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$700 max budget, need help!!!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/21/2008 at 20:55
Gymrat500 View Drop Down
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I am in the market for as good of quality optics that can be had for around $700.  I know the motto you get what you pay for, but right now I just can't swing anymore dough and I really want a spotter.  My main use will be a range workout, and occational hunt.  I have been reading different reviews for hours and hours and just when I think I may have made up my mind another scope gets mentioned.  Here are a few of my thoughts as of now:  Bushnell Elite 20-60X80, Vortex Sandpiper 15-45X65, Vortex Skyline 20-60X80, Alpen 20-60X80, Pentax PF-65ED and finally the Pentax PF-65ED II.  Does anyone know the difference between the PF-65ED and the PF-65ED II?  I apologize for the lengthy post but as they say curiousity killed the cat.Bucky

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/21/2008 at 21:11
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8752 Swarovski 20x Eyepiece 49335, Like new condition, super wide field of view combined with excellent light transmission makes this a very popular eye piece, for Swarovski ST80, AT80, STS65, ATS65 and HD versions. $475.00 $349.95
5107 Swarovski ST-80 49208, Grey finish, straight body only, retractable built in sun shade, condition is good. $1,300.00 $799.95
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/22/2008 at 00:46
lucznik View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Gymrat500 Gymrat500 wrote:

I am in the market for as good of quality optics that can be had for around $700.  I know the motto you get what you pay for, but right now I just can't swing anymore dough and I really want a spotter.  My main use will be a range workout, and occational hunt.  I have been reading different reviews for hours and hours and just when I think I may have made up my mind another scope gets mentioned.  Here are a few of my thoughts as of now:  Bushnell Elite 20-60X80, Vortex Sandpiper 15-45X65, Vortex Skyline 20-60X80, Alpen 20-60X80, Pentax PF-65ED and finally the Pentax PF-65ED II.  Does anyone know the difference between the PF-65ED and the PF-65ED II?  I apologize for the lengthy post but as they say curiousity killed the cat.Bucky



1. Forget the Alpen.
2. The Sandpiper is a good scope if you really need to stay within a tight budget.  Since you stated you are willing to spend up to around $700, this isn't an issue.
3. a. If you are going to be packing your scope around much in the back country, then the Pentax scopes will likely be better as they are lighter.
    b. The differences between the PF-65 and PF-65 II are almost entirely cosmetic.  If you can get the PF-65 for a good price go for it and don't ever feel like you're missing out on anything that the newer model might offer.  With either one you get an almost dizzying variety of available eyepieces at every price level as they both accept all standard 1.25" eyepieces.
4. The Bushnell Elite and Vortex Skyline (as long as you choose the ED model) offer images that are very comparable. The Bushnell is significantly lighter and has the option of 2 fixed-magnification eyepieces (22x and 30x) - which the Vortex does not offer.  The Bushnell offers an optional camera adapter that allows you to attach your spotting scope to your DSLR camera.  (It works very well.)  The Vortex does not offer this option.  However, if you would like to use your point-and-shoot digital camera to do some "digiscoping," the Vortex offers a great adapter that is superior to anything else on the market.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/22/2008 at 00:50
lucznik View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Urimaginaryfrnd Urimaginaryfrnd wrote:

8752 Swarovski 20x Eyepiece 49335, Like new condition, super wide field of view combined with excellent light transmission makes this a very popular eye piece, for Swarovski ST80, AT80, STS65, ATS65 and HD versions. $475.00 $349.95





5107 Swarovski ST-80 49208, Grey finish, straight body only, retractable built in sun shade, condition is good. $1,300.00 $799.95



You do realize that your suggestion comes to more than $400 above his top-end price ($449.90 to be exact)?  That's more than 155% of his budget.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/22/2008 at 01:06
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These are great spotters.  Especially the ones with ED glass, I am always impressed when I look through Vortex optics.
http://www.swfa.com/c-2139-vortex-skyline-spotting-scopes.aspx
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/22/2008 at 03:57
Gymrat500 View Drop Down
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I really appreciate everyones help.  As for the deal on the Swaro - that is really tempting, as it looks really well made and I bet that would leave several nice knots on my head as my better half beats me with it for spending too much!!Clown  But now I am still left in the same boat just a lot smaller one - You have helped me narrow it down to basically 3, the Pentax, Bushnell, and Vortex.  I understand that the Pentax has the smaller optic size, will this hurt me on the range looking at up to 300-400 yards?  I know there are several people that like the Bushnell and also the Vortex, is either one optically superior?  Weight is not an issue as much as I am trying to find the best Optics for my price range and if that means that it weighs a couple of pounds more then so be it.  Thanks again for everyone's input.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/22/2008 at 04:00
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Here is another item to throw in the tricks bag.  Would it be better for me to just wait a few more months and keep saving and then step up to the Pentax 80mm that I read A LOT of great things about?  Man there are just too many choices...Whacko

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/22/2008 at 14:01
lucznik View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Gymrat500 Gymrat500 wrote:

I understand that the Pentax has the smaller optic size, will this hurt me on the range looking at up to 300-400 yards? 
No.

Originally posted by Gymrat500 Gymrat500 wrote:

I know there are several people that like the Bushnell and also the Vortex, is either one optically superior? 
No.  (You do need to make sure you are buying the ED version of the Skyline. There is no non-ED version of the 80mm Elite.)

Originally posted by Gymrat500 Gymrat500 wrote:

Weight is not an issue as much as I am trying to find the best Optics for my price range and if that means that it weighs a couple of pounds more then so be it.  Thanks again for everyone's input.
For the most part, you would be dealing more in ounces, not pounds here.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/22/2008 at 14:02
lucznik View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Gymrat500 Gymrat500 wrote:

Here is another item to throw in the tricks bag.  Would it be better for me to just wait a few more months and keep saving and then step up to the Pentax 80mm that I read A LOT of great things about?  Man there are just too many choices...Whacko

  Only you can decide this. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/22/2008 at 17:07
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I would consider the Leupold 12-40X60 golden ring. Alpen does offer a newer 80 mm version new this year but I am not sure of the quality.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/22/2008 at 21:01
Gymrat500 View Drop Down
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Originally posted by lucznik lucznik wrote:

Originally posted by Gymrat500 Gymrat500 wrote:

Here is another item to throw in the tricks bag.  Would it be better for me to just wait a few more months and keep saving and then step up to the Pentax 80mm that I read A LOT of great things about?  Man there are just too many choices...Whacko

  Only you can decide this. 
 
Bucky Well that stinks, that is why I am an Optics Grasshopper and you guys are the Optics Guru's!! (lol) I was hoping for a more definitive answer in regards to me spending my entire "secret fund" on this scope.  After it's gone there is no more for a long time, so I just want to make sure that I get the best optics for the $$ that I have at this present time.  Thanks for all the information.  If you have more suggestions I'm all ears.Jump%20and%20Spin
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/23/2008 at 11:11
lucznik View Drop Down
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The problem with your question is that there are too many variables involved that can affect your enjoyment and use of any given scope that no one here can possibly know about.

For example:
  1. What is the ratio of time that you will be using the scope while hunting and will this time be used hunting from a vehicle or will you be trying to carry your scope in a pack? 
  2. The 80mm scope is huge and heavy.  Are you able to comfortably manage its weight and bulk?  (That's not a flippant question.  I know people who find the bigger scopes very awkward and cumbersome to use.)
  3. Do you have, or are you willing to invest in a tripod that is sturdy enough to stabilize the bigger scope?  These can be quite spendy as the cheap Wally World specials simply won't do the job very well at all.  (I know; I've tried them.)
  4. Are you going to want to use your scope for astronomy?
  5. Are you going to want to use your scope for photography?

The PF-80 is a great scope.  But, you must make compromises if you want to have one.  So too with every other scope.  Every variable counts and I can't possibly know what is important to you and what you are/aren't willing to compromise on.

Personally, I found that I couldn't find a single scope that would serve all purposes to my satisfaction.  So, I bought two.  My choices were:

Bushnell Elite ED 20-60x80.  It cost me $654.  This is my primary scope.  I use it for pretty much all viewing where I don't have to hump it for long distances.  I bought the camera adapter ($75) that allows me to connect the scope directly to my DSLR.  It takes pretty darn good pictures.  Eventually, I will be investing in one (or both) of the available fixed magnification (22x and 30x) eyepieces for their expanded fields of view. I also use this scope for some amateur astronomy and have most recently been enjoying looking at Jupiter.   On a clear night when you are outside of city-light interference, you can see the stripes on the planet as well as the red dot. You also can see Jupiter's moons. I am more than pleased with this scope but, it is too big to carry into the backcountry for very long or very far so; my second scope is a...

Leupold Golden Ring 15-30x50.  This scope retails for right at $400 though, I bought mine (new, in the box, still with the original shrink wrap, etc.) for $280.  I had to look for a very long time before I managed that deal. This scope weighs in (with objective and eyepiece lens covers) at 23.5 ounces and is extremely small.  It is a joy to have in a backpack and allows me to have the versatility of a spotting scope in a size and weight that doesn't make me compromise on other gear in my pack. Its top-end 30x magnification is more than enough for hunting purposes and despite its small 50mm objective lens size, the scope offers amazingly good images.  The limits of the scope's size do not become a "problem" until well after legal hunting light.

Even using retail prices, you still could buy both of these scopes and still pay less than you would to buy the Pentax PF-80.  For me, this makes the most sense as it allows me what I want with minimal (if any) compromises.  Is this the best choice for you?  I don't know.




Edited by lucznik - August/23/2008 at 11:13
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/23/2008 at 13:41
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Let me suggest having a look at the Yukon 6~25X/25~100X100 spotting scope. It's the brightest, sharpest scope I've ever looked through and I've looked through plenty. It comes with a protective carrying case plus a table tripod with it's own carrying case. It has a limited lifetime warranty and the best part is the price: I paid $238.75 delivered. Many places want $399 but using Amazon.com I found it new for the price I've quoted. You can see the distributor's information here: http://www.yukonopticsusa.com/index.php?good=77&detail=yes#begin

Yukon scopes and binoculars are made in Russia and their optics are first class.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/24/2008 at 01:04
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If you are going to continue to save to get a great spotter...consider the Nikon fieldscope 25x75x82...P.M. or email me at ms6852@yahoo.com.  The scope naturally sells for $1299 to $1399 but I got mine for$1099.  This scope has the ED glass and doing a comparison resolution test with the Leica, Swaroski, and Pentax to my eyes their really was no difference.  It did outperform all of them because it maintained its brightness and sharpness all through the 75x magnification whereas the other scopes were limited to 60x.  By the way this scope also has different eyelenses you can purchase for digiscoping if you decide to go that route.  Now the $1099 applies only if you are near a certain store that does not carry them on stock but sells them on their online website for $1299, but if you go to their store and have them order it for you the instore price is only $1099.  I don't know if I can mention other store names here.  I am not affiliated with any of these stores...just some one trying to pass on good information to a fellow hunter/shooter.  By they way as you are saving you could actually put it on lay away 25% down and 90 days to pay it all.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/24/2008 at 19:21
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I spent the summer birding in the mountains. It was fun: i tore off 2 pairs of premium boots, i backpacked mostly between 3000 and 9000 feet in elevation, i lost twice as many pounds as i gained since i quit smoking, and i subjected my gear to unmentionable atrocities.
I doubt that many of your hunts will be more demanding on equipment or that optics would be more critical. I used  a Nikon 50mm ED (angled) with a 20x wide angle eyepiece, mounted on a Manfrotto 728B tripod. I will not go on to praize this setup again, i already did that on this board. But let me tell you something, after using the Nikon in the most demanding situations imaginable: if you put a gun to my hand, you may have my 80mm Swarovski, but you will have to pry the 50 mm Nikon out of my cold dead fingers.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/26/2008 at 20:02
lucznik View Drop Down
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Originally posted by anweis anweis wrote:

I used...   a Manfrotto 728B tripod.


I'm using the same tripod right now.  It's not perfect but, I've been pretty happy with it.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/27/2008 at 07:01
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Originally posted by lucznik lucznik wrote:

Originally posted by anweis anweis wrote:

I used...   a Manfrotto 728B tripod.


I'm using the same tripod right now.  It's not perfect but, I've been pretty happy with it.
 
Of course not. My "perfect" tripod weighs 14 or 15 pounds. But with the 728 i can climb a mountain and still be alive when i get there.
With the 728B the trick is to rest one hand at the base of the column, while operating the scope and the tripod head gingerly, to avoid vibrations. The weight of a resting hand/arm would stabilize the setup when it's windy.
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