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Best $600 spotter

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/20/2008 at 19:07
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Optics GrassHopper
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Any suggestions?  This will be used for Garand matches at 200 yards, and an occasional high power match at 300 yards.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/21/2008 at 07:10
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The best $600 spotter costs $699, but it is well worth it. I actually prefer the 20x eyepiece because it is brighter and has a wide field of view. I also have the 13-30 zoom, which has a narrow field of view (not a problem for target shooting. 
 
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/24/2008 at 11:36
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here is another one ($469.99), which you may find with google
"Pentax PF65 ED Straight Scope 70960 w/20-60x Zoom 70530 Special"
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/27/2008 at 18:31
lucznik View Drop Down
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I have examined the Nikon ED50 and it is very nice, bordering on superb.  It is however, too small and dim for use as a primary/only spotter.  I consider it more of a specialty tool.

It goes against the grain of a lot of people but, I really like my 80mm Bushnell Elite ED.

That Pentax PF65 ED is also a really great spotter. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/28/2008 at 06:50
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lucznick, i have been using the 50mm ED for quite a whle now. Yes, due to it's smaller size it is dimmer than an 80 mm, but... that small lightweight package also makes it very good for hunting. As far as image brightness, i have no problem using it in any kind of dark weather or 20 minutes before sunrise and 20 minutes after sunset.
The image quality is extraordinary, with very true colors, very sharp and clear images.
What i don't like about this scope: it seems to have less depth of field and to require more
focusing than larger scopes, and it is not supplied with useable stay on case and lens caps.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/28/2008 at 09:42
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Optics GrassHopper
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Joined: February/26/2008
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lucznik, how do you like the 80mm Elite, reason I ask is I purch the 15-45x 60mm Elite and love it, except that sometimes the eye relief isnt great, I hit my eyelashes on the glass and sometimes gets a bit hazy/oily. Also, I purch one of the cheapo field tripods by bushnell, well it isnt terrible but definitely gets affected by wind .. adjusting elevation is a pain, I tried using some oil to help smooth the movements, Its definitely light and portable which I like all the way around, great optics, its just the eye relief. anyway, what would you recommend for a solid field tripod??
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/28/2008 at 16:05
lucznik View Drop Down
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Well, here's my take on it:

Bushnell 20-60x80 ED Elite (Mine is the straight model.)
Pros
  • Excellent image quality (helped greatly by inclusion of ED glass.)  Image is bright, flat, and optical abberations are very, very well controlled.  Color fidelity is excellent.
  • Lightweight (relatively speaking) The 80mm Elite is only 4 ounces heavier than the 60mm Swarovski (once you attach an eyepiece - which most people find necessary).
  • Inexpensive (again, relatively speaking).  I spent $650 on mine with the zoom eyepiece included.
  • Excellent accessories.  Stay on case and objective lens and eyepiece caps are very nice.
  • Optional camera adapter (+ appropriate T-ring) allows the spotting scope to connect directly to a DSLR making digiscoping that much easier.  Cost ~ $80
  • The retractable sunshade is very useful.
Cons (Of course there are some - you do have to give up something for the price difference.)
  • FoV is fairly narrow (98 ft @ 20x and 50ft @ 60x).  This is even a bit narrower than the oft-maligned Nikon Fieldscope. This FoV doesn't bother me and so I was happy to make the trade in favor of the more-than-$1500 in savings I received as compared to the so-called "Alpha" scopes.  Optional fixed magnification eyepieces (of 22x and 30x) are available and offer improved Fields of View. I have yet to buy one of these so; I can't comment on their quality. (30x ~ $100 & 118 ft., 22x ~ $160 & 131 ft.)
  • It may be relatively lightweight but, it's still too big and too heavy to pack around very far.  I'm currently looking for a great deal on a small 50-60mm spotting scope to serve this "packing-in" purpose.
"Niether Here nor There" (Some things are different, even if they aren't "better" or "worse.")
  • Eye Relief is adequate.  I am able to see the full FoV while wearing my glasses and throughout the magnification range but, I do have to get right in close, especially at high magnifications.
  • With the included zoom eyepiece the eyecup is of the older, rubber fold-down type.  This doesn't matter a bit to me as it is always in the competely folded down position to accomodate my eyeglasses but, it could matter to someone.  (The 30x eyepiece has this same type of eyecup whereas the 22x has a more modern twist-up eyecup.)
  • The scope has RainGaurd.  I put this in this particular category because (as most people here know) I consider RainGaurd to be mostly an advertising gimmick.  Some people think it works though so; it has to be a consideration somewhere.

My tripod is a Manfrotto model 728B and it works fine for my purposes.  I may not pack this scope around the backcountry much but, I still want a fairly lightweight tripod.  For use when backpacking (with my camera) I had an "el cheapo" Mars I from Vangaurd.  I think I paid $40 for it at a Sportsman's Warehouse. It actually worked great until just recently when I dropped it from my SUV onto the cement and broke the plastic head.  I'll probably just go get another one of those sometime.  Either that or I might go get one of the Leupold Compact Tripods.  I think they run something like $80 and incorporate a ball head. I also have a "gorillapod" that I like alot. Finally, because of its size, a lot of my spotting scope's useage is done from my vehicle, where I mostly use it off of a window mount. Mine is from Bushnell.



Edited by lucznik - April/28/2008 at 16:07
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/28/2008 at 22:23
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Optics GrassHopper
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Joined: February/26/2008
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Lucznik –

great write-up,  more then expected !! 

 
I think the 60mm Elite will serve me a long while,quality/compact, rugged to pack and on horse,  the tripod is another story, but you get what you pay for, so  I’ll have to check into something ‘heavier’ .   The Bogen looks like the ticket -- maybe challenge or discover lines. Thanks much for the great info.

 

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