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  • Spotting Scopes

    What are your opinions on spotting scopes? Smaller lighter 15-45x60, 25 or 30x50 fixed power, 20-60x65 or larger objectives like 80 or even 100? Each has thier advantages and disadvantages like anything else but for the best compromise between quality, size, weight and usability what do you think?

    Seems to me like the 80's and 100's are to big and heavy. The 20-60x65's seem better in that respect but how usable is anything above 45 power?
    The 15-45x60 ( or so) like the Nikon Spotter and Baush & Lomb/Bushnell Elites or Burris seem to fit the bill.

    Then there's cost. $250 -$1500. The spotters and elites can be had on ebay for around 250. The big three 65's are $1200 minimum. I know that with optics you get what you pay for but $1200-1500 for a scope to be used once or twice a year??? There's got to be a better way!

    I like the specs of the Pentax PF-65ED 20-60x65. Sells for around $625 online. Great reviews also. The Pentax scopes outrank the big three in some reviews. I have the high end Pentax DCF SP 10x43 binos and the are awesome. Comparable to the big three but only $425.00

    But, at this point the 16-47x60 Nikon Spotter XL or XLII at 26oz for about $250 is looking a great sheep hunting scope.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

  • #2
    Go with the Nikon! I'm sure you'll get posts saying that the Big Three are the only way to go, but it's simply not true. I've compared my Nikon Monarch Binocs and my Nikon Spotter XL next to my brother's Swarovskis and have been very impressed with the Nikon. Like you mentioned, I got both of my Nikons off of eBay in the $250 range. With both of these I can hardly tell the difference when side-by-side with $1000+ glass.

    I took my Spotter on its inagural sheep hunt last fall and loved it. Amazingly clear, just enough magnification, lightweight and easy-to-pack shape...I couldn't be more happy with it.

    Again, go with the Nikon. It's awesome, and you'll have enough money for another gun...or whatever else you'd like to spend the spare $700 on.

    -Brian

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    • #3
      my humble opinion

      I bought a Leupold last year ($225ish, 15-45x60) and love it.
      I had an opportunity to use a $1700ish Zeiss with better zoom and better glass; although it was much more beautiful to look thru you could see heat distortion even over the ice when zoomed way in (my x45 does sometimes as well but is plenty of zoom for me).
      For the difference in price I'd recommend a cheaper scope with a decent objective lens diameter (better light gathering) decent eye relief features and variable zoom. If I were to buy another scope the only different feature I'd look for is one with a decent camera adapter.

      When I was doing research on my scope the single difference I could find in most of the high dollar scopes and the cheaper were the quality of glass and different technologies in lens coatings ( good lens coatings will provide more clarity).

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      • #4
        Originally posted by sbiinc
        I bought a Leupold last year ($225ish, 15-45x60) and love it.
        I had an opportunity to use a $1700ish Zeiss with better zoom and better glass; although it was much more beautiful to look thru you could see heat distortion even over the ice when zoomed way in (my x45 does sometimes as well but is plenty of zoom for me).
        For the difference in price I'd recommend a cheaper scope with a decent objective lens diameter (better light gathering) decent eye relief features and variable zoom. If I were to buy another scope the only different feature I'd look for is one with a decent camera adapter.

        When I was doing research on my scope the single difference I could find in most of the high dollar scopes and the cheaper were the quality of glass and different technologies in lens coatings ( good lens coatings will provide more clarity).
        What model of Leupold do you have? Is it a Gold Ring?
        A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

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        • #5
          Nikon XL II

          I had a Bushnell Spacemaster that i used for many years but just recently sold. I used that money to buy a Nikon XL II 16-47x60 and let me tell you, this scope is worth every penny I paid for it. I used them 2 weekends ago while riding my wheeler at Eklutna and I spotted 2 huge brown bears on the far side of the lake. They were quite a ways away yet through the spotter I could see them clear as a bell. The only thing I wish I had for it was a sunshade for the eyepiece, other than that I highly recommed taking a look at them and see for yourself.

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          • #6
            Did you not pursue the bears? C'mon, you can't leave a comment like that hanging!

            By the way, did they appear to have any rubs? I know that this is getting way late for interior grizzlies, but I was thinking about heading north mid-next week. I wouldn't mind taking one that is rubbed, as the moose population could always use one less bear, but I'd still like to hear your observations.

            -Brian

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            • #7
              B_M, you can't hunt brown bears in the park so I didn't pursue them. They didn't look rubbed to me and the first one we saw was HUGE!!!

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              • #8
                Oops. I misread your post and thought you wrote "Eureka" instead of "Eklutna". Yeah, I know you can't hunt browns in there...did you see any blacks?

                -Brian

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                • #9
                  Black bears

                  I thought it was kind of odd that we didn't see any black bears, i looked pretty hard for them too. Maybe those big browns scared them off?? We did see quite a few sheep and goats closer to the glacier but no big rams that i could see.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    leupold scope

                    Originally posted by Snyd
                    What model of Leupold do you have? Is it a Gold Ring?
                    sorry Snyd, haven't been back on forum for a day or two, I have a Green Ring Wind River leupold... despite using a Ziess for a few days I don't regret spending $1500 less or so.
                    Although I'll be the first to say for sitting and spotting for a few hours the Ziess was nicer by a little, the cost was just not worth the extra clarity, I won't be taking pictures through it, my Leupold doesn't cause any eye strain, and I can see about as much with it.

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                    • #11
                      me again

                      Sorry meant to say Green Ring Wind River Sequoia. Also my both of the scopes I mentioned above were fairly easy to transport in a pack. I also like the Leupold's water proofing and rubber exterior, its been completely submerged twice and dropped too many times (I'm a bit clumsy and very rough on my gear).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Scopes

                        I have to go with sbiinc on the Leupolds right now, I bought one two years ago and it has been everywhere and through most everything and it has not let me down.

                        I will be looking at the Zeiss spotting scopes though when this one goes, I put a Zeiss scope on my 280 rem and the clarity and other points are far above what I have on my Leupolds. IMO

                        I do not really have any experience with the other model Spotting scopes.

                        Doug
                        http://www.alaskasgreatoutdoors.com

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                        • #13
                          scopes

                          2 years ago I had the cash to buy one of the "big 3". Talked myself out of it and got a Nikon 15-45x60. It has the mulit-coated lens, sliding sunshade, and does not weight a ton. I have been very pleased with it. If I used it more than a few times a year I would go the "big 3". I believe I gave around $400 for this one and haven't regretted any of the decisions! Eric
                          EricL

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                          • #14
                            Zeiss

                            I just got a zeiss diascope 85 mm. I also got the zeiss digital camera adapter and went out yesterday and took some very impressive photos of Musk Ox near Nome. You could see their hair blowing in the wind. I was over 220 yards away and photographed them at 60x. I cant say enough about the quality of the zeiss scope. Sometimes, you get what you pay for. The process of using a digital camera and spotting scope to capture images is called digiscoping. You can search that on google and find lots of info. I got it for $1700 from B & H photo/video in New York. Regardless of what scope you get, be sure to get a good tripod. Manfrotto is one of the best from what i have learned. I got a 3011 BN which seems to be perfect for a spotting scope. Cost around $200. Be sure to get a fluid head if you intend to use it for digiscoping. Its a tough purchase to make. The nicer ones are so expensive. I would take my time and look around. I heard that the Leopold gold ring 15-45x are very nice. I was researching some of the bird watchers web pages and forums and they spoke highly of it. Good info from the bird watching community as they are more finicky about optics/photography than most anyone I have seen. If they condone a product, you can rest assured it is of good quality. The higher end scopes come with lifetime warranties and that offers piece of mind. Something to consider.
                            The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by danattherock
                              I just got a zeiss diascope 85 mm. I also got the zeiss digital camera adapter and went out yesterday and took some very impressive photos of Musk Ox near Nome. You could see their hair blowing in the wind. I was over 220 yards away and photographed them at 60x. I cant say enough about the quality of the zeiss scope. Sometimes, you get what you pay for. The process of using a digital camera and spotting scope to capture images is called digiscoping. You can search that on google and find lots of info. I got it for $1700 from B & H photo/video in New York. Regardless of what scope you get, be sure to get a good tripod. Manfrotto is one of the best from what i have learned. I got a 3011 BN which seems to be perfect for a spotting scope. Cost around $200. Be sure to get a fluid head if you intend to use it for digiscoping. Its a tough purchase to make. The nicer ones are so expensive. I would take my time and look around. I heard that the Leopold gold ring 15-45x are very nice. I was researching some of the bird watchers web pages and forums and they spoke highly of it. Good info from the bird watching community as they are more finicky about optics/photography than most anyone I have seen. If they condone a product, you can rest assured it is of good quality. The higher end scopes come with lifetime warranties and that offers piece of mind. Something to consider.
                              Thanks, I know what you mean about the birders. After much research in that world I bought my Pentax DCF SP 10x43 binos. Excellent glass.
                              A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

                              Comment

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