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Review of the Brunton ICON 25-50x 80mm Angled Scope

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Old Monday 23rd March 2015, 12:56   #51
BinoBoy
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Hi Ziabeam,

I don't know if the XW20 can be removed from my Brunton. Perhaps gcole can answer that.

Mark
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Old Monday 23rd March 2015, 14:26   #52
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Pictures of the bayonet flange of the Vortex 18/23x HD eyepiece

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As mentioned earlier, I recently binged on several new scopes, and learned from research the Pentax PF65ED has its share of disheartened owners (me included) who learned the Baader MKIII won't focus to infinity in it. While I have the Vortex and Swarovski eyepieces in hand it seems worthwhile to explore whether or not either of them would do the trick, offering better results than the low end Pentax zoom eyepiece, in a much smaller package than the coke can sized high end Pentax zoom (which also achieves high enough magnification to exceed practical use in the PF65ED). During assessment of the Swaro and Vortex in the Brunton, the Swarovski seems most tenuous of the two, due to being perilously close to failing to achieve infinity focus if too far back (same fate the Baader suffers), while the Vortex achieved the same feat with copious room to spare.

There are two reasons this might be a good idea, and similarly, the same two factors might make this a fruitless endeavor.

First consideration;

Vortex offers numerous HD eyepieces at VERY reasonable prices, which conceivably could be converted to 1.25" astro type mounts. Proposed adaptation involves replacing the bayonet portion of the eyepiece which involves removing 3 screws, and replacing it with an uber simple 1.25" astro-type mount. Problem is I cannot find any pictures of the other Vortex eyepieces to see if their bayonet end of the eyepiece is a similar 3 screw attachment, or a homogenous part of the fixed power eyepiece, which would render them incompatible to the same conversion approach... Anyone have a Vortex fixed power variant they can peek at? Does it have 3 screws holding the bayonet on the back side? BTW don't remove it unless you have a purge cabinet or you risk depleting the nitrogen or argon charge.

Second Consideration;
We all know that a variety of accessory Vortex eyepieces can be readily obtained. (the ones eluded to in the first consideration whose bayonet adaptability is in question) But I see no availability of the zoom eyepieces no matter how hard I search. Does anyone know before I call Vortex if the zoom eyepieces are readily available separately?
Here is a few pic's of Vortex Razor HD 18/23x long eye relief eyepiece .... gwen
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Old Monday 23rd March 2015, 14:40   #53
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Pentax XW20 Removal From The Brunton

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Hi Ziabeam,

I don't know if the XW20 can be removed from my Brunton. Perhaps gcole can answer that.

Mark
I do not think so, without doing harm to the eyepiece or scope ocular port. I used the "Liquid Nails" silicone formula & I did not skimp on the amount I used. I did a test on two very large metal washer that were partially overlapped prior to the eyepiece attachment. When in a bench vice held securely, I could not break the two apart using a hammer or vice grips .... gwen
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Old Monday 23rd March 2015, 14:43   #54
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Ziabeam,

if you are unable to purchase the Vortex zooms as separate items you might want to check out the Zen-Ray zooms. I know the Zen-Ray 20-60x is the same Swarovski clone as the Vortex 20-60x. The Zen-Ray 25-50x is not a clone of the Swarovski 25-50x, but it and the Vortex 25-50x may be the same eyepiece (I haven't compared them), since the 20-60x and 30x Z-R and Vortex eyepieces are identical.

I have a very low opinion of the Pentax 6.5mm-19.5mm zoom that comes with the Pentax 65mm scope. My unit is the worst zoom eyepiece I have tried (i haven't evaluated any of the really cheap ones). IMO the Nikon 20x-60x MCII is a much better eyepiece and covers a similar focal length range (7mm-21mm) with similar FOV.

Henry
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Old Monday 23rd March 2015, 15:51   #55
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Not being able to remove the XW20 from my Brunon is not a problem.

I ended up with three of the Burntons. A straight one I bought from Botach with the 25-50X and two angled ones that I bought from gcole. One has the 25-50X and the other the XW20.

So, if I had an adapter that just bayoneted on the Brunton, I'd just use it on the two unmodified ones.
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Old Tuesday 24th March 2015, 00:35   #56
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GCole your Vortex loaner eyepiece is like a one-club-golf-bag... I'm determined to try it in every hole on the course. Might even find it a home and have to beg you to sell it to me. It is a lot of eyepiece for the money, and I'm determined to try and find a billet for it, unless of course you decide the billet I find for it is best served in one of your scopes. Until we decide thanks again for entrusting me with it.

BinoBoy glad to hear you won't have to pound that Pentax out of the Brunton to make use of an adapter... would hate to be an unwitting accomplice to that

HenryLink it seems a reasonable chance that the wide angle ZenRay zoom would have the 3 screw attached bayonet, since the photo of the 20-60 Z-R appears to. Hoping the wide angle Z-R has similar optical quality to the comparable (respectable) Vortex. Research seems promising, and YES from what I've read, the Pentax low end zoom is not spoken highly of most places.
By the way... Is the Nikon you spoke of already 1.25" astro-type as the pictures suggest?
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Old Tuesday 24th March 2015, 00:56   #57
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Update... the design of a Brunton specific astro adapter may require titanium alloy material selection, due to much less favorable design envelope when compared to the Swarovski bayonet receiver and its resulting adapter. The popular Swarovski astro adapter envelope lends itself well to the use of an aluminum, while the Brunton's envelope has much less room both radially and axially for inherent stability and strength if aluminum were used (too thin and abbreviated at the bayonet fingers' depths).
Titanium alloy won't significantly increase cost though, since small quantities per unit are in play (not like the linear requirements when changing a whole bicycle frame material), and anodizing can be bypassed since titanium alloy does not need surface reenforcing like softer aluminum.

Just thinking out loud.
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Old Tuesday 24th March 2015, 01:13   #58
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More thinking out loud....
If the Nikon line Henry pointed out is viable, and already has 1.25" astro-type stems ???, then that sensibly dampens the notion of adapting Vortex or Zen-Ray zoom eyepieces for use in the Pentax PF65, unless only the Vortex/Zen-Ray would achieve infinite focus, coupled with exemplary performance in other key respects. Also noteworthy is the fact that gcole's photos seem to indicate the fixed variants (absent '3-screw-upgradeable bayonets) are not suitable for converting to 1.25".

At least the Brunton 1.25" adapter still seems plausible.

I'm just warming up my thinking cap. Never mind the babbling.
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Old Tuesday 24th March 2015, 12:56   #59
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Ziabeam,

Please don't take my mention of the Nikon zoom as an endorsement. I only meant to say that its an eyepiece comparable in focal length range and FOV to the Pentax zoom, but optically superior. The FOV is not wide, eye relief is short and it's not widely available anymore. It does not come with a 1.25" tube. You would need to make one to fit its screw mount (which would also fit the fixed Nikon eyepieces).

I've only seen a prototype of the the Zen-Ray 25-50x, so I don't know how good the production units are. All the Zen-Ray eyepieces have the same bayonet derived from the Swarovski design that the Vortex scopes use, but there are small differences in the dimensions of the bayonets.

Optically, I much prefer the Baader Hyperion zoom to anything else under discussion here. It does not compromise the axial performance of any scope and on the ICON it yields a more useful range of magnifications than the Swaro or Vortex/Z-R 25-50x zooms (about 18.5-56x vs 24-48x) and the FOV is nearly as wide over the same range.

Henry
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Old Tuesday 24th March 2015, 15:13   #60
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Baader Zoom/Burgess 1.9 Corrector Combo ?

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Ziabeam,

Please don't take my mention of the Nikon zoom as an endorsement. I only meant to say that its an eyepiece comparable in focal length range and FOV to the Pentax zoom, but optically superior. The FOV is not wide, eye relief is short and it's not widely available anymore. It does not come with a 1.25" tube. You would need to make one to fit its screw mount (which would also fit the fixed Nikon eyepieces).

I've only seen a prototype of the the Zen-Ray 25-50x, so I don't know how good the production units are. All the Zen-Ray eyepieces have the same bayonet derived from the Swarovski design that the Vortex scopes use, but there are small differences in the dimensions of the bayonets.

Optically, I much prefer the Baader Hyperion zoom to anything else under discussion here. It does not compromise the axial performance of any scope and on the ICON it yields a more useful range of magnifications than the Swaro or Vortex/Z-R 25-50x zooms (about 18.5-56x vs 24-48x) and the FOV is nearly as wide over the same range.

Henry
As to Henry's comment of the Baader Hyperion zoom .... After reading Medinabrit's comment here in Dec. 2009 saying that the Baader zoom will work in the Pentax 65mm when the Burgess 1.9x Binoviewer is used, I purchased a couple awhile back thinking they would come in handy if & when I ever wanted to use them in a binoviewer or with the Baader zoom. I never ended up using it in a binoviewer or the Baader zoom but I can say that when I used it with the XW20 Pentax eyepiece in my Pentax 65 EDAII it gave a very sharp/clear view with just enough magnification increase not to show any significant loss in brightness or clarity. Burgess states the Mag. change will vary depending on the eyepiece/focal range of the scope used. With the Burgess 1.9x corrector I never found the need to use the XW14 eyepiece again. With the Burgess corrector & the XW20 eyepiece combo, it is like having two eyepieces in one. Simply screw on the Burgess corrector to the end of the Pentax XW20mm eyepiece & you turn the 19.5x XW20 eyepiece into a mid to high power eyepiece giving what seems to be close to what the 28x XW14 Pentax gives. What makes it even better is that Burgess sells this little jem(small in size) for only $10. I mentioned all this because when " Ziabeam " comes up with a adapter for the Brunton Spotter, there will be the possibility of using it with the Baader zoom & if there is a focus problem one could try using it with the Burgess Binoview corrector. .... gwen

Last edited by gcole : Tuesday 24th March 2015 at 15:16.
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Old Friday 10th April 2015, 23:04   #61
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I am now using the Baader Zoon on the Kowa 823..amazing eyepiece is all I can say..I had to remove the inner threaded ring to be able to reach infinity ( this operation was explained in the forum by another member that used it on the PF65)
Actually the 2 inch nosepiece adapter has the same thread than the Kowa eyepiece cover,so the eyepiece attaches firmly in its original mount design,but sadly cant focus past 20 meters ,when used in this manner..
Henry...Did you reach infinity on the Icon,with the Hyperion?

Edit: I erased part of this post that made reference to the Hyperion zoom reaching barely infinity on the 823,even after modification.This was caused by a less than efficient provisional attachment method that i improvised .The eyepiece DOES focus past infinity at all magnifications with a few diopters of overrun

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Old Tuesday 14th April 2015, 15:57   #62
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Mayoayo,

Sorry for the late reply to your question about the Hyperion zoom on the ICON scope. It reaches infinity focus with about 8-9mm to spare between the base of the eyepiece body (with 1.25' adapter in place) and the locking collar on the scope body. So, as long as a 1.25" adapter adds less than 8mm to the back of the scope body beyond the locking ring it should work.

Ziabeam,

Are you still working on the adapters for Kowa and Brunton scopes?

Henry
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Old Tuesday 14th April 2015, 22:50   #63
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Henry, that is a lot of focus travel..remember the test with the pentax and also with Regals,,the hyperion would not reach focus with the astro adapter in place,let alone 9 mm to spare!!...add 5 mm from the collar depth and another mm from the 11/4 adapter and you have 14 mm from the top of the scope base to the actual bottom of the eyepiece..I think most other scopes would loose infinity with an eyepiece sitting so high above their mount....what is the near focus point at with its own eyepiece?..It must be real close with the eyepiece so farup..
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Old Wednesday 15th April 2015, 13:51   #64
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Yep, the ICON does have more focus travel than many spotting scopes, particularly ones that focus by moving a prism rather than a focusing lens.

The near focus point with the original 25-50x zoom is about 4m. Unfortunately, excessive spherical aberration at that distance makes the image quality very poor. There is also quite a lot of extra travel beyond infinity with the original zoom. The generous travel beyond infinity is why the scope can easily accommodate eyepieces that require more than average in-focus, like the Hyperion zoom.

Henry
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Old Monday 6th July 2015, 23:58   #65
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Whats really Important ?

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More thinking out loud....
If the Nikon line Henry pointed out is viable, and already has 1.25" astro-type stems ???, then that sensibly dampens the notion of adapting Vortex or Zen-Ray zoom eyepieces for use in the Pentax PF65, unless only the Vortex/Zen-Ray would achieve infinite focus, coupled with exemplary performance in other key respects. Also noteworthy is the fact that gcole's photos seem to indicate the fixed variants (absent '3-screw-upgradeable bayonets) are not suitable for converting to 1.25".

At least the Brunton 1.25" adapter still seems plausible.

I'm just warming up my thinking cap. Never mind the babbling.
I recently e-mailed Ziabeam & found out that he & his family are dealing with a life changing medical condition involving his wife which is now at home recovering from a very serious operation. To answer my own Post ... Family is the most important thing & I am sure all of us here would agree & wish his wife a speedy & full recovery ..... gwen
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Old Tuesday 7th July 2015, 00:20   #66
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Quote:
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I recently e-mailed Ziabeam & found out that he & his family are dealing with a life changing medical condition involving his wife which is now at home recovering from a very serious operation. To answer my own Post ... Family is the most important thing & I am sure all of us here would agree & wish his wife a speedy & full recovery ..... gwen
Amen Brudder, amen.
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Old Tuesday 7th July 2015, 00:29   #67
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I also want to wish a speedy recovery and God Bless. This is when we need him the most.

Jerry
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Old Wednesday 8th July 2015, 00:47   #68
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Thanks gwen. Hope for a speedy recovery from me too.

Henry
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