Need Spotter Advice

Heat

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Joined
Nov 3, 2014
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Playing amateur guide for my wife on her Arizona late deer hunt this year. I have Pentax DCF SP 10x50 binos I use to do most of my glassing. Have owned 15x56 Kaibabs in the past and sold them because I hardly ever packed those over my 7s or 10s but I will need to identify trophy class bucks at long range for this hunt. Budget around $1500 but can slide that up a bit for something GREAT! Priorities are good optics of course, low weight and compact for all day hunts and backpacking, reasonable price, not made in PRC. Not going to debate politics, just not buying their stuff if I can help it. Don't use a spotter enough to justify the top of the line Swarovski but if I find a great deal on a used one I would consider it.

Looking at the Kowa 66 and 55 Prominars. Wondering if the Flourite of the 55 overcomes the extra light gathering of the 66?

Nikon ED 50 and 60 are also being considered. Anyone know where those are made these days?

Also considering others like the Leupold GR 12-40x60, the Opticron MM4 60, Zeiss Dialyt 65 and the Pentax PF65EDII.

Anybody thats been down this road want to chime in and let me know what else I should consider?
 
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OP
Heat

Heat

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Add the Maven S.2 to the mix as well. Anyone using one of those?
 

Nethero

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Add the Maven S.2 to the mix as well. Anyone using one of those?
I have one and I love it. It is kind of large compared to the others you mentioned, but it can out resolve any of the ones you mentioned and has the optional 20-70X which might prove very useful for your purposes.

I have not hunted the west, so I can’t speak to carrying it for miles, but another thing to consider is with bigger glass comes bigger tripods and tripod heads. The weight might add up more than you want. Don’t be afraid to look at Nikon ED III 60mm spotting scopes, too. They are the equal to Swarovski 65mm spotting scopes, just no longer made and harder to find (and made in Japan and found at reasonable prices).
 
OP
Heat

Heat

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Alright lets throw the Kowa 77 in the mix too. I think I found a great deal on the straight one with the eyepiece kit right now.
 

OspreyZB

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I vote Nikon ED III with either the 20-60x zoom eyepiece (if you don't wear glasses), or the 30x fixed power wide angle eyepiece to give you a 3x increase in magnification over your 10x50 binos.
 

WI in the west

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I scooped up a kowa 774 a few months ago, i think it lives up to the hype from what ive seen playing with it at home. Tons of threads to back it up
 
OP
Heat

Heat

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I'm curious why the Leupold GR in 12-40x60 HD doesn't get more love? Seems like it does a lot of things well.

Also is the non-wide angle lens of Kowa TZ-9 zoom for the 66 that big of a bummer compared to the one that comes with the 77mm Kowa? Wondering how they make non-wide zoom work so well in the 55? Or does it have the same issues that get overlooked because of the extra bling of the flourite? Thinking about maybe getting the 66 with zoom lens for now and maybe adding the fixed 30x wide lens down the road. Hear great things about those.

One big one is that I won't be glassing much per se with the spotter, just observing once game is located. Wondering if the smaller FOV that people talk about on the Kowa 55 and 66 are really that big of a deal the way I want to use it?
 
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CApighunter

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I’ve had both the Kowa 66 and 88. Not exactly a fair comparison but everything about the 88 blows the 66 away. The fluorite glass, wide angle lens, and the size of the objective make it a significantly better optic, I’m sure the 77 is no different even without fluorite glass. I was not overly impressed with the 66mm.
 

eaglemountainman

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Alright lets throw the Kowa 77 in the mix too. I think I found a great deal on the straight one with the eyepiece kit right now.
If you have a line on a great deal for a Kowa 774, it's a great scope that lives up to the praise.

The 553/554 is a compact little dynamo with spectacular optics. For just a 55mm objective, it does extremely well in first and last light, losing just a few minutes to my buddy's 82. It will be night and day above the 66. I've had mine 4 years now, and I'm never without it in the field.
 

sdogn8

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Sep 23, 2019
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If weights a consideration look at the razor 11-33x50. I typically don’t need too much magnification but it’s so light and packable I always have it with me
 

blakees307

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Apr 1, 2018
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Afton Wyoming
I have used the maven S2 and have the Kowa 773. The maven is super compact and you hardly notice it is in your pack at all. I felt it had great clarity and easy to look through. Not the biggest zoom was my only knock with it but for backpacking and the price you can't beat it. The Kowa is great and super clear and max zoom is great. Its also light and makes it nice for backpacking. I don't think you can really compare the 2 though due to fitting different needs. If I could only get one it would be the Kowa for more use but if I was rifle hunting and wanting to save weight and not needing to do a big inspection of everything I would go with the Maven.
 

Spence1875

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Dec 23, 2020
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I love my Zeiss Dialyt 15-45 65mm. Light small clear and BOMBPROOF construction. Unlike most spotters designed for hard use not just birding.

Was a step up from my standby Nikon ed3 spotter with the 20-60 mc2 just in it is way easier to get behind.

I like the Leupold gr 12-40 as well Used one at work forever, not in same class glass wise as my Zeiss but it has its pluses.
 
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hondo64d

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Dec 6, 2016
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The Big Country
Playing amateur guide for my wife on her Arizona Unit 12AW late deer hunt this year. I have Pentax DCF SP 10x50 binos I use to do most of my glassing. Have owned 15x56 Kaibabs in the past and sold them because I hardly ever packed those over my 7s or 10s but I will need to identify trophy class bucks at long range for this hunt. Budget around $1500 but can slide that up a bit for something GREAT! Priorities are good optics of course, low weight and compact for all day hunts and backpacking, reasonable price, not made in PRC. Not going to debate politics, just not buying their stuff if I can help it. Don't use a spotter enough to justify the top of the line Swarovski but if I find a great deal on a used one I would consider it.

Looking at the Kowa 66 and 55 Prominars. Wondering if the Flourite of the 55 overcomes the extra light gathering of the 66?

Nikon ED 50 and 60 are also being considered. Anyone know where those are made these days?

Also considering others like the Leupold GR 12-40x60, the Opticron MM4 60, Zeiss Dialyt 65 and the Pentax PF65EDII.

Anybody thats been down this road want to chime in and let me know what else I should consider?
I have the Tract Torric Spotter and find it to be so good that I don’t have any interest in trying to “upgrade.” I have both the variable and the fixed 22x eyepiece and the image is breathtaking.


John
 

ghostrider272

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May 8, 2020
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Went with the 77 back in 2020. No regrets. Have the wide eyepiece and camera adapter for an SLR. Tough to beat that package...
 
OP
Heat

Heat

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Nov 3, 2014
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I chose the Kowa 554. Thanks for all the suggestions!
 
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