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

Inexpensive 2nd Scope for Car - Trailseeker? (1 Viewer)

mtar925

Well-known member
I have a Kowa TS-611 that's meeting my needs as a tripod scope, but would like to add a second straight-through scope for use on a car window mount. On a window mount the eyepiece of the 45 degree Kowa is too high to see through out of my car. So, lightweight, probably 60mm class straight-through scope. Inexpensive, since this isn't a high priority in my budget. Needs >19mm eye relief for use with eyeglasses. I've been satisfied with the non-ED Kowa at the magnifications I tend to work with, 20-25x.

Among the scopes available new I'm looking at the Celestron Trailseeker 65. It takes 1.25" astronomical eyepieces of which I own several, and which would allow me to get exactly the magnification I want with the needed eye relief. But reviews are few. Anybody tried one? At less than half the price, I wonder how it compares to the Pentax PF-65EDii at 20 or 25x - assuming identical eyepieces.

Another option would be to look for a used straight-through Kowa TS-612, on which I'd be able to use the 20x Wide eyepiece I already have. But a brand new Trailseeker with warranty isn't much more expensive than a clean TS-612 from a reputable seller, and the Celestron has the much better eyepiece options.

Any other pointers or comments?
 
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dwatsonbirder

Well-known member
If you are looking at budget optics, I'd personally look for a secondhand piece of kit over new every time, as you will get much better value for money. For $200-$250 you should be able to pick up a Nikon EDii with the 20x lens. An excellent budget choice, and when used with the newer series of lenses it offer 90% of performance of the latest and greatest in the same size category. I owned a straight model and used it heavily for a few years, even in the tropics it didn't let me down. I only sold it because I bought an ED50 for travelling and an ED82 for winter usage, otherwise I'd probably still use one as my main scope.
 

mtar925

Well-known member
Thanks for reply. The Nikon EDii you refer to is a variant of their 60mm Fieldscope, correct? Sounds interesting. What's the eye relief with the 20x? I find I need an honest 19mm for comfortable use, and more is better.
 

dwatsonbirder

Well-known member
Hi Matt, yes that's correct - its the older version of the fieldscope series and is 60mm. It's not waterproof but that shouldn't pose any issues (mine didn't leak when I used it in rainforest in SE asia). Not sure about the eye relief, the older 20x was fine for me (I use very thick framed glasses) but if you used one of the newer DS series lenses they have plenty of eye relief.
 

gcole

Well-known member
I have a Kowa TS-611 that's meeting my needs as a tripod scope, but would like to add a second straight-through scope for use on a car window mount. On a window mount the eyepiece of the 45 degree Kowa is too high to see through out of my car. So, lightweight, probably 60mm class straight-through scope. Inexpensive, since this isn't a high priority in my budget. Needs >19mm eye relief for use with eyeglasses. I've been satisfied with the non-ED Kowa at the magnifications I tend to work with, 20-25x.

Among the scopes available new I'm looking at the Celestron Trailseeker 65. It takes 1.25" astronomical eyepieces of which I own several, and which would allow me to get exactly the magnification I want with the needed eye relief. But reviews are few. Anybody tried one? At less than half the price, I wonder how it compares to the Pentax PF-65EDii at 20 or 25x - assuming identical eyepieces.

Another option would be to look for a used straight-through Kowa TS-612, on which I'd be able to use the 20x Wide eyepiece I already have. But a brand new Trailseeker with warranty isn't much more expensive than a clean TS-612 from a reputable seller, and the Celestron has the much better eyepiece options.

Any other pointers or comments?
Hi, I owned the Trailseeker 65 angled version. I purchased it out of curiosity just to see Celestrons description of its performance claims both in its optical/construction quality. Given its low price point, in my opinion its a well made scope. I found the focusing to be smooth, the view optically surprisingly good. Its labeled made in China, but could pass being made in Japan. The eyepiece focal lengths I had at the time were 20-25mm. I would have no problem using this as my go to every day spotter & at close to $100 when on sale Celestrons pricing is hard to beat.
 
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billb9430

Well-known member
Matt - Since the Kowa TS-611 appears not to have a collar above the attachment foot to allow rotating the 45˚ eyepiece from a vertical to horizontal plane when attached for car window viewing, you could look for a window mount with a hinged attachment platform that would allow this 90˚shift. The Vanguard PH-222 would work, but is fairly expensive. If you already have a window mount without 90˚ shift, mounting a mini-ball head like the low cost Giotto MH 1004 on top of the window mount and attaching the scope to it would allow you to shift your scope like this.

Many folks don't realize that the image viewed through a 45˚ correct image scope is still correctly oriented even if the scope and 45˚ angled eyepiece lie in a horizontal plane. Actually, the image is correct with the eyepiece rotated around to ANY angle so long as the bird and birder are oriented the same. (It doesn't work if you tilt your head sideways, but why would you?) I find angled scopes are really easier to use when attached like this to a window mount than a straight through scope. Birds located at right angles to the direction the car is pointing can be viewed out the window with just a 45˚ rather than 90˚ turn of the head for a birder sitting in the driver's seat. Aiming an angled scope is a bit more difficult, but the plastic tie method works well for that. Regarding cost, using your angled scope with a $15 mini-ball head is much cheaper than having to buy a second, straight-through scope - and works better, too. - Bill
 

mtar925

Well-known member
I'll have to try horizontal mode. At least, it could give me some functionality until I see a deal on a straight-through scope. Thanks for the suggestion, I'd never thought of it!

The Trailseeker is still interesting - thanks gcole for comments. The fact that I have a box full of astronomical eyepieces makes me feel almost obligated to try it. Will watch for a Nikon too but am less enthused about getting involved with a whole new range of eyepieces.
 

aeajr

Active member
This thread is from a year ago. That means the owners of this scope have had some time with it. I am considering the 65 or 80 mm Trailseeker. Your long term report would be appreciated.
 
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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