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Opinions on some scopes

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/26/2008 at 13:02
deadstick View Drop Down
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New guy here, just found the forum and appreciate all the great info on here.  I'm in the market to upgrade from a Burris Landmark spotting scope.  I've looked and hunted using the cadillacs made by Zeiss and Swarovski, but don't have the budget for them - looking in the $500 range but willing to go a tad higher if need be.  I will be using the spotting scope primarily for big game hunting in the open prairie of North Dakota.  Clarity and light gathering are more important to me than weight, so I would not shy away from an 80mm objective.
 
Here are some of the options I've looked at.  I'd be very interested in any opinions of these, particularly the Bushnell that is much lower priced than any other offering with ED (haven't been able to see much for reviews on it).
 
competitor Big Sky ED 20-60x66..............$750
Seems to be a good option, but higher priced than I wanted, although I've read reviews saying it's close to the Austrian high-dollar ones (I know to take that with a grain of salt)
 
Nikon Prostaff 20-60x82.......................$630
Sounds like another good option, clarity has been reported as good and comparable to the Big Sky ED
 
competitor Big Sky 27-80x80mm..............$600
80 zoom would be nice, but I question whether or not it's going to be very clear at that high of a zoom for this price of optics.  Also saw a review saying that for an 80mm objective, light-gathering was poor and it was hard to focus.
 
competitor Big Sky 20-60x66..................$550
If the 80 zoom isn't going to help me, might as well just go this route if the Big Sky model is good. Saw reports saying that there was a huge difference between this and the Big Sky ED though, and that even 60x was pretty poor on this.
 
Leupold Sequoia 20-60x80.................$500
Weight on this is 60 oz. (higher than any others - I know I said weight wasn't an issue, but for comparisons sake I mention it), and saw more than one review with it being compared side-by-side to the Big Sky and the Big Sky blew it away in terms of clarity.
 
competitor Alaskan Guide 20-60x70.......$450
Is this just a slightly smaller ojective version of the Big Sky with a bit cheaper glass?
 
Bushnell Excursion FLP 20-60x80........$450
Very reasonably priced spotting scope for having ED glass (only other one on this list was the first one), but I couldn't find any reviews.  It also had the best eye relief (30mm) of all glass listed here.
 
 
 
Thanks for any opinions you can provide,
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/26/2008 at 13:13
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/26/2008 at 13:18
deadstick View Drop Down
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Thanks, but I should have mentioned that one of the reasons I'm buying one is that competitor sent out those "spend $500, get $150 gift card" things, and competitor doesn't carry Vortex.
 
However, I appreciate the response and if a non-competitor manufacturer were to come to the top of my list, I can always buy a new muzzleloader with the $500 (which I need to do anyways, just hadn't planned on it this year - the spotting scope is something I could start using today, I don't have a muzzleloader tag).
 
Thanks again,
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/26/2008 at 19:30
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500 is kinda the floor in alot of ways.  Look at Pentax, Nikon and the better Bushnell.  A used Minox or Kowa would be my choice over "big sky" (who the heck is that...).   
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/26/2008 at 19:52
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Originally posted by deadstick deadstick wrote:

I'd be very interested in any opinions of these, particularly the Bushnell that is much lower priced than any other offering with ED (haven't been able to see much for reviews on it). 
  You have not seen much for reviews because the scope has yet to appear in any stores.  The design concept is sound - having been premiered long ago by Leupold but, how well Bushnell has done executing their version is yet to be seen.

Originally posted by deadstick deadstick wrote:

competitor Big Sky ED 20-60x66..............$750
Seems to be a good option, but higher priced than I wanted, although I've read reviews saying it's close to the Austrian high-dollar ones (I know to take that with a grain of salt)
No experience with this one, sorry.  I've seen them in the store before but, that's about it.
Originally posted by deadstick deadstick wrote:

Nikon Prostaff 20-60x82.......................$630
Sounds like another good option, clarity has been reported as good and comparable to the Big Sky ED
For 24 dollars more you can get the Bushnell 20-60x80 Elite with ED glass.  It is a much better scope than the Prostaff.
Originally posted by deadstick deadstick wrote:

competitor Big Sky 27-80x80mm..............$600
80 zoom would be nice, but I question whether or not it's going to be very clear at that high of a zoom for this price of optics.  Also saw a review saying that for an 80mm objective, light-gathering was poor and it was hard to focus.
  Again sorry, no experience with this scope. 
Originally posted by deadstick deadstick wrote:

competitor Big Sky 20-60x66..................$550
If the 80 zoom isn't going to help me, might as well just go this route if the Big Sky model is good. Saw reports saying that there was a huge difference between this and the Big Sky ED though, and that even 60x was pretty poor on this.
Ditto above.  I will say that as a general guideline, I know of absolutely no one who actually uses scopes labeled with the particular brand you are asking about.  (I do know one person who owns one of their Alaskan Guide binoculars but, they rarely actually use them at all.) Generally, I think you can find equal or better optics at lower prices without any difficulty.
Originally posted by deadstick deadstick wrote:

Leupold Sequoia 20-60x80.................$500
Weight on this is 60 oz. (higher than any others - I know I said weight wasn't an issue, but for comparisons sake I mention it), and saw more than one review with it being compared side-by-side to the Big Sky and the Big Sky blew it away in terms of clarity.
  The Sequoias (both sizes) get almost universally bad reviews.  I would stay away from these.
Originally posted by deadstick deadstick wrote:

competitor Alaskan Guide 20-60x70.......$450
Is this just a slightly smaller ojective version of the Big Sky with a bit cheaper glass?
This is essentially the same scope as the Bushnell Elite 20-60x70 - just without Bushnell's RainGaurd.  The Bushnell can often be found for a lower price.   I owned a 60mm Bushnell Elite for a short while and found the eye relief to be terrible.  I doubt it would be improved in this slightly larger size scope.
Originally posted by deadstick deadstick wrote:

Bushnell Excursion FLP 20-60x80........$450
Very reasonably priced spotting scope for having ED glass (only other one on this list was the first one), but I couldn't find any reviews.  It also had the best eye relief (30mm) of all glass listed here.
  This (and it's smaller 15-45x60 brother) is an almost direct copy of the Leupold Golden Ring spotting scope.  I suspect (but am not sure) that Leupold's patent on the design probably expired recently and Bushnell was quick to get something similar in their product line before Leupold could renew it.  Bad for Leupold as this particular scope has a truly legendary reputation throughout the world.  I've spent a small amount of time behind one and you would be hard pressed to find a better hunting scope. The idea of a patent expiring could also help explain some of the delays in getting the Bushnell scopes actually out on the market.  (According to Bushnell, they were supposed to be available back in mid-May.)  This is total speculation on my part so; don't go quoting me to others.

The kicker here is going to be whether or not Bushnell is able to market a quality-made FLP scope.  They had one of a slightly different design (essentially a scope they imported from [I believe] Russia) once before and it was pretty poor.  Of course, it retailed for something like $80 - $100 so; what could you expect? 

If Bushnell can pull this scope off as advertised, they could put a serious dent in Leupold's market for FLP scopes.  I'm actually surprised that they aren't marketing it as a new model in their Elite line.  In fact, that they are putting the Excursion name on it - a name that is associated with their lower/mid grade binoculars - is something of a red flag for me.   Were I in the market for a scope right now, I would be willing to try the 60mm version of the Excursion FLP but, only from a dealer with a very generous returns policy.  The 80mm scope would hold no interest as it defies the very idea of an FLP scope's design which is supposed to provide an optic that is compact and light.




Edited by lucznik - August/27/2008 at 13:40
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/26/2008 at 22:52
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Thanks for the thoughtful replies, I'll have to consider the Bushnell Elite series, which may be made for this store with their name on it, like you suggested the Alaskan Guide was.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/27/2008 at 11:05
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The C-store has the Bushnell Excursion for sale on their site - haven't been to the store to see if it's actually there though.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/27/2008 at 11:56
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I have been waiting for this one to come out
http://www.swfa.com/pc-13196-2266-new-bushnell-20-60x80-excursion-flp-spotting-scope.aspx  I hope when it does it will be available with the 45 degree eyepiece those angled eyepieces seem easier to use on the benchrest.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/27/2008 at 13:39
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Originally posted by Duce Duce wrote:

I have been waiting for this one to come out
http://www.swfa.com/pc-13196-2266-new-bushnell-20-60x80-excursion-flp-spotting-scope.aspx  I hope when it does it will be available with the 45 degree eyepiece those angled eyepieces seem easier to use on the benchrest.
Duce Smile


It will not likely be offered with an angled eyepiece.  My (limited) understanding has been that the Folded Light Path (FLP) design is not particularly conducive to an angled eyepiece. I think that if such a thing was readily workable, Leupold would have done it with their FLP scopes long before now.  After all, they have been trying for quite a while now to seriously break into the birding market and angled scopes are very, very popular with the birding crowd.


Edited by lucznik - August/27/2008 at 13:43
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/27/2008 at 19:34
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With a folding path scope, putting an angled eyepiece in would require either an extra mirror, which would end up reversing the image again or a prism assembly which would defeat some of the purpose behind the folding path (and increase cost).

I am also very curious about Bushnell's FLP design.  I think it is a pretty good way to make a scope.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/27/2008 at 19:52
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Now that I checked, FLP spotter it seems to be in stock at a number of places.   I wonder if SWFA has it.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/27/2008 at 20:39
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FYI, I looked through and handled the FLP today at a major retailer store whose name starts with C.  Didn't like the focus and zoom adjustments both on the eyepiece.  As for the quality, I only looked in the store so it wasn't a great test.  However, it was quite a bit darker (it seemed) at high zoom than the Nikon and Leupold listed in my original posting.
 
I plan to go back and test them outdoors ASAP.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/27/2008 at 20:40
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FYI, the clerk said they just got them in 3 days ago.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/27/2008 at 21:36
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Originally posted by deadstick deadstick wrote:

FYI, I looked through and handled the FLP today at a major retailer store whose name starts with C.  Didn't like the focus and zoom adjustments both on the eyepiece.  As for the quality, I only looked in the store so it wasn't a great test.  However, it was quite a bit darker (it seemed) at high zoom than the Nikon and Leupold listed in my original posting.
 
I plan to go back and test them outdoors ASAP.


The real test is going to be how it compares directly against the Leupold Golden Ring HD (and non-HD for that matter) spotter - as the Excursion is a direct knock-off of this design.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/28/2008 at 06:06
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This is the one with the ED glass ? I will have to try to find one to look through to compare to my old spotter. It sounds like a good buy for the price , now to figure out how to get it by the wife
DuceSad
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/02/2008 at 23:07
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I finally got to handle one of these little Bushnell FLP scopes over labor day weekend.  It was pretty nice but, I don't think it's exactly going to set the optics world afire.

My basic impressions were:

It is larger than I expected.  It was light to be sure but, it would take up a lot of room in a daypack.

It was at least as bright as most other 60mm scopes though, not more so. 

Eye relief was fantastic. Even at the highest magnification (45x) I could keep my eye clear away from the scope and still get the entire Field of View.  This meant no touching the scope which resulted in greater-than-average stability.

Image quality was very good in the center 2/3 of the image.  It quickly degraded starting at the outer 1/3 mark going out to the edge, where it was totally useless.  The FoV is quite wide however so, this should prove only a minor inconvenience in real-world use.

I was not in a position to evaluate the image for CA.

It is not, I think, as good as was the similar-styled, though older Leupold Golden Ring (non-HD) I played with earlier this year. I am also glad I didn't hesitate on buying my 50mm Leupold Golden Ring as I don't think the Excursion is quite small enough to adequately accomplish my goals for a dedicated backpacking scope.

I've seen this scope selling for $320 and I think it would be worth that price.  I definitely liked it better than the 60mm Bushnell Elite. If I were trying to buy a scope in the sub $400 range, it would at least be on my short list.

BTW, that huge ugly "B" medallion on the front of the scope appeared to be attached by essentially nothing of substance so; you could probably pull it off with no trouble and no harm to the scope.  If I were to buy one of these, that medallion would be the first thing to go.




Edited by lucznik - September/02/2008 at 23:11
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