• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

'Choose any two'... (1 Viewer)

Taxboy

Well-known member
Thanks, yes the Pentax are definitely a possibility and I understand the value of such a range of possible eyepieces, many of them quite economical to buy as well. AFAIK, no-one in the UK keeps those scopes in stock, a couple of retailers sell them but I think they only get them in to order - but then, regulations here allow a consumer to return an online order they aren't happy with. Pricing is such that I could conceivably have two scope bodies and a few eyepieces for the cost of some of the other single options.

I'm thinking you're probably right about digiscoping with a camera, perhaps better to use my phone for occasional opportunistic shots and, as you say, use a bridge camera or just my DSLR and its longest lens, put it on the tripod and set everything to give me the best chance of cropping the image.

Anyway, I'm looking at a few models tomorrow to help understand what format will suit me best and how much I need to spend to be satisfied. As you say, the worst scope is the one you leave at home so let's hope I don't buy one of those :) Thanks again.
Good luck with your search. It would be really helpful if you could update the thread with your findings after tomorrow please, even if it is just to say you need to do more research !!

Sent from my SM-T800 using Tapatalk
 

CMB

Well-known member
Thanks, yes the Pentax are definitely a possibility and I understand the value of such a range of possible eyepieces, many of them quite economical to buy as well. AFAIK, no-one in the UK keeps those scopes in stock, a couple of retailers sell them but I think they only get them in to order - but then, regulations here allow a consumer to return an online order they aren't happy with. Pricing is such that I could conceivably have two scope bodies and a few eyepieces for the cost of some of the other single options.

The Kowa TSN-773 is a nice size and weight scope. Unfortunately there are only two eyepiece options now - the zoom with 17mm eye relief, and the 25x fixed with 32mm of eye relief. It appears Kowa discontinued the 30x wide angle with 20mm eye relief.

Differences in stockists and availability always makes it difficult to discuss recomendations - especially across different countries. Where we live we have one hunting store that stocks three brands (two alpha brands and one non-alpha), limited models of those brands, and does not provide good after sales service. So now we always order online from a large reputable camera store that is an authorized dealer of numerous brands, has a good return policy, and fast delivery.

I'm thinking you're probably right about digiscoping with a camera, perhaps better to use my phone for occasional opportunistic shots and, as you say, use a bridge camera or just my DSLR and its longest lens, put it on the tripod and set everything to give me the best chance of cropping the image.

Digiscoping does have it's place, and is another tool to be able to document a sighting. Once you get a scope it's definitely worth getting a good digiscoping adapter that works with the make and model scope and camera device you have. In my field bag I always carry an old mobile phone secured in a digiscope mount "just in case". The setup doesn't produce magazine cover grade photos, but it has been enough to document some rare sighting that showed up.

Your MFT camera will allow for much better quality photos than a mobile phone sensor. Just know it will take time to get the camera mounted, find the bird again, etc.

Tying this back to tripod head selection... If your MFT camera has video capability, try digiscoping using video. Having a fluid video head like the Manfrotto MVH500AH for your tripod/scope makes getting video much easier and smoother. If your camera can do slow motion video that can be a very good way to document sightings.

You can also use your scope/tripod as a rest for your camera instead of adding a second tripod to the setup.

Anyway, I'm looking at a few models tomorrow to help understand what format will suit me best and how much I need to spend to be satisfied. As you say, the worst scope is the one you leave at home so let's hope I don't buy one of those :) Thanks again.

Enjoy the looking, and follow up on the thread with what you looked at and thought of them.
 
Last edited:

Singlereed

Well-known member
Maybe I got all three - low(ish) price, good performance and light weight. I bought an Opticron MM4 60 with SDL v3 eyepiece. I A/B-ed it with the 77 but there just didn't seem to be enough extra to justify the extra size, weight and cost. Indeed, I found the view a bit more eye-friendly in the 60 with exactly the same eyepiece, I can't explain why but perhaps the eye relief comes out better with the 60 scope. It seems nice and clear up to the 45x that you get with this set-up and has a really nice wide view at a lower zoom power. This is my first scope, I reckon the image is good and, as it's light and portable, I'm more likely to use it - handling a few 80/85mm scopes really brought this home. If I do subsequently find that sessions in a hide and/or when the light is poor, means that I want something bigger, then so be it. Possibly, as I have bought an excellent eyepiece, I could even try a larger, used Opticron body with it. I got a good price for the package with case and it was more like the sort of money I wanted to spend. I do need to get a new tripod but even with that, it will all come in under £1k and it's good enough to get started with. BTW, the shop had the new Vortex Diamondback HD 85 which goes for around £499 - it's really nicely made and has an outstanding view, build quality and handling for the money. They didn't have the 65 one in yet but I reckon both those will become a go-to option for that kind of budget. Anyway, thanks, everyone - this forum is really about watching birds, not gear, so I need to get out and use it.
 

asp09

Well-known member
Good choice! I opted for the same model when buying my first scope two years ago and it is a very capable set-up. I also have an 82mm Kowa scope which I picked up used for very little money; optically, the Kowa is a fantastic performer, but I hardly ever use it as I find the Opticron is sufficient in the vast majority of cases - and, at half the weight, it is so much easier to carry around! I use a Sirui VA-5 fluid head with the MM4 and find it to be a perfect match. Regarding the MM4 77, I think you would notice more of a difference in low light conditions, but I agree with you that the MM4 60 strikes a better balance between size and performance.
 

dogbreath

Well-known member
Singlereed - thank you for letting us know the outcome. It is frustrating when there is a discussion but the outcomes remain a mystery.

Glad you got sorted and you are right - get out and use the scope.
 

Taxboy

Well-known member
Single Reed Thanks for updating and sharing your experience. Glad to hear you got sorted and now can really get out there and enjoy your new toy
 

Singlereed

Well-known member
Thanks everyone. Tripod arriving tomorrow via Amazon - it ticks all the boxes but had no reviews so I'll see what it's like and if it's OK, post a link and a review. If it's not, it'll go back and I'll look at something else - I got plenty of useful advice here.

Good point earlier about low light - my testing was on the hottest day of the year so far at midday! Interesting when looking at some really bright white subjects, I got no flare on the MM4s or the Vortex I mentioned, I was quite surprised as I have seen some pretty horrendous cases with binoculars, looking at a swan or egret in bright light. The people in the shop (big shout-out to Tring Astro who advertise some of the best priced package deals for Opticron in the UK and just seem to be lovely people, albeit catering more for star-gazers than birders) did point this out and were at pains to help me find a shadowed spot to focus on amidst lots of really bright light and this, again, was where the MM4 60 stood out. Anyhow, if I ever find I need more reach and/or light, I can maybe try seeking out a used larger Opticron scope body - there are always plenty around for not much money.

Looking forward to getting out, I expect I'll find most of the avians have departed for other shores...
 
Last edited:
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 Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
Warning! This thread is more than 2 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.

Users who are viewing this thread

Top