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Optics for backpacking...

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Unread 02-06-2008, 12:45 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 214
Zeiss for me

Originally Posted by xrunt View Post
Any of Swaro, Zeiss or Leica in a 10X42 bin and lose weight by not carrying spotting glass. A lot of guys like the top end Zeiss better than Swaro.
I just did and extended side by side between the Leica and the Zeiss top enders. I concluded the following...

Leica...more pleasant tint,better at looking "into" foliage, trees, etc.My first choice for pleasure viewing or birding.

Zeiss..."Flatter" field of view, more neutral color rendition, and definitely a brighter binoc

I selected the Zeiss mainly on the brightness factor. If you are in the market get in touch with Alex Roy at EuroOptics LTD

He was very helpful and knowledgeable and sent me the two binocs to do the trial..His prices are good and I cannotrecommend him too highly 30-338
και ο μη εχων πωλησατω το ιματιον αυτου και αγορασατω μαχαιραν... Luke 22:36
Jesus said "...and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one" Luke 22:36

Jack Webb lectures the Prez http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4r6YCUtxfs

How to pray for the man in the White House
Psalm 109:5 http://bible.cc/psalms/109-8.htm
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Unread 02-06-2008, 01:04 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: bismarck ND
Posts: 406
dont forget about leica they make great optics. i use the 10x42 geovids (range finder built in) i also have the 15-60 power spotting scope. i have had great luck with these. i would say that swaro would have been my scond choice. you will be happy with eather set. remember if you buy s=good ones they will last you a life time.
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Unread 02-06-2008, 01:08 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: WI USA
Posts: 410
I have been using a Leupold compact 15-30x50mm. I really like its size and weight. It is great in the field. The clarity is really good. For years I just used binos. Finally I purchased the spotting scope and what a difference it makes. You can really reach out there and see the animals. Now I dont go on a trip without it.

I will mention that it does not work so well on the range. It does not get you up and close enough to the target to see small bore holes.
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Unread 02-07-2008, 04:27 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Alaska
Posts: 4,895
Walk In Sheep Hunts

I used the 12-40x Leupold spotting scope for sheep hunting in Alaska for about 12 years. It was a very good spotting scope for its relatively light weight. Eventually a friend bought a 15-45x Zeiss Diascope. I compared the two scopes side by sides one Alaskan evening and decided the upgrade to the Zeiss was worth it. So I've been using the Zeiss Diascope for about 4 years now. The Zeiss is a little heavier and bulkier than the Leupolds were, but they transmit more light, have slightly better resolution, and the extra power is very helpful for sheep hunting. 20-60x is a better power range for sheep hunting, but I've never found a high quality waterproof spotting scope in that power range that was light enough and compact enough for me to pack around in sheep habitat. So my compromise was the Zeiss Diascope.

For binoculars, I have some 8x20 Swarovski's that I tend to carry when I'm also packing the spotting scope. I also have a set of 8x30 Swarovski SLC's which are easier on the eyes than the 8x20s, but again it's a weight and bulk compromise that usually leads to me selecting the 8x20s when I've got some ground to cover and am packing the spotting scope also. If the 8x30s were as light as the 8x20s, I would always take the 8x30s.

After I've accepted and settled on the costs I'm willing to incur, I would say my selection in optics is then primarily selected based on the game I'm hunting, and secondarily by the number of miles and the nature of the terrain I expect to cover. The 20-60x Zeiss Diascope spotting scope is easier on the eyes and transmits more light than my 15-45x scope based on my side by side comparison, but the 20-60s were simply too heavy and bulky for me to want to haul them around on my style of backpack hunting trips. If you don't have to walk too far and the terrain is moderate (say caribou and moose hunting), then the bulkier & heavier optics are awfully nice and comfortable on the eyes for extended sessions of glassing the countryside.

I've used lesser quality optics for many years also and managed fairly well, but as I was more able to afford it, I've always gone with higher end optics. The good glass just seems to make the countryside come to life.
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Unread 02-11-2008, 11:04 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Western Montana
Posts: 25
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.
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