Location: United States
The review below is a copy/paste of a review I did over on birdforum a week or so ago. The references are directed primarily towards birders but I think the same could be applied towards game animals as well. In addition, I have also copy/pasted one of my subsequent posts in the same thread.
I have had the MM3 for about two weeks now. I have taken it out to several local lakes, quarries and rivers in search of waterfowl at this time of the year. I also spent all afternoon yesterday comparing it directly with an inexpensive 50 mm ED spotter I picked up this past December.
One of the most commonly accepted bits of wisdom shared here in the spotting scope forums is that practically any scope can look good at lower magnifications. It isn't until you move up the magnification scale that you can begin to notice the difference between an average scope and an exceptional one. This was certainly the case here. The other scope performs at an acceptable level at/up to about 30x. Once beyond that obvious optical aberrations start degrading the image. This wasn't the case with the Opticron.
The Opticron MM3 is a physically small scope, even for a 50 mm class model. A comparison pic posted below will bear this out. It is basically the same size as the Nikon ED 50 but with rubber armoring. The review unit was provided with the HDF zoom eyepiece. With this combination the scope is exceptionally light and portable. When I mounted it on my lightweight, travel tripod I was pleasantly surprised by how light and portable the combination is. The title "Travelscope" certainly applies to the MM3.
Quality control on this unit is excellent. The rubber armor is flawless and all mechanical components (dual speed focuser, eyecup extension, zoom speed/tension) function perfectly. The feel of the focusing mechanism, in particular, clearly illustrates the attention to detail placed into this scope.
Another interesting point of discussion worth mentioning is the eye relief. This became particularly evident in comparison to the less expensive ED spotter especially when attempting to Iscope with my Iphone 4. The MM3's level of eye relief was greater at all magnification settings in comparison to the less expensive spotter.
The MM3 is a stunning little performer. The word "transparency" is often used when most folks try to describeoptical performance. I have always understood the term to refer to a combination of two factors....light transmission (usually the result of the quality of lenses coupled with the quality of antireflective coatings) and low levels of aberrations and distortions (usually the result of high quality glass and a well designed optical system).
The MM3 displays true transparency of the image. This comes from a variety of optical performance areas. For one the color representation is entirely neutral. This will be born out in the comparative pics I will post below. The less expensive ED scope has a warm bias (red-purple) in comparison to