Introduction

 

S&B PMII 5-25×56 LP vs Minox ZP5 5-25×56

 

 

This time one we have two heavy-weight contestants, both representing Europe’s powerhouse – Germany. Minox as a company is probably most well known for its spy cameras from the middle of the 20th century, but it should be mentioned that they are one of the apex companies in the field of Optics. Schmidt & Bender, on the other hand, is a family started business, that traces its beginnings to the year 1957, manufacturing only rifle scopes they have become one of the flagship companies of optics manufacturers.

Size and weight:

 

A: Minox ZP5 5-25×56

B: Schmidt & Bender PMII 5-25×56 LP/P
Weight: 1100 g 1080 g
Length: 415 mm 416 mm
Tube diameter: 34 mm 34 mm
Diopter setting: -3 / +2.5 -3 / +2
Parallax adjustment: 50 m to infinity 10 m to infinity
Mounting with rail: Optional 3 Optional
Number of Colors: 3 – Black, RAL 8000 and PANTONE  1 – Black

Both scopes are quite big and heavy, weighing over a kg each. They are also long, reaching over 40 cm in length. Regarding size and weight, at least on paper, they seem almost equal. But do not let the bulky size get in your way, in the field of optics size does matter. Bigger lenses mean that more light can pass through and be collected for our eyes to observe, what is very important if you want to use the scope in low light situations.

A small, but noticeable difference between these two rifle scopes is the diopter setting, that goes from -3 to +2 on the S&B, and from -3 to +2.5 on the Minox. Minox also has an interesting diopter locking ring, to prevent accidental movent when the diopter is set to your eyes.

 

S&B PMII 5-25×56 LP vs Minox ZP5 5-25×56

Optical properties:

 

A: Minox ZP5 5-25×56

B: Schmidt & Bender PMII 5-25×56 LP/P
Minimal magnification: 25x 25x
Maximal magnification: 5x 5x
Zoom factor: 5 5
Maximal Field of View: 7.6 m / 100 m 5.3 m / 100 m
Minimal Field of View: 1.6 m / 100 m 1.5 m / 100 m
Minimal eye relief: 90 mm 90 mm
Light transmission – declared: > 90%
Central sharpness – subjective impression at 10x: 0 6
Edge sharpness – subjective impression at 10x: 3 4
Eye-box: 3 4
Tunneling effect at low magnifications: 7 0
FOV – subjective impression at highest mag: 4 3
Overall – subjective impression: 3 4
All in all (36 total points) 20 21

Glass quality is superb with both scopes. The big difference is with the field of view, which is much larger at low magnifications by the Minox, since it has no tunnel effect and it takes the advantage at low magnifications. On the other side of the magnification range, at 25x, there is almost no noticeable difference between these two high-end rifle scopes.

S&B takes the upper hand just slightly winning 21 out of 42 total points compared to 20 by Minox. The only serious draw-back by S&B is again the appalling tunnel effect, which is really obvious at low magnification. You see the tunnel effect almost to the magnification of 7x. With Minox, it is almost nondetectable.

Both scopes are very bright with good optical performance both in the center and at the edge. But S&B takes the prize when it comes to central sharpness. Although, this is always a matter of taste and everyone sees a little bit differently through the scope.

Reticle properties:

 

A: Minox ZP5 5-25×56

B: Schmidt & Bender PMII 5-25×56 LP/P
Focal plane: FFP FFP
Reticle illumination: Yes Yes
Daylight strong illumination: Yes No
Illumination intensity tuning: Yes Yes
Illuminated dot coverage:    
Minimal reticle thickness:    
Motion sensor:    
Auto turn-off: Yes Yes
Reticle styles:  11 in FFP and 3 in SFP  4

The reticles in these scopes are positioned in the first focal plane, what means they are meant for tactical applications, since you can use the reticles for distance estimation, hold-overs, and wind corrections. They both have tunable illumination with 11 intensity settings and an auto turn off feature to save energy when the scope is not in use. The difference by the illumination control is, that on the Minox there is an off click between each intensity level, so you can always come back to the desired illumination without clicking always to zero.

There are quite a few reticle designs from both companies for you to choose from, so they may please your specific needs.

Turret properties:

 

A: Minox ZP5 5-25×56

B: Schmidt & Bender PMII 5-25×56 LP
Turret Style: Tactical Tactical
Click value: 0.1 mrad 0.1 mrad
MTC function:  No  NO / as option
Number of turns: Double turn Double turn
Turn indication: CCW CCW
Zero stop:  Yes   Yes
Position locking:  No No
Elevation in one turn: 15 mrad 14 mrad
Total travel of turret: 28 mrad 28 mrad
BDC turret type:    
BDC turret accuracy:    
BDC turret flexibility:    
Turret size: 9/10 8/10
Elevation range: 28 mrad 28 mrad
Windage range: 12 mrad 12 mrad
Click sound 7/10 9/10
Click feeling 8/10 9/10
Ease of zeroing    

These tactical turrets are more or less traditional in design, with S&B having one more turret on the left side for illumination control. They are both double turn and they both have neet features for us to know in which turn we are. The turn position is marked by color, which changes from black to white (Minox) or black to yellow (S&B) when we change the turn. Both have 0.1 mrad click value, but you can order an S&B 5-25×56 rifle scope also in MOA/MOA subtensions, or even a reticle set in the second focal plane.

Regarding quality of built and the aspect of ease and pleasure of use, i have to say that i prefer the Schmidt and Bender turrets over Minox’s down to one reason – they felt so perfect in my hands. The sound is audible, the feeling is superb with all the clicks being felt as they should. Not a lot of room for improvement if i may say so. Minox, however, does not lack.

On the other side, also the clicks on the Minox feel very crisp and precise, but the turrets are easier to move. If the clicks aren’t strong enough for you on the Minox, you can send the rifle scope back and they will make them stronger and harder to turn.

Another difference between these two rifle scopes is the parallax turret. On the Schmidt & Bender, the parallax goes from 10 meters to infinity and has marks for different distances for a rough estimate. Minox decided not to make these marks, and that’s why they made only a visual mark of a conical shape. The parallax on the Minox goes from 50 meters to infinity.

If we come to the downsides, both rifle scopes have only a visual turn indicator, which is in my opinion not the best solution, because it is barely visible in low light conditions. A mechanical indicator would be a much better solution. Schmidt & Bender has an option also for this matter, because you can order the same model with different turret options that feature a mechanical turn indicator, and also a turret locking function. But those features come with an extra price, that cost you additional 250 euros.

 

S&B PMII 5-25×56 LP vs Minox ZP5 5-25×56

 

General properties:

 

A: Minox ZP5 5-25×56

B: Schmidt & Bender PMII 5-25×56 LP
Made in: Germany Germany
Introduced in: 2014
Available original accessories:    
Warranty period: 30 years 2 years
MRSP Price: 2799 € 2979 €

When it comes to quality and reputation there are not a lot of countries that do it better than Germany. This is also the case with our tested products, they were manufactured in Germany. They cost well over 2500 € but under 3000 € with warranty reaching astonishing 30 years with Minox and just 2 years with S&B.

But do not let the short warranty period divert you, as S&B is so confident in their products it does not provide a longer warranty period for any of its products. The other reason for such a short warranty period is the superb service and customer support effort provided and nourished by S&B. They are a company specialized only in rifle scopes and they are doing one of the best jobs at it.

Conclusion

When it comes to optical properties Schmidt & Bender is slightly all round better, except in the field of view, this is Schmidt & Bender’s biggest issue – tunnel effect. Here it gets a total of 0 points, so if you are planning to use one of these scopes at the lowest magnification it’s better to choose the Minox. However, Schmidt & Bender points when it comes to customization because you can choose between 3 different turrets if you don’t like these.

In all aspects, both rifle scopes are very similar and great for any kind of use and are surely the best two rifle scopes in this category. The biggest difference is, that Minox comes with a great warranty of 30 years, instead of 2 years by Schmidt & Bender.

 

Disclaimer

We would like to thank Optics Trade for letting us use and test the above-mentioned products. We also thank them for letting us use their videos.

This featured test is impartial and we always try our best not to prejudice and favor one product over the other. Our team of enthusiasts who tests these products and writes these articles is doing it from dedication, as rifle scopes are our big passion. We also feel a great amount of joy and satisfaction when we know that we have contributed and shared with you our experiences. We try not to be biased and try to be as accurate as possible when interpreting our sightings. We will do our best to described things as they really are.

How the testing is done:

Our team comprises of two enthusiasts who write the articles for hobby and our very helpful unbiased friends who help us make the evaluations, such as the optical characteristics. As we are volunteers/enthusiasts we are not always present in the same numbers. Our ranks can fluctuate from 5 to around 8 people at the time of a test. Other than the two of us who are responsible for writing the articles our friends have almost zero experience in rifle scopes. They have no prejudice and are as such perfect for our objective observations. None-the-less we always try our best to hide all the labels that can give away the products ID. For that reason, we mount the rifle scopes in parallel on a special stand and cover them so the brand names are not visible.

We accurately fine tune the parallax on all the testing products for observing trees and buildings at 350 m and each person sets the diopter for their specific needs.

After we are sure that the test can be done without preferations we ask our volunteers to test the following parameters:

  • Central sharpness – subjective impression at 10x,
  • Edge sharpness – subjective impression at 10x,
  • Eye-box,
  • Tunneling effect at low magnifications,
  • FOV – subjective impression at 10x.

In this article, we tested optical properties with 6 volunteers, which have no experiences with tactical scopes and have no bias towards any of these two brands. To be exact none of the volunteers even knew any of these two brands before the test. Both scopes were mounted in parallel and people observed trees and buildings about 350 meters away. Parallax was fine tunned before the test and each person also adjusted the diopter setting for himself. From 5 volunteers 3 were women and 2 were men.

 

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