ED Glass

Discussion in 'Scopes, Optics, LRFs, Spotters, BoreScopes' started by mike a, Jul 3, 2019.

  1. mike a

    mike a Gold $$ Contributor

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    So I read up on it a bit. But is it worth the extra 1k? I can see 6 mm holes at 500 early morning. Can ED glass make me see them at 600. I've never looked through one. Will it blow me away and make me dump the extra money right away. Or should I wait cause something better is just around the corner? Mike
     
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  2. Raythemanroe

    Raythemanroe Bullet Whisperer Silver $$ Contributor

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    Don't sell what you have but if you are in the market for a new scope then why not?

    Ray
     
  3. dstoenner

    dstoenner Silver $$ Contributor

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    The issue with nonED scope designs is that the front elements have very short focal lengths which causes chromatic aberrations to be worse. These aberrations have the effect of making edges to not appear sharp and in general make the whole image have less contrast. Remember those really long Unertls? They had very long focal front elements so they had less chromatic aberrations.

    So yes, in general, ED glass is better. What happens is that once the scope company pays money for ED glass up front they then have to put a better eyepiece to show it off and as the price rises then customers expect outstanding turrets and repeatability so the price climbs even more.

    Seeing bullet holes at long distances depends on many things. That is a whole topic in its own right. ED can help because contrast is part of the equation. With my NXS 8-32x56
    I have seen bullet holes in the number boards at 600 yards and the pasters on the target face at 1000 yards when a cloud comes by and the mirage calms down.

    David
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2019
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  4. Ledd Slinger

    Ledd Slinger Gold $$ Contributor

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    What magnification level are you using to see 6mm holes at 500 yards?

    Just like any other glass, there are different levels of quality in ED glass. Youre gonna pay more for the top ED glass. Is it worth the money? From my experience, I would say absolutely.
     
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  5. Zero333

    Zero333 Silver $$ Contributor

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    I think it's worth it.

    I rather have 1 scope with ED glass than 2 without. Get one top tier scope and swap it around a couple different rifles. After all, you can only shoot 1 rifle at a time and swapping the scope takes 1 minute. Just write down your different zeros. I've done this and never had an issue.
     
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  6. Turbulent Turtle

    Turbulent Turtle F-TR competitor

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    You seem to think that ED glass is some newfangled technology; it's not. ED was invented by Nikon in the 1960s for their camera lenses to cure chromatic aberration or at least attenuate it. The best material for negating CA in lenses is fluorite glass and there are camera lenses with such lenses, but they are very pricey. The issues with fluorite glass are: fragility, vulnerability to condition changes (hot and cold), and difficulty in making larger elements. All this translates to (much) higher costs. For photographers, controlling CA was critical and so, they would spend the money for these very pricey lenses. Of course, now that everything is digital, CA is less important because it can easily be eradicated in PP. However, for spotting scopes and riflescopes, where the image is used in real time, no PP, ED does make a difference. Riflescope makers started using ED elements in their designs around the turn of the millennium.

    There are not many glassmakers around the world so most ED glass comes from the same few glassmakers. Nikon introduced Super ED some years back, which take the CA-attenuation capabilities of ED glass a little further; getting closer still to the capabilities of fluorite glass. It's in some of their camera lenses and now riflescope makers like March are incorporating Super-ED lens elements in the riflescope. If you have a scope with ED glass in it, the Super ED is just a tick better but in my case, it was not worth dumping my current March for a new one with Super-ED. If I were to go from regular glass riflescope to an ED glass riflescope, I would go straight to the Super ED glass.

    You will not find a riflescope with fluorite glass. I think there was one but it was on a price level of its own and I think it's been discontinued. Fluorite glass just doesn't do well on a riflescope with its attendant shocks, hits and exposure to various changing conditions.

    All advances in glass that we get in riflescopes are first introduced in camera lenses. That started with coating, multi-coating and fully multi-coated elements and then ED and Super-ED. Currently, there is nothing in camera lens glass that is new beyond Super-ED. We've already discussed fluorite. The camera lens maker may be cooking up a follow on to Super ED (Ultra ED?), but for now it does not exist. Coatings are always being worked on and improved but it seems to be all incremental eight now.

    On the other hand, the camera and camera lens maker are concentrating on the digital components and that may well be what could come next to riflescopes. But if your hesitating buying a new riflescope because you're thinking there's gonna be a new glass paradigm shortly, I think you put that concern aside for now.

    Then again, watch the riflescope makers come out with glass that pierces fog, mirage and the gloom of night next week and cheaper than ED glass.:)
     
  7. Fred Bohl

    Fred Bohl Gold $$ Contributor

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    TT, good update summary.

    However, I think the "Super-ED" has done a good job of reducing the chromatic aberrations in our scopes. The next step will probably be to include Aspheric Lenses in the scope design to reduce spherical aberration. probably the small lenses in the parallax and/or erector sets.
     
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  8. swd

    swd Silver $$ Contributor

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    It's kinda like really good steak, once you've had it it's hard to go back.
     
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  9. Turbulent Turtle

    Turbulent Turtle F-TR competitor

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    Yes, ED and Super-ED has done a great job attenuating CA, and you can readily see that with the higher contrast and overall "pop" of the picture in these scopes. Aspheric lenses are already in camera lenses, but they do not do anything for contrast or color definition; they are more generally used in wide-angle or fast normal lenses to control aberration in those lenses. As you well imagine, a riflescope is definitely NOT a wide-angle or anything near a fast normal lens.

    I have an aspheric lens element in my 10-20mm-F3.5 wide-angle lens for my camera.
     
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  10. Ledd Slinger

    Ledd Slinger Gold $$ Contributor

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    I noticed Vortex introduced the new Razor UHD (Ultra HD) binoculars. They are priced up closer with the big dogs so should be pretty good.

    Wonder if they have the Ultra HD glass you're talking about?...
    https://vortexoptics.com/binoculars/razor-uhd-binoculars.html
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
  11. Turbulent Turtle

    Turbulent Turtle F-TR competitor

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    I very much doubt it. Vortex is in no way capable of producing such a thing. It's probably some marketing term they invented; just like I concocted the Ultra-HD moniker.
     
  12. Ledd Slinger

    Ledd Slinger Gold $$ Contributor

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    Yeah I doubt it too, but "Vortex" does not make the glass. Made in Japan and we know they can make some of the best glass.
     
  13. Turbulent Turtle

    Turbulent Turtle F-TR competitor

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    The state of the art in consumer glass, as I understand it, is optical glass, ED glass and more recently Super-ED glass (and fluorite but not for riflescopes.) I know other manufacturers probably make something equivalent to Nikon's ED and Super-ED glass, I just don't know who they are, where they make it, and what they call it. The whole industry is shrouded in secrecy about provenance and customers and so on. I hear lots of strange stories and rumors.

    Nikon is in Japan.

    When a riflescope maker says they use ED glass, does that mean they are using Nikon glass? Perhaps, maybe even, probably. When they say they are using Super-ED does THAT mean they use Nikon glass? Probably.

    When someone says they are using Ultra-HD or UHD glass, what does that mean? I means whatever they want it to think it means. I think the HD means High Definition or High Density, whereas the ED in Nikon's parlance means Extra-low Dispersion, the raison d'etre for this type of glass; to reduce the dispersion of the various wavelengths that creates chromatic aberration. The UHD or HD may be just a marketing gimmick, just like the HD sunglasses advertised on TV that sell for $19.95 and if you order now, they'll double the offer; you just pay for (triple) shipping and handling.

    Anyway, that's my thinking, flawed as it is.
     
  14. riverwolf1

    riverwolf1 Silver $$ Contributor

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    I read a few years ago that most all glass for scopes and binoculars come from Japan, with only 2 companies that manufacture and grind their own glass. I can only remember the one company that makes all their own components and assembles them an that is Schmidt & Bender.
    Most scope company’s go to Japan and meet with the glass manufacturers and tell them about the scope and the price point and the manufacturer tells them what glass and coatings they can provide for that price point.
    As for ED Glass, I have a spotting scope that has it and it is absolutely the best spotting scope I have ever looked through. I used to have an old Bauch & Lomb and it was nice and clear but nothing like this ED glass!
     
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  15. Turbulent Turtle

    Turbulent Turtle F-TR competitor

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    In general, generalities are generally wrong.

    Lots of glass comes from Japan, and China, and USA, and Germany and other places. Some companies are present in several countries.

    I do not believe that S&B makes their own glass; I think they buy a lot from Schott, which is a subsidiary of Carl Zeiss foundation.

    As for comparing old rifle/spotting scopes to current technology, one needs to keep in mind a few things.
    Any binoculars/spotting scope/riflescope made before the mid-70s did not have any coated glass. Even after that time, lens coating was not widespread and definitely not the fully multi-coated stuff we have now.
    Lens coating was a huge boost in IQ (image quality) for optics. I have a pair of B&L binos from the late 60s and while the glass is fine and clear; the image is washed out and it gets dark quickly. ED glass just makes the whole image pop and makes for superior contrast especially as you look further away from the center of the image. A lot of shooters only concentrate on the middle of the image, but those of us who observe happenings through the riflescope, really appreciate the IQ from the ED glass all over the image.

    Comparing a 70s optics to a modern fully coated ED or Super-ED optics is like comparing a Model T to a Navigator (to stay within the same brand/familty.)
     
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  16. Ledd Slinger

    Ledd Slinger Gold $$ Contributor

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    "Light Optical Works" (LOW) in Japan is a large high end optical manufacturer in Japan that makes glass and optics for many different high end rifle scope brands. Then you also have "Kowa" in Japan. LOW and Kowa make some of the best glass available. Most all of the high end $2000+ riflescopes you see on the market with top level Japanese ED glass get it from LOW. Kowa is a world renowned top level manufacturer in the optical industry for photography and sporting optics. They both make outstanding ED glass that easily rivals or surpasses the quality put out by Nikon. What levels, as far as super-ED or Ultra ED, they all make is unknown to me.

    Although LOW makes glass for many companies, I have never heard of any other company using Kowa glass in their optics. I believe Kowa only makes glass for optics under their own name. I may be wrong on this.

    Some companies actually use high density glass for HD optics where others just use better coatings on the same sub par glass. So yeah, I also think it is basically a term that is thrown around too freely by some brands for marketing purposes.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
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  17. Turbulent Turtle

    Turbulent Turtle F-TR competitor

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    Just to be clear; "Ultra ED" is not a thing. Currently. Who knows if it will ever be.
     
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  18. Ledd Slinger

    Ledd Slinger Gold $$ Contributor

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    I think the prefixes "super" and "ultra" will start to be thrown around for marketing like "HD". I don't know what specifies Super or Ultra ED glass over standard ED. Doesnt really make much difference to me either. If a company says that glass is Super or Ultra ED I cant disagree because I cant test the glass elements. I only believe what my eyes see when I look through an optic.
     
  19. Turbulent Turtle

    Turbulent Turtle F-TR competitor

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  20. Turbulent Turtle

    Turbulent Turtle F-TR competitor

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    In the link above, one technology listed has me wondering if we would ever see transfer over to riflescopes; that's Phased Fresnel, (PF). This would be great for lighter, smaller scopes with very high magnification.
     

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