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Thread: Oh boy, a spotting scope thread....sorry in advance

  1. #1

    Default Oh boy, a spotting scope thread....sorry in advance

    I know there are lot of threads about spotting scopes, but I am not seeing much except people with more money than me saying "buy a Swarovski"

    Well, I am not going to be buying one, so I need a little advice from those who might be down in my range

    I was set on going with the Vortex Diamondback, angles 20-60x80, which is near the top of my range at $500

    I looked around and saw a lot of good reviews for a Celestron model called the Ultima 80, but the low price has me worried they are reviewing a low-end model and basically saying, "Yeah, it's crappy,m but for crappy, it's the best"

    Any idea if this is a great buy or just awful compared to something like the Vortex? I am not opposed to spending 200 on a scope of it is pretty close to a 500! LOL

    Also, while I would like to stay around the 500 mark or less, if you know of something significantly better for maybe 700, I'd look at it. Really not gonna go over 700 no matter what.

    Thanks.

    Oh, and I mainly want it for sheep hunting.

  2. #2
    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    I had a lower budget leupold and I wasn't that happy with it. I thought my buddies similar priced Nikon was much better. I cannot comment on the vortex, only have heard that they are good for the money
    Responsible Conservation > Political Allocation

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I have been chasing sheep for over a decade, during that time I have used and looked through a variety of spotters. There is a reason guys and gals pony up for the top 3 spotters,, because details matter!!!

    About any spotter will help you find a ram,, having the optical resolution to determine if he is legal is another matter.

    This is why I pack a 7lb spotter/tripod combo, not because I wanted to spend the money or pack all that weight, but because it WORKS.

    Out of all the lower end spotters I have used over the years one of the best IMHO is the Pentax PF-65 ED II Spotting Scope.

    Spotters hold their value,, I would recommend you save to buy the best you can and if you need to sell it after your hunt.

    Not sure where you live, but I'm in Fairbanks and have a couple Swaros, a ATM65mm and an ATX 95mm, also have a couple sets of horns we can use to set out and judge using various spotters if anyone has an interest in getting together for a spotter compare.

    Steve
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    Member BAR300's Avatar
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    Have you thought about a zen ray? the forum sponsor sells them. I purchased a set of zen ray binocs last year. about 400 bucks but by far the best binocs I have ever used, to include my steiners, and Nikon monarchs. I've been eyeing the zen ray spotter myself just haven't heard much about them, but the price is right.

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    I have the Vortex Diamondback. While I agree with buying the absolute best you can afford. There isn't any sense in spending the extra $2000 if it means it takes you out of the mountains this year. Ive glassed with Swaros, yes they are exceptional, but I'll be ****ed if I'm going to choose an optic over a hunt. I will suggest buy the absolute best you can afford, when the opportunity arises upgrade. So hopefully the suggestions can help you along the $5-700 range. Personally, I'd stay far away from the Celestron. Very poor quality from little what I've seen.

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    I concur with Stid. PENTAX PF-65 ED II. I've had an angled one for years. Spotted many a ram with it. We've even managed to kill a few of them!

    Buy this one....

    (KIT) Price: $799.00 - $849.00
    Choose Angled or Straight
    Kit includes scope & eyepiece

    http://www.cameralandny.com/optics/p...?page=pf65edii
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

  7. #7

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    Thanks guys. I'll check out the Pentax.

    And yeah, I know details matter, but I just won;t spend that much on a scope.

    Sure, I could save up, but I am worried about breaking it as well as just spending that kind of money. The thing I like about Vortex is that they will replace it, and if it is $500, I am not as sick about it as $2000.

    I had a Nikon once, slipped on a creek side and smacked a rock - lost scope because Nikon won't do anything about it. That was when I made the switch to Vortex.

    I will hike up and get a closer look gladly rather than spend the money. I like the climb!


    Any comparison between the Pentax and the Diamondback?

    310Chmo - how does that vortex work for you?

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    Member ERL's Avatar
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    I got to put a plug in for Alpen here. They consistently win best value awards from independent evaluators. I have found them to be as good as optics costing 2-3 times as much. I think you could find a really good Alpen spotter in your price range.

  9. #9

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    How does the Alpen look to you at higher magnifications? Reviews I have seen are mixed and they say they are great at 20-30x, but really bad as 40-60x.

  10. #10

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    Also, anyone used a Konus? Some pretty great reviews for them.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Vortex typically offers a very good value for money and they have several in your price range, I don't have the spotter but I have a couple pairs of binos and a rifle scope- pretty decent quality for the bucks. I have used their 10-33x50 Razor and although it lacks higher magnification, the image quality was surprisingly good and it was a light and compact package. No point in going high magnification if the quality in the glass isn't there, and no point hauling it on the mountain. A high magnification/lower end scope will be frustrating since you will see the animal but making out details will be impossible.

    Lower end spotters will be lower end spotters no matter what name goes on them. Chinese glass for sure. Most likely Chinese assembly. Some of it will be quite decent these days but the difference in a $700 spotter and a $1500 spotter is enormous and a $3000 spotter is in another league entirely.

    I understand your reluctance to buy high end glass, I couldn't bring myself to spend $3k on a spotter either. I did end up with a Zeiss Dialyt (still $1500) and have been very satisfied.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

  12. #12

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    Thanks, Hodgeman

    In all honesty, it is the risk of breakage that is keeping me lower end.

    If Swaro had the Vortex warranty, I'd most likely save up and get one. But to save up, spend 3k, and then slip on some shale and fall on it is too much for me to stomach.

    I assume at this point I will go with either the Diamondback or the next model up in the Vortex line. I just can't get past the peace of mine knowing I bought it and I won't ever have to buy it again.

    Maybe once I do a few hunts and get tired hiking extra hours after non-legal rams I will bite the bullet!

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    You could insure it as valuable personal property. Would probably cost you $30 per year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Explorer View Post
    Thanks, Hodgeman

    In all honesty, it is the risk of breakage that is keeping me lower end.

    If Swaro had the Vortex warranty, I'd most likely save up and get one. But to save up, spend 3k, and then slip on some shale and fall on it is too much for me to stomach.

    I assume at this point I will go with either the Diamondback or the next model up in the Vortex line. I just can't get past the peace of mine knowing I bought it and I won't ever have to buy it again.

    Maybe once I do a few hunts and get tired hiking extra hours after non-legal rams I will bite the bullet!
    PENTAX has been grinding and coating glass for years and years. They are Japanese made not Chinese. In the world of astronomical telescopes they are known for having the best eyepieces in the world. The XW series. All those eyepieces will also fit on the PENTAX Spotters as well as the hundreds of other manufacturers 1.25" eyepieces. The XF series was designed specifically for the smaller 65mm scope. Astro-scope users hold those EP's in high regard as well. They are popular when used as a pair on "Big Eyes". I have a Williams Optics Zoom II on mine which makes it a 17-52 power scope. Ergonomically it works a little better for me with my overhanging brow, high cheek bone and deep set eye. I can tell if a ram is legal from 1-2 miles away if conditions allow. Excellent resolution even at 52X. I've packed it on 8 or 9 sheep hunts. No probs.

    Do some googling and you can find Bird Watcher reviews on this and the 80mm PENTAX spotters.

    .... Lifetime warranty.... Fogproof, shockproof, waterproof (JIS Class 6)

    The Pentax "Worry Free" Warranty
    Pentax Sport Optic products are of the highest optical and mechanical quality. If your Pentax Binocular, Spotting Scope or Riflescope purchased in the USA from an authorized Pentax Sport Optics dealer requires repair, Pentax will repair or replace it to the original purchaser (even if damaged by fault) for a charge of $19.95, to cover handling and return shipping.* This warranty does not cover cosmetic damage, theft or loss. (Replacement may be with comparable model at Pentax's discretion if the original model is no longer available.)
    * Applies only to unmodified equipment or product with modifications performed by authorized Pentax repair personnel.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

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    Quote Originally Posted by mike h View Post
    You could insure it as valuable personal property. Would probably cost you $30 per year.
    Or this.....



    The Pentax "Worry Free" Warranty
    Pentax Sport Optic products are of the highest optical and mechanical quality. If your Pentax Binocular, Spotting Scope or Riflescope purchased in the USA from an authorized Pentax Sport Optics dealer requires repair, Pentax will repair or replace it to the original purchaser (even if damaged by fault) for a charge of $19.95, to cover handling and return shipping.* This warranty does not cover cosmetic damage, theft or loss. (Replacement may be with comparable model at Pentax's discretion if the original model is no longer available.)
    * Applies only to unmodified equipment or product with modifications performed by authorized Pentax repair personnel.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

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    Member mjm316's Avatar
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    I would keep an eye out on Craig's list and some other forums like 24hr campfire and rokslide. Both great places to find quality used gear at a fraction of the price. And on the Swaro warranty vs the vortex I can almost guarantee swaro would take care of you in any situation. They didn't become number 1 by not having top notch customer service.
    Tomorrow isn't promised. "Never delay kissing a pretty girl or opening a bottle of whiskey." E. Hemingway

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    Except you'd have to read the forums at campfire to buy anything there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjm316 View Post
    I would keep an eye out on Craig's list and some other forums like 24hr campfire and rokslide. Both great places to find quality used gear at a fraction of the price. And on the Swaro warranty vs the vortex I can almost guarantee swaro would take care of you in any situation. They didn't become number 1 by not having top notch customer service.

    From the Swarovski site:

    a) If the repair is a warranty case:
    SWAROVSKI OPTIK will carry out a warranty repair at no charge.

    b) If the repair is not subject to the product warranty:
    You will receive a cost estimate for the repair by phone call, mail or e-mail from SWAROVSKI OPTIK North America. No repairs will be performed until we have authorization.

    Canadian residents will receive assistance with customs and shipping documentation.



    There are no section B with Vortex. It is all covered.


    I will look into the personal property option though. Thanks for the suggestion.

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    Svar's policy sounds like the whole "if you have to ask how much, it's too much" bit.

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    Member mjm316's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike h View Post
    Except you'd have to read the forums at campfire to buy anything there.
    Ummm they have a classifieds section just like AOD also utilize the search feature. Good luck sir
    Tomorrow isn't promised. "Never delay kissing a pretty girl or opening a bottle of whiskey." E. Hemingway

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