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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone used them to compare scopes? I found some for digital camera's and such and printed them. I plan to test the scopes I have, just to see.

I got them here:Resolution Stuff

I thought that I would start at 25 yards, and the lowest power on all my scopes, and move up on the higher mag keeping records. I'll post the results, in a few days. (not sure how many I'll test at this point. Three for sure, maybe four. (weather permitting) Under like conditions. Which means all at the same time.
 

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Those look like video charts...

A better chart might be the ones the film camera mags use to test lens resolution.
 

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Now this could get really interesting. I did a search, but the closest I found was an evaluation of bird watching scopes

But I kept searching. And finally found some downloadable/printable resolution charts!:
http://medfmt.8k.com/mf/resolution.html] http://medfmt.8k.com/mf/resolution.html
http://wdn.com/~johnchap/lenstest/testlens.htm
http://frozenmoments.virtualave.net/LensTests/LensTestsChartsandInfo.htm
http://members.aol.com/floatinghabitats/resolve/lpmm.html

If we could pick one chart (that we don't have to go out and purchase - like maybe that 1951 USAF chart), set some standard distances for some standard magnification settings (say 25yards for 4x & 6x, 50 yards for 9x, 12x & 16x, 100 yards for 18x & 20x ?), and get some folks to help/contribute - we really might learn something!
 

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Ooh! Ohh! BRAIN FART!
Now we need someone to make a boresighter with the resolution test chart on it. That should make it easy to test a bunch of different scopes, in the store, while shopping! . . . . . er . . . . . never mind - stupid idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Guys!

Big Mike, You found the chart I was looking for. I kept seeing refs to it, but could not find the chart its self. Thanks again!

Yep, those were vedio charts, thought I could use them as a subistitute.

Potential problems:

Level of light will change, not sure how much, and I don't have a light meter.

My eyes, while corrected, are not as good as they could be.

Distance? A couple of the scopes I plan to test are not AO. That means I'll have to stretch it out to 50-100 yards.

X Most of the scopes I'll test will work somewhere between 3-9, but not all. I may need multiple tests at multiple distances.

Printer, I'm fairly sure that my LaserJet 6p has good enough resolution for this test, but it is limited.

All said, there are too many variables for this to be considered a scientific test. However, I do believe that I can judge the scopes at hand against eachother. Likely with repeatable results. With no real benchmark to work from, I'll have to make my own.

I'll use the Air Force chart Big Mike found, it made a nice printed copy. I will test at 25, 50 , and if needed 100 yards. It sure would be great if this were standardized somewhere, and all available(decent anyway) scopes carried a rating based on a test like this. I think it would be very revealing.

Rain today.
 

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Maybe this info could be posted permanently somewhere? If not here, maybe somewhere else? If you send me your results, I can get them posted somewhere. I would like to see an accumulated list of this type of info.

I think you can count on the scope manufacturers to NOT do this sort of thing; It might make picking out a scope to understandable, easy and . . . clear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Oops,

I just had the time to go back and check yours. You found the same targets. I spent an hour or so digging through google, and did not find these charts. I must have been looking for the wrong thing.:rolleyes:

I will use the Air Force 1951 version, even though a couple look easier to use. I kinda like Uncle Sams standards, and they surely know just a little bit about resolution!:D

If anyone has any ideas to make this test repeatable, beyond one sitting, I believe we could build an informal data base. I do not have access to all the latest/greatest scopes out there. In fact, I am limited to the bottem end of the price range. Way too many rifles to build right now.

I am kind of excited about it. Picking a scope for my 10/22 was a real bugger, and I have no idea if I made a good choice or not. I understand that quality = money in scopes, so I know I don't have the top end. But putting $400+ glass on a rifle that cost a little over $350 to build, only makes sense if you can shoot that good, and need to shoot that good.

Another test for repeatability is in the works, but one at a time.

Sorry for the ramble.
 

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I used a variation of the Air Force chart, and simple sentences
printed at different font sizes. I found the printed sentences
to be much more easily revealing of which scope has the best
resolution.

To test scopes fairly you must use the same magnification of
course.

I also would take the chart at say 12.5 feet with the naked eye.
If testing at 12x magnification. Then at 50 yards, which is 12x
the 12.5 feet, I would be able to see the same size sentence
clearly if the scope matched or exceed the resolution of my
eyes. If I needed a larger font to see clearly then the scope
had less resolution than the naked eye.

This works quite well comparing side by side. Still other things
to consider like brightness in low light.

I found Nikon Monarch's, Leupold Vari-XIII's, Sightron SII,
Pentax Lightseeker, and Burris Signature to have resolution equal to my eyes. Though some may have sharper eyes than eye do. I found Simmons target scopes, Burris Fullfield, and
Bushnell Sportview (no surprise) to have less resolution than
my eyes. With the Sportview being by far the worst.

Anyway, this is a simple way to compare scopes that works.
Be careful of carefully adjusting the AO however, even a little
bit off makes a fair sized difference in resolution. This makes
testing non-AO scopes a real pain though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
esldude,

Thanks! I hope that the scopes have better resolution that I do. Microscopes, and cameras of decent quality do. This may be one reason that it is so hard for me to see differences in scopes. I have peeped through the big bucks scopes in field conditions, but did not notice a lot of difference, until it started to get dark. Then there is a world of difference. I could see details of horses, two hundred yards away, in nothing but moonlight (full moon) with a Swavorski. (sp) My old Redfield is not that good, but it keeps me out later than the law allows. I have not hunted with the Bushnell Banner yet, but it too is not bad. I loose the crosshairs in an old Weaver, but can see quite well till just after dusk. The Bushnell Sportview seems to be a step down, as does the Tasco. I have not tried a Simmons yet, but have one on the way.

Still raining.
 

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esldude - great info.

How is your eyesight (close to 20/20 or corrected close to 20/20?)? Your testing method appears sound and easily standardized (at least for people with close to 20/20 eyesight). Since this is a rimfire site and non-ao rimfire scopes are typically parallax adjusted for 50 yards, it would seem easy enough to gather data for non-ao rimfire scopes too. I would like to see data on 4x, 9x, 12, & 16x magnification settings (adjusting the distance for the unscoped control target for each magnification).

Did you, by chance, document your work (what your text was and which fonts and sizes you used, also which sizes were the smallest legible with each scope)?

I understand that lighting conditions will affect results, but hopefully, stipulating midday to midafternoon and no worse than partly cloudy conditions, might be close enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Corrected close, but not 20/20. Overcast was always the best light for photos. 4x, 9x, 12x, and 16x + the max of the scope, just for giggles. Fifty yards sounds about right.
 

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My eyesight is about 20/20. I am in my 40's so close up I can
no longer focus fully without help (worn out AO I guess).
But that doesn't effect this testing. And I have had a recent
eye exam, and had 20/20 but with some astigmatism.

I did these tests once at midday in August. I found that for
the most part, on a sunny day, heat waves at higher magni-
fications(somewhere around 8-12x depending on things, like
wind or no etc.), that resolution was diminished by the turbulent
air conditions. The Simmons was good enough under these
conditions. The Sportview even then showed a lack of resolution
however compared to better scopes.

I did this test once, in late September, starting an hour before
sunset, and below a hill crest so there was no direct sun on the
field I was using. In this calm air with plenty of remaining light
is where resolution differences showed up best. The Simmons
on hand was an 8-32x 44mm target scope. It had all the
resolution I needed to about 16x or 18x. And diminished above
that. The Sightron SII was 6-24x 42mm. And had all the resolu-
tion I could use at all powers. For instance I could see no finer
details with the Simmons at 32x than I could with the Sightron
on 24x. The image was larger which for shooting a target might
still have been a valuable benefit.

I had two Monarchs, 4-12x and 6.5-20x. Both had all the resolu-
tion I could use at all powers.

The Burris Fullfield, Pentax Lightseeker and Bushnell Sportview
were 3-9x scopes. So testing had to be at 100 yards. And
testing the lower magnifications meant the fonts would have
been too large. So I only did those at 9x.

Also had some Nikon Lookout IV binoculars in 10x50mm. These
had all the resolution I could use. I think maybe just almost at
times they were not quite good enough resolution. But if not
they were real close. As an aside, these medium quality binoculars
were far brighter than the best riflescopes. When set at similar
powers or exit pupils it didn't matter. The binoculcar was much
much brighter. Don't know if it is because of using both eyes,
or there are fewer lenses or what.

I continued on into darkness for brightness testing. I was under
some large pecan and pine trees. And there was a half moon
just after sunset.

The Sportview was pretty useless just minutes after sunset.
The Sightron was too dark just about 5 minutes before the
Simmons. Both of these had fine crosshairs with target dot.
And dot's were too dim to see a few minutes before they were
useless anyway.

The Nikon's, Fullfield and Lightseekers were plenty bright. You
could make out images quite well long after the duplex crosshairs
were gone. Like others have said, thick crosshairs are needed
after darkness. And this was generally 30 minutes or more after
sunset.

Now looking into shadows as darkness fell, the Simmons would
see with magnification just about anything you could see with the
naked eye. The Fullfield would see a little better. Shadows
appearing a grey void, would reveal useful images through the
Fullfield. The Lightseeker had useable images several minutes
longer. As did the Monarch's.

Surprising to me at the time was the finding that despite a smaller
exit pupil, higher magnification let you see more right at dark.
I could see pure black areas under bushes. But look through my
Monarch at 20x and see limbs, grass, leaves etc. pretty well. The
crosshair was long gone however. And as darkness fell the Monarch at 12x became a grey void, but turning it back up to 20x
would again reveal usable images.

Even more surprising, was switching to the binoculars. Was like
someone lightened things up again. The Monarch at 20x was
still showing some useful images after darkness in the dimly
moonlit areas. The binoculars at 10x would let you see very
well. Including some of those shaded areas under brush.

As for font sizes, depends on distance and magnification used.
I started with 8 and went up. I don't believe I made any use of
anything smaller than a font size of 12. And at lower mags the
biggest fonts were useful even up to 36.
 

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I've had a very optically educational past couple of days: stopped by a gun shop and got to do a side by side comparison of Ziess, Swarovski, Leupold, Bushnell - wow! No disrepect intended to Leupold fans (I'm a Leupold owner also and the Ziess is a more expensive scope), but the Leupold VariX III to Ziess comparison was amazing (Leupold had at least an extra full inch of eye relief but the Ziess, with a smaller objective lense was way brighter at the same magnification). Also, for the price, I was surprized at the brighteness of the Bushnells (Trophy and Banner lines). I wish I could have done some resolution testing at the store.

I did some resolution testing this evening: text at varying sizes and the USAF chart; in a nutshell, wow again. I knew I liked my Simmons Pro-Air (4-12x), but I didn't realize it was my best and brightest scope! Tied for second place were a Tasco 2-7x air rifle scope with AO and my Weaver 2.5-7 rimfire scope (which I would buy again - and the Weaver had a smaller non AO objective). Third place in my resolution tests was a Leupold M8 6x42. Fourth place was my Simmons 1022 3-9x32 (not the AO version) which, if I could buy it again - I wouldn't. And last place, by a wide margin, was a BSA 4-16 mildot with AO. Yuk!

I can't wait to test any more scopes that I can get my hands on!
 

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Thanks guys!

I made a copy of the USAF chart (best quality .pdf file) on heavy photo paper at 1200 DPI using my HP 5550. It really came out clean, sharp and black. Now I can also check my camera lenses too. You can bet it's going to get a lot of use.
 

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Wow! This is very 'illuminating'! I will print the chart as a photo, on some of my good Ilford paper at the highest resolution my Canon S800 has. It will get considerble use I believe.

I have mostly Leupolds, plus a Weaver V-16, an older (and good) Japanese Tasco World Class 2-7, and a Bushnell .22 3-9. I have access to some of the costly European scopes that a friend owns like Swarovski, Zeiss, and Kahles. He also has a couple different Bushnell Elites and Shepherd. He's looking at a Schmidt & Bender too. That ought to provide for some varied results and lots of time peering through scopes.

I wish I had a Leupold LPS to compare. I've looked through them on one occassion and they're are an obvious step up from the VariX-III and I think both brightness and resolution would compare favorably with the 30mm European scopes at a little less pocket change.

This will be interesting and informative. What would be beneficial to everyone is if we could assemble everyones results into a database for reference by all those interested.

Thanks to elsdude we have a good start.

This is one of the reason I enjoy RFC so much!
 

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What we need is for someone like SWFA to do this resolution test with one of each model in his inventory and add to that a brightness measurement. Probably need to post photos of the resolution and brightness images too. Amazing to actually see the difference and decide for ourselves which are the best values. Would be a tremendous help in shopping for scopes. Of course, some scopes might stop selling completely.
 
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