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Suggestions For A Spotting Scope Between $100-$400

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/01/2008 at 22:33
dbthirty View Drop Down
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I was wondering if anyone had any strong suggestions for a spotting scope between 100-400 bucks. Would mostly be used for spotting targets at 100-200 yds. If I can get it done nicely for 200 Id rather save the money, but if there is no way to get it done for 200 Id be willing to step it up to 400. Buddy of mine suggested a Leup Green Ring, and I was checking out the Nikon ProStaff... Not really sure where to start so any info you guys have would be a great help! Thanks in advance for your time.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/02/2008 at 22:47
lucznik View Drop Down
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You simply can't get a spotting scope for a C-note that will be worth a dang.  At the $200 mark there are some limited options. Closer to your $400 mark opens things up a bit.  Of course, spending even more would eventually get you into the realm of really good glass but, let's stick with your prescribed budget...

The Leupold Green Ring is not a great scope.  You should pass.

The Nikon ProStaff is not a bad scope but, you can get better for less.  You should pass.

The Stokes Sandpiper can be had right now for ~$250.  It would be a definite "best buy."

The 60mm Bushnell Elite sells for $350.  I didn't like the one I had for a short while because of problems with the eye relief.  Others don't have this problem.

Bushnell's new 60mm Excursion costs $320.  I played with one over Labor Day weekend and while it isn't the best scope on the planet, I think it is probably worth its asking price. Eye relief was unreal.

The 50mm Leupold Golden Ring would require your entire $400 budget but, it's definitely worth it.

If you like these small scopes but, prefer an angled eyepiece, Minox sells its MD50 for $350. 

The Vortex Impact sells for around $190.  I didn't like mine but, that was mostly due to its non-rotating angled eyepiece.

The Pentax PF-63 costs $350.  Eye relief and narrow Field of View concerns kept me from buying one but, if you can get past those things, the scope was of good quality.




Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/03/2008 at 00:19
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I thought I read something about the Vortex Impact, the Burris XTS5075 (I think thats the model) and the Stokes Sandpiper were in fact all the same scope... anyone else hear this?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/03/2008 at 01:14
dbthirty View Drop Down
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Also has anyone tried the Bushnell Legend 20x60x60 or 80? Im definatley interested in the Excursion just checking options. Thanks.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/03/2008 at 13:44
lucznik View Drop Down
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The Impact and the Burris are indeed the same scope.  The Sandpiper is not. 


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/04/2008 at 07:49
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Originally posted by lucznik lucznik wrote:



The Stokes Sandpiper can be had right now for ~$250.  It would be a definite "best buy."
 
I agree. It was a "best buy" at $330 already. Just out of curiosity, i set up two of these Sandpipers and aimed them at license plates 219 meters away (measured by laser). There is no problem whatsoever seing the smaller print on them. At highest power of the zooms, the scopes are dimm, but still sharp. 
 
I don't know about the other scopes that lucznik writes about. But there is another best buy: Celestron Ultima 65 mm ED, at about $140. The zoom eyepiece on it is an insult, but the package will work for you. However, if you install a different zoom, ....
have a look at this guy's experience.   
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/04/2008 at 08:44
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Sorry, the Ultima ED is about $400, the non ED is $140-150. I've looked through the less expensive one awhile ago.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/10/2008 at 20:57
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Originally posted by lucznik lucznik wrote:

Bushnell's new 60mm Excursion costs $320.  I played with one over Labor Day weekend and while it isn't the best scope on the planet, I think it is probably worth its asking price. Eye relief was unreal.
 
Could you please elaborate with a few more details?  I have been waiting for this baby to come out for awhile, in part because of the eye relief they claim.  Wearing eye glasses sucks sometimes.
 
How was it optically?  Was it worth the price?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/10/2008 at 21:29
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Here is what I wrote on one of the other threads.

Originally posted by lucznik lucznik wrote:

I finally got to handle one of these little Bushnell FLP scopes over labor day weekend.  It was pretty nice but, I don't think it's exactly going to set the optics world afire.

My basic impressions were:

It is larger than I expected.  It was light to be sure but, it would take up a lot of room in a daypack.

It was at least as bright as most other 60mm scopes though, not more so. 

Eye relief was fantastic. Even at the highest magnification (45x) I could keep my eye clear away from the scope and still get the entire Field of View.  This meant no touching the scope which resulted in greater-than-average stability.

Image quality was very good in the center 2/3 of the image.  It quickly degraded starting at the outer 1/3 mark going out to the edge, where it was totally useless.  The FoV is quite wide however so, this should prove only a minor inconvenience in real-world use.

I was not in a position to evaluate the image for CA.

It is not, I think, as good as was the similar-styled, though older Leupold Golden Ring (non-HD) I played with earlier this year. I am also glad I didn't hesitate on buying my 50mm Leupold Golden Ring as I don't think the Excursion is quite small enough to adequately accomplish my goals for a dedicated backpacking scope.

I've seen this scope selling for $320 and I think it would be worth that price.  I definitely liked it better than the 60mm Bushnell Elite. If I were trying to buy a scope in the sub $400 range, it would at least be on my short list.

BTW, that huge ugly "B" medallion on the front of the scope appeared to be attached by essentially nothing of substance so; you could probably pull it off with no trouble and no harm to the scope.  If I were to buy one of these, that medallion would be the first thing to go.


In short, I think it is a definite contender in the under-$400 class of budget scopes.  It is not as good as the Leupold it was modeled after and it certainly isn't going to be competitive against the "big dogs."

Having said that, I feel compelled to emphasize a couple of points:

  1. With its 176 ft FoV you can completely discount that outer 1/3 of the image (which is marginal to useless) and you still get 116+ feet of good image quality.  This is wider than the 60 and 82mm Nikon Fieldscopes, the 80 mm Bushnell Elite, the Vortex Skyline and Impact, etc.  It is not too far off the 60mm Bushnell Elite and Nikon Spotter XL II, the 50mm Leupold Golden Ring, etc. AND you have to remember that NONE of these other scopes have crisp, clear images that go all the way to the very edges of their Fields of View either (even though some come pretty close.)
  2. The eye relief is just unreal.  It is unmatched by any other spotting scope at any price except for the Leupold Golden Rings that originated the design.  If you want to spend many hours comfortably glassing through a spotting scope, this scope is sure to do the trick.  At any magnification it is possible to have one's eye totally clear of the scope.  Many other scopes, especially most budget-class scopes require the user to get right up close to the eyepiece which can become straining after awhile.

These two factors alone make the Excursion worth a look.  I will emphasize here that, if I were in the market for a 60mm scope and was limited to the $350-$400 range, the Excursion would definitely be on my short list. (Although if I could find a way to spend more, then I would be willing to do so to get either the Leupold Golden Ring or the Pentax PF-65.)







Edited by lucznik - September/11/2008 at 11:01
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/12/2008 at 06:57
anweis View Drop Down
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The FLP design of some scopes seems to offer the benefit of very long eye relief. That may be a desirable trait for people wearing glasses.
Four years ago i was looking to purchase a premium scope and had the chance to examine many models that were exposed and mounted on a terrace overlooking a lake.
The Leupold Golden Ring 12-40x60 HD was there. Its optical quality did not impress me, but it was a very good quality scope at it's price poin. I prefered to pay more to get a better view, rather than compact size or long eyerelief. The stay-on soft case was also not convincing: just a thin walled bag with clumsy zippers. I would have bought a 15-30x50 Golden Ring though, if they made an HD version with angled eyepiece. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/12/2008 at 20:36
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Hello, I want to ask a more specific question, as I am in the same situation choosing a scope
Do you think the leupold Gold Ring Compact 15-30mm is much more better than the Nikon Prostaff?   could you give  any comments on these face to face. I'll appreciate it.
 
Regards
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2008 at 00:09
lucznik View Drop Down
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I own the 15-30x50 Leupold Golden Ring Compact.  It is a great scope.  Just today I had it out hunting antelope.  My good friend borrowed it because he forgot his binoculars at his house.  (How does someone actually do that?)  At 15x he was able to manage pretty well hand-held.  With support he was able to zoom up to 30x for more careful horn examination.  The scope proved useful throughout its magnification range and well beyond legal shooting light.

I've only handled the Prostaff a couple of times at sporting goods stores.  I was not impressed.


Edited by lucznik - September/13/2008 at 00:09
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/14/2008 at 18:17
Smokey53119 View Drop Down
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I have not been impressed with any Nikon pro-staff product regardless of what it was.  Overpriced, under performanced, charging for the Nikon name.  YMMV
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/16/2008 at 22:21
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My brother has the 15-45x60 bushnell space master for about $330.00.  Claims to see bullet holes at 300 yds.  But have to agree with  lucznik the stokes sandpiper is a great deal and will do the job you require it to do.
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