What features do you want in a spotting scope.

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by 4ked Horn, Mar 15, 2005.

  1. 4ked Horn

    4ked Horn Writers Guild

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    I think my next addition to my LRH gear is going to be a quality spotting scope. I'm wondering what you all like in a spotter and what you don't. What sounds good but dosent work good? How big an Obj lens? How compact is too compact and how big is too big? What power do you like for the range and what power do you like for spotting game. What price is too little and what price is too much? Zoom or no zoom? Compatable with 35mm camera or is this not a big deal? Straight or angled rear lens (I cant for the life of me think of what it's called but I know it has a name. Dang it.)

    Lets have it. I know I have alot to learn here and there are dozens to pick from. I'm hoping to get something that I can use for years to come.

    And thanks "Dime covers 3" for the link in "Very Informative Optics Website". i will be reading that tonight.
     
  2. gonehuntingagain

    gonehuntingagain Well-Known Member

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    Since you will probably get one before I do, here is what I want to see in one (since I'll probably be looking through it as much as you!)

    I know I want the optics to be clear from edge to edge, like if you move your head slightly while looking through the scope.

    I want to be able to see a chuck sitting on a rock at 1000 yards, as well as gauge the size and sex/antlers of an elk/deer at the same distance.

    I wouldn't take it with me if I walk in somewhere (I know you won't be either), so size doesn't matter /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif (I know where you guys will go with that one!)

    I don't think it would be used much in the twilight for spotting game, so this may mean that a smaller objective would be acceptable.

    Being able to hook a camera up to it would be cool.

    Since the max power on your 308 scope is 14x, I would think the spotting scope would need to start somewhere around that power.

    What are the pros/cons of a straight vs. angled eye piece?
     
  3. STWSniper

    STWSniper Member

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    My ideal spotting scope would be a straight body with a power range of 15-45. I also am not a fan of the super big objectives, probably go with a 60 or 65mm objective. I think the Zeiss Diascope 15-45x65mm would be a good scope to look at. This scope has super optics and is short and lightweight. I would actually take a spotting scope like this one on an all day hunt.
     
  4. abinok

    abinok Writers Guild

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    If you are going to be using it prone, go with the 45 degree eye piece, if its gonna be off a tripod, go with the straight.
    The 45 is great for prone since you can rotate it so it sticks out to the side. With the scope set up like this, you can line up on the target, release a round, slightly turn your head to the left (for a right handed shooter) and watch the impact in the spotting scope. don't have to shift your position at all. makes for much more consistant shooting since you arent changing the way you contact the rifle between shots.
    But like I said, if its all bench, get one that pokes straight out. As for size, most of the ones ive used were 60s, but these days, nobody is gonna make one with too little objective, so don't worry about it too much.
    Final thought, if you think there is a chance you might put a set of big eyes together one day, make sure the zoom and focus rings are located in the approprate locations.
     
  5. goodgrouper

    goodgrouper Well-Known Member

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    Oh man! This one is a HUGE topic to tackle. I don't even know where to begin. Choosing optics is like choosing underwear, It is a <font color="blue"> personal thing! </font>

    I have tested just about every piece of glass known to man, and my research was so extensive on this subject, that I acually had to start a portfolio of information just to keep it all straight. I attended several optics seminars and kept all the marketing crap and all the "real" info that they don't give the consumer. If I had to sum it all up in one sentence, it would go something like this:

    <font color="green"> Everyone's eyes are built with the same parts just like everyone's brain has the same parts, but we all use them differently and they give us all different results. </font>

    The only way to really judge them for yourself is to look through them yourself.

    We will have a Swarovski 20-60x80 non HD, a Leica Televid 20-60x77, several various Bushnells, and possibly even a Leupold 15-45x60 set up on our chuck hunt in several weeks. This would be an opportune time to view several different rigs in a real world (not inside the sporting goods store) scenario.
    You will be the judge.

    As for myself, I have located several different chucks sitting on top of rocks at over a mile and a half that were the same color as the rocks with my Swarovski. The only way I could tell that they were chucks is becuase that spotter has such great resolution (to my eye) that I could tell a difference in texture between the orange fur and the orange rock!

    As for the physical aspects of the spotter, it totally depends on your hunting style and preferences. Personally, my 80mm Swaro is too big for taking Dall sheep hunting in Alaska, but is fine for mule deer hunting in Utah. It absolutely is the cat's meow for spotting shots on chucks and gongs!

    The angled eyepiece or straight is personal pref too. I find the angled eyepiece too slow for quickly picking up small moving vermin becuase it is harder to "aim" it where you want to look. However, it may be better for sitting and glassing a distant canyon wall for elk. But most of the time, I like a straight eyepiece for standing viewing.
    I also love my Bogen pistol grip head because it is so rapid on aquisition, and there is no adjustment arm jabbing you in the throat all day. But others like the pan/tilt of a traditional head. It is all boxers or briefs my man!


    Price is also a difficult Q. I would only say, "buy the best you can afford, and then go $100 dollars more!" I have lived off of Ramen noodles for lunch everyday for 3 months to buy the glass I wanted! It all just depends how serious you want to get.


    Camera compatibility is nice, but unless you are a pro photographer, I wouldn't get too fussy about this. Just holding up a digital camera to the eyepiece can work good enough for most amatuers.


    Zooms are best for unknown conditions, but getting a spotter with removable eyepieces give you the option of customizing a viewing preference in the field. A fixed eyepiece also has more field of view than a variable. Sometimes, I think it would be great to just have a straight 30x, and sometimes that is too much magnification. I thought when I bought a spotter that it would have to go to 60x no matter what. Now, I realize that there are actually very few times that I can actually use 60x because the mirage and loss of contrast become to much to deal with. A 15-45 is usually plenty.

    Anyway, I hope this helps.
     
  6. 4ked Horn

    4ked Horn Writers Guild

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    I am holding off on my replies because it seems that as soon as the original poster thanks a few people the input stops but I just had to try to catch you if possible.

    My uncompromising requirement is that the scope really really REALLY focus at its highest power setting. I have yet to see this actually happen but I admit I have not looked through but one scope that was worth more than 200 bucks.

    Do you know of any in the 400 to 600 dollar range that do this? (that is what I will spend on this scope. Any better scope will have to wait its turn in my list of toys.)
     
  7. goodgrouper

    goodgrouper Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the higher end spotters will still hold focus when turned up to high magnification. They might have to be readjusted a tad, but they will focus.

    In that price range, check out the Minox and the Kahles. They are hard to beat in that price bracket. In case you didn't know, Minox is the understudy of Leica, and Kahles is under Swarovski. They have good genetics!
     
  8. 4ked Horn

    4ked Horn Writers Guild

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    Thanks G.

    Hey, I went searching for monox and Kahles and it seems that Kahles only makes rifle scopes and binocs. Were you perhaps thinking of another brand?
     
  9. goodgrouper

    goodgrouper Well-Known Member

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    I looked for the Kahles too, and apparently they did not produce the spotter this year. It was rumored it would be available by the Shotshow, but I talked to a friend who went there and didn't see it. I am disappointed. It was supposed to be a great scope and comparable to the Minox only with a better armour coating.

    How did your research on the Minox go?
     
  10. 4ked Horn

    4ked Horn Writers Guild

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    Well my search on Minox has gone exceedingly well.

    I went to their web site the other evening and it was all in German. I didn't look there long because even though I took german in college I couldn't figure out what they were saying. I instead went and looked at a few optics sites and read features on these and other scopes.

    Today I made another effort on the minox site and there was a little window on the right side of the screen that said "sprechen" which basically means Language. Well I clicked below it on the American/British flag and then we started making headway.

    I found the MD 62 and the MD 62 ED. The ED is their flourite glass option that supposedly renders a more neutral color transmition then the standard glass. They each come with the 15x45 zoom, 20x wide angle, and 40x eye pieces and a 35mm camera addapter. Plus all the regular features such as carry case and sliding sunshade. It looks like what I want on paper.

    ...so I went to the store.

    I compared a minox 62 with 4 other scopes in the same price and feature category but only in the store. The Minox was the best in all areas. The focus worked at all power settings and the image was remarkably crisp compared to the cheaper scopes I have used through the years. It showed white as white instead of yellowish. No noticable pin cushion effect. All in all I really liked it.

    Sportsmans where?house is selling it with one zoom lens and the camera adapter for about $550. I found it on line for $300. I'm going to look at some of the camera stores (and taking it outside) when I get the time but I'm getting that feeling that this might be the one. I get this feeling alot when buying products and when I follow this feeling I have never been dissapointed.

    I'll let you know how things progress.
     
  11. 7Rumloader

    7Rumloader Well-Known Member

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    You have been doing some work researching havn't you?! I'm the same way when I want to make a good decision I always take time to research and compare. I get that feeling too like this is the product that I want and it just feels like the right one for me and so far like you I have been satisfied when that happens. Good luck! Sounds like you have already found a great deal on one as well!! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif
     
  12. Big33

    Big33 Member

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    I agree, this is a very personal issue--it's like asking someone what kind of putter you should buy. Anyway, I bought a Nikon Spotter XL 16-47x60. I bought the kit which included a nice padded case and a tripod. It's rubberized and fairly bulletproof and comes with good lens covers. The whole rig will easily fit in a saddle bag or a backpack. I really like mine and got if for right around $400.
     
  13. goodgrouper

    goodgrouper Well-Known Member

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    I am glad that you liked it. I was kinda nervous that you might take my recommendation and then look through it and be disgusted.

    All in all, it is a great scope and I think it will fit your needs perfect. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif
     
  14. 4ked Horn

    4ked Horn Writers Guild

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    I will find the site that had the great price and post it later. I hope it is not one of those "grey market" deals where the product is a counterfiet that dosent come with any warrantee and crappy construction.

    I just got back from a camera store (then spent a long time on the phone in the middle of writing this post) and although they didn't have a big selection on scopes I got to learn alot about tripods and GG has it right again. The Bogen tripods are priced right and have great durability. Also the pistol grip heads (the Gimpal type mechanisim you mount the optic to) are the bees knees. I also saw a "fluid pan head" that is real nice. It is designed for the purpose of having a smooth movement when following movement with video equipment. This would work equally well when tracking an animal after the shot to see where it goes down.