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Old Friday 8th September 2017, 16:23   #1
Mick50
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Scope size and prices

Hi all. After 10-plus years of birding I recently bought just my 2cd pair of binoculars, upgrading from a $300 pair of Eagle Optics Ranger 10x42 to a Zeiss Victory SF 8x42 (grey), and am loving the high quality and performance of such high-end glass. So much light, clarity, and color that pops even in the shade of trees along a reservoir.

Now I'm looking for a scope, to be used mainly for hawk watches and shore birding, with no long hikes or treks due to limited distance mobility on my part.

I'm having trouble making up my mind on size and how far to push my price limit.

One question I have is- would a "mid-priced" larger scope (like Vortex Razor 85mm) outperform a smaller high-end scope (like a Swaro STS 65mm or a Kowa 66mm)?

If weight or bulk was not an issue, would you rather be using a larger mid-price scope or a smaller high-end scope?

Thanks!
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Old Friday 8th September 2017, 22:39   #2
Mick50
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Edit: One reason I'm asking is that I've found a used Swaro 65mm for $1600, which is about the same price of a new Razor 85mm.
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Old Friday 8th September 2017, 23:28   #3
Binastro
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Hi Mick50.
I don't know about individual scopes, but mobility problems might mean lighter and smaller is better.
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Old Sunday 17th September 2017, 15:23   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mick50 View Post
Edit: One reason I'm asking is that I've found a used Swaro 65mm for $1600, which is about the same price of a new Razor 85mm.
If it's the ATS HD and 25-50x EP I would get the Swaro.
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Old Sunday 17th September 2017, 17:27   #5
AdamSi
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As with everything test both I’d really like a swaro 95 atx but currently have vortex razor 85hd (new model) and it’s really very good and next to a swaro ats65 does seem to be better than swaro and the owner of the swaro thought so too, but as I said try them both sometimes perception differs from user to user
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Old Tuesday 19th September 2017, 22:53   #6
Stephen Mark
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With Eagle Optics going out of business I don't know what your warranty situation is going to be on a Vortex product. With scopes bigger objective lens is better for more light and a bigger fie;d of view. I swallowed hard about five years a go and bought the Kowa 884 and have never regretted it. With the 1.6 doubler on it it razor sharp at 96X.As a test I can read three inch high letters at half a mile. Makes ID pretty simple.
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Old Tuesday 19th September 2017, 23:36   #7
Binastro
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Interesting Steve.

I think that U.K. number plates have letters about 79mm high. About 3.1 inches.
The minimum corrected visual acuity eyesight requirement is 20/50.
20/60 daytime driving only.
2 functional eyes 140 degree field of vision.

Someone please correct me if wrong.

I think 20 or 20.5 metres minimum distance.
So 20/20 would give about 50 metres distance.
I think I can read number plates at about 50m maybe a bit more with distance glasses in good light. Clean number plate.
I will check.

50m 96x would give 4,800m.

20m 96x gives 1,920m.

However, I think that an 88mm objective resolves at about 48x as much as it can, but higher magnifications make the job a lot easier.
So I would cut the above 2 distances in half.

Half a mile is only 800 metres.

It may be that only 16x is needed to read numbers 3.1 inch high.

Say 17x for 3 inch high numbers.

I wonder if the Canon 18x50 IS can show numbers 3 inch high at half a mile.

P.S.
This morning cloudy not bright.
Just read yellow number plate, black letters at 48m distance glasses.
The number plate was about 25 degrees off axis, so more crowding.

I will try white number plates in good light. I think I can still exceed 50m for reading number plates two eyes and distance glasses.
One eye now 20/20 the other 20/16.

In my 40s perhaps slightly better than 20/15 eyes I was able to clearly see minute markers on a lit large clock face at 4.7miles about 7,500 m over built up location.
At 3 a.m on many occasions using any of 3 custom refractors 120mm f/8.3 excellent doublets. Inverted images 4mm eyepiece. 250x magnification. No prisms, no star diagonals.
These markers were black on the edge of the lit clock face perhaps 1.5 inch high x 3/4 inch wide.

Last edited by Binastro : Wednesday 20th September 2017 at 11:55.
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Old Wednesday 20th September 2017, 02:42   #8
Steve O4B
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Mark View Post
With Eagle Optics going out of business I don't know what your warranty situation is going to be on a Vortex product. With scopes bigger objective lens is better for more light and a bigger fie;d of view. I swallowed hard about five years a go and bought the Kowa 884 and have never regretted it. With the 1.6 doubler on it it razor sharp at 96X.As a test I can read three inch high letters at half a mile. Makes ID pretty simple.
Steve
Steve,

Vortex is the strong part of that relationship. They are now outselling Bushnell. They will service all EO warranties as well as their own.

For buying optics, as Eagle Optics runs out of product, they have been referring people to us at Optics4Birding.
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Old Wednesday 20th September 2017, 13:38   #9
Pileatus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Mark View Post
With Eagle Optics going out of business I don't know what your warranty situation is going to be on a Vortex product. With scopes bigger objective lens is better for more light and a bigger fie;d of view. I swallowed hard about five years a go and bought the Kowa 884 and have never regretted it. With the 1.6 doubler on it it razor sharp at 96X.As a test I can read three inch high letters at half a mile. Makes ID pretty simple.
Steve
The Kowa 883/884 scopes are easy to describe...they don't miss a thing. Others have more attachments, panache and visibility but side-by-side the Kowa view is unbeatable.
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Old Wednesday 20th September 2017, 15:32   #10
Binastro
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I think that the ability to read three inch high letters at half a mile is more to do with the air stability or lack of, and the observer's eyesight. A good large spotting scope should manage this easily in stable air.

Maybe not enough attention is given in reviews as to how each spotting scope deals with temperature changes and air stability.
This takes time and experience with any particular scope.
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