Re: spotting scopes
Just sharing recent personal experience.
I got into an ATX 65 for $2700. I bought the ocular piece from BHphoto's used stock and the objective from a LRH forum member. Both pieces were 9++ used condition. Heck, I'd even say they were 10's. Wife already had a nice fluid head tripod for her SLR camera, so I'm in business.
I did not have a spotter to part with so it was all cash straight out of my hand. Fortunately, 8 miles away we have a state park which is an alligator, bird, owl, deer, hogs, and critter sanctuary. And there is a sky dive park literally right down the road from our house, so we like to watch sky divers jumping out of the plane two miles up on clear days. We'll get good use out of this spotting system. I also have opportunities to hunt with it in interior Alaska for moose and caribou as well as New Mexico for elk. Glad I went with the 65mm objective because it will be packed around a lot. It fits into a Swarovski XL bino case which was only $70. I could easily see them charging $150-$200 for anything that has their name on it.
Someday I may spring for the 95mm objective and the SLR camera adapter, but all that is and extra $2500. I'm set for now though. For 500+ yard shots at the range, I don't think I'll be using it for that role. That's why I bring a "pit pig" to text with back and forth, even send photos back via text if I'm shooting at the 1,000 yard range.
I don't think it's justifiable for a top end spotter to play a solo role. Keep in mind, although it's less than $1,000, a long range camera system IS a solo role.
Slow is smooth, smooth is Fast