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Thread: Simple spotting scope question! Answer me!

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    Default Simple spotting scope question! Answer me!

    Ok, I got a question that should be simple simon for a bunch of you guys………. How powerful of a spotting scope do I need to be able to accurately make out brow tines on a bull moose at 1000 yards? Is this even possible? Am I way, way over estimating the power of modern glass or what? Would the scope be almost the size of my truck? I hate to sound like the uneducated pin head that I am, but the truth is, that I have NEVER looked thru a spotting scope so if you tell me you can see Neil Armstrong’s footie prints on the moon with your super duper magnum spotting scope I would probably fall for it…….

    Perhaps one of you guys can show a little mercy and give a basic primer on what can realistically be expected performance wise from stuff in my price range ($400 to $800)

    Thanks in advance for you kind consideration, and if you feel the need to insult or ridicule me for being an idiot, that is A-ok……. I got lotts of turtle wax laying around……. You know, to “toughen up my little shell”
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Member AK Wonderer's Avatar
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    Any power over 45 needs just the right conditions to be able to get good detail at far distances. It seems like there is always something working against you: rain, mist, fog, heat waves, low light, wind. You would think that a clear sunny warm day would be perfect conditions, but heat waves can distort details like no other when your target gets way out there.

    It seems that the most important thing in counting brow tines at a distance seems to be getting the moose to turn his head just right. As for a thousand yards, I would have to set up and do a test.

    $400-800 will get you a good scope.

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    Member pinehavensredrocket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Wonderer View Post
    Any power over 45 needs just the right conditions to be able to get good detail at far distances. It seems like there is always something working against you: rain, mist, fog, heat waves, low light, wind. You would think that a clear sunny warm day would be perfect conditions, but heat waves can distort details like no other when your target gets way out there.

    It seems that the most important thing in counting brow tines at a distance seems to be getting the moose to turn his head just right. As for a thousand yards, I would have to set up and do a test.

    $400-800 will get you a good scope.
    the answer to this question seems to defy common sense and logic but...optical clarity and NOT power is more important here.

    i sold a leica 20X60hd because over 25 power it was unusable in the field. and did i mention heavy! since that revelation a fixed 25 X leupold gold ring (old model) scope travels with me. it has been used to identify headgear at ranges over 1 mile.

    buy the lightest, clearest (at a useful power) scope for your money. good optics don't "wear out", and will last for generations.

    used on eBay, these scopes sell for around $250 and are worth every penny.



    happy trails.
    jh

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    i have a swaro 20-60 scope that goes everywhere with me and i love the extra power, 1000 yards is a longgggg ways to be counting brown tines unless the moose is skylined. the background/light/air clarity all play a roll in what your glass can do when you start adding distance into the equation.
    For the money you'll get a good enough scope, but never look thru a great scope, makes using your other stuff more difficult. But for your price range you'll do fairly decent, shop used stuff, great way to get a better bang for your buck!
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    Member AK Wonderer's Avatar
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    JH,

    Defy common sense and logic? "Useful power", as you state, is exactly what I'm refering to and I gave Alangaq enough credit to know that if he doesn't have optical clarity it doesn't matter what power scope he has.

    Seems like we're working towards the same answer but coming from different angles.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Wonderer View Post
    Any power over 45 needs just the right conditions to be able to get good detail at far distances. It seems like there is always something working against you: rain, mist, fog, heat waves, low light, wind. You would think that a clear sunny warm day would be perfect conditions, but heat waves can distort details like no other when your target gets way out there.

    It seems that the most important thing in counting brow tines at a distance seems to be getting the moose to turn his head just right. As for a thousand yards, I would have to set up and do a test.

    $400-800 will get you a good scope.
    This is a good answer, I would add that I loath angled eye pieces, also that the tripod should receive careful consideration, as it is important to the stability of the scope.

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    Member pinehavensredrocket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Wonderer View Post
    JH,

    Defy common sense and logic? "Useful power", as you state, is exactly what I'm refering to and I gave Alangaq enough credit to know that if he doesn't have optical clarity it doesn't matter what power scope he has.

    Seems like we're working towards the same answer but coming from different angles.

    ak. you are correct! ......my reply wasn't in contradiction to yours just a recommendation for the lightweight fixed power scope. for me having power to 60X was like 150mph on the speedometer. cool but of no practical use.

    my reference to common sense was meant to be understood that IT WOULD SEEM THAT HAVING THE EXTRA POWER IS AN ADVANTAGE, WHEN IN THE FIELD IT IS UNUSEABLE.

    my swarovski 7X field glasses can define a target better than 10X of a lesser quality glass. aberation, distortion, and tremor come into play here.

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    I am gonna disagree with the majority here. I would say that any of the Big 3 variable power spotters will easily do what you ask, however the conditios weather wise at the moment will dictate what power works effectively. Havng owned near a dozen dfferent spotters and being an avid sheep hnter I will say that theres a huge difference between a fixed power spotter at say 25X and having 45-60 power available. Have seen sheep at over a 1000 yards that were easily determined to be sub legal through a high power spotter that a 25X fixed would not tell you. I would call Doug at Cameraland and see what kind of Demo's he has available in your price range, he'll set you straight!

  9. #9

    Default A dessenting opinion...

    I tried for quite a long time to get used to using a spotting scope. I had a nice Nikon Spotter, 16 to 47 power. Nice equipment, not for me. I tried other friends' spotting scope, even some of the Big Three. Not for me....

    The reason was eye fatique. I could never get used to looking through just one eye. I found that I'd spend my entire hunting time looking through binocs. Realized that humping a spotting scope that got used little was for me a waste of effort. And I'd get a headache behind my eyeballs from looking first with the right eye, then the left eye.

    I also found that above 25 power was a hit or miss proposition, due to heat wave distortion. Thus the higher end of the spotting scope spectrum was unusable most of the time for me.

    My solution was to purchase a pair of used astronomical binoculars. I found a set of Steiner 25 by 80 binoculars, used on Ebay. Now I get to use both eyes, I get a super clear image since both eyes are in use at the same time. I have them set up on an Outdoorsman Tripod and can sit all day without getting the headache I'd get behind my eyeballs after an hour in the spotting scope. And most importantly I now see more animals since I'm on the glass and comfortable doing it.

    Point being, before you shell out money for a spotting scope consider trying someone elses' scope for the entire day. See how the eye fatigue sets in and how you cope with it. Then take a look through a pair of Big Eyes.....Astro Binocs,,,, you just might change your mind.

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    Very interesting feedback guys. I sure appreciate the input.

    I think I will keep poking around before a make a final decision on what to buy, and may even check out a pair of big bino’s like Ex1811 suggested.
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Default Spotting Scope

    Quote Originally Posted by Ex1811 View Post

    The reason was eye fatique. I could never get used to looking through just one eye. I found that I'd spend my entire hunting time looking through binocs. Realized that humping a spotting scope that got used little was for me a waste of effort. And I'd get a headache behind my eyeballs from looking first with the right eye, then the left eye.


    Point being, before you shell out money for a spotting scope consider trying someone elses' scope for the entire day. See how the eye fatigue sets in and how you cope with it. Then take a look through a pair of Big Eyes.....Astro Binocs,,,, you just might change your mind.
    I agree try using/borrowing a lot of diferent scopes before you choose ; Check out the difference at the pro shops to compare features and prices.Do this before you pack one into the bush or hump one up a mountain the choice will be both monetary and rewarding( when you see your first trophy).
    As for eye strain; spotting scopes aren't for finding game they are for identifing targets and potential targets. Use a quality pair of binos for searching the brush and mountainsides. Once located use a spotting scope to see if you are interested in a stalk or not.
    Mount the spotting scope on a very stable tripod or it will not give you the desired clarity (major problem in windy conditions).
    I've never used the astrological binos but it seems they would work, just more stuff to adjust and you'll still need a tripod.
    Last edited by Snyd; 01-22-2009 at 07:42.
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    I'm currently searching my soul a bit on my spotter - I have a pentax PF-65EDa body (angled), and a pentax XL-14 eyepiece. This gives a very wide, clear, brilliant, 28x view. After last year's sheep hunt, I want a bit more power. My options for that are:
    1. new Williams Optics 17x-52x (I think) variable eyepiece a la Snyd (search a bit)
    2. Pentax XW-10 eyepiece that would give a wide, brilliant 39x view through my scope
    3. Pentax SMC Zoom (the big one - not the XL Zoom) that is as good as any zoom eyepiece made anywhere by anyone, according to the astronomy nerds

    Something I figured out at one point that's interesting, but I don't have time to repeat the exercise - looking at the specs for the XW-10 eyepiece (fixed 39x) versus the SMC Zoom eyepiece (16x - 48x on my 65mm body, 20x - 60x on an 80mm body), the field of view with the XW-10 at 39x is actually larger than the field of the SMC zoom on its LOWEST setting. Granted, it means that your eyeball is doing some serious gyrations to examine the periphery of the fov, but it also means that picking up the white spot should be not too much more difficult than with the zoom on low power.

    I'm leaning toward getting a used XW-10 for sheep hunting, and keeping the XL-14 for whatever else that doesn't require micromanagement of horns from a mile away. I'm sure that I will have some issues with mirage and such during warm afternoons, but it should be excellent for sizing up horns a long ways out - as good as anything with that objective size.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vek View Post
    I'm currently searching my soul a bit on my spotter - I have a pentax PF-65EDa body (angled), and a pentax XL-14 eyepiece. This gives a very wide, clear, brilliant, 28x view. After last year's sheep hunt, I want a bit more power. My options for that are:
    1. new Williams Optics 17x-52x (I think) variable eyepiece a la Snyd (search a bit)
    2. Pentax XW-10 eyepiece that would give a wide, brilliant 39x view through my scope
    3. Pentax SMC Zoom (the big one - not the XL Zoom) that is as good as any zoom eyepiece made anywhere by anyone, according to the astronomy nerds

    Something I figured out at one point that's interesting, but I don't have time to repeat the exercise - looking at the specs for the XW-10 eyepiece (fixed 39x) versus the SMC Zoom eyepiece (16x - 48x on my 65mm body, 20x - 60x on an 80mm body), the field of view with the XW-10 at 39x is actually larger than the field of the SMC zoom on its LOWEST setting. Granted, it means that your eyeball is doing some serious gyrations to examine the periphery of the fov, but it also means that picking up the white spot should be not too much more difficult than with the zoom on low power.

    I'm leaning toward getting a used XW-10 for sheep hunting, and keeping the XL-14 for whatever else that doesn't require micromanagement of horns from a mile away. I'm sure that I will have some issues with mirage and such during warm afternoons, but it should be excellent for sizing up horns a long ways out - as good as anything with that objective size.

    I would take a hard look at the WO variable, that is a sweetoption for the PF65s and I have looked through a PF65 with the Pentax zoom and a PF65 with the WO side by side.

    I dont think some of you really understand what a spotting scope can do for a guy when you get behind a good one and learn to use it comfortably, especially in places like here in Alaska where you can see for a long ways in the high country. I have spotted bedded bulls in alders, grizzlies, black bears and just about everything else imaginable through my spotter that I would NOT have seen through my binos, though sometimes its a long ways off, but you can still go after it. A good spotter has become a staple in my pack no matter what I am hunting or the time of the year it is. Its a highly valued tool! But if your looking through crappy spotters, yes eye strain will be huge, the view will not be clear and you will get tired of using it quickly. Look through a Big 3 spotter or high quality Nikon,Pentax or others and it makes a big difference.

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    I bet the XW-10 gives an awesome view on the Pentax. I have yet to try one. The XW-14 is fabulous as well. But, one thing I do know is that at some times 39X is too much power if the conditions aren't good for spotting. Like sun/heat waves, etc. At one point I had the XW-14 (28x) and the XF-8.5 (45x) if I remember right. One afternoon Cub and I were on the mountain side and the 8.5 was too much power. It magnified to much distortion in the atmosphere. But, the XW14 was good. Plus, the inconvenience of two eyepieces. Probably not a big deal in some situations but on a backpack hunt it's kind of a pain. That's when I started my quest for a zoom. I too considered the big Pentax but it's like 19ozs and from what I have read wrecks the balance of the scope. I have read good things about the Vixen Lanthanum zoom from astro guys and birders. In so doing I came across the WO Zoom and at 11ozs and 17-52x and wide angle, I think it's a perfect match for the 65 ED. I compared the two Pentaxes and the WO and sold the Pentaxes for the convenience of the zoom, one eyepiece and lighter weight. It has a wider FOV than the big Pentax zoom also. If you are ever in the Fairbanks area look me up and you can try it out. Remember that you have to do the $1.00 Slip Joint/O-Ring mod to get it to focus. I posted picks and instructions here: http://homepage.mac.com/perryschneid...toAlbum13.html


    Quote Originally Posted by Vek View Post
    I'm currently searching my soul a bit on my spotter - I have a pentax PF-65EDa body (angled), and a pentax XL-14 eyepiece. This gives a very wide, clear, brilliant, 28x view. After last year's sheep hunt, I want a bit more power. My options for that are:
    1. new Williams Optics 17x-52x (I think) variable eyepiece a la Snyd (search a bit)
    2. Pentax XW-10 eyepiece that would give a wide, brilliant 39x view through my scope
    3. Pentax SMC Zoom (the big one - not the XL Zoom) that is as good as any zoom eyepiece made anywhere by anyone, according to the astronomy nerds

    Something I figured out at one point that's interesting, but I don't have time to repeat the exercise - looking at the specs for the XW-10 eyepiece (fixed 39x) versus the SMC Zoom eyepiece (16x - 48x on my 65mm body, 20x - 60x on an 80mm body), the field of view with the XW-10 at 39x is actually larger than the field of the SMC zoom on its LOWEST setting. Granted, it means that your eyeball is doing some serious gyrations to examine the periphery of the fov, but it also means that picking up the white spot should be not too much more difficult than with the zoom on low power.

    I'm leaning toward getting a used XW-10 for sheep hunting, and keeping the XL-14 for whatever else that doesn't require micromanagement of horns from a mile away. I'm sure that I will have some issues with mirage and such during warm afternoons, but it should be excellent for sizing up horns a long ways out - as good as anything with that objective size.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ex1811 View Post
    ...Not for me....

    The reason was eye fatique. I could never get used to looking through just one eye. I found that I'd spend my entire hunting time looking through binocs. Realized that humping a spotting scope that got used little was for me a waste of effort. And I'd get a headache behind my eyeballs from looking first with the right eye, then the left eye....
    Have you ever trie and eye patch? Seriously. I always wear a head/earband which is black and when spotting I use it to cover one eye. It makes a HUGE difference not having to skrunch the other eye closed all the time. Might be worth a shot.

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    There are a couple factors that define "useful power" The first being the quality of the scope and eyepiece. The higher the quality the better the resolution of the image. Yes, a high quality scope with a lower fixed power eyepiece will give a better image than a cheapo with a 60x zoom. Vek's Pentax with the high end XW-14 eyepiece is a great example. I used to have one myself. Ultimately what we want is high resolution at the highest practical magnification.

    The second factor is the 1000 yards of atmosphere in between the scope and object. As magnification increase so does the humidity and heat waves, etc. in the air. Terrain also comes into play here. If it is a calm cool overcast day and you are viewing from one ridge to another you are likely to not have much in the way of humidity or heat waves reflecting off the ground. Days like this that high quality 60x scope would be awesome. But take the same weather conditions and go to flat ground and you may pick up some heat waves coming off the ground or some humid air "laying low". "useful power" may only be 25x.

    Another factor is zoom versus fixed power. Now, ALL other things being equal (scope, air, qulaity, etc) a fixed power eyepiece will alway give a better image since there are fewer pieces of glass in the eyepiece. But, with a high quality zoom, for us hunters this is not a big issue. In fact the flexibility of the zoom and being able to adjust the magnification based on air quality and terrain seems to trump any real world advantage a fixed power eyepiece may give. Astronomers, hard core bird watchers, digiscopers all prefer fixed power eyepieces. They want the absolute highest resolution possible and will put the scope away when the mirage or whatever begins to distort the image, but, us hunters put up with image distortion as much as we can trying to find that one extra brow tine or make out that lamb tip to see if he's full curl. The high quality zoom on a high quality scope allows the flixiblity to dial in the "most useful power" that the conditions dictate.

    whew... that was a mouthfull

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    Thanks Snyd,


    Well put and makes sence to me.
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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