How do you compare spotting scopes? Here is what I did, did i do it right?

Tookeymonster

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I set up 3 scopes next to each other. I set them all on the same target. The area I had the scopes set up was kind of low light looking to a sunny spot (an intersection) 700 yds. Two objects were a guys face and license plate.

Swarovski ATM 20-60x60 $2100.00
Vortex Razor HD 20-60x80 $1500.00
Vortex Viper HD 20-60x80 $900.00


Over all I liked the way the vortex had the micro focus option as well, made it easier to get it tot he best focus. The Swarovski was lighter but not so much lighter to swade me to spend the extra $1000 or extra $600.

Razor vs Swarovski: Extremely hard to tell any difference on clarity. The razor seemed to me more stoutly built thus adding some weight. As mentioned above the micro focus feature on both Vortex model made it faster for me to get the best focus possible.

As for the Viper HD I could tell a little difference but not much at all the guys face was blurry with all three. (I was looking through a window from the store I was at). It was a little easier to decipher the letters and numbers on license plate withe Razor and Swarov but all 3 were blurry.

My original dilemma was to do I go with the Swarov or the Razor but now I don't know if I should go with the RazorHd or the ViperHd?!!!

No reason at all to spend the extra money on Swarov IMO, I have compared the Swarov Binos to the Razor bions in the field. I really do like Swarov's but not worth the extra money IMO. Now that they have a price competitor they may need to rethink the way the price their stuff.
 

Matt Cashell

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Setting them up side by side is very important. It is best, in my experience, to do the side by side comparison in the greatest variety of conditions that you can. Optic designs make compromises in some areas to improve in others. So in some conditions, one will do better than another, but fall behind in others.

When testing resolution, 700 yards is a long ways, as there is a great volume of air between the object and the objective. It requires a stable atmosphere to get the top performance out of any optic. I test resolution at 50 to 100 yards, and I like to use credit cards of various background designs. Standard resolution charts are good also, and particularly help in seeing astigmatism, but they are black and white, which over-emphasizes contrast, and doesn't give as good of a hunting-oriented test, in my opinion.

Graph paper at close range (around the minimum focus range) is good for finding other aberrations like distortion.

I put a lot of time into it, myself.

BTW, I have and use a Razor HD. It is an excellent instrument. However, the Swaros have top notch optical performance, and do it at significantly less weight. Whether the price is worth it or not, it wasn't to me, but I could see how it would be to others.
 
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Tookeymonster

Tookeymonster

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I was getting ready to pull the trigger on a lightly used Swaro but now I'm not sure which of the 3 I want and if the price is worth it or not. I will go back and do a test at 50 and 100 yds.
 

Kevin Root

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I'm happy with my Razor HD too as Bitterroot Bulls mentions. I looked hard at getting the Swaroski though. Typically I just am addicted to getting my pack lighter as a ongoing challenge and the Swaroski is top notch but with helping my kids in college now and finding good value in the Razor I decided to carry the extra ounces for now.
 

luke moffat

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I did a SideXSide comparision between the 80mm Razor HD and the Swaro HD and for the life of me couldn't see it being any better at all between the two. I sold my Swaro 65mm HD with plans of going up to a Zeiss 85mm but that Razor HD is killer for the price. However, the only reason I sold my Swaro was so I could get the 75X on the Zeiss instead of 60X like the rest cause there are instances when 75X is oh so nice even when atmospheric conditions don't often allow for it those conditions where you can use it still do exist. :D
 

Yellowknife

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Not so much a comment on the scope comparison, but on the 60 vs 85 mm...

I've always used a 60mm scope of one type or another. However, a guide I know pitched the benefits of the 80/85mm pretty hard, and this year I switched over. His argument was that the 60x power is most useful during optimal atmospheric conditions, which usually occur in the early morning and late evening. That is also the time of day when the larger objective REALLY helps out with providing a lighter, higher resolution image. Of course, that's also the time of day when you can often catch animals moving.

Anyhow, I'm now using an 85mm. Although it's only been on one hunt so far, I'm convinced about the benefits for really long range glassing. In the evenings I was able to judge rams at 60x from 2.7 miles.

Not everyone needs or wants to carry the big dogs, but for really long distance use, I think you can't beat them.

Yk
 

dotman

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Luke have you checked out the big Kowa 88mm, I hear nothing compares to it and a decent price well when you consider what you get.
 

Matt Cashell

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Dotman,

I have seen the big Kowa, and it runs close to $3K with the 20-60 zoom. I agree it has the best image I have seen in a spotter. My only concern would be the durability of the pure flourite crystal objective lens element, as flourite is more brittle and less durable than most types of quality optical glass.

While the image in the Prominar is the best available, IMO, it is only a little better than the big spotters from the big names, and is not available in a super high magnification zoom eyepiece, like the Zeiss Diascope 85.

I am also excited to see the Meopta S2 spotter, which will be available with a 30-60 wide-angle (YES) or a 20-75 super-zoom. The buzz on the Meopta is very good, and they should be shipping soon.
 

dotman

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I saw the kowa was $2300 didn't know the zoom eye piece was so expensive, didn't look thatclose since it is out of my budget. I'll end up with either the viper hd or razor hd in 80mm just due to the bang for your buck :)
 

ElkNut1

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I too have played around a bit between the same Optics discussed, I'm puling the trigger on the Razor HD, of course I get it it for a respectable price, that helps! (grin)

ElkNut1
 

cmeier117

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BB- Have you looked through the Bruton Icon spotter? Is it better than the Swaro, Zeiss, or the Kowa you talk about?
 

Matt Cashell

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BB- Have you looked through the Bruton Icon spotter? Is it better than the Swaro, Zeiss, or the Kowa you talk about?

I haven't seen the Bruton Icon, or the newest Minox ED Spotter. I haven't seen any other detailed reviews on them, either. They look like a roof prism design similar to the EDG spotters from Nikon.
 

cmeier117

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So how do the three I mentioned compare to the Nikon EDG? I never hear those being talked about a whole lot. What is the dif between the Roof Prism and the style of the 3 I mentioned?
 

Matt Cashell

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Roof prisms have a more streamlined design. Porros are the prisms used in classic binoculars with a dog-leg bend in them. The Swaro is a porro, the Zeiss is a roof, the Kowa is a porro. It is mostly a design choice, and each has advantages and disadvantages.

Some people love the EDG, some don't. It seems like all of the eyepieces have tight eye relief (although eyepiece selection is good). Otherwise they are good optically, but you would expect that at their price point. I noticed they had very deep depth of field. I didn't spend as much time with the EDG, because I didn't like the eyepieces.
 
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