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Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 Riflescope Review | Optics Trade Reviews

In this review, we will discuss the Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50, which is probably one of the most important products introduced in 2016.

The Z8i series of scopes was unveiled at the IWA show and it generated a lot of buzz, as it likely was one of the biggest news stories in 2016 for the hunting industry.

Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 P
Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 P

Interested in Swarovski Z8i series?

Introduction of Swarovski Z8i series

Swarovski's Z8i series comes a few years after the highly successful Swarovski Z6i. I think that because of the 50mm objective lens, the Z8i 2-16x50 model is one of Swarovski's best sellers. This medium size riflescope is a perfect all-rounder.

Scopes with 8x zoom

I believe that releasing the Z8i was a direct response to Zeiss's V8 series of scopes. With the release of the Z8i and V8 series, top players began extending their zoom ratio beyond what was previously seen. A few years ago, six times zoom was something out of the ordinary. Now eight times zoom is the new norm.

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Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50

Improved features compared to Z6i  

The Z8i series from Swarovski is an improvement upon the earlier line, the Z6i:

  1. The first thing to note is that the scopes have a higher light transmission – at least claimed.
  2. The scopes in the Z8i series feature an 8x zoom factor.
  3. They have a wider field of view.

You can watch the entire Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 Review below

Physical Properties of Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50

Z8i 2-16x50 riflescope features 16x magnification and adjustable parallax. With this scope, you can shoot far distances. There is also the possibility to install the ballistic turret on this scope.

With magnification going all the way down to 2x magnification, you can also use the scope for rapid target acquisition at close range.

The scope is completely waterproof. It's shockproof for any kind of caliber, and it's filled with dry nitrogen for total fog-proofness. That means there will be no internal fogging even if the temperatures are exceedingly low.

The scope is 36 centimeters long and weighs only 650 grams, which is incredibly light for its size.

Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 P
Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 P

Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 reticle

Unlike the Z6i line, all the Z8i scopes feature an illuminated reticle; there are no options for a non-illuminated reticle.

The reticle on the Z8i 2-16x50 is in the second focal plane, which means it will be very thin at high magnifications. It is positioned in the eyepiece end of the scope. The reticle is quite thin and resembles that of the Z6i line somewhat.

The user can choose between four different reticles when buying this riflescope:

  • 4A-300-I reticle
  • 4A-I reticle
  • 4W-I reticle
  • BRX-I reticle

Interested in Reticle 4A-300-I? Watch our Reticle Subtension Video Below

Interested in Reticle 4A-I? Watch our Reticle Subtension Video Below

Illumination system

The illumination control on the Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 is neater and smaller than on the second generation of the Z6i scope. The buttons and overall design are sleeker and more polished.

The illumination system on the Z8i still has the same basic principles as previous models:

  • a preset for low light or bright daylight,
  • plus and minus buttons for finer adjustments.
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Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 preset for lowlight or daylight

It looks very similar to Z6i scopes, so most users shouldn't have any problems making the switch from Z6i to Z8i scopes.

Mention-worthy, the illumination has the same automatic turn-off function as the Z6i series. The scope feature includes a position sensor--which is activated if canting the scope to either side or directing downwards/upwards--turning off power and conserving battery life. When you're ready to aim again, simply direct it horizontally and it'll immediately turn on once more; its reaction time is nearly instantaneous.

The illumination is adjustable to nearly any level of brightness, from very dim for low light use up to extremely bright for daytime. As it stands, this might be one of the brightest illuminations available. Though we must admit that other high-end scope manufacturers also have bright illuminations.

Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 with 4A-300-I reticle (no-illumination and with illumination)
Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 with 4A-I reticle (no-illumination and with illumination)


The main difference, in my opinion, was made in the turrets. The elevation turret on the Z8i 2-16x50 appears to be quite intricate, with an inner and outer components.

The tracking is superb. I have a lot of experience with the Swarovski X5 series, so I believe Swarovski’s claim that Z8i scopes have good tracking is true.

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Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 with capped turrets

The main point of this turret is that installation of the ballistic turret is easy and simple. You can buy the ballistic turret as a separate accessory and just put it on without any tools.

The Swarovski ballistic turret has the potential for 70 clicks in one revolution. This means that if you're 100 meters away from your target, each click of the turret will move your point of impact 1 centimeter. With this scope, Swarovski has increased a shooter's long-range capabilities. I much prefer these turrets to the older model; even though they're made of plastic, they're still an improvement.

The same ballistic turret goes either on the top turret (elevation turret) or the side turret (windage turret). In this regard, it's a unique feature.

You can watch a separate video about the ballistic turret on the Swarovski Z8i line.


Watch Swarovski BTF Turret Review Below

Optical performance

Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 scope has a 50mm objective lens with a minimum magnification of 2x and maximal magnification of 16x.

The eye box is amazing; you don't have to worry about the position of your eye. You immediately get the picture.

The scope has a 30-millimeter tube that the Swarovski is quite proud of. In a 30-millimeter tube, achieving 8x zoom is hard. You need extremely tight tolerances to do so. To be objective we must point out that other manufacturers produce scopes with a 30-millimeter tube, which even have a 10x zoom. 

The scope has 21 meters of the field of view at 100 meters. This is a very wide field of view for a scope with a 50-millimeter objective lens.

Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 P
Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 P

Looking for a scope mount?

Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 price and warranty

The Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 scope has a 10-year warranty and is entirely produced in Austria. The model without the SR rail costs 3190€, whereas with the SR rail it costs 60€ more. If you want to buy the scope with a BTF turret, you'll have to spend an extra 290€.

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Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 battery compartment

Scope of delivery

The box in which the Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 is delivered is far nicer, displaying a nice picture. It's improved over what it was on the Z6i line. With the scope you also get:

  1. bikini covers
  2. user manuals
  3. lens cloth
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Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 scope of delivery

You may also purchase the following accessories for this riflescope:


The Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 is one of the best hunting scopes available; its optics are currently almost unbeatable. The scope allows you to see a wide area with no tunnel effect, so it feels as if you're part of the scene. Additionally, the eye box is excellent.

In general, I'd say that for someone seeking one of the greatest optical scopes available right now, this is unquestionably one of the finest options.

I appreciate that the Z8i scope has a 30-millimeter tube. Another option is to get it with an SR rail; I believe this is the superior method of mounting the scope as it's simpler and more reliable. Even though you're able to order the scope with the rail, I still think that the 30-millimeter tube is much nicer in style than bigger tubes (36 mm).

I also believe that the light transmission rate is good, even though this is a super zoom scope.

The new ballistic turret gives users more clicks than previous versions, making it possible to extend the scope's range for long-distance shots, which is very positive.

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Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 without SR Rail

Pros summary:

  1. Excellent optical performance
  2. Wide field of view with no tunnel effect
  3. Excellent eye box
  4. Good light transmission rate
  5. The new ballistic turret allows for an extended range


I always try to end my reviews with some suggestions on where more work may be done and, for Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 scope, it's nearly impossible.

In my opinion, the ballistic turrets could be more robust. They're made from plastic, but for hunting purposes, this is perfectly acceptable as it's not a military or tactical scope.

I would also say that maybe more clicks in one revolution would be great. But again, this is a hunting scope, not a tactical long-range scope.

And if I'm splitting hairs, I'd suggest that the illuminated dot be a bit smaller. Even though it's already quite small.

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Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 with bikini covers

Cons summary:

  1. The ballistic turrets could be more robust
  2. More clicks in one revolution could be great
  3. The illuminated dot could be smaller

Final thoughts on Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50

The Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 riflescope is an excellent optic that provides hunters with great performance for a variety of applications. The optics are clear and provide a wide field of view, making it easy to track the game.

The ballistic turret system is also a nice addition, providing users with the ability to extend the range of the scope for long-distance shots. While there is some minor complaint about the plastic construction of the ballistic turret, this is a relatively minor issue when compared to the overall quality of the optic.

In the end, the Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 is a near-perfect riflescope. It's probably one of the greatest, if not the best on the market right now for hunters.

Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 Relevant Comparisons

Do you want to know how this product compares to others in its class? Check out the following relevant comparisons:

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EUR 3190
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Review Date
Reviewed Item
Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50
Author Rating
Product Name
Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50
EUR 3190
Product Availability
Available in Stock