Field Review: NIGHTFORCE TS-82 XTREME Hi-Def Spotting Scope
By Jeff Brozovich
Upon receiving the Nightforce TS-82 20-70x Xtreme Hi-Def spotting scope, and opening the box it becomes clear everything you need is included. The very well packaged box has not only the scope body but also a 20-70x eye piece. This is important when considering the purchase of a high end spotter because some are sold without the eye piece. The eye piece alone can run into an extra $400 to $600 and should be considered when comparing prices. Also neatly packaged in the box are lense covers, a lens cleaning cloth, DVD and printed owners manuals.
I have owned and been using the TS-82 for close to a year now; actually two of them. I first purchased a straight model and later sold it to get an Angled model. The angled vs straight debate has good points on both sides. But that's not what this review is about so I will only say do some research to see what model will work best for your needs and type of use. It is great to have options to buy either. I will also add that during my testing and use of both the TS-82 in angled and straight, I could detect zero difference in the clarity of either unit. As far as I can see the straight body and the angled body are equal in optical quality.
So lets back up a bit and I will briefly share my history with spotters. My first spotter was not worth the time to pack it. But was very inexpensive and I guess was better than nothing most of the time. Then I upgraded a little and was happy there for sometime. But a day came when I found the opportunity to use a high end spotter on a trip out west and I was SOLD! So arriving home found me on a mission to let go of a few of my cherished collector Weatherby's and buy a Sawrovski ATS 80 HD. The Swaro is a great scope. I used it for about 6 years and during that time I had the opportunity to compare it to many different units. I never felt "under-gunned". My only complaint was the fact that, in most any instance, I found backing off just a bit from the full 60X power setting found a sharper image. I simply accepted it and worked by going to full power then back a touch. But then comes along the release of the New Nightforce TS-82. It is no secret I use Nightforce scopes on all my long range rigs. So knowing what I know about the company and their products, and what I have seen using their new ATACR long range rifle scope. I had to try this spotter and ordered one right up. First impressions mean a lot so I almost outran the brown truck out of the driveway to go test it out. Now, knowing what I had come to accept about the Swaro having a bit less optic quality on full 60X power, I had not even considered the TS-82 having 10X more power on top to be much of an advantage. So let me tell you, I was a bit more than excited when I cranked it all the way up to 70 and the image was crisp and clear. Wow, what a plus! I use this a lot when sizing up a bull elk or Muley buck at distance. I am not sure I would ever want to give this up. Lets go to the field and see now.
Please keep in mind all the photos in this article were taken in this manner. I simply used my phone. Yep, manually held the phone to the eye piece and snapped pics. So these sample pictures are not a true representation of the quality of what is seen when looking through the TS-82. But I hope they will help me get my points across about what I have been seeing. Also please ignore any dark areas around the exterior of the pics. This is simply a result of me holding a phone camera to an eye piece. There is no shadow in real life, none, zip!
To demonstrate the clarity over the full range of of power from 20X to 70X I took some deer pics. These two does were just under a mile; I think right at 1720 yards to be exact.
The first picture is set on 20X
The same two deer zoomed in to 70X
Same field, same time of day a group of 3 Bucks slightly farther out on 70X. Remember these deer are a mile away and this pic was holding a phone camera to the eyepiece.