Lens power

Ask the experts.

I have read various technical articles about lens magnification and asked some other archers and they say a 1.0 lens is too much magnification too hold still but for me it gives me the best aiming/execution combination, what should I do?

A 1.0 lens (1.0 is the measurement in dioptres) is a reasonably high magnification scope with the norm being used by most target archers being between 0.5-0.8 dioptre. The level of magnification of any lens is linked to the distance it is from the eye so a 1.0 dioptre lens 24 inches from the eye will give you a lower magnification than a 0.75, 35 inches from your eye.

In choosing a magnification I would always advise picking a lens that gives you the best execution. This is directly linked to how well you are “framing” the target in the scope. The overall picture that is seen through the scope is vitally important, where possible I would always advise using a scope which allows the target face to fill the scope lens at full draw. This allows the eye to frame a picture rather just using the reference of a dot in the gold to aim.


As an experiment take a 1.0 lens and shoot it at 18m on a 40cm face (this should give you a “7 and in” picture on a 24 inch draw length and “8 and in” on a 28 inch draw. Don’t bother to put a dot on your scope to begin with and just put the target symmetrically in the scope (x in middle of lens) shoot a 30 arrow score with this set up, working hard to look at the target rather than chasing a dot. I promise you will be surprised how well you score and how good the execution is. Now you have a benchmark for execution, add a small (1 or 2mm) dot to the scope and shoot 30 arrows, if you keep “framing rather than aiming” you should not see a drop in execution and a slight increase in accuracy.

Another way of seeing this effect is to shoot a “normal” lens 0.75 at 50m on an 80cm face and score 36 arrows, then change to a 5 zone scoring 80cm face which will appear smaller in the lens than the 10 zone scoring target. If your execution and/or scoring are worse with the 5 zone target then goto a bigger dioptre lens which allows you to frame the target better. Many archers think that these higher “magnification” lenses will have greater shake and be difficult to hold on target, this is true but only in aiming rather than framing terms. If you just focus on the “dot” it may appear to move more but if you use the whole lens to frame the target the shake is reduced. So the next time you hear an archer saying they can hold a high magnification scope still at full draw they are “Framing not Aiming”, give it a try you will be surprised.

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