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Light spotting scope
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
DonVathome 08-Feb-22
Kurt 08-Feb-22
Panther Bone 08-Feb-22
JTreeman 08-Feb-22
JTreeman 08-Feb-22
DonVathome 08-Feb-22
DonVathome 08-Feb-22
Jeff Durnell 08-Feb-22
Michael 08-Feb-22
Tilzbow 08-Feb-22
Jaquomo 08-Feb-22
jdee 08-Feb-22
jimss 08-Feb-22
WV Mountaineer 08-Feb-22
DonVathome 09-Feb-22
Ambush 09-Feb-22
DonVathome 09-Feb-22
smarba 09-Feb-22
WV Mountaineer 09-Feb-22
Drummer Boy 09-Feb-22
smarba 09-Feb-22
DonVathome 09-Feb-22
DonVathome 09-Feb-22
'Ike' (Phone) 09-Feb-22
Drummer Boy 09-Feb-22
WV Mountaineer 09-Feb-22
'Ike' (Phone) 09-Feb-22
Grey Ghost 09-Feb-22
WV Mountaineer 09-Feb-22
'Ike' (Phone) 09-Feb-22
Grey Ghost 09-Feb-22
Jims 09-Feb-22
'Ike' (Phone) 09-Feb-22
From: DonVathome
08-Feb-22
I had a Leupold Sequoia 15x-45x 60mm straight spotting scope I used a lot. I sent it to Leupold to clean and they said it was broken and threw it away. They sent me a new Leupold SX-2 Alpine 20-60x angled spotting scope. It seems nice but it is HEAVY. I backpack this in and fly into AK with my scope often.

Sequoia weighed 2.1# new one weighs 3.5#

I am looking for a spotting scope similar to he Sequoia. Total weight under 2.5# (this is not negotiable). roughly 15x-45x - this can vary a little. I would like to get something new at $300 or less.

Ideas?

From: Kurt
08-Feb-22
Leupold Gold Ring 12-40 x 60 HD? Think they were around 40 oz and great eye relief with decent optics.

08-Feb-22
The compact Kowas or Athalon’s compact one.

From: JTreeman
08-Feb-22
Can you actually buy a brand name spotting scope for sub $300?

—jim

From: JTreeman
08-Feb-22

JTreeman's embedded Photo
JTreeman's embedded Photo
Maybe you can, not quite $300, but I didn’t shop too hard. Its well within your weight limit too. I have no idea how good it is.

—jim

From: DonVathome
08-Feb-22
What are your guys thoughts on straight vs angled spotting scopes? I have never used angled - seems better.

I suspect that for the same quality image/light transmission an angled would cost more because optics need to be higher quality? Is that correct? I am assuming light needs to be reflected 1 extra time to achieve the angle.

From: DonVathome
08-Feb-22
I think the Sequoia cost $225 when I got it. That was a decade ago.

From: Jeff Durnell
08-Feb-22
There are several Leupold Wind River Sequoias on ebay right now, including a new one in the box for $300.

From: Michael
08-Feb-22
There are two ways I glass. One is from a truck the other is sitting on a ridge line.

If I am in my truck I prefer a strait scope. To use an angled scope I would have to rotate the scope.

If I am sitting on a ridge line it doesn’t matter what I use but if I use my angled scope I get by with a shorter tripod and digiscoping seems easier with my phone angled up for ease of seeing it.

From: Tilzbow
08-Feb-22
What Michael said. To add I find angled way easier on my neck. I always prefer angled except glassing from a truck (which I rarely do) or looking down a steep hill while sitting on a steep side hill (which I sometimes do). Most find straight easier to find stuff in but you get use to angled pretty fast. I prefer angled.

Kowa makes some good glass so that little one above would be worth checking out. Top end Kowa glass is regularly rated higher than Swaro, Leica and Zeiss on birding sites.

From: Jaquomo
08-Feb-22
I have a Burris Signature that's pretty good for a lower end scope and in that weight range (don't know about the price, got it comped some years ago) but it has a straight eyepiece which I don't like. Much prefer my angled eyepiece scope, even for truck glassing. Getting used to the rotated scope on the window took about two minutes.

From: jdee
08-Feb-22
I get it, a lighter spotter…I had a little Nikon ED50 Spotter I used for a few years it was a nice light spotter but I wanted something better so I bought a Swaro 65 angled. It’s heavier and 4 times the price but damn it’s a lot better.

From: jimss
08-Feb-22
How many $300 spotters are you going to buy before you learn that you get what you pay for? Watch the classified section and buy a nearly new Swaro or Leica. You won't regret it! I'm shocked you are even considering a $300 spotter for how much hunting you do? How much do you spend on gas and plane tickets? A top end spotter really isn't that much when you look at the total cost of your trips, nonres license, etc!

08-Feb-22
My only suggestion on buying a cheaper scope is glass quality is going to suffer. But, I’ll assume you know your needs. And, I’ll assume the OP knows that there is plenty adequate glass for far cheaper.

Obviously, glass quality is going to increase with price. And, obviously that isn’t a defining factor for all but a few hunts. Where I see a huge difference in high dollar spotters versus cheaper ones is finite details in glass quality. And EYE relief!!!

After buying adequate leupold and athos spotters, my only gripe is the eye relief. I knew what they were selling and bought them knowing they’ll serve my purpose of a needed spotting scope. However, after trying to stabilize my body to look through a scope with lesser eye relief, I figured out pretty quick if I did it a lot, I’d buy a top end scope of my needs and smile while I did it.

From: DonVathome
09-Feb-22
I have done fine with my Sequoia. I have hunted with guys with $3,000 optics and in most situations seen very very very little difference when I compared the 2. Not nearly enough to justify the $$$ and, more importantly, I do not poop bricks when I have to wipe my lens off when dirty of foggy. Something I would never do with high end glass. Plus if I break it who cares. 2 or 3 times I have had the guys with $2,000 - $4,000 scopes look through mine, all admitted there was very little difference. Low light maybe (they never tried low light).

Yes I hunt a lot and have some expensive trips. I have done good with my optics. My binos are Nikon monarch, very vey happy with them.

For the record I bought my $225 Sequoia and was very happy, so to answer your question, how many $300 scopes do I need to buy to find one a like? Zero, I bought a $225 one and it worked great for over a decade - until Leupold confiscated it, during a routine cleaning, against my will.

I choose to spend my money on hunting not glass.

I might buy a Sequoia again but wanted to look around and see what is out there.

I am 50 and my eyesite is not what is used to be. Buying a $2,000 spotting scope is not going to solve the problem. I would find way more game 5 years ago with the Sequoia vs a $3,000 scope today.

If someone handed me a free top of the line Leupold spotter today it would be on ebay tomorrow and I would be planning an extra trip this fall.

I am curious about eye relief at high magnification it is difficult to look through the Sequoia - a tiny bit more eye relief would be nice. I suspect an angled spotter would be better so I might try one this time.

I did buy a good, and fairly heavy (3.6#) full size carbon fiber tripod. I think that is a better place to park a little more $$$$ in my optics budget. I never use it fully extended so I might get a smaller lighter one this year.

From: Ambush
09-Feb-22
The scope I carry all the time now is an angled Nikon ED 50 and I managed to find a 15X45 eyepiece for it. The glass is good enough to use the scope at high powers. If I'm glassing with a scope it's often sitting down, so the angled is far more comfortable. After a few tries I came up with a Vortex SS tripod which is compact, light and smooth. But it's not tall enough to use standing. If it's windy just hang a small mesh bag filled with rocks, from the center.

For me, it's the best combination of quality and packability, from hunting antelope to goats and sheep. Vortex makes one almost identical and with a better focus system.

From: DonVathome
09-Feb-22
Thanks Ambush! That tripod looks perfect.

From: smarba
09-Feb-22
I have an old Kowa 20x wide-angle fixed power. Honestly I feel the added weight and size of variable spotters isn't worth it. I borrowed high end swaro from friends in field conditions and anything above about 20 maybe 30 gets so much heat waves as to be virtually useless. But few companies make fixed power these days.

Heads up with Kowa though, they have life-time warranty. I have all paperwork, receipts, etc. Mine began fogging up internally so I sent it back. They said sorry no longer make, can't fix. But we'll sell you a new one that weighs 2x for just a smidge under what you can find online pricing (Lot lower than MSRP, but basically, not much of a deal at all). I chose not to and won't deal with a company that considers that to be a warranty.

09-Feb-22
^^^^^This^^^^^. By the time the sun comes up, it doesn’t really matter what you are looking through if there’s a lot of air between you. Cause it’s going to be blurred by heat mirage.

Don, I’ve got a 30 power fixed leupold compact spotter. I picked it up for $250. It’s a fine piece of glass. And, it weighs 24 ounces. Eye relief isn’t the best but, it produces crystal clear images.

You can usually find them on eBay for $300 or less. They are going to be hard to beat for your desires. And oh so light and compact.

From: Drummer Boy
09-Feb-22
Lots of years ago I bought my only spotting scope a Leupold 20power.I think it was there first spotter,maybe 35 years ago.It is all I need it is still water proof,fits in my pack nice,light.I thought about buying a new one but why,if you get mutch over 25 power it gets goofy with heat any way.

From: smarba
09-Feb-22
Another option would be to use a doubler with your bino. They are virtually weightless. They do NOT work well for scanning/glassing, but they serve their purpose to get a larger view of something you already spotted with your binos. The field of view gets really narrow, though and it can be hard to line up even if you have your binos locked in place on your tripod.

From: DonVathome
09-Feb-22
Thanks guys! I have never used a fixed power spotter. I do like the variety. In AK this past fall I have a large, flat open area in front of me. probably 4 square miles. VERY easy to find caribou. It was nice to zoom out to 15x and glass it all in a couple minutes. Then I turned it up and looked at other ridges further away. The 45x setting is virtually useless to me. 40x is the max I can ever get to and see anything - and even then rarely. 30x and a little higher I do use often.

From: DonVathome
09-Feb-22
Are angled more expensive? I see straight and angled versions at the same price BUT is the optic quality the same? I still think that reflecting the image at an angle might involve one more step, that increases cost or decreases image quality (or both)?

09-Feb-22

'Ike' (Phone)'s embedded Photo
'Ike' (Phone)'s embedded Photo
'Ike' (Phone)'s embedded Photo
'Ike' (Phone)'s embedded Photo
You mean like this Don...My lil Leupold 25X50 Gold Ring! I love it, weighs nothing but gives me the omph I need to check something out a lil more if needed...

From: Drummer Boy
09-Feb-22
That must be the (newer) model of my 20 power,nice.

09-Feb-22
That’s just like mine too. I was wrong. Mine is a fixed 25x50 as well. Not the 30x60 I quoted above. And, the glass is really good.

It’s so light that even with a cheap ball head, you can use it to scan. Not sure a fixed spotter is what you need after your last couple posts. But, if you want to try it out for yourself, shoot me a pm. I’ll mail you mine. I just need it back before September. Cause if I’m still alive and kicking, I’m going elk hunting this fall. :^)

09-Feb-22
^^^ Lol, atta boy WV!

Not even a foot long, was going to post another item for reference, but this is a family site... :-)

From: Grey Ghost
09-Feb-22
Don,

I have the exact Leupold scope pictured above, with case. It is light weight and compact, but it doesn't hold a candle to my Swaro scope. You can have it for shipping cost, if you want it.

When you spend 6-10 hours behind a scope, for days on end, like I have, that's when the costs of a top shelf scope become justified, IMO.

Matt

09-Feb-22
I’d take him up on that offer.

09-Feb-22
Yes, it's not an all day glasser by any stretch...

From: Grey Ghost
09-Feb-22
"Yes, it's not an all day glasser by any stretch..."

It isn't even an hour glasser, if you have low light. I used it 2 times, and realized my 10x42 binos were better.

Matt

From: Jims
09-Feb-22
I agree 100% with Grey Ghost. Not sure if I would want to look through that little bugger for 10 hrs/day for a week at a time! My eyes and head would be fried! It sure is nice having a large diameter scope to relax and view through for hours upon hours even in cloudy and low light.

I can guarantee I can spot an ear, leg, or animal part and field judge critters from a lot further than you can with that tiny piece of glass! A top end spotter saves me miles of hiking and a heck of a lot of time figuring out if a critter is big enough to shoot!

If you are happy looking through a tiny scope....good for you!

09-Feb-22
Good grief, some need to learn to read and comprehend…SMH! Good luck on your search Don…

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