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Barska Naturescape ED

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/30/2013 at 20:25
CoHunter24 View Drop Down
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Hi,
I have been a long time lurker. Every time I buy new optics I am here researching. So I want to give back to the community.

I don't have any other spotting scopes but I do have some decent optics. I have a Leopold Mark AR, a Vortex Viper HS LR 4-16X44, and the best optics I own are the Bushnell Elite ED 10x42. I'll do reviews on those later.

I'm not an expert by any means but I do know aberrations and and a good/bad picture when I see one. I never would have considered buying anything with the barska name but I came across some really good reviews on an exclusive barska ED model. So I rolled the dice, for under $200 what's the worst that could happen? It sucks?

Barska Naturescape ED 15-45x60

The first thing is if you wear glasses this spotting scope so not for you. The eye relief is just bad, its tight on 15x at 30-45 you need to get your eye right on the eye piece.

At 15x the image is very very good. Aberrations are very well controlled and the image is bright and sharp. As you increase power the image gets darker progressively but it still is very usable at 45x in good light and decent as light fades.

The sweet spot is about 60% of the image. At 15x the image is pretty good all the way out to the edges. Once you increase power the sweet spot is much more pronounced. Outside the sweet spot the image darkens progressively to the edges. Aberrations increase significantly outside the sweet spot as power increases. And pincushion distortion becomes more and more pronounced.

Inside the sweet spot the image is surprisingly good. Chromatic aberration is controlled as well as anything I own, except maybe the Bushnell Elites, but its close. The color is really good and resolution is also very good. Contrast is decent up to about 30x then the picture starts getting muddy. Its not to bad though out to 45x.

I did some digiscoping and am including a link to the album. It has a couple pictures that I think are the most accurate representation of the image.
https://picasaweb.google.com/1122905189067545912/NaturescapeED?authuser=0&authkey=gV1sRgCNrSnq-quN-rhQE&feat=directlink

Hopefully that works, if not let me know how to post pics

So now for the bad part. The quality contol is just bad. Using a flashlight there is a fingerprint and some dust on the prism. Super annoying. I wonder if the quality control was better just how good this scope could be.

All in all I think this is pretty good and really good for the money.

If you guys have anything you want me to look at let me know.











Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/02/2014 at 10:46
FrankD View Drop Down
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CoHunter,

I am glad you posted this thread. Very good timing actually. Being in a bit of a budget crunch lately I started looking at extremely inexpensive spotters as a portable back-up to my more expensive 80 mm class unit. I happened upon the Barkas 50 mm ED Naturescape while searching the web one day.

My first thought was "But it is a Barska!" "Barska makes crap. I have owned Barska before and have always been disappointed by not only the quality control but the optical performance as well." But, even with those thoughts in mind, I thought I would give one a try. My unit came in a week or so ago and I have had plenty of opportunities to try it out since then.

I plan on putting together a longer and more thorough review of the scope at some point in the future but wanted to at least share some impressions here in this thread. My experiences tend to mirror yours for the most part except for the quality control issue. My unit is entirely functional and flawless in terms of fit and finish. Everything turns smoothly and I did not note any internal issues.

The optical performance is surprisingly good, particularly considering the fact that this is a 50 mm spotting scope. The image is bright, sharp and filled with contrast. CA is well controlled within the sweet spot. I would rate the size of the sweet spot in this configuration at slightly larger than your estimate for your 60 mm unit. I would estimate 80-85%. Eye relief is acceptable at the lowest (12x) setting, tighter at 24x and then acceptable again (though not as good as the lowest) at the highest setting (36x).

I have chosen to use the scope primarily with a shoulder stock (Stedi-stock) for an extremely light and portable combination. I am also in the process of looking to adapt the scope body to some 1.25 inch astro eyepieces as the factory supplied zoom is removable. I will provide some digiscoped pics (with my Iphone 4) to show optical performance. The pics were taken outside on my patio yesterday afternoon. Overcast conditions and the bird feeder was approximately 20 yards away. The three pics are at the three listed magnification settings on the zoom (36, 24 and 12x).







Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/02/2014 at 10:55
FrankD View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/02/2014 at 13:48
CoHunter24 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/02/2014 at 14:29
CoHunter24 View Drop Down
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Sorry I'm still kind of figuring out the pic but this is at 750yard
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/02/2014 at 15:17
CoHunter24 View Drop Down
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Sorry for all the attempts but I think I finally figured it out.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/03/2014 at 07:02
FrankD View Drop Down
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Considering the distance involved that second last pic is pretty impressive. What I think you can see in  both of our pictures and what you mentioned in your original post is the pincushion distortion evident in both scopes. Some might find it objectionable but I haven't had an issue with it. The other point to be made is how well represented the other image characteristics are represented in the pics...color, contrast, brigthness, sharpness. If I look hard enough at some of my pics then I can actually start to see CA begin to creep into the image at the highest magnification.
 
Two thumbs up for the Barksa Naturescape ED spotting scope!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/03/2014 at 12:29
CoHunter24 View Drop Down
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This is how I got 60% sweet spot. I took this photo I used the lowest exposure on my camera then used macro mode focus. You can see right where the image begins to darken.  With the naked eye it is unnoticeable, untill much further out. I pulled a tape measure out and measured the sweetspot as 3/5ths of the image = 6/10ths =60%. Its actually a hair more than that. As I said though, to the naked eye it looks a lot bigger than that.
 
This picture is also not a good representation of the picture your going to get when look through the scope. The camera is focused more on the objective lense than the people.
 
As far as CA you can see some in the 45x of the address rock on the bottom of the picture, where the snow and road meet and a little bit on the snow in the tree, but that is some super high contrast stuff and much more expensive ED optics show CA in the same picture.
 
Thanks for commenting FrankD, let me know if you find a good eyepiece. I'm glad to see that we are looking at pretty much the same thing. Also the dust and finger print inside mine does not seem to affect the image at all. There is no blurring anywhere or anything at any power so it seems purely cosmetic.
 
The more I use the Naturescape ED the more I like it. I think it is a good spotter and a really really good spotter for sub $200.
 
Last thing is on the 45x picture of the address rock pillar I tried to take that same picture earlier in the day, and couldn't get a perfect focus because the mirage. Thats to be expected though with any high magnification scope. and as you can see later in the day, when the mirage died down, I was able to get a very crisp, sharp picture at just over 750 yards.
 
 
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