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-   -   Scope advice needed in $1500 range (http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=352756)

Super Dave Saturday 28th October 2017 03:33

Scope advice needed in $1500 range
 
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Hi,

I sent my old Nikon spotting scope in for repair and they mailed me a new PROSTAFF 5 20-60x82mm. Their lifetime warranty is great. Anyway, that 60x zoom is really cool to look 2 miles across the bay at the Marine Base.

I'd like to jump up in quality but don't want to spend $3,000. So, with a budget of $1600 what would you folks recommend?

The Vortex Razor HD 20-60x85 seems like a great scope for the money. Last years model is running around $1100. Is that a no brainer in terms of bang for the buck? Is last years Razor HD made in Japan? (I read the newer model may be made in China.) Chinese products are fine but I would rather support the Japanese economy.

How about the Pentax PF80 ED and Nikon Monarch 20-60x82...are they made in Japan and how would they stack up?

Thanks,
Dave

chris murphy Saturday 28th October 2017 08:24

I believe the Vortex, new and old, are Chinese. However I stand to be corrected on that.

My recommendation to you is to make sure that you look through the Kowa 663M with zoom EP. It should be about in your price range, I have one and I love it, I am consistently impressed with the performance.

jring Saturday 28th October 2017 13:50

Hi,

The Pentax bodies are pretty nice and they've got great fixed EPs. The zooms are ok - the Baader Mk4 zoom should work too and it's pretty good.

Kowa has very nice offereings, 663 has been recommended and also they made a cryptic announcement about the small body scopes, so some new accessory might come out - I personally hope for a wide angle zoom...

Then there's used alpha glass, your budget will easily get you one...

Joachim

Super Dave Monday 30th October 2017 07:37

Thank you very much for the replies. After looking at the specs of the various scopes the Kowa TSN-883 with wide angle zoom is calling me. Does anybody know what stores in the USA generally have the most competitive prices on these? i might be making some calls this week.
Thanks,
Dave

Gijs van Ginkel Monday 30th October 2017 08:21

SuperDave,
It may also be worthwile to look at the Meopta scopes, they deliver a good quality for their price.
Gijs van Ginkel

ClarkWGriswold Monday 30th October 2017 08:49

I don't know if it's still available but I think Sancho has a Meopta scope for sale. Might be worth sending him an enquiry if you were interested.

Rich

mooreorless Monday 30th October 2017 12:31

Hi Clark, It looks like Sancho still has this for sale. I never bought off him, but he is an excellent fellow.
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=352230

http://www.birdforum.net/reviews/sho...ate/1067110482

ClarkWGriswold Monday 30th October 2017 12:32

Quote:

Originally Posted by mooreorless (Post 3637347)
Hi Clark, It looks like Sancho still has this for sale. I never bought off him, but he is an excellent fellow.
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=352230

I 100% agree:t: and thanks for posting the link.

mooreorless Monday 30th October 2017 12:47

Hi Clark, I posted another link from the Bird Forum Review section. I am glad I could help some. I have the Nikon 50ED and angled Nikon 82 ED with quite a few eyepieces. I also have an Orion 100ED refractor and Celestron 80ED refractor as well. So I have night sky and daytime covered. Good Luck Dave!! I just noticed Dave is from Hawaii don't know how this might turn out shipping etc.

Gijs van Ginkel Monday 30th October 2017 13:30

Superdave,
I have tested the Meopta Meostar S2 with 30-60x eyepiece, the test is published on the WEB-site of House of Outdoor (ho to House of Outdoor, then to "Verrekijkers testen en vergelijken"and, if you have found it, you will see, that this combination is one of the best 80-82 mm telescopes I have tested in the past decades.
Gijs van Ginkel

Pileatus Monday 30th October 2017 14:10

Quote:

Originally Posted by Super Dave (Post 3637263)
Thank you very much for the replies. After looking at the specs of the various scopes the Kowa TSN-883 with wide angle zoom is calling me. Does anybody know what stores in the USA generally have the most competitive prices on these? i might be making some calls this week.
Thanks,
Dave

See http://www.lifeinfourthirds.co.uk/ko...he-boundaries/ to see how a Kowa 883 performs.

mooreorless Monday 30th October 2017 14:22

http://www.lifeinfourthirds.co.uk/the-moon-and-beyond/

From the link that Pileatus kindly posted. Very nice Moon shots!!

mayoayo Monday 30th October 2017 15:08

I was going to post the link to Sancho's Meopta too,but thought that with the exchange ratio and shipping it would loose some of its appeal, having you mentioned a budget of 1500 dollars..but now that you are considering buying the Kowa 883 ,the meopta at Sancho,s price is a very good offer..I havent seen one ,but Sancho Has good taste,and He really likes the scope..many others have praised this model as being alpha at every level but the price...

Super Dave Monday 30th October 2017 20:04

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Thanks a lot everyone. That Meopta looks outstanding. I remember Sancho back from 2010 when I was looking into bins. You guys gave me great advice back then with the Nikon 8x32 SE.

Anyway, the thing that really got me hot for the Kowa was the 1.6x extender. The extra power could come in handy looking 3km across the Bay. What do you guys think about the ability to add an extender considering the distances?

Thanks,
Dave

mooreorless Monday 30th October 2017 21:36

Supper Dave, I took this picture with a Celestron 80ED refractor it is 2.8 miles from my place. I would think the big Kowa would work good at your distance in good viewing conditions. Less than 2 miles if I figured it right.
Wow that was eight years ago I did this.

http://www.birdforum.net/showpost.ph...47&postcount=6

jring Monday 30th October 2017 23:03

Quote:

Originally Posted by Super Dave (Post 3637532)
Thanks a lot everyone. That Meopta looks outstanding. I remember Sancho back from 2010 when I was looking into bins. You guys gave me great advice back then with the Nikon 8x32 SE.

Anyway, the thing that really got me hot for the Kowa was the 1.6x extender. The extra power could come in handy looking 3km across the Bay. What do you guys think about the ability to add an extender considering the distances?

Hi,

well the field of view at 3km is 70m at 60x, 44m with the extender at 96x. I would not expect to identify birds, unless you have ostriches in your area.

Joachim

Super Dave Monday 30th October 2017 23:43

Quote:

I would not expect to identify birds, unless you have ostriches in your area.
:)

Yes, the birds over there are much larger...it's a US Military Base / airbase. We have interesting aircraft at times. I would have enjoyed a powerful zoom when Obama was visiting and they had Marine 1 (presidential helicopter) on the base. There was a guy guarding it with a huge rifle. But, I couldn't see anything other than it being a very large rifle. I would have enjoyed a closer look.

Anyway, I'm going to get the Kowa. I'm too weak to stick to my budget. I made some calls and found a good deal on a new scope / zoom eyepiece.

I need to order a fluid pan head or something suitable for the scope. Do you have any suggestions for something that will work well and is reasonably priced? Are those gimble heads worthwhile? By the way, it does not have to be light weight. The weight doesn't matter since it will stay on my lanai / deck.

Thanks,
Dave

jring Tuesday 31st October 2017 00:09

Hi,

I use a 500AH head on some Velbon carbon legs (current equivalent would be Geo N535) - works very well for my old 77mm Kowa and probably would do so for the 88mm one. Got both cheaply off ebay and the classifieds here - 150€ total or so.

Joachim

chill6x6 Tuesday 31st October 2017 13:23

Quote:

I need to order a fluid pan head or something suitable for the scope. Do you have any suggestions for something that will work well and is reasonably priced? Are those gimble heads worthwhile? By the way, it does not have to be light weight. The weight doesn't matter since it will stay on my lanai / deck.
You just need a head? No legs?

I have my 883 on a Manfrotto 128RC head and MT190CXPRO3 legs. So far it has been by far my favorite tripod combo.

PHA Tuesday 31st October 2017 14:33

Hello Gijs,

How do you rate the Meopta S1 APO vs. S2? Is the S2 a really BIG improvement over the S1?
I know it should be defined what is BIG. More so, taking in consideration the price difference between S1 and S2.
Thank you for your opinion.

PHA

Gijs van Ginkel Tuesday 31st October 2017 16:28

PHA, post 20,
Yes I found the S2 a big step forward compared with the S1 especilly with the 30-60x zoom eyepiece.
Gijs van Ginkel

PHA Tuesday 31st October 2017 17:17

Thank you very much, Gijs!!

PHA

Super Dave Tuesday 31st October 2017 23:21

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Yes, just the head for now. I'll see if my existing legs work.

I spotted a NASA Global Hawk at the base today. I've never seen one before.
https://www.nasa.gov/centers/armstro...-098-DFRC.html

The photo was taken with my PROSTAFF 82mm at 60x and holding the iPhone up to the eyepiece.

I'm looking forward to better resolution and zoom.
Dave

Sancho Monday 6th November 2017 22:48

Just saw this thread, and want to take the opportunity to thank Clark, Mooreorless and Mayoayo for their kind recommendations of me and my scope. I wouldn't dream of parting with it were it not for the fact that I hardly go birding anymore. Super Dave...it really is my favourite all-time scope, but I think shipping and duties would make it an impractical proposition from the US. But if you find one at a good price Stateside, I'd strongly recommend you consider it. The two potential downsides, depending on preference, are the 'rolling ball' at low power, and the rather stiff case that rubs off the helical focusser. (I never use stay-on cases anyway). Thanks again guys.

baywatcher Tuesday 7th November 2017 05:41

I wanted to post this last week but I couldn't find my password. Sorry if it's too late to help the OP.

I can't imagine a better deal than this Meopta-made scope from Cabelas. It's the S2 with a NON-removable 20-70 eyepiece. For a $1,500 budget, how can you beat it?

http://www.cabelas.com/product/hunti...1.uts?slotId=3

P.S. It's no Kowa, but it is half the price. And it doesn't have the 30-60 like Sancho's (and mine) but I HAD to mention Cabela's sale so that at least someone here could snap one up.


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