Zeiss Terra 4-12x50
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- Last updated: 28/02/2017
Today, with access to so many more markets and pricing regimes, the shooter is becoming more and more savvy in what they spend! It’s no surprise then that many of the major optical manufacturers are now producing scopes that will appeal to more of the shooting community.
For many, the £1000 or £2000 plus scopes are way out of their reach and in truth unnecessary, for those wanting something effective for your average stalking/varmint rifle; if so, £500 is more than a good enough price point. Some major manufacturers have realised they have almost priced themselves out of the market and are losing sales in this the biggest consumer area. Many are now looking East for cheaper alternatives, yet keeping their own design and build quality ethics.
Zeiss have designed a range of scopes and binoculars aimed at money conscious shooters but who still want the ‘confidence and cache’ of the little blue badge! Their Terra range has glass made in Japan, which instantly makes a difference from that produced in China or the Philippines. For the price, you can see that there is better low light performance and clarity, yet still keeping integrity and build quality up. This is not their first foray into the budget world, as they launched their (German made) Duralyt range a few years ago and they proved popular. However, the new Terra models have been designed with fewer features to keep the cost down and are now made in Japan!
I had a Zeiss Terra 4-12x50mm on test, which is part of a range of scopes that also includes 2-7 x 32mm, 3-9x42mm. They have a 1” body tube, but with a good 4-12x power magnification range, coupled to a 50mm objective lens. So this gives a broad range of magnification options for close shots in the woods or longer distances out on the hill or large fields. The 50mm objective is also a good size, as it allows enough light in for dawn and dusk shooting, yet allows the scope to mount lower to a rifle than say a 56mm objective model would. The finish is the usual Zeiss satin black anodising to the aluminium body.
Its 1” tube also makes the Terra lighter at 496 grams and still trim enough not to look out of place on a small stalking rifle or small .22LR rimfire or 22WMR or 17HMR. The zoom range is good at 4 - 12x but there is no parallax adjustment, so at close range (below 50 yards) for say a rimfire or air rifle, 10x is probably the maximum you can use and still keep things in focus. The mag adjusts from left to right and has a serrated zoom ring and raised knob for a nice grip and smooth operation. The eyepiece has your typical fast-focus adjustment and is rubber edged for your protection. The objective lens is set back from the rim, so providing some protection and it is threaded so that a sun shade could be fitted, although I did not see one listed.
Continuing their ‘keep it simple’ concept, Zeiss has gone for a more universal adjustment range of ¼MOA clicks at 100 yards; in preference to the more European 1cm @ 100m that German or Austrian scopes have always offered. Truth is, ¼MOA is a better value, as it’s not too fine but offers better zeroing capabilities! Remove the plastic caps to reveal the turrets, which are divided into 18 segments of 4-clicks each, so plenty of adjustment range. They are smooth and move precisely and audibly with no backlash at all, which really is good. These are obviously precision made, so reliable in even the toughest handling conditions, which is just as important as lens quality.
The lens are all coated with the MC anti reflective application of German design, which certainly contributes to the bright and higher contrast image from the Terra. You can see this by the very good edge to edge clarity and the flat and crisp image with no fisheye look at lower powers. This is where the Japanese lenses really pay dividends.
OK; this is not a Zeiss Victory V8 with Schott HD glass, but image quality and light gathering abilities are still really good in truth. For 90% of your needs I doubt shooters will know the difference, or need it, hence the good price and appeal to budget conscious users.
Also, to keep things simple and costs down, the Terra has no illumination and only has one reticule choice is offered, being the Z-Plex design. This is ideal for most needs, as it has highly visible four posts that taper at the ends to a fine cross hair, so you can see it all even in low light and the centre cross does not obscure the target you are aiming at. Frankly, it’s a bargain, it has the Zeiss name and build quality, is very good and to the majority of shooters the Terra will be all they need at an affordable price tag!
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