Choosing spotting scopes.
I find myself in a bit of a quandry now.
I've got two sets of very nice bino's a set of 10x50 Steiner Night Hunters, and a set of 8x30 Ziess's, but I'd like to add a good spotting scope to that.
My problem is, I'm pretty much clueless when it comes to spotting scopes.
I've looked at the Leupold Gold Rings, Ziess Dailyt and Diascopes, Swarvoski, Leica ect, but I'm not really sure what I want/what to look for in spotting scopes.
Initially, I was looking at the Leupold's, but I'm wondering how much nicer the glass in the Swarvo/Ziess/Leica's are? I've seen first hand the difference in Ziess rifle scopes vs Leupold, are the spotting scopes as big a difference as well?
I'm not against spending money to get nice stuff, which is mainly why I'm looking at the bigger name brands, but I want to make sure I buy something thats going to work for me and not turn into a wasted 3K. So what would you more knowledgeable guys suggest?
Mostly I hunt by ATV, bear, moose, and caribou. I don't sheep or goat hunt, nor do I forsee myself starting that, so I'm not as concerned about shaving every ounce.
I was in a similar quandry as yours... I looked at everything out there and ended up picking up a slightly used Dialyt from Doug's sample bin.
So far I'm extremely happy with it. There are better scopes out there but when I balanced $$$, weight, and features I'm happy with what I got. I wanted a Swaro but I just couldn't make myself part with the $2K to get one. I looked at the latest Leupold offerings and was unimpressed until you get to the 20-60 Golden Ring- but heck, you're spending Swaro amounts of money at that point. There are probably lots of good scopes out there that will fit your needs but its a real balancing act between performance and $$$. The Swaro, Leica, and high end Zeiss glass is awesome for sure- but when I balanced my needs and budget I just couldn't justify it.
That said, If a used Swaro for reasonable money had come along I'd have picked it up without hesitation.
If your not concerned with weight so much i would look at a brand called Kowa in their 88mm scope. Barneys is the only place I know of that sells them. But there top of the line lens only comes in 88mm which is the only reason why i didn't get it, and im very weight conscience so that wouldn't fly with me.
I'll toss out my standard reply regarding spotting scopes. I spent alot of time researching and pondering what to get for myself. I chose the Pentax PF-65ED with the angled body. I chose this one based on what I felt was the best compromise between price, optical quality and weight. It was purchased primarily for sheep hunting, but has also served me well for moose hunting and a little bird watching. I've been very pleased with my choice and have no plans to upgrade anytime soon. I too purchased from Doug at Camera Land and was very pleased with their customer service, prices and fast shipping.
If weight/bulk is not a concern and you are willing to pack an adequate tripod as well the look hard at the PENTAX 85 and 100. If you just can't stand saving money then look at the 85mm Zeiss and 88 Leica and Swaro. Lots to choose from. Try to look through as many of them as you can.
The PENTAX spotters accept industry standard 1.25 inch barrel astronomical eyepieces so you have literally hundreds of third party eyepieces to choose from depending on what you want to do. Not to mention the PENTAX XW line of extreme high quality eyepieces.
Here is an excellent Spotting Scope forum. check it out for info overload
You are closer to the path than you think. Here is what you do. Figure out which spotter suits your eyes best. Go to a place that has all of the ultras and take a dollar bill and haul it out to 100 yards. Can you see the serial numbers. Is it clear to the edge of the scope. The top scopes are probably so close that it might be to an individual scope. Do you wear glasses? Eye relief is a serious consideration.
Swaros tend to have pretty good eye relief but they are expensive and you can hardly ever find sales.
Zeiss are definitely great too. You can find some good deals on Zeiss.
Leica's are very durable and some find them best to there eyes.
The big three have much better resale because they are a known quality.
You can get eye pieces that can work between a big gun and a 65 mm.
Wait for a sale on Cameraland and swing.
You might like other outfits. I don't know your preferences. Good Luck.