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Best Scope Size

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Old Wednesday 2nd May 2018, 20:51   #26
kabsetz
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I have been going up in both size, weight and magnification from my first scope onwards.

I started with a 60 mm Mirador in the 1980s, when most folks had a Kowa TS1. Unfortunately, my sample was a bit of a lemon and never showed fully satisfactory images. Maginification was 27x. That was followed a dozen or so years later by Alexis's favourite, Nikon ED 78 A, first with a 38x Wide eyepiece, later other WA's and a 25-75x Zoom.

When the ED 82 A was introduced, I upgraded again, but now the improvement in image quality as well as growth in bulk were relatively minor. Both Nikons were cherry samples with superb image quality. 25-75x zoom was by far my most used eyepiece on these, especially on the 82. With the zoom, I was using magnifications in the range of 50-75 quite a lot, and came to conclude that for my kind of birding, I could not be satisfied with a smaller objective size simply because it would not take magnification well enough.

The Nikon held its ground against stiff competition for many years, but finally had to surrender when Swaro introduced the ATX 95. If Kowa would have come out with their extender for the 883 before the ATX, I probably would have gone that route, but in hindsight I'm happy that did not happen. So now my scope weighs 2.2-2.4 kg (depending on whether the Extender X is on it or not) and maximum magnification is either 72x or 120x. I'm not going to get a smaller scope even for an alternative, as for me its worth carrying around the weight and size for the better view.

As advice for others, though, I'd tone it down a bit and suggest just getting the biggest size you are comfortable carrying. Keeping in mind that the tripod needs to be good, and that there are options available for making carrying the kit more comfortable.

Kimmo
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Old Thursday 3rd May 2018, 11:01   #27
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Originally Posted by paddy7 View Post
Of course, coupling ideal size of scope with ideal specs of EP makes an ideal set-up. A friend with the Kowa 883 has the 1.6x extender permanently in place. In good light, the view of a passerine on a branch can be stunning but i find the lowest mag of 40x far too much.
When i first got into scopes, i was always zooming in to max as often as possible. With a few years under the belt, i'm more inclined to stick around the 20-30x and get more of the FoV and light into the eyepiece.
Seawatching is a classic case of this: long-distance birds (so mag would seem to be critical) but vast width of water (where low mag, high FoV is more important). I do find the biggest objective possible the best option for this particular, strange, obsessive form of the art though.
No more than 25x seem to be pretty optimal as lowest mag for me as well. But I would like to have an even larger FOV/AFOV than most scopes give. Maybe the Zeiss Harpia will take scope viewing to the next step. But I guess we'll have to wait until August to see. (only tried a pre-prod sample).

Last edited by Vespobuteo : Thursday 3rd May 2018 at 11:24.
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Old Thursday 3rd May 2018, 11:10   #28
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Originally Posted by chill6x6 View Post
I

With the S2 I got the WA 30-60X eyepiece. When I bought it I kinda figured I would wish I had bought the 20-70X which is TRUE. Even though the 30-60X IS WA....the 20-70X still has more FOV at 20X. I may get the other at some point. I've used the Kowa 88 for quite a while. It's been a great performer! Both of these have JUST enough eye relief to use with eyeglasses. The S2 IS lighter(a little bit) so I usually end up using it the most because I have to carry it!
Not quite, the 20-70x gives 41m and the 30-60x gives 44m at lowest mag.
What is a bit surprising is the lower transmission of the 20-70x eye piece. Maybe coatings haven't been updated to the latest ones yet?

http://www.houseofoutdoor.com/wp-con...-juli-2017.pdf
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Old Friday 4th May 2018, 13:05   #29
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Originally Posted by Vespobuteo View Post
Not quite, the 20-70x gives 41m and the 30-60x gives 44m at lowest mag.
What is a bit surprising is the lower transmission of the 20-70x eye piece. Maybe coatings haven't been updated to the latest ones yet?

http://www.houseofoutdoor.com/wp-con...-juli-2017.pdf
Thanks for setting me straight on that. I was pretty sure I had read same numbers just backwards! Then again it could have been reader error!
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Old Friday 4th May 2018, 14:27   #30
jring
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Originally Posted by Vespobuteo View Post
What is a bit surprising is the lower transmission of the 20-70x eye piece. Maybe coatings haven't been updated to the latest ones yet?
The 20-70x has 12 elements in 8 groups, the 30-60W 10 elements in 6 groups as per the Meopta pages, so 4 surfaces less (2 per group). This would account for one or two percent better transmission in the 30-60W with current multilayer coatings in both EPs.

Since the difference is quite a bit higher, newer coatings are probably present in the 30-60W. It's quite common for optics to be built in batches and only build a new batch when the last is sold off. With fairly low volume items like spotting scopes this might take a few years.

Joachim

Last edited by jring : Friday 4th May 2018 at 14:31.
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Old Saturday 5th May 2018, 19:15   #31
kabsetz
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The transmission difference in Gijs' measurements is a bit baffling to me. The eyepieces for the Meostar were introduced at the same time with the scope. I had both for testing with the scope for a review for a Finnish magazine when the scope was new on the market. I only did visual comparisons, as I don't have access to a lab for transmission measurements, but from the graphs on the linked review one would expect a pretty noticeable difference in colour balance between the two eyepieces. I don't recall having noticed anything of the sort.

In fact, although eagerly looking forward to the first truly wide-angle zoom (the Kowa 25-60 x Wide had not been introduced then), I ended up preferring the 20-70x.

I wonder if there has been a sample with faulty multi coatings in the test, or perhaps the measurement errors, which are always present, have happened to go in opposite directions here.

Also, the measured transmission Gijs gives for the 30-60x at ca. 91-93%, is about as good as for some of the brightest binoculars on the market, and several % better than for Swaro's ATX scopes. If this is the measurement for the scope and eyepiece together, I find it hard to believe. The 79/86 % figures given for the 20-70x look like what I would expect for the S2 with its eyepiece, based on what it looks like compared to other scopes. Perhaps the reading for the 30-60x ep. is for the eyepiece only?

Anyway, I would not base my choice of eyepieces on these transmission measurements. Both are fine eyepieces with different strengths. The 20-70x just works, very well, at all magnifications, and the range covers what an 82 mm scope can do. The 30-60x Wide has super wide field already at 30x, but is limited by not having true low or high magnifications as well as having quite a bit of rolling ball when panning.

Kimmo
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Old Saturday 5th May 2018, 20:03   #32
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Kimmo,
The measurements were done with the eyepieces attached to the S2 telescope, and the errors are +/- 0,5% so the difference looks significant.
I can try again with another sample, but that will take a little patience since other projects are planned for the near future.
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Old Sunday 6th May 2018, 10:47   #33
kabsetz
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Gijs,

Thanks for the response. It would be good to get repeat measurements. The 91/93 % transmission result would be superb just for the scope body alone.

Kimmo
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Old Sunday 6th May 2018, 11:27   #34
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Kimmo, post 33,
As yet we had only once a transmission value that was way too high and that was about 20 years ago, when we started using the spectrometer for these measurements. Then we surprised ourselves with 110% transmission values for an angled telescope. That is of course impossible, so we spent quite some time to get the equipment in good shape to measure angled telescopes. Since that time we never had values which were too high as compared to the data we received from the producers, occasionally they were too low and that had to do in that case with optical systems that were not completely clean inside or outside (although we had not seen it by eye). The telescope we measured for the report now on the WEB-site of House of Outdoor had a brand new 30-60x eyepiece and a fairly intensively used 20-70x.
We will give it another shot with two eyepieces which are new/never used. It will take a little time, so you have to be patient, but it will come.
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Old Sunday 6th May 2018, 13:59   #35
Vespobuteo
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Meopta says 95%/91% for the S2 body, and 92%/89% for the 30-60x (no figures on the 20-70x).
Would make a total of 87%/81%.

https://www.meoptasportsoptics.com/e...-angled-10668/
https://www.meoptasportsoptics.com/e...0-60x-wa-7730/

Another review in Jagtpraxis said 80%/75% for the 20-70x + S2 (Straight version).

And yet another review (in DWJ Magazin) said 89% for S2 + either of the Meopta eye pieces.

"Compared to ATS 80 HD, the S2 also boasts greater luminosity. Total transmission is 89% regardless of the eyepiece used. With the 25-50 eyepiece, the ATS attained 87%, while with the 20-60 eyepiece the transmission is reduced significantly to 82%."

Last edited by Vespobuteo : Sunday 6th May 2018 at 14:01.
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Old Saturday 12th May 2018, 15:49   #36
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Originally Posted by FrankD View Post
My opinion, 60-65 mm.

It is the perfect compromise between size/weight and magnification range. Sure, there are some times when I would like more than 45x but there are also some times that I would want more than 60x too.

I have a 50 mm, a 60 mm and an 82 mm. I take the 60 mm out more often than the other two.
Good advice.
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Old Saturday 12th May 2018, 15:52   #37
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Originally Posted by chill6x6 View Post
I have them from 60mm to 95mm. The 60-66mm scope doesn't hold a candle to the larger scopes at higher magnifications with low light conditions. BUT with good light the 60-66mm scopes are actually really nice and.....LIGHT! The number one issue I have with most scopes is that 30X is not a low enough magnification. 15-20X is what I use a LOT. I like an eyepiece that starts no more than 20X
A light scope delivering a 20X view is a nice companion.
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Old Saturday 12th May 2018, 15:57   #38
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Originally Posted by Vespobuteo View Post
...I would like to have an even larger FOV/AFOV than most scopes give.
Often I find myself getting hung up on magnification and brightness -- at the expense of FOV. And then I remember, the FOV also represents the total view. It allows us to interact with object's surroundings. Enter into their world.
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Old Tuesday 15th May 2018, 20:07   #39
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An ANGLED 60mm with a fixed 20-25x eyepiece. You can do 90% of the things with a 60mm that you can an 80mm+

Lighter, easier to pack....Handier.
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