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Spott'g scope 4 semi-Novice

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/26/2008 at 09:27
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Optics GrassHopper
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I am starting out and would like some opinions on 'quality' optics for mainly bench use, but also for light field use. I am target shooting at the 100,200 and soon longer ranges, but mainly between 100-250 yards. I am birddogging the Bushnell Elite 15-45x60 , or Bushnell Trophy or Legend series. I dont want to spend a whole lot until I can get my feet wet, but am still the type of person that learns/adapts quickly and I know ai will belooking for some better optics in the next say 12 months.  
What are the opinions of the spotters I mentioned ? I am shooting 25-06 from a new savage and if I can discern bullet holes at 250 I would be happy (in good conditions of course) but further out hopefully would be nice too..  I am hearing (from this board) many good things on the Elite, but not sure I really want to spend the 400, if I can make a Trophy work it would be ok, but searching for opinions.. (oh also look'g at Burris Landmark) - like this forum, seems like a lot of knowledgeable people.. thank you.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/26/2008 at 12:22
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If you know that you will be looking for better optics in the next 12 months, then you would be better off to "bite the bullet" now and just go for the whatever those "better optics" are right from the beginning.  It will result in far less money spent in the long run.
 
However, if you really do need a spotter right now and also need to stay under $400, you should look at:
  • Bushnell Elite 15-45x60 (~$350) This one has a great reputation for excellent optics and solid, rugged build quality. 
  • Bushnell Excursion 15-45x60 ($320) This one is new so; I don't know what its quality level is but specs on paper look good.  It is Bushnell's take on the classic Leupold folded light path spotter.  It incorporates ED glass in its construction so; if possible, it would at least be worth taking a look at one.
  • Leupold 15-30x50 Golden Ring Compact ($400) These are very good scopes that offer excellent image quality, a good value, and Leupold's legendary warranty.
  • Stokes Sandpiper 15-45x65 ($300) A recent article in Living Bird magazine rated this as the best budget-class (which they defined as "under-$1000") spotting scope on the market.  On this forum anweis has one and has been very complimentary about it.
  • Vortex Nomad 20-60x60 ($330) A good, well built scope from one of the up-and-coming stars in the optics market.  This scope is roughly on par with the Stokes Sandpiper though, with a slightly more powerful zoom.
  • Brunton 18-36x50 Eterna ($400) A good, compact scope that also incorporates ED glass in its manufacture. It's a bit bulky and blocky for a 50mm scope but, I was impressed with the image quality it offered.
 
Actually, some of these scopes are good enough that, depending on the demands you place on them, they might just serve well enough that you won't ever need to upgrade them to anything more expensive.


Edited by lucznik - February/27/2008 at 12:02
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/26/2008 at 12:55
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Originally posted by lucznik lucznik wrote:

Stokes Sandpiper 15-45x65 ($300) A recent article in Living Bird magazine rated this as the best budget-class (which they defined as "under-$1000") spotting scope on the market.  On this forum anweis has one and has been very complimentary about it.
 
I have two actually. It's been a year since i bought them and i decided to get two more (for introducing kids to the wonders of nature). Absolutely excellent scopes. I have looked through several models/makes/brands recently. The zoom is not very good past 30x, but that is to be expected in this price range.
 
Every single thing Brunton that i ever looked at seemed 30% overpriced compared to performance offered.
 
I agree with lucznik: on the long run it is better to save $ and wait until you can get a really good tool. Though, the Sandpiper might be just it.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/26/2008 at 21:19
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I have compared the Leupold 10-20x40 vs. the Leupold 15-30x40 compacts, and I went with the 10-20 over the 15-30, I couldn't really see a remarkable difference between 20x and 30x.  And I liked the fact that I could use the 10-20 as a monocular if I choose to.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/26/2008 at 21:24
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that info really helps out..  have not really heard too much of vortex, stokes and brunton but will definitely check into them. There’s almost too many options!.. Just looked at the leupold, I like this one, compactness to me is good, however, quality optics is first priority over magnification. (waterproof, ruggedness are up there also).

You may be right though, if I wait and buy a 1K or more spotter, it probably would make a lot of sense, in the long run. I’m wondering if anyone knows from experience, what range bullet holes are visible thru the Elite given ‘good’ conditions. This would help give me a sense of the ‘reach’ .. Either way, gonna have to look into these leads and will have to make my decision soon before I go el loco.   . muchas gracias for everyone's response..

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/29/2008 at 10:42
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I am looking more closely at the Stokes(Vortex)Sandpiper and the Bushnell Elite options. I've read here and on different forums a LOT of good things on these spotters(as far as the economical option goes) .. The Sandpiper is heavier and a little bigger but cheaper, the Elite is lighter and more compact. Both seem to be rugged,wtr-proof/fogproof. I like the Vortex's warranty.
Anyway, still may wait and step up to the upper end Elites or Vortexes/Stokes. Doesnt seem like I could go wrong here.  .Will post a follow up if I end up going the cheapy route..
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/29/2008 at 17:08
lucznik View Drop Down
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Originally posted by anweis anweis wrote:

Every single thing Brunton that i ever looked at seemed 30% overpriced compared to performance offered.
 
Actually, I completely agree with this.   I would be even more harsh about the Epoch line saying that they are at least 50% overpriced.
 
The little 50mm Eterna is a good scope.  I was surprised by how pleasant the images were when I looked at one last summer.  I will concede however, that I probably wouldn't be willing to pay full retail for it.  Perhaps $300.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/07/2008 at 04:29
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Hi Lucznik:

   I‘m willing to buy a spotting scope, and this post is the right place to learn, for example:
  I see this options great, but if want to upgrade one  step ahead of this options, which will be your suggestions?

   Thanks

Originally posted by lucznik lucznik wrote:

If you know that you will be looking for better optics in the next 12 months, then you would be better off to "bite the bullet" now and just go for the whatever those "better optics" are right from the beginning.  It will result in far less money spent in the long run.
 
However, if you really do need a spotter right now and also need to stay under $400, you should look at:
  • Bushnell Elite 15-45x60 (~$350) This one has a great reputation for excellent optics and solid, rugged build quality. 
  • Bushnell Excursion 15-45x60 ($320) This one is new so; I don't know what its quality level is but specs on paper look good.  It is Bushnell's take on the classic Leupold folded light path spotter.  It incorporates ED glass in its construction so; if possible, it would at least be worth taking a look at one.
  • Leupold 15-30x50 Golden Ring Compact ($400) These are very good scopes that offer excellent image quality, a good value, and Leupold's legendary warranty.
  • Stokes Sandpiper 15-45x65 ($300) A recent article in Living Bird magazine rated this as the best budget-class (which they defined as "under-$1000") spotting scope on the market.  On this forum anweis has one and has been very complimentary about it.
  • Vortex Nomad 20-60x60 ($330) A good, well built scope from one of the up-and-coming stars in the optics market.  This scope is roughly on par with the Stokes Sandpiper though, with a slightly more powerful zoom.
  • Brunton 18-36x50 Eterna ($400) A good, compact scope that also incorporates ED glass in its manufacture. It's a bit bulky and blocky for a 50mm scope but, I was impressed with the image quality it offered.
 
Actually, some of these scopes are good enough that, depending on the demands you place on them, they might just serve well enough that you won't ever need to upgrade them to anything more expensive.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/07/2008 at 10:24
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mazkbrown,
 
I'm not entirely sure how to answer your question because you haven't indicated what exactly you're trying to accomplish with your spotting scope.  For example:
  • Are you planning on carrying the thing deep into the backcountry?
  • Are you intending to do any digiscoping?
  • When you say "upgrade one step ahead" what do you mean?  (i.e. how much more money does that next step allow you to spend? $500?, $800?, $1000?)

Although spotting scopes are not nearly as prolific as binoculars, there really are quite a few good ones available. In general, some options you might want to look at might include:

  • Bushnell 20-60x80 Elite  (~650) I own this scope and have been very pleased with it.  My overall impression of the Elite can be read here (bottom of page 1):   http://www.opticstalk.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=10910
  • Vortex 20-60x80 Skyline (the ED model)  (~650) This is a scope quite similar to the Elite.  It is quite a bit heavier however. This may or may not be important to you depending on how far you intend to carry your scope around.  If you digiscope with a point-and-shoot camera, Vortex has a fantastic little mount that is head and shoulders above anything else on the market.  If you use a DSLR, the Bushnell Elite has an adapter that (with a camera-specific T-ring) allows you to connect your camera directly to the scope body. The reviews of the Skyline that I have read seem to be a bit of a "mixed bag."  Some were very complimentary whereas others were less so.  I don't know if this represents sample variation or just differences in the demands and expectations of the various users so; while I still think the Vortex is worth looking at, proceed with enough caution to ensure you get one that is a good representative of the brand/model.
  • Leupold 12-40x60 Golden Ring (non-HD) (~$800) This scope has been around for quite awhile and has earned the respect of many professional hunting guides.  Birders sometimes speak ill of it but, I think this is more a politically motivated distain for Leupold's hunting focus more than an actual limitation of the scope itself. Eye relief with this scope is a very impressive 30mm - which is absolutely fantastic for eyeglass wearers. It of course, it enjoys Leupold's legendary lifetime transferable warranty.
  • Pentax PF-65 / PF 65 II (~$550 - Body Only)  This scope can range from quite good to astounding depending on what eyepiece(s) you mate with it.  It often can be purchased with Pentax's 20-60x XF zoom (for around $650) which is as good as many other brands' kit eyepieces.  Purchase Pentax's higher end zoom or any of their great fixed mag eyepieces and this scope can be quite a stunner.  It still (IMO) won't outdo a good 80mm scope but it sure will show up many 60mm scopes and will certainly be easier to pack around than the larger scopes.  The Pentax will accept any standard 1.25" astronomical eyepieces which allows you (if necessary) to start out with a very economical eyepiece and then save for something better to upgrade with in the future.
  • Nikon 13-30x50 Fieldscope ED50 (~$700)  If you have to pack many miles but still need a scope, this is the current king of the mini-spotters.   It's capable of astounding optical performance, especially if you upgrade to the 13-40x zoom or one of Nikon's fixed mag eyepieces. Of course, that would come at extra expense. Within its particular niche (that of ultra-compact, ultra-lightweight spotting scopes) and assuming you purchase one or more of Nikon's high end eyepieces, there currently is no way to upgrade beyond the ED50 - no matter how much you spend. 
  • Minox MD 62 (non ED) (~$650 - Body Only) I haven't seen one of these but, I have read quite a few reviews of them that were quite complimentary.  This is especially true when the scope was paired with Minox's LER zoom eyepiece.   Since I haven't actually used one, I can't openly recommend it but, I think it would at least be worth examining one as you go through the decision-making process.


Edited by lucznik - May/07/2008 at 11:25
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/08/2008 at 01:26
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Hi Lucznik:

  thanks for your answer. The spotting scope I need is for general purpose, maybe digiscoping, sometimes on the field, birding, etc.
  Your suggestions are great, know I see with special interest the Bushnell excursion 15-45x60, but nobody is making a review of this scope.

   Thanks Lucznik!!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/08/2008 at 10:29
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Originally posted by mazkbrown mazkbrown wrote:

I see with special interest the Bushnell excursion 15-45x60, but nobody is making a review of this scope.
 
 
Noone is posting a review of this scope because noone has seen one yet.  They are not scheduled to be released to retailers until somtime late this month. 
 
On paper the excursion looks really good with excellent eye relief (25.5mm), an incredibly wide FoV across the magnification range (starting at a whopping 176 ft @ 15X), reasonably compact size (11.7 inches long), and a weight (37 oz.) equal to the Leupold Golden Ring upon which the Excursion's design is obviously patterned. To top it off, the scope uses ED glass which will help tremendously with image quality - especially at high magnification.
 
Of course, the low cost (~$320) suggests that some kind of compromise has probably been made somewhere.  That could be in image quality, build quality,  etc.  The comparable ED FLP Leupold scope costs well over $1000.  I'm sure some of that extra cost is to pay for Leupold's name and legendary warranty but, I would be surprised if the Excursion proves the Leupold's equal in terms of construction and image quality.  Then again, binoculars like the Nikon LXL, Bushnell Elite, Leupold Golden Ring, Vortex Razor, etc. have been proving quite convincingly that they can compete with the best of the "big 3" while costing often less than 1/2 as much so; anything is possible.


Edited by lucznik - May/08/2008 at 10:30
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