How crisp should my dot be?


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mikebravo
March 5, 2012, 12:12 AM
OK, so I just bought a Vortex SPARC red dot today, and am really liking it. But it's my first red dot, so I have a question about the dot itself. How crisp is it supposed to be? The dot has a bit of a star-burst effect, which goes from moderate at low brightness to extreme at high brightness, making the dot not really look like a circle. It is still totally usable, but I just want to know if it is normal. I tried to take a picture, but my camera wouldn't focus correctly. I have uncorrected 20/20 vision, and had the dot looked at by two other people who agreed with me. Any input?

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MrCleanOK
March 5, 2012, 12:26 AM
A red dot is not going to be a clean circle like you may have seen in video games. It will be fuzzy around the edges, and it is normal for it to be worse at higher brightness. The best practice for adjusting brightness of a red dot is "as low as you can go and have the dot easily noticed". For example, zeroing from a bench requires less brightness than practicing defensive shooting, close range marksmanship, etc.

Sent from my ADR6350 using Tapatalk

FrankieJames7
March 5, 2012, 12:46 AM
yeah i agree...the cod games you play are never ever a place to compare real life to...

mikebravo
March 5, 2012, 12:50 AM
Just for clarification, I am not basing my questions upon video games. I have seen a few pics online which appear to be more clear, and it just seems as if it should be a tad more uniform. I have some limited experience with other sights (a few Micro T-1s) but don't remember them well enough to compare.

benzy2
March 5, 2012, 01:03 AM
It could also be your eyes. I would try to take a picture through the red dot with it on. I personally see a distorted dot yet when the camera takes a picture the dot is very clean and crisp. I believe this is due to a slight astigmatism. If there is an issue with the dot it should be seen on a picture looking through the optic.

mikebravo
March 5, 2012, 01:10 AM
I tried, the camera I was using couldn't focus on the dot. But I did have two others try it out, and they saw the same thing I did. Like I said, I have 20/20 normal vision without any known astigmatisms.

benzy2
March 5, 2012, 01:36 AM
It certainly could be a problem with the optic or depending on the degree it could just be the way they are. I'd send an email or phone call to Vortex and see what they say. They seem to have stellar customer service so they should be able to let you know if the amount of distortion is normal or if this is something that requires repair/replacement.

SigMic
March 5, 2012, 02:25 AM
How far away from your eyes is it.
I've found that the closer to your eye that they are, the more fuzzy.
On my Sig556, I've got a long rail so I have choices on where I can put it.
Move it just a little further out, and it is more clear.

May be an option for you depending on what it is mounted on.

Sergeant Sabre
March 5, 2012, 04:05 AM
The dot will tend to bloom, and the brighter it is the more it will bloom. Turn it down until you can barely see it and that's the best chance you will have of seeing a perfect, crisp dot.

briansmithwins
March 5, 2012, 07:38 AM
I agree that lower is better for zeroing, turn it up for use.

Red dot sights are almost designed to test for astigmatism. Even if the degree of astigmatism is so low a eye doc won't touch it, it can still cause distortion.

To test if it's the sight or your eye try this: Rotate the sight while looking though it. If the irregularity follows the rotation of the optic, it's the optic. If the distortion stays in the same place, it's your eyes.

BSW

helotaxi
March 5, 2012, 08:21 AM
One final thing...are you focusing on your target or trying to focus on the dot? Focus on the target.

briansmithwins
March 5, 2012, 08:40 AM
One final thing...are you focusing on your target or trying to focus on the dot? Focus on the target.

I keep hearing this.

Isn't the dot focused for infinity? Shouldn't it be in the same focal plane as the target? Isn't the dot taking the place of the front sight (and you shouldn't you focus on the front sight)?

BSW

Z-Michigan
March 5, 2012, 08:48 AM
Focus on the target, at least 10 feet away. The dot is focused approximately at infinity. If you look through the RDS indoors at a blank wall then your eyes will focus on the dot and it will look fuzzy no matter how perfect your vision. I know, for a long time I thought I couldn't use RDS, then I found out I was testing them wrong.

Look through the RDS outside, in daylight, at something at least 10-20 feet away. The dot should look reasonably crisp and round. Not necessarily perfect, but it should NOT be an amoeba. If it still looks like an amoeba under those conditions then either you have an astigmatism or the RDS is defective.

helotaxi
March 5, 2012, 07:05 PM
Isn't the dot focused for infinity? Shouldn't it be in the same focal plane as the target? Isn't the dot taking the place of the front sight (and you shouldn't you focus on the front sight)?Exactly. The dot is at an infinite focal length. It doesn't work the same way as a set of iron sights, just as a scope doesn't. If you had to focus on the dot, it would leave the target out of focus and would provide no advantage over irons. The whole point of a RDS is to allow the shooter to keep both eyes open and keep the target in focus while having a POA reference.

Psa1m144
March 5, 2012, 07:10 PM
I have a vortex sparc on my mini14 and as long as you have the brightness setting where it's "supposed to be" for how bright it is where you are it shouldn't be overly "starbursty." When I am indoors I keep it on the lowest setting and it is pretty crisp. Play with it and you'll notice that when it's on the most appropriate setting for your surroundings it will seem more crisp.

The sparc has only a 2 MOA dot so it really isn't big enough to be a well defined circle IMO.

Ragnar Danneskjold
March 5, 2012, 07:48 PM
yeah i agree...the cod games you play are never ever a place to compare real life to...

I don't believe the OP mentioned playing Call of Duty in his post...

Alec
March 5, 2012, 08:00 PM
I've also wondered this.

Took a photo of my cheap red dot through a camera. It was a perfect dot. Also tried the rotation trick, and... well, I suppose I have slight astigmatism, because the optic is fine.

mikebravo
March 6, 2012, 12:14 AM
I tried the rotation trick, and the little irregularities moved along with it, so no astigmatism.

Z-Michigan
March 6, 2012, 10:07 AM
I tried the rotation trick, and the little irregularities moved along with it, so no astigmatism.

Well that's good for you! Now you can try out Vortex's excellent customer service and send it in for a replacement.

JustinJ
March 6, 2012, 10:35 AM
I wondered the same thing after buying my first aimpoint. I've never seen an aimpoint that didn't have the same blur around the dot. The only model i've ever seen without it was a Nikon Monarch red dot.

highorder
March 6, 2012, 01:35 PM
ed dot sights are almost designed to test for astigmatism. Even if the degree of astigmatism is so low a eye doc won't touch it, it can still cause distortion.

To test if it's the sight or your eye try this: Rotate the sight while looking though it. If the irregularity follows the rotation of the optic, it's the optic. If the distortion stays in the same place, it's your eyes.

+1 on that. It's a great little device even for non shooters!

DoubleTapDrew
March 6, 2012, 02:03 PM
+1 on focusing on the target, not the dot. When I first mounted an eo tech it bloomed like crazy (and I have astigmatism which didn't help). After reading about focusing on the target and bring the red dot up into your line of sight but keep focusing on the target the dot was nice and crisp like it's supposed to be.
Sounds like yours may have a mechanical issue though if the irregularity moved with the optic when rotated.

Zerodefect
March 6, 2012, 05:37 PM
I have a "red jelly bean" optic, a "red squid" optic, and a "red pixleated death doughnut" optic.

None are anywhere close to being "red dot" optics. Just an Aimpoint ML3, Aimpoint M2 , and an Eotech XPS-0. Great sights, I wouldn't worry about it.

The Aimpoint T1, H1 has a crisp(er) dot. If you're really picky, the Trijicon Mini ACOG's will have perfect dots and glass. I like Trijicons green.

Z-Michigan
March 6, 2012, 10:45 PM
I have a "red jelly bean" optic, a "red squid" optic, and a "red pixleated death doughnut" optic.

None are anywhere close to being "red dot" optics. Just an Aimpoint ML3, Aimpoint M2 , and an Eotech XPS-0. Great sights, I wouldn't worry about it.

Do they look like that outdoors in decent sun while focusing on a target 10+ yards away? If so, either you have an astigmatism or you managed to get two defective Aimpoints. I'm only harping on this because for years I thought red dots didn't work for me (even though I actually shot OK with them), and I finally found out that when you test them indoors at very short distances they all look bad because your eyes are focusing close and your pupils are dilated. All red dots will look better as your pupils get smaller. You can also get the same effect by looking at them through an aperture sight, although that kinda defeats one of the major benefits.

FWIW of my dots, the Ultradot 30 has the absolute cleanest dot, the Aimpoint ML3 and ML2 are next up, a Lucid HD7 is pretty good, then an Aimpoint H1 micro, then Vortex Strikefire red/green, then Strikefire red-only (it's too bright even at the dimmest setting), and finally cheap junk like Tasco.

Sky
March 6, 2012, 10:56 PM
astigmatism IS A CURSE

Walkalong
March 7, 2012, 07:31 AM
Very few inexpensive red dots with a crisp round dot. I finally found one I like, and now it appears to be discontinued. There are a couple out there with nice round dots, but the sights are tiny and the FOV is tiny.

mikebravo
March 8, 2012, 12:23 AM
Well, I did some more of the tests, and it is looking like I have astigmatism..... Darn genetics!!!!!!

Eb1
March 8, 2012, 06:12 PM
I had a red dot, and with my glasses on or wearing my contacts the dot was an oval with a blur.
Look through with the contacts out or glasses off it was a perfect dot.

Just my luck!

briansmithwins
March 8, 2012, 06:22 PM
There are a couple out there with nice round dots, but the sights are tiny and the FOV is tiny.

Try shooting with both eye open. Even if the target is outside the FOV of the eye behind the sight if your other eye can see the target your brain will superimpose the dot on the target.

The ability to shoot with both eyes open is one of the reasons red dots are faster close up.

BSW

Hocka Louis
March 8, 2012, 10:51 PM
I have an astigmatism (even as a kid couldn't use a binocular microscope -- don't ask) and can't use binoculars. Every redot, including my OWN Vortex SPARC, is a star of red light. I think it is a little better with glasses but they're for distance...

briansmithwins
March 9, 2012, 12:29 AM
I have an astigmatism (even as a kid couldn't use a binocular microscope -- don't ask) and can't use binoculars. Every redot, including my OWN Vortex SPARC, is a star of red light. I think it is a little better with glasses but they're for distance...

The dot will be focused for distance too.

Another trick is to turn down the dot as much as possible. Having the dot too bright will always cause it to bloom.

BSW

shootniron
March 9, 2012, 12:44 AM
Question...

What does it matter?

Put the red fuzzy dot on the target and shoot. They are not intended to be benchrest optics anyway. I hunt with them...remember how many clicks I need to get the small "dot" so when I sense a deer is around, I turn it on until I shoot or confirm that it was a false alarm. At any rate, for a hunting optic...they are indeed deadly.

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