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Elcan Digital Hunter

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Category: Optic Reviews and Tests
Forum Name: Member's Tests and Reviews
Forum Description: Real world reviews and comparisons
URL: http://www.opticstalk.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=33217
Printed Date: June/21/2018 at 19:07
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.10 - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: Elcan Digital Hunter
Posted By: Kickboxer
Subject: Elcan Digital Hunter
Date Posted: June/15/2012 at 11:35
I am reviewing the subject scope, testing it, putting it through its paces.  I toyed with it some, before mounting it to the rifle (BAR 30-06 w/BOSS).  My first impression was not very positive, but in the mounting and zeroing processing, I've come to appreciate it more.  It has some very nice features, zeroes easily once understood, no mirage effects that I've been able to introduce to date (good and bad... I use mirage for wind determinations).  It does not like very bright sunlight without the rubber eyepiece and does not like lowlight conditions (there is a day/night version that I would like to try sometime... actually considering purchasing one of the next generation models).   I have not had a chance to test any real performance, yet... just got it mounted, and boresighted a few days ago, reboresighted and zeroed today.  There IS DEFINITELY a learning curve for proper operations.  As I've manipulated and operated the scope/camera, I've become more comfortable with it.  I spend a lot of time with CCD systems and many things about the Digital Hunter are not intuitive.  However, the learning curve is not onerous or excessive and is worth the end results.  Once I got the scope finally mounted and boresighted, it took three shots to zero dead center at 30m.  I use my short range right now because my 200 yard backyard range is grown over with saplings and briars... just have not had the time to mow everything down.  And... I like the "battlesight zero" concept.  Right now, without using the Digital Hunter's electronic BDC computer, I am "dead on" with a point blank zero on an 8 inch target out to 305 yards.  Effecitve Employment of the BDC is one of my test objectives.
I have a target picture to post, but will have to get around to that and pictures of the "scope" on the rifle later today.  
My first impressions were pretty cold, but I'm warming up to it.  Once I get it into the field and do some real shooting with it, we'll see how it really performs when compared to SS10xHD, Ellis Optics 4-16, and Hensoldt ZF6-24.  I am now expecting some good things from this sighting device.  It will be interesting to see if the good outweighs the bad and if the elements that ARE good are good enough.  This is an interesting and exciting review for me.  I'm glad to get the opportunity to put the Digital Hunter through its paces.  It will be fun...


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Opinion,untempered by fact,is ignorance.

There are some who do not fear death... for they are more afraid of not really living



Replies:
Posted By: SVT_Tactical
Date Posted: June/15/2012 at 11:58
Originally posted by Kickboxer Kickboxer wrote:

I use my short range right now because my 200 yard backyard range is grown over with saplings and briars... just have not had the time to mow everything down.  
mow or "target practice" ?Wink


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"Most folks are about as happy as they make their minds up to be" - Abraham Lincoln


Posted By: Kickboxer
Date Posted: June/15/2012 at 12:25
I should never have posted that tree picture.  I should just shoot trees in silence...

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Opinion,untempered by fact,is ignorance.

There are some who do not fear death... for they are more afraid of not really living


Posted By: SVT_Tactical
Date Posted: June/15/2012 at 12:32
Silence... as in with a suppressor and subsonicBig Grin  A Lott Suppressor!  that'd be cool!
 
 
Back on topic, I am really interested in how you feel this thing does in low light once you get more time.  This is or isn't the day/night one ?


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"Most folks are about as happy as they make their minds up to be" - Abraham Lincoln


Posted By: Kickboxer
Date Posted: June/15/2012 at 13:17
This is the "daytime only" version.  I've had it out at dusk and dawn several times and it does not perform well in low light.  I'm taking some pretty detailed notes on it.  The day/night version, I am assured, works quite well.  I spoke with a Raytheon rep today and he provided me with some useful information.  As I test it out, I will reference his comments.  

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Opinion,untempered by fact,is ignorance.

There are some who do not fear death... for they are more afraid of not really living


Posted By: SVT_Tactical
Date Posted: June/15/2012 at 13:35
Cool. Looking foward to your full review. 

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"Most folks are about as happy as they make their minds up to be" - Abraham Lincoln


Posted By: BeltFed
Date Posted: June/15/2012 at 14:33
Originally posted by SVT_Tactical SVT_Tactical wrote:

Originally posted by Kickboxer Kickboxer wrote:

I use my short range right now because my 200 yard backyard range is grown over with saplings and briars... just have not had the time to mow everything down.  
mow or "target practice" ?Wink
              Beating a Dead Horse
Busy schedules and large properties don't mix well.


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A democracy is 2 wolves and a sheep voting on what's for lunch. A republic is a well armed sheep disputing the results.
--Benjamin Franklin


Posted By: Kickboxer
Date Posted: June/15/2012 at 16:00
Below is the zero target... The first two shots were freehand.  After the second shot, I put the rifle in my LeadSled, adjusted the zero and fired the third shot... one too many.  I could not hold steady enough and adjust the reticle with just my hands.  When I was looking at the target after my second shot, I made a mental note of where in space the rifle was sitting and set up the LeadSled in that spot... it worked out OK...




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Opinion,untempered by fact,is ignorance.

There are some who do not fear death... for they are more afraid of not really living


Posted By: cheaptrick
Date Posted: June/15/2012 at 18:02
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElJFYwRtrH4 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElJFYwRtrH4

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If at first you don't secede...try..try again.


Posted By: Kickboxer
Date Posted: June/15/2012 at 18:30
I shall never hunt another tree... earth firsters, however, should make sure they do not EVER cross the boundaries of my property... I couldn't tell them from coyotes after a kill...

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Opinion,untempered by fact,is ignorance.

There are some who do not fear death... for they are more afraid of not really living


Posted By: Bitterroot Bulls
Date Posted: June/15/2012 at 18:34
Originally posted by cheaptrick cheaptrick wrote:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElJFYwRtrH4 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElJFYwRtrH4
HAHAHA
 
Sure are a lot of synthetic fiber clothes on those Earth Firsters!
 
Tough call:
 
Either you wear oil-based clothes or clothes made from the fibers of your dead plant "friends."
 
I guess there is a third option, but it is a little chilly...


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-Matt


Posted By: Kickboxer
Date Posted: June/15/2012 at 20:51
Silence of the Lambs...

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Opinion,untempered by fact,is ignorance.

There are some who do not fear death... for they are more afraid of not really living


Posted By: Kickboxer
Date Posted: June/17/2012 at 09:22

     The ELCAN Digital Hunter Riflescope/Camera

 

It’s DIGITAL (actually a CCD camera), THEREFORE it runs on electricity.  It is not an optical system in the traditional sense… it’s a camera.  Some old diehards may not like that.  GET OVER IT… it’s the wave of the future, it’s where “riflescopes” are headed.  If you can’t get over it, get used to it.

 

Initial impressions are that 1) it’s heavy and some people will not try it out for that reason EVEN if they could overcome their fears of the advance of technology, 2) the layout suggests there was not enough input from actual shooters… adjustments, etc are not indicative of good “human factors engineering” for field use… it is reminiscent of a laboratory instrument where time and ease of access are not the most important considerations... design features will probably improve significantly over time , 3) the battery compartment is one of the absolute WORST features on the “scope/camera” (from now on, I will use those terms interchangeably)…hard to get to, hard to get the batteries out, hard to put new batteries in… I am always worried I will break something… THAT is a big negative, 4) the camera is “adequate, but not outstanding (I suspect it was chosen a while back and has not been upgraded and that it was an experiment that did not command a great deal of monetary investment (relatively speaking) in case it failed… there are better cameras), 5) the ability to change reticles via software uploads is wonderful… if you have any engineering skills or artistic skills that you can combine with ballistics knowledge, this feature is just amazing, 6) it has Bullet Drop Compensation (BDC) (more on this later) but does not include laser rangfinding…which would be a real boon… ballistics information for a particular rifle/ammunition load is downloaded into the memory of the camera, 7) the reticle adjustments are just downright amazingly accurate… there are no mechanical limitations as in a traditional riflescope, each “click” (not clicks really but button presses) is 0.2MOA, so it is finer adjustment than the ¼ MOA mechanical scopes… zeroing the scope is about as easy as anything I have ever done with a scope and it is dead on… what you see, where you put the crosshair, if you can shoot, THAT’S where the bullet goes, 8) the instruction manual STINKS, finding things you need to adjust the scope seems “out of sequence” and disorganized, but there are online instructions that are much better… could be a lot more informative, there are things that can happen, like when the batteries get weak, that are not explained in the book.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             .



Posted By: Kickboxer
Date Posted: June/21/2012 at 15:01
Scope mounted on the BAR:

It is a bit awkward looking, not really pleasing to the eye.  May look better on a "tactical" styled rifle...  
Closer look doesn't improve anything:

Note infernal internal battery pack location in relation to the rail...

Top view.  Looking down...on the left is the external view screen... allows viewing without looking through the ocular. Red button is power on/off.  As mentioned earlier, the control buttons are just "OK".  For most anyone they will take some time to get used to if trying to use while targeting.  I don't feel a need to explain their functions... can be found online or in the manual and if one looks closely, they are stamped with international symbols that are pretty easy to figure out.  


This door covers the "interface" connections.   USB, battery pack, etc.  It's where one would download new reticles and/or ballistics information.  Standard connections. 


THIS door covers the infernal internal battery pack.  Not a great location.


Four AA, should be/must be lithium.  I do not at all like the way this is set up.  It is unwieldy and prone to failure.  There are better ways to accomplish this power pack construction.  I DON'T LIKE IT...

The whole overall look is off-putting to some.  I don't mind it, but as stated above, probably better suited for a tactical or bench rest rather than hunting styled rifle as far as looks go.  











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Opinion,untempered by fact,is ignorance.

There are some who do not fear death... for they are more afraid of not really living


Posted By: SVT_Tactical
Date Posted: June/21/2012 at 15:11

does look a bit odd...... maybe this will be justification for you to buy an AR to test it's appearnce on?   Or maybe on the FNAR?



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"Most folks are about as happy as they make their minds up to be" - Abraham Lincoln


Posted By: Rancid Coolaid
Date Posted: June/21/2012 at 15:18
The IDF chick in "Predators" used one, how can it not be awesome?

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The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."


Posted By: Kickboxer
Date Posted: June/21/2012 at 16:04
I haven't seen the movie... if it is the same Predators that Arnold and Danny Glover fought, I suspect there would be too much time required from the scope to use it very effectively.  Maybe she had the next generation...

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Opinion,untempered by fact,is ignorance.

There are some who do not fear death... for they are more afraid of not really living


Posted By: BeltFed
Date Posted: June/22/2012 at 10:19
Sounds like an interesting concept that still needs development.
 
By the way Dan, that is a good looking BAR.


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A democracy is 2 wolves and a sheep voting on what's for lunch. A republic is a well armed sheep disputing the results.
--Benjamin Franklin


Posted By: Kickboxer
Date Posted: June/22/2012 at 10:34
There is great potential for a scope like the Digital Hunter, I hope it is pursued and realized, not shelved.  Raytheon/Elcan probably came out with this a few years too soon.

Thank you.  It is a great rifle.  I've killed a lot of deer and other critters with it.  Certainly one of my favorites.  The reason I finally settled on it for the Digital Hunter evaluation is I know it so well and know what to expect from it.  Allows much better insight into peculiarities of the scope.  


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Opinion,untempered by fact,is ignorance.

There are some who do not fear death... for they are more afraid of not really living


Posted By: Kickboxer
Date Posted: July/28/2012 at 17:44
I travelled a long way today to fire 3 rounds... thurnderstorms.  Every time I've tried to shoot lately, thunderstorms have hit, even though not predicted.  

I still hate the battery compartment, though the lithium batteries do provide much better "life".  Book says to expect 4hours.  Probably close.

It is very easy to get "on the target", once adjusted and properly "addressed", but the rubber eyepiece is very rigid and inflexible.  I'm still using the "standard" reticles that were already loaded in the scope.  Probably won't load any others... I like the ones that are there and don't see any reason to get funky with it.  I have not tested the ballistics program... that would take some time and so far I've only had minutes.  

I'm a bit disappointed with the way the magnification works.  I did not have another scope with me, but will next time.  16.5x doesn't "SEEM" like 16.5x, to me.  But maybe I'm just off.  At 300 yards I had two rounds on top of each other, one "flyer" at about 1.5 inches left from the other two, same horizontal line.  I suppose I pulled it and believe it was the first shot.  First round I've fired in a while and trying to beat the thunderstorm.  It would have terminated a live target, but was not my best shooting.  The other two, I said "OOOHHH YEA, I'm bad".  However, I'm also lucky.  

The sun was bright when I first set up and that causes washout in the sight picture.  I still believe a better camera would fix a lot of the "issues".  

I thought for some time that 300 yards would be about the max range for this scope, but am now convinced it is going to be good a lot farther.  I REALLY need some days without thunderstorms.  Perhaps it would slow down the growth of my grass at home, too. 

At this point, there are still some things I love about the "scope", some things I find intriguing (I've experienced no parallax or mirage, yet... should have seen some mirage today if it was going to be there), and some things I hate... battery compartment, battery life, adjustment locations, focus... which is probably a function of the fact that it needs a better camera. 

I love technology, but for me this version is not "ready for Prime Time".  I would like to look at the day/night version to see if there is any improvement.  Retail on this model is around $1200.00 or so and that is pretty expensive... If I were going hunting a trophy or any field exercise, I would take one of my "normal" scopes.  No way I would leave myself fully dependent on the Digital Hunter on a trophy hunt.  Day to day hunting, I'm in...

I hope to get more time with it.  It is not BAD, and if you like the tech advantages... being able to install your own reticle, being able to set up BDC for whatever load you want to shoot with a simple download, it is very good.  At this point, it is not a high value to me.  I like it, but it is more an experimental object than a useful tool.  Some may have different opinions and if they like it better or hate it more, I have no problem with that.  I'm not trying to convince anyone to purchase one, just giving some information on what to expect.  Big potential not yet realized... it IS the way of the future and there are a lot of scenarios in science fiction that are not far off with this type of scope.  If you have some adventure in your blood, it might be worth a try.  

BigDaddy wants to take it hunting...


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Opinion,untempered by fact,is ignorance.

There are some who do not fear death... for they are more afraid of not really living


Posted By: billyburl2
Date Posted: July/28/2012 at 21:41
On the custom reticles, can they be up-loaded to be in the first-focal plane, or just the second?

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If it is tourist season, why can't we shoot them?


Posted By: Kickboxer
Date Posted: July/29/2012 at 20:34
It is neither... 
The reticle is a digital image.




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Opinion,untempered by fact,is ignorance.

There are some who do not fear death... for they are more afraid of not really living


Posted By: billyburl2
Date Posted: July/30/2012 at 06:33
I guess what I am asking is, can you program the BDC reticles to be correct regardless of what zoom the scope is on?

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If it is tourist season, why can't we shoot them?


Posted By: Urimaginaryfrnd
Date Posted: July/30/2012 at 11:13
Originally posted by Kickboxer Kickboxer wrote:

I should never have posted that tree picture.  I should just shoot trees in silence...
If a tree is shot in silence in the middle of a forest ---- will it fall?   Cool

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"Always do the right thing, just because it is the right thing to do".
Bobby Paul Doherty
Texas Ranger


Posted By: Urimaginaryfrnd
Date Posted: July/30/2012 at 11:14
If you have to change batteries that run out every 4 hrs does it remember its zero from the last set of battereies?

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"Always do the right thing, just because it is the right thing to do".
Bobby Paul Doherty
Texas Ranger


Posted By: Kickboxer
Date Posted: July/30/2012 at 15:18
Originally posted by billyburl2 billyburl2 wrote:

I guess what I am asking is, can you program the BDC reticles to be correct regardless of what zoom the scope is on?
Short answer... Yes...

Remember it is an image from a CCD camera displayed on a LCD screen.  Since the zoom is digital, when an image is magnified, the reticle does not change or shift as with optical scopes. Resolution stays the same when the field of view is reduced. Eye relief is perfectly constant..


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Opinion,untempered by fact,is ignorance.

There are some who do not fear death... for they are more afraid of not really living


Posted By: Kickboxer
Date Posted: July/30/2012 at 15:19
Originally posted by Urimaginaryfrnd Urimaginaryfrnd wrote:

If you have to change batteries that run out every 4 hrs does it remember its zero from the last set of battereies?
Memory is retained even in the absence of power.  I've tested that extensively and all information is retained.  


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Opinion,untempered by fact,is ignorance.

There are some who do not fear death... for they are more afraid of not really living


Posted By: Kickboxer
Date Posted: July/30/2012 at 15:21
Originally posted by Urimaginaryfrnd Urimaginaryfrnd wrote:

Originally posted by Kickboxer Kickboxer wrote:

I should never have posted that tree picture.  I should just shoot trees in silence...
If a tree is shot in silence in the middle of a forest ---- will it fall?   Cool



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Opinion,untempered by fact,is ignorance.

There are some who do not fear death... for they are more afraid of not really living


Posted By: Kickboxer
Date Posted: August/30/2012 at 21:23
The technology presented in the Elcan Digital Hunter (day time) is a symptom of things to come.  It is a bold step toward a complete rethinking of the way riflescopes are made.  Is it the "do all/end all"? No, it is not.  There are a number of shortcomings.  The shortcomings can all be eliminated by using available technology.  And that is one of my biggest complaints with the Digital Hunter... the technology is NOT cutting edge.  Another of my biggest complaints is the lack of human factors engineering.  It is more a lab piece than a field piece.  But the transition is not far off.

If one is looking for a unique, daytime optical instrument for hunting, the Elcan Digital Hunter can serve the purpose quite well.  It is a little out of the price range of a 'plaything', but as a demonstration of technology, it is "reasonable" in price.  Its advantages are 1) programmable, customizable reticles... one can have any reticle or combination of reticles (4 at a time) one is willing to write the code for (or have written).  It is relatively simple script, so not beyond a high school student... each reticle can be zeroed for a different rifle or ammo 2) one can build a ballistic table customized for the rifle and ammo and download it to the scope's memory and have as good ballistic drop compensation for the reticle of choice as can be had, 3) there is no parallax, 4) mirage is almost nonexistent (I say "almost" because just the fact that I did not ever observe any, even though I tried mightily to find it, does not mean it cannot ever be present... I don't think so, but it COULD, maybe)... that is a blessing and a curse because some of us use mirage to read wind, 5) it is a teaching tool for the future, 6) made for a Picatinny rail and easy to mount, easy to zero, maintains zero well even through complete power down and battery removal.  It's shortcomings are 1) battery compartment is perhaps the worst construction I have ever seen for a battery driven product, It is very difficult to get old, dead batteries out and new batteries in, it is in a bad location, it is terrible 2) battery life is POOR... with lithium batteries it is much better, but 4 hours or less continuous and a couple of days intermittent is not good... I went through about $20.00 worth of batteries just playing around, 3) the Digital Hunter is only REALLY good out to about 300 yards... can be used out to 500 at need, but not recommended... image quality is poor, image is blurred at longer range, 4) low light usage is a non-starter... unlikely to get "30 minutes after sundown" out of this scope, 5) if light is too bright, the camera is washed out... the scope comes with an eyepiece and the eyepiece is critical... light entering from the rear precludes usability, 6) it's heavy, 7) controls and control locations are clumsy and not geared toward field use... that is a real problem, because riflescopes are not very functional as laboratory instruments, 8) focus requires several adjustments, once again, clumsy.
As an engineer, I can truthfully say that I believe every shortcoming listed can be relatively easily overcome in an "updated" version.  Human factors engineering and a more modern camera will take care of most of the significant issues.  
Elcan has a good start on a winning solution for a "digital scope".  It is not "there", yet, but it is a reasonable demonstration of technology.  
I wanted to love this scope, tried... there are just too many things that add up to a "NO", for me.  I am not recommending against it, and certainly not for it... I'm saying if you are thinking of getting one, I am going to STRONGLY recommend you find a way to spend some time with one prior to making a final decision.  Utility for hunting is "moderate"... for a benchrest scope, it is excellent.  IF I were going to shoot benchrest as a steady diet, I would want one of these (or maybe the day/night version).  
I am glad for the opportunity to be able to evaluate this scope, I am looking forward to the next generation.  My thanks to everyone at SWFA for making it possible for me to do some hands on work with a very interesting piece of technology.  
The day/night version may be just the "extra step" required to make this a truly valuable piece of hunting gear.  I hope to be able to test one out in the near future.  There are, for me, "issues" with the daytime only version, though there are some very good features, as well.   There is a lot more I could say, but when considered, it would be of little value.  I compared the Elcan Digital Hunter to various low end and high end scopes... it's just different.  I want another generation of these to come into existence.  There are wonderful things that can be done.  "We have the technology, we can make it better..."


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Opinion,untempered by fact,is ignorance.

There are some who do not fear death... for they are more afraid of not really living


Posted By: djp0623
Date Posted: August/30/2012 at 22:19
Wow, it really does sound like they didn't use the latest digital imaging technology.  Most video cameras do very well in low light.  However, I've never tried to spot something in low light 5oo yds away with a digital camera or video recorder.

I still believe it is the future, we just need someone with deep pockets, big name, and the motivation to do it.

Just wait until you're in Best Buy picking up your new Sony Hunting scope.


Posted By: RONIN001
Date Posted: February/07/2014 at 14:46
Are you still using this scope?  I got one at a somewhat good price and trying it out.  


Posted By: Kickboxer
Date Posted: February/07/2014 at 16:07
I only had the scope for a review.  For me, it has great potential, but they need to upgrade some things.  The technology is pretty old as far as such things go.  

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Opinion,untempered by fact,is ignorance.

There are some who do not fear death... for they are more afraid of not really living



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