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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2011 at 10:32
Wes in the Rockies View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Hello everyone,

I came across this site while trying to find reviews on spotting scopes, I must admit there is a TON of info here. Thanks. That being said, My name is Wes and I hunt both Mullies and Elk in Colorado. I have been using field glasses, but would like to start using a spotting scope. I understand there are many to chose from. To keep it simple. I would like to stay under 5 or 6 hundred, I know you get what you pay for, but tight budget. 

Been kinda looking at the 
Vortex Nomad 20x 60x 60

Leupold Gold ring Compact 15/30x50
 

Nikon ProStaff Spotting Scope 16/48x65


Can anyone please give me some advice on these or others?

Thanks in advance and there is some wonderful reading. Plus I love the fact that it is family friendly reading!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2011 at 11:03
BeltFed View Drop Down
Optics God
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Would size and weight be an issue, since you will be using this scope for hunting in some possibly rough terrain?
I'm a paper puncher, and I like the Vortex, but if I were hauling a spotter in the areas I hunt, I would consider size, weight, and eye relief for a spotter. Of the three you mention, I would go with the Leupold, but I'm not sure how the glass would compare between the 3.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2011 at 12:39
FrankD View Drop Down
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Beltfed beat me to it.
 
The first question to ask is what is your primary concerns when it comes to a spotting scope. If portability is a concern then stick with the lighter, smaller ones. There are a few 50 mm class spotters that get tossed around as suggestions on a regular basis.
 
If you expect to use higher magnifications (over 40x) on a regular basis and you want the brightest, sharpest image from a conventionally sized spotting scope then look at the 80 mm models. If you want a compromise between the two then stick with the 60-65 mm models like the ones you listed.
 
For what it is worth I have seen the first two on your list mentioned often when it comes to suggestions for 60-65 mm class spotters. I have not used either so I cannot comment.
 
My favorites in your price range and in that class are the Pentax 65 ED and the Celestron Regal F-ED. I haven't seen anything at this price point that outperforms them (haven't tried the Vortex Viper models yet though I think they are at or just above your upper price limit). Both of the scopes I mentioned can be used with a variety of eyepieces to truly get the best optical performance out of the scope. The Pentax is the more expensive of the two but I have seen the straight scope body (only) for $400. Eyepieces can cost anywhere from $25 all the way up to $400. There are a few decent zooms that I would recommend in the $80-$150 range so that should put the Pentax on your list.
 
The Celestron Regal F-ED 65 provides excellent optical performance for the price (usually around $400) plus it comes with a very respectable zoom. Just like the Pentax though you can use any 1.25 inch astro eyepiece with it...of which there are hundreds in just about any price range. Its only "downside" is that it is heavy for a 65 mm scope.
 
I would also throw a vote in for the Theron Optics Saker 60 mm scope. Excellent optical performance for the $250 it was selling for. They are out of stock for the moment though so it won't be an option.
 
Celestron also makes an 80 mm F-ED which is still within your budget at around $580. It is large and heavy though its optics really aren't bettered until you get in the $1000+ range.
 
If you went down to the 50 mm class spotters then the first suggestion would be the Nikon ED 50. It doesn't really have an equal, that I have tried, in the 50 mm class and at any price point. You can find them as a package deal for under $500 if you look in the right places.
 
The other 50 mm size spotter to consider is the Minox 50. Very compact and well made package. The optics aren't as good as the Nikon but it is just as well made and it appears to be more durable.
 
Hope this helps.
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2011 at 14:06
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As the others have mentioned, it is hard to make a specific recommendation without knowing the uses.
However, I will say this:
 
The worst serious spotter I have owned was a Leupold Sequoia 15-45X60.  The second worst spotter I have owned was a Vortex Nomad.  Its performance wasn't useless (The sequoia was useless at anything over 15x), but the image was soft overall with low contrast and obvious chromatic aberration.  There are many better options. 
 
Frank's selections are good ones.  I am often tempted to buy a Celestron Regal ED as a backup spotter.  I have seen the Vortex Viper HD spotters, and think they are really nice. I don't know if you can find one in your price range. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2011 at 15:25
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Can't comment on what your looking at, but I will 2nd Bitterroot on the Vortex spotters.  I have a Razor and would buy it again without a second thought.
 
Give the Vortex HD's a serious look.
 
 
The Vortex warranty is top notch and among the best should you ever need it.
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2011 at 16:39
Wes in the Rockies View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Thanks, everyone. some of my uses would include hike hunting and sitting,  seems like lately we been doing long range spotting 500 to 700 yards. With all that has been said I have rules out the Nomad, and have found a Viper HD in an ok price range. With the Pentax 65 ED seems I have to get an eye piece.  I am not very spotting scope knowledgeable.

Thanks
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2011 at 17:50
FrankD View Drop Down
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Yes, with the Pentax you do need to get an eyepiece but that is the beauty of that scope. Pentax makes their own eyepieces....the XF and XW line.....but just about any 1.25 astro eyepiece will work. There really are hundreds..from $29 simnple plossl eyepieces all the way up to $700 Televue models. I find the best value is in the fixed power, wide angle ED eyepieces in the $65-$85 range. Examples of which would be the X-cel LX, Astrotech Paradigm, Orion Epic ED II, etc...
 
The Pentax XF zoom is decent if you are into zooms but even the $80 Celestron zoom will work and work nicely, with the Pentax 65 ED. If you can stretch your budget up to the Vortex Viper then please do. I haven't tried them myself and the reports have been fairly limited as they are relatively new.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2011 at 18:07
Wes in the Rockies View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Frank thanks...I understand all about new,  scares me a bit. So with the Pentax I can change to different eyes pieces and make different scopes to say? So I could have kinda and all around scope? I like that ideal.  


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2011 at 23:54
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I have the little Leupold you mentioned.  I like it... A LOT!!

 
I own three spotting scopes; the Leupold, a 22x60 B&L, and a 20-60x80 Bushnell Elite with an additional 30x eyepiece.  If I could only keep one of them, it would be the Golden Ring. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/16/2011 at 07:10
FrankD View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Wes in the Rockies Wes in the Rockies wrote:

Frank thanks...I understand all about new,  scares me a bit. So with the Pentax I can change to different eyes pieces and make different scopes to say? So I could have kinda and all around scope? I like that ideal.  


Yes, you can fit many, many 1.25 inch astro eyepieces to the Pentax. There are a very small handful (Baader Hyperion zoom for example) that fit into the scope and work wonderfully to a point. It, and a couple of others, won't reach focus at infinity though. That issue is only with a very small amount of eyepieces. There are literally hundreds that will work both in at a fixed magnification and in zoom format.
 
Here is just one thread, of many, over in the Pentax subforum of Birdforum which details eyepiece use with the Pentax 65. It starts off with discussion of some of the best, and consequently one of the most expensive, of eyepiece choices for the scope but there are other more reasonably priced suggestions in there as well.
 
 
...and here is a review of the Pentax from not too long after it debuted.
 


Edited by FrankD - December/16/2011 at 07:11
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