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Old October 15, 2012, 11:13 PM   #27
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Join Date: February 13, 2012
Location: Allen, TX
Posts: 363
Originally Posted by wpsdlrg View Post
...They also don't make many other parts that go into their scopes. The glass they get from NIKON - (the Nikkor division, which makes all of Nikon's glass). So, a Leupold scope, despite their extravagant claims, has no better glass in it than a Nikon Monarch. It's the SAME glass...
I totally agree, up to this point, which I'm not sure is correct. This is why...

Back in the late 60's and early 70's I was quite involved with photography. At that time it was also common practice for one manufacturer to make lenses for several companies. The quality of the lens was determined by placing the finished lens in a mold that 'perfectly' matched the shape of the lens. Where the lens did not perfectly conform to the mold, the defects could be detected by curved shadows &/or rings that appeared when light was shown on the glass from the correct angle. A lens that had less than three defects might go to Leitz (who paid a premium for the extra quality), a lens with less than five defects might go to Pentax (who paid less), a lens with less than seven defects might go to Kodak who paid the least, and anything more would be recycled. With multiple lenses being incorporated into any given optic, an increase in the number of defects rapidly impacted the quality of the final product. (This is a simplified, yet essentially correct, explanation of the process and how different manufacturers got different lots of lenses from the same manufacturer. The numbers and companies are purely arbitrary and are only for illustration of the concept. I've long forgotten the real numbers and company relationships.) But this very process also allowed for some lesser cost optics to come out great. For example, a Leitz optic with seven elements might have a total of say 18 defects. But if Leitz already had their lot fulfilled, some of those three-defects-or-less lenses might go into a Pentax. A 'lucky' Pentax optic might end up with less defects than an 'unlucky' Leitz optic. This process also meant that there would be variations of quality for any given model of optic for a given company.

Once I had made the decision to purchase a lens (optic) that would cost me several hundred dollars (a lot of money in the 60's/70's), then I would go to a camera store that had at least 1/2 dozen of that lens in stock. I would promise the owner/manager that I would be buying one of his lenses. Then I would go during slow or off hours with my camera and take two or three pictures of the same scene in the same light conditions (each having a note or something in the scene that would identify which lens was being used). Then I would have the film quickly developed and without any corrections being made to the prints. With just a simple examination, it was almost always evident that one or two of the lenses were optically superior to the others. That is the one I would buy. - One time I got a difference with a single lens that was just WOW! That was the 'lucky' Pentax lens that had the Leitz quality; and you bet I bought it!

I suspect the quality techniques used today are much more sophisticated and automated than laying a lens in a mold and counting defects. But I would be surprised if the distribution of quality has changed. It may even be exact to the point that if a company doesn't pay for the quality then they just don't ever get it. That is, no 'lucky' optics any more.

So to wrap up a long story, I highly suspect that Leupold pays for higher quality lenses than Nikon. Therefore even though Nikkor makes lenses for both companies, a Nikon scope is likely not of the same quality as a Leupold scope.

This is of course speculation, but it is based upon what I have known to be true in the past.

Unfortunately, given all the sealed packages, I doubt if any store is going to let me open a half dozen scope boxes and pick the one where the image 'jumps out' at me. I just have to buy from the manufacturer whose quality meets my need (and hope I get a good one).


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