Now guys, tell me, there has got to be some tool out there that can measure light through scopes, cameras, ect. I think Zeiss, Swarovski, or somebody has something. Wouldn't that end all arguments? What'cha think?
That has been done in the past but since products and coating continually change and sometimes improve, that data is only relevant to the scopes tested.
Ability to see in low light is very important to hunters but so is resolution, depth and width of field, glare control, and to some, colour correctness.
In general, all top end scopes are fully multicoated and these coating pretty much work the same. We are now at 99.5% light transmission PER lens surface.
So the best scopes are going to transmit around 95% of incoming light, all things and number of lenses being equal.
Beyond that personal preferences will play a large role in what "looks" best.
I doubt there will ever be one best scope but there will be products that will stand out during any production year. Right now, I think the hat is in Nikon's court. Very innovative products and excellent optics. Burris/Pentax are probably niping at their heels. Bushnell/B&L and Leupold seem to be resting on past tech so not quite on the leading edge anymore.
IOR has certainly made solid inroads with good performance. As has Nightforce. But these are very expensive products and you expect performance at this price point.
The key is bringing up the performance of affordable products. That is where I feel the Asian brands have an edge.
Now that's an idea, you could point the binocs, scope, whatever, toward a blank white wall and place a flash meter up against the rear lens, maybe block out extraneous light with a piece of black tape, pop the flash and take a reading. Simple. Compare all readings and this will tell which lets in how much light. Most flash meters will read in EV as well as f. For a control, you simply pop the flash and take a reading. This should give a relative reading on any optical device.
Thanks for the replys guys. Jerry, most is what I have learned about lens systems. I agree about Nikon, and making some other brands more affordable.
dbhostler-would like to see some tests like that, although it might not show contrast, or some other things.