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Old Tuesday 1st March 2011, 23:35   #1
mooreorless
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Theron Saker 15-45x60mm ED spotter compared to the Nikon > 20-45x60mm Non ED Fieldsco

I was following the Theron Zen Ray and Kowa Spotters thread
on Birdforum.http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=189659 I was
kind of bummed out that no one had tried out the Theron 15-45x60mm ED
spotter sold by PredatorOptics.com With a price of only $229 U.S right
now, this scope seems like it is more in the price range of a lot of
people. I posted on that thread that I would like to compare the 60mm
ED Saker to my Nikon 20-45x60mm Non ED Fieldscope. I was contacted by
Pat of Predator Optics and he said he would send me one of the
straight Saker 60ED spotters, my Fieldscope is straight so that is what
I wanted to compare. I guess I should watch what I ask online.

Some of the reasons I wanted to check out this Theron scope
was price, weight, CA control and included cover and of course how sharp
it is. Celestron has the Regal 16-48x65mm F-ED that has had some good
reviews and it weighs about 61 oz. with a price tag of about $400. I
weighed both the Nikon 60mm Fieldscope and 60mm Saker and they both
weighed 46 oz. with their covers on, not sure how much without, 38oz.
maybe. I kind of wish I had the Celestron Regal 65ED scope as well to
compare it.

I did receive the straight Saker scope and it was double
boxed etc. I set up the Saker spotter on my heavy Bogen tripod and 501
head, set up the Nikon on another tripod, not nearly as heavy but works
ok. There was lots of snow in Central Pa. and good for checking on CA.
There is a tree 125 yds. away in my field and I looked at the base of
this tree with snow around. I didn't notice any CA in the Saker scope
and the Nikon showed the familiar green and purple colors on the edge of
the tree trunk. The view in the Nikon was very nice except for this.
These are IMO extreme conditions for this and most of the time I don't
notice this in the Nikon scope. I wanted to do resolution comparisons of
these two scopes. I have to do these outside and it was very cold,
sometimes 2°F, not as much fun doing this stuff in the winter. I don't
get home from work until about 3 pm so the light levels are getting
lower in early Feb. I ended up doing this on the weekends. On the
coldest day the zoom on the Saker was harder to turn and it didn't seem
to affect the Nikon zoom as much. The two speed focuser on the Saker
60ED never changed, it was very easy to turn, the Nikon focuser was ok
as well. I set up my U.S.A.F 1951 resolution target at 200 ft. measured
with a 100ft. tape, Google Earth and a Leica Rangefinder I borrowed from
my BIL. I tested these scopes three different times using this target
and sometimes using a aux light to help when it was cloudy.

The Nikon tested 2.1" and suspect 1.9" the Saker tested
2.3" suspect 2.1" I did star tests using a pretty big ball bearing
and both showed nice circular patterns with some overcorrection, it was
very cold outside doing this and I had to leave the scopes outside for
quite some time. They didn't have perfect star patterns, but it didn't
look like there were any major problems. I did have a chance to check
out Jupiter low in the South West sky and the Saker showed some hint of
bands on the planet and of course the moons. You could tell it was
Jupiter. I didn't set up the Nikon for this, it was another cold night
and straight scope are not the best for the night sky. I am spoiled by
my Orion 100ED.

I know there are some target shooters on BF, so I set out a
box to 100 yds. I had shot some .223 and BBs into. The most of the 22
shots were in the black circle I made and the Red Ryder BB gun I never
did hit the black. I could see why you could shoot out your eye using
it. I could see all these hits including the into the black with both
scopes. I set out this same target the next day at 245 yds. and it was a
very dark a gloomy day. I was still able to see all the hits with both
scope. The Nikon showed CA of course, this box was in the snow, the
Saker showed no color [CA]that I could see. I tried again another day
and it was sunny when I started setting up, but of course the sun went
behind clouds but all and all a brighter day, easier to see the holes.
If I had one of those Shoot N-C targets it would make a difference.

I went up to my brother's place so he could look through
both scopes. We were using them to look at the small mountain I can see
from my place and up at his place. My brother noticed that the view
through the Saker scope was a little better looking against the rocks
and snow about 3 1/2 miles away on the mountain. I think the Saker even
if not quite matching the Nikon scope for resolution has a little better
contrast. I think it has a "cleaner" image than the Nikon. After
looking through this 60mm ED scope I kind of wish I had saved for the
Nikon 60mmED scope. That is ok, I am still thinking of getting a Nikon
50ED scope at some time.


Some of the things I like about the 60mm ED Saker is lack of
CA, comes with a stay on cover that has a strap you could sling the
scope over your shoulder, wider view than the Nikon. The cover is not as
nice as the Nikon's cover, but it works good. The Nikon cover has rings
for a strap. I like the focuser in the Saker, I had to get used to it
compared to the Nikon. The eyecups on the Saker turn to go in. I don't
wear glasses when using optics, but did try my glasses with both of
these and the ER gets tight at the highest settings.
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Old Wednesday 2nd March 2011, 02:19   #2
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Steve,

Thanks for the write up! Sounds like a very good deal for $229.

Is the eye piece removable and if so what kind of mount? I'm guessing for the price it is not removable.

Oh yeah...Long Live John Deere Green! We have lots of it around here.
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Old Wednesday 2nd March 2011, 08:37   #3
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Hi Steve, I love that small tractor, just wish I didn't get R2 tires and used chains in the winter instead. Turf tires would be smoother mowing.
I don't know if it is removable. I will ask Pat.
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Old Thursday 3rd March 2011, 01:07   #4
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The other day I was looking at a small Verizon "sub station" and this is 210 yds. from my place. I found I could read the REA electric meter with both scopes, I will say I could read it a little better in the Nikon Fieldscope, the better resolution made a difference here, there was CA in the Fieldscope, none or very little in the Saker spotter. I forgot to say on the .223/BB target there was some small writing on this box and I was able to read this in both scope to the edge of the view, side to side and top to bottom. Picture was taken with Celestron 80ED prime focus
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Old Thursday 3rd March 2011, 18:36   #5
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The other day I was looking at a small Verizon "sub station" and this is 210 yds. from my place.
That looks like a Portal to another Dimension has landed in your field, and a little gas-pump has appeared beside it!
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Old Thursday 3rd March 2011, 21:56   #6
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Yea Sancho I have seen people go into that and not come out. Just as long as they don't mess up my Verizon DSL internet connection.
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Old Saturday 12th March 2011, 20:57   #7
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Resolution chart etc.
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Old Saturday 19th March 2011, 17:37   #8
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Have you had a chance to compare it to other ED models?
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Old Saturday 19th March 2011, 23:20   #9
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I am sorry, I did not have any ED models on hand at that time. I do have a 80ED and 100ED astro scope, but did not compare it to those. I did not think it was fair, but I do know what ED scopes are supposed to not show. I no longer have this scope at my place.
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Old Saturday 2nd April 2011, 12:56   #10
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"I know there are some target shooters on BF, so I set out a
box to 100 yds. I had shot some .223 and BBs into."

Someone teased me about the BB gun shots, this was done at about 30 ft. for both of these, all I wanted to do was make some holes and then set the target out further . I don't know what the hold over would be for a BB gun at 100 yds.

I guess I would assume people would know I wouldn't be shooting a BB gun at that range.:)
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Old Saturday 28th May 2011, 17:20   #11
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So this Theron is the one to get in this price range? Looks like it's back-ordered. Is there another place I may make a purchase?
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Old Saturday 28th May 2011, 22:14   #12
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I have the Theron Saker in my possession. I will go so far as to say that this is the sharpest scope I have owned in this price range. The next step up would be the Celestron Regal F-ED and, in that case, we are talking about significantly heavier scope. If I could find some way to get a fixed power astro eyepiece to reach focus at various distances then this easily would be my favorite sub-$500 scope (it would be a tough call between it and the Regal).

Color fringing is exceptionally well controlled. Apparent sharpness is excellent. Apparent brightness and color representation are all very good. I don't really have any complaints about it actually....except for the lack of being able to find a fixed power eyepiece to work with it. If Theron came out with one.....

....this would easily be the best value out there considering its performance.
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Old Wednesday 29th June 2011, 18:41   #13
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Wow

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankD View Post
....this would easily be the best value out there considering its performance.
I have looked through a Theron Saker. I don't really have spotting scope knowledge, but I thought the image was absolutely gorgeous.

They should really fix the scope caps though. They don't stay on at all.
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Old Thursday 30th June 2011, 02:31   #14
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With the stay on case, I just used the case ends while using the scope. I would just put up the end covers to protect while not using for a while. I would of tried black electrical tape on the caps if the scope was mine.
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Old Thursday 7th July 2011, 13:57   #15
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Steve,Would like advice,as I'm looking to buy Theron Saker 60mm for birding and nature viewing for no more than 150 yards or so.Would this be a better fit than say the Celestron Ultima 80,20x60?Is it better to go better glass opposed to higher magnifcation?Need to stay in $250.00 budget.Any advise would be a great help or other suggestions. Thanks, Rick
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Old Thursday 7th July 2011, 20:34   #16
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Hi Rick, I never tried the Celestron 20-60x80mm scope. The lack of or low level of CA in the Theron Saker 60mm ED scope is worth more to me than a chance you might get a good sample Celestron 80mm spotter. A good sample 80mm spotter will have a chance of higher resolution than a 60mm, but the C 80 would have CA esp. at higher powers. For 150 yds. the 60mm Saker scope would be an excellent choice esp. for the money. The stay on case is actually really nice, not quite as nice as the Nikon Fieldscope case. I was impressed with the Theron scope and so was Frank D. I hope this helps some.
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Old Thursday 7th July 2011, 22:35   #17
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You can pretty much copy/paste Steve's comments as my own.

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Old Wednesday 13th July 2011, 22:10   #18
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This review of the Theron Sakar has got me thinking twice about my current plan to get a Baader Zoom for my Celestron Ultima 65. Honestly, this scope is virtually the same price as the Baader, which would get me (so it is reported) wide, crisp views (as opposed to nearly useless images above 25x). What would the Sakar get me, image-wise, compared to the Baader/Ultima combo? Frank, I really appreciate your work testing affordable equipment for those of us who bird seriously with modest gear.

thanks,

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Old Thursday 14th July 2011, 04:13   #19
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David,

You bring up an interesting point of discussion. The Baader zoom is a work of art when it comes to eyepiece design. It may be the best zoom eyepiece out there. It is certainly the best astro zoom eyepiece that I have had experience with. It should improve the performance of the Celestron siginificantly. If you had the Celestron ED 65 instead of the standard model then I might be more inclined to say "stick with the Baader combo". But, I think the Saker would probably be the better option. I was made aware that the folks at Theron are working on fixed power eyepieces and/or possibly an astro eyepiece adapter for the scope. That alone would make it superior to the Celestron/Baader in my humble opinion.

Hope this helps.
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Old Thursday 14th July 2011, 13:26   #20
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This review of the Theron Sakar has got me thinking twice about my current plan to get a Baader Zoom for my Celestron Ultima 65. Honestly, this scope is virtually the same price as the Baader, which would get me (so it is reported) wide, crisp views (as opposed to nearly useless images above 25x). What would the Sakar get me, image-wise, compared to the Baader/Ultima combo? Frank, I really appreciate your work testing affordable equipment for those of us who bird seriously with modest gear.

thanks,

David
David,

It's very unlikely that the Baader Zoom will improve your scope's sharpness. All decent eyepieces, even cheap ones, have native resolution in the center field better than eyesight. That means if you were using an eyepiece as a magnifier to look at tiny things in the real world the smallest things you could see would be limited by your eyesight, not the eyepiece. Using an eyepiece on a telescope is like using that same magnifier to examine a photograph. The smallest details you can see are ultimately determined by the resolution of the photo. In a telescope the "photo" is the aerial image formed by the objective lens at its focal plane. A scope with high aberrations produces an aerial image that's like a blurry low resolution photo. It will look blurry no matter how high the quality of the magnifier (eyepiece) you use to look at it.

I have no experience with these particular scopes, but as always, the better one will be the individual specimen with the lowest aberrations and fewest optical defects. I suppose the one with "ED" glass should have a leg up, but there are other possible defects just as bad or worse than chromatic aberration. If your current scope is really "useless" above 25x then you can be pretty sure it's not a good specimen and a better eyepiece will almost certainly do nothing to improve it.

Henry

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Old Thursday 14th July 2011, 15:11   #21
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David,

You bring up an interesting point of discussion. The Baader zoom is a work of art when it comes to eyepiece design. It may be the best zoom eyepiece out there. It is certainly the best astro zoom eyepiece that I have had experience with. It should improve the performance of the Celestron siginificantly. If you had the Celestron ED 65 instead of the standard model then I might be more inclined to say "stick with the Baader combo". But, I think the Saker would probably be the better option. I was made aware that the folks at Theron are working on fixed power eyepieces and/or possibly an astro eyepiece adapter for the scope. That alone would make it superior to the Celestron/Baader in my humble opinion.

Hope this helps.
The celestrons ED scopes are the regals... and if I am not mistaken(from users posts)... the regals won´t reach infinity with the Baader eyepiece.
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Old Thursday 14th July 2011, 15:52   #22
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Actually there were Celestron Ultima EDs which were practically identical to the regular Ultimas except for the ED objective and black armor. They are no longer for sale in the US.
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Old Thursday 14th July 2011, 16:04   #23
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Originally Posted by IvanCavallazzi
The celestrons ED scopes are the regals... and if I am not mistaken(from users posts)...
Ivan, the Celestron ultima series also have an ED version of both, 65, 80 and 100mm
http://www.celestron.com/c3/product.php?ProdID=510

I have read somewhere on the forum threads that the celestron zoom was limiting the scope, but they were probably refering to the ultima ED series
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Old Friday 15th July 2011, 01:17   #24
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I was made aware that the folks at Theron are working on fixed power eyepieces and/or possibly an astro eyepiece adapter for the scope. That alone would make it superior to the Celestron/Baader in my humble opinion.
That's a clincher. Adding the Baader to the Ultima was perhaps a vain hope of making a prince out of a frog. As Henry so rightly points out, the Baader wouldn't really change the basic performance of the scope so much as alter or improve certain parameters (FOV, brightness at magnification). Overall, with the hope of fixed WA down the road, the Saker looks like a much better budget scope platform while I save my pennies for an 82 ED; the Ultima is somewhat a dead end.

Henry, I should have been much more specific by what I meant by "nearly useless" at higher magnification. At 18-25x I though the image was more than adequately sharp and bright, but the fall-off in brightness and especially ER above that was dramatic. At highest magnification the image was not very useful for ID. Overall, the Ultima 65 is still a very good entry-level scope for casual use, for kids' groups, but I outgrew it quickly.

I'm going to consider the Saker seriously, along with the Regal ED65, which is overall the more logical next step.

thanks, gents!

David
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Old Thursday 19th July 2012, 17:16   #25
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Sorry for bumping an old thread, but I just discovered this thread about the Theron Optics Saker 60 ED scope and I think an ED scope at a $260 price point is simply unbelievalble. Some of our regular posters, whose opinion I highly value and whose advice I have blindly taken in the past, have pretty good things to say about this scope.

So a question for them, is the 60 MM Saker optically a close match to the Nikon 50 ED? If it is, then I think this will be my forest birding scope where birds are mostly at short to medium distances. Or are there any other recommendations apart from this for my application? I am really leaning towards this one and I see weight as the only penalty over any other 50mm scope.

Another question about the Saker for which I did not find a definitive answer, is about the eye relief. I wear glasses and so I would like to know if the ER is good enough to see the complete FOV over the entire zoom range.

Thanks in advance.

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