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Opticron MM3 50 mm class spotter

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/19/2014 at 10:14
FrankD View Drop Down
Optics Journeyman
Optics Journeyman


Joined: November/11/2005
Location: United States
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Points: 684
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.

Physical Impressions:

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.

Optical Impressions:

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
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/19/2014 at 10:17
FrankD View Drop Down
Optics Journeyman
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Optical Comparison at lowest magnification setting. Note the difference in color representation/brightness as well as edge performance.




Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/19/2014 at 10:21
FrankD View Drop Down
Optics Journeyman
Optics Journeyman


Joined: November/11/2005
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 684
This pic is a good representation of the scope's performance across the full field of view. Very little if any "fuzziness" (aberration and distortion) across the full field of view.



Just wanted to share some further comments/experiences that I had with my MM3 loaner this past weekend. I was down at Cape May for an Optics Expo that was scheduled. I had the opportunity to compare the MM3 directly to the Vortex Razor 50 mm as well as larger 65 mm scopes from Zeiss, Leica, Swaro and Vortex.

I didn't think there was any optical competition between the 50 mm Razor and the MM3. The MM3 offered better overall clarity (higher light transmission and color correction). It also had notably less field curvature/astigmatism off axis. The pics I post below will illustrate that fact.

I certainly also thought that it hung right in there with the larger 65 mm scopes in terms of clarity, brightness, etc... under perfect daytime conditions. The field of view was not as wide (HDF eyepiece) as that of the Swaro and Leica wide field zooms but the apparent brightness, sharpness and color correction were right there. Contrast too. I seriously think that if one covered the Opticron label with one from any of the big names then folks wouldn't question it at all. It is that good.

Sunday morning I took the scope to Stone Harbor and took some pics with my Iphone. Again, it certainly isn't meant to be a high quality digiscoping attempt (handheld with my Iphone) but it does illustrate a few things. For one, the edge performance is excellent (look at the definition visible in the wave at the bottom of the image). Second, even at max zoom on the scope and max magnification on my Iphone the image is still good enough for ID purposes. It would probably even be better if I had the Iphone digiscoping adapter for it.






Edited by FrankD - March/19/2014 at 10:28
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