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Spotter for backpack hunts

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/05/2011 at 18:10
mcseal2 View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Joined: October/24/2011
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I just read the article on compact spotters posted here, great article, I have been seriously looking at upgrading spotting scopes for a while now but can't decide what to get.  I have a Leupold Sequoia 15-45x60 and want to go with a better model.  I'm thinking I want to spend my money on one good scope and use it for everything rather than splitting my funds between a decent compact and decent full size.  I'd like to stay under $1000 unless another couple hundred gets me something way better.
As far as my use, the spotter will get packed a lot of miles on my back.  I'd like to stay with a real light 60-65mm or a compact.  The flip side is that if I get just one scope it will also get alot of time on a window mount scouting whitetail around home, mostly in low light conditions.  Most of this scouting when I use the scope is at 400-1200yds.    Every review I've read on the Seqouia I have now is negative, so I'll likely be impressed with whatever I get but this is a purchase I want to do right and do once.
Sounds like the ED50 is the leader of the compacts,within my price range, and real light to pack.  It's what I'm leaning toward now.  My question is how much low light performance do I give up with it compared to a 25-30oz 60mm spotter like the Kowa 600 series?  Are there other 60mm lightweights I should be considering?
 
Thanks for the help.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/05/2011 at 18:57
motts View Drop Down
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I think the Kowa 60mm would be great because they are very light and you can pair them with a great 20-60 zoom or even a wide angle fixed piece or long eye relief eye piece. Yes, the 60mm won't let in as much light as other, bigger scopes...but when you're backpacking, it's most of the time just not reasonable to lug around a big 80mm+ scope.

You could go up to the Kowa 65mm, also with the same eyepiece slection. Maybe opt for the 663 or 664, which both inlude the Prominar extra-low dispersion glass. However, that might put you a couple hundred over your budget...so you may decided to go with the 65mm, but go non Prominar lense.

Another to consider would be the Leupold Golden right 12-40x60 non HD, right at $1000. I have not used it, but it should be a great scope for backpack hunts. Nice size, compact, and good optics.

For ultra portable, you've the the Nikon Spotter XL, but you're gonna give up brightness and optical quality during other applications, however it is super portable, as is it's Bushnell Elite brother from another mother.

Also even more compact, would be a 50mm, but they give up a lot of brightness in low light conditions. The only one I'd recommend would be the Nikon 13-30x50mm ED. It has various eye piece options available, and is certainly the best 50mm scope out there.

If you can only have one scope, and will be packing it, I'd probably go with the Kowa 60mm or even 65mm, and if u can afford the bit extra for Prominar glass (663 or 664), no one does it better than Kowa. Their newer 20-60 zoom eye piece is also very high quality.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/05/2011 at 19:47
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
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mcseal2,
I don't know if you're tired of me posting on your threads yet ... but here goes:
I really think the ED50 is the way to go for you, since backpack hunts are a priority.  I much prefer the 13-40 MCII eyepiece over the 13-30 MC eyepiece though.  The little ED50 is closer in performance to the really good 60mm spotters than you might think.  I used to own a Leupold 12-40X60 GR, a Pentax 65ED, and a Zeiss 65mm Diascope, and I have no desire to trade the ED50 to go back to any of them.
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/05/2011 at 21:47
mcseal2 View Drop Down
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[QUOTE=Bitterroot Bulls] mcseal2,
I don't know if you're tired of me posting on your threads yet ... but here goes:
I really think the ED50 is the way to go for you, since backpack hunts are a priority.  I much prefer the 13-40 MCII eyepiece over the 13-30 MC eyepiece though.  The little ED50 is closer in performance to the really good 60mm spotters than you might think.  I used to own a Leupold 12-40X60 GR, a Pentax 65ED, and a Zeiss 65mm Diascope, and I have no desire to trade the ED50 to go back to any of them.
 
 Thanks for the reply's, I really want to get the opinions of people like you that have experience with several different models.  I was actually looking at a ED50 a few minutes ago online that was priced right, a demo with a fixed 24x eyepiece.  I thought that might be a little to much magnification though.  Do you know what the 13-40 eyepiece runs?  If not I can check.
 
I really need to get somewhere and look at a couple models when I get it narrowed down to 2 or so.  The problem with looking at optics at a store though is everything looks good under bright indoor lighting, and I will never use them there.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2011 at 07:27
FrankD View Drop Down
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I am sure you read my post in the other thread about my recent experiences with the ED50. I like it. I really do. It would be my first suggestion. There are a few deals to be had on the eyepieces...depending on which one you decide to go with. All of the eyepieces I have put in it have performed beyond my expectations. This little spotter is wonderful. You can find them in the $400-$500 range with a basic fixed power eyepiece or a little bit more bundled with the 13-40 zoom.
 
I will do some comparisons this evening between it and my Theron Mag82. The Theron isn't a 60-65 mm class spotter obviously but I would be curious as to how much of a difference there is in low light conditions.
 
My second suggestion would be the Pentax 65 ED. Excellent spotter overall and it can use any 1.25 inch astro eyepiece in addition to the eyepieces that Pentax provides. Lots of flexibility there depending on your needs. I have seen them as low as $390 for the scope body. The eyepiece choice is going to determine the rest of the cost. There are some good fixed power eyepieces in the $30-$70 range. The least expensive zoom I would recommend is priced around $80 (Celestron model).
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2011 at 17:33
mcseal2 View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Thanks for the replys everyone.
 
I am curious to see how the low light test goes on the ED50
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/27/2012 at 14:22
muleycrazy View Drop Down
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I have heard alot of good things on the ED50
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/27/2012 at 21:57
mcseal2 View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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I got one a few months ago, all the good things are true.  I really like the little scope it beats my old Leupold Sequoia in every way possible.  Low light has been pretty impressive.  I don't have alot of experience with larger objective higher end spotters but I'm real happy with this one for what I do.
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