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#5921420 - 09/09/15 11:11 PM spotting scopes....
jae011 Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 06/08/10
Posts: 259
Loc: eagle mt lake,TX
Just finished up a archery mule deer hunt in the North Dakota Badlands. After my second hunting trip there my conclusion is....I need a spotting scope. The binoculars I have are awesome but when doing more, "western style hunting", spot and stalk, I need something more powerful. they seem pricey but i looked at the redfields and they are pretty decently priced. Why is there such a price gap on these scopes? Are the pricier ones that much better?
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#5921728 - 09/10/15 08:21 AM Re: spotting scopes.... [Re: jae011]
BOBO the Clown Offline
decoy

Registered: 04/19/07
Posts: 41084
Loc: Metroplex
Usability

Your cheaper spotters aren't very clear at full power.

All around best bang for your buck IMO is the vortex razor HD 65mm next step down price would be vortex viper HD.

Entry level- vortex diamondback is a touch clearer then the red field but red field is cheaper.

Something to note... Tripod quality should not be overlooked. The vortex summit ss is a good tripod for the price, with a reasonably effective head, but does have smaller non-standard quick connect attachment that specific to only that tripod, which is fine if you don't go from window to tripod etc

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#5921946 - 09/10/15 10:59 AM Re: spotting scopes.... [Re: BOBO the Clown]
jae011 Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 06/08/10
Posts: 259
Loc: eagle mt lake,TX
Originally Posted By: BOBO the Clown
Usability

Your cheaper spotters aren't very clear at full power.

All around best bang for your buck IMO is the vortex razor HD 65mm next step down price would be vortex viper HD.

Entry level- vortex diamondback is a touch clearer then the red field but red field is cheaper.

Something to note... Tripod quality should not be overlooked. The vortex summit ss is a good tripod for the price, with a reasonably effective head, but does have smaller non-standard quick connect attachment that specific to only that tripod, which is fine if you don't go from window to tripod etc



Awesome! I keep hearing nothing but positive on vortex products. I will give it look.
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#5922117 - 09/10/15 12:30 PM Re: spotting scopes.... [Re: jae011]
Elkhunter49 Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 06/21/11
Posts: 3246
Loc: Oak Harbor, Slidell La
I've never regretted buying quality optics. Spend as much as you can or it will cost you more in the long range when you up grade.
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#5922127 - 09/10/15 12:38 PM Re: spotting scopes.... [Re: jae011]
BOBO the Clown Offline
decoy

Registered: 04/19/07
Posts: 41084
Loc: Metroplex
Originally Posted By: jae011
Originally Posted By: BOBO the Clown
Usability

Your cheaper spotters aren't very clear at full power.

All around best bang for your buck IMO is the vortex razor HD 65mm next step down price would be vortex viper HD.

Entry level- vortex diamondback is a touch clearer then the red field but red field is cheaper.

Something to note... Tripod quality should not be overlooked. The vortex summit ss is a good tripod for the price, with a reasonably effective head, but does have smaller non-standard quick connect attachment that specific to only that tripod, which is fine if you don't go from window to tripod etc



Awesome! I keep hearing nothing but positive on vortex products. I will give it look.


Big fan on vortex. their bino's price point has crept up to the point there is a lot more good competition but spotting scopes they still hold that spots below the big three euro guys.

If you plan to go all in on western hunting meaning a yearly religious deal, get the razor HD, outdoorsman mini pan head and a comparable good tripod. That's a big $$$$ investment but its abilities and ease off use will fix the $$$$ heartburn pretty quick. IMO.

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#5922287 - 09/10/15 02:16 PM Re: spotting scopes.... [Re: BOBO the Clown]
FiremanJG Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 17893
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
Originally Posted By: BOBO the Clown
Originally Posted By: jae011
Originally Posted By: BOBO the Clown
Usability

Your cheaper spotters aren't very clear at full power.

All around best bang for your buck IMO is the vortex razor HD 65mm next step down price would be vortex viper HD.

Entry level- vortex diamondback is a touch clearer then the red field but red field is cheaper.

Something to note... Tripod quality should not be overlooked. The vortex summit ss is a good tripod for the price, with a reasonably effective head, but does have smaller non-standard quick connect attachment that specific to only that tripod, which is fine if you don't go from window to tripod etc



Awesome! I keep hearing nothing but positive on vortex products. I will give it look.


Big fan on vortex. their bino's price point has crept up to the point there is a lot more good competition but spotting scopes they still hold that spots below the big three euro guys.

If you plan to go all in on western hunting meaning a yearly religious deal, get the razor HD, outdoorsman mini pan head and a comparable good tripod. That's a big $$$$ investment but its abilities and ease off use will fix the $$$$ heartburn pretty quick. IMO.


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#5923870 - 09/11/15 11:24 AM Re: spotting scopes.... [Re: jae011]
gusick Online   content
Pro Tracker

Registered: 07/19/13
Posts: 1291
Several manufacturers make light weight compact spotting scopes for hiking. Even if you get one of these, get a heavy full-sized tripod. Otherwise, the wind and you touching it, will make it too shaky to use. Of course the big tripod is more cumbersome to carry than the scope so it sort of defeats the purpose of buying a small scope. If you're going to burden yourself with carrying a spotting scope at all, it might as well be a big one.

I don't know a lot about optics so I just went into a shop and asked what was the best I could get for around $2,000. They also pointed me to the Vortex Razor. I bought the 85mm with 20-60x zoom. It's great on lower magnification but the brightness and clarity degrades around 45x or so. The high magnification is useful on the target range when field of view isn't a concern but you'll probably never use it for hunting because of the narrow field of view. I think the 65mm comes with a 15-45x eyepiece, which is probably better for hunting. I think I'm going to buy the fixed 32x wide angle eye piece for mine.

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#5923963 - 09/11/15 12:08 PM Re: spotting scopes.... [Re: gusick]
syncerus Online   content
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/01/08
Posts: 1989
Loc: Dallas, TX
Originally Posted By: gusick
Several manufacturers make light weight compact spotting scopes for hiking. Even if you get one of these, get a heavy full-sized tripod. Otherwise, the wind and you touching it, will make it too shaky to use. Of course the big tripod is more cumbersome to carry than the scope so it sort of defeats the purpose of buying a small scope. If you're going to burden yourself with carrying a spotting scope at all, it might as well be a big one.


This really is the challenge in a nutshell. Clarity, power and stability come at a cost in $$$ and weight. I have a pair of Canon 10x30 stabilized binos and think the stabilization is a better mousetrap; but twilight capacity is limited, they're heavy, and the better quality stabilized binos are $$$$$. The process of selecting a hunting spotting scope is a giant balancing act of "good enough". What I'd really like are something like
http://www.eurooptic.com/docter-optic-20-50x80-ed-binoculars.aspx mounted on a solid tripod. Of course, you'd probably need an armored personnel carrier to move the thing.

At the end of the day, we make our best guess and see what happens. Unfortunately, there's no substitute for experience, and experience usually comes from mistaken choices.

Edit: I should have posted the link to this one. It illustrates the problem more effectively. http://www.eurooptic.com/docter-optic-20-50x80-ed-variable-binoculars-with-backpack-case.aspx


Edited by syncerus (09/11/15 12:12 PM)
Edit Reason: second link
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#5924038 - 09/11/15 12:42 PM Re: spotting scopes.... [Re: jae011]
TxHunter80 Online   content
Woodsman

Registered: 01/04/15
Posts: 214
I did a bunch of research not long ago and ended up with a Vanguard Endeavor ED 65MM. Philly Photo Supply sold it to me for $350 and there was a $100 rebate. They were very helpful and also sold me a great tripod. The scopes are normally $450-500. It's alot of spotting scope for the money. I've used it at the range but will be taking on an aoudad hunt in a couple weeks.

The other 2 I was looking at was the Razor(mentioned above) and Nikon ED 50. I felt like I would have been more than happy with any of them. Heres a link to some refurb Nikons for really cheap:

http://www.fieldsupply.com/general-store...-ep-refurb.html

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#5924161 - 09/11/15 01:54 PM Re: spotting scopes.... [Re: jae011]
Cleric Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 03/11/12
Posts: 2579
I just got the baby razor and really like it. I scored a deal on a small cf tripod a few years ago and the combination works great

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#5930706 - 09/15/15 09:50 PM Re: spotting scopes.... [Re: jae011]
sparrish8 Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 01/13/13
Posts: 1193
I bought a Zen Ray 20-60 85mm on sale from Camera Land for aout $850, its comparable to the high end Vortex might want to look into those they have good reviews, i can see great up to aout 45x, it does get somewhat blurry after that but I was looking around 3-4 miles with it in Colorado and could make out some cows clearly.


Edited by sparrish8 (09/15/15 09:51 PM)

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#5934012 - 09/17/15 09:34 PM Re: spotting scopes.... [Re: jae011]
stringwise Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 42
I bought a Vortex Viper and I liked it but took it back. I have a pair of their binos and a scope but I didn't love the spotter. I did a crazy amount of research and decided to get the Pentax PF-65ED for $460 or so on Amazon. I added a zoom eyepiece and a fixed power eyepiece the SMC 14. The fixed is all that I use, the pair with cover was around $700 if you shop around. Comes with a sunshade and is easy to pack around being 65MM. We use it on the range to spot out to 600 yards on steel targets very easily without the zoom lens. Haven't tried anything beyond but works great to 600 yards, could spot game well beyond. The zoom eyepiece was $80 or so, so you could be out the door for under $550 going that route. I don't mind spending money on optics (have several NightForce scopes) but for the spotter just didn't need one of the big dogs for what I do. Check out the Pentax, compares nicely in reviews to the big dogs, nicer price point and a very high quality rig. I digiscope with it too but that's another thread...

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