Pentax as good as Swaro?
I also used and loved my 12-40 X 60 Leupy spotter. It served me well, but I came to desire more power. I began looking into a relatively compact 20-60. At first the choice was obvious: the 20-60 X 65 Swaro. But then I started researching spotters on the bird watching websites and found Pentax spotters were often rated ABOVE the Swaros, at a significantly lower price. Some websites listed the Pentax as the "reference standard" that all other spotting scopes were to be judged by. Too good to be true, right? Wrong. When I first looked through the Pentax 20-60 X 65 ED I was shocked. It was absolutely tack-sharp. The resolution was impressive, but resolution is not really as important when looking at top-end scopes. In my experience, there are few scopes that show NOTICEABLY better resolution when you get to $600 + scopes. I compared the Pentax 65 ED with the Leupy HD, Swaro 65 and Zeiss 65 FL. The resolution of the Pentax was clearly in line with the Swaro and Zeiss, but then the less-expensive Leupold was not far off. But flatness of field, and color correction are immediately noticeable. Side-by-side with the Swaro and Leupy the Pentax is significantly better. The image is very similar at comparable powers with the Zeiss, but the Pentax goes to 60 power. Both the Leupy and Swaro are "warmer," having a slight yellow tint in color. The Pentax has no noticeable chromatic aberration until the very edge of field, again better than most. How about versatility? The Pentax will take any 1 1/4" standard telescope eyepiece including the world famous Televue Naglers and Pentax's own must-be-seen-to-be-believed XW series fixed power eyepieces. In the 65ED, the XW10 yeilds a 70 degree apparent field of view at 39 power! All of this in a package just larger in dimensions and weight than the Leupold 60mm. I did love my Leupy and heaped praise on it many times, including on this website, but I do believe I have found a better product ... Oh, and I got mine new with the zoom eyepiece for $600 on ebay. You here a lot of "Swaro or nothing" talk on this website and others, but if you want to save money and sacrifice NOTHING, look at the Pentax spotting scopes.
Last edited by bitterroot bulls; 02-11-2008 at 11:09 PM.