Zeiss Victory Varipoint 1.1-4x24mm T* Shot Show 2012 mini-review
By Les (Jim) Fischer (BigJimFish on AR15.com and Snipershide)
February 17, 2012
Zeiss is one of the oldest and best respected optics makers in the world and, in addition to Nikon, is one of the elephants in the room. Zeiss manufactures several lines of scopes. The mid-range Conquest line of scopes is assembled in the U.S., whereas the higher lines, such as the Conquest Duralyt line, Victory line and Hensoldt brands, are made in Germany. The scope we will be examining today is the Victory Varipoint 1.1-4x24mm.
The first thing to note about this scope is that it does appear unmagnified at 1x. As I have explained in the introduction to my low power variable scopes thread (as well as countless other times): how magnification is measured varies in European and American tradition. Typically, European scopes measure the magnification of a scope using the optics equations themselves. Since these are idealized physics equations that make assumptions, such as that lenses do not have thickness, they are a bit off in practice. The result of this is that to get a scope that appears 1x to the user, its equations will indicate a magnification of around 1.1x. Americans typically just list the scope as 1x if it looks 1x. This might be all well and good except that occasionally we also label scopes of 1.25x as 1x; confusing the hell out of everybody. In any case, if you want to know if this scope will appear unmagnified in use; it will.
The Victory 1.1-4x has a very similar external appearance to my Conquest 4.5-14x. Zeiss uses this shiny textured black finish that I do not find very attractive on its scopes, but that is one of the most durable finishes I have ever seen on any optic. I remember a salesperson years ago demonstrating this finish by sanding the edges of a quarter with a scope; causing no distress to the scope (not recommended). As much as I prefer other company’s finishes on the day of purchase: five years later, the Zeiss always looks better. I have no scratches on my Zeiss 4.5-14x. I can’t even say that for my USO, which uses mil spec type III hard anodizing as its finish.
The Zeiss Victory Varipoint 1.1-4x24mm next to the GRSC reference:
In addition to the finish, this Zeiss also appears to share the same adjustments as my 4.5-14x scope. These are 1/4moa, very small, capped adjustments that lift up to set zero and push down to turn. They are very stiff and, given their small size and weight, accomplish the goal of a ‘set and forget’ adjustment very well. As I’m sure you can guess in a scope of this price point, the power ring and diopter feel just fine.
This scope comes in two reticles: the German #4 and a simple flash dot. No ranging is offered by either reticle and, coupled with adjustments well-sized for ‘set and forget’ use, this scope does not attempt to extend its use beyond a few hundred yards. It is possible that something is to be said for this. Many scopes in this class seem unwilling to make a decision as to what they want to do well. They might have giant, heavy adjustments for drop compensation but no ranging features to facilitate that function. The Zeiss simply opts to go with the close quarters only theme and, particularly with the flash dot reticle, executes this well.
Speaking of the flash dot, The feature that most recommends this scope is the illumination. It utilizes a daytime bright dot illumination scheme with infinitely adjustable rheostat. There are very few daytime bright flash dot type scopes in this class and the Zeiss is one of them.
I think that the best place to leave this discussion is with the clarity and field of view. The field of view is larger than the reference GRSC and the clarity is better, too. This is despite the fact that the Zeiss is much lighter. The biggest difficulty this scope will have is arguing that at this price range it should be close quarters only and limited to 4x. The Swarovski is similarly priced, similarly featured, and 1-6x.
The Zeiss Victory Varipoint 1.1-4x24mm at 1x with maximum illumination:
The Zeiss Victory Varipoint 1.1-4x24mm at 4x with maximum illumination: