Originally Posted by FSU Seminole
...What Zeiss has done some how is produce the same scope as the Swaro Z5 series for 500-600 dollars less...
I agree that the HD5 is a good value. I don't think it's equivalent to a Swaro Z5, though.
I just started a side-by-side comparison of the ZeIss HD5 3-15x42 and Swaro Z5 3.5-18x44. I'm not done yet, but one thing is immediately clear, the Z5 has a much better objective lens design. The Z5 has three lenses ("triplet"), while the HD5 has only two ("doublet"). The old Conquest scopes also have doublets in the objective.
When reticle is optically centered on both scopes, there isn't much difference in image quality. When I crank the elevation 24 MOA from center, however, the Z5 image stays sharp, while the HD5 loses resolution. I noticed that the Z5 also has lower glare ( higher contrast).
The HD5 is no worse in this "off-axis" resolution than other scopes at the same price point. There's only so much that an optical designer can do with a doublet design. To get better performance a triplet is needed, and that's what Swaro has done with the Z5. I've noticed that other scopes above the ~$1,300 price point tend to use triplet objectives. The Nightforce NXS line is an example.
I would not overlook the obvious differences in weight, either. While I'm not finished with this comparison, I can already see good reasons for the price difference between the HD5 and Z5 lines. I think both are good at their price points.