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Old Jan 29, 2003, 12:15 AM   #1
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Default best spotting scope under 500?

Hello all,

I am a new member of the board, but have been lurking for a while. This post is more in reference to spotting scopes in general and not digiscoping. However, looking through these boards it seems there are some members who really know about spotting scopes.

I want to buy a spotting scope to use for watching passing ships and whatever else I can see from the balcony of a condo my family just purchased.

I would like something with 20-60 zoom and something that will be OK for digiscoping (probably not digiscope much, but would like it to have the ability).

Any help would be appreciated.
WOT Blake is offline   Reply With Quote
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Old Jan 29, 2003, 8:57 AM   #2
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Probably the most cost-effective high quality would be in an astro-type spotting scope. I use a Meade ETX-90 and also a Swarovski ST-80 HD.

The Swarovski, which is a bullet-proof terrestrial type spotting scope costs around $1600 and the Meade, which is designed for celestial use, but adapts beautifully for terrestrial viewing can be had for around $250 if you shop around on the web. Image quality is very similar. By the time you get a good adjustable eyepiece, the cost of the Meade is still under $500.

There are other excellent spotting scope possibilities such as the MegRes, Celestron, etc. Do a web search for these brand names and you should turn up lots of great information. Better to buy a good mirror type spotting scope for under $500 than a cheap terrestrial spotting scope for the same price. For your expressed purpose, the Meade, MegRes, Celestron, etc., would be ideal.


Lin Evans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 29, 2003, 11:22 AM   #3
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As far a spotting scopes for general use there are dozens of excellent quality scopes under $500 . Go to a large gun shop and check out the variety. Look though them and select based on your needs.
twcoffey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 29, 2003, 5:40 PM   #4
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spotting scopes for general use
Yes, there are indeed many for under $500, but if you want to use one for digiscoping, I would suggest staying with one which is amenable to that. The vast majority of under $500 spotting scopes are not well suited for digiscoping either because there is no good way to attach your camera either mechanically with an adapter or with one of the adapters eyepieces made specifically for digiscoping. Any of the astral types which use a 1.25" eyepiece will work, but many of the standard spotting scopes neither take the astral eyepiece nor is there a specialized adapter available to fit their existing eyepieces.

Also a good many of the less expensive spotting scopes (in fact, nearly all) do not use ED or APO glass. This is inconsequential for general scope use, but means that chromatic aberration is very likely and this makes them ill suited for photography as lenses. The nice thing about the mirror types is that the only chromatic aberration they "can" produce comes from the eyepiece which you can control. The mirror itself as a reflector can't produce chromatic aberration. That's why some of the expensive scopes like Pentax, Leica, Swarovski, Zeiss, etc., have apocromatic corrective glass. This highly specialized glass is expensive and adds much to the cost of the scope. Also, some of the less expensive glass is coated in such a way that it produces shadings which defeat color-correct photography. Several people I've know have purchased nice spotting scopes which serve well for their intended purposes, but are unsuited to photography because of the tint.

So keep this in mind when you choose your scope so that if you do decide to use it for digiscoping, you won't have to buy another one.

Best regards,

Lin Evans is offline   Reply With Quote

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