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Best Scope Size (1 Viewer)

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
We all know bigger is better but it depends how far you plan to carry your scope. Having a medium and a large scope solves the problem but many of us can only afford one scope and others might want to spend cash on a variety of EPs rather than more than one scope.

I'm voting for 82mm. Bigger than a 65 but not as big as an 85 or 95.

What do you think?

Lee
 

peter.jones

Former supporter. No longer active.
Supporter
We all know bigger is better but it depends how far you plan to carry your scope. Having a medium and a large scope solves the problem but many of us can only afford one scope and others might want to spend cash on a variety of EPs rather than more than one scope.

I'm voting for 82mm. Bigger than a 65 but not as big as an 85 or 95.

What do you think?

Lee

I have a 95mm, but think this is overkill in many cases. 70x zoom is good but often unuseable at the high end in heat haze, etc.

I'd say 82-85mm best: lighter, wider angled
 

Graham Osborne

Well-known member
I have a Nikon Fieldscope ED82A which I think is pretty much ideal for use here in UK. The only downside is no wide-angle zoom eyepiece but I love the prime MC eyepieces. The view is fantastically bright at 30x which is what I use 90% of the time. I will put on a 50x or (in good light and when the air is not too wobbly) 75x to ID more distant birds. I have the Nikon ED50A for travel which, for its size, is also a fantastic scope. I mostly use the ED50A at 20x.
 

dwatsonbirder

Well-known member
I'm with Graham as I have the exact same set up. However, if I just had one scope it would be a 65mm with a zoom - perfectly usable in 99% of circumstances and environments. May be a bit big and heavy for the tropics though!
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
I have a Nikon Fieldscope ED82A which I think is pretty much ideal for use here in UK. The only downside is no wide-angle zoom eyepiece but I love the prime MC eyepieces. The view is fantastically bright at 30x which is what I use 90% of the time. I will put on a 50x or (in good light and when the air is not too wobbly) 75x to ID more distant birds. I have the Nikon ED50A for travel which, for its size, is also a fantastic scope. I mostly use the ED50A at 20x.

Hya Graham

I thought there was 6 or more EPs for this scope.
But no WA zoom?
Any chance to fit another brand EP?

Lee
 

Graham Osborne

Well-known member
Hya Graham

I thought there was 6 or more EPs for this scope.
But no WA zoom?
Any chance to fit another brand EP?

Lee

Hi Lee

I'm not sure how practicable it would be to fit a WA zoom of another brand to the Nikon. Eyepieces are connected with a screw thread of limited diameter. Someone may have done this however - perhaps with the Baader? Nevertheless, I find that 30x suits my needs in most situations so this is not an option that I have personally looked into.
 
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Kevin Conville

yardbirder
I have a Nikon Fieldscope ED82A which I think is pretty much ideal for use here in UK. The only downside is no wide-angle zoom eyepiece but I love the prime MC eyepieces. The view is fantastically bright at 30x which is what I use 90% of the time. I will put on a 50x or (in good light and when the air is not too wobbly) 75x to ID more distant birds. I have the Nikon ED50A for travel which, for its size, is also a fantastic scope. I mostly use the ED50A at 20x.

I'm with Graham as I have the exact same set up. However, if I just had one scope it would be a 65mm with a zoom - perfectly usable in 99% of circumstances and environments. May be a bit big and heavy for the tropics though!

I also have this same set up.
82mm when I need the horsepower. 50mm when I need light portability.

Usually 16 or 20x on the 50.
And usually 30 or 38x on the 82. Occasionally 50 or 75x.
Great system.

No one scope can do it all IMO, but If I could only have but one scope I would choose the ED50. An angled ED50 with a 20x requires very little tripod and head making for an exquisitely small and light set up.
This makes it the one I'd use the most, by far.

I'm sure few would agree with my choice however.

65mm scopes, to me, are neither fish nor fowl.
 
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Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Kevin
Take a look at Kowas 550 series mini-scopes if you ever get a chance. They are super performers.

Lee
 

Kevin Conville

yardbirder
Kevin
Take a look at Kowas 550 series mini-scopes if you ever get a chance. They are super performers.

Lee

I haven't looked through one Lee, but they look good on paper.
If that 28 oz. spec includes the zoom EP, which I'm pretty sure it does, it's not too much heavier than the ED50. Maybe 6 oz or so.

The built in sun shade is a major perk as well as a fairly wide field zoom.

If I were starting from scratch but knowing what I know now, I'd look hard at the Kowa and probably buy it.

Added: For giggles I just weighed my ED50A with DS16x EP and Arca plate attached. Came in at 24.7 oz. Allowing probably about two oz for the plate, then it's about 23 oz, or 5 oz lighter than the Kowa. Keeping in mind the Kowa gives a built in sunshade and zoom EP for that 5 oz..

Damn it Lee, now I want one!
 
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Vespobuteo

Well-known member
We all know bigger is better but it depends how far you plan to carry your scope. Having a medium and a large scope solves the problem but many of us can only afford one scope and others might want to spend cash on a variety of EPs rather than more than one scope.

I'm voting for 82mm. Bigger than a 65 but not as big as an 85 or 95.

What do you think?

Lee

80-82mm is really not much bigger than 65. Only about 1/2 f-stop. Negligible in daylight.

For maximum magnification and exit pupil it depends on what eye pieces are available in the specific system.

Weight is not always proportional to objective diameter.

To me choosing a scope is a bit more complex than the diameter of the objective.

Fitting of the eye piece/eye relief and type of focuser would be the things that I look at first.
 

jring

Well-known member
The built in sun shade is a major perk as well as a fairly wide field zoom.

Hi,

the zoom on the TSN-550 is not that wide, in fact it's the same EP as the small body 20-60x zoom, only mounted fixed on the 550, probably for weight reasons to get rid of the bayonet...

It is a bit more useful than the 20-60x version here since the wide end is at 45x which is still often quite useful unlike 60x which often is not too great due to seeing or instrument flaws. Also 30x is wider that way than on a 20-60x.

I think I would have liked a slightly heavier version taking the wide angle zoom of the 880 series better... plus it would have offered some cross selling potential that way...

Regarding what size is best - I think sth good between 60 and 65mm is the best compromise between weight and brightness if you want only one scope. My TSN-3 is 77mm but light for that at 1200g for the body.

Joachim
 
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Kevin Conville

yardbirder
Hi,

the zoom on the TSN-550 is not that wide, in fact it's the same EP as the small body 20-60x zoom, only mounted fixed on the 550, probably for weight reasons to get rid of the bayonet...

It is a bit more useful than the 20-60x version here since the wide end is at 45x which is still often quite useful unlike 60x which often is not too great due to seeing or instrument flaws. Also 30x is wider that way than on a 20-60x.

I think I would have liked a slightly heavier version taking the wide angle zoom of the 880 series better... plus it would have offered some cross selling potential that way...

Regarding what size is best - I think sth good between 60 and 65mm is the best compromise between weight and brightness if you want only one scope. My TSN-3 is 77mm but light for that at 1200g for the body.

Joachim

Thanks for pointing that out Joachim. I can't explain why I thought that was a somewhat wide zoom and I should have looked at comparison specs before saying as such. In fact, the zoom is a bit disappointing from that perspective.

Here's a little comparo:

Nikon ED50:

w/DS16 [email protected]
w/MC20 wide [email protected]
w/DS27 [email protected]
w/DS40 [email protected]

Kowa 553:
Kowa's site just states [email protected], 15-45X

The ED50 with it's prime EPs are wider everywhere and massively wider at the lower magnifications.
Even Nikon's own MCII 13-40 zoom seems to best it with [email protected] for 13X, and Nikon's caught a ration of grief for years for this.

There goes my buzz.
 
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Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
80-82mm is really not much bigger than 65. Only about 1/2 f-stop. Negligible in daylight.

For maximum magnification and exit pupil it depends on what eye pieces are available in the specific system.

Weight is not always proportional to objective diameter.

To me choosing a scope is a bit more complex than the diameter of the objective.

Fitting of the eye piece/eye relief and type of focuser would be the things that I look at first.

All good points VB and for sure choosing a scope is about far more things than just objective size.

Lee
 

bioscope

Well-known member
My advice for a 60mm-scope (if size matters) would be if the Kowa 553 is interesting, the MM4-60 from Opticron. You can read all about my decision, if you follow the links to Juelich-Forum, Germany ( https://www.birdforum.net/showpost.php?p=3697242&postcount=41 ). But I own a 85mm scope, so I cannot recommend a 60mm as stand-alone-scope, because I don't know, what you prefer or what level of skilss you have. Yesterday I see ringed storks and have only my 60 in my car: I can say, that 45x was too less mag, but I could make a photo with the ringnumber of the swedish stork. (I suppose, the optical quality of the scope could male sense of bigger but fixed mag, so ~60x) Depends on how often you make ring-reading or have situations, where 45x isn't enough. I like small scopes, but the dawn is not their prefered observing time (depends on AP vs. mag).
What is said about the things beyond objektive-diameter, the complex personal criteria like focussing, handling (and the very important theme 'tripod&head' ) I agree too.

good decision
Manfred
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

a used 603 or 613 or a current 663 with 30 wide and 20-60 zoom and maybe the new 1.6 extender sounds sweet...

Joachim
 

FrankD

Well-known member
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.
 

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
My first scope is still the one I use most. It is the Nikon Fieldscope 78ED with 30x WF eyepiece, coated in McNett camo form wrap. At the time (in early 1990s), I almost got a 60 mm scope, but when I saw how short and minimalist the Nikon was (especially compared to 80 mm scopes back then), I ended up getting it instead. My thought was that I could pack it almost as easily as a 60 mm scope but I'd have the advantage of larger exit pupil. I like the big bright easy view. Since then, I've acquired other excellent scopes, but I find my 78ED so handy that it is what I generally carry. Incidentally, in comparison to the Nikon 82ED, I prefer the position of the foot on the 78ED because it allows me to rest my focus hand on the tripod head and focus palm-up as if the scope were a big telephoto lens. I also find that the way I have my 82ED set up, with stay-on case and 30x DS eyepiece (which requires careful eye placement for best view), that it is an unnecessary hassle. Also, its extendable hood adds bulk without improving function most of the time.

My other most-used scope is a Nikon Fieldscope 50ED with 27x WF eyepiece with Quake Bushwacker objective cap and McNett wrap. I find that 50 + ~80 is a superb combo. If I could only have one? I'd go with ~80 mm because I don't carry a scope on all minimalist travel adventures or really long hikes, but I use one every day for car based travel and around my home area.

--AP
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
I should come clean and admit to not being a dedicated scope-user but I do have a battered old Diascope 65 with separate fine and fast focus knobs. It is mostly set up on holidays in our rented cottage overlooking a sea loch where there are Otters and Common Seals but it is compact enough for use in the car and occasional outdoor use. It doesn't take up much room in the boot/trunk of the car when traveling to and from our holiday destinations which is an important consideration since we fill the 500+ litre luggage space.

If I was to seriously look for a bigger scope at the top of my list would be Meopta's 82mm S2 with the 30-60 WA EP.

Lee
 

Robert Wallace

Well-known member
Its difficult to give any definitive advice because we are all different both in terms of our physique, type of birding and conditions that we will be putting our scope to use. For example I am not a very regular seawatcher. Let me share my experiences.
My first scope was a Nicke Supra 15-60 x60 drawtube but rarely used over 30x magnification. Its great advantage was that it needn't need much support and could be used hand held ( which I did very successfully walking up to High Street in the English Lake District following Wainright's guidebook, and scoping one of the resident golden eagles as it flew yards in front of me and continued down the valley).
In 1991 I bought a Nikon ED11 Fieldscope with the 20-45 zoom and 20x eyepieces. When the 30x WA eyepiece was available I bought one and hardly ever used the zoom and the 20x even less. This scope served me well up to about 2010 when I purchased a Swarovski 30 x 75 drawtube. This scope weighed about the same as the Nikon but gave a potentially brighter image in failing light. The Swarovski does not have ED type glass but frankly I haven't felt disadvantaged.
As a reluctant tripod user I managed mainly with a Manfrotto hide clamp or Gitzo monopod. For health reasons I purchased my first angled scope a Swarovski ATS 65 with the 25-50 zoom couple with a Manfrotto 190 carbon fibre tripod and a Benro S2 head. The whole combination is attached to a Mulepack tripod carrier.
I am now in my early 70s and this arrangement serves me very well, last October I walked from Cley Coast Guards to Blakeney Point and back about 8 miles on shingle with no problems. In fact it was better than when I walked with my previous scopes (Nikon or Swaro) and monopod attached to a conventional rucksack. While I accept the 80mm Swaro or 82 mm Meopta may be optically superior I am increasingly aware of my advancing age and frankly I am totally happy with my new combination. For convenience I still use my drawtube in a hide.
I can see the advantage of smaller scopes for travel in the same way I use my Swarovski 8x25s on non birding holidays.
 

paddy7

Well-known member
I would agree with Robert's choice. I have a very similar set up with the ATS65, and quite possibly this is the best of both worlds. It's big enough to benefit from available light, has 50x zoom for when it's needed, but is light enough to tote for many a mile. I know the shingle at Blakeney Point, and that is some mean shingle, i can tell you. I walked it with a Kowa 883 and aluminium tripod, and made a mental note not to do it again.
The ATS is a much better option.
Obviously the Kowa 883 is possibly the best available view and not necessarily heavy, but the tripod/head arrangement makes it considerably bulkier.
I always travel with the smaller Swarovski and have never regretted the fact i meant to sell it when i bought the Kowa (even though i'd agreed with myself to do so!). Too many memories, too many miles and too many good birds to part with it....
So my vote goes to a 65mm, for what it's worth....
 
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