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Best Scope Max $800

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/07/2010 at 18:03
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I am looking for the best scope I can buy for real world price of max $800. I will primarily be using this for hunting. Weight and size are not a concern. I am not trekking into the back country. I do want the best optically performing scope I can buy. I would like it to be 80mm and was thinking of models like Bushnell Elite, Leupold Kenai, Brunton Eterna. Any input would be greatly appreciated. P.S. $800 is the max please. Thanks.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/07/2010 at 19:17
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I would look hard at the Vortex Skyline ED, and you might find a used/discounted Pentax PF80ED.
 
I haven't looked at the Kenai, but it has some nice features in that price range.
 
You also might want to talk to JGRaider about the Nikon 82ED he has for sale on the Member's Optics for Sale forum here on Optics Talk ... If he still has it, that is.
 
 
Good luck!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/07/2010 at 22:53
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Bushnell 20-60x80,it has some restrictions but the glass is teriffic.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/08/2010 at 14:29
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Bitterroot Bulls I know you have some experience with Vortex. I saw your video of the Razor spotting scope but I am not sure about the Skyline models. It did not fair very well in the Living Bird Magazine scope review done in 2008. I am really curious about the Brunton model but cannot find anyone who has used it. Here is what was written about the Skyline models from the review.

"The two bulky Vortex Skyline 80 models were definitely outclassed by all of the Vixens and the Sandpiper, with the ED glass version barely improving image quality."

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/08/2010 at 16:07
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I researched spotters for a long time like you're doing.  Under $1000 I've found (from here and other forums) that the Bushnell Elite and Brunton Eterna's are excellent.  

Edited by JGRaider - July/08/2010 at 16:09
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/08/2010 at 16:58
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Would I be better off buying a 60-66MM instead. It seems that there is probably a cost savings and reduction in size yielding a higher quality scope for the price? Any thoughts or favorites?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/08/2010 at 17:24
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Since you said portability is not an issue, I'd stick with the 80mm-85mm class spotter.  There's no substitute for the light gathering ability of the bigger objective.  Scour the auction sites, and samplelist.com.  The very best 65mm class spotters are over your budget also.  I know there was a great deal on a Kowa Prominar tsn664 on another site, I believe for around $1100.  It still won't get you the light gathering of a bigger objective, however.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/08/2010 at 20:18
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I don't think the Skyline series is completely outclassed by the competition, far from it.  I think they are quite competitive in their price range.  I have read the review you referenced and found it informative, but my personal observations haven't quite lined up with their results.
 
I don't have much experience with the big Bushnell, but the Skyline ED I looked through, however briefly, seemed to be a nice scope with good resolution and reasonable CA correction (These are my most important optical categories for a spotter).  I looked through a non-ED skyline somewhat more extensively several years ago, and found it to have quite a bit of CA at higher powers, but still serviceable.
 
The Vortex Razor HD is in a completely different class.
 
Smaller objective scopes can get you a nice view, and better features for a lower cost.  The big objectives really help in low light, however.  Small objective scopes in your price range that I really like (optically) are the Leupold Gold Ring 60mm and Pentax 65mm ED.
 
I have no experience with the Bruton series of spotters, but they make a heck of a windproof lighter!
 
Smile
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/09/2010 at 10:34
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The larger objective is certainly my first preference considering what my end use of the scope will be. The only review I have found for the new Leupold is in OL. I agree with most of the members here that their reviews are often too complementary and it is difficult to ascertain any real usuable information from them. I think I will continue combing the forum for any other opinions. Any likes or dislikes from the straight bodied models vs. the 45 degree kind?

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/13/2010 at 10:38
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After I posted my last question. I see there is already a discussion on the forum regarding the body style. I'm still open to any other suggestions though.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/13/2010 at 10:58
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If a scope for hunting is needed, it should be high quality optics in a small and light package.
That Vortex Skyline 80mm is one of the biggets and heaviest spotting scope on the market and  it is not all that great optically.
I would look into the 50mm ED Nikon (best of the best for hunting) or Leupold 50mm. Also, the Pentax 65mm ED and Celestron 65 are a good value.
If you buy a 80mm for hunting, it better not be the kind of hunting where you have to carry it on your back.
If you will rest the scope on a backpack, get the straight body. If you will put an a tripod, get the angled body. Angled scopes allow for smaller tripods and less weght. 


Edited by anweis - July/13/2010 at 10:59
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/13/2010 at 19:52
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I am trying to stick to the larger objective because of light and power adjustment. This will be my primary scope to use to view wildlife at a distance. I don't or won't need to carry it far because of where I am able to hunt but would like to be able to view wildlife at a distance. I prefer the staight body and both of my packs are able to accomodate this style of scope. My primary goal is to buy the best scope I can for around $800. I have researched enough to get a good idea of what I can or am willing to pay. I was just looking for some additional input.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/13/2010 at 20:24
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Bushnell Elite 20-60x80ed 
or a Used Pentax PF-80ED


Have you thought about tripods also. A good spotter is worthless with a junk tripod.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/13/2010 at 20:33
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/13/2010 at 23:20
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look for some old redfield glass, I haven't been disappointed yet, steer clear of the new stuff...so i am told...
 
Check the sample list
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/14/2010 at 09:43
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I have a really good Amvona carbon fiber tripod with a ball head that is rock solid. I have used it with the bushnell excursion 80mm scope that weighs a ton. They used to be on ebay a lot at extremely reasonable prices. You can still find some now and again online.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/02/2010 at 12:23
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Well as a follow up I ordered the Brunton today and should have it shortly. I will post a review once I have had some time to spend with it. Thanks for the input.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/02/2010 at 13:45
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Looking forward to it!
 
Please post some pics.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/02/2010 at 14:40
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Absolutely
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/02/2010 at 15:35
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A very good, highly underrated spotter.  Congrats, and most of all enjoy it.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/02/2010 at 22:34
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Good luck with it .I hope it meets all your needs.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/06/2010 at 13:46
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Got the Brunton scope yesterday. Seems well built. I will see if I can post some pics over the weekend as well as my initial thoughts.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/27/2010 at 19:50
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Sorry its been awhile since my last post. I have some pictures and initial impressions of the scope. Its been too hot every day to be able to do some in depth testing with it yet.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/09/2010 at 22:00
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I got the fixed 30X wide field lens as well. It makes a big difference in brightness with the fixed lens for sure. The guys at Brunton are top notch. I traded at least 4 different e-mails with their technical support and they sent me a lens they had left over at a deeply discounted price. They could have told me it is no longer made but they took to time to look and find one for me. Outstanding. Its too bad more retailers don't carry their product lines. I hope to post some more info soon. Got some pictures through it with my phone not the best but surprisingly good.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/17/2010 at 18:28
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There is a pentax 20-60x80ED on ebay for 600.00 could be a good deal for some one
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