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Reviews by Andrew

Recommended
Yes
Price
0$
Pros
  • Quality of a higher price band scope and a massive eyepiece!
Cons
  • Reduction of clarity at max zoom in low light. Not much else really.
Last year I decided to go for a Scope and the new Swarovski scopes were very tempting. I was not keen on spending an extravagant sum on the Swarovski ATS65HD so I asked the shop to obtain a non HD model the ATS65 for me to compare the two side by side.

First impressions after training them both on a shop sign down the street was that there was no discernable difference at all. I opted to go for the cheaper non HD model.

As for the eyepiece, I went for the 20-60x zoom version to give myself greater scope (pardon the pun).

How have I got on with it since then. I have to say 'absolutely great'. The only drawback is I compromised the lightweightness by getting a heavy tripod whihc defeats the object of Swarovski's principle product aim.

I really think the best part of the scope is the wide focussing ring that runs right round the body. It is confortable and you are actually stabilising the scope by holding a bigger area of the body while focussing rather than fiddling with knobs. The focussing is as close as nine or ten feet away, good for butterflies.

The scope performs well when it is cold enough for everything to freeze over thanks to it's nitrogen gas filling.

The whole body is rubberised on the outside and is fully waterproof to a certain depth. This gives me confidence when out birding in the lashing rain.

The zoom eyepiece is wonderful but does have it's downsides. The upsides are I can zoom in on object a fair way off and still get good clear images albeit with a reduced depth of field. The downside is when you zoom right out to 60x in poor light it is not too clear but then again that applies to all scopes really. The zoom does help when seawatching. There is a clever innovation, when you remove the eyepiece there is a disc you can fix to the body to keep it protected in transit. The eyepiece is locked in, to remove it you press a button to release a pin before twisting it off meaning they don't work loose. The eyecups are twist up and down ones which is handy for a four eyes like me. The rubber sleeve round the eyepiece for adjusting the zoom came loose too often and in the end I had to superglue the whole thin back one. No probs since then!

Sizewise, it wins again. On my bus based birding trips the body and eyepiece together easily fit into my daysack.

The footplate is wonderful to Manfrotto tripod owners as you do not need an attachment footplate. The scope slots straight into the manfrotto tripod head.

There is a targetting tube you can fit to the side to allow location of birds but I find this absolutely rubbish. I only use it to keep my stay on case in place.

Now the pictures, I get as clear an image as you could expect with a top model. I must admit I looked into a ATS80HD next to mine and the image was slightly better. That is probably not due to the HD lens but the larger objective lens gathering more light.

Digiscoping. I have taken a few nice pictures with my scope and the Coolpix4500. I am not sure if I could have got better pictures with an HD model. A camera might be more sensitive than the human eye. The result may be a step up in shutter speed with an HD model, I will never know. I tend to keep my zoom eyepiece down to 20-30x zoom to allow more light in thus higher shutter speeds. Only when there is enough light do I go higher than this but that is as a last resort.

I hope I have covered everything here, if there are questions please feel free to ask. I am not highly technical minded but can give a layman's opinion.
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