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Interview with Harpia Team Leader

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Old Wednesday 4th July 2018, 07:48   #1
Troubador
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Interview with Harpia Team Leader

When Zeiss announced the forthcoming Harpia spotting scope last year and published the specifications, it triggered much speculation and discussion on Bird Forum about the design of the scope and how it functions. I decided to try to cut through the speculation and find out the facts from the leader of the Harpia project. Gerold Dobler has left an indelible mark on the history of sports optics having led the team that created the original Swarovski EL and, much more recently, the Zeiss Victory SF binoculars and now the Harpia spotting scope. He is presently Zeiss Sports Optics Manager of Product Strategy.

Deciding to do this was easy: accomplishing it, less so. It has taken months to arrange, but I was at last able to meet with Gerold Dobler and conduct an interview with him and this is presented below. Please note that the lines commencing with T: indicate me speaking, and the lines commencing with D: are the responses from Herr Dobler. The interview isn’t quite verbatim as our conversation wandered in many directions and I have had to eliminate these diversions and stitch back together the relevant material.

At this point I would like to thank the staff of The Three Horseshoes Inn, in Warham near Wells-next-the Sea, Norfolk, UK, for their hospitality, for allowing us to commandeer a room and for great food and accommodation. I highly recommend The Three Horseshoes and you can find out more by visiting: http://warhamhorseshoes.co.uk/ .

One final point before we begin, to avoid having to quote multiple specifications we only discussed the 95mm version of the scope and not the 85mm.

T: Herr Dobler, thanks for taking the time from your schedule to meet with me to discuss the Harpia scope. My first question is whether the Harpia is based on the Zeiss Photoscope.

D: Actually no. It does borrow the concept of the zoom being made in the objective lens group instead of the eyepiece, but otherwise there is no relationship, and Photoscope was only 15-45x magnification while Harpia is 23-70x.

T: Is the 2.5mm maximum exit pupil due to vignetting of the objective lens during zooming?

D: Yes, that is correct. Of course this was not an accident or some kind of mistake, instead it was a decision from the beginning. But before we talk about exit pupils it is important to understand that we are not discussing binoculars which are subject to handshake, we are discussing spotting scopes mounted on a suitable steady tripod, which is a completely different game. This still leaves the question of brightness of image which I can demonstrate hardly affects the viewer at all in any practical way.

Our goal was to give birders a scope with both a super-large zoom range and a super wide field of view, for all of the practical advantages that come from these, and also a constant angle of view for maximum viewing comfort and pleasure. This could only be done by zooming with the objective lens group, resulting in some (for a telescope) insubstantial vignetting of the objective for just about 40% of the zoom range at the lower end. For sure we knew exactly what we would get and we made the design having in mind some inspiration from the old well-respected Zeiss-Jena Asiola scope, fitted with the 16mm eyepiece. This gave a magnification of 26x and an exit pupil of 2.4mm which was found to be very effective because the human eye is best able to perceive details when the pupil is between 2 and 2.5mm. By the way, Holger Merlitz mentions this fact several times in his recent book although the principal was mentioned by e.g. König and Köhler in 1959. We made sure that the modestly reduced exit pupil at the lower magnifications is within this bracket, and it is actually between 2.5 and 2.2 mm, in the band from 23x to 40x magnification, above which the full objective size is used by the system

Look, the reason for doing this was to achieve a super-wide zoom range with a super wide field. In fact the 3x zoom range is the biggest wide angle zoom range on the market today. As a birder myself this gives me a big choice in magnification and a really tremendous field of view, especially in the low magnifications sector which I use intensively to constantly find birds, or follow flying birds, during the whole observation day.

At the lowest magnification the field of view is wider than any other wide-angle zoom scope today. If you compare with other zoom-scopes at 30x, the Harpia at 23x gives you a 2.8 times bigger area of field of view, that’s almost 3x bigger, which is an enormous help to find birds, and with the bigger depth of field this really helps with identifying flying birds big time.

I can’t think of any habitats where these two things don’t give me positive advantages, and the fact that the angle of view doesn’t change is a nice bonus and makes it so pleasant it encourages you to all the time use the full range of magnifications without any hesitation or reluctance. Once you have experienced this it is disappointing to go back to conventional scopes.

By designing the system to give an EP of 2.5mm at the lowest magnification we made sure that the system would deliver the best image for the human eye and brain to process at this point in the zoom range.

T: OK, but before we examine this question further, when you zoom up from 23x at what magnification do you begin looking through the full objective diameter?

D: From about 40x upwards to the highest magnification the system uses the full objective diameter. This is about 60 Percent of the zoom range.

T: OK, back to the exit pupil at lower magnifications, doesn’t this put Harpia at a disadvantage compared with competitor scopes?

D: The disadvantage is more theoretical than practical, but I am happy to deal with this question full in the face. Only at low magnification there is a minor reduction in brightness restricted to a few minutes at dusk and dawn without practical significance. However the wide field of view (and also the bigger depth of field compared with scopes with a lowest magnification of only 30x) are of much bigger advantage in low light conditions anyway. You can find your subject in the super wide field much quicker, then zoom to about 40x magnification and you get the full objective size with a bigger field of view so you can see the detail you expect from the rules of twilight observation, when high magnification is very well important. If you need the full objective diameter it is there waiting for you to select by zooming to a higher magnification within a second of time.

I have used the scope a lot and from a birder’s point of view the 2.5mm maximum exit pupil at low magnification is of no practical significance because it may appear a little less bright for maybe 10 minutes of the day, compared with the other 710 minutes in a 12 hour day, during which you constantly benefit from the luxury of a 3x super wide-angle zoom range and the bonus of a constant angle of view. And as I said you can get the full objective any time you like by increasing the magnification.

Anyway, most people prefer binoculars for twilight observation and spotting scopes are hardly ever used for night observation, except for some expeditions using spotlights, where you see no difference in brightness anyhow but again benefit from the big field of view.

Second I explained already that there are also compensations coming with the 2.2 - 2.5mm EP in that this is the pupil diameter at which humans can see most detail and at 23x magnification the resolution delivered by Harpia is absolutely better than the human eye can resolve. From 23x to 40x the exit pupil is quite enough and you can see this is correct from your experience of the many variations of well-respected 65mm scopes at around 30x magnification. These 65mm scopes are very popular because they perform nicely even down to an exit pupil of less than 2.0mm for good reasons, but from 40x upwards a larger objective becomes necessary for performance and comfort. At high magnification level the Harpia performs extremely well and gives you much more power than a 65 mm Scope when you need it.

Third, another thing to consider, as I mentioned right at the beginning, is that although small exit pupils can cause difficulties with binos, this is hardly true at all with scopes which are mounted on suitable tripods and not subject to hand shake.

T: OK but as you are mentioning ‘real life’ and ‘practical benefits’ can you give me some examples from real life?

D: Yes and since we are talking about performance at the bottom end of the zoom range I give you two short stories about this. I live in the south of Germany and within reach of the big lakes like the Federsee and the Lake of Constance. So down I went there with some image-stabilised binos and the Harpia, and I wanted to see which was best for viewing the Hen Harriers that roost there, about 50 of them, in the winter time. It is easy to know the males of course but if you want to try to tell the adult females from the young females and young males you need a lot of experience and good optics. A few of the harriers perched on the bushes about 150 to 300 m away, where the high magnification performance of Harpia allowed me to see the face pattern well enough. In between studying these birds I was able to quickly zoom to low magnification and use the big field of view to catch the incoming flying birds before they dropped down into their roosting place among the reeds and to study them while they were still flying. With the binos I couldn’t see enough details on distant birds, but it was very effective to stop panning the Harpia, back off the magnification slightly to 23x to get the full field of view, and take my hand off the scope, and just watch the harriers fly gently across the field of view which was super. In these circumstances and with this technique the Harpia simply out-performed the stabilized binos. With the 23x magnification and 2.5mm EP and the wide field I could see what I needed. I used this technique in summer when I saw a large grey tern at another lake. The question from its size was: is it Gull-billed or Sandwich? It wasn’t behaving like a Gull-billed, it was dipping down to the water then up again and then down.

T: So it was not flying low but rather high?

D: Yes, exactly, and if it would be Sandwich this would be really exciting so far inland. I couldn’t see the bill detail at first and then used the same technique of lowest magnification and maximum field and depth of view and then just watching it fly across. A long black beak with yellow tip made it into a Sandwich Tern and I was really pleased to make this identification making full use of Harpia’s dynamics and agility. By this I mean the ability to go from 23x to 70x magnification and back again, with just a twist of the zoom ring, and no need to swap eyepieces. More birds till the end of the day – this is what counts.

This kind of technique is possible because if you compare it with other zoom-scopes at 30x, the Harpia at 23x, gives you a field of view of 2.8 times bigger area, that’s almost 3x the area of view, which is an enormous help to find birds, and with the bigger depth of field this really helps with flying birds. One more thing. In the south of Germany near these lakes, we often have rain, maybe not so often as in UK but it can be even heavier. A bonus of the 3-times zoom ratio from 23 to 70x is that you have a big choice of magnification without needing to change eyepieces or add a converter which is very convenient when it rains.

T: Tell us more about the big zoom range and how it is achieved.

D: (Sighs) This is not cheap or easy. Moving the objectives to achieve a high quality wide-zoom range is harder than making an eyepiece zoom, but we have a lot of experience with the Photoscope and we have been able to make the system better. To answer your question in detail about how this is done, you would need to be very familiar with the mechanics of how lenses are moved inside optical tubes. The main thing is that over a full day using the scope you appreciate the big choice of magnifications and the comfort from the constant wide angle of view makes you want to stay out longer. Nothing beats the Harpia in dynamics and versatility and this is what makes the whole birding day most successful.

T: What is Harpia 95’s eye relief and does it change with magnification?

D: Good question to ask! It is 18 mm and it does change, but so little it is hardly measureable.

T: Normally low focal ratios can result in serious chromatic and spherical aberration. How well are they controlled? And what can you tell us about perceived sharpness?

This is correct but we have bench-marked opposition scopes and we have worked very hard to achieve a good control of these aberrations and our control of chromatic aberration is absolutely best in class and spherical aberration is at least as good as the best in class, as is the sharpness and contrast. We don’t give these figures out to make it easy for the competition but I am more than satisfied by the results and the market will soon be able to check this.

T: Why no straight eyepiece version?

D: It is governed by demand. About 90% of scopes bought are angled, and some of this is driven by social birding where a group of people is using the same scope. Even tall people can bend down to view through an angled scope but people who are not as tall cannot suddenly grow upwards to look through a straight scope, so the height of the tripod has to be adjusted all the time and this is not popular.

T: Would Harpia eyepiece work on other scopes?

D: We haven’t tried this and it probably works but how well it would work I can’t say because the eyepiece was designed to work with the whole Harpia optical system. The eyepiece isn’t for sale separately.

T: Would astro eyepieces work on Harpia (with suitable adapter) and what magnifications could you expect?

D: Yes, and to achieve something like 105x you would need a 5mm eyepiece.

T: Can you tell us the light transmission achieved by Harpia?

D: Yes, daylight transmission is 88%, helped by our use of High Transmission glass.

T: The Zeiss website said more accessories are coming. What are these?

D: A smart phone adaptor, and adaptor for camera lenses which will allow the fitting of lenses with threads of 49, 52, and 58mm. With standard step rings you can fit other lenses but you need to check if they would work optically

T: Finally, when will the Harpia arrive at the dealers?

D: My latest information is that Harpia will begin arriving in stores starting in September.

T: Herr Dobler, thank you taking time out from your schedule for this interview.

D: You are welcome and I should say Birdforum is welcome. It is the top birding forum in the world and I am happy to make this contribution. As usual I will be at the British Bird Fair in August with the whole Zeiss team and Birdforum members are welcome to visit our stand. Will you be coming to Bird Fair?

T: Definitely, I booked my hotel room last year, for this year’s Bird Fair. So I will see you there and hopefully meet other Bird Forum members.


Lee

I am grateful to the Copyright holder of the photo below, Melissa Penta, for her permission to use it here. She tells me the photo of the Barred-Puffbird was taken at maximum magnification and has not been cropped, using an old iPhone 6.
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Old Wednesday 4th July 2018, 10:25   #2
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Thanks Lee.

One point about which I have had concerns from day one, is whether an optical system with so many elements can achieve consistent high quality collimation and optical quality.
We will see in practice how well quality control is or is not achieved.

Presumably the stabilised binocular was the Zeiss 20x60S, which is top quality, although Zeiss did think well of the Canon 15x50 IS.

Why no 55mm thread adapter? But stepping rings could be used.

To use astro eyepieces, presumably the Harpia eyepiece can be removed.
But would the Harpia have the quality to be used at 150x to 180x?
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Old Wednesday 4th July 2018, 11:01   #3
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Thanks Troub, excellent work and very valuable information!
Good to hear the explanation and motivation on the smaller exit pupil (at low mag).
To mee it now seems more like a feature than an actual limitation.
The Harpia will definitely be considered when (and if) buying my next (larger) scope.

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Old Wednesday 4th July 2018, 12:48   #4
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Thanks Lee.

One point about which I have had concerns from day one, is whether an optical system with so many elements can achieve consistent high quality collimation and optical quality.
We will see in practice how well quality control is or is not achieved.

Presumably the stabilised binocular was the Zeiss 20x60S, which is top quality, although Zeiss did think well of the Canon 15x50 IS.

Why no 55mm thread adapter? But stepping rings could be used.

To use astro eyepieces, presumably the Harpia eyepiece can be removed.
But would the Harpia have the quality to be used at 150x to 180x?
David
Thanks for your kind words.
We don't know how many lenses Harpia has because it is their policy at this point not to reveal this anywhere worldwide. There are rumours of course but lets wait for the release of the product. I get the feeling that there will be more flexibility about this info later in the year.

Zeiss have been too concerned with optimising production of Harpia to do experiments with astro eyepieces, so we don't know what its performance would be like.

Lee
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Old Wednesday 4th July 2018, 12:50   #5
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Thanks Troub, excellent work and very valuable information!
Good to hear the explanation and motivation on the smaller exit pupil (at low mag).
To mee it now seems more like a feature than an actual limitation.
The Harpia will definitely be considered when (and if) buying my next (larger) scope.
VB

Thank you kindly. I look forward to receiving a production Harpia on loan for review later in the year.

Lee
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Old Wednesday 4th July 2018, 14:41   #6
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With a design like the Harpia I expect that most users will just stick to the 23 to 70x zoom provided.
105x was probably mentioned, because it is unreasonable to expect very high magnifications from the Harpia.

I have tried numerous camera and movie lenses with eyepieces, and few perform very well.
The only exception are high quality mirror lenses, such as Delft and very old MTOs.
Zoom lenses rarely do well, except maybe professional T.V. and movie zooms costing tens of thousands.

So it will be interesting to see how production Harpias perform.
If well made they should be good.
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Old Thursday 5th July 2018, 07:00   #7
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Herr Dobler mentioned that Harpia is expected to begin arriving in the shops in September so I would imagine units for review will be made available around the same time.

Lee
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Old Thursday 5th July 2018, 13:28   #8
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Hi Lee,

Thanks very much for arranging and conducting the interview. You certainly asked all the right questions. Despite Herr Dobler's admirable job of representing Zeiss' point of view I hope I can be forgiven for retaining my doubts about how well this design approach can really work, particularly at correcting aberrations at such crazy low focal ratios. If I ever have a chance to test a Harpia my doubts should be quickly dispelled or confirmed.

Henry

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Old Thursday 5th July 2018, 14:17   #9
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Hi Lee,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Troubador View Post
As a birder myself this gives me a big choice in magnification and a really tremendous field of view, especially in the low magnifications sector which I use intensively to constantly find birds, or follow flying birds, during the whole observation day.
Thanks a lot for the interview!

I guess I agree with Dobler that the low magnification/wide field of view combination is quite attractive, and actually useful for practical birding.

As a Kowa 883 owner, my reference of course is the 25x magnification of the TSN-11WZ, and not the 30x quoted by Dobler. Still, my scope is listed with a 42 m/1000 m field of view at 25x, which is very markedly narrower than the 58.8 m/1000 m listed for the Harpia at 23x. The Harpia also beats the 52 m/1000 m of my Nikon ED50 at 13x, which I always considered a really nice wide field of view.

I guess that's probably the unique selling proposition of the Harpia ...

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Old Thursday 5th July 2018, 15:14   #10
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Thanks Henning
Lee
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Old Thursday 5th July 2018, 18:31   #11
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Hi Lee,

Thanks very much for arranging and conducting the interview. You certainly asked all the right questions. Despite Herr Dobler's admirable job of representing Zeiss' point of view I hope I can be forgiven for retaining my doubts about how well this design approach can really work, particularly at correcting aberrations at such crazy low focal ratios. If I ever have a chance to test a Harpia my doubts should be quickly dispelled or confirmed.

Henry
Thanks for your kind words, Henry, I put my back into this one. Dobler is a birder through and through and is only interested in practical benefits for birders. We are all waiting for the availabiliity of production Harpias to find out how it well it works.

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Old Thursday 5th July 2018, 18:56   #12
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I guess stopping down the scope might help with aberrations and perceived sharpness?

Using only a 2.5 mm exit pupil @ 23x magnification, means that the scope is stopped down 1.66 stops. (95/23 = 4.1 mm would be the "normal" size for a conventional scope).

Camera lenses usually have the best edge sharpness, lowest CA etc. when stopped down 1-2 stops.

Also the more complex optical construction actually might make it possible to correct some aberrations in a better way. At least that is true for modern camera lenses.

88% transmission seems to be as good or better than competition.

Tried a Harpia 95 on an indoors fair in March.
No "crazy" levels of aberrations was detected then.
Since it was a pre-production sample and time a bit short I won't go into details here.
But the large AFOV is pretty impressive.

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Old Thursday 5th July 2018, 19:44   #13
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Vespobuteo,

The focal ratios over most of the zoom range are alarmingly low, even after the aperture stop down: f/3.02 at 23x, f/3.15 at 40x, f/3.94 at 50x, f/4.72 at 60x. Something unusual will have to be done just to reach acceptable corrections at those focal ratios.

88% transmission sounds good, but remember that's Zeiss uncorroborated claim for "daylight" transmission. Hopefully Gijs will be measuring the Harpia's transmission using the same protocols he's used for other scopes.

I'll be delighted if the Harpia turns out to be a state-of-the-art telescope, but we should all be skeptical of such an unorthodox design until it's evaluated by disinterested persons applying standard objective optical tests.

Henry

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Old Thursday 5th July 2018, 20:25   #14
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Hi Lee,

thanks a lot to you and Mr.Dobler for a most interesting read!

Regarding the focal ratios - the stack of glass theory has already been brought forward. I agree that with a stack of glass as objective, very fast focal ratios can be reached with an acceptable quality - just look at premium long and fast telephoto lenses.

Some light might be lost due to that - otoh a bit can be made up by having a little simpler EP design than a zoom.

Also this is an instrument designed for daylight viewing, so the last half-percent of transmission is maybe not that important... as was pointed out by Mr Dobler.

I'm looking forward to read real reviews of the Harpia and maybe get a chance to try one myself sometime...

Joachim
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Old Thursday 5th July 2018, 22:10   #15
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Considering focal ratios,
the Harpia 95 is similar to a "zoom lens" with range from 175-523mm/f3.0-5.5,
so the short end is fast (compared to a conventional scope).
But not that fast, or extreme, if we talk about camera zoom lenses.
What "standards" would be most relevant here?

I really hope and believe that Zeiss can pull this off with the best materials,
optical design and manufacturing quality at the highest standard.
The concept and intentions are IMO really good and useful.

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Old Thursday 5th July 2018, 22:50   #16
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40,000 Euros?

A T.V. or movie zoom lens can actually cost more.
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Old Friday 6th July 2018, 07:03   #17
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40,000 Euros?

A T.V. or movie zoom lens can actually cost more.
Decimal point in the wrong place! List price for the 95mm is £3,395 so just under Euro 4,000

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Old Friday 6th July 2018, 10:33   #18
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Decimal point in the wrong place! List price for the 95mm is £3,395 so just under Euro 4,000

Lee
That is actually quite cheap, considering the new Sony 400mm lens is priced at US $12,000 and it is not even a zoom.
Presumably the added cost of the Sony reflects the bigger glass (the objective lens is around 150mm) and the need to maintain a flat image across the much larger camera sensor, but even so, the Zeiss scope seems keenly priced.
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Old Friday 6th July 2018, 11:28   #19
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That is actually quite cheap, considering the new Sony 400mm lens is priced at US $12,000 and it is not even a zoom.
Presumably the added cost of the Sony reflects the bigger glass (the objective lens is around 150mm) and the need to maintain a flat image across the much larger camera sensor, but even so, the Zeiss scope seems keenly priced.
It is still a substantial investment for most people. With products like this there are different factors that will influence pricing: cost plus profit, competitor's price levels, and the assortment of capabilities your product posseses and your market's willingness to pay extra for them.

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Old Friday 6th July 2018, 23:09   #20
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It is still a substantial investment for most people. With products like this there are different factors that will influence pricing: cost plus profit, competitor's price levels, and the assortment of capabilities your product posseses and your market's willingness to pay extra for them.

Lee
So true!
Still, the Zeiss name plus the extra wide field will ensure it is considered. Imho, it will be the scope to beat if the view is comfortable and the QC is Zeiss grade.
The ball peen hammer QC method pioneered by the founder should be highlighted and still honored by the firm. It helped make them a world leader then and it has even more power today in a world of second rate 'almost as good' stuff.
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Old Saturday 7th July 2018, 07:11   #21
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So true!
Still, the Zeiss name plus the extra wide field will ensure it is considered. Imho, it will be the scope to beat if the view is comfortable and the QC is Zeiss grade.
The ball peen hammer QC method pioneered by the founder should be highlighted and still honored by the firm. It helped make them a world leader then and it has even more power today in a world of second rate 'almost as good' stuff.
The view was certainly comfortable through the pre-production prototypes but I am keeping my powder dry until I have looked through a genuine full production off-the-shelf unit. It sounds terrific but lets wait and see........

Lee
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Old Sunday 8th July 2018, 05:15   #22
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Hello, Lee.
Long time no talk.
Hope you are doing well.

Good to see this interview.
It's appreciated, greatly!

Was especially glad you asked Mr Dobler why there was no straight version and disappointed to find out there doesn't seem to be one forthcoming.
The statement that 90% of spotting scopes ordered are angled is not what I would have guessed and was very surprised to read that.

That just about eliminates the chance I will own a Harpia, unfortunately.
But it's good to know what not to expect so I'm still grateful for the interview.
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Old Sunday 8th July 2018, 06:26   #23
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Was especially glad you asked Mr Dobler why there was no straight version and disappointed to find out there doesn't seem to be one forthcoming.
The statement that 90% of spotting scopes ordered are angled is not what I would have guessed and was very surprised to read that.
I found that very interesting, too. If I remember correctly, the keeper of the German Juelich-Bonn forum years ago pointed out that the majority of the big scopes he sold in his shop were angled, but the majority of the smaller scopes (like 65 mm) were straight, because so many people like to use the small scopes from car windows.

Of course, that was the breakdown for his customers in Germany ... usage patterns might be different elsewhere. Still, it's consistent with Dobler's perspective, and Dobler actually adds a plausible reason for the preference for angled big scopes, which my old explanation lacked.

Regards,

Henning
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Old Sunday 8th July 2018, 07:34   #24
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Hello, Lee.
Long time no talk.
Hope you are doing well.

Good to see this interview.
It's appreciated, greatly!

Was especially glad you asked Mr Dobler why there was no straight version and disappointed to find out there doesn't seem to be one forthcoming.
The statement that 90% of spotting scopes ordered are angled is not what I would have guessed and was very surprised to read that.

That just about eliminates the chance I will own a Harpia, unfortunately.
But it's good to know what not to expect so I'm still grateful for the interview.
Hi Saggi
Good to hear your voice again.

Over here in the UK I can't remember the last time I saw a straight scope. Angled means group viewing is much easier. Taller folks have to bend a bit lower is all.
As for you, why don't you try this? Rotate the Harpia in its tripod ring so that its eyepiece is parallel to the ground. You can aim it in the usual way (there is gunsight on the sunshade so you can rotate this to suit you) and you would look into the eyepiece from one side. but not by too much. You would completely avoid the 'looking down' of a conventional angled scope position.
Dobler uses this a lot when sitting down alongside his lowered tripod.

Lee
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Old Sunday 8th July 2018, 07:38   #25
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Hi,



I found that very interesting, too. If I remember correctly, the keeper of the German Juelich-Bonn forum years ago pointed out that the majority of the big scopes he sold in his shop were angled, but the majority of the smaller scopes (like 65 mm) were straight, because so many people like to use the small scopes from car windows.

Of course, that was the breakdown for his customers in Germany ... usage patterns might be different elsewhere. Still, it's consistent with Dobler's perspective, and Dobler actually adds a plausible reason for the preference for angled big scopes, which my old explanation lacked.

Regards,

Henning
Henning

If you rotate the Harpia within its tripod ring, set on a window clamp, you can use it OK within a vehicle. The video referred to earlier in this thread illustrates this technique.

Lee
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