Hello, I would go to sporting goods store that sells both and look through both of them. I would also look at 45 degree eye piece and a straight piece. Are glassing up or down makes a difference in what you perfer. Both are very good scopes and you can't go wrong with either.
I've been a Swarovski user for about 20 years now, the old 8X56 binos with the thumb slots I've had for around 20 years. A couple years ago I sent them in for a complete overhaul including new lenses after a black bear chewed them up. Cost $250, I was very impressed.
I also have 10X42 EL binos, 20 to 60 zoom X 80mm angle spotting scope (I would get the straight next time) This spotting scope was brand new for Swarovski and was one of the first in AK, I'm guessing that was about 15 years ago. I also have their 4to16 X 50 TDS rifle scope and the 1500 yd. range finder.
Not sure what you are going to do with your spotting scope. Are you planning on using it for hunting? If so, I would purchased the Pentax 20x60 for $600 and spend more money on getting the best pair of binoculars you can afford. I spend more time glassing with my binoculars!
I looked through both a couple of weeks ago and have decided on the Swaro. I also looked through the standard and HD model and found that when looking at flat objects like "for sale" signs etc that there is no difference. However, when looking at a telephone post, the HD model showed the cracks and shadows with a sharp, crisp image that shamed the standard model. Your eyes may be different so I would suggest going to the store and looking through them all.
I won't own a spotter with a straight eye piece i love my 45 angled, my back and neck thank me more than anything else, you get used to finding stuff in it like every other piece of equitment, but for long hours behind one, the angled is very nice.
i love my swaro, i've seen both both are good, but i like mine..it was free.
I've got some experince with different optic's, in my opinion the Leica is excellent glass, however the Swarovski is at least as good if not better....specifically talking about the optical quality.
Where the main difference is, is durability. In the most recent Leica failure; this past season we had 2 different clients show up w/ the new Leica bino's that had the range finder built in, both of them Leica proucts failed before the hunt was over. In years past we have seen practically ever Leica spotting scope fail during the hunt, fogged.
That said, I have looked through *new* Leica scopes, before they fogged, and have found the optical qualify very good. Lecia optic's are known around the world as excellent qulaity and have a huge following in the bird watching industry...however I'm certain they aren't has demanding on the optic's as Alaskan hunter are.
Also its interesting to note that we have used the Leica brand range finders for a number of years and have NEVER had ANY problems or failures.
Additionally, every other year we send all of our Swarovski optics back East, Cranston Mass, with a letter asking them to do a good cleaning and polish the glass. One time they sent me back a "NEW" set of bino's w/ a letter saying the ocular lens was too scrated for polishing, so they just sent a new pair as a replacment and thanked me for being a loyal customer. Of course they have never charged me for the factory cleaning or polishing.
At one time we had the LARGE 120mm Leica scope, more suited for watching the Moon & Stars (big bertha). We used this scope to look for Bear tracks 15 miles away. The scopes worked GREAT, for the first coupel of days, then fogged. We sent it back. Worked good for a couple of days when we got it back, and after paying the "repair" bill, and then fogged again. Went trough this procsess several times and then finally sold that scope at a gargage sale...lesson learned.
Most of our optic's are Swarvski, bino's, spotting scopes, rifle scopes, plus we have some Kahles brand scopes. Kahles is the parent company of Swarovski. Well, actually they were competitors at one time and then Swaorovski bought the Kahles company on request...long story.
On another note, Zeiss has been trying to gain Amercian market share over the past few years. They build different *quality* scopes, so you need to be carfeull and fully research what you're getting. The newer spotting scopes on the American market labled as "Carl Zeiss" are pretty good....way better than some of the other junk with the "Ziess" name.
Cheap stuff ain't good, and good stuff ain't cheap.........
....you'll never go wrong buying Swarovski. Aside from losing the product, you'll have it for the rest of your life (never buy another) and pass it to your kids...............
I have the ats 65mm spotting scope, It is a nice scope But it's just not 1500.00$ nice. Also noticed the price is almost up 1600.00 as of the new year.Took this scope sheep hunting last fall in 7 days if pissing down rain and fog and it pretty much performed as any other scope probably would have.Fogged up and no clear view what so ever. Not much you can do with any scope when you are in wet nasty ground fog from the get go. I would probably look at the newer Nikon ed models before the Swarovski. I tried to sell the darn thing but since i filled out the warranty card Swarovski does Not transfer the warranty to another owner. So I am pretty stuck with it..