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Swarovksi ATX 65mm or ATS 80 HD (1 Viewer)

Joe.S

Well-known member
Can I have your thoughts please on the ATX 65 vs ATS 80 HD 25-50w.

I’m in two minds about which scope to buy.

The ATX 65 is lighter at 1585g compared to the ATS 80 at 1675g, but I doubt the real world difference of 90g is going to make much of a difference. At least not an insurmountable difference. The ATX however is more compact which might be a more important factor than the 90g difference in weight.

Optically I would have thought the ATS has the edge because the objective lens is 15mm larger. In comparing the two side-by-side I preferred the ATX eyepiece because it was very unfussy about eye placement (something I’m a bit finicky about). Perhaps with time the eye-placement wouldn’t be an issue with the ATS 80.

The real spanner-in-the-works is digiscoping.

Apparently, the ATX was designed from the ground up for digiscoping. So, how would the ATX 65 compare with ATS 80 both with the TLS APO and the same camera? The ATX has been designed ‘from the ground up’ so is there a noticeable difference in photographic quality or is the difference a practical one because it’s now possible to zoom easily with the ATX series.

I carry a scope frequently and cover a lot of miles on foot so the weight and objective size dictate the two choices: hence the ATX 65 and ATS 80. However, I also do Vis-Mig, watch a large lake and watch nest boxes from a distance, etc. It’s in these circumstances that I will slap on the larger 95mm objective lens. If I’m out on foot and think it’s likely I will need the 95mm lens then I can carry it in a rucksack (videoing a distant nest without disturbing the birds for instance) then put the 65mm lens back on once done.

It’s this functionality that is attractive with the ATX. My head says ATX but my heart says ATS.

‘beware the man with one gun’ i.e. sometimes it's better to have one set-up (the ATS 80) and know it inside out. If the difference between the ATS and ATX for digiscoping isn’t much then I’m leaning towards the ATS.

I’m not making bird calendars, or have aspirations to take amazing photos, but I do want a set-up that will take good record shots easily. This factor is very important.

It's a lot of money so I appreciate your thoughts.
 

Joe.S

Well-known member
Because I'm used to carrying a small scope.

The ATX 85mm is 1910g: that's 325 grams heavier than the ATX 65mm and 235 grams heavier than the ATS 80 HD 25-50w.

Credit to the ATS 80 because for its size it's both compact and light. Which is why I'm comparing it to the ATX 65.
 

DRodrigues

Well-known member
....

Optically I would have thought the ATS has the edge because the objective lens is 15mm larger. In comparing the two side-by-side I preferred the ATX eyepiece because it was very unfussy about eye placement (something I’m a bit finicky about). Perhaps with time the eye-placement wouldn’t be an issue with the ATS 80.

The real spanner-in-the-works is digiscoping.

....

It's a lot of money so I appreciate your thoughts.

For digidcoping the ATS 80 has more light, so probably better...
It will depend also on which camera you will be using and the attachment method you are planning to use.

You forgot to mention that prices are similar...;)

One detail you didn't mention is that the ATX 65 has higher zoom range and can achieve higher mags, which can be useful with good light conditions for IQ at longer distances - even with lower aperture...
 
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mayoayo

Well-known member
The ATX has the advantage of being modular,so you can add in the future a second ,larger objective if digiscoping becomes more important for your use than the ,quite small in any case,weight considerations.also ,the modular system can be transported in a very compact package.and dont forget the focus/zoom design,definitely an ergonomic improvement...If i had to buy a scope of that quality and price,i probably would go for the atx 65
 

Joe.S

Well-known member
Yep, thanks David- I was aware the ATX had a higher zoom at 25-60 compared with the ATS at 25-50w (the older ATS eyepiece, which isn't wide-angle, is 20-60x so has an even greater range than the ATX because it starts at 20x. I haven't looked through this eyepiece and can't comment on how easy the eye placement is or how restricted the view is: both the ATX and ATS 25-50w have a nice walk-in visual feel (rather than the effect of looking down a tube).

I was planning on using the TLS AP0 because it’s straight through (doesn’t let any light in at the sides) and designed for the ATX series. Which TLS APO, and which camera, I have no idea yet. I’ll be buying them after the scope and will worry about that bit when I can afford it :t:
 

Joe.S

Well-known member
The ATX has the advantage of being modular,so you can add in the future a second ,larger objective if digiscoping becomes more important for your use than the ,quite small in any case,weight considerations.also ,the modular system can be transported in a very compact package.and dont forget the focus/zoom design,definitely an ergonomic improvement...If i had to buy a scope of that quality and price,i probably would go for the atx 65

Thanks, Mayoayo. I think it would be difficult to outgrow the ATX...and slapping on the 95mm objective in the future is a very appealing thought (and cheaper than buying another scope).
 

kabsetz

Well-known member
Joe,

I think you have sort of answered your own question. If you were to just buy one scope and never to add to it or upgrade, I would recommend the ATS due to the 15mm aperture advantage. However, the "ATX 65 now and 95mm objective module later" option is the best among the ones you listed. An alternative suggestion is that you bite the 700g extra weight and just get the ATX 95, with the idea that if you really hate carrying it around you will get the 65mm module later.

I have been using the ATX 95 almost since its introduction, and had a chance to buy a pristine second-hand 65mm objective module for some 600 € a couple of years ago. However, I realized I would almost never use the smaller module due to the superior image quality of the larger one, so let the opportunity pass.

Kimmo
 

Joe.S

Well-known member
Thanks Kimmo, when I was writing the original thread it became apparent from ‘writing therapy’ that I was perhaps favouring the ATX because it covers more bases in the future. Sometimes it isn’t until you sit down and make the words happen, instead of the words in your head, that things become clearer. However, I pressed on with the original thread because I wanted to hear from real-world users about the ATS and ATX.

I thought about buying the larger ATX 95mm objective first because it would then be cheaper to buy the smaller 65mm objective in the future (a backwards logic I know). However, I do spend a lot of time on foot and in woodland so the compact 65mm objective would be very good for starters.

One thing that struck me about the ATX 65mm was the enormous view- it felt very spacious and kind of belied the fact I was looking through a 65mm objective.

I’m now going to find some scales and measure 700g in weight |:D|
 
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Vespobuteo

Well-known member
I was in the same dilemma, twisted my brain for quite a while. The ATX65 is the heaviest and most expensive 65mm scope out there. It's a good scope though. But if you don't intend to buy a complementing 85m or 95mm I don't think the ATX 65mm is sensible choice (if you don't mind the weight and price). The ATS80 would be a better and more versatile scope. But it's only 50x with the wide angle EP. Neither is 60x with the ATX 65mm objective optimal (gets dark).

If you want the lightest scope, the ATS65 is an alternative. I finally bought the ATS65, I can't say I regret it. IMO the ATS80 would have been to little of an improvement, and I travel with my scope a lot.
Though I will probably buy a bigger scope for more stationary use in the future, but then it will be 85mm or bigger. Most likely the Kowa 883. But personally I'm not completely happy with any of the alpha scopes. All of them have things that annoy me slightly.
And so to speak, the ATS65 was the one that annoyed me the least at the time of buying. ;)

Kowa 773 would be an alternative to. Not available in my store when I was buying. Compact and not much heavier than a 65mm. But the risk is that you regret not going for the bigger 883...as the price difference is slight.
 
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Joe.S

Well-known member
Thanks, Vespobueo. I bet the ATS65 is an absolute darling of a scope and yes I certainly did the maths on the ATS 65 + bigger scope (I looked at the KOWA 883 as well).

Like you say the options, and what to do for the best, really twist your brain.

Regrettably, I fall into the category of an obvious two-scope-user. So the ATX 65 makes sense. +Plus having the same ocular for both the ATX 65 and ATX 95 also makes sense in terms of familiarity and ease of use. + digiscoping adapters are the same for both.

Who knows. Time will tell.
 

simple

Inglorious Bustards
the modular is a rip off in my opinion and offers only some slight advantages in upgrades a bit like a computer you can hack apart - I think the best option is to look at other brands too rather than favouring the one with the biggest marketing budget!!
 

safaridreaming

Well-known member
My personal preference between the two would be ATS 80 simply because of the larger objective (weight being almost equal).

I have owned the Zeiss Diascope 85mm and the Leica APO 82 within the last 15 months and i find the eye placement on the Swaro to be the trickiest...

In this respect, the Zeiss was the most comfortable.

That being said, the image on the ATS 80 appeals to me the most....I recently sold both the Leica and the Zeiss. The Swaro is now the only spotter I own.

cheers
Jeelan
 

geekocrat

Member
Swarovski ATX65 vs ATS80 Scopes?

Great scopes if your not walking far. However, if I was walking any distance I wouldn't use either scope. I don't care what Swarovski say in their marketing, I don't regard either of them as lightweight. They are too damn heavy in combination with a tripod/head + camera, plus binoculars, rucksack, food, water, etc. This increases if you jump to the ATX 85/95 scopes. As well as the extra weight of a quality tripod+fluid head, you will need a rail plus other accessories to balance camera+scope for digiscoping. This adds considerably to the cost. You also won't be walking very far with this little lot, unless you're a marine commando, as you're looking at @6 kg or more with your camera.

If, as you say, you are keen on longer walks, I would wait until Opticron launch their new MM4 60 GA ED scope in February. In the meantime you can check out the existing MM3 60 that weighs just under 1kg and costs around £700. Then you can afford a quality tripod+head at @2kg. Also, look at Opticron digiscoping photos by going to owners' websites. You will be surprised at how good some of them are. They are perfectly adequate for bird ID. Your arms, back and shoulders will also be happier! Remember that bird watching is meant to be fun, not torture.
 
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paddy7

Well-known member
When I finally got a Kowa 883 (needed for seawatching, estuaries etc.) i meant to sell my ATS65 Swaro, but couldn't. I still use it for good long walks, when a scope is an additional tool, but not essential. The ATS80 is light enough to carry for distances, and big/good enough for almost all circumstances, while even the ATX65 seemed heavy to me for what should be a lightweight set up.
It may be that the 'two-scope' concept is the one, if you can afford it.
The retail outlet i use spoke glowingly of the upcoming Opticron MM4!
 

Joe.S

Well-known member
My personal preference between the two would be ATS 80 simply because of the larger objective (weight being almost equal).

I have owned the Zeiss Diascope 85mm and the Leica APO 82 within the last 15 months and i find the eye placement on the Swaro to be the trickiest...

In this respect, the Zeiss was the most comfortable.

That being said, the image on the ATS 80 appeals to me the most....I recently sold both the Leica and the Zeiss. The Swaro is now the only spotter I own.

cheers
Jeelan

Thanks, Jeelan. The Diacope is an interesting beast but it seems to be understocked and Zeiss are slow sending out parts to dealers which worries me slightly. Also, I'm wary of the after sales care of Zeiss.

That's good to know the eye placement on the Zeiss was the most comfortable. The zoom of 20-75x is very attractive also.

It's a struggle to find out more information about the Zeiss diascope from users or dealers. I don't know, I get the feeling it isn't very popular?
 

safaridreaming

Well-known member
Hey Joe,

it certainly doesnt seem to be as popular compared to the discussions the Swaro or Leica APO generate...

The FOV on the Zeiss is less than the FOV on either of the other two scopes (47* to 67* vs approx 60* to 70*)... and its got a classic 3/4 to 1/4 approach in that its got a bit of field curvature in the last 10-15% of the field..... so narrow FOV with FC on the edges probably puts people off a bit... FC is nothing unusable, it just requires minor refocusing.

I tend to view on-axis so that didnt really phase me that much..

its scary sharp in the middle though. Its also a bigger, heavier scope relative to the other two. Certainly you can feel the difference when you compare the Swaro vs the Zeiss.

Despite the weight, I initially bought the Zeiss as a portable astro-scope in lieu of an 80mm refractor - I find premium spotting scopes a great alternative as you get high quality optics in a water proof, dust proof package and the 75x zoom was really attractive.

Ironically, after buying 2" adapters for all 3 eyepieces (Swaro 25-50x, Leica 25-50x, and Zeiss 20-75x) for use in my 11" SCT, I found I disliked the Swaro's image in the telescope the most - it had an extremely warm/yellowish tinge.

The Leica and Zeiss eyepieces were VERY similar in image quality - superb contrast and some of the best planetary views i've had. Extremely neutral colour rendition - the Zeiss was possibly a bit more whiter than the the Leica. The zoom range on the Zeiss won me over in the end. Images were also flat to the edge of the field for me, which was important when viewing open clusters etc, but my scope is F/10 so a bit more forgiving on this respect. On faster scopes the Zeiss shows mild FC at the very edges...

Unfortunately I sold the body recently to a Bird Forum member as I had just purchased a 100mm binocular telescope which takes 1.25" astronomy eyepieces, so it kind of made the Zeiss redundant for star gazing...

I've still got the eyepiece for use in my telescope though...

In Australia, I've had nothing but good service from Zeiss, so really it was the Leica that concerned me the most in terms of customer service. I had no issues or concerns about dealing with Swarovski or Zeiss. Lucky enough for me, all three scopes were in stock at local dealer when I bought them so i could compare.

cheers
Jeelan
 
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Joe.S

Well-known member
Thanks, Jeelan. You've flagged up some interesting stuff there about the Diascope :t:

I read in one review that it tries to do too much. Even so, the huge zoom range is very impressive and if you don't mind its quirks...
 

safaridreaming

Well-known member
The Zeiss zoom certainly sounds more versatile in the 65mm package. The 20-75x eyepiece delivers 15-56x range in the smaller scope which ties in well with a 8x or 10x binocular without leaving a significant gap in between.

cheers
Jeelan
 

Joe.S

Well-known member
Wishful thinking perhaps, but it's a shame there wasn't a larger range in the ATX objectives. i.e. the 65mm starting at 15x and the 95mm finishing at 95x.
 
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