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leupold vs Zeiss

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by oz_lowrider, Sep 25, 2010.

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  1. oz_lowrider

    oz_lowrider Member

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    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.
     
  2. Medusa

    Medusa Member

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    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.
     
  3. MrCleanOK

    MrCleanOK Member

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    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.
     
  4. Gun Wielding Maniac

    Gun Wielding Maniac Member

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    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.
     
  5. usmarine0352_2005

    usmarine0352_2005 Member

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    .
    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.
     
  6. Horsemany

    Horsemany Member

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    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.
     
  7. Robert Wilson

    Robert Wilson Member

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    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.
     
  8. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    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
     
  9. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    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.
     
  10. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    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
    [​IMG]

    Zeiss Conquest
    [​IMG]

    :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2010
  11. Bear70

    Bear70 Member

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    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.
     
  12. Robert Wilson

    Robert Wilson Member

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    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.
     
  13. usmarine0352_2005

    usmarine0352_2005 Member

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    What does this mean?




    When your moving left to right you lose the image?

    .
     
  14. oz_lowrider

    oz_lowrider Member

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    leupold or zeiss

    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:
     
  15. Leaky Waders

    Leaky Waders Member

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    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.
     
  16. 375shooter

    375shooter Member

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    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?
     
  17. Hangingrock

    Hangingrock Member

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    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.:)
     
  18. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    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 ....

    :)
     
  19. aka108

    aka108 Member

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    Friend of mine is a anal benchrest shooter. Nothing but Zeiss glass on his competition rifles and spotting scopes.
     
  20. usmarine0352_2005

    usmarine0352_2005 Member

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    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.
     
  21. blackops

    blackops Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010
  22. kdstrick

    kdstrick Member

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    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.
     
  23. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    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
     
  24. Robert Wilson

    Robert Wilson Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010
  25. Bear70

    Bear70 Member

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    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.
     
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