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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/08/2008 at 23:10
swilkens View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Wondering if anyone can help me decide between a few spotting scopes to be used to for hunting.  I want something relatively light, but not too small.  Wondering if anyone had any experience between the following models:
 
Nikon 13-30x50 ED Fieldscope $700
16.6 oz
 
Pentax 20-60x65 ED Spotting Scope $850
37 oz.
 
Stokes Sandpiper 15-45 x 65 $330
38 oz.
 
Nikon is definately the lightest of the bunch, just worried about only being 30x.  Is it usable up to 30x?
 
Pentax is the most powerful, but also the heaviest and most expensive.
 
Are these two worth the extra money over the Stokes? 
 
Thanks
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/08/2008 at 23:22
swilkens View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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I also found a new Pentax PF-65ED with a 20-60 zoom lense included for $600.  I think Pentax now sells the PF-65EDII.  Any differences between the two?

Also wondering on the Minox MD 62 w/ 21-42 eyepiece.  Any experience with it?

 

Thanks

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/09/2008 at 09:13
silver View Drop Down
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Who the heck is stokes? Minox, Nikon, or Pentax I  have no problems with buying.  I use Nikons to pay the bills.  Minox is my next choice. Pentax's spotters and binoculars are much improved. These guys all have long track records of high quality. Quality parts, labor and QA testing all cost money.  IF if they are half the price...

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/09/2008 at 11:55
lucznik View Drop Down
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Originally posted by swilkens swilkens wrote:

Wondering if anyone can help me decide between a few spotting scopes to be used to for hunting.  I want something relatively light, but not too small.  Wondering if anyone had any experience between the following models:
 
Nikon 13-30x50 ED Fieldscope $700
16.6 oz
 
Pentax 20-60x65 ED Spotting Scope $850
37 oz.
 
Stokes Sandpiper 15-45 x 65 $330
38 oz.
 
Nikon is definately the lightest of the bunch, just worried about only being 30x.  Is it usable up to 30x?
 
Pentax is the most powerful, but also the heaviest and most expensive.
 
Are these two worth the extra money over the Stokes? 
 
Thanks
 
To hear it from the various birding sites, the Nikon is the greatest thing to come around for many a decade.  Those guys just LOVE this little scope.  I examined one at Sportsman's Warehouse a few months ago and I wasn't nearly as impressed as I had anticipated being.  It was dim (especially at its higher magnifications) and the FoV was quite narrow.  My bet is that birders are so enamored with the little Nikon because the vast majority of their usage is during daylight and only when the weather is good allowing for plenty of ambient light to use.  This is very different from traditional hunting demands.  I would still like to have one for those times when I'm backpacking deep into the backcountry, travelling to "exotic" locals, and/or for the very regular daytime viewing opportunities that present themselves.  This little Nikon would indeed be a much easier scope to manage than my full-size 80mm spotter but, it just doesn't have the reach in dim light to make it a primary/only hunting scope.
 
I also examined the Pentax and found it to be an excellent scope as well.  Its larger size made it significantly brighter and the resolution (even with the cheaper Pentax XF eyepiece) really was quite superb - to the point of being sufficient for a primary/only scope choice.  Choose the higher quality Pentax XW eyepieces (or any other high quality 1.25" eyepiece) and it would be even better still. Again, it was not as bright as my 80mm scope but, it is quite a bit smaller.  My only problem with the Pentax was that, at the time I was looking, noone had any really good deals going and I also planned to do a good bit of digiscoping and so I wanted the benefits of a larger objective lens.  
 
Stokes is the same company as Vortex.  The Stokes line is simply marketed more to the birding crowd whereas Vortex is more focused on the hunters.  The company has a good reputation and is making some serious waves in the optics industry.  A basic search in this forum will find you a good review of the Sandpiper.  It is definately a scope for someone on a budget or perhaps for a beginner.  It retains its image quality only to about 30x and while possibly a bit brighter (due to the larger objective lens) than the Nikon, the Nikon's ED glass will all but eliminate the optical abberations that will be seen in the cheaper scope and will thus very likely allow it to resolve detail better. 
 
So, where does that leave us?
 
If money is not the primary concern, the Nikon and the Pentax will both be better choices than the Stokes. If money is a primary concern and you really just can't afford to spend $700-$900 on a scope, the Sandpiper is a very good option.
 
Assuming you plan on hunting from before dawn 'till after dusk and aren't planning on hiking too far into the backcountry, the Pentax would likely prove the best all-around scope, especially if you can splurge on a better-quality XW eyepiece. 
 
If you do a lot of hiking or travelling to exotic destinations where space and weight are real premiums, or if you basically hunt during daylight hours, the Nikon is a great little scope and will end up being taken places where you simply would not be willing to carry anything bigger. 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/09/2008 at 12:01
lucznik View Drop Down
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Originally posted by swilkens swilkens wrote:

I also found a new Pentax PF-65ED with a 20-60 zoom lense included for $600.  I think Pentax now sells the PF-65EDII.  Any differences between the two?

Also wondering on the Minox MD 62 w/ 21-42 eyepiece.  Any experience with it?

 

Thanks

 
There were (allegedly) some changes made to the PF-65EDII making them brighter than the original PF-65.  The view from the early model is so good however, that I doubt many people could identify a significant change.  There was also a gold-colored badge placed on the newer scope making it more "stylish."  Personally, I would not willingly spend more to get the PF-65II over the PF-65.
 
I have not seen the Minox but, reports I have read generally complain of a very narrow FoV.  They too make a higher-quality, wide angle eyepiece that would likely prove a vast improvement over the standard one included in "kits."
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/10/2008 at 09:24
anweis View Drop Down
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The Nikon 50ED will be useable at 30x, but only on a good tripod and in good light. I use this scope quite often. In low light, i turn the zoom down to 15x-20x. That is plenty of power for birding or hunting. The field of view of the zoom is a bit narrow, which is why i will get a 20xWA eyepiece.  Great quality, but small lens.  
The Stokes Sandpiper is backed by an excellent company with and excellent warranty (no fault, etc) and is a fantastic scope for the price. Probably the best $300 these days. The zoom is poor. 20x works nice and clear, but beyond 30x the view is not nice. Bigger lens, but lower quality.
The Pentax has the size and the quality.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/18/2008 at 23:24
supertool73 View Drop Down
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I know this is not on the list you put up but check this scope out for hunting. 
http://meopta.com/index.php?id=113&lang=en
The optics are fantastic, it compresses into a smaller package and the covers are held on tight by the carry strap which you can just toss over your back and hit the hills.  The rubber covering is very durable and thick.  You can just lay it over a rock or tree and it works great.  I am really loving mine it is perfect for the hunter who likes to hike and have a smaller package.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2008 at 11:26
lucznik View Drop Down
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I've always been intrigued by spotting scopes like that little Meopta.  Swarovski made (makes?) a couple of models that are almost identical.  I was put off a bit though when I read a article (I can't remember where) that basically said they didn't live up to their compact design and that on an African safari the guy who had one basically left it lie in "camp" the whole time because it was too cumbersome to pack around.  Then there was the issue of the collapsible design keeping it from being truly water/dust proof.  I've never actually seen one in person so; I don't have first hand knowledge of this but, hearing about the problem was enough to keep me from being willing to buy one "sight unseen."
 
Yukon Optics makes a similarly designed spotting scope called the Scout.  It is a 20x50 unit and sells for $60.  SWFA even carries them.  I can't imagine that at such a low price the optics are going to be worth a dang - though last I checked Ted Nugent had Yukon as a sponsor and I've seen him enthusiastically hawking their wares on his show.  I don't know if that means anything at all but, I suppose it should.  After all, he's a "celebrity" and we all know that they know everything about everything (especially climate change.) 
 
Oops, did I just get political there?  Sorry about that.  It just sort of slipped out.
 
Anyhow, the real catch-22 is that you could try a $60 Yukon to get a feel for the basic design but, that would totally be unfair as cheap optics are always, well... cheap.  Otherwise you could try one of these Meoptas (or the Swarovski) but, to do so would require that you sacrifice at least $900 ($700 for the scope body and then eyepieces run between $200 and $250 for the Meopta). For that kind of money, you could gets something a bit more familiar (Nikon Fieldscope, 80mm Bushnell Elite, Leupold Gold Ring, Pentax PF-65, etc.) where the quality/durability is a bit more of a known factor. 
 


Edited by lucznik - January/23/2008 at 11:32
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2008 at 17:22
supertool73 View Drop Down
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The Meopta is by no means a little scope.  It is a 75mm scope that just collapses so it is not quite as long as easier to carry than most 75mm and 80mm spotters.  If you are using it in the rain all you need to do is wipe off the tube before you collapse it and it is good to go. 

As far as trying a $60 scope to see if you like the design and comparing that to a $800 scope, thats pretty funny.  That would like be comaring a Tasco World class to a High end Zeiss.

I spent about 10 min at the range the other week comparing my Meopta to a Swaro 80mm HD and based on looking at targets and scenery from 100 yards to 1500 I could not see any noticeable difference in the two.  Meopta has amazing optics
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2008 at 17:38
lucznik View Drop Down
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Originally posted by supertool73 supertool73 wrote:

As far as trying a $60 scope to see if you like the design and comparing that to a $800 scope, thats pretty funny. 
It was meant to be.
 
Originally posted by supertool73 supertool73 wrote:

If you are using it in the rain all you need to do is wipe off the tube before you collapse it and it is good to go. 
 
 
This would be a pretty big problem.  Perhaps not at a range but, I tend to hunt in some pretty nasty weather.  There have been many times when everything I had was completely soaked and I absolutely didn't have a single dry piece of cloth anywhere.  If I truly had to wipe down a scope to ensure it doesn't get water inside or risk fogging up the insides of an almost-$1000 optical instrument, that would not be a good thing.
 
BTW, even Meopta declares this scope to be only "water and dust resistant" [emphasis added]


Edited by lucznik - January/23/2008 at 17:48
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2008 at 17:47
supertool73 View Drop Down
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Sounds like you better not get it then.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/24/2008 at 07:44
anweis View Drop Down
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I have never looked through the Meopta collapsible scopes, but i am certain that they are a good value in terms of optical performance.
 
I have, however, used extensively a collapsible Optolyth. 
 
The advantage of such a design is that the scope is easy to carry in a backpack because of it's compact size when collapsed. I don't know why this is good, because you need a tripod for the scope anyway, and the tripod is not small, light, or likely to fit in the backpack.
 
The disadvantage is that the scopes are not fogproof or dustproof. I've had my Optolyth fogged up several times. There are dust filters inside these scopes, but they are not meant to withstand several hours of rainy weather. I am sure thet they (Optolyth, Swarovski, or Meopta collapsibles) would not survive long hours in bad weather.
 
Meopta does market a good waterproof scope and a 30x eyepiece. This one
 
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