Since my original thread was about "all around" use, I suppose you're right. I have to admit I really don't need the bigeyes, other than they'd be really cool for long range prairie dog shooting. I agree with your comments about size for range work.
Also, I noticed that Leica has come out with a variable power binoc (8-12 power range I believe?). My 8x42's might be headed for Ebay!
Thanks for the heads up on the ED glass. It's a tempting money saver. I had read once that the ED glass improves color clarity for photography but isn't much help otherwise. So much for that theory.
Ian M and rogerinneb,
I used to totally agree with Ian about a straight spotting scope and purchased a Leica straight. I got tired to switching back and forth between my binoculars and spotting scope on my tripod so built a bracket that allows me to mount the scope and the binoculars on the tripod and focus them on the same spot. It works very well because I can find with my 10X binoculars and identify with my 60X scope (given perfect 60X conditions). Now to the original question, one of the guys I sold a bracket to has an angled scope. His setup is easier to use than mine. I have to move my head from the binoculars to the scope where he can just turn his head.
I compared my Leica to a Nikon 78 ED before purchasing the Leica. Using a resolution chart, I determined that the Nikon had better resolution at lower powers and the Leika had better resolution at higher powers. I assume that it was a weakness in the Nikon variable eyepiece, which at that time was quite small. I hope they have fixed it by now. If I were buying a scope today it would be the Nikon 60 ED, angled. It is packable (my only complaint with the Leica), with spectacular resolution.
Excellent points and info. In a way you bring out a concern I have with some of the spotting scopes that I have examined - have seen some eyepieces that looked identical on 240 dollar scopes and on 1200 dollar units. I have also found an improvement just by switching eyepieces on a given scope. Agree on the 60ED Field Scope, it is a winner. New for 2002 is a black Tactical model.
Well, I took the plunge. I was able to get a new in box, factory fresh, USA warranty Pentax PF80 ED for $760 from Cameraland in NY. This includes the 20-60 power eyepiece. Cabela's sells it for $1,300.
The review at betterviewdesired.com pushed me over the edge, along with the reviews in a couple of other places. The reviewer called it the new reference standard, and said the eyepiece was the best. I know that the site is backed by Simpson optics, a retailer, but the tests they run seem pretty legit.
This is a big rig. At least as big/heavy as the Leica, so it won't be the one take into the mountains on foot (Gee, I guess I'll have to buy another one, huh?).
One nice thing about the unit, it takes a standard 1.25" eypiece. So, any eyepiece for a telescope will fit.
I'll let you know how it "views" I should get it Friday!
Congratulations, any of the scopes we discussed will do a fine job. No doubt the Pentax will be very sharp and bright. I am interested to hear your field impressions of that big lens.
You might be surprised - that scope might find its way on more hunts than you realize. All you need is a backpack and small tripod. Depending on the hunting style the big scopes are the best there is for finding game. You will also find it is great for counting tines on whitetail bucks, all of the serious deer freeks that I know up here in Sask. use spotters rather than binocs.