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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Audubon ranking of scopes (1 Viewer)

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

while I would have expected the Kowa 88x to rule, the margin by which it does so is kind of shocking - the spread of the total score over the whole field is 2.4 points and the lead of the Kowa to the runner up Swaro STX 95 is 0.6 points... go figure...
Also the Swaro 95 is sadly missing - it probably was a victim of the zoom range from 15x to 60x requirement but since all the other alphas were allowed to field their top of the line scopes, it should have been included in my opinion (maybe limit the magnification to 60x)

Regarding the methodology I would have liked a better obscuration effort - maybe in the form of a drape with holes for focuser and EP over each scope... In the form shown with just some masking tape expectation bias might be quite possible...

Also I would have liked some more explanation about the meaning of the different categories - the ones where I missed it most was Zoom (is that about the mechanics or the range or parfocality or all of the above?) and Ease of focus (again, is it about mechanics or optics, ie. does the focus snap or not or borh?)

Joachim
 
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Stephen Mark

Well-known member
Even though 'm not a big Swaro fan the 95 should have been included Ive had limited time to play with both(Iown the Kowa) it would have been much closer. Not being completely covered the Kowas light brown color makes it easy to pick from all the green ones.
Steve
 

henry link

Well-known member
Sure sends my blood pressure up to read something like that. I think this may be the most clueless in a long line of clueless group tests from Audubon Magazine and Living Bird Quarterly stretching back to the 1980s. Why oh why won't they learn how to perform some basic optical tests?!
 

jring

Well-known member
Sure sends my blood pressure up to read something like that. I think this may be the most clueless in a long line of clueless group tests from Audubon Magazine and Living Bird Quarterly stretching back to the 1980s. Why oh why won't they learn how to perform some basic optical tests?!

Hi,

while I agree that bench or star testing or even resolution charts as a last ditch effort would have been interesting, you need qualified staff and in case of bench testing specialized equipment for this...

Plus most of the audience would probably not read beyond the TLDR result of it...

And in the end, it would probably have replaced the subjective sharpness category (with a weight of 1/6) or even made an additional category with a weight of even less - with a fairly limited effect on the total scores.

Finally, after one went the extra mile to measure all the scopes, somebody asks about the sample size which makes the discussion of the results a moot point...

Joachim, advocatus diaboli
 

Fedster

Well-known member
Finland
Unless they have multiple copies of the same scope, all a test like that can say *this specific scope performs as described here*. As a potential buyer I much prefer to know what is the average quality of a scope, not the specific quality of one, and even better, what the spread is between cherries and lemons. In addition, having an objective rather than subjective test would not hurt either.
 

henry link

Well-known member
The first step in a published test like this should be to determine whether some of the scopes have such serious sample defects that they don't represent the true performance of the design. We can't tell from a lemon how good a better specimen might be. A simple artificial star-test is all that's needed. The way the Meopta Meopro HD is described suggests to me that the specimen tested was probably a lemon.

The scoring system here has all the usual weaknesses on steroids. Unrelated characteristics are lumped together into a meaningless total. Just a quick glance at the optical scores turns up one very strange result: the sharpest and brightest scope in the test is the 50mm Vortex Razor. I'm not going to bother with looking for more.
 

Tero

Retired
United States
Interesting that the Trailseeker got good ratings. The 65mm comes in a straight scope. I have pretty much given up using angled scopes though I still have one.
Celestron 52331 TrailSeeker 65 - Straight Spotting Scope (Black) runs $260
 

mooreorless

Well-known member
" the sharpest and brightest scope in the test is the 50mm Vortex Razor."

Wow I missed that!!! So a 50mm Vortex Razor beat out a Nikon Monarch ED 82mm spotter and a Meopta 80mm spotter in that "mid range" price wise $1000-$2000:-O
 

SimonLS

Well-known member
" the sharpest and brightest scope in the test is the 50mm Vortex Razor."

With its low 11x magnification wouldn't that give it a larger exit pupil than the bigger scopes within the same category? There's nothing to say the tests were carried out a the same magnification.

What surprised me was the different eye relief scores for the Kowa 773 and 883 given that they were tested with the same eyepiece. Would the larger objective make a difference?
 

henry link

Well-known member
Exactly my thought too, Simon. As far as we can tell nothing was controlled. A 50mm scope at 11x would look nicely sharp and bright compared to a 65-85mm scope at 60x.
 

Binastro

Well-known member
I would think that some of the most reliable scope, (and binocular), testing is done here on the Birdforum.

I do despair when reading some tests in magazines. They seem to be concerned with advertisers and not upsetting anyone.
And adverts for cheap instruments, and some more expensive ones read like fantasy novels.

Personally, I don't get high blood pressure from these strange writings, more just laughing at how gullible they must think we all are. In cases of the inexperienced possible buyers, unfortunately they do believe these texts.
 

henry link

Well-known member
I don't doubt it, but of the eight 883s I've tested over the years (most recently this week) two were outright lemons with serious astigmatism and coma. If the Audubon reviewers had had the bad luck to receive one of those units the 883's ranking would have much lower and it would have been described just as the Meopta Meopro was.

"Testers liked the bright image the (insert any defective specimen) produced, but found that the scope didn't focus as well at high magnifications as the other contenders."

Henry
 

Jim M.

Choose Civility
I do despair when reading some tests in magazines. They seem to be concerned with advertisers and not upsetting anyone.
And adverts for cheap instruments, and some more expensive ones read like fantasy novels.

FYI: Audubon Magazine no longer has advertisements of any kind.
 

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
I looked at that review, and after less than a minute, I knew it was rubbish, the comparisons
were poorly organized, 85, vs. 50 mm. etc. This is one to ignore.

They need to rethink why and how they perform an optics test.

Jerry
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
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