Daniel, I worded my comments carefully and they explain how I feel. My comments are my own subjective feelings. There is no right or wrong to what I've said since I am talking about myself. Others may read what I've written and have the same feelings themselves and others may not feel the same as I do.
Humans lack the ability to see things as they are as a general statement. When we have a conscious experience, it is the result of high level abstractions performed in the brain. These abstractions are controlled by processes in the brain that are out of our control and prevent us from seeing the true nature of the source information.
For example, look at the Checker Board Optical illusion: Checker Board Illusion
In this case, the "B" is on the same color square as the "A". If you don't believe it, make some cutouts of paper and mask everything but the "A" square and "B" square.
What this shows is that even when you know that you are NOT perceiving the actual shades of gray as they are, you still can't see that the two squares are the same shade of gray. Your brain has taken over and you aren't able to see the stimulus as it hit your eye.
I could go into a long description of my various feelings, but that would be pointless and inappropriate. The example above is one of the many reasons for my comments ... I don't think one can perform an object evaluation of two similar scopes side by side.
- By the way, it may be easier to use a snipping tool and snip out the "A" square and "B" square and paste them into a document side by side. The result is dramatic. They are exactly the same shade of gray.
- As you can see, even in such a dramatic example you cannot see that there is NO contrast difference between the two squares. Yet you cannot see this. So this calls into question ones ability to see subtle contrast differences in anything.
- So to say one can objectively see subtle differences in contrast between two scopes is not consistent with the facts as to how our nervous systems work.
The checkerboard illusion shows an enhancement of our visual system to equalize colors given the perceived environment. It is good that we do this so we recognize that there is a lion in our periphery moving through the shadows.
When we view Jupiter, we are looking at areas that are close together, not cutting and pasting different regions and placing them next to each other. In the checkerboard illusion, the contrast between the two adjoining squares is preserved.
There are a lot of things that interfere with our abilities to differentiate between scopes, including:
1. Physical including aperture differences, optical figure, color correction, and eye quality and filtration.
2. Mechanical including collimation and cleanliness of lens.
3. External optical factors including diagonals, eyepieces and their interaction with the optical system
4. Environmental including seeing and thermal effects
5. Mental - biases
The last category is huge, but here is an interesting summary of different biases. I see a lot of these in myself and in this forum
Regardless, I do believe that under the right conditions, there are differences between scopes, sometimes fairly dramatic. However, the differences between high quality examples of well corrected scopes are often quite subtle, make little difference in seeing details, yet are the subject of holy wars.