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spotting scope under $500

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/20/2011 at 08:23
muleymaddness View Drop Down
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What would be a good spotting scope for $500 or less?  I purchased a Bushnell Trophy and it's almost not worth having in my mind.  Am I going to have to spend more than $500?  Its just that I don't use it that often, but when I do, it counts.  Your suggestions for me?  I'm also going to need suggestions on a reasonably priced tripod.  Thanks for your input.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/20/2011 at 12:04
motts View Drop Down
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I would think possibly the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD would be a good starting scope. For $550, you can get the Vortex Viper HD, the smaller size. That's probably one I'd definitely consider for the money.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/20/2011 at 12:10
motts View Drop Down
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Ah, another one I forgot to mention would be the Celestron Regal ED. Those always get great reviews for the money. The size tends to be a little large, but optics are great.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/21/2011 at 08:17
FrankD View Drop Down
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My first thought would be the Regal 65 as well but it is a longer and heavier 65 mm scope. It weighs as much as many 75-80 mm models. If weight is not an issue then it would be first suggestion in this price range.
 
After that I would suggest looking for a demo/used Nikon ED50. I just picked one up for $450 shipped off of the "bay". It should be here in a few days. Great optics (I owned one previously) in an exceptionally compact and lightweight package. It doesn't have the higher mags in its zoom range but for most applications it is more than enough of a spotter.
 
You can also find the Pentax 65 ED straight (without eyepiece) for as low as $390 currently. The beauty of that scope is that you can use any 1.25 inch astro eyepiece with it (same actually goes for the Celestron). Those eyepieces sell for anywhere from $20 all the way up to $700. There are some great choices in the $60-$80 range...both fixed magnification and zoom.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/21/2011 at 21:26
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They're not wonderful optics but they get the job done at the lower magnifications. I was satisfied using it at 15X to 20X. It is buy Alpen optics. You can't beat their warranty. They have a no fault warranty just like Vortex. Just be warned, Alpen products tend to be heavy.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/22/2011 at 08:44
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If you can get either a Pentax ED or Nikon ED50 for under $500 w/ eyepiece, you are in business with good glass.  I recently looked at the Vortex Viper HD spotters briefly, and they do look like performers.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/22/2011 at 23:52
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Originally posted by motts motts wrote:

I would think possibly the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD would be a good starting scope. For $550, you can get the Vortex Viper HD, the smaller size. That's probably one I'd definitely consider for the money.
I have tried the Bushnell, very disppionted indeed.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/20/2012 at 10:13
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If you can find the Bushnell Excursion with Mil Reticle, it is a nice piece of equipment. The glass is great,FFp mil dot is a plus, and comes with a great tripod. Too bad Bushnell DCed them.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/26/2012 at 12:10
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Wow!  You guys have high standards.  I bought a Vivitar for $93 and thought it was almost adequate.  I then bought a Barska for $150 and am pretty satisfied with it's optical performance.  But I still bought a Bushnell Legend 20x-60x-80 for $375.  With the Bushnell, I could not only see a spider crawling on a wall at 100', I could tell what species it is.  I can see Jupiter's moons with the Bushnell.  I was looking at Longs Peak from about 25 miles away and bet I could tell what color jacket someone standing on top was wearing.  What are you guy's looking at that requires so much detail? 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/26/2012 at 12:26
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
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Originally posted by River Runner River Runner wrote:

Wow!  You guys have high standards.  I bought a Vivitar for $93 and thought it was almost adequate.  I then bought a Barska for $150 and am pretty satisfied with it's optical performance.  But I still bought a Bushnell Legend 20x-60x-80 for $375.  With the Bushnell, I could not only see a spider crawling on a wall at 100', I could tell what species it is.  I can see Jupiter's moons with the Bushnell.  I was looking at Longs Peak from about 25 miles away and bet I could tell what color jacket someone standing on top was wearing.  What are you guy's looking at that requires so much detail? 


The more detail, the better!

"Pretty good" spotters perform at a high level in excellent viewing conditions. The best spotters do it under less-than-ideal conditions.

BTW, it sounds like your Legend is an exceptional unit. I would keep that one.
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