almost never be a particularly pretty picture through an optic, it will never appear bright and clear in low light.  An exit pupil of about 7 will usually (in almost any usable lighting condition) give a nice, clear image (depending on glass quality and the quality of the eye at the end of the optic.)
 
1.  Maybe you remember the term "sectional dencity".  It was very meaningful when a guy compared 150 grain .30 caliber to a 180 grain .30 calibber prior to 1988.   Then Barnes came on the scene and changed everything.  Now one does not need to tolerate the recoil  generated by a 180 bullet to get the penetration of a few years ago.  (I have a recoil slide and have proven conclusively that heavier bullets from the same rifle generate more recoil.)  I think you might be caught in that same mental area of "exit pupil" prior to the fantastic new coatings on the better glass today.  You are talking theory and I did a test on two ocations and came up with the same results both times.  Increasing the magnification helps descern detail.  Period.  Whether it is low light or high noon on a sumer day in Arizona.
 
Quote At 20X through a 50mm objecitve, the exit pupil is 2.5 - which, with the very best glass, will be a decent image quality in direct sunlight.
 
I know.  I have done that.  Not only that I did it way after sunset and discovered the same thing aplies then also.  If you want to see more detail, turn up the magnification.
 
Quote In low light, dialing up the magnification will dial down the exit pupil, and the eye just cannot get enough light to distinguish detail.
 
2.  This may have been true a few years ago.  But with the new high quality glass used in the Swarovski Z5 and Bushnell 6500 and NightForce I have turned them up to over 20X and made out more detail during the day and after sunset.  The Swarovski has a 52mm lens and the Bushnell has a 50mm lens.  That means a 2mm exit pupil.  But it does not change the fact that both pass enough light for me to make out more detail than on lower settings.
 
Quote In low light, most will dial back magnification, which reduces (appearnat) image size, but allows more light for more detail.

Most may dial back, but I wonder why they had the power turned up in the first place.  Mine is only turned up after I find game that is a distance away.  I also turn it up when I see game early or late when it is too dark to make out detail on the lowest setting.  Because I have run test to know what goin' on in the real world.
 
Quote So, in low light, lower power will give better image quality (or, said another way, try to obtain an exit pupil of about 7, which is about the max amount of light your eye can use.)

I have proved that wrong to my satisfaction twice.
 
Quote I am not saying your test results are invalid,
 
That's a good idea since you are working in theory and I am working in real world testing.
 
Quote perhaps an improvement in experiment  
 
Let me know what that experiment is and I will most likely gladly give it a try.




This might get complicated, sorry:

1.  Actually, the term is "sectional density" and it is rather dissimilar.  Coatings have indeed improved over the years, but the definition of exit pupil remains the same.

You seem to take issue with theory.  Gravitation is a theory, evolution is a theory; something being theory doesn't make it wrong.  Likewise, as the signature line say, the plural of "anecdote" is not "data."

2.  Actually, no, in ANY situation, an increase in magnification results in a decrease in exit pupil.  The only way around this is to increase objective diameter as you increase magnification.  This isn't theory, it is optical physics.


There is dogma in optics, and you are saying the dogma is wrong, at least in your eyes.  Sorry, but the physics is firm, regardless of what you are observing.

Next you'll tell me you can divide by zero, and I shall be skeptical of that too.

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koshkin View Drop Down
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RC is quite correct as far as exit pupil is concerned.  

The only thing I can think of that could explain your results is that your exit pupil does not dilate much.  I think you are in your mid-60s and it is quite possible, since our eyes lose the ability to adapt to low light with age.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/13/2010 at 23:12
Rich Coyle View Drop Down
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Originally posted by koshkin koshkin wrote:

RC is quite correct as far as exit pupil is concerned.  

The only thing I can think of that could explain your results is that your exit pupil does not dilate much.  I think you are in your mid-60s and it is quite possible, since our eyes lose the ability to adapt to low light with age.

ILya
koshkin,
 
Bingo!  I suffer for night blindness.  The optomitrist told me most folks have a number 14 on a scale of 0 to 36.  He told me, "Don't be out at night without a flashlight.  Your number is 32."  I was in my thirties when he told me that.
 
RC is correct about exit pupil because it is afunction of mathmatics; just like sectional density.  That doesn't change the fact that I can make out more detail by turning up the magnification.
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