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How to compare spotting scope quality?

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How to compare spotting scope quality?

Old 07-05-2010, 12:51 PM
  #1  
Spike
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Question How to compare spotting scope quality?

Basic question........how does one go about comparing scopes in a dealers showroom? Most stores I know that sell hunting optics have a relative small area in which to view things through the scopes and spotting scopes. Even if one takes the scope outside, what is one to learn about it's light gathering ability during the hours that most retail stores are open? Most stores are not open during the hours that would allow one to compare different scopes as to their light gathering and clarity properties. Any suggestions and or tips in this matter?
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:55 PM
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Tough question. I have taken scopes and binos out of a retailer to compare them for clarity, crispness, and low light performance .... but never a spotting scope. I would imagine very few would have a 2000-5000 yard view where one might make a fair comparison. I would depend upon reviews, and information others might offer here. The only spotting scopes I have used are a Burris that cost about $300, a Swarovski that probably cost $2500+, and a Leupold that probably cost $1000 +/-. The Leopold was plenty adequate for what we were doing - spotting out to about a mile. The Swarovski was absolutely amazing. The Burris we were using as a shooting range spotter. I have no clue how it would do in the field. I wold guess any spotting scope in the $1000-$1500 should do fine.
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Old 07-12-2010, 08:58 AM
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Here is a pretty good article on Spotting scopes,

http://www.6mmbr.com/SpotterReview.html

The best way to determine what scope you'll need is to actually compare different scopes with what you are planning to look at. For example when I bought mine I wanted to see bullet holes at 500 yards, I took a target and set it up 500 yards away then we got out a few different spotters and compared. If money isn't a huge issue then just buy a Swarovski and you'll be good to go, Leica and Zeiss are very good also. The HD glass is worth the extra $$ I think. If your planning on spending a fair amount of money and the optics place you are dealing with isn't going to take the time to please you go somewhere else.
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:37 AM
  #4  
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Interesting web site with good review of several spotters. Thanks for the link
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Old 07-23-2010, 12:11 PM
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Default Depends like a lot of things

How far away is the target?
Using a spotting scope for spotting game out west or using it for the 100 yard rifle range back east?
Used at a range on a clear day in mid morning, out on open range a rather less expensive spotting scope can work fine.
Do you have distant shadows or difficult darkness going to dark?

Years ago, I had the optimum chance of checking out a range of scopes. The area suffered a power failure and the building interior, with no interior windows, went to virtual near total darkness. There was a wall with known writing on a banner that could not be seen. The more expensive scopes proved that the writing was clearly seen.

After that, I usually looked at scopes and such in large stores. I'd pick out a shadowy area of the store and compare how that area was seen with the various products. I'd look for a small mark, seen by some and not by others.

At home, I would start to check scopes at dusk, working them over so many minutes, for comparison. We'd pick out a bushy shadowy area across the street, and spot it over an hour. Most scopes, even inexpensive ones, work good at noon on a sunny day. Get in a forest with a heavy canopy at the first break of dawn, in legal time, and the differences are remarkable.

Doing a gauging at home, under the previous conditions, will give you a starting range on what you think you may need.
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Old 08-06-2010, 01:25 PM
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I won't purchase any optic From a store unless Im able to check it out first.Lucky for me the owner of the store I go to let's his custumers take a selection of demos to test.
I happened to bring up the conversation to him one day when I was a teenager about testing binos over night.He offered to take me out with a selection on a weekened and a friendship formed.
He is now retired but it is still family operated outfit, and I'm able to still go in and check out new products over night.
I suggest you go to a small local hunting store and talk to them about
possibly loaning a pair to check out if you're willing to purchase from them.Maybe offer to throw down a damage deposit.
I highly doubt big retail outlets would do anything to help you out.
You may be able to purchase cheeper from these places but they are generally less personable when it comes to product testing.I know of people that throw down 4 or 5 times as much money as I do and don't get the treatment I get.I may pay a little more, but I get treated with alot more respect to me that's what counts.

Last edited by Jeff Ovington; 08-06-2010 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 02-06-2011, 08:44 PM
  #7  
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Aside from the basics, like fully multicoating, ED glass, Waterproof, exitpupil, Objective lenses, magnification.
When looking for spotting scope or any optical quality, for that matter, don't get fooled by field of view.. You need to find a compromise.. A wide field of view is suitable to have on moving game, but that's about it. You do not need a wide field of view on a spotting scope. however, you must have a very narrow field of view at high magnification..Do not get snowed into believing you need an optic model and brand that offers the widest field of view possible as you turn the magnification higher.It's not the case. Find a suitable comprise, remember it's nice to have wide on running game, however it's a pain in the ass to have wide view when your magnification is topped out at the highest setting.That's where mirages and abrasions and
dimness and having a difficult time focusing on the target, really starts to
shine.Aside from a few listed, and there is a couple more factors as well, The optic that offers narrower field at higher mag, are the ones to look for
especially in a spotting scope..Cause really the job of the spotting scope is to provide a clear sharp image on the one thing that has already been possibly identified and it focused on for closer inspection.

Last edited by Jeff Ovington; 02-06-2011 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 02-07-2011, 02:09 PM
  #8  
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Oh yeah almost forgot, get a spotting scope that is able to interchange standard 1 1/4 eyepieces.. Therefore you can possibly go for top end eyepices of another brand. For Example some Pentax model bodies can use Ziess eyepices and vise verse.There is more but this is a hint.

Last edited by Jeff Ovington; 02-07-2011 at 03:32 PM.
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:14 AM
  #9  
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With little exception the price tag will tell you which one is better. I agonized for two years comparing spotters cuz I didn't wan't to spend the money. Well, I bought a Swaro and haven't looked back. It'll last the rest of my life.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:16 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by TheWhitetailnut View Post
With little exception the price tag will tell you which one is better. I agonized for two years comparing spotters cuz I didn't wan't to spend the money. Well, I bought a Swaro and haven't looked back. It'll last the rest of my life.
Yeah know what you mean. I've got a Leica. These top end models really are the way to go as far as spotting scopes.. And when you consider the fact you will never need to upgrade, a $2500 investment
will end up costing you about $83.00 a year over a period of 30 years..That's not bad at all..Especially when you consider smokers spend at least that much in a month in Canada.A pack of smokes is $10.00 per pack.Hell, a pack a day smoker will go through $300.00 / month..And they will pay for themselves when you consider food on the table and trophies on the wall.

Last edited by Jeff Ovington; 02-08-2011 at 04:23 PM.
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