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old scope vs new sub $500 scope opinon (1 Viewer)


Hi All,

I have been using a Bausch & Lomb Elite 80mm spotting scope for 17 years. I swapped out the 20-60x zoom ocular for a 22x LER, which I love. It's rubber armored, water proof and over all, performs great. I hate to say but it rivals and surpasses my old Kowa TSN-2. They're close, but the B&L has some advantages. One area the scope feels a bit weak, is in low light. I love the side to side crispness during the day (little to no CA) however at twilight and dusk, the light gathering just isn't there. Images are dark muddy in low light.

I've been tempted to try a couple 85mm scopes. Both are HD (vs ED), 85mm, straight through.

1. Athlon Argos 20-60 x 85mm straight through scope (only $375). Made in China.

2. Vortex Diamondback 85mm HD scope (also straight through). Made in China. ($499)

Both are appealing for my price range, and the large 85mm objective lens for light gathering.

Question: do think a newer, HD scope might perform better in low light in 2020, better than a 18 year old 80mm ED scope.

Hope to find one at a store near by and test them out, even bringing my scope in to compare.


Well-known member

I normally would now talk about star-testing your B&L Elite and if it's a good example - keep it. But if you normally use a 22x LER EP, that is not really an issue - it is fairly hard to build a scope that does not work well at that magnification.

If you are only trying to get an ID in failing light, exit pupil, magnification and coatings are the most important things... exit pupil is most important, so a bit more aperture will certainly help. Magnification is also an issue - a bit more magnification will also help in bad light - too bad this usually means less exit pupil.
As for coatings, most surfaces are in the eyepiece, so getting a current EP is more important than a current body - also Porro prisms are better than Schmidt-Pechan for a variety of reasons - unfortunately these are not en vogue any more nowadays...

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