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5x zoom vs 3x zoom

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Unread 05-14-2013, 01:02 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 26
5x zoom vs 3x zoom

So my new Conquest HD5 5-25 has 5x zoom factor, and my conquest 6.5-20 has 3x zoom. I cant find anything in Zeiss website that helps me understand the difference. they have this in their FAQ:

What is the difference in magnification ranges between the CONQUEST MC riflescopes and the new CONQUEST HD5 riflescopes?
The new CONQUEST HD5 riflescopes feature a magnification that is a 5x zoom factor, i.e. 2-10x in the 2-10x42 CONQUEST HD 5 versus a 3x zoom in the older CONQUEST MC riflescopes; for example the CONQUEST MC 3-9x40.

I know technically there is a difference. You take the highest magnification and divide it by the lowest and it gives u the zoom factor. i guess I'm just confused about what difference am I supposed to see when I compare the 2 in real life?? When I put both of my scopes on 10x zoom, for example, and point at the same target, I dont see any difference between the 2. Am I even supposed to see any difference?? Or does it simply mean that I can magnify the image 5 times from the lowest zoom to the highest and thats it?? When Zeiss says "High resolution 5x zoom for ultimate versatility" in their brochure, is this just a typical marketing BS or the resolution for 5x zoom is actually better than the 3x?
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Unread 05-14-2013, 01:49 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Northern Utah
Posts: 1,154
Re: 5x zoom vs 3x zoom

Most people would argue (myself included) that 5x is better. A great example is a 3-9 or 3-15 scope; which would you rather have? If the scopes are of similar quality and objective size they will appear to have the same image quality at all powers from 3 through 9 but the 5x scope will allow you to zoom all the way up to 15x. Who wouldn't want the extra power on the upper end without sacrificing the field of view by maintaining the same lower level powers?
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Unread 05-16-2013, 08:10 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 268
Re: 5x zoom vs 3x zoom

Most things in optics are a trade off.
Weight, eye box, length, field of view, and eye relief are a few of the variables.

As a for instance the Nightforce 5-25 is perfect in every way but weight.
Have a look at the scopes in question.
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Unread 05-16-2013, 08:37 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,125
Re: 5x zoom vs 3x zoom

5X is more versitile, but if that is valuable depends on how you shoot.

For instance, if you stalk woods into clearings, a 6-18 may not give you the low end to snap-shot close range in cover. A 3-9 may not give you the magnification you want in a clearing. A 3.6-18 let's you do both.

If you shoot targets only at medium to long range, you might get a very high magnification and never crank it down, so 5X does you no good (you don't need to have low-end). Same goes if you only shoot using low magnification.
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