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Is a spotting scope what I need?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/11/2007 at 20:16
livetoflyfish View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Joined: March/11/2007
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I live in Washington State and I recently bought a house overlooking the Puget Sound.  There is a ferry dock/island about 5 miles away that I'd like to view more clearly.  Large freigthers and other boats are constantly coming through as well.  I recently bought an Alpen 20-60x80 spotter just to see what kind of quality I could get for $340.  Even though I already knew the brand was somewhat suspect, I was sorely disapointed in the power of the scope.  As a result, I've started looking at 100mm body scopes, thinking that's what I need.  I stumbled across this forum and there appears to be at least a few people with some quality expertise.

 

After reading several posts here, I'm not surprised to learn that both Nikon and Pentax are highly thought of.  $1500 for a 100mm body is a little too expensive for my blood.  I'd like to put together a nice 'kit' for under $1000:  tripod, body and lense.  With my little experience I've learned that a quality tripod is just as important.

 

Any suggestions?  I'm sure any responses will generate a host of questions.

 

Thanks in advance.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/11/2007 at 23:12
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Optics Master
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Look for stuff with words like ED and APO.  My rule of thumb is the futher away it is, the clearer the glass needs to be. You may also think about the need to get a polarizing filter to help cut the glare.

 

Check the sample list

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/12/2007 at 10:55
anweis View Drop Down
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For that kind of use, you need an astronomical telescope adapted for terestrial use. Also, have in mind that atmospheric turbulence will spoil the view no matter what - you will have clear views only when atmospheric conditions permit. Yesterday morning at 7.40 am i could see the difference between Ring-necked ducks and Lesser scaup at about 500 meters with a Swarovski HD 80 mm and the zoom at 40x.

At 10 am i could no longer see the ducks, just waves of air above water.



Edited by anweis
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/12/2007 at 21:13
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Optics GrassHopper
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anweis:  any specific suggestions on a telescope?  Do you know of a good help forum for that sort of thing?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/14/2007 at 13:00
anweis View Drop Down
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Celestron makes/sells several models that should fit within $500. An example would be the C130 Mak.

At http://www.cloudynights.com/ you will find enough collective knowledge about optics to open an optics engineering department at MIT. 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/17/2007 at 11:32
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Originally posted by anweis anweis wrote:

For that kind of use, you need an astronomical telescope adapted for terestrial use. Also, have in mind that atmospheric turbulence will spoil the view no matter what - you will have clear views only when atmospheric conditions permit. Yesterday morning at 7.40 am i could see the difference between Ring-necked ducks and Lesser scaup at about 500 meters with a Swarovski HD 80 mm and the zoom at 40x.

At 10 am i could no longer see the ducks, just waves of air above water.

You will need the erector lense or the image will be upside down with a celestial telescope.

With the higher powers I have also run into mirage effect from atmospheric turbulence. When the weather and air quality are right the view can be outstanding. I use a Celestron, model escapes me now, and I can see the names on ship bows almost 10 miles off the straights of Whitefish Point on Lake Superior.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/17/2007 at 17:43
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Optics GrassHopper
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For a complete kit under $1k, which is scope, 2 to 3 eyepieces, diagonal, alt/az mount and tripod, maybe mounting rings, storage/carrying case, etc., you might want to consider staying with with an 80mm to 90mm refractor of some sort as the 100mm scopes get expensive for decent color correction. Another consideration would be a 'cat' of some sort, maybe a 100mm. The more time you spend looking the better your chances of finding a good bargain, as there is also lots of used gear.

 

See the following, maybe looking at the Orion 80mm ED as it seems to get decent reviews for a 'budget' ED scope.

 

http://www.cloudynights.com/category.php?category_id=6&p r=2

 

http://www.astronomy.com/ASY/CS/forums/295576/ShowPost.aspx

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