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Spotting Scope questions
Was looking at getting a nice spotting scope. Had a couple questions. Was looking at the 20-60x Noticed a pretty good price jump from 65mm and 80mm. What is you opinion on the difference? Also Straight eye piece or angled? I also noticed a slight increase in price for the 25-50X over the 20-60X, wondering why? Any other input would be appreciated. Thnx
One of the reasons could be the glass coating and not the size of the objective or magnification. Also the bigger the glass the more it cost to make and manufacture. I would look at glass (binocular and spotting scope) manufacturers and read up on industry standards. Things like what BAK4 is, fully coated lenses vs. coated lenses, exit pupil, nitrogen filled, anti fog coatings, etc. I looked at all of these about 10 years ago when I bought my glass. Become informed to know what you are getting.
KC, the 25-50 is usually slightly more expensive because it is a wide angle (more field of view) scope compared to the 60x. The difference between 65 and 80 is going to be two fold. The 65 is obviously a fair amount lighter than the 80. The 80 is going to give you better clarity in low light situations and larger field of view at max zoom. The questions between 65 and 80 are: Is the weight a concern?, Do I need the extra light gathering for the type of hunting I plan to do?, and Is the increase in cost worth it for me? .
Straight or angled is mostly a “Ford vs Chevy”, just a matter of preference. That said, angled tends to be more comfortable for looking uphill while straight is easier when looking downhill. Angled is very difficult to use mounted on a truck window. I’ve used both and prefer the angled mostly because turning my head up to look through the straight is hard on my neck while turning my head down for the angled is much more comfortable for me.
If you are a backpack hunter, I'd get a 65mm. Most of the guides in the NWT when I sheep ('17) and caribou ('18) hunted used a Swaro 65mm scopes. 65mm vs 80mm is not only significantly lighter, it also less bulky in the pack while providing adequate light gathering and resolution to be very effective. Note...if going with lesser quality glass with poorer coatings, the 80mm may be a better choice. And if the scope will be used out the truck window or short distances away from a quad or SxS and not backpacked there is no downside to getting the 80mm scope.
My 10 year old Swaro angled, magnesium body 20-60 x 65mm HD has served my extremely well. I don't use a case on it as cases add weight and bulk in the pack, are a bigger x-section for the wind to catch, etc. The Swaros are rubber armored. I did switch out the rubber eyepiece cap that always fell off for pop/beer can neoprene koozie.
As per the angled vs straight, I prefer angled, but also make the stipulation that the scope needs to have a rotating barrel so you can turn the eye piece at least 90* off upright to either side. The rotating feature comes in very handy sitting the truck using a window window mount. I've used the angled scope like a periscope to stay hidden behind a large boulder and inspect a large herd of Stone rams for legal rams that were 200 yds away. Only the scope was visible to the rams as glassed them with the eyepiece turned horizontal. I also think it is easier to use a phone scope on an angled eyepiece. And for whatever reason as an eyeglass wearer I find the angled eyepiece more ergonomic and easier to get a full field of view from, despite specs indicating the eye relief is identical on both versions.
Good luck with your purchase!
I prefer straight scopes for a few reasons. First, I do a lot of glassing from my truck using a window mount. Second, I find getting the scope "on target" is a lot easier with a straight. Perhaps that goes back to my rifle hunting days when we used our rifle scopes to glass. Yeah, I know that's frowned upon nowadays, but it's how we used to do it.
I also prefer the 65mm for the lighter weight and packability.
I had an 80 and have used a couple 60s ever since. As mentioned above it's more weight and bulk for the larger glass. I prefer straight. It's easier to line up. With angled your head is above the scope which often means your head is that much higher above the scope to be seen by critters. Also the straight is easier to use on a window mount.
I find the angled easier on a window mount if you rotate the barrel to get the eyepiece pointed toward you in the seat...I don't have to twist sideways in the seat as much as with a straight scope. I certainly used the little tube sight on the angled scope a lot to get on target when I was new to using an angled scope.
I typically use the scope sitting where I get over the top of the angled scope on a low tripod...which allows the tripod to be smaller, lighter and more stable. Sure works well for me, but others would rather have a taller tripod and stand or sit behind it. As someone said, Fords and Chevys or maybe Toyotas.
I prefer angled over straight, but that’s probably because it’s what I’ve always used. I have a Swaro 95 right now and wish I would’ve got the 65 instead. The 95 is far too bulky for most scenarios. I’ll be purchasing a 65 mm objective before I pack it anywhere other than the truck.
Thanks for the opinions. It's got me researching deeper.
I enjoyed the educational discussion, thanks everyone.