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Competition for the Opticron MM4/60 with respect to weight & quality costing <$1200? (1 Viewer)

mskb

Well-known member
Competition for the Opticron MM4/60 with respect to weight & quality costing <$1200?

Hello Everyone,

We are looking for a lightweight 60/65mm scope with good optical quality for birding purposes. This will be our first scope. After reading through the forum posts, and getting in touch with a few of our forum members (thanks David, Joachim, & Marc for all your helpful insights!), it is clear the MM4/60 is a top contender.

If I read the specs correctly, the well regarded although more expensive models like the ATS65/Kowa663m/Nikon ED65-A/Vortex Razor 65 with eyepieces come in at 1.2-1.6Kg, at least 250g heavier than the MM4/60-SLDv2 / HDFT.

If one fixes a budget of $1200 (e.g., the Razor costs about that), I wonder if there are any other competing models to the Opticron with similar/better optical quality at comparable weight, even if it costs a little more (i.e., up to $1200)?

Any thoughts?

Thank you!
Kumar

PS: (This question is closely related to Marc's other thread here: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=380496 )
 
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gcole

Well-known member
Hello Everyone,

We are looking for a lightweight 60/65mm scope with good optical quality for birding purposes
If one fixes a budget of $1200 (e.g., the Razor costs about that), I wonder if there are any other competing models to the Opticron with similar/better optical quality at comparable weight, even if it costs a little more (i.e., up to $1200)?

Any thoughts?

Thank you!
Kumar

PS: (This question is closely related to Marc's other thread here: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=380496 )

Did you know the Focus Camera web site USA and EBAY ? ..... you can purchase the Vortex Razor 65 HD (first generation) for $700 or less. Super buy, a very good scope. I owned one.
 

Boogieshrew

Well-known member
I have a generation 1 Razor. A great scope. And Swarovski eyepieces will fit it. I use them, giving fixed mag 24x and 36x (30x and 45x on Swarovski ATS scopes).
The view through the 24x is superb.
The Swarovski zooms also fit.
At that price it’s a great buy.
 

mskb

Well-known member
@gcole, @Boogieshrew, Thank you!!

I had come across this other great thread where you both participated (https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=318686) and had very good things to say about the older Razor65. I did look for the older Razor65 at that point, did come across authorized reseller sites you mention, but left wondering about the ~400g weight increase with its standard 15-45x EP over the MM4+SDLv2 kit. Also, MM4/60 felt more modern (being 2-3 years old vs. the old Razor 6-7 years old).

It is very clear from your posts that the Razor beats the Opticron in optical quality. I think we just have to figure out if the weight increase is worth the improvement for us. Thank you!
 

gcole

Well-known member
@gcole, @Boogieshrew, Thank you!!

I had come across this other great thread where you both participated (https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=318686) and had very good things to say about the older Razor65. I did look for the older Razor65 at that point, did come across authorized reseller sites you mention, but left wondering about the ~400g weight increase with its standard 15-45x EP over the MM4+SDLv2 kit. Also, MM4/60 felt more modern (being 2-3 years old vs. the old Razor 6-7 years old).

It is very clear from your posts that the Razor beats the Opticron in optical quality. I think we just have to figure out if the weight increase is w orth the improvement for us. Thank you!

My Nikon EDG 65 Spotter is quoted here as being the heaviest 65mm Spotting Scope available. If I had worried about a few ounces more to carry, that’s just what I would have .... a lighter scope and not the sharpest/best built scope I could afford. Seriously, unless you are trekking thru a heat ridden desert B :)having no room on your mule to pack your scope3:) do not compromise your view for a few ounces. Having a serious medical issue related to physical carry or mobility would be my only reason to compromise the optical view.
 
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mskb

Well-known member
@gcole, thank you!

I somehow missed mentioning in my original post (sorry @gcole and everyone!) that we are looking first for a travel friendly scope for cross country trips to carry with us on flights. So we figured we should be looking for a 60/65mm scope, and a roughly ~1Kg in weight.

I do see your point about not sacrificing optical quality for a few ounces weight. We thought we would do exactly that for our of the car and short walk based observations (e.g., in wildlife refuges) by spending on a better, heavier ~80mm scope.

I think this discussion brings up a related question as to what diameter scopes are people carrying on their hand luggage. It appears from a few threads people have been successful carrying larger scopes too, but generally tend to prefer lighter 65mm (like the 1.4Kg ATS65HD) for the flexibility of moving around in the target destination.
 
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Boogieshrew

Well-known member
I took my razor 65, velbon sherpa tripod and Meopta 7x42s (abut 4.5kg together) to Alaska from the uk.. Optics in hand luggage tripod in the hold. There’s no way I wouldn’t want the best view on a birding holiday. Had some good long walks with them too. Having said that I wouldn’t take my EDG 85 at 2.4kgs! Nor a heavier tripod that it needs too.
We all find the balance of trade off between weight and quality of view. And mine varies according to circumstances like length of birding day, amount of walking done and my health and even my mood.
That’s why I have more equipment than seems justifiable ��
 

mskb

Well-known member
Thank you @Boggieshrew for sharing your experience! This being our first scope, it is very hard to judge the weight/optics trade-off unless we actually carry one in the field. We will be sure to compare the Razor65 against the Opticron.
 

mskb

Well-known member
@gcole, @boogieshrew, Just received a quote from my local optics store. They are quoting close to $1K for the mm4/60 + SDLV2. At that price, I am really not sure if the opticron’s optics (even with the weight advantage) is good value for me.

That Razor appears a lot more attractive right now. Super confused especially because we will also be carrying our 2.1kg 150-600mm telephoto lens and the binoculars!!
 

marcsantacurz

Well-known member
@gcole, @boogieshrew, Just received a quote from my local optics store. They are quoting close to $1K for the mm4/60 + SDLV2. At that price, I am really not sure if the opticron’s optics (even with the weight advantage) is good value for me.

That Razor appears a lot more attractive right now. Super confused especially because we will also be carrying our 2.1kg 150-600mm telephoto lens and the binoculars!!

A 600mm lens is about 12x, or on a crop sensor 18x. So a 45x 60mm scope is a good improvement over what you see in the lens, even with extra coping afterwards. Also, being on a tripod even at the lower mags of 15x - 20x, it is much better viewing than handheld binoculars. It is stable without shake and not tiring to hold. So I guess my point is even a 45x 60mm will be a big step up in viewing for you.

What I have done when wanting to compare weights is to get some soup cans or rice in a bag and weigh it out to the scope weight. Wrap it up, like in some paper bags with tape, so it is approximately the shape of a scope, then try carrying it in your backpack or in your hand, etc. A Pringles can part filled with rice and part with packing foam is a good stand-in (remember to tape the lid on to avoid a mess). You will also need a tripod and head, so add in that weight too.

If you are carrying it for a few hours, and extra pound/half a kilo adds up. Some people will say that if you are already carrying 4 lb of gear, and a tripod, and a head, and a lunch, and such and such, adding an extra lb is a small percentage increase. That's true, but every pound matters -- you know, the straw + camel, etc. It's why ultralight backpacking is a thing: cutting weight lets you go further faster.

My approach was to get a small scope (MM4/60) that I have with me all the time in the car so I can use it. If I use it enough and feel like I need more, then I'll spend the bigger bucks for something in the $2.5k range. As it is, I don't think I use it enough to justify that, along with the binoculars and cameras and lenses.

Marc
 

Boogieshrew

Well-known member
It sounds like weight is a big issue for you. In that case go for the MM4. It's s good little scope.
The backpackers are right, you can go further faster of you travel light. And an extra pound at the beginning of the day may not feel much but after many hours sndilrs, it feels like 10 lbs.
 

mskb

Well-known member
Hello @Boogieshrew, @Marc & @gcole, We compared the various scopes in our local birding store, and settled finally for a Kowa 663M. Among the models we compared against (Opticron MM4/60, Nikon ED60-A and a Swaro ATS65HD, no Razor HD in store), we found it to strike a reasonable balance among ergonomics, performance, weight and cost.

Thanks everyone!
 
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