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Packable spotting scope and tripod.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/11/2010 at 09:15
bookworm View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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I'm looking for a a spotting scope that is reasaonbly packable with decent optics.  Price point is $1K or less.
 
I will also need a packable/lightweight tripod that can be used from sitting position.
 
The application is big game hunting in the Rockies. I put everything I need for the day on my back, and  the typical big optics scopes take up too much room.
 
Any advice?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/11/2010 at 09:40
FireEMT5 View Drop Down
Optics Journeyman
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I am no optics expert by any means.  However, I've been trying to decide myself what would be best.  You want packable, so the "big eyes" are out.
 
Have you looked at the Kowa 60 - 66 with prominar ED lenses?  This will be right around your price point, at least the 60 will be.  I don't know this first hand, but from what I've heard and read, this glass is mighty hard to beat.
 
Others have really recommended the Nikon Fieldscope ED50.
 
Hopefully those with much more knowledge than me will stop by and offer up their thoughts.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/11/2010 at 09:51
stickbow46 View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
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Kowa TSN 600 with XD coating & 30x eye piece/if you wear eyeglasses 25X ler
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/11/2010 at 10:44
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
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If you want small and light, go with the NIkon ED50.  It is really, really small, and really good optically (especially with the 27x eyepiece).  If you want a noticeable increase in performance, you are going to have to skip the 65mm scopes and go right to the 80mm+ scopes, IMO.  I just went backpacking for several nights and hauled around my Vortex Razor HD85, and it wasn't nearly as cumbersome as I thought it would be.  Of course, my hunting partner carried the tripod, so we could split the load.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/11/2010 at 15:48
bookworm View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Thanks for the direction...I'm not familiar with these scopes so I'll go do some homework and see what I can find.
 
Does anyone have experience with the Leupold 12 - 40x60?  Seems to be popular in some hunting circles given the smaller size.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/11/2010 at 16:03
bookworm View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Pardon my ignorance here, but I see that the Kowa comes in two pieces and you recommend the 30x eyepiece.  Does that mean that the scope magnification is fixed at 30x with that eyepiece?
 
I notice that there are adjustable eyepieces as well.  Are there disadvantages of those eyepieces?  It's not intuitive for the novice (like me) why the adjustable is less expensive than the fixed.
 
Thanks in advance for the lesson.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/11/2010 at 16:24
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
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The Leupy Gold Ring 60mm spotter is, and has been, a great spotter in a tough, compact package.  It would serve you well.

However, The ED50 gives up very little in optical performance, and is even smaller and lighter that the Leupy.  the ED50 is available with several eyepieces, including a 13-40 zoom and 27x wide angle fixed power eyepiece.

The disadvantage to zooms is they have a much narrower field of view at the same magnification of a fixed eyepiece.  Fixed eyepieces offer a wide field of view and slightly sharper image.  Yes, the Kowa 30x would be fixed at 30x.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/12/2010 at 23:28
bookworm View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Thanks BitterrootBulls.  It seems I have a lot to learn.  From a hunting perspective I've always used a variable scope on lower power setting to expand field of view and then zoom in when needing to get more detail.  Do you use this technique or do you use a fixed eyepiece?  If the latter can you comment on the pros/cons on these two different spotting techniques?
 
By the way...I did most of my growing up in the Bitterroot before relocating to Idaho.  I still get back that way once or twice a year.  Beautiful country.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2010 at 07:45
stickbow46 View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
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Darius,if in fact you will be doing alot of hunting in the rockies,although both the scopes BB mentioned are excellant,they may not get you the long distance eye balling you may need.Try & check them out before you purchase, just to make sure they will meet your requirements!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2010 at 08:26
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Since weight seems to be critical: have you looked at the new Vortex Recon scope + doubler? The recon scope can be had for about $550 in 15x50, and weighs 15 oz!  The Vortex doubler costs about $150, weighs a few ounces, and fits on the Recon.

Full disclosure - I have not tried it - but I have been wondering abt using it that way:-)


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2010 at 08:47
JGRaider View Drop Down
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The Kowa 663/664 is exceptionally good.  However, if I were backpacking around big game hunting I'd go with the Leupold GR HD 12-40x60 and never look back.  The Kowa has a little better glass, but the Leupold is the toughest on the planet and has great glass itself.  Best eye relief in the business also.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2010 at 10:04
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
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Bookworm,

I do use a variable zoom eyepiece.  I use the Vortex Razor 85HD w/ 20-60 zoom.  I like having the extra magnification at certain times.  The Vortex really isn't terrible to lug around the woods.  I have lately been digiscoping a lot, even while hunting, and the large objective is pretty much a requirement for that.

That said, I am currently looking into supplementing the Razor with a Nikon ED50 and 27x fixed eyepiece.  I have used this combination on several outings over the past two years, and I can not stress enough how stunning the image is for a 50mm objective.  When I say it is light, it is LIGHT!

Even when glassing long distances (up to 2 miles) I think most people would be amazed at how much you can see through the Nikon.

When compared to the Nikon ED50, it will cost  you a lot of weight, size, and money to improve the view to the excellent image the Razor produces.

I will say the Leupy is about as compact as you can get in a 60mm scope and produces an image quite comparable to the Kowas of similar configuration.  It is also robustly built.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2010 at 11:12
JGRaider View Drop Down
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This turned me off of the Nikon ED50.  Great glass for sure though....

http://www.birdforum.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=235418&d=1262386741
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2010 at 11:27
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
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That same forum thread has been scaring me off for a while now, too.  However, I have now spoken to enough satisfied ED50 owners, to be fairly confident that the ED50 is reasonably durable.  There are trade-offs with every spotter.  If you want a high performance waterproof lightweight scope, the ED50 fits the bill, just take care of it.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2010 at 14:46
stickbow46 View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
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Like you BB ,I use a 20-60x80 Bushnell elite & I would like to have swomething a little smaller,but with quality out to 300 yds.Can you keep us up to date if you get theED50...Thanks
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2010 at 14:59
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
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Will do,

I'm thinking it will be something like next year, unless a smokin' hot deal comes my way!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/14/2010 at 23:34
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I would not let the photo of the Nikon 50ED scope bother me. You can break any scope if you try hard enough.  I have carried my Nikon 13-30x 50ED for some time and I have not had any problems with it. The glass is excellent. I also have a Pentax 80ED but find I use it less and less since I purchased my Nikon. For more comments on the 50ED do a search on this form for them.
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