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High Quality Spotting Scope

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/14/2008 at 19:40
jeremill View Drop Down
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I am in the market for some high quality glass.  I am currently looking at Leica Televid 77mm, Zeiss Diascope 65-85mm or Swarovski 65-80mm ATS.  I am expecting to spend ~2000$.  However, it is hard to test a spotting scope in a store.  Any suggestions or opinons about quality would be greatly appreciated.  However, I love Leica Trinovid binos, they are crystal clear.  But I have never used Swarovski or Zeiss in the field, so I cannot judge them.
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/14/2008 at 19:46
jeremill View Drop Down
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Forgot to add this, I know that is a lot of money ( Been saving for awhile + Stimulus Check)_.  However, I am a big proponent of spend just as much money if not more money on optics than that of the hunting system. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/15/2008 at 00:04
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I'm sure you would be very happy with any of those, but keep in mind that the Leica Televid 77 is discontinued to make way for their new Televid series and may be hard to find.  Eyepieces for it are especially hard to find.  I have the Televid 77 APO and it is a very fine scope.  I honestly don't know how it compares with the Swaro ATS or Zeiss Diascope, but I've seen more reviews ranking either the Zeiss or Swaro a little ahead of the Leica than the other way around.  I personally really like the dual ratio coarse/fine focusing knobs of the Zeiss, Leica, Kowa, etc. better than the single central body focus ring, because I believe it is easier to get the sharpest focus while keeping the view as steady as possible in the process.
 
I would also add the big Pentax PF 80ED to your list of possibilities as well.  I haven't used one, but from all I've heard about it, it's supposedly right up there with the big 3 optically at much lower cost.  Since you're already considering some of the finest spotters money can buy anyway, I would take a serious look at the Kowa TSN 883 Prominar.  At present, it is regarded by many as the current reigning king of spotters.  Whether or not this is true, I don't know, but I've seen a few reviews recently that placed its image quality ahead of Swaro, Zeiss, and Leica.  One things for certain; it has all the credentials and specs to make the "best of the best" a believable claim.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/15/2008 at 11:13
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What will you use the scope for?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/15/2008 at 12:50
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If you are planning on spending upwards of $2000 on your spotting scope then you need to rest easy as there are no poor scopes at this level - no matter what a particular brand-loyalist might tell you.
 
Your decision, as anweis suggests, is going to be based on what you are going to be doing with your spotting scope.
 
  • Are you planning on backpacking with it?  Yes? Then, you probably don't want an 80mm scope.
  • Planning on amateur astronomy? Yes? Then you might want one with an 80mm aperture.
  • Are you planning to digiscope with it?  Yes? Then, find the one that has the best adapter for your chosen camera.  Here again, the bigger aperture will prove helpful.
  • Does the idea of dual focus wheels appeal to you?  Yes? Then buy a Zeiss or a Leica (if you can find one - or are willing to wait for the new ones.)
  • If you are not stuck on having the "prestige" of a particular brand set and are not averse to saving a few bucks whilst not giving up any performance, then you should look at the Nikon Fieldscope ED and the Pentax PF80/65 - making sure you couple each with their respective high-end eyepieces (not the ones that come with the scopes as a kit.)
 
 
BTW; I've seen that 80mm Kowa that Rifledude mentioned.... Man, what a scope!  Pricey, but way nice.
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/16/2008 at 17:26
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I will be using the spotting scope on an upcoming trip to NM to hunt mule dear.  I am planing on spotting from a high cliff to identify mules and move down to take the shot.
 
 
I am not worried about the weight, I have been carrying 100lb backpacks for years and never got to exhausted.  However, I have also never had a high-end scope to spot through.  Plus my main rifle is a 700 non-custom chambered in 300 RUM, it by itself is around 10+ lbs with my zeiss 3.5-10 x 50mm scope.
 
 
Jeremy
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/16/2008 at 17:56
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From an optics point of view, Kowa 88 mm Prominar scopes with the 30 x WA eyepiece are the best spotters on the planet. I looked at one next to my 80 mm HD Swarovski and i went "wow".

The following are all great choices: Nikon 50, 60, and 82 mm ED, Swarovski HD, Kowa Prominar, Zeiss, Leica; you can't go wrong with either, and all will be superb scopes. They are all very well built. 

For that kind of hunting, i would use my angled body Nikon Fieldscope 50 mm ED with the zoom, or better yet, with the 20x eyepiece. You want a light scope. Mounted on a small light tripod. Manfrotto.
 
Next, you need to decide if you will mount the scope on a tripod or use it while rested on a backpack. For tripods, you can have straight body or angled body (you can get by with shorter and lighter tripods if you use angled body). But, if you use the scope off a backpack, i sugest a straight body.
 
I can't go wrong with either of the top brands, and they rarely if ever need repairs. But, if you ever do need repairs, you can't beat Swarovski. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/24/2008 at 09:18
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Check KOWA Prominar Scopes One of the best scopes you can get.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/28/2008 at 09:40
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Over the past year, I've looked through almost everything (searching, like you, for the best scope at the best price.

Without hesitation, I can say that in low light or over long distances, the Kowa 880 series are the best spotters available right now.

In the end, when faced with your predicament, I purchased the Pentax PF80- ED.  The Kowa looked a little better in failing light and showed better detail at long range (almost 3-diminsional - it is an amazing optic) but I couldn't justify the added expense (3X) for what seemed to me to be about a 10% increase in optical quality.  The Kowa 880 is indeed better than everything else out there, so if you want the absolute best, it is the Kowa 880.

If you want big and bright and crisp and clear and user-friendly and field-ready, the Pentax is a great scope.  And the Pentax eyepiece is the best I've seen anywhere!


Edited by Rancid Coolaid - July/28/2008 at 11:28
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/28/2008 at 10:09
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As good as Kowa, if not a bit better, are Optolyth Spotting scope. The last remaining German company which produces 100% in Germany.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/28/2008 at 11:31
Rancid Coolaid View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Sturo Sturo wrote:

As good as Kowa, if not a bit better, are Optolyth Spotting scope. The last remaining German company which produces 100% in Germany.  


They are indeed good spotters;however, having looked through both and talked with several experts (and looked at many, MANY birder reviews - those are the guys that take spotters seriously)  I cannot agree that Optolyth is better than or even equal to the top-end Kowa.

To each his own.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/28/2008 at 16:49
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Of all the reviews and tests I've seen, the Kowa 880 Prominar is indeed considered the current reigning king of all spotters.  I've not compared them head to head with other spotters, but the one sample I looked through was absolutely phenomenal!  I don't doubt the claim that it's the "best of the best."  I would have to say it has better image quality than my Leica Televid 77 APO, which is certainly no slouch!  The big Pentax 80 RC has is very well regarded and is supposedly right up there with some of the best spotters, though I've never seen one.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/28/2008 at 21:02
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I've heard Tubb used Optolyth till Kowa started paying him to use their stuff.    They make a good scope and at a good price, but - glass alone - the Kowa wins.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/29/2008 at 19:25
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Who is Tubb?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/29/2008 at 20:10
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Originally posted by lucznik lucznik wrote:

Who is Tubb?
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/31/2008 at 08:39
Rancid Coolaid View Drop Down
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Originally posted by lucznik lucznik wrote:

Who is Tubb?



Seriously?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/31/2008 at 20:20
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Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:

Originally posted by lucznik lucznik wrote:

Who is Tubb?

Seriously?

Yep, seriously. 

I realize this is almost as egregious a transgression as if I were to ask my 10-year-old, "who's Miley Cyrus?" but, that's just the way it goes. I'm not hip with the kids, nor the shooting nuts.  Oh well, I think I can live with that.

I'm just not into competitive shooting sports at all. Least of all anything that revolves around AR-styled rifles and especially anything that has been labeled as "tactical."  In fact, one of the quickest ways to get me disinterested in any product is to label it with the word "tactical."  And as popular as the AR rifle is, I just don't have any use for one. 

That's not to say that I think there is anything "wrong" with such things and I certainly don't believe that there should be any restrictions placed on them.  I also don't have any heartburn about others liking (or even being obsessed with) them. They just simply don't trip my trigger.




Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/01/2008 at 08:43
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To each his own.

I was more surprised you didn't simply google the name.

No one is gonna force anything down your throat.  Optolyth makes a great spotter (have heard a few quality complaints) but Kowa is at the top - at this moment.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/01/2008 at 19:37
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Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:

I was more surprised you didn't simply google the name.


It was easier to just ask the question.  That way I didn't have to do any work except to return to this thread and view the provided link - something I would have done anyway.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/26/2008 at 21:44
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Just finished our first season with a real spotter replacing an old Cabelas model. The Swaro sts80 hd, 20-60x lens, and a tripod with the fluid head. What a sick setup!! We used it mainly from the cabin spotting bucks up to 1300+ yards, then go out and put a sneak on them. The spotter performed flawlessly, incredible images, being able to count bones (points) with easy at such long distances and at low light. Most of the time we only needed 20x, with the fluid head we could use the spotter like bino's surveying with ease, would zoom to 60x and use the manual focus only when needed. The last week of the season there was a full moon and we would zoom in on it to test the optics; the visual was just like the pics you'd see from NASA. I can't say enough about this product plus it comes with outstanding SONA support/warranty. I've successfully blocked out the memory of the purchase, thank god, it was sick too. Dead

Edited by mike650 - September/28/2008 at 03:48
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