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Birding Scope for $500-$1000

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Old Monday 5th January 2004, 05:37   #1
nightheron28
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Birding Scope for $500-$1000

Hi everyone,

Please forgive me if this is asked too often, however I am in desperate need of aid.

What is the best scope with apropriate eyepiece for preferrably $500? I would possibly be willing to save up and spend no more than $1000, however it would take me a long time and I really need a scope now! Were talking 5 months. Any ideas are welcome! Thanks in advance!
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Old Monday 5th January 2004, 07:47   #2
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Hi Nightheron28,

On behalf of Admin and the Moderators, welcome to Bird Forum

A difficult query to answer from this side of the Pond as you have several additional manufacturers from what we have. Over here I'd say the top three are Swarovski, Leica and Kowa all with 20-60x eyepiece, but I suspect new prices may be at the top of or above your price range. It may be worth considering a used scope though instead.

I'm sure other members will be along to chip in with their thoughts too.

See you around.
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Old Monday 5th January 2004, 08:00   #3
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The new Nikon ED82A is available in the US for around $1000 and they don't come much better than that - there is a review on this site. I guess the Leica, Zeiss and Swarovski scopes are above your price range.

A favourite over here (but will have to be ordered direct and shipped - but this is no problem) is the Opticron ES80. This retails here for about £550-00 with 30x wide angle or 20-60x zoom lens.

Other possibilities are the highly regarded Nikon Fieldscope III with their new 20-60x zoom, or a 60mm scope from Kowa.

Although not of paramount importance, I would aim to buy an "ED" scope if you can as the image is sharper and brighter thus allowing better use for digiscoping if you go in that direction later on. All of the above scopes are ED designs using fluorite glass elements in their construction (even the Opticron ES80 - it's very unusual to find an 80mm ED scope at that price).

If you go for a zoom eyepiece, you will find the above manufacturer's designs are all very good optically but all zooms provide a narrower field of view. A cheaper fixed 30x wide angle eyepiece will give you a good compromise for birding and offer a much brighter and wider field of view, making it easier to find what you are looking for!
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Old Monday 5th January 2004, 08:40   #4
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I believe Opticron is available in the Stateside. The November Birdwatchers Digest should have the distributor. I think it is the audubon society but I could be wrong.

The ES80 is superb. The HR66 both the non ED and ED Versions is worth auditioning. The non ED is cheaper than the ES the ED version dearer.

Obviously get a few suggestions and then try them out.
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Old Monday 5th January 2004, 15:56   #5
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Hello nightheron28. This is my first post too, but I thought this would be the appropriate time to speak up...No revelations to follow, and you probably are aware of these points, but I state them nonetheless:

If you can wait the six months, it may be worth doing. I say this because the equipment you purchase will be with you for a long time. The joys of a bargain purchase are long outlived by any regrets over inferior kit. Good equipment will hold it's value should you wish to change it at a later date.

Also, don't forget to budget for a decent tripod. Good luck.

Hello to everyone else in the forum. I have been reading your posts for months with keen interest. Thank you all.
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Old Monday 5th January 2004, 16:14   #6
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Hi Joel - glad you've decided to speak out now. Welcome to BF.
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Old Monday 5th January 2004, 17:06   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightheron28
Hi everyone,

Please forgive me if this is asked too often, however I am in desperate need of aid.
What is the best scope with apropriate eyepiece for preferrably $500? I would possibly be willing to save up and spend no more than $1000,!
I have been looking back over the old threads and find that the Eagle optics Raven is cheap enough and reasonably well thought of. See the thread below.
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=2940
I did a search on google and have attached the link to the angled version of the scope: http://www.eagleoptics.com/index.asp...rch=1&pid=3190
You may be able to find it for even less. It seems like a serviceable scope, they dont lose their value much and it leaves something over for a tripod!.
Whatever you buy, the decisions yours!. You do need to look though them to compare too!.

Good luck with the search!. I have the Opticron ES80 that Pete suggested.
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Old Monday 5th January 2004, 20:57   #8
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Thank-you very much everyone for your quick reply's and warm welcome! In the distant pass I have owned a Bushnell Spacemaster, and a bausch and lomb 77mm elite spotting scope Non-ED. Due to financial wows at the time I had to sell these items off. I was not real happy with either. Mainly because when you zoomed in to the 40-60x power the image got incredibly dull and very hard to make out subtle details. I found myself having to use this power quite a bit for birding, as most birds were beyond the lower to middle range of the zoom.

Do any of the afforementioned scopes stay sharp at the farthest extent of their range?

There is one place that carry's optics used, however they dont give them much of a discount, they knock off maybe like 2% of what they cost new!

I really dont want to go into a optics place as most mark up the item 2-3x what Internet wholesalers charge. Plus I just wouldnt feel right going into a store, using all their scopes and then purchasing them online! That would be pretty bad lol!

Thanks again for all of your reply's!!
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Old Tuesday 6th January 2004, 00:00   #9
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In case you haven't checked, here's Birdwatchers Digest link with some of the main players reviewed :
http://www.birdwatchersdigest.com/optics/scopes03.html

'Fraid spotting scopes which hold quality at higher magnifications are generally the ones that cost more.
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Old Tuesday 6th January 2004, 00:50   #10
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Well I see we have two new members posting in this thread, so, I will extend to you both a very warm welcome to Bird Forum.

I empathise with you Nightheron, I am looking at upgrading my scope and it is mind boggling with all the scopes out there.
If you must have a scope now, I can highly recommend the Eagle Optics Raven. You should be able to get it for around 400 and I have been using mine for over a year learning digiscoping. It is a fine scope, but I am looking for a bit more now. As Joel mentioned, I plan on making this my last scope purchase so I am willing to spend a bit more.
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Old Tuesday 6th January 2004, 00:53   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel
Hello nightheron28. This is my first post too, but I thought this would be the appropriate time to speak up...No revelations to follow, and you probably are aware of these points, but I state them nonetheless:

Hello to everyone else in the forum. I have been reading your posts for months with keen interest. Thank you all.
Joel
Hello Joel and on behalf of the staff here at Bird Forum, welcome. Your advice is appreciated and having already bought one scope and looking to upgrade, I plan on following your advice.

Hope to see you posting a little more frequently though
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Old Tuesday 6th January 2004, 03:19   #12
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Minox MD 62 ED W 62mm Waterproof & Fogproof Spotting Scope (45-Degree Angled Viewing)

Anyone have any experience with this scope, it got good marks in the affore mentioned bwd article, best of all it is only around $600 with eyepiece, and it has flouride (ED) glass.
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Old Tuesday 6th January 2004, 06:20   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightheron28
Minox MD 62 ED W 62mm Waterproof & Fogproof Spotting Scope (45-Degree Angled Viewing)

Anyone have any experience with this scope, it got good marks in the affore mentioned bwd article, best of all it is only around $600 with eyepiece, and it has flouride (ED) glass.
I have no knowledge of the Minox scopes!.
You said you had in the past you had to use a 78mm at full zoom often( 60x ) and found it/them dull, its unlikely that you would get that magnification out of a 62mm scope, more likely to be around x45. A 62mm scope would not gather so much light as a 80mm scope either.
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Old Tuesday 6th January 2004, 11:22   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by normjackson
In case you haven't checked, here's Birdwatchers Digest link with some of the main players reviewed :
http://www.birdwatchersdigest.com/optics/scopes03.html

'Fraid spotting scopes which hold quality at higher magnifications are generally the ones that cost more.
That review is one of the reasons I ended up buying the Zeiss scope (plus the fact that is was 300-600USD cheaper than Leica or Swaro). Been happy with it ever since!

If you can do it, save and spend the extra money, and you won't be disappointed.

GR
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Old Tuesday 6th January 2004, 14:24   #15
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alan_rymer,

The Scope I had before was a Non ED Bausch & Lomb 77mm Elite, and yes at the farthest extent of its zoom it was incredibly dull. 44x zoom is very acceptable as long as it is somewhat clear. I live in Northern California, which gets a mediterannian climate, so it is very sunny most of the year round, a 77-80mm scope would not be so nessacery I suppose.

I saw the Pentax 80mm scope is ED and comes with the zoom eyepiece! Only $899!! I may have to save for this.

Anyway I have some great ideas now thank you all for your wonderful help!
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Old Wednesday 7th January 2004, 03:06   #16
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Anyone using the zeiss Diascope with the Zeiss Tripod? The reason I ask is a major online retailer here in the U.S. offers the scope, zoom eyepiece and tripod for $1200 out the door. However if the tripod is crap, this is not such a bargain. Thanks.
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Old Wednesday 7th January 2004, 10:59   #17
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Yep; the Zeiss tripod is actually a Manfrotto 055SSB (3021) with 128rc (3130 head). 1200USD is a bargain!
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Old Wednesday 7th January 2004, 17:13   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightheron28
Minox MD 62 ED W 62mm Waterproof & Fogproof Spotting Scope (45-Degree Angled Viewing)

Anyone have any experience with this scope, it got good marks in the affore mentioned bwd article, best of all it is only around $600 with eyepiece, and it has flouride (ED) glass.
It reviewed as far less than the best in a recent test - but it was a good scope, none the less.
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Old Wednesday 7th January 2004, 17:28   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by normjackson
In case you haven't checked, here's Birdwatchers Digest link with some of the main players reviewed :
http://www.birdwatchersdigest.com/optics/scopes03.html

'Fraid spotting scopes which hold quality at higher magnifications are generally the ones that cost more.
A bit of a marketing style review, I would say .... as rather well demonstrated by this quotation concerning Swarovski's lens coatings: "Working with new computer technology in a vacuum at –562 degrees Celsius". Well, you don't need to be a scientist to recognise the nonsense behind that quotation.

I really do doubt that they looked throught he scopes at a bird.
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Old Thursday 8th January 2004, 03:07   #20
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Okay final question sorry to be so annoying! Is http://www.bhphotovideo.com a reputable dealer, because they are the ones offering the the Zeiss setup for $1200.
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Old Thursday 8th January 2004, 04:26   #21
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Yes, B&H is a good and reputable place... they've gotten about 50% of my last couple of paychecks. ;-)

I like and trust them... and no problems so far.
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Old Thursday 8th January 2004, 05:05   #22
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And yet more opinions nightheron28 to feed your hunger : http://www.resellerratings.com/seller1914.html
http://www.stevesforums.com/phpBB2/v...ic.php?t=18788
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Old Thursday 8th January 2004, 13:03   #23
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Thanks to all for your gracious help! I think I am going to try and hold out for the Zeiss.
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Old Thursday 8th January 2004, 15:37   #24
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Originally Posted by nightheron28
Okay final question sorry to be so annoying! Is http://www.bhphotovideo.com a reputable dealer, because they are the ones offering the the Zeiss setup for $1200.
To echo what someone else said, yes they are very reputable. I've bought from them from the UK ~3 times and cannot fault them.
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Old Thursday 8th January 2004, 18:27   #25
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I would recommend having a look through a Diascope before you order one online. Although Zeiss make fantastic optics I personally did not get on with this scope and ended up going for a Leica instead. So I'd say it's worth checking one out 'in the flesh' before spending all that money on one. That said if you like the scope it sounds like a very good deal (from a good retailer).
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