• 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.

Leica Apo televid 82 vs. Meopta S2 82 HD (1 Viewer)

BoldenEagle

Well-known member
Hi to all,

I’m planning to get new spotting scope to replace my Leica Apo Televid 82 + 25-50x. I’ve had my Leica about 7 years now and been quite happy with it. The main reasons I want to get new scope are: Leica’s magnification is somewhat limited by the maximum of 50x (there are no other eyepieces available, although I own the 1.8x extender, I get to that later in this post), sharpness and contrast could be little better I think and also brightness, lastly the sope is quite heavy; well over 2 kilos (with stay on case, which by the way is excellent).

I have done some star testing with my Leica and with my understanding it has at least some or perhaps a lot of spherical aberration. From what I have read, this is somewhat expected issue with this scope. In real field situations (I’m a birder) I have found Leica to be mostly very good but in the highest mag. image quality drops some amount and also brightness loss is (of course?) quite pronounced. I dont regard this Leica scope to be exceptionally bright anyway, I’m not saying it’s bad in this regard but I would hope to see even better brightness in this price group. Same applies with sharpness and contrast; it’s not bad but should imo be little better. Maybe the transmission is not that good because I directly compared Leica to my older scope (Nikon Fieldscope ED82) and found the Nikon to be more bright at same mag. and it has the same objective lens diameter as Leica? Though the Nikon was brighter, it’s image quality was worse than Leica and I think I had bad sample with Nikon because I have seen same scope to have much better iq. Nikon 25-75x zoom eyepiece was terrible and with eyeglasses near unusable in the field because of it’s narrow fov, poor eye relief and blurry image at high mags. The Nikon 38x wideangle eyepiece was quite good though it had poor edge sharpness, with eyeglasses I usually used that with birding.

I really like Leica’s two roll focusing system (I found large central wheel which for example Nikon ED82 has, to cause more shaking when focusing and it was imo too fast). I’m also very happy with the huge field of view of 25-50xWW eyepiece and the overall image it delivers and it is easy to use with eyeglasses. The 1.8x extender (resulting 45-90x) is usable in good conditions but the image quality drops too much in the higher mags. and image is quite dark. Imo in the field with the extender image quality stays reasonable to about 70x mag., beyond that light falls off too much and it’s hard to get any more resolution with zooming up.

So the deal is, if I rule out Swaroski ATX and Zeiss Harpia (too expensive), which sope could be better than my current Leica? I have compared my Leica with one sample of Kowa 883 +25-60x and found the Kowa to have worse iq than Leica; it had less sharpness and contrast. I didn’t do star test or any exact resolution test because the situation was already evident in 10 seconds when I looked through the Kowa in direct comparison. I expected the Kowa to be better and was ready to buy it to replace my Leica but after the comparison I kept my Leica. Kowa 883 with 25-60x eyepiece was very joy to look through in other respects and I also liked the same kind of focusing system with two small diameter rollers (but compared to Leica the fine focus was bit too fast, imo it could be even slower than in Leica to be perfect). I have heard so many positive opinions with Kowa 883, that I assume I must have had very bad sample which I have looked through. At that time, I didn’t test any other scopes than Kowa.

When I seven years ago bought my Leica, I compared it with Swarovski ATS/ATM, new Zeiss Diascope and also Kowa 883 but with older zoom eyepiece (20-60x). Then I found the Leica to be best of them with eyeglasses. The specimen I bought was not the same that I tested against others so there could have been all kind of sample effects involved.

Now, although I generally dislike scopes with big central focusing wheel, I have been thinking of Meopta S2 82 HD to replace my Leica. For what I have read, it seems to have better light transmission, maybe sharpness and contrast also. It has two available eyepieces which both have higher maximun magnification than Leica. It is also more lightweight than Leica. Meopta is not so expensive either and my friend is already buying my Leica if I buy new scope for myself. I’m planning to test Meopta in near future. I would be very glad to hear opinions on Meopta S2 82 HD with either of the eyepieces and especially how good quality control Meopta has; is there lot of sample variation because I’m not sure if I can test several specimens and then pick the best sample? Are the both available eyepieces (20-70x and 30-60x) equal with viewing glasses on?


Best regards,

Juhani
 

Binastro

Well-known member
Terve Juhani ja Hyvaa Joulua,

I think the main thing with any of these scopes is to get a really good example.
This can only be found by testing actual examples.

I am not an expert on spotting scopes.

Some scopes can take astro eyepieces for higher powers.

I am not sure if the Meopta has very high powers, a Barlow or astro eyepiece possibility.

Can your existing Leica take astro eyepieces or perhaps a Baader Hyperion series 4.

If the Leica scope is clean inside I don't think that much brightness will be gained with other scopes.

The Nikon Monarch 82ED, a perfect ten, that Henry Link tested was very good.
It is on the Nikon thread.

Terveisin,

Binastro
 
Last edited:

BoldenEagle

Well-known member
Kiitos Binastro ja Hyvää Joulua myös sinulle,

I checked out the Nikon Monarch threads with Henry Link's excellent review of the scope. Looks like I have to test that scope too, I think it will be available also.

After using my Leica several years, I'm afraid I can't cope with narrower fov, that might be the deal breaker for me with the Nikon, if they haven't done better zooms nowadays.

I'm afraid that I can't test several samples of the same scope in the store but I anyway have to test the scopes to be sure that I can use them easily with my eyeglasses, that would be the first thing to consider. Maybe I can after that make a mail order and have the right to send the scope back if it isn't all right, if I can't test that precise unit I'm buying.

Juhani
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi Juhani,

first of all, welcome to birdforum!

Sorry to hear that you have not been too lucky so far with your scopes. I would strongly recommend to buy either in person or with a no questions asked return policy and then test the scope and return if not so great.

Good examples from all manufacturers are also out there... you just got to find them...

You can also make your own artificial star by laying aluminum foil on a glass surface and making a tiny hole with a needle. You then put the foil in front of a led flashlight and observe from 30m or with the scope at maximum magnification. You should see equal patterns of concentric rings inside and outside of focus.

See Fig 96 on this page for examples of the ideal patterns and those of different aberrations.

https://www.telescope-optics.net/star_testing_telescope.htm


As for the field of view question - Nikon also has a 30-60 wide angle zoom for the Monarch series and that should be close to your Leica (except a bit higher in magnification). I also would not rule out Kowa 883 - good examples are out there, I have seen a few I would have considered (but their owners were going to sell ;-).
I have never seen a Meopta scope, but some on here like their examples.

Joachim
 

Hermann

Well-known member
I’m planning to get new spotting scope to replace my Leica Apo Televid 82 + 25-50x. I’ve had my Leica about 7 years now and been quite happy with it. The main reasons I want to get new scope are: Leica’s magnification is somewhat limited by the maximum of 50x (there are no other eyepieces available, although I own the 1.8x extender, I get to that later in this post), sharpness and contrast could be little better I think and also brightness, lastly the sope is quite heavy; well over 2 kilos (with stay on case, which by the way is excellent).

All good reasons to get a new scope. Or are they? Because how often can you really use magnifications above 50x in your country? The reason I'm asking is that I find there are really only a few days when I can benefit from high magnifications, on most days the seeing is just not good enough.

I have done some star testing with my Leica and with my understanding it has at least some or perhaps a lot of spherical aberration. From what I have read, this is somewhat expected issue with this scope. In real field situations (I’m a birder) I have found Leica to be mostly very good but in the highest mag. image quality drops some amount and also brightness loss is (of course?) quite pronounced.

An 82mm scope should be sharp at 50x magnification. If it isn't there's something wrong with it. But further down in your post you write you can use the scope with the extender up to 70x before the image starts falling apart ...

Maybe the transmission is not that good because I directly compared Leica to my older scope (Nikon Fieldscope ED82) and found the Nikon to be more bright at same mag. and it has the same objective lens diameter as Leica? Though the Nikon was brighter, it’s image quality was worse than Leica and I think I had bad sample with Nikon because I have seen same scope to have much better iq. Nikon 25-75x zoom eyepiece was terrible and with eyeglasses near unusable in the field because of it’s narrow fov, poor eye relief and blurry image at high mags. The Nikon 38x wideangle eyepiece was quite good though it had poor edge sharpness, with eyeglasses I usually used that with birding.

IME the Nikon zoom is definitely sharp at all magnifications. It's narrow and not good if you need to wear glasses but it's sharp. If it isn't there's something wrong with the scope. And you seem to have had a pretty bad copy of the ED82. That's highly unusual in my experience with the Nikon Fieldscopes. Over the years I found the Nikon Fieldscopes had the least variability of the all the makes I'm familiar with. For instance, we have six different ED60 scopes in the family, and the differences between them are very small: One is a tiny bit better than the others and one a bit worse, the other four are exactly the same - and sharp up to 60x. My ED82 is sharp to 75x no problem.

I’m also very happy with the huge field of view of 25-50xWW eyepiece and the overall image it delivers and it is easy to use with eyeglasses. The 1.8x extender (resulting 45-90x) is usable in good conditions but the image quality drops too much in the higher mags. and image is quite dark. Imo in the field with the extender image quality stays reasonable to about 70x mag., beyond that light falls off too much and it’s hard to get any more resolution with zooming up.

If the scope isn't up to scratch the extender only magnifies the not-quite-perfect image of the scope. Still, if you can get more information at about 70x, isn't that good enough? On how many days can you actually use more than 70x magnification? The loss of brightness is to be expected, after all, the exit pupil is pretty small at that magnification.

On the whole I think you might want to think about getting a new scope again. You seem to be mostly happy with the Leica, and it works with your glasses. You can use it up to 70x with the extender. What more do you want? Less weight? Most of the big scopes [>80 mm) are heavy. In that case I'd get a second, smaller and lighter scope for when you need to keep the weight down. (As an aside: I carried a Leica Apo-Televid 77mm up Valtavaara Ridge many years ago, and it wasn't funny ... ;)) Better optical quality at high magnification? That's probably expensive, as you might need to get one of the big Swarovskis (ATX 85 or 85).

BTW, if I were to get new scopes right now, I'd look at the Nikon Monarch very closely. I'd get two scopes though: The 82mm and the 60mm. The big boy for when I don't need to walk longer distances, and the 60mm for everything else.

Hermann
 
Last edited:

BoldenEagle

Well-known member
Hi Juhani,

first of all, welcome to birdforum!

Sorry to hear that you have not been too lucky so far with your scopes. I would strongly recommend to buy either in person or with a no questions asked return policy and then test the scope and return if not so great.

Good examples from all manufacturers are also out there... you just got to find them...

You can also make your own artificial star by laying aluminum foil on a glass surface and making a tiny hole with a needle. You then put the foil in front of a led flashlight and observe from 30m or with the scope at maximum magnification. You should see equal patterns of concentric rings inside and outside of focus.

See Fig 96 on this page for examples of the ideal patterns and those of different aberrations.

https://www.telescope-optics.net/star_testing_telescope.htm


As for the field of view question - Nikon also has a 30-60 wide angle zoom for the Monarch series and that should be close to your Leica (except a bit higher in magnification). I also would not rule out Kowa 883 - good examples are out there, I have seen a few I would have considered (but their owners were going to sell ;-).
I have never seen a Meopta scope, but some on here like their examples.

Joachim

Hi Joachim and thank you,

Yes the sample variation seems to be real issue with scopes and it seems also that I have had bad luck with my scopes, especially with Nikon Fieldscope.

I have used real star as a target when testing my Leica but in store I haven't done any spesific tests but compared two scopes by side, even that has revealed clear differences between scopes.

I'm pretty sure that there must be a lot better samples of Kowa 883 that I have tested (and there has been just one sample I have tested).

As for the star testing with my Leica, I can see really symmetric clear rings (the outmost being brightest) on the other side of the sharp focus point but on the other side the pattern breaks completely and there can't be found any rings.

Maybe I can try to take pictures of those diffraction figures and post them here to be evaluated.

Juhani
 

BoldenEagle

Well-known member
All good reasons to get a new scope. Or are they? Because how often can you really use magnifications above 50x in your country? The reason I'm asking is that I find there are really only a few days when I can benefit from high magnifications, on most days the seeing is just not good enough.



An 82mm scope should be sharp at 50x magnification. If it isn't there's something wrong with it. But further down in your post you write you can use the scope with the extender up to 70x before the image starts falling apart ...



IME the Nikon zoom is definitely sharp at all magnifications. It's narrow and not good if you need to wear glasses but it's sharp. If it isn't there's something wrong with the scope. And you seem to have had a pretty bad copy of the ED82. That's highly unusual in my experience with the Nikon Fieldscopes. Over the years I found the Nikon Fieldscopes had the least variability of the all the makes I'm familiar with. For instance, we have six different ED60 scopes in the family, and the differences between them are very small: One is a tiny bit better than the others and one a bit worse, the other four are exactly the same - and sharp up to 60x. My ED82 is sharp to 75x no problem.



If the scope isn't up to scratch the extender only magnifies the not-quite-perfect image of the scope. Still, if you can get more information at about 70x, isn't that good enough? On how many days can you actually use more than 70x magnification? The loss of brightness is to be expected, after all, the exit pupil is pretty small at that magnification.

On the whole I think you might want to think about getting a new scope again. You seem to be mostly happy with the Leica, and it works with your glasses. You can use it up to 70x with the extender. What more do you want? Less weight? Most of the big scopes [>80 mm) are heavy. In that case I'd get a second, smaller and lighter scope for when you need to keep the weight down. (As an aside: I carried a Leica Apo-Televid 77mm up Valtavaara Ridge many years ago, and it wasn't funny ... ;)) Better optical quality at high magnification? That's probably expensive, as you might need to get one of the big Swarovskis (ATX 85 or 85).

BTW, if I were to get new scopes right now, I'd look at the Nikon Monarch very closely. I'd get two scopes though: The 82mm and the 60mm. The big boy for when I don't need to walk longer distances, and the 60mm for everything else.

Hermann

Hi Hermann,

thanks for your good opinions.

I agree there is not always enough good conditions to use high magnifications. Here in Finland I would allthough say that there is relatively often those kind of weather conditions, that you would benefit even 70x mags. So having a standard eyepiece with 70x mag, it would be nice feature to have.

While the extender gives (in good conditions) more resolving power up to 70x, it comes with one major disadvantage: your minimun magnification is also 1.8x and so with Leica you will have 45x minimum magnification. That makes finding birds in flight more difficult in quick situations and you can't get the largest exit pupil either (as with 25x without extender). I think that extender certainly dosen't make the image better, only deteriorates it (allthough maybe very slightly) but the advantage comes from that it makes just more magnification. In practice it is seen by that you cant resolve anymore beyond about 70x with my Leica. Thats why I would prefer "fixed" zoom over any extender, if I could achieve the same magnification that you can use to get the best resolving ability, and still get the benefits of the wide end of the zoom. It's just that Leica doesn't offer any other eyepieces with Apo Televid 62/82...

I will also repeat myself that Leica is not BAD, I just would like to have even better sharpness and brightness. I may well be that I have too high expectations...

In fact, if I don't count Swarovski ATX 95 and maybe Zeiss Harpia, I yet haven't seen any scope that I have tested, to outperform my Leica with 50x magnification; allways I have been able to see more detailed view with Leica. So, my Leica may be in fact at least just good or/and the other similar sized scopes maybe not that good samples. I can't know that because I haven't tested several samples.

Day before yesterday I get to compare Meopta S2 82HD with 20-70x eyepiece. In 50x magnifigation Leica was once again better, no question about it. Meopta wasn't at least clearly brighter either and the helical focus wheel felt as awkward as I remember with Nikon.

So I kept my Leica once again and I quess I just have to stop whining and stick with it...

It may well be as you wrote that if I want clearly better scope optically, the way would be Atx 85 or 95 then. Atx also still has the helical focusser so I think I will anyway rule that option out at this point.

Getting another lighter scope is very good idea, I had been thinking to get Nikon ED50 few years ago and I almost did as my friend was selling one at very low price. My (maybe more of his...) standard bad luck I quess but my friend got into car accident and trashed the scope so that was it...My friend luckily suffered no injuries, if one is wondering. I remember ED50 to have very good optical quality, the one my friend had, seemed as sharp or even slightly sharper than my ED82 (but as I wrote, it highly probably was bad sample) and I really liked that little scope. Of course it was not as bright as it's bigger brother but for example 27x eyepiece gives quite reasonable bright image.

I think good solution would be to keep my Leica and to get Nikon ED50 with 27x eyepiece to take with me on longer treks. I wondered I could use the little Nikon with 27x even on a monopod and loose extra weight with that also. Nikon ED50 has also same kind of focus system as Leica does (it doesn't have fine focus but still works very well).

Juhani
 

Torview

Registered User
Supporter
Hi Boldeneagle,

It sounds to me that your Leica is better than you thought before you compared it to some of the competition, and anyway its a premium scope and was always going to be hard to better.

I think you owe it to yourself to try another Kowa 883, but even then without an extender you`re only going to gain 10x, I rarely use anything above 30x myself, and prefer the 30x wide angle on my 773 to any zoom.
 

jring

Well-known member
As for the star testing with my Leica, I can see really symmetric clear rings (the outmost being brightest) on the other side of the sharp focus point but on the other side the pattern breaks completely and there can't be found any rings.

Hi,

that indeed sounds like spherical aberration aka SA. A bit of that is found in most scopes... and for the magnifications we use for spotters it's not a big deal. If you go up to 2 times aperture in mm for astro (or beyond like some crazy planetary or double star enthusiasts), you'll see every bit.

People who have star tested hundreds or thousands of scopes tend to remember the handful of perfectly symmetrical diffraction patterns inside and outside of focus...

Joachim, whose very nice TSN-3 has also a tiny bit of undercorrection - still a cherry though.
 
Last edited:

henry link

Well-known member
As for the star testing with my Leica, I can see really symmetric clear rings (the outmost being brightest) on the other side of the sharp focus point but on the other side the pattern breaks completely and there can't be found any rings.

Maybe I can try to take pictures of those diffraction figures and post them here to be evaluated.

Juhani

I agree with Joachim that your scope suffers from spherical aberration, but from your description I think it's a large amount. No rings at all on one side of focus and a dominant outer ring on the other side suggests spherical correction worse than 1/2 wave, which would certainly compromise the resolution even at birding magnifications.

A resolution test using a standard target like the USAF 1951 could quantify how bad the problem is, but that requires a properly sized target and steady air. At least you have a leg up on most scope buyers since you know how to star test and you know what you're looking for.
 

BoldenEagle

Well-known member
I agree with Joachim that your scope suffers from spherical aberration, but from your description I think it's a large amount. No rings at all on one side of focus and a dominant outer ring on the other side suggests spherical correction worse than 1/2 wave, which would certainly compromise the resolution even at birding magnifications.

A resolution test using a standard target like the USAF 1951 could quantify how bad the problem is, but that requires a properly sized target and steady air. At least you have a leg up on most scope buyers since you know how to star test and you know what you're looking for.

Is there any way to visualize how spherical aberration of such degree show up in the view or in non-specific resolution test (I just used white parking plate with different sized letters to compare my Leica with others)? Is there ghosting on target edges or something like that? I can't see chromatic aberration in the field center but in the edges there's some but I have seen a lot worse cases with some other scopes.

I wonder that because one thing with my Leica is evident: the sharpest point is found very easily and snaps right on even on the 50x magnification. Many other scopes that didn't have such good resolution, showed very hard to get the sharpest point focused and I had to go back and forth with the focuser and still it felt there is no clear sharp point. Some of this may be caused by the focusing system itself I think, because I feel that too fast helical focus wheel makes precise focusing more difficult. The latter may be totally subjective thing though.

I also wonder how bad have the samples of other scopes that I have tested been, if the case is that my Leica suffers big time SA...Of course they might have had also other types of aberrations but on the other hand, I'm not very sure that my Leica won't show also some other aberrations too because it's hard to see with those markedly different diffraction figures if there is some astigmatism (both of the figures show quite round though). Based on the clear ring figure on one side, I think there is not also miscollimation either.

But as said, I will try to take some pictures when star-testing next time, I have digiscoping adapter for my Leica so it should not be a problem.

Is SA in scopes caused just by objective lens or can it result for example from eyepiece lenses?

Juhani
 

Binastro

Well-known member
Hi Juhani,

My standard daytime magnification in Finland with 150mm Maksutov was 95x.

In autumn, higher powers over 100x were often useful in daylight.
The Seeing was generally much better than in England, except in winter.

I think that there may be an astro adaptor for your Leica scope. A 70x astro eyepiece, maybe wide angle should be O.K.
Would a Hyperion Baader Mk. 4 zoom eyepiece give higher powers on the Leica scope.
It seems that your Leica scope is indeed good.
To get brighter images you probably need to go to a larger aperture scope.
If you don't need waterproof and low weight scopes, then perhaps a 100mm or 120mm Skywatcher ED would work well.
These should be fine at 100x maybe more.

I find that my Leica 77 Apo Televid to be way underpowered with 20x-60x zoom.
I would like to go up to at least 120x even terrestrially.
My astro scopes easily take 120x in daylight.

Regards,
B.
 

jring

Well-known member
I also wonder how bad have the samples of other scopes that I have tested been, if the case is that my Leica suffers big time SA...Of course they might have had also other types of aberrations but on the other hand, I'm not very sure that my Leica won't show also some other aberrations too because it's hard to see with those markedly different diffraction figures if there is some astigmatism (both of the figures show quite round though). Based on the clear ring figure on one side, I think there is not also miscollimation either.

Is SA in scopes caused just by objective lens or can it result for example from eyepiece lenses?

Hi,

as for the amount of SA, you can compare your image to what is shown in https://www.telescope-optics.net/star_testing_telescope.htm for primary sperical in the unobstructed case... since you said there was no rings visible at all on one side, it's probably a bit worse than quarter wave... which is the diffraction limit for SA and what is usually guaranteed for astro scopes.

If your diffraction patterns are round and not elliptical, you don't have astigmatism. If the rings are concentric, you don't have coma.

SA is usually a problem with the objective lenses or their spacing. It can also be introduced by glass path (like a prism diagonal on an astro scope) but I would suspect that Leica has taken the glass path of their image erection system into account...

Eyepieces can also introduce a kind of spherical aberration of the exit pupil but that is usually seen as kidneybeaning if eye placement is not quite correct.

PS: the Leica 82mm body has a focal length of about 440mm so the Baader zoom will get you 55x at the high mag end... not really worth the trouble. As for astro EPs in general in the Leica - adaption should be possible but I haven't found an off the shelf adapter... I think some US company did offer one a few years ago...

Joachim
 
Last edited:

fazalmajid

Well-known member
Some Leica scopes were actually made by Meopta. Any improvement from the Meostar is likely to be incremental at best since you are not increasing the aperture.
 

jring

Well-known member
Some Leica scopes were actually made by Meopta. Any improvement from the Meostar is likely to be incremental at best since you are not increasing the aperture.

Hi,

yes, although iirc that was true for the older series of 77 and 62mm models.

But in the end, sample variation seems to be high for all brands atm and thus one should only buy a scope after careful inspection - either in person at a store (or with some private seller) or with a no questions asked return policy.

Knowing how to do a star test and having an artificial star at hand makes this fairly easy...

Joachim
 

FredrikJerner

New member
Hi Juhani

Last month i bought a Meopta Meostar s2 with the 20-70x Eyepiece, this spotting scope replaced a Leica Televid. I knew from the riflescope Meopta Meostar r2 ( yes, I hunt a little) that their optics are high class. That`s the reason for my choice of spotting scope.
I thought that the S2 would be slightly better optically compared to my Leica. I was wrong, the Meopta S2 is remarkably better when it comes to contrast, brightness and colours.
I have glasses for reading (1,5+) and with those on it works fine to use the scope.
If you buy a Meopta Meostar S2 you won`t be disappointed when it comes to quality of optics.
I have used it for a month and even in the dull, overcast winterdays the S2 gathers light so well that I can use 70x zoom. Closer to sunset the image becomes darker above magnification around 45x.
Slightly tunnel-feeling at 20x but it is really usefull with that low magnification in order to get a good view or when sweeping over areas.
I don`t regret this buy. The S 2 is awesome.
 

BoldenEagle

Well-known member
Hi to all,

I have been star testing my Leica again few times, I don't have pictures because I haven't got my camera in my hands (the one that fits the digiscoping adapter) and trying to get pictures with my Canon 7D and 100mm objective proved to be very frustrating and I didn't get any pictures that would show same things I saw with my own eyes...I did star test two times using a real star in the sky when the weather was fine and now I have done three times testing with artificial star. I used a bright steel ball bearing diameter of 12 mm and placed it about 2 meters above ground and 37 meters away from the scopes (I also tested Zeiss Diascope 85 + 20-75 vario eyepiece but more of that later perhaps in another thread). I conducted two artificial star test in dark night time and today one test in bright sunlight. In dark testing times I placed led flashlight on the side of the ball bearing, today the bright sunshine from clear sky was enough to produce the small point source of light. I tried to evaluate patterns unfocusing to about 4 or 5 rings.

But anyway, I think I can now say something about my Leica's performance because with all these star tests the results seem to be consistent. I'm sure that there is some amount of astigmatism because the outside focus shows slightly elliptical rings, not bad but one can definitely see that. As I wrote earlier, the inside focus is totally different compared to the outside focus; there cant be found no clear circles and the pattern "sparkles" in an odd way. It's hard to even see the shape of the pattern; perhaps it's slightly elliptical also (90 degrees opposite to the outside focus). The outside focus shows bright outer ring and dimmer inner circles. Judging by that and as Joachim and Henry concluded, that is evidence of undercorrection of spherical aberration. There seems to be no coma as the circles in the outside focus are concentric.

I did the same tests to Zeiss Diascope using 75x mag. and it showed a lot better inside focus pattern with quite bright outer ring and some fuzzier inner circles which were not very easy to see but nevertheless seemed not very much dimmer compared to the outer ring. At least it was way better than Leica's. The outside pattern was nicely round (or maybe just slight elliptical form as the inside pattern) with bright outer ring but not very much dimmer inner rings. The rings were concentric so no coma detectable. I think the interpretation was easier with the Zeiss because of the higher magnification. As I have the 1.8x extender, could it be used with star testing Leica or is it possible that it might add some aberrations? With the extender Leica would reach 90x mag.

I also tried some basic resolution comparison between Leica and Zeiss and found them to be very close to each other. I just placed small text about 40 meters away and included even smaller text until I was unable to read it with neither of the two scopes (of course limiting the Zeiss's mag to 50x). Zeiss seem to be a tad sharper or it had just better contrast than Leica but the difference was very minimal and even sometimes the Leica seemed to resolve better. I think Zeiss has a quite small sharpest center as Leica seems to have broader sharp area. Besides that, Zeiss seems brighter than Leica, not much but enough to be seen even in daylight. When I performed night time star tests with real stars, with Zeiss it was easier to see stars and they seemed clearly brighter than with Leica.

So in conclusion: I don't think the Zeiss I tested is flawless sample either and it probably also has some amount of SA and maybe also just slight astigmatism but judging by the star tests, it is lot better than my Leica. But in comparison with resolution, Leica is surprisingly not lagging so much behind. Of course these were just trivial tests and real resolution test would tell the truth. But nevertheless my Leica highly probably is not so good as it could be. In the field it still is usable I think and I still have been managing with it about seven years...But also as i wrote earlier, I have also seen even much worse IQ and those included the only Kowa 883 I have tested. So I don't regard my Leica to be really bad but I think I would be VERY happy with cherry sample either of Leica or Kowa because the Kowa 25-60x eyepiece is as joy to use with eyeglasses as Leica's 25-50x (or even better)...But those cherry samples are yet to see by me...Maybe some day I get lucky and manage to buy one. Also if I find good specimen of Meopta, that would count too. One dealer said though that basically all Leicas have undercorrected SA as a trademark but it usually don't effect IQ very strongly with mags like 50x-60x or below. Maybe it is that the astigmatism I detected is enough to interfere IQ in my Leica.

When I have time I could write my general impressions with Leica Apo Televid vs Zeiss Diascope as these scopes are quite different in some aspects and specially if one is using eyeglasses with them.

And by the way, I took the word of Hermann and bought another smaller scope (Kowa 601 + 30x WA) for hikes. I star tested that one also and it seems to be quite reasonably quality but shows loads of chromatic aberration. I would need tripler or something to see the star pattern better as the mag is just fixed 30x but so far it seems to be okay.

Juhani
 

BoldenEagle

Well-known member
David,

that thought didn't occur to me until recently. When I bought my Leica I compared it to Swarovski, Zeiss, Kowa etc. and found it to be best of them. But the scope I bought was not that tested specimen. Nevertheless I didn't notice it would be any worse sample than I tested. In fact I still remember how overwhelmed I was when for the first time watching rough legged buzzard soaring with my Leica; I could see so much more feather details than with my former scope (Nikon Fieldscope 82) and how easy it was to look especially flying birds with Leica. It was truly so big step forward and also when I after that occasionally quickly compared it with other scopes, including Swarovski atx 95 and atm/ats 80, the IQ was comparable (well the atx was clearly brighter and gave more resolution) or at least not clearly worse than of those scopes (which all were of unknown specimen quality). Just quite recently I compared my Leica with Meopta S2 and Kowa 883 and neither of them resolved as good as Leica (just one samples of each). The Kowa specimen had very bad IQ and clearly had much bigger issues than my Leica.

Allthough I would like to see better IQ (in essence sharpness and contrast) with my Leica, I still enjoy using it because it's so easy to look through, has very wideangle view, not much chromatic aberration, really great eye relief and I can watch flying birds long perioids without straining my eye. And most importantly, I surely can ID quite distant birds with it. But I'm quite sure that maybe near future I will by a new and better scope, that is, when I find a good specimen that I can test before buying it.

I think I will try to see if I can find good Kowa 883 sample or if Nikon Monarch 82 has better (i.e. slower) focus ring and more eyeglass friendly eyepiece than Fieldscope 82, I could consider that one too (allthough I generally dislike helical focusing systems because it causes more shaking when watching flying birds if you have to focus same time when panning). Maybe I give Meopta S2 another try also. It would be nice to have wideangle zoom with better max magnifigation than Leicas 50x. If atx would have same kind of focusing system as Leica does (two small diameter rollers), highly probably I would have bought it already, regardless of it's high price...Hope some other top brand makes 90-100mm scope with wideangle zoom and good focusing system near future...Until that I think I'll manage with my Leica.

Surely this was the last time I buy expensive optical device without testing the very same sample before; that is the main thing I have learned in many threads in this forum...Very much thanks to everyone who has shared their good advices and knowledge about this subject!



Juhani
 

Pileatus

"Experientia Docet”
United States
David,

that thought didn't occur to me until recently. When I bought my Leica I compared it to Swarovski, Zeiss, Kowa etc. and found it to be best of them. But the scope I bought was not that tested specimen. Nevertheless I didn't notice it would be any worse sample than I tested. In fact I still remember how overwhelmed I was when for the first time watching rough legged buzzard soaring with my Leica; I could see so much more feather details than with my former scope (Nikon Fieldscope 82) and how easy it was to look especially flying birds with Leica. It was truly so big step forward and also when I after that occasionally quickly compared it with other scopes, including Swarovski atx 95 and atm/ats 80, the IQ was comparable (well the atx was clearly brighter and gave more resolution) or at least not clearly worse than of those scopes (which all were of unknown specimen quality). Just quite recently I compared my Leica with Meopta S2 and Kowa 883 and neither of them resolved as good as Leica (just one samples of each). The Kowa specimen had very bad IQ and clearly had much bigger issues than my Leica.

Allthough I would like to see better IQ (in essence sharpness and contrast) with my Leica, I still enjoy using it because it's so easy to look through, has very wideangle view, not much chromatic aberration, really great eye relief and I can watch flying birds long perioids without straining my eye. And most importantly, I surely can ID quite distant birds with it. But I'm quite sure that maybe near future I will by a new and better scope, that is, when I find a good specimen that I can test before buying it.

I think I will try to see if I can find good Kowa 883 sample or if Nikon Monarch 82 has better (i.e. slower) focus ring and more eyeglass friendly eyepiece than Fieldscope 82, I could consider that one too (allthough I generally dislike helical focusing systems because it causes more shaking when watching flying birds if you have to focus same time when panning). Maybe I give Meopta S2 another try also. It would be nice to have wideangle zoom with better max magnifigation than Leicas 50x. If atx would have same kind of focusing system as Leica does (two small diameter rollers), highly probably I would have bought it already, regardless of it's high price...Hope some other top brand makes 90-100mm scope with wideangle zoom and good focusing system near future...Until that I think I'll manage with my Leica.

Surely this was the last time I buy expensive optical device without testing the very same sample before; that is the main thing I have learned in many threads in this forum...Very much thanks to everyone who has shared their good advices and knowledge about this subject!



Juhani
The smooth zoom (25-60) along with the dual focus on the Kowa 883 makes it very easy to follow distant raptors in flight. My Nikon ED82 can do the same with a fixed 30XDS eyepiece but never with the 25-75 zoom. It's a lot of fun to zoom in on a migrating "speck" and discover it's a juvenile Golden Eagle. To the naked eye it's nothing but another eye floater!
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top