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Time for payback

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Old Monday 14th January 2019, 14:54   #1
callumscott90
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Time for payback

Hi Guys,

My name is Callum and I know very little about birdwatching. The reason I am posting here is to ask for a little information, my dad loves to go birding when ever he can. We have never had much money but were comfortable and all the spare money we had went into my education. I have recently started my residency after qualifying and with my first pay check I want to buy dad the best spotting scope I can, just to say thank you as he would never buy one himself and for once money doesn't matter, I just need to know what to get. Most of his bird watching is done from near his car as he has bad arthritis.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Cheers

Callum
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Old Monday 14th January 2019, 14:59   #2
delia todd
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Hi Callum and a warm welcome to you from all the Staff and Moderators.

I've moved your post to the Telescope forum where you're more likely to get the expert advice you need. I also subscribed you to the thread so you will be able to find it easily.

The guys in this forum could do with an idea of what your budget is and, maybe, the kind of birding that your father does (this would affect the reach that he needs).

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy your time here with us.
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Old Monday 14th January 2019, 15:01   #3
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Welcome aboard Callum!
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Old Monday 14th January 2019, 15:04   #4
callumscott90
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Thank you Delia Todd, my budget is up to 5k and I don't honestly know exactly what kind of birding dad does other than he loves going to the Burren in Ireland and thats a very open place so he would need a good zoom.
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Old Monday 14th January 2019, 15:39   #5
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Hi Callum, what a wonderful way to repay your parents for their support. With a budget like that, you can buy the best there is, namely a Kowa 883, Swarovski ATS 80HD/ATX series, Leica Televid 82 or the new Zeiss Gavia, all of which cost between 2-3k and come with high spec zoom eyepieces. If you didn't want to blow such a huge amount, the second hand market can offer you something with 99% of the quality for a whole lot less - Leica televid 77, Swarovski 80HD, Nikon ED82, Kowa 823, which would leave you money aside for either a new pair of binoculars as an accompaniment, or even better, a trip somewhere warm to enjoy a different suite of species. If your father is birding from a car, there are various mounts available, but it may be worth considering a straight rather than angled model.

Hope this helps!
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Old Monday 14th January 2019, 17:58   #6
TBUNDY614
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Welcome Callum, and that is a very nice gesture on your part! I'm sure your dad will be over the moon with whatever equipment you decide to go with in the end.

Best of luck with your search.

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Old Monday 14th January 2019, 18:56   #7
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If you could say something about the level of arthritis, this can help to find a good and usable combo. Because of the weight of a 85mm (Zeiss Diascope since 2011) and the wish for something lighter (incl. tripod and head) I've bought an Opticron 60 (you can read the way of my decision in the german forum incl. the links in the article). If my pain is really hard, my 85mm-Zeiss (2kg) is too much for positioning with the 3.5kg Gitzo&head - and then I'm happy with my 60mm+smaller Gitzo. But it's 'only' 15-45x, and you write about the 'great plains of Ireland', so 45x (also very sharp until the edges) can be not enough. Otherwise a very good 88mm-Kowa or Swaro or other is not less weight with a sturdy tripod, need for the high magnification - also if your father is looking just from outside the car and is doing no hikes.

If money is not the limiting factor (and the joy of spotting prefers), the bino-way is it worth: a 65mm-Swaro objektiv plus the BTX-ocular (but only fix mag plus an extender) will be fine. The other way is the small but fine 60mm-Opticron or the little Kowa 503 with the lower magnification capability. Also there are 66mm-Kowas with a zoom from 20 to 60x (search in the forum for the brand 'kowa 663' and the user 'jring') - but be prepared, that you don't buy a pure scope, you need an good tripod and head for the fun of watching. (Also you have to find out, if your father needs to watch by standing or sitting on a chair, because of the decision for the tripod). If it's bad with the arthritis, I think that a 60-65mm scope is enough, combined with a Gitzo-tripod. But be shure that the twist-knobs of many tripods are practical, of if the clamp-knobs (e.g. manfrotto) are better for handling (I find twisting sometimes not good, if it hurts in the hands because of tightening too much). Better a lighter scope (with a less magnification, and some far away species missing), than a too big scope with a too heavy tripod/head (e.g. a 85mm scope+ tripod is minimum 4.5kg or more), that is unpractical for using for your ill dad.

good decision
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Old Monday 14th January 2019, 20:46   #8
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Hi Callum, lovely payback! My favourite spotter is the Meopta Meostar S2HD82,_with 30-60x zoom lens. This costs about 2k. I'm in Bray, if you want to test mine, PM me.
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Old Tuesday 15th January 2019, 00:36   #9
jring
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Hi Callum,

first of all, welcome to birdforum!

It might be a good idea to find out more about how your dad does watch birds - that is does he watch from inside the car or does he still take short walks? Maybe for starters go with him on a birding trip - which might actually be a great gift too ;-)

If he's birding from inside the car (which is not a bad idea as often birds are kind of used to cars and will tolerate them at much closer distance than humans) there are special car window mounts but they work better with straight scopes - which have some issues when used on a regular tripod...

If he still takes short walks, the weight he can carry is an issue - we are talking about 4-5kg for a full size scope with proper tripod and head and even for smaller scopes you can't use the super-lightweight tripods as they will be too shaky and might be blown over by a gust of wind... I'd say you will be hard-pressed to get below 2.5-3 kg for a usable setup even for a smaller 50 or 60mm scope.

Also it would help to know to know his height as this together with the type of scope (angled or straight) determines what tripods are usable... if we talk about a 2m man using a straight scope the choice is rather limited...

Joachim
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Old Tuesday 15th January 2019, 10:32   #10
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I'm not sure about the rest but Swarovski's focusing would seem well suited for arthritic hands.
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Old Tuesday 15th January 2019, 13:02   #11
jring
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Quote:
Originally Posted by proudpapa56 View Post
I'm not sure about the rest but Swarovski's focusing would seem well suited for arthritic hands.
Would it? Maybe best test if the prospective user can easily grab a beer can or baseball and then tilt the wrist...

A smooth single speed barrel focus like on my old Kowa can be used by sliding a straight finger left and right without gripping anything and almost no force required...

But I'm not a big fan of wheel focus drives, regardless of the brand.

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Old Saturday 19th January 2019, 19:40   #12
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If the arthritis is so bad, that only small focus wheels can be used (e.g. with the straight finger) try before you buy. My DiaScope85 (one wheel, but DSF) is on the stiffer side, so with one finger it will be difficult, but it is precise with no backlash. The focus wheels of the Opticron MM4-60 are much easier to move with the little finger, the fine-focus seems to be very easy to turn - but there are both wheels very exact, very good reacting and without any amount of backlash.
If the artritis is bad, the tripod can be carried in the car with the extended legs, a good column (if wished) with an easy grip for the locking (e.g. the Gitzos Mountaineer) can be used, or without column and the right height with I prefer (Gitzo Systematic) with is sturdier as my Mountaineer.

The head is also a difficult part to find for handling with arthritis - you need usable locking wheels, perhaps the Gitzos 2780 with one wheel for both axis are an option.

clear skies
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Old Tuesday 22nd January 2019, 00:00   #13
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Get him the Meopta and a small ED 50 to travel..and a trip to South Afrika.i think 4000 eu should cover...
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