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Opticron 77m vs Swarovski ATS 65mm (1 Viewer)

ghirl

Member
United States
I am new to this forum! Trying to decide between purchasing a new 77mm Opticron scope with the new SDL v3 eyepiece or a Swarovski ATS 65 mm used scope. Price difference in the USA is about $400 more for the Swarovski. This will be my first scope for birding. Would love to hear thoughts on the pros and cons of going one way or the other. Thanks!
 

Richard Scott

Well-known member
I am new to this forum! Trying to decide between purchasing a new 77mm Opticron scope with the new SDL v3 eyepiece or a Swarovski ATS 65 mm used scope. Price difference in the USA is about $400 more for the Swarovski. This will be my first scope for birding. Would love to hear thoughts on the pros and cons of going one way or the other. Thanks!
Welcome to the forum. Is the Swarovski the HD version and does it include an eyepiece, if so which one?
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

first of all, welcome to BF!

The history of the Swaro ATS line is long and convoluted - first there was the ATS, then the ATS HD with ED glass, then came the ATM with a magnesium body and after the ATX series came out as the new top dog, Swaro once again started selling an aluminum bodied ATS as a "cheap" option - which was an HD variant but was not called that way...

So it would be really helpful to know the serial number (and thus year of production). of the scope...

Joachim
 

Ratal

Well-known member
I am new to this forum! Trying to decide between purchasing a new 77mm Opticron scope with the new SDL v3 eyepiece or a Swarovski ATS 65 mm used scope. Price difference in the USA is about $400 more for the Swarovski. This will be my first scope for birding. Would love to hear thoughts on the pros and cons of going one way or the other. Thanks!
Get the 77mm with SDL v3. It is a beauty. You wont regret it at all over a non-ED swaro.
 

ghirl

Member
United States
Hi,

first of all, welcome to BF!

The history of the Swaro ATS line is long and convoluted - first there was the ATS, then the ATS HD with ED glass, then came the ATM with a magnesium body and after the ATX series came out as the new top dog, Swaro once again started selling an aluminum bodied ATS as a "cheap" option - which was an HD variant but was not called that way...

So it would be really helpful to know the serial number (and thus year of production). of the scope...

Joachim
The used Swaro is a newer one, I believe with the HD glass. I would be purchasing it from a store in Colorado that rents the 65 mm with the option to buy. So I can ask about the serial number before renting. Assuming we are comparing the latest Swaro 65 mm version with the HD glass vs. the Opticron 77 mm with SDLv3 lens what are your thoughts? I may also be able to get a discount on both scope options through my local Audobon since I am a member.
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

hard to say... if we assume a good example for each, the Opticron will beat the Swaro - and not just by a bit.
First it has a wider aperture so more light and better resolution.
Second the Swaro comes with the fairly dated 20-60x zoom, not with the newer wide angle zoom. On the other hand the SDLv3 is Opticrons current top eyepiece - I only know its predecessor the v2, though - which is brilliant.

The problem is getting a good example... can you test the scopes before you buy? Swaro tends to hold its value fairly well, so if your used example is not completely overpriced, you can sell it on without great loss...

The Opticron is new, so it looses 20-30% at the moment you walk out of the store...

Joachim
 

ghirl

Member
United States
Hi,

hard to say... if we assume a good example for each, the Opticron will beat the Swaro - and not just by a bit.
First it has a wider aperture so more light and better resolution.
Second the Swaro comes with the fairly dated 20-60x zoom, not with the newer wide angle zoom. On the other hand the SDLv3 is Opticrons current top eyepiece - I only know its predecessor the v2, though - which is brilliant.

The problem is getting a good example... can you test the scopes before you buy? Swaro tends to hold its value fairly well, so if your used example is not completely overpriced, you can sell it on without great loss...

The Opticron is new, so it looses 20-30% at the moment you walk out of the store...

Joachim
I am in the process of trying to get Audobon to get the 77mm Opticron in for me to try out, they have new Swaro 65 mm they sell for $2260 with member discount. What is the best way to know if you have a good example. If I rent the used Swaro for 1 weeks I will be able to try it out to see if I like it. Opticron also has a 30 day return policy. So I would save about $1000 buying the Opticron 77m over the new Swaro and $579 buying the Opticron over the used Swaro.
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

as for testing - the minimum requirement would be to be able to deliver a sharp image at 60x or whatever the maximum magnification of the zoom is... with an easy to find point of best focus (rather than a wide are of least blurriness).

For a more thorough test you could either try a resolution test target (but that helps not a lot w/o sth to compare it to) or learn to star test - either at night with a real star or an artificial one at some distance (30m are good).

PS: $1850 for a used ATS with 20-60 is not cheap... I see those around 1000€ or $1200 on ebay... those are from private sellers though but with the Swaro warranty that is not too much of an issue...

Joachim
 
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ghirl

Member
United States
Thanks for your input. One more question I have a friend who has a Swaro ATX 80 mm with the 20-60 mm zoom, that I had a chance to use last weekend. Can you tell me which of the 2 scopes above the Opticron 77mm with SDL v3 or the new Swaro ATS 65 mm with 20-60x zoom would be closest to quality of the Swaro ATX. Thanks,
 

Nivado

Well-known member
If I was in for a scope right now, and those 2 models were the options, I would go for the Opticron without a doubt.
No better scope at that pricerange.
I have an mm3 50 ed with Sdlv2 and it is very nice Indeed, it is sharper with better contrast than my ATX65 but with smaller fi3ld of view.
The ATX is supposed to be better than the ATS.
Not convinced at all by the ATX65 (at least not my example) for the money it cost.
 

ghirl

Member
United States
If I was in for a scope right now, and those 2 models were the options, I would go for the Opticron without a doubt.
No better scope at that pricerange.
I have an mm3 50 ed with Sdlv2 and it is very nice Indeed, it is sharper with better contrast than my ATX65 but with smaller fi3ld of view.
The ATX is supposed to be better than the ATS.
Not convinced at all by the ATX65 (at least not my example) for the money it cost.
The Opticron is certainly a better value. Since this is my first scope I am torn between going with the Opticron 77mm or the 60 mm4 ED. There is a 1.1 pound and $312 price difference. I know I will get more light with the 77mm and a bit more magnification, 60 mm is 15-45x vs 77mm is 15-54x with the SDL v3 eyepiece. For a first time scope what would you choose, and why?
 

bcskr

Well-known member
I have both the 60 and 77 with a variety of EPs including the SDLv3. The smaller scope (and its smaller tripod and ball head) get the most use when I’m in the field and doing a lot of walking and carrying the scope (just in case). But when I’m birding out of the car, or doing more stationary birding and some digiscoping I much prefer the larger scope. The 77 doesn’t weigh that much more than the 60, but it is larger, and the tripod and head are also larger and heavier. So the whole package ends up being heavier and more cumbersome. Also I am more apt to take the smaller scope when flying or traveling internationally. So, if you had to pick one it probably depends on how you anticipate using it.
 

ghirl

Member
United States
T
I have both the 60 and 77 with a variety of EPs including the SDLv3. The smaller scope (and its smaller tripod and ball head) get the most use when I’m in the field and doing a lot of walking and carrying the scope (just in case). But when I’m birding out of the car, or doing more stationary birding and some digiscoping I much prefer the larger scope. The 77 doesn’t weigh that much more than the 60, but it is larger, and the tripod and head are also larger and heavier. So the whole package ends up being heavier and more cumbersome. Also I am more apt to take the smaller scope when flying or traveling internationally. So, if you had to pick one it probably depends on how you anticipate using it.
Thanks for your help. Can you tell me what tripod and head you use with the 60mm scope. And do you like it. It is hard to find a lightweight set up that works without being able to test it out. I currently have a Manfrotto 3001BD Tripod aluminum about 3.8 lbs, and a heavy ball head, used for photography that I want to replace with a lightweight decent pan head. Looking at Manfrotto 700RC2 (lighter of 2) and Manfrotto 128RC QR. I was thinking of getting one of those and using it with the 77mm Opticron. If I go the route of the 60mm Scope I would want to go as light as possible.
 

Bill Atwood

Registered User
Supporter
United States
Having used both of those heads I'd pick the 128RC for both scopes. The 700RC2 probably works for both, better for the 60mm, but the scope view would shift significantly when tightening the panning/tilt locks.
 

Nivado

Well-known member
Hi ghirl,

You'll be happy with eather of them.
I think you need to decide based on what kind of birdwatching you will be doing.
For example, If you do a lot of migration countings and like to observe waders at distance, I'd choose the 77.
If you go on birding holidays more often and you like to make longer walks, than the 60 would be more interesting.
When you have chosen one, you can always buy the other one later as an extra since you than already have an oculair.

I personally would think the 77 is a better alrounder. Larger objective and higher mzgnification.
I am used to carrying around an ATX95 and just bought the extra 65 module for travelling. That 77 isn't much bulkier or heavier than the 65 in the field. That difference isn't worth much. It wouldn't bother me to carry around all day.

Grtz
 

Nivado

Well-known member
Oh and yes, if I wouldn't have a scope and was in for 1, I'd go for the 77..
But that is only my personal preference!
 

ghirl

Member
United States
Oh and yes, if I wouldn't have a scope and was in for 1, I'd go for the 77..
But that is only my personal preference!
Thanks for all the help. I am leaning towards the 77 mm, and if sometime down the line I want to go lighter will consider the 60mm.
 

ghirl

Member
United States
Having used both of those heads I'd pick the 128RC for both scopes. The 700RC2 probably works for both, better for the 60mm, but the scope view would shift significantly when tightening the panning/tilt locks.
Do you know if the Opticron 77mm would snap right into the 128RC? Or do I need to use a plate adapter? I spoke with the Opticron rep in N. Carolina and she mentioned that the Opticrons have an extra screw for stability and securing the scope to the head. Do you know if the 128RC supports that? I mentioned to her that I was thinking of buying the Manfrotto 20USS Universal Anti-twist quick release plate for scopes and she said I did not need it for the 700RC2 head but I did not ask her about the 128RC. The plate is used to eliminate unwanted rotation of the scope but the rep said Opticron has an extra screw for that so it wasn't necessary at least for the 700RC2.
 

Bill Atwood

Registered User
Supporter
United States
The MM3/MM4 60 require the plate for use on the 128RC. There can be small movement even with the pin installed, but it is very slight. I've found rotation is much more of an issue with bigger, heavier scopes and I'm very satisfied with the MM3/128RC combo. The MM4 77 is a couple inches longer and a pound heavier than the MM4 60.

IIRC the plate was still needed when mounting on the 700RC2.

The MM3/MM4s do have 2 threaded holes that can be used for mounting the plates. However the 700RC2/128RC plates only allow use of one screw. The 500MAH and/or Sirui VH-10 plates did allow for using 2 screws.
 

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