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Thread: Spotting Scope Options

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    Default Spotting Scope Options

    I have read numerous old posts about spotting scopes and collected quite a bit of information so please indulge me a couple questions about spotting scopes. The primary use would be hunting.

    Swarovski offers 65mm and 80mm scope - which would you prefer and why?
    They offer a straight and angled model - which do you prefer?

    If I was to look for a comparison to the Swarovski what would it be.


    Another question for those of you taking pictures through your scopes - What camera are you using?

    Thanks for your input

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rambling raven View Post
    I have read numerous old posts about spotting scopes and collected quite a bit of information so please indulge me a couple questions about spotting scopes. The primary use would be hunting.

    Swarovski offers 65mm and 80mm scope - which would you prefer and why?
    They offer a straight and angled model - which do you prefer?

    If I was to look for a comparison to the Swarovski what would it be.


    Another question for those of you taking pictures through your scopes - What camera are you using?

    Thanks for your input
    Raven,

    The 80mm lens will gather more light, thereby improving its usefulness in early morning, evening, and on overcast days. Sometimes even a little bit more light puts that final turn on a sheep, makes those brow tines on your moose visible, etc. I would weigh this against the increased weight gain of the large scope in making your decision.

    I prefer the straight eyepiece because it's easier for me to "aim" the scope at an animal I previously spotted with the naked eye or with a binocular. Some scopes (like my Leica) have a "sight" on the lens shade to aid in this process. But to make the straight eyepiece work for you, you'll want a full-sized tripod. Well, you're going to want a full-sized tripod no matter what you go with, but you want a tripod that brings the scope up to eye level while you're sitting and glassing. On a side-hill situation (which is where you'll most often find yourself) you'll need to extend one leg of the tripod down the hill and shorten the other two legs to the proper height. To keep the weight down, I use a Velbon tripod that I bought at Kit's Cameras for about 20 bucks. They're cheap and light weight, and seem to hold up just fine.

    Some hunters get a lot of neck strain out of a straight eyepiece, so they prefer the angled one. It all comes down to personal preference, as they both do the same thing.

    One more plus of the straight eyepiece is that the whole scope is straight, which takes up a little less room when you're packing your gear.

    Hope it helps!

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I took a full height tripod to the Brooks this year and in over a week of glassing I realized I never used it fully extended. I retrospect I don't recall ever needing a full height tripod on any sheep or goat hunt to date. Spotting/glassing always provides a good excuse to sit for a minute! I now have a mini tripod that is 1/2 the weight and packs 1/2 as big for hunting the high country. For moose I will stick with the full size tripod. Go with a ball head on your tripod, I switched from a pan head to a ball this year and it was priceless. The pistol grips are really nice too but heavier and more $$$, so I don't think they are worth it. I like angled scopes since I am tall they do ease neck strain and make using the mini tripod downright comfy. The statement about aiming them is dead on though! I just set a little tension on the ball head then set the scope to min power and I can sweep the terrain steadily till I find the animal. One found I lock down the ball head tension and zoom in. That's when I realize the sheep is only 3/4-7/8 curl and get all depressed again. <grin>

    I carry my scope on my back and chose a 65mm for the lighter weight and smaller packed size. If I hunted off a horse I would have an 80 and I would love an 80 for wheeler based hunting. I do think that with a heavier 80mm like the swaro ATS that a quality pistol grip head might just be worth the expense.

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    Member tyrex13's Avatar
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    If you're interested ins saving money I would check out the Vortex Razor HD and compare it to the Leica/Zeiss/Swaro if possible.

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    I looked extensively at spotters this year including the two models you mention but it depends on your application.

    I did not think the 80mm was worth the extra $$$ or weight. At higher powers the mirage made the scope almost pointless and the 80mm was more prone to it than the 65, I also found (due to mirage) that any power over 45x didn't have many advantages execpt in very specific atmoshperic conditions.

    I would certainly get one for magnifying small objects over short distances (like birding) but for spotting game out there in big country I didn't see an advantage.

    Straight vs angled is a personal preference but I liked the straight tube better. I eventually bought a Zeiss Dialyt from Cameralands "Special Sample Bin" and for a purely hunting scope couldn't have been happier with the $$$ vs. performance ratio. I did a review on it in this forum you can read all about it here

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...out-the-Dialyt
    Last edited by hodgeman; 09-22-2011 at 15:19. Reason: added link

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyrex13 View Post
    If you're interested ins saving money I would check out the Vortex Razor HD and compare it to the Leica/Zeiss/Swaro if possible.
    Tyrex,

    What do you know about the quality of the glass on the Vortex Razor HD? (compared to Leica, Swarovski and Zeiss) Also I see that the Razor has an angled eyepiece, but the Viper series (Viper HD and Viper) is straight? Have you had experience with these, and what info do you have on those in comparison?

    Certainly when it comes to price alone, there are many other brands out there that are cheaper. But I have not looked at Vortex and am curious how they stack up in terms of quality.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

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    Thanks for the replies - The information helps.

    The scope I land on will need to serve multiple purposes - My wife is an avid Birder, I am hoping to leave the river for a little hunting in the mountains, and I want to be able to adapt it to my camera for long distance pictures. I already have a nice tripod and pistol grip when weight isn't a concern.

    Thanks again.

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    Member tyrex13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Tyrex,

    What do you know about the quality of the glass on the Vortex Razor HD? (compared to Leica, Swarovski and Zeiss) Also I see that the Razor has an angled eyepiece, but the Viper series (Viper HD and Viper) is straight? Have you had experience with these, and what info do you have on those in comparison?

    Certainly when it comes to price alone, there are many other brands out there that are cheaper. But I have not looked at Vortex and am curious how they stack up in terms of quality.

    -Mike
    Unfortunately I have only been able to ABC compare the Razor to the Swaro indoors at Sportsmans warehouse. I have a pretty good eye and could not discern a difference, but admit that the "test" was not challenging. I own the new 60mm class Viper HD straight and find it to be fantastic for the price. I prefer it to my Minox MD62ED which I preferred to the Nikon XLII.



    I'd love to have a meet and greet at Flat Top someday where everybody could bring their optics and do a bunch of side by sides.

    Using scientific measurement tools would not surprise me to learn that the $3k Swaro or Leica were very slightly superior to the Vortex Razor. I would wager that 9 out of 10 people could not tell the difference in the field if the cases were switched and from what I hear lately Vortex is offering a better warranty and customer service experience to the big 3 Germans. Hopefully somebody that has used the Razor HD in the field can chip in here.

    Like I said, I own the Viper HD and the Razor HD will be my next glass purchase...


    ETA: The Razor is offered in straight as well.

    Here's some reviews:

    http://www.optics4birding.com/vortex...pe-review.aspx

    http://www.birdwatching.com/optics/v...zor_scope.html

    http://www.birddigiscoper.com/2010/0...ing-scope.html

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    Pentax PF-65EDa with older XL-10.5 eyepiece gives fixed 37x with a very wide field of view. Compare FOV specs at 37x against Pentax and other german brands' FOV at lowest power and ponder that. The fixed eyepiece has a very wide and open FOV.

    I also have the older XL-14 eyepiece that gives fixed 28x with the same scope. Great view.

    In the great spotter race, I'd call pentax the darkhorse.

  10. #10
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    Ya, the Pentax scopes with the XW or XL eyepieces are fantastic. Pentax has been grinding and coating glass for a long time. I had the XW 14 for my 65 eda and it was excellent. I wish I still had it. Best astro eyepieces on the planet.

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