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What is the main ATS 65 competition?

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Old Sunday 16th February 2020, 00:41   #1
DavidEsterline
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What is the main ATS 65 competition?

I'm new to the forum, and grateful for the warm welcome--and all I've learned while reading before joining.
My question: I'm about to purchase my first scope, and expect it will be a Swaro ATS 65. I want something small and light weight; I'm not particularly concerned with very low light situations. (And I'm VERY happy with my EL 8.5 x 42s!)
What else should I consider when trying out scopes? What is the main competition to the ATS 65?
Thanks
David
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Old Sunday 16th February 2020, 01:14   #2
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The Swaro is a top notch premium scope, the clear market leader with few real competitors at that level. It looks good, performs very well and is pretty sturdy. Expensive, but the class of the bunch in terms of customer support.
Kowa offers a 66mm Prominar scope which accepts their excellent eye pieces, but I've no experience with them
Pentax offers their PF 65 series, which allows use of regular astronomy eye pieces as well as their own. This is noticeable less expensive than the Swaro. Do note Pentax is now owned by Ricoh and has not been as active in the market as they once were.
Nikon still sells their much smaller ED50 Fieldscope, which is a gem with lots of coverage here on BF, but in your size they have a new Monarch 60mm model, which I've not seen. However, Henry Link, one of the most highly respected contributors here on BF, was extraordinarily impressed by the 82 mm version of this scope, which augurs well for the 60mm.
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Old Sunday 16th February 2020, 02:33   #3
DavidEsterline
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Thanks for this response. I read Henry Link's review of the Nikon Monarch 82 a few days ago--and was intrigued, wondering what it might mean for the smaller version. I will look for one to try. Meantime, I wonder if anyone has written a review of the 60mm?
And thanks for the notes about Kowa 66 (is it held in as high regard as the 883/4?) and Pentax 65. I will look for these as well.
Thanks again.
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Old Sunday 16th February 2020, 07:20   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidEsterline View Post
And thanks for the notes about Kowa 66 (is it held in as high regard as the 883/4?) I will look for these as well.
Thanks again.
Not really, the Kowa 660 series are very different to the 880 series in my view. The advantages of the 660 series are they are a fairly compact lightweight telescope and easy to use. My "scoring" would be 7.5 out of 10, giving the ATS 65 HD a 10 out of 10.

What surprises me nowadays is the lack of interest and reports about the Leica 65mm telescope, 20 years ago the Leica 62 APO was the cream of a smaller spotter, then along came Swarovski. Similarly with Zeiss.

Last edited by PYRTLE : Sunday 16th February 2020 at 07:24.
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Old Sunday 16th February 2020, 13:58   #5
DavidEsterline
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Thanks. Lightweight and compact are what I'm looking for--
The Nikon ED50, as well as older Fieldscope models, have caught my attention from the comments and reviews here. I assume the MM3 and 4 are also worth looking at. I realize I've drifted a long way from the Swaro 65--but the the small size and light weight of these others make them very tempting.
Thanks again.
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Old Sunday 16th February 2020, 15:15   #6
Bill Atwood
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The MM4 and the previous MM3 ED are nice little scopes. I had one each for a travel/backup/loaner scope. Just sold the MM4 to a friend. Others have said (in Opticron threads) they compare nicely to the ATS 65. Be aware that the current MM3 is non-ED and made in China, not Japan.

A huge plus for Swaro are the company's service & repair policies and reputation.

Have you given any consideration to a tripod and head?
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Old Sunday 16th February 2020, 15:23   #7
DavidEsterline
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Thanks for the advice about the MM4.
Tripod and head are next--thinking I'll do well to decide on the scope first. I'll also use the tripod for my Sony RX10iv (which weighs in a 38oz or so). Thinking of the Gitzo GT1545t (or earlier version if I can find used)--but concerned that it might not be stable enough for a larger scope. Also recognize that the head that often comes with the 1545 would not be suitable. Your thoughts will be appreciated.
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Old Sunday 16th February 2020, 15:37   #8
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David,
Working on your initial post and the following mentions by your good self.....
"Swarovski ATS 65 and main competition"
" Nikon ED50, MM3, MM4"
So the brief has altered slightly but that's okay as your researching before trying and eventually purchasing.

My thought now if you really wish to splash the cash would be the Kowa 553. Certainly fits your criteria now of light and compac,t but offering Japanese design and Kowa's Prominar glass ( HD / ED etc ) .For me, this scope is head and shoulders above any Opticron scope of 60mm and under.

One further bit of advice, echoed throughout such threads is please physically compare and try out a few options.

Good luck.
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Old Sunday 16th February 2020, 17:10   #9
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Thanks. Yes, I realize I've drifted--tempted by smaller size and lower weight (and, of course, lower price).
I appreciate the Kowa 553 recommendation. I expect to be able to test it side-by-side with the ATS65 (along with others) at a shop a few hours away within the next week or so.
Thanks again.
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Old Sunday 16th February 2020, 18:32   #10
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Damn, would love to have some hands on with 553 vs MM4.

Tripods - For this situation I'd look at Induro CLT103, Slik CF-733 or Benro TMA27C. They are all carbon fiber, 3 section and weigh 2.8-3.0 lbs. I believe they have equivalent 4 section versions if you prefer. I had the Induro and stupidly sold it. Just orderd the Benro as the Slik is backordered. It appears the Induro may no longer be made, but the 4 section CLT104 is still available. I didn't mention Gitzo since their equivalent versions are about twice the price of the Induro/Slik/Benro.

Head - Right now I'm loving the Gitzo GHF2W. Currently using it for a 5.4lb Swaro ATX95. It weighs only 23 oz, and the handle is not captive - it can be pushed forward through the head quite a bit to substantially shorten it. You may want to consider the cheapter Manfrotto MHXPRO or a Manfrotto 700RC2. The 700RC2 is likely the ultimate low weight, low bulk option. I don't care for it in every day birding use, but for travel it is nice.
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Old Sunday 16th February 2020, 22:15   #11
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@PYRTLE, could I ask you to expand on your thoughts on the ATS65 vs. 663M comparison? I am looking for such comparisons as well. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PYRTLE View Post
Not really, the Kowa 660 series are very different to the 880 series in my view. The advantages of the 660 series are they are a fairly compact lightweight telescope and easy to use. My "scoring" would be 7.5 out of 10, giving the ATS 65 HD a 10 out of 10.

What surprises me nowadays is the lack of interest and reports about the Leica 65mm telescope, 20 years ago the Leica 62 APO was the cream of a smaller spotter, then along came Swarovski. Similarly with Zeiss.
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Old Monday 17th February 2020, 08:33   #12
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@PYRTLE, could I ask you to expand on your thoughts on the ATS65 vs. 663M comparison? I am looking for such comparisons as well. Thanks!
It's been a while - 13 years since I was retailing sports optics. At that time I had been extensively using a Swarovski ATS HD with a x30ww. Kowa introduced 2 new ranges, the 600 and 660 series which the shop demonstrated and sold.
The 66 series sat well in that difficult price point range of middle > alpha alongside the standard Swarovski, Zeiss 65 Diascope and Nikon Fieldscope III and was able to take a range of the newer style twist up eyepieces, x20w, x30w and a zoom. Only gripe was the eyecup in the raised position would occassionally slip out of position if your eyebrow rested too heavily on it. My usual comparison test was the 663 with x 30 against the Swaro 65 HD and x30ww. The view at various distances was very good - bright, sharp and true with slight fringing at certain scenarios. But never as crisp as my Swarovski.
The Kowa's focusing knob, composite body, hood, end caps and stay on case were all of very acceptable finish. This lighter build quality sometimes suggested it was not quite as indestrucable as a Sw' bur I never heard of a failure in the field or experienced any units coming back with problems.
In my conclusion a fine alternative.

P
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Old Monday 17th February 2020, 16:37   #13
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mskb

I see you've written elsewhere about your Kowa 663 and a problem you have with it. You'll be aware of sample variation so perhaps as suggested return your unit if possible and test out a replacement. Sometimes we are just looking for the imperfections rather than what pleases us, hence confusion. If I may reiterate - the Kowa 663 is not as good as a Swarovski ATS 65 HD optically.
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Old Monday 17th February 2020, 19:59   #14
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Thank you @PYRTLE for your insights.
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Old Tuesday 18th February 2020, 02:46   #15
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An option not yet mentioned would be the new Opticron mm4 77. It is lightweight (for its size) less than Monarch 60 or Swarovski 65. When combined with SDL eyepiece comparable or better in performance to other mentioned scopes except Swarovski. Much less expensive than Swarovski. Check it out:
https://www.opticron.co.uk/our-produ...d45-fieldscope
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Old Tuesday 18th February 2020, 04:25   #16
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Originally Posted by bcskr View Post
An option not yet mentioned would be the new Opticron mm4 77. It is lightweight (for its size) less than Monarch 60 or Swarovski 65. When combined with SDL eyepiece comparable or better in performance to other mentioned scopes except Swarovski.
I doubt it's as good as the Monarch 60 if the Monarch 60 is anywhere close as good as the big Monarch.

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Old Tuesday 18th February 2020, 11:16   #17
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Hi,

Wouldn't the ZEISS Spektiv Victory Diascope 65T* FL qualify as competition?

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Henning
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Old Tuesday 18th February 2020, 11:59   #18
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Hi,
Wouldn't the ZEISS Spektiv Victory Diascope 65T* FL qualify as competition?
Regards,
Henning
Are they still in production? I mentioned Zeiss in #4, but trying to keep to 65mm or under. With reference to Opticron's use of MM, I believe it stood for Mighty Midget in light of their initial model, was it a 50 or 60mm with a fixed mag. eyepiece........before the telescopic versions.

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Old Tuesday 18th February 2020, 17:44   #19
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Hi Pyrtle,

Quote:
Originally Posted by PYRTLE View Post
Are they still in production? I mentioned Zeiss in #4, but trying to keep to 65mm or under. With reference to Opticron's use of MM, I believe it stood for Mighty Midget in light of their initial model, was it a 50 or 60mm with a fixed mag. eyepiece........before the telescopic versions.
Hm, it might be out of production indeed. I had found it listed in some online shops, but apparently they list it despite it being out of stock and not available any more.

Beats me!

Regards,

Henning
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