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Zeiss or Kahles

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/26/2004 at 01:00
Oilbliss View Drop Down
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Hello, I have been browsing the fourums for a while, and it seems to be just the right place to get some input on a dilema I'm having.Would you all be so kind as to help me out?I have never owned the Conquest or the American Hunter.I am looking to buy a 3-9 for a .270 and would like to know everyones experiences with them good,bad, or indifferent!Which do you prefer and why.I'm also looking for a good rimfire model,maybe the Kahles 2-7x36 rimfire?Any other rimfire ideas?Is the quality of the Zeiss and or Kahles worth 2-3 times more than Burris Fullfield II ?

Also,what is the differences between the American Hunter and the rest of Kahles line?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/26/2004 at 10:17
Chris Farris View Drop Down
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First off...welcome aboard.  The Zeiss Conquest and Kahles American Hunter both offer fine scopes.  The 3-9 is by far the most popular in both lines and an excellent choice for your .270.  Both are made in the U.S.A. from imported parts saving you a lot of money because they do not have to pay a 20% on the parts.  Kahles uses the same glass and coatings as they do in their Austrian 30mm scope line for the American Hunter 1" scopes.  Zeiss uses a different glass and coatings for the Conquest line than they do for their top of the line, VMV German scopes with a 30mm tube.  Optically the Kahles is better (meaning brighter and clearer).  Although the Kahles has a larger objective lens it is still 2 ounces lighter and an inch shorter.  The Kahles also boast a wider field of view when compared to the Zeiss.  Both scopes use a robust one piece main tube and offer a lifetime warranty, however Zeiss' warranty is transferable....meaning if it has their name on it then it will be warrantied regardless of who owns it at the time service is required.  The Zeiss has a little bit longer eye relief as well at 4 inches vs. 3.35 inches.  Both offer several reticle choices, but Kahles has the TDS bullet drop reticle that really works well for big game hunting.

 

Kahles American Hunter 3-9x42.....$588.99

Zeiss Conquest 3-9x40....$399.95

 

They both have their pluses and minuses that make each more appealing for different reasons.  You will have to ask yourself a few questions.

1. Is a lighter, smaller, brighter scope worth $189. more?

2. Is the constant 4" eye relief of the Zeiss a big factor?

3. Does the transferable warranty mean anything to you since you will be the original owner of which ever one you pick?

 

I have hunted with both models and prefer the Kahles myself for the following reasons.

1. Better low light performance.

2. TDS reticle.

3. Smaller and lighter weight.

 

For rim fire scopes the Kahles is the best optically you can get but I prefer a Leupold compact 3-9x33 A/O E.F.R.   The Leupold has an adjustable objective which I feel is a must for a serious rim fire scope and the E.F.R. means that is has an Extended Focal Range that allows you to set the parallax at an extreme close range....something the Kahles won't do.  Low light performance is not critical for the rim fire shooting I do and the Leupold is more than adequate optically to do anything I want.

 

Leupold Compact E.F.R. 3-9x33 Adjustable Objective......$269.99

Kahles American Hunter Rim fire 2-733.....$498.99

 

The $229. difference buys a ton of rim fire ammo too!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/26/2004 at 12:08
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Thank you Chris! It's nice to here an opinion and the facts that guided you there,so please indulge me once again.do you think the Conquest glass and  coatings are in any way inferior to the Kahles glass and coatings?Also, I checked out both on your samplelist page and am a little concerned that there is so many of the Kahles 3-9's there,are they often traded in for something else or do they have some sort of a problem that results with alot of factory refurbished models on the market?Are all of the TDS reticle models parallax set at 200 yards? If so,how  would this affect me as most of my shooting is less than 200 yards? your insight on the rimrire scope is also very helpfull the leupold you suggested was one I was also consideringand did'nt know how helpfull the OE would be,but that does make perfect sense.I think the Leupold is the one for me.Thanks again!

Edited by Oilbliss
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/26/2004 at 23:10
ranburr View Drop Down
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Both are very good scopes and would serve you well.  I personally could not tell a whole lot of difference between the two optically.  You should look at both before you decide.  For me they were both very close in quality and a fairly significant difference in price .  I chose the Conquest and I now have six of them, all 3-9x40.  It is my understanding that the glass is still high quality Schott glass, though it differs from other Zeiss offerings and does not have some of the coatings that the higher-end units do.  That being said, It is by far the best $400.00 scope that I know of.  As far as it being worth double the price of a Burris Fullfield II, I removed 3 Burris and 3 Leupold scopes off of those 6 rifles to put on the Zeiss.  I always carry a Burris Fullfield II 3-9x40 with me on every hunting trip for a just in case emergency.  I have yet to need it and if you compare the Kahles, Zeiss and Burris, you will see the difference.  The Burris is the best $200.00 scope available, but it is not he equal to Kahles and Zeiss. 

 

ranburr

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/28/2004 at 14:48
Chris Farris View Drop Down
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The coatings Zeiss uses on their Conquest is not their best coatings.  Kahles is better than the Conquest but you reach a point of diminishing returns were you will pay a significant amount to gain a little.  There is no problem with the Kahles scopes that causes them to appear on the samplelist, the rep groups just updated their samples so we got a bunch at one time.  They also stick around longer because they are not know as well as Leupold, Swarovski and Zeiss (which all sell very fast on samplelist.com).  The parallax on TDS scopes is set at 100 yards, your zero however for most of the factors should be 200.  Even if it was set at 200 yards it would grossly affect you at 100 yards for hunting.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/31/2004 at 02:23
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Hello, this is my first time to post so I hope that I am helpful.  I don't mean to be argumentative, however I do a great deal of research before I purchase any piece of optics.  I am a hunter, but I research alot of my optics questions through birdwatching websites and magazines as well as conduct my own tests.  They tend to have more experience with high end European glass than hunting magazines do.  But mainly they actually test these products side by side on the same day, in poor light conditions, with resolution charts to actually determine which is brighter or clearer.  Don't get me wrong, I appreciate knowing how and where the product is made and where the glass comes from.  All that is important but that doesn't necessarily mean that one will outperform the other. 

 

I don't have any personal in the field experience with either scope, but I am considering purchasing a Zeiss conquest as we speak and I will share with you what I have found out.  The one actual head to head test that I found was done by outdoor life (one hunting magazine that does a great test) in 2002 comparing 9 different scopes one of which was Kahles American Hunter 3.5-10x50 and another was a Zeiss conquest 4.5-14x44.  They conduct these test using several different observers looking at resolution charts and determining the resolution and low light performance " by how many minutes after sunset the orientation of the lines remained visible".  I will quote for you the results of the test.

 

They rated the Kahles pretty good but quoted " Optically, considering that this riflescope has a 50mm objective lens, the resolution and low light performance was mediocre."  They scored the resolution at 75 out of a possible 100 and the low light performance at 68 out of 100 being that it lasted 34 minutes after sunset.

 

They rated Conquest better and quoted "The eye relief was more than adequate, the resolution at 3.3 SOA was superb, and it tied the Bushnell Elite for first place in the low light performance".  They scored the resolution at 96 and the low light performance at 78 being that it lasted 39 minutes after sunset.

 

The test covers all areas of scope design and there are pros and cons of each.  However I thought I would share the optical performance which what most people seem to concentrate on.  Look up the test at www.outdoorlife.com/gear.  However I don't believe they are still posting the 2002 results.  Hope this helps.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/31/2004 at 12:12
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As you can see I am a big fan of the Conquest line, but even I would hesitate to call it superior to Kahles performance wise.  I think they are pretty close performance wise and the Conquest becomes vastly superior when you factor in the difference in cost.  I would warn you about trusting magazines for your research, they make their real money on advertising dollars.  There is a certain amount of bias written into every article.  I am very familiar with the Outdoor Life yearly test and I don't put a whole lot of stock into it  for several reasons.  First off the previously mentioned bias; secondly, the fact that they never do blind head to head comparisons with off the shelf product; and finally that the testing is not done by an impartial third party.  I would trust these test a lot more if every scope were say an unmarked 3-9x40 and the testing was actually done by people who had nothing to gain by the end results.  Most everyone on that test panel has sponsorship and other financial arrangements with optics manufacturers.  As far as birding magazines go, same thing.  They receive free samples and financial endorsements from various manufacturers.  Not to say all the information that these groups put out is inaccurate, but there is a certain amount of bias in it all.  Just remember that these people telling you what to buy, they are trying to make a living.  I would reccommend that you look at anything that you are considering before you buy it.  They all look good in the store.  Gun Clubs, rifle ranges and birding clubs are great places to find people who already own this kind of gear and many of them will be willing to let you try them out for yourself. 

 

ranburr 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/01/2004 at 03:28
tbone1 View Drop Down
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Ranburr, I appreciate your comments however I may have given you the wrong impression about what I said about research.  I constantly read about optics and I put very little stock into any article written when it comes to magazines.  I agree with you 100% that there is an large amount of bias in articles written due to many of the things you mentioned.  I have done a fair amount of my own in the field tests comparing numerous optics including several European models.  I try to never buy anything before I have had a chance test it outdoors.  

 

What I am simply trying to say is this.  The only way to determine if one product is better optically than another is to take them out and compare them side by side.  To me it's like two guys with race cars argueing over which car is faster.  One says that he has a Corvette with 400 horsepower.  Then the other one says that his mustang has 420 horsepower. The first one says that he has added a turbo charger to his.  Then the other says he has added high performance exhaust to his.  On and on they argue, and after naming everything they have in their cars, no one can really say which one is faster.  I say why not line up and race?  Not once, but several times.  Wouldn't that give you a better idea.  It is hard to say that Kahles is better because it is made in Europe, or that the Swarovski is better because it is more expensive or that Zeiss is better because they use T* coatings.  All of this info is important.  But why not conduct an actual side by side comparison?  I'm not saying the Conquest is better than the Kahles or vise versa.  What I am saying is that I have not had a chance to test these products but I did find the outdoor life article and these scopes were among the ones tested together.

 

 I wil admit that there probably was some bias among the test members but the test was conducted the best way they could using 5 different people looking at each product individually.  They conducted the side by side low light test in "natural evening light at a distance of 100 yards."  "The target-consisting of a 10-inch-diameter disk covered with alternating inch-wide black-and-white stripes-was rotated every few seconds (to keep the testers's eyes honest) to determine how many minutes after sunset the orientation of the lines remained visible."  In the 2003 results they used a USA 1951 Resolving Power Test Target to test the resolution of each product in seconds of angle.   They tried to make it as objective as possible and did not allow the team to discuss results with each other until all scores were totalled and averaged.  Averaged to try to rule out bias from one team member to another.

 

I'm not saying that this is the only info to consider, but I believe that the way the test was conducted that this is some good head to head data comparing these scopes.  The results are fairly consistent with several other head to head optical tests that I have seen (at least in the binocular and spotting scope category, I have found very little comparitive data on riflescopes.)   I will take a close look at a somewhat scientific test, but I do not put any stock into general articles written because they always praise the products.  Like I said I do some of my own tests.  I have just concluded an in the field test comparing Leica Trinovids to Swarovski SLC's.  I am about to conduct a test comparing the Leica APO 62 Televid with the Zeiss Diascope 65.  I won't bore you with these results.  I'm just saying I like more comparitive data than most people and thought I would offer some useful information to help.  I don't mean to be argumentative and I hope that  I have not offended anyone  Thanks.

 

Sam

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/02/2004 at 17:05
Chris Farris View Drop Down
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Good info Sam.  Their test are good and I enjoy reading them every year.  We also test products using our own methods and charts, sometimes in the morning, afternoon and at dusk as part of our employee training.  Employees come and go so these comparisons seem to be going on all the time.  Our retail store is open to the public and we are constantly comparing products side by side day in and day out.  We are one of the few places in the world that actually stocks everything we advertise.  We have people drive all day to come and compare ten or twelve optics side by side for them selves.  We have been doing this since 1976 and have learned many ways to compare that work well, but one thing I have noticed over the years is that not everyone can see a difference and not everyone agrees.  We have privy to information that the general public and writers don't have access to sometimes that might influence our opinions and many times we are not at liberty to relay this info.  All of the principles here have been to most of the factories (some several times) to see how everything is made and what processes each different company uses while making their products.  Many of the factories have a school you can attend like the Leica academy in Germany or the Steiner Academy in the U.S.  We also have the benefit of going on many hunts a year with various manufacturers and getting to use a wide array of brands and products in the field.  So when I say that something is better, I like to also give a little insight into what makes it better IE: the Zeiss T* reference.  There is no doubt and no one that has compared a VMV to a Conquest can deny that the VMV absolutely blows it out of the water.  It's not because it is made in Germany or cost more money its because it uses better glass and better coatings.

 

I agree that know one should take any one sources opinion for the gospel and nothing beats hands on comparisons by the end user.  So read the magazines, cruise the various forums, stop by here and use all this info together.

 

Another quick point about the bird watchers comparisons.  Keep in mind that what is important to them almost more than anything is true color representation and they will spend a fortune to get it.  A hunter is better off putting his money into low light performance and resolution.  What makes a good birding bino might not make a good hunting bino and vice versa.



Edited by Chris
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/02/2004 at 19:06
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Thanks for the info Chris.  I appreciate your opinion.  I have called several times to get advice from you guys at SWFA prior to purchasing optics.  I have purchased 2 different Zeiss VM/V series scopes from you guys in last few years.  The first one a 1.5-6x42 I have used and got to field test it against a Leupold Vari-XIII 3.5-10x50 and a Leica 3.5-10x42.  I was very pleased with the Zeiss.  The second one was a VM/V 3-12x56.  I went to a hunting store and took the Zeiss and a Swarovski (both 56mm's) out back behind the store and looked through for 30-45 minutes on several different occasions as the light faded to darkness.  The Zeiss appeared to be slightly brighter and a little sharper.  The field of view was more noticable than anything.  However I have not used that particular scope in the field enough to say really how great it is or that it is really superior to Swarovski or anything else.  I was wondering how it would really stack up against a conquest.  Glad to know I didn't spend the extra money for nothing.  I have been doing the same thing with a Zeiss Conquest and a Swarovski A-line and just can't see enough difference between them to justify the extra cost of the Swarovski.  I wish that I could use them in a hunting situation to see if there is a difference.  Anyway, again thanks for the info.  I really like hearing peoples opinions that have used the optics and tested them against others.  I would like to get your opinion and several others on a top of the line spotting scope.  I will post question in that forum.  Thanks.

 

Sam

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/02/2004 at 19:14
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Tbone, one thing you might want to consider is legal hunting hours.  I have always been able to see well with a Conquest past legal shooting hours.  No doubt that the higher end Zeiss and Swarovskis will keep performing even later.  But, at some point you have to say who cares.  Is it worth the extra money to be able to see game before and past legal shooting hours?  I think the answer is yes when you are talking about binos, but probably not when using a rifle scope.  Now if money is no concern, buy the top of the line, better yet buy me the top of the line and I will send you regular reports on their performance! 

 

ranburr

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/04/2004 at 00:38
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Ranburr,

 

Great point.  I agree.  I'm all for putting the extra money into the binoculars.  I spend countless hours each year looking through binoculars and maybe a  few minutes looking at game through a riflescope.  Although they are nice, high end scopes really aren't necessary.  That is why I really don't need to buy another one.  I have really been debating between a leupold VX-III and the Conquest.  I just started looking at the Swarovski A-Line because I liked the size, weight and the TDS reticle.  I really don't want to spend more money when it isn't necessary.  I just always like buying the best scope for the money.  From what I have seen I really like the Conquest.  Have'nt made up my mind yet.  Thanks for the Info.

 

Sam 

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