Kahles is a famous name in the world of optics – it is more than a hundred years old. Their new Helia – which no longer has a number next to the name – is a simplified version of Helia 5. The 1.6-8×42 model has been removed from production which is a pity since it was top-notch; nevertheless, their offer now features a 2-10×50 model which we think will become very popular on the market. Swarovski has been an owner of Kahles for the last 43 years, and it is interesting that they have recently removed both Z4 and Helia CSX series (priced around 1500 €) from production – the new Helia is now “a hermit” in this price class of the Swarovski group.
As regards optical performance, these riflescopes are very similar to Helia 5 – when we looked through during the test, we could not pinpoint any major differences between the two – keep in mind that we are talking about outstanding optical characteristics here. Even the external design of Helia is very reminiscent of Helia 5.
Kahles Helia features a new illumination system which is very similar to the one integrated in Helia CSX – it is a little less perfected than in Helia 5. The illumination intensity control knob looks completely identical to the one on Helia 5; however, the illuminated dot is not day-time bright as it was on Helia 5 and can only be used in dusk. The exception is the 1-5x24i model which – even though that it uses the same technology as Helia CSX – now features a bigger, day-time bright red dot. Kahles took a step back as far as illumination system is concerned but managed to achieve a lower price. To be honest, we think that many hunters approve of this move since day-time illumination on Helia 5 was not really needed on models with higher magnification. Helia 5 tended to produce a star effect; the new Helia comes with a delicate, round, unobtrusive red dot. The 2-10x50i model is also a welcome novelty, but we are quite disappointed that the great all-round 1.6-8×42 model has been removed from production.
Kahles, united with Swarovski, made a smart move by “putting” Helia where Z4 used to be as regards the price class (approx. 1500 €). Given that the new Helia has a 5x zoom factor and offers great optical performance, the sales results are not to be feared. Not many riflescopes manufactured by the competition will offer the same edge and center sharpness, light transmission rate and overall build quality. What is still to be perfected? Well, Zeiss and Docter already offer riflescopes with a 6x zoom factor in this price class and we expect Kahles to follow their footsteps. However, no manufacturer apart from Kahles offers such a great wide-angle riflescope for 1500 € – on the lowest magnification, the 1-5x24i model has an astounding field of view of 42 m on 100 m. This model is sure to be the biggest hit of the Helia series. We also believe that the 2-10×50 model will be sold in great numbers since it is useful for all kinds of hunting situations.