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Father's Birthday Present Help

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/24/2011 at 17:42
hoss81 View Drop Down
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So my father is getting a very nice birthday present this year. He is wanting a scope to be able to look out from his beach house at sailboats, stars, neighbors etc.

I've been lurking a decent amount on these forums trying to compile some info and gain some knowledge in the past couple of days. Now I'm hoping I can get some personalized advice to help me on the path for this present.

Optics and zoom are the main factors in here, I also like the idea of being able to get adapters for dslrs and interchanging eyepieces for updatability. But, I think zoom (and variable zoom) will definitely win out over optical quality in general.

My father is slightly blind, so he'll be wearing his glasses, or he says he often just adjusts the focus in binos for his eyes. We have a budget of $1200 for the scope. I've been peering at the Pentax 80ED and Nikon 82ED scopes. Which I realize the Nikon is a little above that, but I may be able to persuade my sisters to put in a little more if it is really worth it.

Am I on the right track? Are there any others out there to consider with the following qualifications. Also any recommendations for a sturdy tripod. I think this will mostly be used indoors, and not carried around often.

Lastly, are these sort of scope used much for looking at the stars, planets and stuff, or is the aperture too small for those dim objects?

PPS If he would be sitting and looking out this, would it make sense to get an angled scope?

Thanks for any advice and recommendations, and let me know if any other information might be helpful for finding him the right scope!

A quick rundown since that was long

Wants

   * Far zoom (your guess for a precise number is better than mine)
   * Good quality optics
   * Interchangable / dslr capable eye pieces
   * Around $1200

Thanks,

Tommy
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/24/2011 at 18:16
Klamath View Drop Down
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The best deals in your price range for the best quality are the Theron MAG 82 and the Zen Ray ZEN ED 2 spotters.  You need look no further than these.  ALthough I suspect that Leupold Kenai and the Vortex Viper spotters are good too.  They have some good reviews , but I have not seen either for myself.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/26/2011 at 16:40
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You are not going to wrong with the Nikon.  They are camera grade optics.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/26/2011 at 17:37
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If your father wears glasses, than Nikon Fieldscope 82ED should not be on your list.  Overall, the spotter has very good optical quality, but the eyepiece is horrible (in my opinion) and effectively useless with glasses.

Pentaz 80ED with XW or SMC zoom eyepieces is a very good option for eyeglass wearers.  

As far as Theron and Zen Ray spotters go, I have not had a chance to look at the Theron spotter, but I have recently started looking at Zen Ray ED2.  So far, I like it quite bit and it seems like a veyr good option.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/27/2011 at 07:24
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 No problems with the Theron for eyeglass wearers. At least, not for me.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/29/2011 at 00:44
hoss81 View Drop Down
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Thank you all for the comments and opinions. I think I have narrowed it down between the Pentax and Zen, but I'm slightly leaning toward the Pentax with it's acceptance of the eyepieces. About how much would you guys think would be good to budget for the tripod and head? And does anyone have an opinion on the angled or straight for looking down on the ocean and up at the sky sort of viewing?

Thanks again for all of the help!

Tommy

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/29/2011 at 00:47
hoss81 View Drop Down
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I'm sorry for the double post, but I see no way to edit my own. I meant the standard eye pieces for the Pentax. And please feel free to correct me if I am making bad assumptions on any comments.

Thanks,

Tommy
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/29/2011 at 02:08
hoss81 View Drop Down
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So it looks to me that the zen and the Pentax will be comparable price wise when getting the Pentax 80ED with the 20-60x xw eyepiece and the Zen-Ray ED2 that comes with a 20-60 eyepiece.

I feel like my impression was that the Zen is of better quality. I'll be doing more research tomorrow. Thanks for the help!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/29/2011 at 20:13
Klamath View Drop Down
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Originally posted by hoss81 hoss81 wrote:

...About how much would you guys think would be good to budget for the tripod and head?...
Thanks,

Tommy
The tripod and head may be even more important than the scope, so don't scrimp there.  The two I use and can recommend  (there are certainly others) are the Manfrotto 055 tripod and Manfrotto 128 fluid head.  Another good setup is the SLIK 700 Pro.  SLIK makes a fluid head, but the one I used had a nasty habit of returning to zero  after it had set for awhile, making re finding your target necessary, a genuine pain in the posterior.  My SLIK has the included 3 way pan head, which, while not as nice as the Manfrotto 128, works just fine.  I got the SLIK and head for about $200.  The Manfrotto setup was closer to $300.  The Manfrotto tripod is trimmer and lighter than the SLIK, but both will let somebody well over 6' tall use the scope standing and both will go somewhere around 18" or so on the low end.  Both handle large spotters very well.  I have the ZEN ED 2 and they work like a charm.
 
You can edit your posts after some minimum number of posts, sorry, but my fried brain just forgot what the magic number is.  By the way welcome to OT.


Edited by Klamath - July/29/2011 at 20:17
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/02/2011 at 02:34
hoss81 View Drop Down
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Thank you! And thank you very much for the help with the scopes and the tripod suggestions! Also, I have enjoyed your helpful reviews of the zen-ray. I'm currently considering the zen-ray and the pentax both with the 20-60 zoom.

I haven't been able to find too much info on the zen-ray's ability for slr cameras. And I'm somewhat unsure of the manfrotto tripop with a canon 5d mII. Would it be able to handle the weight of scope and camera, or would a heavier tripod be in store?

Thanks again for all the help!

Tommy
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