Originally Posted by drenner43
I agree completely it isn't a bad scope. In no way did I mean to degrade the Pentax. Just wondered if the Swarovski was quite a bit better. The weather was clear and cold, with a little bit of wind. Sunny but slightly overcast. The bull was not in brush however there was a lot of background whether it be tall weeds, Sage brush, and scrub oak. I do not need any vision correction.
The Swarovski is a better scope in terms of color fidelity, field of view, eye relief, viewing comfort and digiscoping accessories. In terms of resolution in the center of the field of view, however, I think it would be difficult for even highly trained observers to tell the difference.
If the Pentax wasn't working for me in that situation, I would look at other factors before replacing it. Turbulence-induced blur seems unlikely in cold temps with overcast skies, unless you were looking across very flat terrain. The focus adjustment compensates for near- and far-sightedness, but not astigmatism. If you had astigmatism, you would probably know it. Tripod shake is another possibility, but you probably would have noticed that.
Low image contrast seems to be a more likely scenario. Poor image contrast due to the background being similar in color to the elk antlers is possible. If the optics were not clean, you could have lost contrast due to light scattering off the objective lens surface. Also, an overcast sky can cause contrast problems, especially when facing the sun low on the horizon. Did you have the sun shade pulled out?
The Swarovski scope probably does have higher contrast under adverse lighting conditions, but I could not say for sure because I haven't done a side-by-side comparison.