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Meopta HS 75 vs. Pentax PF-65ED

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/04/2007 at 12:56
cj17 View Drop Down
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Hey guys,

 

Looking fora little help in making a tough decision.  I am in the market for a new spotting scope and have narrowed my search down to the Meopta HS 75 and the Pentax PF-65ED.  Both of the scope I've located have a 20-60 zoom eyepiece.  The scope will mainly be used to locate and judge deer at extended ranges in some very open country on the Northern plains.  It will be used to a lesser degree to take digital photos.  The scope will be used from a vehicle mount 95% of the time so size and weight aren't nearly as important as resolution and brightness early and late in the day. The Meopta scope was in a store and I was able to look through it.  I was very impressed by the limited test I could give it in the store.  The Pentax isn't available to look through in my area, but I've read extensive reviews on it and they're overwhelmingly positive.  The scopes are both demo models, the Meopta is $565 and the Pentax is $649 and they both come with full warranty so that's not a big difference.

 

I'm intrigued by the Meopta as I understand they make glass and do some assembly for Swarovski and Zeiss and I also like having a scope that not everyone else has - it makes for good conversation.  I was impressed with its design and apparent quality.  It also has a 10mm larger objective that will presumably make it a little better at dusk and dawn.  On the downside, the Meopta is not the latest in their spotting scope line as it has been replaced by the S-1 Meostar which according to their customer service rep has a different housing material and slightly different lens coatings.

 

The Pentax is undoubtedly a good scope, I just haven't beena able to judge for myself.  I have the 8x42 DCF WP and 10x43 DCF SP binoculars from Pentax and if the spotter is as good as the binos I guess I really can't go wrong.  I like the idea of being able to use any of the quality 1.25" eyepeices from the optics world that are compatible with the Pentax making it very adaptable.  

 

I ruled out the Nikon fieldscope simply because of the ability to get these two scopes at what I feel is a very good price that fits my budget.  I'm replacing a Minox 62 ED that didn't work out for my needs and I guess I'm just looking for some advice from you guys as your expertise far exceeds my limited knowledge in the optics arena.  Any pertinant info on why one would be a better choice than the other and any information about direct use of either scope will be greatly appreciated.

 

Regards,

 

CJ 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/04/2007 at 19:57
sandsock View Drop Down
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If you go with the Pentax, let me know what store you're talking about....I saw the identical scope in the Buda TX Cabelas Bargain Cave for $639 and had to pass due to Christmas cash flow issues.  I've done a bit of research myself and I think you will be happy either way, the ED would be great for the money and Pentax has a great rep....I've never handled one myself but I did handle the Meopta at Buda and was very impressed by the focus and zoom mechanisms.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/05/2007 at 08:11
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What can I say? You have really done your research, are familiar with both scopes and have had the opportunity to handle at least one of them.

 

If I were in your position I think this would be a really tough call. I am extremely big on getting the absolute most you can for your money both in terms of regular price and sales/discounts. Both of these scopes at their regular prices represent exceptional value versus performance. They come exceptionally close to the super expensive Big Three in terms of optical performance. Some might even argue that the Pentax with the XW eyepieces matches the Big Three.

 

I own the Pentax 65 ED with the XW eyepieces and several Knight Owl EW eyepieces that I use with it. You are correct in that its ability to use any 1.25 inch eypiece makes it very versatile should you decide to try something other than the zoom eyepiece which accompanies it. Speaking of which, did they mention which zoom comes on it for that price? I would assume the XF, which though very good from an image quality standpoint does have relatively short eye relief at its higher mag. settings.

 

You mentioned owning two of the Pentax binocular line. In my opinion, though optically excellent for the price, not even their SP line of binoculars compares to the optical quality of their ED scopes. These scopes with the XW eyepieces are at the same performance level as the more expensive European models. I think many folks will agree with that comment.

 

I am familiar with the Meopta line of spotting scopes and binoculars to a point. I know they introduced ED/FL style of glass in their high end line of scopes at some point but I am not sure if it was with the S-1 or HS 75. That would be a big factor in my considering it for use with a digital camera. Color fringing really shows up easily if you use it to take digiscoping shots with. A scope with ED or FL glass, like the Pentax, would be essential in my opinion if you want good quality photos...especially at higher mags.

 

I must admit that I, too, have a fascination with Meopta at this point. I have owned one of their scopes, four of their binoculars in different configurations and have spoke extensively with their customer service. In them I see a company with an exceptional product but a lack of a reputation for it at least in the US. Once folks start figuring out what a deal they are then they will definitely catch on and fast.

 

I do not think quality level is an issue separating one from the other. If both use ED/FL glass then I would probably opt for the Meopta as it should provide a smidge better performance in low light conditions.

 



Edited by FrankD
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/05/2007 at 08:45
anweis View Drop Down
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Tough call, but i would go with the Pentax 65 ED. The choice is based on the availability of outstanding eyepieces. At that price you will most likely get the lesser XF zoom lens, wich is good for observation but not too good for digital pictures. You may want to add a premium XW zoom and XW 20x wide angle eyepiece (for pictures) when finances permit. The Pentax is also a bit more portable, should you decide to get out of the truck.

Either models (Meopta or Pentax) are fine at those prices. One thing i am not sure of is availability of photo/digital adapters for the Meopta.



Edited by anweis
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/05/2007 at 14:28
cj17 View Drop Down
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Thanks for the input so far guys, it is very helpful to have 2nd opinions.  Luckily I located a place here in Houston that has both the Pentax and Meopta models on hand and I'm going to check them out tomorrow. 

 

Sandsock, I was in Buda last week, and that's where I saw the Meopta.  I didn't see a Pentax in there but my time was limited. 

 

Anweis, there are photo adapters for the Meoptas and a couple of the people I've spoken to say they excel in that capacity especially with the fixed 30x eyepiece.  The problem is I've owned a staight 30 X in the past (a Burris Signature spotter that was very clear) and it always left me wanting more magnification when viewing deer at long range.

 

I'm still up in the air on this, but hopefully my test drive tomorrow will make my decision for me.

 

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/06/2007 at 22:07
sandsock View Drop Down
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CJ,

    Thanks for the info...looks like they dropped the price a little, the body box said body and 20-60x zoom for ~$639 (probably dropped the price since then...guessing its the same unit from a special order or something) but then someone had stuck the zoom in a fishing reel box that said $99....the pimply kid behind the counter thought they were separate until I pointed out the price tag bar code indicated fishing reel and the body said both were included (I'm guessing someone took off with the reel).  I don't envy trying to decide between the two, each has pros and cons and I would be perfectly satisfied either way...thanks on the photo adapter info...I was not aware of that and I'll file that away for future reference.....since I'm not in TX (and was passing through) I'll have to be satisfied with only watching the Samplelist until they build their store in Baton Rouge....I don't buy much from Cabelas other than the Bargain Cave....too expensive otherwise usually.  SWFA is great about putting good deals out on SL in the months following the SHOTShow....so that might be a good place to find a spotter if you can wait a little longer.

 

Anyone passing through Buda / Austin should check out the Saltlick BBQ...a little out of the way but incredible brisket!



Edited by sandsock
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/07/2007 at 23:59
cj17 View Drop Down
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Had a chance to take a pretty thorough look through the Pentax and a Meopta Meostar which is the HS 75 with an upgraded lens coating and a slightly lighter housing and shorter twist focus ring.  Thought it was interesting that the the Meostar still uses the indentical eyepiece as the HS 75.  

 

The day was overcast and I used some limbs and a fenceline in some thick woods about 250 yards away from my viewing postion for comparison.  The Meopta was slightly brighter at all power ranges from 20-60 as is expected due to the 75mm vs 65 mm objective lens.  Resolution was comparable in both scopes at roughly equal magnifications with each having excellent clarity from edge to edge with no visible flare so I'll have to call that one a draw.  One striking thing was that the 20X setting on the Meopta equaled a setting of approximately 35X on the Pentax.  At 60X there was a very substantial difference in magnification with the Meopta creating a much larger target.  Both scopes were surprisingly clear at 60X.  With both scopes I was able to focus on a barbed wire fence back in the woods and could actually make out the individual prongs quite clearly, but the Meopta's greater magnification gave it an edge.  The weight of the scopes seamed pretty comparable, but the Pentax is much more portable and would be easy to fit in a pack. 

 

The fact that the smaller Pentax was so close in brightness and clarity along with the availability of other eyepieces keeps me interested.  On the other hand, I can't imagine needing any other eyepiece for 95% of my use with the Meopta I looked through.  If I knew that the HS75 would be 95% as good as the Meostar I looked through my mind would be made up, but since I don't have any way to know so I'm still deliberating.

 

I don't truly need a spotting scope until next November, but I don't want a good deal to slip through my hands if I wait.  I truly appreciate this web site and would like to give SWFA my business if possible, so I may indeed wait and see what the SHOT Show brings to the SL.  I honestly lost sleep over it last night.  

 

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/10/2007 at 08:16
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Quote One striking thing was that the 20X setting on the Meopta equaled a setting of approximately 35X on the Pentax.  At 60X there was a very substantial difference in magnification with the Meopta creating a much larger target.

 

This comment has me genuinely curious. Are you certain of this? Could it be possible that what you were noticing was a difference related to the field of view and size of the object in relation to it? In other words, if you have an object 10 feet across in a field of view of approximately 54 degrees then it will look bigger than that same 10 foot object in a field of view of 70 degrees. It is sort of an optical illusion.

 

As I said, I do not doubt your findings but that seems like such a substantial variation (20-35X).

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/10/2007 at 09:31
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Originally posted by FrankD FrankD wrote:

It is sort of an optical illusion.

 

 

Sounds like it.  

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/10/2007 at 10:14
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I am aware of the optical illusion (comparable to how the moon looks largest when closest to the horizon), but the field of view is only 9% larger in the Pentax.  I'm not sure how on could quantify the difference - it's hard to apply a micrometer to the view through a spotting scope, but there was a huge difference.  I set the Pentax immediatley above the Meopta and looked back and forth at 20X for a long taime and dialed the Pentax zoom up to where the image looked comparable.  I'm sure the illusion made up some of the difference, but I'd wager large sums that their is a sizeable difference in the actual magnification of these two scopes. 

Perhaps it has something to do with the focal length of the eyepiece in the Pentax.  I don't recall Pentax specifying a different zoom range for this eyepiece in the 65 mm vs. their larger scopes like other manufacturers do. I have read where people have had problems using other 1.25" eyepieces in the 65mm because of the inability to use the whole focus range, so here must be some differences in the eyepiece housings on the 65 vs. the larger scopes. 

Does anyone know when the SHOT show is and when some of the resulting scopes may hit then Samplelist?  I may wait to pull the trigger until I see what the fine folks at SWFA choose to mark down.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/10/2007 at 11:01
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/10/2007 at 12:06
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Thanks for getting back to me. You may be onto something with this....

 

Quote I don't recall Pentax specifying a different zoom range for this eyepiece in the 65 mm vs. their larger scopes like other manufacturers do.

 

I do not have my Pentax catalog handy but I do believe that there is variation between the 80 mm and 65 mm in this regard. I will hae to look into it further.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/18/2007 at 19:39
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Last couple years I saw a surge of new stuff in late Feb early March.....more stuff trickles in here and there throughout the year.  As a matter of practice...I browse the sample list once during the week and once on the weekend.  It basically pays to keep checking on a regular basis...when they get something really good, it often doesn't last long....and sometimes they'll get several of the same item (which is helpful).  I've seen a couple of items that I hesitated on and when I called...they had sold.  One thing I noticed about the Meopta photo adaptor...it is an SLR proposition...but the rep said a universal digital setup (like other manufacturers do) is in the works.   Got a nice calendar from them.....Leupold has a great Military/LE calendar.....I thought it was a catalog until I opened it at home....some sweet hardware.
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