Zoom or Fixed Eyepiece?
Well, in the world of optics they seem to recommend buying a scope from the eyepiece forward. The biggest brightest scope made is no good with a shabby eyepiece. I am looking at buying the Pentax 65 ED-A scope which you can get with the Pentax XF 20-60 Zoom or just the scope body. Which is supposedly not too bad of a zoom. However, a high quaility fixed eyepiece is supposed to be much better optically than a zoom. The Pentax XW eyepieces are some of, if not the the best eyepieces made. The XF's aren't too shabby either.
Obviously both have thier advantages and disadvantages. I am thinking that a high quality fixed EP like the XW 14 (28x on the 65 EDA) or the XF 12 (32x on the 65EDA) may be the way to go instead of the zoom. I like the longer eye relief and am not so sure I would benefit THAT much from anything much over 30x. Especially a very high quality 30x that is highly capable of resolving detail. Anything over may just give a larger image or just magnify the atmosphere. I sold my Burris 18x45-60 Spotter. The optics were'nt too bad but the eye relief was not too good. And, I felt my Pentax 10x43 DCF SP binos actually resloved detail better than the scope also. Lower magnification but higher image quality.
I'm thinking a lower magnification (30x or so), higher quality image is better than a higher magnification (45 - 60) lower qualtiy image.
Lots of factors to consider. Optical clarity of course, weight, cost, ease of use, flexiblity, etc.
Any thoughts or experiences?
Oh, and this is primarly for sheep hunting.
The eyepieces in the Pentax are gargantuan. Last summer I used a Leica Televid APO 77mm with 20-60x zoom, and compared this to my Pentax PF80ED with 20-60x zoom. The Pentax was brighter, especially at high mag because of the large eyepiece glass. Another observor with me noted the same thing. I ended up using my Pentax over the Leica specifically becuase of this on cloudy or dark, rainey days.
Your PF80ED has the BigDog Pentax SMC zoom. Possibly the best zoom eyepiece there is. Or atleast neck and neck with the Meade/Swaro. The one on the PF65 is the smaller XF zoom. I have heard of people putting the big SMC on the PF65, but it's really too big for that smaller scope.
I like the idea of that PF80 scope but I want to keep the size and weight down.
Thanks for the reply. Have you tried any of the Pentax XW fixed eyepieces on your scope?
I'll have a good idea of what you can expect in a week or two - I just bought the angled body from cameraland, and an XL-14 (predecessor to the XW-14) used off a guy. I think the XWs use either slightly better glass (ED vs non?) or coatings than the XLs, but the difference isn't vast. The XLs appear to have the same physical dimensions.
Shoot me a PM in a few weeks and I'll tell you what I can.
Cool. I'll be interested to know what you think. Post us a review!
From what I've read I think the only difference between the XW and the XL is the FOV- 70 on the XW and 65 on the XL. Same ED lanthinum glass and Pentax SMC coating. Supposed to be excellent EP's, top of the industry. At this point I am leaning towards the 65 EDA body with the XW or XL-14 if I can find one like you did. I'm still a month or two away from being able to purchase though.
Check out this forum Pentax Spotters- Birders
By reading there (and other places) it looks like the xw/xl-14 with that 65 PFEDA is the hot setup.
I haven't used any fixed eyepieces.