Rifle Scopes March 4.5-28x52 High Master Review and Comparison to Tangent Theta 5-25x56

Glassaholic

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    The March may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is a nice cup of tea ;) I like that March loves to innovate and push the limits, but I will admit they sometimes try to push too hard and too many compromises are made, but the 4.5-28x52 has so much going for it.
     
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    Convex

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    'Who wants german made when Austria and Canada are the top dogs?"....

    This is at the end of about a 2 yr. process for me. Reading, phone calls, and questions distilled into what's best for the best price. The March 4.5-28X52 for what it does @ the price I paid for it IS the "top dog" for me...... even if it comes in third, to the ZCO and TT, I don't think it's that far behind the other 2 scopes.

    In this very discussion, this specific March scope "duke's it out" in comparison w/a scope/TT, that has a 56mm objective, and the March does well in comparison/well enough/stays close, that's saying something.

    This March does well enough that it makes sense/justifies a purchase @ less money. That's me, and that's my choice.

    It would make my wallet say "ouch!!", but I could've gotten either a ZCO or a TT and I would agree that in terms of sheer performance they are "the "best" @ bet. 4-5 grand (plus tax).

    The March ran me about $3,200, it does quite a bit well/does enough things well, and it is close enough in optical performance to the "best".

    I don't consider the difference between how the 3 scopes perform, worth the difference between the $3,200 I paid for the March and the price of the other 2 scopes, and holding this thing in my hands/looking through it, it's dynamite!!

    I thought long and hard over this decision; and I've got the roughly $1000-$1500 I didn't spend on the ZCO or TT for a 2nd scope to go on my 2nd MR762.

    Going through this whole process forced me to rethink what the word "best" meant, and how much more was I willing to pay for something better, and how much better would it have to be to empty my pockets.
     
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    eelman308

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    As the OP has stated, when you're laying out this kind of cash, the differences are so very slight. It may come down to you just flat out want XYZ brand scope just for the name...... or you like the performance of brand X better than brand Y but hate the reticle in X.

    I'm thinking they will all do equally fine on any rifle they sit on.

    Glad to live in a country where we have these kind of choices to agonize over. :)
     
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    Convex

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    Mari Morita from March emailed some time ago re: the 4.5-28X52, that the acc. threads in front was 55mm, and the back is 43mm.

    For MC UV you can go K&F Concept filters and save some money (aluminum rings-screw on gentle like and not crazy tight)
    They're MC B270 Schott glass (99.20% transmittance).

    Or U can go "whole hog" and get the same size MC in B+W, or Heliopan which is the Schott glass in brass rings

    Despite whatever they claim, the Cheap Chinese filters may or may not be MC, and they may use plastic instead of optically correct glass.

    March doesn't recommend glass in front and it's true that a clear piece of glass (no MC-anti reflective coating-mystery glass) in front, will jack up the performance of an optic, I don't believe this to be true of MC UV protective filters I've used/mentioned here. I use protective filters (mc-Schott glass) in front of every optic I've ever used w/absolutely no issues/degradation in performance.

    I've ordered the K&F Concept MC UV filters from B&H Photo Video front/back for a total $32.77 Cost effective w/Schott glass and "you gotta be gentle" aluminum rings. Somewhere the March literature says the the Acc. thread is 37mm in back so I bought a 37mm-43 step up ring just in case.

    B+W/Heliopan filters w/Schott glass w/brass rings will run $40-75 a piece.

    A small price to pay if you crack/shatter these protective filters in order to save a 3-4 grand optic.

    The 1st discussion/video I stumbled onto about this particular scope got me to thinking about the scope to where I kept searching for more info because of 4 things that resonated w/me about the video, which was they/March didn't make you buy a lens shade, U got 1 free, it focused as close as 10 yrds., it was EZ to zero, and I loved the humongous eyepiece.


     
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    Denys

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    @Convex I like your arguments for using filters, very cogent and detailed. Here is my contrarian view on the subject.

    For cameras: I used to religiously buy UV filters for all my lenses and leave them on. Over the decades, I noticed that sometimes led to artifacts in the pictures and some softening of the image under certain conditions. About 10-15 years ago, I removed all these filters and never looked back. I do use a sunshade all the time, and I am totally cognizant of possible issues with them under certain conditions and deal with that appropriately.

    For riflescopes: I played with various shades of yellow filters on riflescopes to see if I could enhance mirage conditions, reduce haze, and whatnot. I have 3 different yellows in 62mm in my rifle bag if ever I want to try again. I am not in favor of adding a filter to a riflescope for 2 reasons.

    1- A photo filter is not built to withstand the G-forces of rifle. These filters are made for camera lenses which (usually) do not get banged around anywhere near what is experienced by a riflescope. If the filter breaks, it's liable to scratch the lens underneath, or worse if you actually have a filter on the eyepiece. To protect the objective lens, I always have a sunshade installed. It keeps fingers away from the lens and anything this is able to get to the lens with the sunshade on will not be stopped by a filter.

    2- I paid a lot of money for my riflescopes and I want to have the best IQ I can get from them; adding one or two more lenses is not conducive to increased IQ; in fact, I think it's counterproductive.

    This is all very subjective, and it's always interesting to see the arguments for and against the use of UV filters on photography discussion boards. It appears most pros eschew their use in favor of the best IQ from their lenses. But I'm sure other pros or advanced amateurs can make a good case for their use. As I said, subjective. But one thing that's never mentioned in these discussions is the effect of rifle recoil, which I think makes a huge difference.

    tl;dr: I don't use filters on riflescopes, and I recommend against it for safety reasons.
     

    carbonbased

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    @Convex I like your arguments for using filters, very cogent and detailed. Here is my contrarian view on the subject.

    For cameras: I used to religiously buy UV filters for all my lenses and leave them on. Over the decades, I noticed that sometimes led to artifacts in the pictures and some softening of the image under certain conditions. About 10-15 years ago, I removed all these filters and never looked back. I do use a sunshade all the time, and I am totally cognizant of possible issues with them under certain conditions and deal with that appropriately.

    For riflescopes: I played with various shades of yellow filters on riflescopes to see if I could enhance mirage conditions, reduce haze, and whatnot. I have 3 different yellows in 62mm in my rifle bag if ever I want to try again. I am not in favor of adding a filter to a riflescope for 2 reasons.

    1- A photo filter is not built to withstand the G-forces of rifle. These filters are made for camera lenses which (usually) do not get banged around anywhere near what is experienced by a riflescope. If the filter breaks, it's liable to scratch the lens underneath, or worse if you actually have a filter on the eyepiece. To protect the objective lens, I always have a sunshade installed. It keeps fingers away from the lens and anything this is able to get to the lens with the sunshade on will not be stopped by a filter.

    2- I paid a lot of money for my riflescopes and I want to have the best IQ I can get from them; adding one or two more lenses is not conducive to increased IQ; in fact, I think it's counterproductive.

    This is all very subjective, and it's always interesting to see the arguments for and against the use of UV filters on photography discussion boards. It appears most pros eschew their use in favor of the best IQ from their lenses. But I'm sure other pros or advanced amateurs can make a good case for their use. As I said, subjective. But one thing that's never mentioned in these discussions is the effect of rifle recoil, which I think makes a huge difference.

    tl;dr: I don't use filters on riflescopes, and I recommend against it for safety reasons.
    I agree and I took a similar path to the the same conclusion. Perhaps in a very dusty/sandy environment I would use one, but the place where you really notice crap on the lens is the eyepiece lens. A tiny drop of water on there and you'll be going, "WTF is that black thing, am I getting floaters in my eye?? And why aren't the floaters floating???"

    Through the scope, you most likely would never be able to see the difference between a scratched front objective vs. pristine. That's how it works in the photo world too.

    I think in real crap conditions in which you must still shoot, those clear plastic caps connected by elastic might be the ticket. I mean, if it's raining or blowing dust, the view through the scope is gonna suck anyway (see black dots example above) so why not use a clear "shoot through" cap so you may not (if you're lucky) have to clean the scope lenses afterward?
     
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    carbonbased

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    Also, if you must use a filter in front of the lens, for the love of all that is holy please use a brass threaded filter. You'll thank me when that fucking aluminum one seemingly welds itself on there. Brass ones come off easy every time. I mean it. Looking at you lol ya tightwad.
     

    Convex

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    I disagree, I've had the opposite experiences, and in many cases the appropriate filter can cut out a lot of haze (outside), improve saturation, and when I say filters, I mean a well made filter by a reputable manufacturer. If you've chosen the appropriate filter it w/good glass, it should not be the reason for the introduction of artifacts, and I noticed you said......


    "Over the decades, I noticed that sometimes led to artifacts in the pictures and some softening of the image under certain conditions."


    There is always a "but" under "certain condition", which crops up. Things happen, things come up. I would be concerned in terms of your logic if it were the case that a filter would produce noticeable artifacts on a regular basis and if the filter was the cause of those artifacts.

    Any piece of gear I have, including my cameras, filters, lenses will sometimes come up against a situation where artifacts are sometimes produced/a softer image than I was trying for; that's different than a lens/filter/camera generating some kind of problem on a regular basis.

    I've been in Photography for 61 yrs./started using Photoshop 3 in '97 and I've haven't experienced "some softening" because I used filters in front of my optics on a regular basis and I believe that premise is too much of a generalization when you filters as opposed to which specific filter in what specific situation, and while I've had problems w/specific filters on occasion, for some "reason or other" that isn't enough of a reason for me to quit my practice regarding filters.

    If you've got enough of a problem w/a filter, a problem that appears/crops up almost every time you use the filter, then I would be concerned w/using that filter, if it's a problem that isn't always a problem then it may be a problem that comes up regardless of whether you did or didn't have a filter in front of the optic, and/or caused by something else.

    In one incident, I've had a filter destroyed in front of a 10 grand optic which saved the optic, and if I didn't have the filter on, a fortune goes up in smoke.

    I don't care what/how most pros do it, because they don't pay for my equipment, and I don't believe my use of filtration in front of my optics is, or would be a problem causing the degradation of my images. Having said that, there are situations that come up where a particular lens/camera/lens w/a filter in front of it, will not be able to handle that particlar situation.

    The filters I've used, the way I've used them have worked for me and I've never looked back.


    Yes, there are arguments "for" and "against" any discussion of any subject matter, any particular way of doing something, which is what you do, and how you do it.

    I appreciate by all means what you've said, and I've followed quite a bit of your discourse/dialogue in this forum, but I disagree because doing it the opposite way works 4 me.


    I have a lot of respect for you when you open your mouth, believe me, but telling me it doesn't work for you, doesn't mean it doesn't work for me, and it does.



    In terms of image quality, and or "artifacts", or unwanted softness, or what some pros, or what advanced amateurs do, I guess it then becomes a matter of "don't tell me, show me" to take this out of the subjective aspect into the realm of the actual imagery that you've used your gear to validate what you produce and in my case, my work along w/the filters I keep on the front of my optics.

    I've uploaded a cross section of some of what I've done in my "about" section, it's here.....




    I used filters in front of all my optics, and like you, I've never looked back
     
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    Convex

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    LOL Thanks for the compliment, I already know about aluminum vs brass.

    There IS no practical difference between the optical performance of a brand new optic w/a pristine front objective and the same optic w/a couple of fine scratches in front. I've bought optics w/scratches in front, that work PERFECTLY so save your breath, the issue is not just a few scratches, but saving the optic in accident resulting is significant damage.

    The difference in the 2 optics would be in resale value and the filter is of course also there to be sacrificed instead of the more expensive and harder to replace optic in an accident; so they stay on my optics.
     
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    carbonbased

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    I wrote some of those things out for others, as you obviously already knew about the aluminum filter weld thing with you cautioning not to tighten hard etc. But I know that most would blow right by that and crank those babies on TIGHT brah. I was a pro photographer too, years ago, but I profess I do not have your many years of experience. I was in the photojournalism area, but bailed as that is a horribly paid job.

    I read this years back and it strikes me as the definitive guide. He runs a lens rental outfit, has very high-end test equipment, is a stickler for details, etc. Make sure, people, to read both links! His thoughts change somewhat as the price for front lens elements for camera lenses skyrocketed. Btw his blog is excellent.


    Basically, at the very end of the day, if you're going to run a filter and you want the utmost out of your $4k scope, use the very best filter, and make sure it's multi-coated on BOTH sides. Filters make sense in harsh conditions (ocean, esp) or if you are super concerned with resale or scope replacement. With even an expensive top-of-the-line filter you might see ghosting/flare in certain conditions.
     
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    Convex

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    I appreciated what you just said, and I got a laugh out it. Aluminum "NOT GOOD" if you just started out doing this last week.

    I've done this for 61 years. so I can get away w/handling the filter, but you're right, do it wrong, and it "ain't coming off"

    This is a "Everybody is right" discussion in that what's right is what works for you.
     

    carbonbased

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    Also on cleaning, I've saved two lens cleaning links. I learned a thing or two when I found them a few years ago. Convex might already know this stuff, but most of you most likely don't.

    Here's probably the Ne Plus Ultra link. That's the Ultimate link to you, ya unwashed plebes in the back row:

    Less crazy, but it works and he shows you how:
     
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    Heffo

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    Great review. Cheers. I just bought this scope with the PDK reticle $2700 new. How do you beat that? This is my 3rd March. Hand made craftsmanship. The internal parts from one 4.5-28 x 52 scope to the one next to it, are not transferable, as each scope is made by one engineer start to finish, with pieces sized, fitted and put together by that one person. The high master technology in the objective lenses allows the scope to have a smaller 52mm objective, which does the same job as the larger 56mm objectives. Plus the high quality extras that come with it which will add 100s to other brands. Take the leap….