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View Poll Results: Which is better for low light?
Zeiss Terra Rifle Scope 3-9x 42mm Plex Reticle Matte ($399) 25 36.76%
Nikon MONARCH 3 Rifle Scope 2.5-10x 42mm ($399) 13 19.12%
Leupold VX-3 Rifle Scope 3.5-10x 40mm Duplex Reticle Matte ($479) 30 44.12%
Voters: 68. You may not vote on this poll

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Old October 28, 2013, 05:32 PM   #26
Been there
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''The sun is already down past the tree-line 130 yards in front of me, but not set, so there is no glare and I'm definitely not staring at the sun . I'm going to take the VX2 out there tonight and see if there is a difference from the Nikon.''
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Knowing the nature of your exact problem helps & the best advise I can give you ( given that i have had the same problem in some of the areas I hunt) is that Zeiss optics realy help.
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Old October 28, 2013, 06:09 PM   #27
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of those I would recommend nikon though I would recommend vortex over all of the above.
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Old October 28, 2013, 08:50 PM   #28
.300 Weatherby Mag
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I have a Nikon Monarch 3 4-16x42 and I'd say it's equal or better than the VXIII for a few bucks less. Way better than my VXII. I've never had a Zeiss.

Boomer
The Monarch is an inferior scope to the VX-3 (the current generation).. The Zeiss gives you a few more minutes of light but thats about it.. I have the Leupold and the Zeiss Conquest.. I haven't seen a Zeiss Terra in a shop yet..

Quote:
of those I would recommend nikon though I would recommend vortex over all of the above.
Nikon does a good job of marketing.. I'm not impressed with their scopes, most seem ok but not exceptional.. The Vortex scopes do look pretty good but they aren't superior or in many cases as good as the other scopes I own..

I seem to remain satisfied with optics as long as I buy something made in the USA, Japan, Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic.. No Chinese or Phillipine contructed optics for me..

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Old October 28, 2013, 10:20 PM   #29
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The net is, at this price level, I'll bet that there is NO OBSERVABLE DIFFERENCE in low-light performance among these scopes.
For a constant price, if low-light performance is paramount, and as others in this thread have cited, look for a bigger objective, eyepiece and tube. But of course you risk other optic property tradeoffs if you have to build a big objective lens and a lower price.
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Old October 28, 2013, 10:43 PM   #30
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Tube size has nothing to do with a scopes ability to transmit light.
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Old October 28, 2013, 11:32 PM   #31
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Save up some extra bucks and get a Schmidt and Bender.
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Old October 28, 2013, 11:50 PM   #32
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Nikon does a good job of marketing.. I'm not impressed with their scopes, most seem ok but not exceptional.. The Vortex scopes do look pretty good but they aren't superior or in many cases as good as the other scopes I own..
I could say the same for leupold. the only scopes I've ever sold that were not made in china were leupolds and redfields... pieces of overpriced junk in my experience. maybe I was just cursed with lemons... oh well, my Nikon prostaffs have lasted me since my teens and are still going strong. don't have quite as nice of pictures as leupolds but they don't magically develop chipped lenses in the gun safe and actually hold a zero so I'm ok with them.
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Old October 29, 2013, 01:36 AM   #33
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''The net is, at this price level, I'll bet that there is NO OBSERVABLE DIFFERENCE in low-light performance among these scopes.
For a constant price, if low-light performance is paramount, and as others in this thread have cited, look for a bigger objective, eyepiece and tube''

There is quite a difference, the Zeiss has measurably better light transmission , is better coated, less refractive & has much better contrast, that is observable to anyone prepared to compare the Leupold to it, side by side.
I used to think that my Nikon bino's were good until I tried some Steiners.
While I have some top end camera lenses from Canon & Nikon, they fall short in comparison to my Zeiss T* lenses.
You are right about the size of the objective lens being irrelivent, in most cases more of the same can be a hinderence rather than a benefit.
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Old October 29, 2013, 07:51 AM   #34
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None of the scopes listed are worth a crap in low light. Look for an older Bushnell 4200 30mm with 50mm objective. for cheap and darn good in low light. Picks up light so late it should be banned. Next I'd look at a Meopta Meostar, then Swarovski, Khales, NF, ETC.

I hunt to the absolute edge of darkness and a bit beyond. Down in swamps and bays most people won't go into, I demand low light performance because without it, I'd never get to shoot anything.
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Old October 29, 2013, 12:30 PM   #35
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The 4200 still has some of the best light transmission numbers ever registered.
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Old October 29, 2013, 01:07 PM   #36
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Zeiss. And use x50 objective. Very clear in low light. On bright moonlit nights, it works suprisingly well. Voice of experience.
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Old October 29, 2013, 01:36 PM   #37
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Pick up the VX-3 and never look back.
Skip the Nikon trash.
Skip the Vortex hype.
Skip the Zeiss warranty hassle.

Buy quality. Buy American. Buy the Leupold.



Quote:
The 4200 still has some of the best light transmission numbers ever registered.
In a lab... maybe.
Take it out in the real world, and the lack of color and clarity in low light make that light transmission mean... absolutely nothing. Just because the image you're seeing is brighter, doesn't mean it helps distinguish what's in the image.
I had a 4200 Elite 3.5-10x50mm. It was decent enough for daytime hunting. But, when it came to low light conditions in the real world, the cheap Tasco World Class on my .22 WMR was better.

Compared side-by-side with my VX-3 3.5-10x40mm (exactly what the OP was considering), the VX-3 absolutely blew away the 4200. It was a joke, the difference was so massive. Next to the Leupold, that Bushnell felt like a Daisy air rifle scope.

I replaced that 4200 Elite with a Redfield Revolution, and still consider it to be a significant upgrade. That Redfield gives me much better low-light performance than the 4200 could have ever hoped to. There's a reason they discontinued that scope line ... everyone was returning them or using the "Money back guarantee" (including me), because they didn't live up to the marketing hype.
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Old October 29, 2013, 03:55 PM   #38
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The Monarch is an inferior scope to the VX-3 (the current generation)..
Maybe on paper, but in my experience there is little discernible difference between the two well standing in a Cabala's. Except the price tag

The Monarch is also different from the monarch 3. They sell both.

Most peoples eye's aren't good enough to differentiate a scope with 95% light transmission from a scope with 96% light transmission.

Sorry there's no way I'm paying twice as much money for one percent extra light transmission.

Boomer
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Old October 29, 2013, 04:26 PM   #39
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Quote:
there is little discernible difference between the two well standing in a Cabala's.
True, but I hardly ever hunt inside a Cabela's, or even a Cabala.

Its not just about light transmission either.
Other things like flare & ghost resistance, contrast & micro-contrast come into play.

Mechanically does the reticule drift as you change magnification? How about clicks. Can the scope "do the box"? Does it take a shot or 2 to come to the new setting when you adjust the reticule or is in immediate & repeatable?
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Old October 29, 2013, 07:03 PM   #40
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I have a couple of each of the 3 listed and I would pick the Zeiss over all. I just feel the Zeiss is clearer, sharper and brighter.
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Old October 29, 2013, 07:15 PM   #41
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FrankenMauser, my deer stand is the real world. I have two 4200's. They are as bright as any of my 4 Night Force scopes. Brighter than any of my pile of Leupolds. Not quite on par with Meopta.
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Old October 29, 2013, 07:15 PM   #42
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True, but I hardly ever hunt inside a Cabela's, or even a Cabala .
I don't know, my local Cabelas has a grizzly I wouldn't mind having for rug.

Quote:
Mechanically does the reticule drift as you change magnification? How about clicks. Can the scope "do the box"? Does it take a shot or 2 to come to the new setting when you adjust the reticule or is in immediate& repeatable?
I've found that if you go two clicks past and come back most scopes are pretty darn repeatable( Within reason, I don't think we're talking about 1000 yard plus Benchrest scopes here). In fact Leupold recommends this.

For years I wouldn't pay over $300 for a scope, nowadays I'm up to the $5-600 range. Now do I get more for my $600 then I did for my $300, sure, but not twice as much.

Heck even my $139 with $40 rebate Redfield scopes are more than adequate for any hunting conditions I've come across. And their warranty, same as Leupold's, is beyond reproach.

I think my monarch 3 was worth every penny and I'm a Leupold guy. I can almost hit the factory with the rock from here.
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Old October 29, 2013, 10:14 PM   #43
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I have 2 Leupold 3-9s, an original VX & a VX2 , they are good workhorse scopes but not the brightest optically. The VX has continuous grease adjustment & is 100% repeatable , the VX2 has click adjustment & is as erratic as most cheap scopes, it seems that the more money & spin that is put into advertising, the less money is spent on the product.
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Old October 29, 2013, 10:36 PM   #44
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FrankenMauser, my deer stand is the real world. I have two 4200's. They are as bright as any of my 4 Night Force scopes. Brighter than any of my pile of Leupolds.
I, and other posters, were not arguing about that possibility. We were trying to point out that light transmission alone is nearly worthless. Without color, clarity, and contrast, seeing a brighter image is of no value.

If all you can see coming at you on a highway, at night, is a set of headlights from an oncoming car, would you prefer that they were brighter? ...Or that you had some way of seeing other distinguishing features and detail?

I'd take the added detail...
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Old October 30, 2013, 12:43 AM   #45
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''I, and other posters, were not arguing about that possibility. We were trying to point out that light transmission alone is nearly worthless. Without color, clarity, and contrast, seeing a brighter image is of no value.''

You are right about that , which is confusing , in light of your previously expressed opinions on various brands. Contrast, colour & sharpness are where the Zeiss has it over the others so far mentioned, including the VX3.
If there are warranty hassles, then that is the fault of the U.S. COMPANY who makes them, not the makers of the superior optics that are used.
Get a child to look through both & he/she will tell you that '' the Emporer has no clothes. Sure Steiner, Shmitt & Bender, Zeiss & Swarovski make better scopes than the Conquest, but at a far higher price.

Last edited by Been there; October 31, 2013 at 03:27 AM.
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Old October 31, 2013, 11:37 AM   #46
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I have three Leupolds, a VXII and two VX-2s. They're better than any other scope I've used, and I've used many scopes, both mine and customers'. My Nikon Monarch 2.5-10x is sitting on a shelf these days; destined to be on someone else's rifle.

The clarity of the Leupolds is slightly better than the Monarch, but they have a wider field of view and no dark area at the edges like the Monarch does. That's my biggest beef with the Monarch.

I like the fine duplex reticles.
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Old October 31, 2013, 03:18 PM   #47
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For under $400 you can get a Leupold VX2 3-9X50 with a heavy duplex or a Bushnell Elite 3-9X50 with a Firefly reticle.
Either will get you a 50mm objective, which has a huge advantage over a 40 in low light, a 1" tube, which makes no difference either way, and a reticle that you can still see when it's getting dark outside.
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Old October 31, 2013, 08:14 PM   #48
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The 4200 was an excellent scope. I have yet to figure out why Bushnell replaced it with an inferior, more expensive model.
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Old November 1, 2013, 07:56 AM   #49
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Not sure why they did away with the 4200 myself. One of the things I liked most about the 2.5X10X50 is that it has a heavy #4 post in it with a very light dot if I were to need illumination. Seldom do I need that if there is just a little ambient light or moonlight. Illuminated scopes seem to wash out my vision no matter how low they are set, especially the fully lighted ones.
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Old November 3, 2013, 12:22 AM   #50
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Cabelas says their Euro riflescopes have the highest light transmission in the industry. 99.8% to be exact. Definitely brighter than my monarch 3 @ 95%. Too bad I've already returned Cabela's brand scopes for manufacturer defects. There scopes have been the only disappointing products I've bought from Cabelas. I must say though, their customer service was excellent and their warranty was no questions asked. Link --->http://www.cabelas.com/browse.cmd?categoryId=153172980
If they could get there unnamed Chinese manufacturer to up its quality control standards they would have a great product.

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