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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: August/10/2006 at 16:04
koshkin View Drop Down
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Dark Lord of Optics

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I am fairly new to spotting scopes, so I need some advice here.

I am looking for a compact spotting scope: either a fixed 20x or variable 15-30x or something similar.  I have not yet figured out how much I am willing to spend, but probably no more than $400-$500.  If I can get away with spending less I certainly welcome that thought.

Who makes good, light and small spotters out there?

Thanks.
ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/10/2006 at 17:10
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Personally, I like the Leupold Gold Ring Spotters in either 15-30x50 or 10-20x40 (which is the one I own.) They cost between $300 and $350 depending on which model you choose.  Very small, very light, very good image quality.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/10/2006 at 19:20
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Take a look at the nikon ed50! It has the best optics in the 50mm or less class of spotters. The eyepieces can be used with any of the other nikon fieldscopes. There is a lot of info on this scope at birdforum.net. A little more money than you may want to spend but well worth it imo. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/11/2006 at 02:32
koshkin View Drop Down
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I am afraid that Nikon is a bit out of my price range.

Leupold 10-20x40 looks interesting.

Any idea how it compares to Kowa TS500 spotting scopes?

Thanks
ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/11/2006 at 14:26
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Koshkin,
I have both.  The Leupold has better resolution and depth of field.

Also, don't consider roof prism spotters if you need very good depth of field and high contrast.  The roof prism in a monocular configuration
 gives an image like a picture while the porro prism ands depth and contrast making the image 3 dimesional.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/11/2006 at 16:06
koshkin View Drop Down
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Thanks, Mike.

I was not looking at roofs.  Even with binoculars I have a strong preference toward porro prism designs.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/11/2006 at 16:19
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If you can choose/buy from a sporting goods store, have a look at the 20x50 porro prism mini scopes sold under the Burris or Alpen name. I strongly advise to choose carefully, because some of those little suckers are true gems, and some of them are door stops.The $100 50mm mini scopes with zooms suck big time, whatever their name brand.

I recently looked at a 20x50 $70 Alpen that was excellent, but it was the third sample that I looked at. The first two were hm! I donít know how long these things last and how sturdy they are, but mounted on a light tripod or monopod they are a very good and inexpensive alternative. If you get a good one, that is.

The Nikon 50ED is the best of the bunch, but at that price i would save a bit more and get a big scope. The 40 mm or 50 mm Leupolds are excellent also, but if you find a good $100 Burris it will be just as good.

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/11/2006 at 16:33
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I looked at a few 20x50 Burris Landmarks and they were not great.  I was hoping to find something better.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/12/2006 at 06:38
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koshkin,

 

May I suggest the Pentax 65 mm ED model? It is fairly compact...about 10 or 11 inches long without the eyepiece, of the porro design and should just fit into your price range. The scope body sells for about $420 at a few places online (PM me if you want the specifics, not affiliated with any of them) and you can put just about any 1.25 inch astronomical eyepiece on it. These range in price from $20 a piece all the way up to $300 or $400 each if you buy the high end Pentax XW series or a Televue, Panoptic, etc... I bought a three piece set of fixed eyepieces from a local distributor called Knight Owl optics for about $100 (20x, 28x, 43x) and that set me back about $100 (each eyepiece sells for around $37 individually). They all have very good eye relief with the 20x unit having about 20 mm and all of them have a field of view of between 65-70 degrees. That is trully "wide angle" from a scope perspective. I highly recommend them.

 

I am currently in the process of looking for a zoom eyepiece for it and am stuck between a $60 Scopetronix unit and a $170 Vixen lanthanum glass model. I haven't decided yet but when I do I will be glad to post on it.

 

Keep in mind that this scope, and its two bigger brethren, are often compared very favorably to the Zeiss, Leica, Nikon and Swaro models of similar configurations. here is a link to the most recent BVD review of it.

 

http://www.betterviewdesired.com/11-05/Pentax%2065mm.html

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/24/2006 at 17:15
koshkin View Drop Down
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Thank you all for your replies.

I spent some time goin to the store and to the range and looking through as many scope as I could find.

Pentax 65ED with a pentax rare earth eyepiece is an absolutely spectacular scope, optically speaking, but I would prefer something a bit smaller.  I was however quite stunned by the picture quality.  I could not tell any difference between it and the top end expensive scopes.

Cheaper scopes like Burris Landmark and a few others did not impress me.  To be honest a few were quite serviceable, but I am too much of an optics snob to go with that option.

I do not expect to use it in low light a whole lot, so I am willing to trade some objective size for a more compact scope.

What I think wil fit my needs/preferences the best is Nikon Fieldscope 13-30x50ED.

The bad part is that it is a fair bit more money than I was planning to spend.

So, I guess, I'll save some coins and see if I chance on a good deal for the Nikon somewhere.

That having been said, I was quite impressed with the 65mm Pentax and if I see some sort of super deal on that, I'll go that route.

Thanks for all the suggestions.
ILya


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/24/2006 at 19:12
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koshkin,

If you decide to go with the nikon check out the fixed power WA eyepieces! They have better eye relief, FOV, and optics than that zoom #7466. The other nikon zoom #7467 is much better but I think it is backordered everywhere and also more$$. good luck!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/19/2006 at 02:13
koshkin View Drop Down
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I ended up getting a Pentax 65ED with XF 20-60x eyepiece and Velbon Ultra Luxi F tripod.  I think I'll buy one of fixed magnificaiton XW eyepieces as well in the future.  Probably the 28x one.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/19/2006 at 11:24
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"I think I'll buy one of fixed magnificaiton XW eyepieces as well in the future.  Probably the 28x one."

 

The 28x is excellent though I personally prefer the 19.5x (20 mm). I am looking to get the 10 mm as well (39x) as a good compromise to a zoom. I really do not think you can go wrong with any of the XW (or XF) eyepieces as they (the XW) have excellent eye relief and an exceptionally wide field of view. Glad to see you went with the Pentax 65 ED.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/10/2006 at 14:59
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Koshkin,

 

Which ones "were quite serviceable"?  I'm not a snob.... at least not yet.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/10/2006 at 15:27
koshkin View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Tip69 Tip69 wrote:

Koshkin,

 

Which ones "were quite serviceable"?  I'm not a snob.... at least not yet.



That is kinda the problem. Manufacturing quality on cheaper scopes seems to be sufficiently inconsistent to make two different scopes of the same model look quite different.

Comparatively high magnification makes the differences rather apparent.

What purpose is the scope for? what size are you looking at?

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/16/2006 at 11:24
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I would like a scope that I can use at the range..... I mostly shoot to sight-in, although I plan to do more shooting in the future, out to about 200 yds.  I would like to be able to see .22 cal holes at this distance.  I'm mostly a hunter and would use the scope for "spotting" as well.  Plan to buy a car window adaptor.  Would like to be able to tell if the deer I'm looking at is mature Buck at distances from 250 up to 1600 yds.

 

I work at a sporting goods store and can look thru several of the top brands in the store.... not sure I can take them out to the range without buying them.  A co-worker has a Burris Landmark that I can take to the range, but I'd like to be able to compare it to something.  I don't have the Pentax in the store and I'm not sure I could get it in.  We have the Nikons, but I think they are going to be out of my price range.

 

I'm not looking for anything over 60mm and I'm not sure about a zoom model.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/16/2006 at 11:47
koshkin View Drop Down
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If you want something no larger than 60mm and comparatively inexpensive I would look at Leupold Gold Ring 15-30x50 spotter as well as a Kowa 15-30x50ED.

ILya
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