Few products we buy are as misunderstood as optics. Certainly we know what they do for us, but few understand the inner workings. Unfortunately, this mystery creates the opportunity for manufacturers to “spin” stories.

At STYRKA, we are founded on giving you an honest product for an honest price. No tall tales. No spin. In the end, we think an educated customer is a better customer. And more likely to be a STYRKA customer.

Here, then, is our series of straight-shooting videos that show and tell you the story behind what’s really inside your optics. We’ll keep adding more, so please check back. If there’s a topic you wish us to cover, please let us know.

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In the optics world, everyone provides a warranty. Many include the life of the optic, but softened with exclusions and restrictions. At STYRKA we offer more than a warranty; we make a commitment.

We call it STYRKA Pride. It’s the warranty to beat all warranties. It’s simple, direct and all about you, our customer. We want you to know, before you buy a STYRKA product, that we are committed to – and invested in – making sure you have a wonderful and world-class experience, forever.

It really is more than just a warranty. Not only will we take care of your STYRKA product if you ever have a problem, we’ll take care of it even if you don’t.

That’s right. Once a year, you can send us your STYRKA optic and we’ll clean it, tune it as needed and send it back to you virtually as good as new, on our dime. Forever. Yes, we're that serious.

Sum of the Parts

Seeing is Believing

A riflescope, binocular, spotting scope or any other optical device is only as good as the sum of its parts. An optic can use the best glass and coatings available, but if the design is not optimized for them, the product will not perform to its potential.

A good example of this is ED, or extra-low dispersion, glass. Just because an optic has ED glass does not always mean that it will outperform one without it. A good design utilizing standard glass can outperform an ED-glass optic when the design is poor.

Conversely, if an optic has a superior design, but inferior components are used, assembly is poor, or there is lack of quality control, the final performance can be adversely affected.

So, how do you make your decision? Seeing is believing. Whenever you buy an optic, make sure you look through it under a variety of lighting conditions and compare it with other optics in the same price category. Try to simulate conditions for typical hunting situations and note how the optics compare with one another. This will ensure that you are getting a product that will perform at that critical moment and get the best optic for your money.

ED Glass

In this segment of Honesty in Optics, we're going to talk about ED glass. Many people are confused by ED glass and what it does. Some think it’s a coating, but it’s actually a different type of lens material that's denser than standard optical glass. ED stands for “extra-low dispersion." Dispersion is the separation of light waves as they pass through optical glass. Dispersion is responsible for chromatic aberration, which is the inability of a lens to focus the various wavelengths of light into a single point.

When you view through an optical device, chromatic aberration can make the image look blurred or give the subject noticeable colored edges of blue, purple or yellow. Chromatic aberration is most obvious when viewing high-contrast objects.

ED glass, with these extra-low dispersion properties, reduces the light separation that occurs with other types of glass. With ED glass, you won’t notice colored edges, and the image will be clearer and sharper. ED glass also gives you truer colors, better contrast, increased resolution and superior low-light performance. Of course, there are different grades of ED glass that have different performance characteristics.

Now let’s talk about HD glass. With the popularity of HD TVs, some optics companies have chosen to refer to their ED glass as "HD glass." That's fine, but it's also the same as XD, UD, LD and other glasses. To make things even more confusing, some companies refer to their glass as HD yet still use standard optical glass. Rest assured, when STYRKA says “ED,” its premium, high-quality extra-low dispersion glass that will be clear and sharp.

Lens Coatings

A key limitation to any optic is reflection. When light strikes glass, 4 to 5% of that light reflects back. Since optics contain several lens elements, the cumulative reflection can greatly reduce overall light transmission, called throughput transmission, and optical performance.

Thankfully, some lens coatings can dramatically reduce reflection and increase performance. The result is enhanced brightness, contrast and resolution. As you’ve probably figured out, not all optics are coated the same by the various optical brands.

Lets look at some definitions: If a manufacturer says “coated lens” or “single coating,” there is a single lens surface somewhere in the optic with a coating. In other words, not all lens surfaces or lenses are coated. Fully coated means the manufacturer has coated all lens surfaces with a single layer.

Multiple coatings applied to a lens surface will increase the anti-reflective effectiveness. But, an optic that is "multi-coated" does not mean that all lens surfaces have been coated multiple times. Usually it means that only one lens surface has multiple coatings applied.

"Fully multi-coated" means that all air-to-glass lens surfaces are coated multiple times. This provides the best-quality image, and it's the process that we at STYRKA use on all of our products.

Light Transmission

vs Throughput Transmission

When looking to buy optics, you’ll notice references to both light transmission and throughput transmission. We want to clarify what these mean and the differences between the two. Let’s start with light transmission. Light transmission refers to the percentage of light that makes it through an individual lens surface.

Throughput transmission, on the other hand, is the compounded percentage of light that makes it through all lens surfaces and into your eye.

For example brand “X” may claim they have a 99.5% transmission rate. This is probably true for at least one lens surface, but let’s say that same optic has 12 lenses, for a total of 24 lens surfaces. If each of those lens surfaces has 99.5% light transmission, that means they each lose 0.5% light. This equates to a total throughput transmission of 88%. This is the number that really matters.

When researching your next optics purchase, look for total throughput transmission and not just the light transmission figure. The distinction will help you make an informed decision on the product you need and will help make sure your time in the field is more enjoyable and successful.

Lens Edge Blackening

Why It’s a Good Thing

You may or may not be aware that the rims or edges on some lenses are blackened. Lens blackening reduces the glare and reflection caused by stray light that reflects off of the edges of the lens.

Blackening the lens edges prevents stray light from reflecting back into the optical path. This increases overall image quality. Manufacturers typically blacken the outer edges of the objective lens and eyepiece, since they get subjected to the largest amount of stray light.

Think of it like the eye black that athletes wear. They do this to reduce reflection off their cheekbones, similar to reducing the unwanted reflection from the edge of an un-blackened optic lens.