Advice Needed To Select A Reasonably Priced Bird Watching Scope

Discussion in 'Nature & Wildlife' started by MikeD, May 17, 2015.

  1. MikeD

    MikeD Funster

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    I am considering buying a spotting scope for general use but mainly bird watching.

    I have no idea of what size/price range/recommended makers etc.

    Anybody out there with any advice pls?

    Thanks in advance (y)
     
  2. icantremember

    icantremember Funster

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    In my opinion Swarovski are the best, not cheap, but you will always get your outlay back if you sell.

    If you do go for Swarovski don't get talked into buying the optional cases .... they are not needed and just make the scope bulkier.
     
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  3. Ranger

    Ranger Funster

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    Opticron are good as well especially the low light lens versions. With spotting scopes you really do get what you pay for, hurts at the time but well worth the extra.
     
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  4. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    I bought an Opticron, GS 665 GA .. second hand on ebay complete with HR zoom eyepiece and cover.. like brand new, and saved a good few bob.

    don't forget you will also need a good quality tripod ..
     
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  5. MikeD

    MikeD Funster

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    What sort of lens size would you recommend?
     
  6. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    I have an Opticron HR80 (45º viewing angle) fitted with an SDL zoom eyepiece. I am very happy with it but it is quite big and heavier than many. http://www.opticron.co.uk/Pages/hred_scope08.htm You will see that there are choosing guides on the website that may help you.
    Swarovski are excellent, but by the time you have bought the body, eyepiece and tripod if required, you will be looking at a price in the range of £1,500 - £2,000. Opticron is a cheaper brand but good quality. The HR80, their most expensive, would come in at around £1,000 for an equivalent setup.
    A 66 mm diameter scope will be lighter to carry and give good results but the light gathering power will be a bit less and the magnification will be lower than an 80 mm scope with the same eyepiece.
    It is possible to buy a good scope for less money if you do not go to the top of the range with low-dispersion (ED) glass lenses. Opticron make some like this.
    I suggest you visit a dealer or two, try some out and ask their advice. I do not know anything about dealers in London, but here are a couple of websites to have a look at. Cleyspy are in north Norfolk (at Cley) and are right next to prime bird watching land. Sherwoods are in Warwickshire and deal mostly in mail order although I have visited them to try equipment. They sell a lot of Opticron gear and usually offer fair prices.
    http://www.cleyspy.co.uk/
    Sherwoods - Telescopes - Binoculars - Night vision - Microscopes & Giftware
     
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  7. Abacist

    Abacist Funster

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    I use a spotting scope for shooting. I am fortunate to have a Leica which is a top of the range scope that my Dad bought for me. You do get what you pay for. For example without a 75 or 80mm object lens you cannot determine bullet holes in paper targets at 100 yards in conditions of mirage on a hot summer's day. Extra low dispersion glass is also worth having and is necessary to see colours well at distance such as bird's feathers. Before my Leica I had an Opticron top of the range 80mm model which I thought was perfectly adequate for my needs but I would not have wanted to go any smaller. You also have to decide on the eye end of things and most scope suppliers have a different range of lenses from fixed focal length to zoom lenses for the eyepieces.

    Weight may be a factor as 80mm scopes and eyepieces and a tripod will weigh a bit. If its too heavy then you'll have to go down to the 60mm range.
     
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  8. icantremember

    icantremember Funster

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    If you can get to Rutland Water for the annual Birdfair (August 21-23) you would be able to see and test all makes, sizes and price ranges in the correct environment with loads of advice thrown in.

    The RSPB have various open days around the country at different times but none are as big as the Birdfair.
     
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  9. Campercaillie

    Campercaillie Read Only Funster

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    I have an Opticron, which I have always been pleased with ..... until ... only last week, I had a blimp through a Swarovski. The clarity and brightness of the image was absolutely stunning. Like all optics, without exception, you get what you pay fair. But to emphasise the last post: When it comes to buying 'scopes or binoculars, there is no substitute for going and seeing for yourself in the field. Users' requirements vary from one person to the next, and something as simple as the comfort of the eyepiece can make the difference. Birdfair would be an excellent opportunity, whilst the larger RSPB reserves with shops often have their own view before you buy facilities.
     
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  10. Chris

    Chris Funster Life Member

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    Depends on what birds really.

    There were a few on the beach today topless that my I phone would have coped with:D
     
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  11. Campercaillie

    Campercaillie Read Only Funster

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    Topless??!!!! Then this one should float your boat .... totally naked!!

     
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  12. Mack100

    Mack100 Funster

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    Wish I hadn't seen this :LOL::LOL:! My dear wife pole-axed my trusty but ancient Nikon ED50 a few weeks ago and with the resultant dent near the objective the image quality has gone west. I've been looking to buy a second hand Opticron or older Kowa but I've just seen a Swarovski 65HD for sale and I have to decide whether it's worth that huge pile of dosh!
     
  13. CWH

    CWH Funster Life Member

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    - compared to a motorhome???
    How many hours' worth of pleasure will you get from it (no rude comments chaps please), and what price per hour will that work out to?
     
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  14. Polar bear

    Polar bear Funster

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    I have used opticron and Zeus but for preference I now use Nikon scope and binns
     
  15. MikeD

    MikeD Funster

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    On the beach with Chris I suspect you will both get many hours of pleasure. :LOL:

    Before you are both arrested of course ;):whistle:
     
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  16. Mack100

    Mack100 Funster

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    Anything's cheap compared to a motorhome! It's only down the road from me so I'll go and have a look at it.
     
  17. icantremember

    icantremember Funster

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    Good scopes hold their value if looked after so a good investment.
    Joyce has the Swarovski ATS65 HD which is a little lighter to carry than my ATS80 HD, both are fitted with 20-60x zoom eyepieces and give brilliant clear images.
     
  18. Mack100

    Mack100 Funster

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    This ones the same as Joyce has, the eyepiece is 25-50W and it comes with a stay on case. Incidentally what tripod head do you use? I need to get a new one anyway.
     
  19. Ranger

    Ranger Funster

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    A good quality 20-60 zoom eyepiece is a good investment.
     
  20. Stewart J

    Stewart J Funster

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    Check out the likes of "In Focus" for their test dates and venues, have a good look at all the marques before deciding. The so called Alpha (read expensive) models are very expensive, my last two Leicas were bought used. Optics of this quality are usually cherished and well looked after so used will enable you to buy better models for less. As others the bigger the objective lense the better, mine are Televid 77 the numbers refer to diameter of the objective lens, I prefer a 25 to 60 zoom though have others I hardly use.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2015
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