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Pentax PF80ED or Vortex Skyline ED 80mm?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/10/2008 at 01:22
pell1203 View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper


Joined: March/24/2007
Location: Western WA
Status: Offline
Points: 47
Trying to decide between two spotters - a demo Pentax PF80ED with 20-60x smc Zoom eyepiece or a brand new Vortex Skyline ED 20-60x80. Pricewise, the Vortex is about $200 less than the asking price for the Pentax demo model.
 
I mostly intend to use the scope at the range (200-400 yards) but will also use it in the field on occasion. It may be packed in a short distance but will mostly stay near the vehicle. I also want ED glass and I'm trying to stay below $1000.
 
What do you guys think is the right way to go between these two?
 
Any preferences/opinions on straight vs angled design for the intended usage described above would also be welcomed.
 
Thanks! 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/10/2008 at 11:13
anweis View Drop Down
Optics Professional
Optics Professional


Joined: January/29/2006
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The Pentax PF80ED scopes are as good as the best of the best scopes. I would go with that.   
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2008 at 00:51
pell1203 View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper


Joined: March/24/2007
Location: Western WA
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Points: 47
Well, I had the opportunity to look through a couple of different scopes this weekend. I had initially intended to check out a Pentax PF80ED w/20-60x zoom but the last one was sold just before I arrived so I was not able to include it in the comparison. However, I did take the following outside (listed in final ranking order):
 
1. Swaro 65HD w/20-60 zoom
2. Nikon 82ED Fieldscope w/25-75 zoom
3. Pentax PF65ED w/20-60x zoom
4. Vortex 80mm Skyline ED w/20-60x zoom
 
No surprises here. My ranking order goes from most expensive down to most economical.
 
For starters, I was greatly disappointed in the results obtained with the Vortex. The image, when compared to the Pentax PF65ED, was inferior in all respects at all magnification ranges. The difference between these two was so significant in my mind that I will no longer consider the Vortex as an option for me.
 
The Swaro and the Nikon were both exceptionally good at 20x with the Pentax slightly behind, not by much, but definitively discernible. They all held the same order at the mid ranges and when zoomed to maximum magnification I was surprised how well both the Nikon and Pentax held up to the Swaro.
 
At the top end, the Nikon was just as sharp as the Swaro but had a significantly narrower FOV throughout the zoom range. If you can live with the shorter eye relief and narrowner FOV of the Nikon it would not be a bad way to go. 
 
However, at about a third of the Swaro's cost, the Pentax PF65ED did very well. It was just a little bit less sharp at the lower end but when ramped up to the higher magnifications it did very well. So much so that the differences at 60x, while still visible, were hardly significant.
 
Overall, I thought the Swaro broke down the quickest as magnification was increased. In fact, nearly giving up all the relative advantage it had built up against the Pentax at the lower end.
 
The Swaro was very good, and so was the Nikon, but at a fraction of what the other two cost, the Pentax would have to be the best value. Now I need to find a PF80ED to look through.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2008 at 09:04
anweis View Drop Down
Optics Professional
Optics Professional


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pell1203, i agree with your comments. You are totally on top of this game.  You thought the Swaro "broke down" the quickest as magnification was increased and that Nikon had a narrow FOV in the zoom. That is right. That is why i put 20x WA eyepieces on both of mine (80 mm Svaro HD and 50 mm ED Nikon). I rarely need the higher power, and i usually know beforehand and take the zoom if i need it. With the 20x WA they are both sharp and bright with very beautiful views.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/01/2008 at 15:17
pell1203 View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper


Joined: March/24/2007
Location: Western WA
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Points: 47
Update to previous session... I went back today and compared a Pentax PF65ED II with a 20-60x zoom and a Pentax PF80ED with 20-60x zoom. Only looked at these two models but there are prior comments on this thread as to how I felt the Pentax PF65ED II performed against others. I looked at an optical target about 40 yards away and at a strret scene, cars, license plates, street sign and so on about 350-400 yards away. My impressions from today's comparison are as follows:
 
1. Both scopes did very well (equally well) on the optical target at 20x magnification.
2. At 40x on the optical target, the PF80ED seemed slightly sharper than the PF65ED in the center and somewhat sharper on the edges.
3. At 60x on the optical target the PF80ED was noticeably sharper at the center and the edges.
4. The PF80ED was brighter than the PF65ED. No surprise here, but the differences seemed to be more noticeable as the magnification was increased.
5. On the longer distance street scene, the view on the the PF80ED seemed to be wider and a little more comfortable than the PF65ED.
6. On the street scene, at mid and upper magnification ranges, the PF80ED was superior to the PF65ED with slightly better overall sharpness at the center of the image and much better resolution as you went out to the edges. Color rendition also seemed better on the bigger scope, probably more an indication of the bigger front end letting in more light.
7. At 60x, at the longest distances I was viewing at, the very first glimpses of mirage were coming through. The view through the bigger scope was considerably  better at the center and the edges... I'm not sure how front diameter will affect viewing through mirage... just thought I'd pass this along as well.
 
The dealer is bringing in some Kowa 770 and 880 models in the next two to three weeks. I want to look through those before I decide, but for now, the slightly extra money ($200-$300) for the bigger Pentax seems very worthwhile to me if you can live with the bigger size.
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