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Thread: The search for a Sheep hunting Spotting scope

  1. #1
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    Default The search for a Sheep hunting Spotting scope

    Guys I posted this here as well as another foum called the 24 hourcampfire that my source for optics sponsors so excuse some of my comments thanking the owner of the company. I spent the last three months looking for an upgrade to the Nikon Spotter XL II and finally decided on a Minox MD 62 ED and these were "my" comparative results and I thought I would share them with my fellow Alaska hunters. Well I received my new Minox MD 62 ED spotter from Doug at CameraLand and decided right away to compare it to what I have been using. Now keep in mind that the Minox cost twice what the Spotter XL II cost however with that said I have not been impressed with the Nikon so I spent 3 months searching for the spotting scope that met my needs in weight, quality and price. I set both of them up on tripods with a buddy (who owns the Spotter XL II, as I had sold mine) and these were my conclusions. First of all the eye relief is amazing ( I did opt for the better LER eyepiece 21X-42X) the Nikon requires you to shove your eye into the eyepiece to get a good view, the Minox allows you to set your face behind the eyepiece comfortably and you get a nice clear view. Second observation is the wide field of view even at the higher power settings. The Nikon allows you to only see exactly what you are looking at and no lateral images, where as the Minox has a very wide field of view. Third observation; the quality of the glass, we were looking at a yield sign that was about 400 yards away and I could get a crisp and crystal clear image of all the letters in the yield sign where as the Nikon just seemed like it would not sharpen up the image know matter how much you played with the focus. As for weight the Spotter XL II I believe weighs like 32 oz where as the Minox weighs 39 oz not a bad trade off for much better glass. I leave in 2 days for my annual sheep hunt and am very excited to go with better glass in hand. The only thing negative to say about the Minox is that I am a little unsettled about the fact that the eyepiece just kind of twists in place on the body and doesn't really lock but I will see if thats just something new to me or is actually something that will give me trouble. For guys looking for a lightweight quality spotting scope for high alpine use that doesn't weigh too much and wont totally break the bank. I highly suggest you check out the Minox MD62 ED. Doug has great prices on it too, better than I could find anywhere else, and as for his service, well thats awesome as always! Thanks for pointing me in the right direction Doug, you were spot on with what I was looking for.

  2. #2
    Member calndux's Avatar
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    Default Should have bought......

    Swavoski (first with lifetime warranty and protected body), Zeiss (probably best optics in a spotter), or leica (best or second best in spotter).

    I am not rich, but I have tried the lesser good scopes and they are not as good. Just my observations.

    I still have Nikon, some Leupolds, and other scopes as well, but I like the Swarovski. I like their preformance in the field, their no hassle warranty (or at least use to be) and the fact that Swarovski was the first major european spotter to cater to hunters.

    You might also try the Fujinion. A friend sayd they are good for the grand they cost. I think Barneys sells them or a comparable Japan scope that is pretty good according to a friend.

    But again Swaroski get my vote. My philsophy is sell a couple of guns buy the best you can.

    Sorry I am opinionated.

    calndux

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    Default

    My price range was under $900, so the above dont fit that bill. Also some of the higher price glass come in some pretty heavy packages (45oz and up)

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    Default

    For those who dont know, Minox the company, Minox was formerly owned by Leica (since April, 2005 Minox became wholly independent of Leica, being purchased by a former employee of Leica who later became CEO (and owner) of Minox)

    First is the glass — all German from SCHOTT AG, a subsidiary of Zeiss. Minox claims their aspheric ocular lenses render higher contrast and sharper edge-to-edge detail, and their "M*coating," comprised of up to 21 layers per surface, yields 92% light transmission to the pupil. Argon gas filler is molecularly less prone to diffusion than the conventional nitrogen. Like the newest high-dollar binoculars from the "Big Three,"

    Just thought I would post a little info on Minox so people know who they are.

  5. #5
    Member calndux's Avatar
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    Default Minox...

    They are pretty good, been around a few years. I have not had any dealings with their warranty policies. I know a few folks who use Minox binos...they do like them...

    calndux

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    Default Alaskacub...

    Have you heard of Kiowa (sp? and the scope I was trying to mention in my above post, but could not remember the name)...an aquintance uses one and he likes it becasue of the wieght. He said it was the lightest he could find with really good glass (Japan glass - I think). If you have seen them...what do you think?

    calndux

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Scopes

    The Forementioed Thread Should Say Kowa. They Are Quite Nice From What I Hear. I Recently Go A Zeiss Diascope 85 Mm. It Is Remarkable. More Money Than I Had Planned On Spending But I Am Glad I Did Now. It Is An Amazing Scope. Super Bright And And Clear. Nicest Optics I Have Ever Seen. I Would Suggest You Atleast Compare What You Have Been Looking At To The Zeiss Diascope. They Sell Them At Sportsmans Warehouse In Anchorage. I Got Mine Form B & H Photo/video In Ny,ny. Got The Best Price There. They Sell All The Accesories Too. Padded Scope Cover (zeiss) Digital Camera Adapter (zeiss) And Manfrotto Tripods. The Size 3021 Is Perfect For The Weight Of The Zeiss. Good Luck.

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    Member fullkurl's Avatar
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    Default apples and apples?

    The Minox is fine glass, but for $900 its gettin up there. Many of us spent $250 or less on our Nikon XLII--ebay etc...

    I'll see how mine does this week, I may love it, I may not.
    The last six years I hauled the huge B+L ELite with me, got tired of the size and the weight. But it viewed well.
    Good luck, my Friend! Look forward to the details....
    Frank

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    Frank you are correct, I got my Spotter XL II at Freddies on sale for $269 brand new, and the Spotter XL the original I got on ebay for like $250. I also had a Bushnell Elite which was absolutely identical to the Spotter XL in appearence and performance. But I really didn't like any of them very much, the image was not as clear as I would like and the eye relief was horrible. I decided to upgrade and spend a little more money on a Spotting scope ( spoil myself a little) and looked at a lot of stuff. Some were far heavier than I would like and the Diascope which was mentioned was awesome but at $1500-$1600 that seemed a little excessive. I looked at the Fujinon Super 60($780 on the internet) I looked at the Kowa 602 series (about $740 ) and I looked at the Pentax PF65 which was heavier than the others(it was $630). I talked to several camera/optics dealers and everybody told me the same thing for quality of glass (ED glass specifically) and warranty the Minox 62ED was the best deal out there for less than $729-$849(depending on the eyepiece). Coincidentally it was also fairly lightweight. I also found out that eyepieces make a big difference in the quality of a scope and some have great eye relief where others have very little(which is what I found with the Spotter XL). I could have gotten a used Leica 62 (non APO) for $1000. Needless to say I am very happy in the upgrade of glass from the Nikon (which retails for $419) but can be had for cheap and based on my research its because its really not up to snuff in quality glass for its true retail price . I was told by several guys that if I wanted to stay with Nikon to go with their Fieldscopes which were in the same price range as the Minox. Anyway I appreciate the opinions. Frank good luck on your hunt.

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    Thumbs up Smart buy.

    Congrats on the new scope. Sounds like you got an excellent value. I don't buy into the "should of bought a swaro, leica or zeiss" stuff. Excellent optics? Sure. Excellent value? Not so sure. I just bought a new Burris Signature "The Spotter" on ebay for $250. $600 msrp. Same class as the Nikon Spotter, Bushnell/B&L Elites, etc. It's an excellent value. Not as nice as Pentax 65 that I want but still a good value. Maybe in a few years. I bought Pentax DCF SP 10x42 binos a couple years ago. $450 online. As crisp and clear as my friends Zeiss classics but half the price. Compared to Swaros in online reviews. Swaro's are $1500? Which is the best value?

    I hope you spot a sheep with that scope and have the hunt of a lifetime and get him mounted with the $1000 you saved over the swaro. Post us a pic of him when get you back.

    A Snyd remark...
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

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    Thumbs up Smart buy.

    Whoops...double post.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

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    Will do Snyd, and I agree with you on the DCF SP's I have them also in 10x43's. Paid less than $500 for them and they are awesome. thanks for the wishes of luck, if I recall from a previous post of yours , you are sheep hunting also, so good luck to you too. We all look forward to the pics with this new forum!

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    Default Let me know how they do at dusk and very low light...

    That is where the Swarovski, leica, and Zeiss come to be worth the big bucks...if you like the Minox really well at dusk to dark I might have to try them for a season and compare them personaly. Synd...great glass is expensive and I have to sell a few guns and save a few years..but don't get me wrong there is a big difference in 99.9999% of the cases. Minox are good quality and a reasonable price....I don't know about their warranty, but I do know about Swarovski...as long as they were not a grey market item no problem...run over them and they replace them...sent a pair back for a guy...I know some guys try to compare Leupold with Swarovski (good upper end stuff), but there really is no comparision. I don't currently own a "good" quality swarovski rifle scope, but I have several Leupolds and Nikon. Which are good to excellent scopes, but not in the same league as Swarovski and Schmidt-Bender. I know their are tons of other opinions, but these are mine. I only have one toy other than my guns and spotters, and I just bought it this year....I elected a few years ago to buy good glass and for go the four-wheeler.

    Alaskacub..congrates again on the Minox...they are good and let me know how they gather light at dusk or on a rainy day. Good luck and I hope you are blessed with a 40" in the scope and on the ground.

    calndux

  14. #14

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    I used a an old Bushnell Spacemaster for many years, loved that scope but wanted something a little lighter so I bought one of the Nikon Xl's for our upcoming sheep hunt. I've used it several times this year and spotted a couple of huge brown bears and many a sheep and goat. So far I really like it but the true test will be on the sheep hunt.

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    AkHunter45 your on the same path I was. My first spotter was a Bushnell Spacemaster bought it in 1994, eventually went to the Nikon Spotter XL, then to the Nikon Spotter XL II, then the Bushnell Elite and now the Minox. The desire for better glass seems to never end especially if you are hunting gear junky as I am! Lord knows there are better things to spend money on but buying hunting equipment is just so much fun! Is any of these higher price gear purchases neccessary? Hell no, I shot my biggest moose with my cheapest gun , a cheap pair of Bushnell binos, wearing cheap cotton hunting clothes. I think hunters and Me in particular are crazy with the stuff. This forum is full of nuts just like me, I love it!

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    LOL...........yeah and every moose i have ever shot was in my Levi's and an old flannel shirt, but I had my Swaro's with me the whole time!! Who's needs fancy hunting pants!!

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    Just so you guys know I didn't mean to imply that the Nikon Spotters (both models) were not good equipment. I was just spoiling myself with something better. I spotted a ram from a long ways off a couple years ago that I later arrowed at 20 yards with my Nikon Spotter , it will absolutely get the job done and is very lightweight to boot. I just wanted to clarify that I wasn't bashing the Nikon in any way and I used them for 3 years. Only reason I upgraded was screaming deals that could be had and the ability to sell the others for good prices on ebay even after use. didn't want anyone who recently bought one to think I was bashing them in any way. there is a big difference between $275 and $825.

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    Anybody purchase from Samplelist.com?

    They show the 65mm Zeiss diascope for $745 and the eyepiece for $199. That spotter for under $1K seems pretty good. They been fondled at the SHOT show, but a good mark down on nearly NIB.

    What is wrong with that?

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    Default Kowa spotting scopes...

    caught my eye in this thread because I just saw one in the front counter case at Barney's last week. Not sure about the model, but similar to the TSN 601 or TSN 602 models on the Kowa website. Maybe Brett will add more details.

    Specs for similar (?) models:
    TSN-601, angled 60mm: Weight: 735gms/26oz.
    TSN-602 straight 60mm: Weight: 720gm/25+ oz.
    Retail prices around $500

    Good thread.

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    I believe it's either the 601 or 602. I haven't been in Barney's in a while. I believe Bob plans to get in one of their high end ones as well. We both want to check them out as they've had really good independant reviews. The Kowa 601/602 is a really nice for money super light weight spotting scope. It's comparable to the better Leupold/Nikon stuff. Leica, Swarovski, Zeiss is higher end, but the Kowa high end stuff is supposed to be even brighter than the big German 3.

    Brett

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