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Zoom v.s. Dollars

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/11/2010 at 16:00
shooter4 View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
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Gentlemen.

What I have at mind is zoom, more excact USABLE zoom in scopes.
 
I have the Bushnell Excursion 15-45x60. Over all - its worth the money (270$ for a nice package) but its nothing amazing. It works well up to 25x zoom but after that the image quality starts to suffer. My father in law has a even "bigger" scope a Barska with 60x zoom. I remember how stoked he was when he bought it ("wow, a 60x zoom for only 150$").
 Ive had a look thru it but everything above 20x zoom is like eating damaged food. What a crap scope.
 
I guess the laws of the market are simple - Zoom sells!  The bigger the better!!!
 
But to me its just not so. Just as with rifle scopes -  its all about glass quality and you get what you pay for (usually). Im one of those that love scopes but am limited on cash so I tend to look where I get the most quality for my money. And sometimes you find quality at reasonable price, just like my Conquests and my Minox binos. They are sooooo clear and crisp.  I think the Bushnell Excursion is good but Id wish it was good all the way up to 45x zoom ......but it just is not.  Therefore Id say it only has USABLE ZOOM up to ca 25x because everything after that will make image quality suffer.
 
So now I wonder, how much will I have to pay to get a spotting scope that really has a "usable zoom" up to 40x or so? (remember money matters :-)
 
Your thoughs?
 


Edited by shooter4 - March/11/2010 at 16:12
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/11/2010 at 19:01
RifleDude View Drop Down
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That's a very difficult question to answer Shooter4, because what I consider "usable" may not be "usable" to you or vice-versa.  Then, the question becomes "usable for what?"  Also, there is no getting around the fact that you will need to let us know what you are realistically willing to pay for a spotter, and we can give you a better idea of what will provide good image quality at a given magnification.  Then, good image quality at a given magnification to a great extent depends on the objective lens diameter, so you will need to also define whether you prefer a compact scope or you are willing to get a big scope. 

Personally, I haven't been impressed with the "40X and above" image quality of any scope I've seen that retails for less than about $800.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/11/2010 at 21:12
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
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Here is my opinion:
 
The top name scopes (Zeiss, Swaro, Leica) have excellent views above 40 power, even in the 60mm to 65mm objective lens sizes.  These scopes are expensive, but some pretty good deals are out there on the Zeiss Diascopes, as they are phasing in a new model.
 
For around $700 the Pentax 65ED w/ xf zoom has a sharp view, even at 60 power, but it is a little dim.
 
The Luepold Gold Ring 60mm scopes HD and non-HD have better-than-useable views at 40 power, but that's their top-end magnification.
 
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/12/2010 at 00:16
RifleDude View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:

For around $700 the Pentax 65ED w/ xf zoom has a sharp view, even at 60 power, but it is a little dim.
 


All things considered, for the price, that scope is probably your best bet given your criteria, shooter4.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/12/2010 at 05:58
shooter4 View Drop Down
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Well, I know it may not be an existing or accepted term to say "usable zoom" but to me its a very real thing and I tried to explain.

Its just a zoom range where image quality (crisp and brightness) really start to suffer.  Its easy to claim a scope has a 60x zoom BUT its another thing to be able to use it withough having massive penalties in image quality. Its amazing how really cheap scopes like that 60x Barska only had "usable zoom" of about 20 (thats only 1/3 of the zoom range). Everything after that was just horrible. The picture became dark and blurred. Just bad glass. That is what I love about scopes, you can really tell apart the quality and work that has been put into a the glass.
As for my own purchase, the Bushnell Excursion 15-45x60, its a nice package and well worth me money at 270$. I had a look tru its bigger brother, the 15--60x80 Excursion and really could not tell them apart in regards to "usable zoom". The bigger scope had pretty much same limitations with image quality vs zoom. It might (and should) be better in very low light though. BUT the little one is pretty good for the money. 
 
Id like to thank you for your ideas though. Id love to have one of the Zeiss Diascopes and maybe one day I will. I´ll take a hard look at the Penthax 65ED. Ive also heard sweet things about Nikon Fieldscope ED50.
 
Any other ideas, say near to 500-700$??
 


Edited by shooter4 - March/12/2010 at 06:06
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/12/2010 at 09:12
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The bird watchers seem to really like the celestron regal spotters.  I believe they're in that price range.  Keep in mind that atmospheric conditions are usually the limiting factor as to how usable the zoom is.  Given the same quality spotters, an 80mm obj will outperform a 60mm obj any day of the week.  You can't change physics, thats just the way it is.  You really get what you pay for in spotters.  For the absolute best possible "bang for the buck" I'd look around hard for a Nikon ED 82 Fieldscope (prob cost $1K though).  It is on par with the Diascope and has a phenomenal view.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/18/2010 at 15:38
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If you want to use a lot of magnification, go for a spotter with a large objective lens.

No matter how spectacular the optical quality may be, any 65mm spotter is not going to look all that great at 60x.

A quick note on Nikon Fieldscope 82: I tested one a while back and I thought that the spotter itself was very good while the eyepiece was an abomination sent up from hell to punish me. 

ILya
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