Re: SWFA 3-15x42 Who got one?
OK, I’ve spent some time now comparing glass on this thing and now I’m even more impressed. Lots of people were asking how it is compared with the SS 3-9:
With both set on 9X, the 3-15 has noticeably better resolution than my 3-9. It’s a pretty noticeable difference. Now resolution isn’t the only thing that matters—the 3-9 has a larger FOV power for power, and a larger apparent FOV (due in part to shorter eye relief). The 3-9 also has the edge in apparent brightness—though that may be somewhat an illusion caused by the shorter eye relief and larger apparent FOV. I don’t think the difference is ever large enough you can see something with the 3-9 you can’t with the 3-15, the 3-9 just “seems” a bit brighter. Both handle stray light very well. In short, if you’re happy with the 3-9 glass you’ll be even happier with the 3-15—especially if seeing detail at long range is what’s most important to you.
With the thicker center lines in the reticle, the 3-9 has an edge in low light if taking medium range shots on 3X where seeing those lines is important. On higher powers more appropriate to the range the 3-15 does fine. At closer ranges, even on 3X, it doesn’t really matter as both have the same sized posts for fast “point and shoot” vital zone shots.
Compared with the 16X fixed SS Classic, the 3-15 is really impressive. While the 16X is close in resolution, you notice when you compare them side by side it has a veiling flare that is not present in the 3-15 making the 3-15 look significantly more “clear.” As light gets dimmer this difference becomes more apparent and at a point the 16X is hard to look through/no longer usable, the 3-15X still looks great. Of course the fixed 16X was never meant to be a low light scope—in good light, especially on paper targets the 16X looks just fine. But when looking into the trees, etc, and especially as the light gets dimmer, the 3-15 jumps way out in front. People wondering why it’s so much more expensive than the rest of the classic series need only do one quick comparison like this to see where a big chunk of that money went.
Compared with the PST 6-24, the two are very close. Now my particular 6-24 has really, really good glass for the price range—for those who remember it was dramatically better than the two 4-16 PST’s I had. Comparing the two scopes side by side it’s on 15X difficult to tell the difference. The resolution is so close it’s hard to call a winner. The colors on the PST might look a tad better. As the light gets dimmer, the PST starts to show a small advantage on the higher powers as it should with the larger objective. So overall I’d have to give the slight edge to the PST, but they’re close enough you won’t notice the difference unless you’re really, really looking for it.
The PST obviously can be turned up to 24X for more detail at long range, the 3-15 has a FOV on 3X more than twice the size of the PST’s on 6X for use at close range. The SS has around double the amount of travel. Two excellent scopes in this price range offering different features so one can select the scope best suited to his application and make a good choice either way. I like them both.
After doing that I can say without a doubt the 3-15SS is dramatically better than the two 4-16 PST’s I had. Beyond the resolution and CA, the 4-16’s had a noticeable veiling flare that is not present with the 6-24 or the SS 3-15. But as I’ve said, that was some time ago, I’ll leave it to others with more recent models to do an in-depth comparo.
I did compare it to the 5-20 HD as well, and as you may expect the HD wins pretty easily. The difference isn’t as huge or noticeable as you may expect though if you’ve used the other fixed SS classics. The 3-15 is in another ballpark compared with them in my opinion. Considering the reticle, the turrets, the travel, etc, the 3-15 is a heck of a scope for its price.