The ZT8-24h40M – Zenica (ЗТ8-24х40М – Зеница) is a decent little spotting scope that dates back to the days of the Soviet Union.
But how does it compare to more modern scopes?
Beforehand: Not all ‘ЗТ8-24х40М‘ are equal. The one this review can be considered the real deal, while quality of others is often not satisfying. But more about the later!
Unlike the nickname Zenica (Зеница) of the ЗТ8-24х40М spotting scope might suggest, it is not made by Zenit (Зенит).
In fact it is produced by the Kazan Optical and Mechanical Plant (Казанский оптико-механический завод) or KOMZ/КОМЗ for short.
Similar to most other optical plants in the Soviet Union, they used to produce only for government orders only. However during the years of Perestroika, the company was able to also target the civilian market. Therefor the brand name Baigish was created, which you are maybe more familiar with.
The ЗТ8-24х40М – Зеница spotting scope is on of their products, which was created in that time. Although circumstances were rather difficult in that time it was a success and survived the collapse of the Soviet Union.
So to get the specification out of the way:
– the magnification is adjustable from 8x to 24x
– this translates to a field of view of 5° (decreasing with increased magnification of course)
– the objective lens diameter is 40mm
– the eye relief is somewhere between 20 and 30mm
– the focusing range starts at around 6m
– the weight of the scope itself is 530g
– the length of the scope is 300mm folded or 480mm when extended
Also the scope includes a 1/4″ tripod mount and lanyard mount as you can see right next to the KOMZ logo and serial number on the photos above.
Due to the high magnification (up to x40), it is a good idea to actually use the one that comes with the scope.
When it comes to the optical properties, the scope really starts to shine.
All the way to the the edges the image is very sharp/crisp and the Chromatic aberration is extremely low. Even with the 24x magnification it is barley visible.
It for sure plays in the same league as other scopes around the 300-500€ price point.
You can simply tell that lenses inside are very precisely made and coated.
I assume they are multi-coated, since it not only has a magenta like reflection, but also slightly different offset colors.
Even so due to the nature of the utilized lens arrangement, you will have a fairly high light loss in the system.
Combine that with a small aperture size of 40mm and one can see that this device is not best suited for low light conditions.
Even so that does not mean that it is impossible to use. If you give your eyes the time to adjust, it sort of works.
The focus and magnification can be adjusted very smoothly. That makes it it easy to zoom in onto a target, without loosing it in the process.
Also the rubber eyepiece can be unscrewed to use the scope with (protective) glasses/googles.
As I said earlier, the shortest focus range is around 6m using the 8x magnification. That is close enough for any application I can think of.
The overall build quality is decent. But due to the telescopic design it is not waterproof. So that is something to keep in mind.
What makes the ЗТ8-24х40М very handy in my opinion is the small size and weight.
To give you an idea compare it with the following scopes or binoculars (1 square = 1cm).
From right to left and top to bottom you see: ЗТМ4-20×50 , ЗТ8-24х40М , 08/15 spotting scope , Пеленг 7×55 , Бинокль бпц4 12×40.
One can see how this easily fits on your gear without being a burden.
So you are probably wondering where I was going to in the beginning about not all
ЗТ8-24х40М being equal.
There are two problems with most of the ones you will find for purchase:
They can be Chinese knock-offs. And those are just crap.
Actually many products by KOMZ were subject to counterfeit. Not only is the design stolen, but they also copied all the markings and even the packaging.
Many of the bad reviews about KOMZ products in reality just refer to the knock-offs, since most people do not even know they got scammed.
However from what I found, these knock-offs do not come (at least to this day!) with the warranty leaflet including all the stamps and signatures from the factory in it.
So this might be something to keep an eye on. Also if anyone is selling them for a price that is lower then inside Russia, something is definitely fishy.
The other thing is that KOMZ lowered the quality on some of their products considerable after 2009.
As far as I found out, around late 2009 a law has been passed allowing companies to design scopes, binoculars and such as they please.
Prior there existed requirements (by law) that had to be met. I am note sure why those existed in the first place. Maybe to establish made in Russia as quality standard for optics? Who knows…
From what I read in Russian forums the ‘updated’ (actually downgraded) version of the ЗТ8-24х40М is still okayish. But with a bit of search I am sure you will find pre-2009 version for the same price, which is around 80€ in Russia.
By the way, you will find the date of manufacture in the warranty leaflet.
So to sum it up:
If you find a pre-2009 for around ЗТ8-24х40М for a reasonable price (around 80€), do not hesitate. It is worth every cent at that price point, since it beats most other spotting scopes around that price range by far.
When it comes to its optical properties, it is definitely comparable with higher end products.
The build quality is good, but not excellent. It is not waterproof and has trouble in low-light conditions.
08.11.2016 – by netsplit for Gruppa L