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Old Monday 27th February 2017, 01:23   #1
crumpman
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Help me identify the right scope for me

When my wife and I retired we got serious about birding. We now have Zeiss SF binos. I am in the process of buying a used Optican MM3 50 with 24x lens for long hikes, canoeing, and such. I want a full sized scope to round out my arsonal. I am thinking a Zeiss Gavia 85. I have researched Zeiss, Swaro, Leica, Vortex, Kowa etc., and I am open to any model. I have thought about a 65, but I think I would soon want an 85. I want something fairly compact and light, and the Gavia seems to fit the bill. Digiscoping is a definite desire. I will be able to compare side by side in May at a bird fest of Lake Erie in Ohio. Does anybody have any advise for me?
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Old Monday 27th February 2017, 15:49   #2
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Crumpman,

I will be heading out to the Biggest Week too...probably Friday, Saturday, Sunday of the 1st weekend. Maybe I will run into you.

When I started reading your post my initial thought was suggesting either the Opticron ES 80 or HR 80 as you could swap eyepieces between either and the MM3.

Then I read the rest of your post where you stated something compact and light (which I assumes means for an 80 mm class [80-88 mm] scope) as 80 mm class scopes are neither compact or lightweight. I have been bugging Opticron to come out with an 80 mm MM3/MM4 for about a year now but no headway as of yet.

I have only tried the Gavia on one occasion, last September at the American Birding Expo. I didn't tote it around but rather just looked through it at the Zeiss booth. Optically I was quite pleased with it so I don't think you can wrong with it considering your expectations.

The Kowa 880 series, and the Vortex Razor, are also compact compared to many 80 mm class scopes so I don't think you can go wrong there either.

Hope this helps.
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Old Monday 27th February 2017, 20:12   #3
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Crumpman,

From the few samples of the Gavia 85 I've seen, the image quality is not on par with the Diascope 85 it seems to be replacing for now. Among the currently available 80-88 mm scopes, the Kowa 883/884 models with the 25-60x zoom eyepiece are the best. Other superb scopes are the Swarovski ATX 85 and the Meopta S2 82 mm, especially with the 20-70x zoom.

Kimmo
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Old Tuesday 28th February 2017, 20:09   #4
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Crumpman,
I tend to agree with kabsetz who is much more expert than me.
I looked through the Gavia 85 at the Rutland Birdfair last year and was underwhelmed. This opinion was shared by a RSPB warden I spoke to a couple of months later.
Ideally you need to sample a few models yourself.
Small point is there a ZeissStay on Case yet for this model?
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Old Friday 3rd March 2017, 15:02   #5
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Small point is there a ZeissStay on Case yet for this model?
I think there is as a I saw a Gavia being zipped into one last week.

Lee
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Old Friday 3rd March 2017, 15:03   #6
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Originally Posted by kabsetz View Post
Crumpman,

From the few samples of the Gavia 85 I've seen, the image quality is not on par with the Diascope 85 it seems to be replacing for now. Among the currently available 80-88 mm scopes, the Kowa 883/884 models with the 25-60x zoom eyepiece are the best. Other superb scopes are the Swarovski ATX 85 and the Meopta S2 82 mm, especially with the 20-70x zoom.

Kimmo
For value for money I would choose between Gavia, and the Meopta and Kowa mentioned above. They are all terrific.

Lee
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Old Saturday 4th March 2017, 11:46   #7
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Zeiss Gavia is made in Japan as far as I know, by Kamakura. May not be a bad thing but explains the somewhat lower price (still not a cheap scope..).

I would also check out Swaro ATS80+25-50x, Meopta S2 HD 82. In smaller scopes the ATS65 + 25-50x is a nice one.

If budget is not an issue Swaro ATX85 and Kowa 883 are very nice scopes, but pricey and heavier.

Personally I don't like zooms that starts at 30x, I prefer having a larger FOV at lower mag, since I use my scope @ 25x perhaps >90% of the time.

Focus method/wheels is also important for usability of the scope, pick the one that suits you best.

Another parameter is the eye piece/eye relief. Not all scopes may work well at all magnifications with glasses for example.
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Old Thursday 16th March 2017, 14:23   #8
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I borrowed a Zeiss Gavia 85 yesterday, which I will have to return tomorrow. I'm gathering information for a review, so if anyone wants anything in particular evaluated just let me know before tomorrow.

Henry
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Old Friday 17th March 2017, 14:11   #9
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All of your usual tests are always appreciated Henry. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
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