Rifle Scopes S&B & Premier power struggle?

BlackWhiskey

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I had the opportunity this week to babysit a Sig SSG 3000 with an S&B PMII 4-16x50 for a good friend of mine. I have a Premier Heritage 3-15x50 so naturally I wanted to compare them side by side, and what I found was interesting.

I set both optics at max power (15x for the PH and 16x for the S&B) and was surprised by how much more magnification the 16x was than 15x. So to get a more accurate comparison of the scope I turned the S&B back down to 15x and lo and behold it still had a significantly greater amount of magnification.

At this point I was very confused and figured I was screwing something up so I tried the same thing with all common powers (4x-15x) between the two scopes to see what I could find. Once again in all the common powers the S&B had more magnification.

I thought that maybe one was broken and that I would be able to tell if the mills were off on one, but they weren't. They were both exactly right.

Needless to say I am very confused and wondering if anyone has an explanation for me. I have posted pictures of examples through both scopes at 4x 8x and 15x to demonstrate the differences. I apologize in advance for the crappy quality of the pictures, and please keep in mind that this is not a clarity or resolution test, but a comparison of power definition.

CIMG0025.jpg

Premier at 4x
CIMG0032.jpg

S&B at 4x
CIMG0040.jpg

Premier at 8x
CIMG0030.jpg

S&B at 8x
CIMG0042.jpg

Premier at 15x
CIMG0038.jpg

S&B at 15x
CIMG0045.jpg
 

jasonk

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Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

In my experience, the Premier had a greater FOV, are you sure that it's not an optical illusion that the tighter FOV on the S&B is making it appear more magnified?

Looking at the size of the rocks and bushes in your pictures I don't see a huge difference, but I'll keeping looking.
 

cvuxton

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Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

Now you've got me thinking. I have both these scopes and it looks like test time. While I love the S&B, I agree that the Premier looks clearer. With my yeyes that's what counts for me.
 

bm11

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Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

I do believe I can see a difference. That is interesting, for sure.
 

300WSM

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Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

FOV wider on PR - size of objects same
 

springer01

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Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

I agree I think the FOV is deceiving you making it appear to be closer. The object (rock?) in the pic seems to stay the same size throughout the mag range in both scopes.

To add you can really see the larger FOV in the 4x comparison look how much more of the fence the PR pics up.
 

bm11

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Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Vux51</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Now you've got me thinking. I have both these scopes and it looks like test time. While I love the S&B, I agree that the Premier looks clearer. With my yeyes that's what counts for me. </div></div>Huh? I don't think clarity was the issue here, it was magnification. I doubt you could see a difference between S&B and Premier clarity on a digital picture!
 

300WSM

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Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

don't like how the massive bars on either of the reticles takes up 1/4 of the damn picture. They need to slim those things down.
 

300WSM

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Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

at high power that is.
 

Advokaten

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Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

Hmm I don´t get it, items look at, are the same "size" in all comparing pics,

the notion that the magnification is "off" is something that has struck me before,

between my old 6-24 Zeiss and my SuB 5-25, however once you get to the real measureing part,

the one thing that separates are just different eye boxes and different FOV:s,

that yields the "appearance" of a diff in power.

Strange thing though I agree.

/Best regards Chris
 

dcjs

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Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

Ok, now this is really interesting.

While a smaller FOV at a certain magnification level certainly creates the illusion of higher magnification, the images do indeed show a difference in the size of objects (using the mil reticle as a reference here since they are calibrated) on a pixel-level, meaning one mil subtends more (the difference is about 15% on 15x) pixels in one scope.

The first possible reason that came to my mind is inaccurate calibration of the numbers on the power ring. I know for a fact (and it was independently confirmed by the USMC) that min. and max. magnification on the Heritage are accurate. Now if the 15x-marking on the other scope is just slightly off (which is of absolutely no practical consequences in a FFP scope), there may be a visible difference in the apparent size of the image, and so on with the other magnifications.

The other possibility (that I had to confirm by taking some through-the-scope-pics myself) is different camera placement because of different eye relief. Longer maximum eye relief will allow you to place the camera further away from the scope, creating a smaller image of what the scope sees on the camera sensor.

Also, diopter setting will have some influence on the resulting image size.

To sum things up, "measuring" magnification by taking pictures does not work reliably due to several factors. My guess is that greater effective eye relief of the Premier is what's producing the result we see in these images, and the greater field of view produces the illusion of less magnification when viewed by eye. Any of the optical properties like magnification, eye relief or accuracy of the markings on the power ring can only be positively verified using proper equipment and technique.
 

ArcticFun

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Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

You could always find a sign with small print, take the Premier and get as far away as you can while still being able to read the sign. Once you can no longer read it with the Premier you SHOULD be able to read the sign with the S&B. That is ofcourse if the S&B truly has a higher magnification than the Premier.
 

tuckner

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Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

Not necessarily. One may have a superior resolution or optical clarity than the other.
 

jbell

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    Blackwhiskey heres my take on this. You are right the s&b does magnify more. I measured the rock formation at the top of the ridge and the s&b is considerably larger on each power setting. I used calipers to do this but if some one has that group measureing soft wear they may be able to get more scientific than me. I found this very interesting , great post.
     

    rommel500

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    To me it looks like the S&B has a reduced FOV compared to the premier.

    But my real question is which one had better glass?!
    cool.gif
     

    JBW3

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: David S.</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Ok, now this is really interesting.

    While a smaller FOV at a certain magnification level certainly creates the illusion of higher magnification, the images do indeed show a difference in the size of objects (using the mil reticle as a reference here since they are calibrated) on a pixel-level, meaning one mil subtends more (the difference is about 15% on 15x) pixels in one scope.

    The first possible reason that came to my mind is inaccurate calibration of the numbers on the power ring. I know for a fact (and it was independently confirmed by the USMC) that min. and max. magnification on the Heritage are accurate. Now if the 15x-marking on the other scope is just slightly off (which is of absolutely no practical consequences in a FFP scope), there may be a visible difference in the apparent size of the image, and so on with the other magnifications.

    The other possibility (that I had to confirm by taking some through-the-scope-pics myself) is different camera placement because of different eye relief. Longer maximum eye relief will allow you to place the camera further away from the scope, creating a smaller image of what the scope sees on the camera sensor.

    Also, diopter setting will have some influence on the resulting image size.

    To sum things up, "measuring" magnification by taking pictures does not work reliably due to several factors. My guess is that greater effective eye relief of the Premier is what's producing the result we see in these images, and the greater field of view produces the illusion of less magnification when viewed by eye. Any of the optical properties like magnification, eye relief or accuracy of the markings on the power ring can only be positively verified using proper equipment and technique. </div></div>

    I agree with what David is saying.

    I want to add; don't ever trust what the power ring says on the scope as 100% accurate, hi and low will most likely be dead on, but between the two can be off.

    The S&B scope is physically longer, longer EFL (focus from objective) will create more power. If I'm not mistaken both scopes are triplet objectives, so the comparison is fair. A doublet objective, to produce the same magnification, will almost always have a longer EFL. So based on physical size the S&B should have more magnification.

    I went back and forth with a customer for about 3 days about the relativity between FOV and magnification(you know who you are
    wink.gif
    ) This will play tricks with your head as to what true magnification is.
    John III
     

    DT1

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: rommel500</div><div class="ubbcode-body">To me it looks like the S&B has a reduced FOV compared to the premier.

    But my real question is which one had better glass?!
    cool.gif
    </div></div>

    Yes, that is the real question. Clearer glass = more important than a slight difference in magnification (imho)

    I certainly don't have an ax to grind with either mfg, but it looks to me like the S&B has a brighter and more clear image at 15x. Of course that may be due to slightly differing conditions or a variation in the way the camera was positioned.
     

    rommel500

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    So can the original poster say which one brought more optical clarity?
     

    lowlight

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    You can do it, it would require calibrating the camera used and purchasing the software used to test digital images and lenses.

    Once you have the software, and you have calibrated the camera to draw a base line, you then need a digiscoping set up that will house the scope and camera to standardize the distance the image would be taken at.

    The image from the shot taken through the scope can then be compared to the baseline image and reading giving you a computer developed test image which can be used to read the resolution.

    I have discussed this with the PHd that developed the software program used to test digital cameras, and this was his recommendation to me.
     

    dcjs

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    Please keep in mind that these pictures were taken with a smartphone camera and there is a number of ways to take pictures that do not represent what the eye sees. I've done quite some trials taking through the scope pictures and there really isn't a practical way around cross-checking the results with what the eye sees. The resulting images can be meaningful in some ways, chromatic aberration for example shows up pretty well in images, but for an overall assessment I will only regard images taken with a random digital camera as useful if a knowledgeable person confirms that they represent what can be seen with a calibrated MK1 eyeball.
    wink.gif


    In these pictures the Premier does indeed look downright crappy and they represent nothing close to the actual image quality you can expect. For some reason (maybe diopter or parallax setting) the camera did not cooperate with the scope, you can clearly see that the reticle isn't even in sharp focus. Not to blame BlackWiskey, he clearly stated that his intent was showing the difference in apparent magnification, and that's what he documented.

    Don't judge optical quality by these images since there is something distinctly wrong with the interaction of the scope and camera settings in the Heritage images.
     

    BlackWhiskey

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: rommel500</div><div class="ubbcode-body">So can the original poster say which one brought more optical clarity? </div></div>

    To my eye the Premier is brighter and clearer. Perhaps because it was made by American hands and my eyes can sense that
    wink.gif
    But really the S&B is a great scope and I wouldn't mind owning one myself if I had a few extra grand and another rifle to put it on.

    I tried taking a picture using a pretty good digital camera, but for some reason the camera had a difficult time focusing the image through the scope, so I was forced to take the pictures with my phone which was quite difficult. I think it may have worked if I had dismounted both scopes, but since it was my buddies S&B and not mine I figured it should remain attached.
     

    The Shottist

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: BlackWhiskey</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I see your argument but I guess my brain can't figure it out. The objects still look bigger in the S&B.</div></div> I measured the rocks and the rocks in each S&B pic are definitely larger.

    I have noticed the same when I compared NF to an IOR and when I compared Nikon Monarchs and Bushnells to Swarovski scopes. I believe when they make the scopes, the magnification is more of a relative number. When comparing brands, It is not uncommon to find a discrepancy between brands.
     

    azimutha

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    The Premier seems to have a wider FOV. As for the magnification seeming larger @ the same setting, e.g. 15X - either one scope or the other is not right on the advertised magnification. There's no way one could provide a bigger image of an object if they are both accurately calibrated. 15X is 15X is 15X. So either the S&B is over-magnifying @ 15X or the Premier is under-magnifying @ 15X (seems unlikely given the USMC verification) or the difference in FOV creates an optical illusion.

    Frankly, I see only a difference in FOV. The one identifiable feature in both pics that is within the subtensions seems to span 1 mil:

    sb_premier.jpg
     

    battson

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    Are both parallax adjusted correctly?

    The S&B looks a LOT clearer than the Premier, FOV or not, you can clearly see a sharper and brighter image of the target at any magnification, whatever it may be. What matters more than that if you're trying to see a target?

    S&B hands down IMHO... That is excellent European glass!
    cool.gif
     

    shooting4life

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    I don't understand why people think that a picture with a phone camera would give a fair representation of the quality of the glass one way or the other. Personaly I think it is a combination of the field of view being deceiving and the small error on the magnification ring. Maybe the s&b is at 15.3 power while the ph is at 14.8? Not a big deal as long as the reticle is correct.
     

    BlackWhiskey

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: hunterkiwi</div><div class="ubbcode-body">S&B hands down IMHO... That is excellent European glass!
    cool.gif
    </div></div>

    Premier glass is German too.
     

    gugubica

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    Does the S&B have an ARD on it?

    I have found in bright light conditions that the ARD on my PRH makes a huge difference in the image. It just transmits so much light that the image can appear washed out. The ARD makes a huge difference.
     

    300WSM

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    love how peeps are making a conclusion based on those pictures.

    any number of factors could make either one look "off".
     

    pappy42

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    I'm more interested in first hand observations in the field than photos. Dot drills, tracking etc.
     

    Falar

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    I'm usually one of the worst people when it comes to being able to tell the difference between glass. That being said, the S&B APPEARS to have a big advantage in detail there. However, I'm fully aware this may not be the case in real life and could be due to the photos.
     

    ToddM

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    This is the problem with comparing through scope pictures when all conditions are not equal. As lowlight said the only way to do this even remotely consistently is have a good camera where you can have the exact same aperture and shutter speed for both scopes, and even then anyone who has tried any digiscoping can tell you that even a tiny misalignment in the camera will cause serious changes in the exposure results. Somehow you'd have to do the math to make sure the exact same FOV was striking the camera sensor. Probably need some type of dual tube that could be adjusted for length.

    Take the last comparison pictures posted. The S&B and PH on 15x.

    At first glance on the through the scope cropped pics the PH seems brighter, but the S&B seems to have more detail. Also the PH reticule is much more washed out.

    Now go look back at the original pictures that show the whole scene and look at the brown house to the upper left and the sky's blue shade. It's pretty clear that the PH picture has a higher exposure, just eyeballing it it's probably close to a full stop more exposure.
     

    BlackWhiskey

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: gugubica</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Does the S&B have an ARD on it?

    I have found in bright light conditions that the ARD on my PRH makes a huge difference in the image. It just transmits so much light that the image can appear washed out. The ARD makes a huge difference. </div></div>

    The S&B had a sunshade and the Premier didn't. The sun was rising about 75-60 degrees to my left which could have washed out the image if there was enough internal reflection in the bell and the objective lens.

    But seriously gents, these pictures are from a phone. I highly recommend looking through them yourselves, outside and in different lighting conditions then decide from what you see there if one is clearer and brighter.
     

    azimutha

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    Anyone who has looked through Premier's glass knows that it's as good.
     

    maggitas

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    Out of curiosity are both Scopes FFP scopes? When using the Mildots on the scopes do they cover the same area? I agree with some that the FOV on the PH scope is wider, but the S&B appears to have a bit more magnification on the Higher setting. on the 15X setting the bush approximately halfway down the ridge appears bigger IMHO. Were these pictures taken at the same time of Day??
     

    Juanjo322

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    S&B, as a proud owner I will never look back.. everything else seems conventional.


    -Juanjo
     

    Top Cat

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: azimutha</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Frankly, I see only a difference in FOV. The one identifiable feature in both pics that is within the subtensions seems to span 1 mil:

    sb_premier.jpg
    </div></div>

    The objects will mill the same at any power because the distance is a constant, and these are both FFP scopes, but I agree with your conclusions regarding FOV.

    The apparent difference in the perceived size of the objects is due to the unknown factor in this test...knowing the TRUE magnification.

    The mag ring of either scope may or may not be accurate at any power indicated, and if the ring happens to be accurate at one power, it may not be accurate as the dial is turned up or down.

    What these pictures show is that the S&B has a higher true magnification at a given dial number, but if 5x is showing on the dial, true magnification could be 4.6 or 6.4. We can't tell that from the pictures.

    Without testing in a lab it is hard to tell what the true magnification actually is, but you might be able to get a close approximation by using a sheet of graph paper as a target.

    That may be an interesting test for the curious among us.

    TC

     

    psinclair

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    I've taken many hundreds of through the scope pics and will say this, its not an accurate way to evaluate clarity and resolution in comparing scope brands....its also very difficult to get everything lined up correctly.
     

    beenjammin

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    After owning them both, The only thing I liked better on the S&B was the side parallax on the S&B is much better for carry. The Premier is so large that it would stick into my back when carried. The S&B does not sitck out as far since the illumination is seperate.

    I now have a S&B.

    However, I liked the upgraded PH clicks better then the S&B. Since the PH has a a different feel for a 1 MIL increment vs .1 you always know when you hit the next 1 mil ( meaning going from say 1mil to 2 which is ten clicks) i know when I am there without even looking. THe S&B I have to look.
     

    brand692

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    I have to be honest. I have a PH and see no reason at all to ever go away from it.

    Plus, I hate that tunneling effect, and the PH doesn't have it.
     

    agent 99

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    Re: S&B & Premier power struggle?

    I have been using two of the Schmidt&Bender 3-12x50 Military version scopes for nearly three years. Recently, I obtained a Premier Heritage 3-15x50 Gen 2 scope, and looking through the Premier scope just seems to have a little more of a crisp resolution and clarity to it.

    The optical formula for the Premier glass was calculated only about three years ago. With the assistance of two design engineers along with a very sophisticated computer software program, Premier was able to address many of the optical abberations that the Schmidt&Bender older calculated optical formula fell victim to. As far as overall resolution, color contrast, and total distortion at the outer edges, Premier has the edge mainly because it features German glass that is more up to date than compared to the older optics design of the Schmidt&Bender.

    Later this year, Schmidt&Bender will be releasing a new 3-20x50 and a 1-8 variable scope with newer calculated optical glass, so it will be interesting to see the resolving power of these new scopes.