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New scope for my 40th birthday.. suggestions? (1 Viewer)


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I am looking for a spotting scope for my birthday, for use during daily walks around a lake or up the mountain.

This will be a ‘’gift’’ from wife for my 40th birtday. $5000 is the budget. But, not everything has to go to scope. I could get a birding binocular and scope for same price.
Main idea is it should last a looong time.. prefrably 30 years ;) ;) ;)

I currently own a Swarovski 8x56 SLC Neu, that I could sell for what bought it for and get another binocular. I also have a like new RRS tripod, with central colum and ballhead (previously used for photograpy by my wife).

I would most likely prefer as large a lens as possible, but, considering weight and volum and hikeability, 80 to 60mm front lense is most likely, I guess.

I am adding a drone video from where I live. I dont know who made the video, but shows of where I take daily walks.

Video starts at 1/4 the way up the mountain pathway, and shows a bench where I usually take a break.
From 4.30, around the lake shown there is 5-15m from pathway to water. We have ducks, geese, swans and weekly sightings of eagles. Several pairs nest in the moutains.

I prefer a straight scope, never got around to liking 45deg scope, unless I am looking at stars, which I have other optics for.

Currently looking at
Swarovski STX, STS : 65, 82, 95
Kowa 66, 77, 88, 99
Nikon Monarch 60, 82
Meopta Meostar S2

I do prefer European or Japanese made.
And prefer something that is easy to look through/ large eyebox, Good eye relief, large AFOV.

Likes and dislikes:
(But I have not tried any, since no local stores stock them).

I like Swarovski due to super warranty and cheap repair. Bit maybe to pure/sterile view for my eyes.

I own a Kowa Highlander, like the optics, but reading people having to try several spotting scopes to find a good one.

I like the idea of the large prism used in Nikon Monarch, and it focuser, but not thats its MiC. Bonus it has a cheap fixed 30/38x eyepiece.

Hear alot of good about Meopta, but wary due to company beeing sold, and how will they deal with these optics, regarding warranty going forward.

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Lovely! We've been a few places along that coast, the closest probably Førde.

An angled scope will be easier to share with your wife unless you're about the same height. 65mm would be great for long hiking, 82 more optimal generally. You probably don't need 95 unless you plan to use the Swaro BTX viewer. Pay attention to field of view of zoom eyepieces and how each varies. It would really be worth a trip to Bergen or Oslo to find a shop allowing direct comparisons. Then you could also compare several samples of a scope to find one you like best (esp. with Kowa). Also see whether you prefer the classic close/fine focus knobs or the newer single collar.

I'm not a scope expert, but very happy with our S2 overall although I would probably have preferred dual knobs. I don't know what to say about the company going forward, except that it will still exist so they seem likely to continue providing warranty service for some time, and the scope has a very robust build. It also has an adapter for astro eyepieces.

If you like your 8x56 you might be interested in comparing it with the current SLC 56, even in 10x or 15x, as you could take it places you wouldn't carry the Highlander. Or perhaps you'd rather have a more compact bin for birding instead, with many options... it's all a question of complementing what you already have.
It's our pleasure, as a long standing supporting vendor here, to discuss the different available options and special opportunities with you. Please give a call, 516-217-1000, when you have the time. Thanks

The big problem with your posting is that you are not very specific in your post, and that makes it difficult to give any recommendations.

For instance:
  • How long are your walks?
  • How much weight are you prepared to carry?
  • Would you want to use it in other parts of Norway, say on hiking trips in Jotunheimen or at Varanger, or on birding trips abroad?
  • Have you ever had a scope, aside from the Highlander? Which one?
  • Do you wear glasses?
  • Are you happy with your binoculars? Or would you like your gift to include a binocular as well?
And so on.

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