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Compact Spotting Scope?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/04/2008 at 09:03
Nitrosteel View Drop Down
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In the $300-$500 price range, is there a better compact spotting scope available than the Leupold Gold Ring Compact Spotting Scope (15-30x50)?

I was debating on a Vortex Sandpiper 15-45x65, but will be using it primarily on a backpack hunting trip and want to make sure I don't put more in my pack than what I want to carry.  The more compact size has been suggested by a few.
 
I guess I have 3 questions:
 
1)  Is there a better compact for the money?
2)  Should I go with the compact or just suck it up, tote the extra weight and have better vision capabilities once I catch my breath (from toting a bigger scope)?
3)  What is a good lightweight tripod to use for hunting applications (is one really necessary), is the one that come with the Leoupold "kit" good enough?
 
Thank ya'll again for your help.
 
Sincerely,
 
NitroSteel
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/04/2008 at 13:57
lucznik View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Nitrosteel Nitrosteel wrote:

1)  Is there a better compact for the money [$300-$500]?
No.
Originally posted by Nitrosteel Nitrosteel wrote:

2)  Should I go with the compact or just suck it up, tote the extra weight and have better vision capabilities once I catch my breath (from toting a bigger scope)?
That all depends on your individual situation and no one can answer that question for you.  Helpful questions to consider in making this decision would be:
  1. How physically fit are you?
  2. How much other stuff to you plan on carrying (considering both weight and physical bulk)?
  3. Are you going to want do use the scope for other purposes (digiscoping, astronomy, etc.)


Originally posted by Nitrosteel Nitrosteel wrote:

3)  What is a good lightweight tripod to use for hunting applications (is one really necessary), is the one that come with the Leoupold "kit" good enough?
Leupold's field tripod is pretty good.  It costs around $80
I used a Vanguard Mars 1 for quite a while and was pretty happy with it - until I dropped it onto the pavement and broke the head.  It only cost me something like $40 so; it wasn't a horrible loss.
The Velbon Ultra Lux-F gets good reviews.  It runs about $110
Currently I use a Manfrotto 728B and it has been great. I think I paid about $130 for it though, I could be mistaken.



Edited by lucznik - December/04/2008 at 17:57
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/05/2008 at 09:03
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Originally posted by Nitrosteel Nitrosteel wrote:

 
I guess I have 3 questions:
 
1)  Is there a better compact for the money?
2)  Should I go with the compact or just suck it up, tote the extra weight and have better vision capabilities once I catch my breath (from toting a bigger scope)?
3)  What is a good lightweight tripod to use for hunting applications (is one really necessary), is the one that come with the Leoupold "kit" good enough?
 
1. No
2. The compact is just fine, unless you want to use it for astronomy, digiscoping, and other uses.
3. Manfrotto 728B.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/08/2008 at 10:51
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Is the 10-20x40 a big enough scope.  Is it highly recommended also?

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/08/2008 at 14:28
lucznik View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Nitrosteel Nitrosteel wrote:

Is the 10-20x40 a big enough scope.  Is it highly recommended also?



I had one of those for awhile.  It is not a big scope; not by any stretch of the imagination.   It is also more capable than most people would think possible. I liked it a lot except that I kept wanting just that little bit of extra magnification.  I now have the 15-30x50 and I am convinced it is the better of the two.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/08/2008 at 15:53
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lucznic, does the sandpiper compare pretty well to the compact Golden Ring? I am looking at buying one for my buddy, and he looked through the golden ring, and was very impressed. I want to buy him a Stokes, but want him to be equally impressed. His main concern is being able to see bullet holes at 100-200 yds. I just want him to have a nice scope.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/08/2008 at 17:26
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1.  I've not compared the two side by side.
2. My time behind a Sandpiper is very limited (I've only examined one twice) whereas my time behind the 50mm Leupold is fairly substantial, literally hundreds of total hours.
 
I am therefore not able to definitively answer your question. 
 
Both are excellent scopes.  I chose the Leupold because I wanted a compact spotting scope for travelling and backcountry hiking/hunting.  The Sandpiper, though excellent, is just simply too large for these purposes.
 
With its 65mm objective lens the Sandpiper is brighter and has a greater theoretical ability for image resolution.  (Again, I've not tested them so; I don't know how the theory pans out in actual practice.)  Both are fully capable of accomplishing the task you have specified.


Edited by lucznik - December/08/2008 at 17:27
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/08/2008 at 18:18
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Another question:
 
What model is the Leuopold 56380 (compact spotting scope)?  Is this an old model of the 61090?  I found a reasonable deal on a 56380, but am hesitant to buy because I can't find it on Leupold's website, although I have found it in a few other places with no "real" description with it.
 
Thank you,

NitroSteel
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/08/2008 at 22:10
lucznik View Drop Down
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I'm afraid I haven't made it a point of memorizing the product model numbers.  The box to my current-model Leupold GR Compact 15-30x50 is 61090. 

Leupold did make this spotting scope with black rubber armoring when it first came out.  About a year or so ago they switched it to brown rubber armoring so-as to match their Golden Ring binoculars.  This may account for the model number difference though, that's only a guess on my part.

Contact Leupold directly and perhaps someone there can assist you better.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/10/2008 at 08:27
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There is another thing that you have to take into account:
1. Your height at eye level,
2. Maximum height of the tripod
3. Wheter the scope is straight or angled.
 
If you purchase a straight scope and you are a tall person and you want to observe while standing, you will need a tripod that extends more.
You can purchase a smaller or shorter tripod if your scope is angled.
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/16/2009 at 22:46
Nitrosteel View Drop Down
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How tall of a tripod do I need when using a spotting scope while hunting? I am specifically asking about hunting in the mountains of CO, WY or NM. Sitting (or standing?) on a ridge for hours at the time looking for mule deer, sheep or elk. From what I've gathered, the Leupold "kit" comes with a tabletop tripod (right) and it seems that more than that would definetly be needed. In this case, I am planning on buying just the scope and getting a seperate tripod, I don't need a hardcase.

Does the Spotting Scope only (61090) come with a zippered soft case and a screw in lens cover? It is very unclear on the Leupold or other sales websites.

The Compact Leupold tripod (about $75.00) is 31" tall and so are a few others, on the other hand, the Manfredo and others generally are 55"-62 inches tall ($100-$175) or so.

I'm guessing I'll be sitting down and that the 31" would be fine, but the weight is very similar and I don't want to cut myself short.

By the way my hunting partner got the Sandpiper and loves it, he says it will fit in his pack and he is happy with the weight... I think I'm going with the Leupold though (not absolutely sure yet). Am I missing something not getting the extra power and lens diameter by buying the Leupold instead of the Sanpiper?

Thank ya'll for your help.

NitroSteel
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/17/2009 at 11:39
lucznik View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Nitrosteel Nitrosteel wrote:

How tall of a tripod do I need when using a spotting scope while hunting? 
The answer to this question depends on a lot of things including:

  • How tall are you?
  • Are you going to be sitting, standing, or both?
  • Will your scope be angled or straight? (With the Leupold you only have the choice of straight, but since you haven't actually bought it yet...)
  • How much extra weight/bulk are you willing to carry? 
  • Are others besides you going to need to use the scope?  If so, how tall are they?


Originally posted by Nitrosteel Nitrosteel wrote:

Does the Spotting Scope only (61090) come with a zippered soft case and a screw in lens cover?  
  Mine did.

Originally posted by Nitrosteel Nitrosteel wrote:

Am I missing something not getting the extra power and lens diameter by buying the Leupold instead of the San[d]piper? 
Of course you are.  All optics involve compromises.  The Leupold will be less bright and will only be able, at max, to get you 30x closer.  The Sandpiper will be brighter and can get you an extra 15x closer. 

 
You also gain things.  The Leupold is lighter making it much easier to pack. It is also quite a bit physically smaller, which means that it will take up less room in your bag - requiring you to make fewer sacrifices on other gear you would like to have with you.  It is backed by Leupold's legendary Golden Ring warranty which, while on paper is not really different from the Vortex warranty, has the benefit of many decades of actually being honored coupled with industry-leading customer service - a distinction Vortex cannot yet claim.  


Edited by lucznik - February/17/2009 at 11:42
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/17/2009 at 14:10
Nitrosteel View Drop Down
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Is the optical "quality" of the Sandpiper equal to that of the Leupold?

The reason I asked is I've noticed sometimes a smaller riflescope of a higher quality is sometimes superior to a cheaper spope with a bigger objective lense and higher power.

Of course if the quality of lenses is the same, then the Sandpiper would be better on all counts with the exception of weight and bulk.

Any thoughts? I'm almost ready to push the button...

Thank you,

NitroSteel
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/17/2009 at 17:40
lucznik View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Nitrosteel Nitrosteel wrote:

Is the optical "quality" of the Sandpiper equal to that of the Leupold?
 
Originally posted by lucznik lucznik wrote:

1.  I've not compared the two side by side.
2. My time behind a Sandpiper is very limited (I've only examined one twice) whereas my time behind the 50mm Leupold is fairly substantial, literally hundreds of total hours.
 
I am therefore not able to definitively answer your question.   
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/17/2009 at 21:50
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I'll call this my last question (for a while at least):

How does the Nikon Spotter II XL 16-48x60 stack up (optically) against the Leupold Compact? I see a few of these on the sample list and from what I've read they have been getting good reviews (which makes me wonder why there are so many reconditioned ones... and no Leupold's...)

I believe at this point, I'd probably be happy with any of the choices I have it narrowed down to, although after continuing to read - I've un-narrowed the field quite a bit...

Thank you again for your help.

NitroSteel
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/17/2009 at 22:03
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Leupold doesn't do reconditions and all those Nikons some are just bad boxes, scratch ,sample. whatever they are not all recons.Wink
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/18/2009 at 13:01
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I've not spent a lot of time behind a Nikon Spotter XL II.  I have handled them in a couple of stores and I thought they were pretty dang good. They are somewhat better than the almost-identical 60mm Bushnell Elite. They are however, a rather dated design.  They do not, for example, have phase correction coatings, despite the fact that they are a roof prism design and really could use them.  Still, I would take a Spotter XL II over Nikon's new Prostaff spotter any day of the week.

One of my good friends is an absolutely fanatical trophy mule deer hunter.  He has two absolute monsters on his wall that would make even the most picky trophy hunters on the planet drool with envy.  They have recieved write-ups in in both Eastman's Hunting Journal and David Long's Public Land Mulies, the Bottom Line.  He absolutely swears by the Nikon Spotter XL.  His is a bit dated (pre-XL II model) and a lot has happened in spotting scopes since he bought his Nikon, yet he has no desire at all to upgrade what he has.

 
 


Edited by lucznik - February/18/2009 at 13:05
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/18/2009 at 17:46
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I found a like new in the box "Bausch and Lomb 15-45x60 Elite" at a pawn shop today at a price that I could not refuse. It has RAINGUARD and "Phase Coated Prisms (PC3)" according to the box. It came with the zippered case also.

It is in perfect condition and was about half of the cheapest price I could find anywhere for a new one. I figure it should be easy to sell if I don't like it, but it was in the "top 5 list" that I had narrowed down to anyways...

I don't feel like it is too big or too heavy to carry in my pack, but I can probably easily get my money back for it if it is. Haven't really had a chance to try it yet. But will give an update when I do.

Thank you for your help.

NitroSteel
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/19/2009 at 00:20
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Originally posted by Nitrosteel Nitrosteel wrote:

I found a... "Bausch and Lomb 15-45x60 Elite"... It has... "Phase Coated Prisms (PC3)"


Wow!  I didn't remember the one I owned briefly having those coatings. I would imagine this would mean that the Nikon probably does too, despite my thinking to the contrary.

Well, I guess you really can learn something every day.

Good luck with your new scope.  It should prove very capable.


Edited by lucznik - February/19/2009 at 00:21
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/19/2009 at 07:02
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That's what it says on the box... The bushnell version of it is also listed that way on several sites.

What exactly does phase coated mean? My fujinon binoculars are phase coated also.

Thank you for your help.

Nitrosteel
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/19/2009 at 09:37
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Originally posted by Nitrosteel Nitrosteel wrote:

What exactly does phase coated mean?
Read about them here:
 
 
Scroll down to about the middle of the page for the explanation of phase correction coatings.
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/19/2009 at 11:55
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Thank you for the good information.

Just curious, is the Sandpiper phase coated?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2009 at 10:23
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it's not, because it does not need to.
When you have a straight tube, it means that you probably have roof prisms. They need phase coating. When you have a bent tube, you have Porro prisms, which don't need phase coating.
 
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