leupold vs Zeiss


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oz_lowrider
September 25, 2010, 04:29 AM
I'm looking for a quality scope for hunting and target work..How do shooters think the Leupold VX lll 4.5-14 X 40mm compares with a ZEISS Conquest
4.5-14 X 44mm. They are the same price here in Aus. All opinions welcomed.

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Medusa
September 25, 2010, 05:29 AM
If you can, get a look through both in darkness - twilight. Zeiss with bigger lens is better in dark, otherwise the quality should be on par.

MrCleanOK
September 25, 2010, 06:31 AM
Medusa gives good advice. Try to look through both in poor light conditions. See which one you can see better through.

Last time I was shopping for a scope I compared Zeiss and Leupold optics in the same price range, and came home with a Zeiss.

Gun Wielding Maniac
September 25, 2010, 11:34 AM
I've used both... In the same class (maybe not same price range) and size specs the Zeiss wins out for quality of optics (IE apparent image quality). I now own two Zeiss Conquest scopes and am completely satisfied with them.

One of the scopes is the model you are looking at... the 4.5-14x44mm. Only differance is I got mine with the Z-point reticule.

usmarine0352_2005
September 25, 2010, 12:10 PM
.
I've always had Leupold's, have two Vari-X III's and love them. However, for my new deer rifle I purchased a Ziess 3X9 Conquest because at Cabelas they are $399 compared to the $545 for the Leupold.


I've got the say the Zeiss is a better scope for a few reasons and the reasons are nice.


1.) Crisper image because of better glass.

2.) Has built in elevation and windage knobs - no more quarters.

3.) Elevation and Windage knobs actually click when you turn them and you can feel the movement.

4.) Eye adjustment at the end of the scope is large and easy to use.




Really happy with this new scope. And you can't believe how having built in turrets that click is so much easier for sighting in.

I know if I get another scope it will be a Zeiss.

Horsemany
September 25, 2010, 12:23 PM
I own 4 Leupold VX 3's and 2 Conquests. I own the 4.5-14x44 and the optics are as good as a VX 3 not better IMO. And 2 days ago at the range I noticed again poor tracking compared to the VX 3's. I have a 3-9 Conquest that also will track poorly. Mine have both moved POA horizontally when adjusted vertically. The reticle is better on the Zeiss.

My determining factor would be size and weight. For most hunting rifles I prefer the lightweight, compact size and especially smaller eyepiece of the Leupolds. For mostly target shooting with occasional hunting it's a toss up.

Robert Wilson
September 25, 2010, 01:22 PM
I think European names make people see much better. In participating in unscientific "studies" with my bird watching group, I've observed that people have very small preferences when the labels are hidden and overwhelming preferences when the labels are exposed. I've even seen a Japanese binocular win a "blind" test, and then get relegated to fourth choice (behind three Euro binoculars it had beaten) when the test was repeated with labels exposed. So as long as you can see the label, the Zeiss will probably be better.

9mmepiphany
September 25, 2010, 01:29 PM
I posted a simple test for scopes, in Firearms Accessories, that I was made aware of by a electro-optics engineer. He is a friend of mine and a huge fan of long range rifle shooting and rifle glass...I take whatever he tells me very seriously, he really knows how to test optics and understands the date.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=545431

The test he ran was between US Optics and S&B scopes, but it is applicable between any two scopes and gives you a measurable difference in build quality

jmr40
September 25, 2010, 04:04 PM
Can't say about those specific scopes, but comparing my 2.5-8X Leupold's with the 3-9X Zeiss, the Zeiss is the clear winner for glass. It is much easier to see bullet holes in the target and it is useable a few minutes later in the day as light fades.

But, it is 2" longer and a 1/4 lb heavier than the Leupold. On a hunting rifle that will be carried for miles that is something to consider. For hunting purposes, I doubt it would matter a bit.

1858
September 25, 2010, 11:26 PM
To be honest, I don't think you could go far wrong with either, but personally, I'd take the Leupold over the Zeiss. I have a Zeiss Conquest 3x9 and I have a bunch of Leupold Mark 4s which are similar to the current VX-3 line in terms of glass at least. I've noticed that correct eye relief is much more important with the Zeiss scope. There's a lot of distortion at the edge of the field of view if my eye isn't in just the right position. Look at the bottom photo and you can see that the image is starting to "roll". Also, I think that many confuse color with clarity. Look at the images below and you'll notice that the Zeiss has a "cooler" color just like my Swarovski Laser Guide but cooler doesn't necessarily mean clearer or sharper. The different coatings on the lens will attenuate specific wavelengths which in turn will affect the overall color balance of the image. The other issue is that the ocular bell is larger on the Zeiss which means that you may need taller rings to prevent the bolt hitting the bell. The issue about the turrets (and sighting in) is a moot point on a hunting scope.

Leupold Mark 4
http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/optics/zeiss/leupold_mark_4_small.jpg

Zeiss Conquest
http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/optics/zeiss/zeiss_conquest_small.jpg

:)

Bear70
September 26, 2010, 12:23 AM
I had the same problem deciding and went with the Zeiss. I am starting to regret it for the reasons above. The eye relief is very critical and it is not sharp edge to edge like the Leupold. I notice a lot of glare on the edges, even indoors looking out. I went with it mostly because of the name and everyone swears by them. Thinking about seeing if I can return or sell it. Go with the VX-3.

Robert Wilson
September 26, 2010, 03:09 AM
Thank you for that, 1858. Very useful.

Now, even though I've gone about bashing the Euro scopes, I'll defend the Zeiss here: even though its image is obviously inferior to the Leupold, does anyone here think they could actually hit with one better than the other?

That's the point I'm always trying to make on these threads: Optical quality is not the most important thing in a rifle scope! I'd be disgusted by the edge-to-edge clarity displayed by that Zeiss, if I was seeing it through a binocular - because a binocular is a seeing tool. It makes sense to pay top dollar for the best glass possible in a bino. But a rifle scope is an aiming device. It needs to reliably direct your bullet to the target and hopefully not whack you in the forehead while doing it. Paying a bunch of money for the kind of glass that comes free of (completely irrelevant for an aiming device) optical aberrations just doesn't make sense to me.

usmarine0352_2005
September 26, 2010, 06:48 AM
I own 4 Leupold VX 3's and 2 Conquests. I own the 4.5-14x44 and the optics are as good as a VX 3 not better IMO. And 2 days ago at the range I noticed again poor tracking compared to the VX 3's. I have a 3-9 Conquest that also will track poorly. Mine have both moved POA horizontally when adjusted vertically. The reticle is better on the Zeiss.

My determining factor would be size and weight. For most hunting rifles I prefer the lightweight, compact size and especially smaller eyepiece of the Leupolds. For mostly target shooting with occasional hunting it's a toss up.




What does this mean?




When your moving left to right you lose the image?

.

oz_lowrider
September 26, 2010, 06:54 AM
I went back to the gun dealer today and examined both Leupold VXlll and the ZEISS Conquest. Both 4.5- 14 but the ZEISS is 44mm. Looking at brickwork 50 meters away on an overcast day the ZEISS was clearer. It is larger than the Leupold but it does fit my SAKO with it's stubby 24" barrel. I also liked the third turret for the 30m to infinity adjust. Without changing my shooting stance with rifle at shoulder I was able to adjust this easily. I found the eye relief perfect for my dodgy eye. Nothing in the price, both are almost the same.
I will go back and have one more look at them both.
BTW After looking through and handling Leupold and ZEISS my Redfield Revolution 3-9 X 40 comes a poor last, but then it's 1/5 the price.:banghead:

Leaky Waders
September 26, 2010, 10:36 AM
I tend to look at all the similar scopes and compare them based upon price ranges...then buy the leoupold.

I do have a zeiss spotting scope and binoculars as well as leica binoculars.

375shooter
September 26, 2010, 11:03 AM
Price, clarity, eye relief, size, weight and looks, are all important considerations. A couple of other things to consider are durability and warranty. How well does the Conquest holds up under recoil over a long period of time? I don't know what cartridge your Sako is chambered in, but even a .22-250 can ruin a scope after several hundred shots. Leupold are known for being very durable. I don't know about Zeiss Conquest. Which scope offers the lowest-hassle warranty in your country, in case you need it?

Hangingrock
September 26, 2010, 12:46 PM
There is to a degree a little bit of “Walter Mitty” in anticipated optics usage.;)

Current optics may be an example of to much of a good thing. The power ranges are astounding, clarity, and mechanical repeatability are excellent in today’s quality optics. Rifle scopes seem to be applied as multipurpose devices such as low end magnification setting for hunting and high end magnification applied as a spotting scope. Not everyone is tactical or practical. Everyone can and will justify in their brain housing group their selection.

In this part of the world either a Leupold or a Zeiss would be totally satisfactory considering the range that deer are taken at. Neither scope would be set at maximum magnification as there is no need to count individual hairs.:)

1858
September 26, 2010, 02:48 PM
But a rifle scope is an aiming device. It needs to reliably direct your bullet to the target and hopefully not whack you in the forehead while doing it. Paying a bunch of money for the kind of glass that comes free of (completely irrelevant for an aiming device) optical aberrations just doesn't make sense to me.

You make an interesting point but I'd add that any perceived defect in the field of view can be a distraction for some shooters. One of my Leupolds had to go back to the factory because of a large speck of dust on the reticle. The speck didn't affect the mechanical ability of the scope in terms of aiming, but it annoyed the heck out of me which in turn affected my shooting. The same is true for some when it comes to "optical aberrations". Just a thought ....

:)

aka108
September 26, 2010, 03:25 PM
Friend of mine is a anal benchrest shooter. Nothing but Zeiss glass on his competition rifles and spotting scopes.

usmarine0352_2005
September 26, 2010, 04:53 PM
Friend of mine is a anal benchrest shooter. Nothing but Zeiss glass on his competition rifles and spotting scopes.



So who has better glass, Swarovski, Zeiss or Leica?



I know a lot of the African Big Game hunters swear by Swarovski, I see them all the time on their rifles in the shows. Including the guides.

blackops
September 26, 2010, 05:06 PM
So who has better glass, Swarovski, Zeiss or Leica?

I just purchased a Leica 1200 and the clarity is superb. However, Swarovski is very, very clear as well. I don't have experience with Zeiss. I can tell you that you can't go wrong with Swaro or Leica. I would have to say it depends on who you ask, as they all are top of the line glass.

kdstrick
September 26, 2010, 05:22 PM
I used to run all Leopold, until I hunted with a Zeiss. I'm in the process of replacing the Leopold's for Zeiss on my hunting rifles.

If facing the setting sun, the VX3 gets very bad glare, so much that a shot is not possible. The Zeiss has NO glare in the exact same situation. The Zeiss is noticeably better in low light conditions (dusk and dawn). I'd estimate at minimum it gives me an extra 5 minutes of hunting time vs. the VX3.

Go with the zeiss, it is the best value on the market.

9mmepiphany
September 26, 2010, 05:30 PM
I'll refer you to the link in post #8 if you'd like to run a simple test to determine higher quality between high end scopes. it is an easy test that you should be able to run at any shop that carries the scopes you are looking at.

I'd vote for Swarovski personally over Zeiss or Leica...but I'm pretty much convinced that S&B have the best glass and manufacturing controls

Robert Wilson
September 26, 2010, 05:56 PM
Friend of mine is a anal benchrest shooter. Nothing but Zeiss glass on his competition rifles and spotting scopes.

He's a rare bird, at least if he participates in organized benchrest competition. Leupold is by far the most common scope on the benchrest line. These guys are shooting groups in the sub 1/4" MOA category. Considering how much money they spend on equipment, I'm sure they wouldn't think twice about dropping thousands of dollars on Zeiss, S&B, etc. if it helped their scores - but Euro scopes usually don't even make the equipment lists. http://internationalbenchrest.com/results/score/index.php

<edit> A spotting scope, however, is a great place to spend money on optical quality. Zeiss makes one of the best.

Bear70
September 26, 2010, 09:42 PM
I used to run all Leopold, until I hunted with a Zeiss. I'm in the process of replacing the Leopold's for Zeiss on my hunting rifles.

If facing the setting sun, the VX3 gets very bad glare, so much that a shot is not possible. The Zeiss has NO glare in the exact same situation. The Zeiss is noticeably better in low light conditions (dusk and dawn). I'd estimate at minimum it gives me an extra 5 minutes of hunting time vs. the VX3.

Go with the zeiss, it is the best value on the market.
See that's why I'm starting to think that eyes might just see differently through the same scope. I see glare easily on my Zeiss, so much that it's annoying. I actually took the first one back to where I bought it thinking that it was defective. Looked at the new one in the store (actually outside) and it looked okay, so I brought it home. However I got it home and I still see glare on the edges. I guess it's which glass suits YOU.

Bear70
September 26, 2010, 09:55 PM
Thank you for that, 1858. Very useful.

Now, even though I've gone about bashing the Euro scopes, I'll defend the Zeiss here: even though its image is obviously inferior to the Leupold, does anyone here think they could actually hit with one better than the other?

That's the point I'm always trying to make on these threads: Optical quality is not the most important thing in a rifle scope! I'd be disgusted by the edge-to-edge clarity displayed by that Zeiss, if I was seeing it through a binocular - because a binocular is a seeing tool. It makes sense to pay top dollar for the best glass possible in a bino. But a rifle scope is an aiming device. It needs to reliably direct your bullet to the target and hopefully not whack you in the forehead while doing it. Paying a bunch of money for the kind of glass that comes free of (completely irrelevant for an aiming device) optical aberrations just doesn't make sense to me.
Unfortunately I disagree. Especially during rut, that shooter buck will only give you a few seconds of opportunity for a good shot. If you are busy trying to find that sweet spot of view in your scope instead of taking your shot, that buck is long gone. However, you may see differently through your scope. Myself, I actually see best through, and trust Nikon Monarch and Buckmasters, but that is just me. Your mileage may vary. Between $200 and $1k I really just think it's preference. Over a $1k, you start to see the REAL difference and benefits.

Robert Wilson
September 26, 2010, 10:12 PM
Well, if a scope has a small enough "sweet spot" that it affects anything important, it's junk. I haven't come across a scope like that in a very long time. What I do see are things like that illustrated in 1858's post: the last little bit of the edges show distortion. This is completely irrelevant, as few people look through the edge of the scope, let alone try to line up the reticle and target in it.

And I'm afraid you've got it exactly wrong, IMO, with your line about "Over a $1k, you start to see the REAL difference and benefits". There is a large difference between a $30 scope and a $300 scope, a smaller difference between the $300 scope and a $1000 scope, and so little difference between a $1000 scope and a $2000 scope as to be irrelevant for the overwhelming majority of shooters.

1858
September 26, 2010, 11:28 PM
What I do see are things like that illustrated in 1858's post: the last little bit of the edges show distortion. This is completely irrelevant, as few people look through the edge of the scope, let alone try to line up the reticle and target in it.

I don't think it's irrelevant for anyone that spends a considerable amount of time looking through a rifle scope. I'd agree that a hunter's requirements are different than say a benchrest, F-Class or military shooter who may spend hours looking through a scope. I shoot 88 round matches and spend hours at the range working up loads. I know that eye fatigue is a real issue and so I prefer a sharp image across the whole field of view. Here are links to larger versions of the images in my earlier post. The Zeiss has a significant ring of distortion at the edge of the field of view. That would mess up my eyes in short order ... but then again, it's a hunting scope and not a match scope.

Leupold Mark 4 field of view (http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/optics/zeiss/leupold_mark_4.jpg)

Zeiss Conquest field of view (http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/optics/zeiss/zeiss_conquest.jpg)

:)

Bear70
September 26, 2010, 11:58 PM
Well, if a scope has a small enough "sweet spot" that it affects anything important, it's junk. I haven't come across a scope like that in a very long time. What I do see are things like that illustrated in 1858's post: the last little bit of the edges show distortion. This is completely irrelevant, as few people look through the edge of the scope, let alone try to line up the reticle and target in it.

And I'm afraid you've got it exactly wrong, IMO, with your line about "Over a $1k, you start to see the REAL difference and benefits". There is a large difference between a $30 scope and a $300 scope, a smaller difference between the $300 scope and a $1000 scope, and so little difference between a $1000 scope and a $2000 scope as to be irrelevant for the overwhelming majority of shooters.
If you're happy with distortion around the edges, be my guest. It's just not what I am used to or prefer. The combination of critical eye relief and distortion around the edges is just a little disappointing to me, that's all. So what are you looking for in a scope? Most scopes will consistantly point you to the target, it's the other little things that sets one scope from another.

The point missed that I was trying to make about over $1k scopes is that at that point they are all so well made that you won't have the same issues going from scope to scope. From $200 to $1k they all have their issues that you may run into when trying different ones. Anyway, just my opinion and I welcome yours, nothing personal...... just a discussion.

CB900F
September 27, 2010, 03:50 AM
Fella's;

I've got both Zeiss & Leupold. One of my Leupold's is a 3-9X Mark II mil-dot. It's very good glass. I also have a Zeiss 3.5-10X MC with the #43 reticle, ie, mil-dot. It too is excellent glass. However, I noticed the other day that Leupold has rather dramatically dropped the price of the Mark II. I paid very close to the same amount of money for both the Leupold & Zeiss when I purchased them within probably a year of each other.

The single reason I like the Zeiss better though is that the Loopy has 1/2" adjustment turrets, whereas the Zeiss has the 1/4" adjustment system. So even though Loopy dropped the price, I bought another Zeiss 3.5-10X MC mil-dot.

900F

Lloyd Smale
September 27, 2010, 09:35 AM
i dont agree with most here. Ive got a 3x9 zeiss and i do think its a good scope but in my opinion the vx3s are slightly better. Alot less distortion around the edges and alothough the ziess seems a bit brighter in daylight the luepold seems a bit better in low light. Both are good glass though.

Conservative Thinker
September 27, 2010, 06:11 PM
Between Leopold and Zeiss, I think it comes down to personal preferences. After researching Busnell, Nikon & Leopold, I was dead-set on a Leopold for my new Rem 700 SPS Varmint. Then I discovered Zeiss. Based on customer service, quality control, warranty and customer reviews, the Bushnell and Nikon were out.

I found that Leopold spends a lot of money on advertising and promotion, which is why some people may notice a lot more Leopolds at the range, however. That also translates into a more expensive item at the register. The extra dollars are not adding quality to the scope, just paying for the advertising that convinced someone to buy it.

Ultimately, my decision came down to reticles. I believe, hands down, that Zeiss has the best reticles in the rifle scope market. As far as overall quality is concerned relative to cost, I found the Zeiss to be a better deal for the money.

Robert Wilson
September 27, 2010, 08:43 PM
If you're happy with distortion around the edges, be my guest. It's just not what I am used to or prefer. The combination of critical eye relief and distortion around the edges is just a little disappointing to me, that's all. So what are you looking for in a scope? Most scopes will consistantly point you to the target, it's the other little things that sets one scope from another.

The point missed that I was trying to make about over $1k scopes is that at that point they are all so well made that you won't have the same issues going from scope to scope. From $200 to $1k they all have their issues that you may run into when trying different ones. Anyway, just my opinion and I welcome yours, nothing personal...... just a discussion.

As I wrote earlier, the only important task of a hunting rifle scope is to reliably point the rifle to the target. It doesn't actually take a huge amount of money to accomplish that, and most hunters, I suspect, would do just as well with a $200 scope as with a $2000 one.

Specialized uses require specialized scopes, of course, and the price tag goes up, but folks spending thousands with the idea that they will be able to hit their 250 yard whitetail better because their scope says Zeiss instead of Weaver are kidding themselves.

That's the only real point I'm trying to make here, and like you, I'm just having a friendly chat.

Leaky Waders
September 27, 2010, 10:56 PM
The other advantage of leupold is the ability to have your reticles changed very easily, and the no questions warranty. I haven't had to use the warranty service, but it's comforting. I do have a couple of scopes changed to a target dot because one of my sons prefers that reticle.

Personally, I'd by an 'average' Leupold (or brand of your liking) - knowing that I was equipping a scope better than anything available to the world 10-15 years ago. And, spend as much as I could on binos and a spotting scope...optics that will last a lifetime and be used far more than a rifle scope by me and my family members.

Tamlin
September 29, 2010, 02:33 AM
Commenting on the "European Name" post: Not true, at least for me. I had read that Leupold was king, and when I went to my local sporting goods store to check out scopes for the first time, asked to see that one first. Hadn't heard much of anything about Zeiss at the time, but looked through one of those, too, "just to see." (comparable scopes, btw). To this day, I'm sold on Zeiss. Leupold is just OK.

Mr_Pale_Horse
September 29, 2010, 11:00 AM
1858,

The one thing your pictures did was remind me how much more yellow frequency is transmitted through the Leupold's relative to Zeiss Conquest (at least the Vari-X III, VX3 and Mark 4's). Not sure if that is good or bad, but is certainly a noticable difference to my eyes.

My favorite Leupold is the 1.5-5x20mm with a #4 reticle. Fast, non-critical eye relief for close quarters, and just enough magnification for most any type of medium/large game hunting.

HOOfan_1
September 29, 2010, 02:33 PM
1858,

The one thing your pictures did was remind me how much more yellow frequency is transmitted through the Leupold's relative to Zeiss Conquest (at least the Vari-X III, VX3 and Mark 4's). Not sure if that is good or bad, but is certainly a noticable difference to my eyes.


That is kind of odd, because I looked through a Ziess Conquest at Gander Mountain and it made everything look yellow. I figured it was the coating. It is kind of hard to tell the difference between a Ziess and a Nikon Prostaff when you are looking through them in a harshly artificially lit store though.

I looked through some cheap $10 7x50 binoculars at CVS the other day and they made everything look blue...and I couldn't read inch high letters from across the store with them.

1858
September 29, 2010, 05:42 PM
1858, The one thing your pictures did was remind me how much more yellow frequency is transmitted through the Leupold's relative to Zeiss Conquest (at least the Vari-X III, VX3 and Mark 4's). Not sure if that is good or bad, but is certainly a noticable difference to my eyes.

Very true and as I stated earlier, the difference in color is often interpreted as a difference in clarity. Here's a look through an old Vari-X IIc 6-18x40mm that I bought 10 years ago (and sold recently). Again, the overall color is much warmer than the Zeiss.

Yellow and red light have a longer wavelengths compared to blue light and this is why sunrises and sunsets are red. The longer wavelengths are better able to penetrate the atmosphere with the sun low in the sky. This may explain why a "cooler" scope could improve clarity near dusk. If the coatings on the lenses are attenuating yellow/red light, other colors will be amplified (comparitively). Just a thought.

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/optics/zeiss/leupold_vari-x_ii_small.jpg

Larger image (http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/optics/zeiss/leupold_vari-x_ii.jpg).

:)

Sheepdog1968
September 29, 2010, 06:27 PM
There are so many choices out there it drove me crazy. I suspect you will be happy with either. I choose Leupold becuase it's made in the USA and has an excellent warrenty. Their scopes in general are 4 or 5 out of 5 stars in terms of rating. You can't go wrong. I have a few different ones now and have been pleased with all of them. If I need a new scope, it will be a Leupold. If not Leupold, then it would be a Redfield (owned by Leupold).

HGUNHNTR
September 29, 2010, 06:30 PM
Oh definitely Zeiss, especially the Diavari line. The Conquest that is made by Meopta is really good too, probably just a half step ahead of the VXIII, but give me a Zeiss any day. German glass is the cats..........

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