Whenever thermal imaging is being discussed, you can’t help but think of FLIR. It’s a household name in the industry, with quite a lot of various thermal imaging products in their lineup. They’re also the manufacturers behind the Armasight Zeus 336, a thermal imaging rifle scope that belongs to the Zeus family.
The entire Zeus lineup is well known for great performance and durability, so the 336 does have a lot to live up to. So, does it manage to do so? Let’s take a look at our Armasight Zeus thermal rifle scope review, and find out. We’ll also discuss who it’s for because this is a somewhat pricey product that’s not made for everyone.
Let’s discuss the outside first
The first time you grab the Zeus 336, you’ll notice one thing – it looks very well built. Most of that comes courtesy of the rugged, CNC machined construction and the fact that you have aircraft-grade aluminum alloy as the material of choice. Simply put, it’s built like a tank. You will also find that it uses a MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail quick release mount, and there is another Picatinny rail that allows you to attach accessories or optional day optics. The shuttered eye guard prevents facial display backsplash and also helps maintain light security so you can enjoy the scope to its maximum.
You’ll find a host of buttons and ports on the outside, as well as a focus ring at the front. You can also adjust the diopter, with a +/- range of 5. Those buttons at the top are what are used to operate the scope, and even though they may seem complex, they’re pretty easy to get used to. They all work well and are easy to find and use when you’re looking through the scope, so you don’t have to get your eyes off it. In terms of ports, aside from the charging port, you’ll find a video output. It allows you to connect an external recording device to the scope if you find it necessary.
The last thing we’d like to mention when it comes to the outside, and the build, is that the Zeus 336 is water and fog-resistant. However, there’s a caveat to this. Inside is very expensive, and pretty sensitive electronics. Even though the manufacturer claims resistance to the elements, we’d advise being careful with the Zeus.
Moving on to the internals
The highlight feature of the Zeus 336 is the inclusion of the Tau 2 17-micron uncooled FLIR core. It’s what gives the scope its great performance, and is very well worth the asking price. Inside is an 800×600 pixels AMOLED SVGA display with a 30 Hz refresh rate. This is where you’ll see what you’re looking at, and even though something like a 60 Hz refresh rate would’ve been nice, this is still a very sharp and clear display.
As the name implies, this is a 3-12x50mm scope. Just like with any rifle scope, the numbers in the name indicate the magnification, which in this case is variable, from 3 to 12x, and the objective lens diameter, which is 50mm. What this means is that the Zeus 336 is actually a very versatile thermal scope. Nighttime hunting is often done at shorter distances, and with it, you’re covered from really close, to actually pretty far. There is also 1x, 2x and 4x digital zoom, but you’ll be losing out on image quality if you opt to use that.
There are a couple of color modes to choose from, such as white hot, black hot, rainbow, and a few different color modes. Since this is a digital display, you have a few reticle patterns available. There’s a Dot 4 MOA, Line Dot, Cross-Center Dot, Cross, Crosshair, as well as a no reticle option. They’re available in black, white, red and cyan, so you can get the right color for the environment you’re hunting in.
Last but not least, the scope operates on either two CR123A 3V lithium batteries or CR123 rechargeable batteries. You can expect up to 4 hours of continuous battery life, and there’s a status indicator to let you know how much juice you’ve got left. You can connect an external power supply to it, too, if you believe you’ll need a bit more battery life.
Are there any additional features?
Since this is a digital rifle scope, FLIR also decided to include a couple of nifty features. To begin with, there’s a wireless remote control that comes with a Picatinny adapter, so you can mount it on the additional rail. There’s also an SD card slot, which is especially useful when it comes to the video recording feature. Yes, you can record what you’re looking at, and either output it directly, or save it to the SD card for later review.
Wrapping things up – who is it for?
Let’s get one thing out of the way. The Armasight Zeus 336 is definitely not for everyone, especially when you consider how much it costs. That’s going to be off-putting for a lot of potential customers, especially ones that are buying a thermal rifle scope for the first time.
However, if you can spend that amount of money, the Zeus 336 is undoubtedly one of the best ways to do so. It brings to the table features such as incredible build quality, excellent optical performance and a host of additional features that you wouldn’t even think can be included on a thermal rifle scope. If you are looking at other options,n why not take a peek at our Best List here.
When you’re looking for a versatile, do-it-all thermal imaging scope, it’s usually worth investing a bit more, and few can do better than the Zeus 336, even at that price point. Definitely, a piece of kit that’s worth having in your arsenal.