Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Zeiss - Always on the lookout for something special – Shop now

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Spotting Scope

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old Thursday 30th May 2019, 18:38   #1
Pirots
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: N WALES
Posts: 10
Spotting Scope

Hello everyone.

I have been lurking for a bit trying to educate myself but thought I would ask the question, because I am still no closer to choosing a scope, or whether a scope would let me see what I want to.

I spend a lot of time on Anglesey in the summer in my caravan, and I am always looking out with my binoculars but I can't really see much even though I am very close to the beach. I would like a scope so I can see all the birds that frequent the beach at various times, and there is a small island a mile off shore with a seal colony plus lots of birds. Is there a scope that would allow me to see much at that distance, or would I be wasting my money? Some astronomy would be nice too.

My budget would be around 1k, obviously the cheaper it is, the less of a beating I would get from the wife lol.

Last edited by Pirots : Thursday 30th May 2019 at 18:50.
Pirots is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 30th May 2019, 20:21   #2
Binastro
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: S.England
Posts: 4,458
Hi Pirots and welcome.

Viewing at a mile depends more on the steadiness of the air than the scope, but one mile is quite within the reach of good spotting scopes or fairly cheap but not waterproof astro scopes.
The Astro scopes are heavier.

I bought my 150mm custom Maksutov telescope secondhand from near Anglesey travelling by rail on a Sunday. It took all day.
One of the best scopes I ever had. That was about 1975. It was a rare beast then. Now they are common.
It was used exactly as you intend viewing.

The tripod or mount is as important as the scope.
Do you wear glasses using a binocular?

Regards,
B.
Binastro is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 30th May 2019, 21:00   #3
Pirots
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: N WALES
Posts: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Binastro View Post
Hi Pirots and welcome.

Viewing at a mile depends more on the steadiness of the air than the scope, but one mile is quite within the reach of good spotting scopes or fairly cheap but not waterproof astro scopes.
The Astro scopes are heavier.

I bought my 150mm custom Maksutov telescope secondhand from near Anglesey travelling by rail on a Sunday. It took all day.
One of the best scopes I ever had. That was about 1975. It was a rare beast then. Now they are common.
It was used exactly as you intend viewing.

The tripod or mount is as important as the scope.
Do you wear glasses using a binocular?

Regards,
B.
Lazer eye surgery cured my need for glasses, so luckily it's only sunglasses now.
Pirots is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 30th May 2019, 22:50   #4
jring
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Germany
Posts: 2,030
Hi,

I agree with binastro, that for watching birds at a mile an astro scope is your best bet - good seeing is also needed. You might also try one of either Kowa 880 series or Swaro ATX 95 with a n extender or two, but that will be several times your budget.

Something in 5 or 6 inch, be it an ED refractor (which will take some patience and luck to get used inside the budget) or some catadioptric design like the Maksutov-Cassegrain already mentioned or a Schmidt-Cassegrain like the ubiquitous Celestron C5 or C6. And you need of course a suitable mount and eyepieces. Also you can forget about lugging this around for more than a few meters...

Joachim
jring is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 31st May 2019, 10:12   #5
Gijs van Ginkel
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: utrecht
Posts: 1,670
Pirots, post 1,
One of the Meopta spotting scopes would be a good choice, they are cheaper than Leica, Swarovski en Zeiss scopes and are nevertheless very good.
Gijs van Ginkel
Gijs van Ginkel is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 31st May 2019, 15:04   #6
Troubador
Moderator
 
Troubador's Avatar

 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Sheffield
Posts: 9,174
I agree with Gijs, especially as you are new to scopes. Meopta's S2 HD 30-60x Angled scope is an excellent performer and great value.

Lee
Troubador is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 1st June 2019, 11:10   #7
Pirots
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: N WALES
Posts: 10
Thanks for the suggestions so far.

I have read good things about the Meoptas, and they look to be a really good scope. The cheapest I can see an S2 82 HD + 20-70 eyepiece is from Germany for around 1600.

I have also been looking at a Hawke Endurance ED 20-60 x 85 which also gets good reviews and is considerably cheaper at 550.

I have considered splashing out on the Meopta but for my limited use, I am having trouble justifying it, especially when I need also need a tripod etc, and something like a hide clamp so I can also clamp it in the caravan where I sit. I am looking at a Manfrotto 055 with an X-Pro 3 way head. Hopefully this can be used with the Manfrotto 349 column clamp. I am assuming the centre column can be removed and used with the 349?

Anyway, do you think considering the price difference the Meopta is worth the extra?
Pirots is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 1st June 2019, 18:15   #8
Binastro
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: S.England
Posts: 4,458
Hi Pirots,
If you decide on an astro scope, maybe look at Optical Vision Ltd site.
A 100mm ED scope is about 700, plus extra for a good altazimuth mount.
The 120mm ED might be too large for a caravan.
Even 80mm ED or 72mm ED astro refractors are powerful scopes. They should be O.K. on a heavy photo tripod.

I think that the Meostar would be better than the Hawke at one mile, but the 100mm ED astro refractor better, and the 120mm ED considerably better. But heavier and not waterproof.

Regards,
B.

Last edited by Binastro : Saturday 1st June 2019 at 18:21.
Binastro is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 2nd June 2019, 15:11   #9
Pirots
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: N WALES
Posts: 10
I have just bit the bullet and ordered the Meopta Meostar S2 20-70 x 82 hd spotting scope.

I just need to sort out a tripod and hide clamp now. Not that I will be using it in a hive. It will be used outside the caravan, and the hide clamp for inside.
Pirots is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 2nd June 2019, 16:32   #10
Binastro
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: S.England
Posts: 4,458
Well done, Pirots.
Enjoy the view.

B.
Binastro is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 2nd June 2019, 17:15   #11
Binastro
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: S.England
Posts: 4,458
Pirots,
It is necessary for the temperature inside and outside the caravan to be the same to avoid bad temperature effects when viewing at a mile or even closer. If viewing from inside or near the caravan.
However, if outside a windbreak may be needed to steady the tripod.
Additionally, warm air from ones body can affect the Seeing if inside the caravan. If this occurs, then wearing an anorak can stop most body heat from worsening the view.

One should observe over grass or fields, not concrete or asphalt. Also over water is good, especially if the water, air and ground temperatures are the same.
Higher elevations may be better.

Usually mornings or late afternoons are best at a mile, or sometimes cloudy conditions.

B.
Binastro is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 3rd June 2019, 08:08   #12
Pirots
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: N WALES
Posts: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Binastro View Post
Pirots,
It is necessary for the temperature inside and outside the caravan to be the same to avoid bad temperature effects when viewing at a mile or even closer. If viewing from inside or near the caravan.
However, if outside a windbreak may be needed to steady the tripod.
Additionally, warm air from ones body can affect the Seeing if inside the caravan. If this occurs, then wearing an anorak can stop most body heat from worsening the view.

One should observe over grass or fields, not concrete or asphalt. Also over water is good, especially if the water, air and ground temperatures are the same.
Higher elevations may be better.

Usually mornings or late afternoons are best at a mile, or sometimes cloudy conditions.

B.
Hopefully, that should not be too much of a problem, as I only spend the summer down there and only really need the heating on at night in April. The rest of the summer the heating never comes on, and the door and windows are open.

I will be looking over grass.

I have ordered a Manfrotto MK055XPRO3 Tripod and X-Pro 3-Way Head, and the Manfrotto 349 clamp. I am just hoping that the centre column comes completely out of the tripod so I can use it with the clamp. The 349 says it is compatible with 055 tripods. When I asked the question on Amazon some people said yes it does come out and some people said no.

Am I correct in thinking that the scope will fit directly on to the tripod? I won't need an adaptor or anything?
Pirots is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 3rd June 2019, 12:53   #13
jring
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Germany
Posts: 2,030
Hi,

the 3 way head (not an ideal choice - video or fluid head is preferred but you can get one later and put on your tripod) has a quick release plate which is going to be screwed onto the foot of your scope.

As for seeing aka heat haze - bright sunshine can give you fairly bad seeing - you will notice if the view at high magnification is quite unsteady even if it is great on a grey day.

PS: Congratulations to the Meopta - great scope.

Joachim

Last edited by jring : Monday 3rd June 2019 at 15:11.
jring is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 3rd June 2019, 14:34   #14
Tringa45
Registered User

 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Cologne, Germany
Posts: 273
Pirots,

First off, congratulations on the Meopta S2. Despite its reasonable price, it really plays in the top league, optically and mechanically. Hope there are no repercussions from the finance minister .

You might have to unscrew a plate at the base of the centre column, but no worries, it will definitely be removable. I agree with Joachim that the 3-way head is not ideal and even if you are going to clamp the centre column horizontally, a 2-way head would still be usable in this configuration. The scope can be rotated 90 in its sleeve for normal 45 angled viewing.
Many here have reported favourably on the Manfrotto MVH500AH fluid head, which has a long sliding plate for good balance and a load-compensating spring. Perhaps you could change your order or return the 3-way head for a suitable video head.

John
Tringa45 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 3rd June 2019, 17:36   #15
Pirots
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: N WALES
Posts: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tringa45 View Post
Pirots,

First off, congratulations on the Meopta S2. Despite its reasonable price, it really plays in the top league, optically and mechanically. Hope there are no repercussions from the finance minister .

You might have to unscrew a plate at the base of the centre column, but no worries, it will definitely be removable. I agree with Joachim that the 3-way head is not ideal and even if you are going to clamp the centre column horizontally, a 2-way head would still be usable in this configuration. The scope can be rotated 90 in its sleeve for normal 45 angled viewing.
Many here have reported favourably on the Manfrotto MVH500AH fluid head, which has a long sliding plate for good balance and a load-compensating spring. Perhaps you could change your order or return the 3-way head for a suitable video head.

John
Quote:
Originally Posted by jring View Post
Hi,

the 3 way head (not an ideal choice - video or fluid head is preferred but you can get one later and put on your tripod) has a quick release plate which is going to be screwed onto the foot of your scope.

As for seeing aka heat haze - bright sunshine can give you fairly bad seeing - you will notice if the view at high magnification is quite unsteady even if it is great on a grey day.

PS: Congratulations to the Meopta - great scope.

Joachim
Just looked at the Manfrotto MVH500AH fluid head, and ordered one. If I am going to get a black eye from the Finance Minister, I may as well get two.

Thanks for the advice.
Pirots is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 3rd June 2019, 18:07   #16
jring
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Germany
Posts: 2,030
Hi,

you won't regret the 500AH - it very nice and stable and the long plate allows you to exactly balance your scope.

I love mine a lot.

Joachim
jring is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 4th June 2019, 16:50   #17
Binastro
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: S.England
Posts: 4,458
Pirots,
One has to take care not to get a black eye with some video head handles.
The one mentioned seems O.K. as it slants down.

I sometimes reverse the handle and use it backwards from the front of the tripod.

B.
Binastro is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 4th June 2019, 18:56   #18
wllmspd
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Hampton
Posts: 239
What kind of powers were you planning on using? I’ve upgraded an old 66mm Astro scope to a pair of APM 70mm 45degree bins. The supplied eyepieces are nice and wide, but I use some even wider Astro eyepieces for a 30x View. Enables the brain to average both eyes view for improved detail and avoid having to keep one eye closed. These live on a medium manfrotto tripod and mvh500 head. Wouldn’t want to carry them too far or in hot weather, but for wide and immersive views at a fixed location they take some beating. For those with larger muscles and deeper pockets they even make 150mm models.... you got two eyes, why not use both?

;-) whatever option you take, getting more power than normal binoculars really takes things to the next level!

Peter
wllmspd is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 11th June 2019, 04:55   #19
Pirots
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: N WALES
Posts: 10
I used the Meopta's for the first time this weekend.

Looking out of the caravan they were not so good. The window is tinted and I am trying to look at an angle where I sit. They were better looking straight on but I am unable to clamp them anywhere.

Outside of the van they are much better. Looking at Rabbits and birds that come on the field they are perfect or looking at seabirds on the beach which is about 600m away they are great. You don't need to use the maximum 70x so the clarity is much better.

Now for what I wanted them for, looking at the seal colony on the island. The island is just over a mile away, probably 1.5 miles. I can make the seals out especially when they move but I can't really see them in detail, I can tell they are seals, especially when they move but I can't really see them in detail, which is what I was hoping for. Probably asking too much.

Looking at houses and sheep and generally everything else on the mountain they are great, and I am seeing things that I did not know were there. The distance is maybe half a mile away. If I wanted them for this reason or bird watching then they would be great, because the detail you can see is superb, but unfortunately i am not a bird watcher and I did not want them for this.

The manfrotto tripod is excellent, especially with the fluid head. I was able to set it up at the side of my lounger and have the centre arm horizontal (like you would use it for a macro photos), and just lean over to see through the scope. Even better was using the Manfrotto 349 clamp. I was able to use the centre column of the tripod with the clamp, and clamp it to the arm of the lounger. I could just lounge there and hardly have to move to see through the scope.

Overall, if I wanted to bird watch or if I had a house with great views they would be ideal, but for seeing what I wanted to see, and I would only use them in the summer when I am at the caravan they are not what I was after. Like I said I was probably hoping for too much especially at that distance.

Build quality is excellent. One flaw I noticed was the cap that goes over the eye piece. It just slides on and it comes off too easily. If I was going to keep them I would put a small hole in the side of the cap and put a piece of fine string through, and tie it to the scope. Otherwise I could see myself loosing this cap.

For me it was a toss up of buying the scope or the Cannon lens I have had my eye on. I obviously chose the scope, but now I regret it, and I should have bought the lens. I would get a lot more use out of the lens. I am not really interested enough in birds and because I can't see what I wanted to see then I am not going to get the use out of them.

So if anyone wants a Meopta lens? Make me a realistic offer, otherwise they will probably be advertised elsewhere.
Pirots is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 11th June 2019, 09:43   #20
Gijs van Ginkel
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: utrecht
Posts: 1,670
Pirots, post 19,
There are adapters available that make a telescope out of your telephotolens, it could be fun to try one, they are not so expensive.
Gijs van Ginkel
Gijs van Ginkel is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 11th June 2019, 19:27   #21
Binastro
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: S.England
Posts: 4,458
Hi Pirots,
Telescope adapters for lenses are useful, but almost no camera lens is as good as a good telescope. Even a 600mm f/4 is not as good as a 6 inch astro scope.
A 600mm f/4 Canon, Sony, Nikon or Leica lens probably costs 10k new.
A 1,500 astro refractor will beat it.
The normal telescope adapters are 10mm or 12.5mm focal length giving say 60x on a 600mm lens.
One needs a 2x or 3x Barlow or teleconverter, which then gives 120x and 180x.
They also are not usually phase corrected, but I don't find this to be a problem.
There was a Tamron 18mm right angle converter, which worked well with teleconverters.
The back end of the Pentax 500mm mirror scope also fits T2 lenses and will take 0.965 inch eyepieces.
But astro scopes are better.

The Meopta might do better if you can get a 100x to 150x eyepiece but you might need a custom adapter.
And 80mm aperture is too small really at 1.5 miles.

For looking at seals at 1.5 miles you need a good quality astro scope, say a Skywatcher ED 120mm minimum or 150mmm ED. And a good example.
A cheaper option is a 150mm or 180mm Maksutov, but they have temperature problems.

The main problem is choosing Seeing conditions good enough to see detail at 1.5 miles in daylight.
Just randomly picking the time will be a disappointment. One has to become a good weather watcher. Even then only about a quarter of times will be good at 1.5 miles in daylight terrestrially.
It can be done, but needs care, attention and patience.

I think that you would sell the Meopta fairly easily at a fair price if in good condition.

Regards,
B.

Last edited by Binastro : Tuesday 11th June 2019 at 19:45.
Binastro is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 12th June 2019, 06:07   #22
Pirots
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: N WALES
Posts: 10
I think that you would sell the Meopta fairly easily at a fair price if in good condition.

Regards,
B.[/quote]

It's only been used twice for a few hours, so it's still as new.
Pirots is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 12th June 2019, 14:11   #23
Binastro
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: S.England
Posts: 4,458
The initial brief was for viewing at 1 mile. 1.5 miles is possible, but needs a larger scope for detail, say watching seals.
The main factor is always the atmosphere. Seeing and transparency.
I have viewed fine detail at 5 miles in daylight, but in exceptionally good conditions and location.
1.5 miles frequently.

Possible scopes are.
Skywatcher 120ED or 150ED refractors. Simplest and least problems. Fairly long tubes.
Skywatcher 150mm or 180mm Maksutovs. Temperature sensitive, but take high magnification well. Long focal length. Not good for low powers. Fairly compact.
Celestron C8 or C9.25 SCT. Fairly compact.Tring Astro maybe.
8 inch Dall Kirkham. Expensive usually new.

Magnifications. 100x and 150x fixed eyepieces or zoom. simple eyepieces O.K. but small fields.
Also 80x and 180x.
The Hyperion zoom Mk IV may be O.K. With a Barlow for short focus scopes.

All these scopes need a heavy mount, say an altazimuth from Optical Vision Ltd.

With the reflectors the scopes need to be at ambient temperature for one to two hours.

Regards,
B.
Binastro is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 13th June 2019, 07:12   #24
mayoayo
Registered User
 
mayoayo's Avatar

 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: El Garraf
Posts: 2,225
Couldnt you return the scope to the Seller ?
mayoayo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 13th June 2019, 13:24   #25
Pirots
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: N WALES
Posts: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by mayoayo View Post
Couldnt you return the scope to the Seller ?
Ordered it from Germany, would be a lot of hassle.
Pirots is offline  
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Fresnel spotting scope - next generation scope? Vespobuteo Spotting Scopes & tripod/heads 5 Sunday 11th January 2015 15:43
Vortex Razor HD Spotting Scope v Nikon Scope EDG Fieldscope 85 birdybill Spotting Scopes & tripod/heads 35 Saturday 16th July 2011 02:22
Looking For a Spotting Scope... Progne Subis Spotting Scopes & tripod/heads 2 Wednesday 14th June 2006 23:20

{googleads}

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.21014595 seconds with 39 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 21:59.