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Work2hunt
12-10-2013, 04:52 PM
I'm looking at getting a new spotter. I know there has been lots of posts about what do you think of this spotter, however I am open to feedback on spotters. However, I have the opportunity to be able to test most of the spotters at my house. Got a buddy who works at cabelas!

My question is how would one go about testing and evaluating each spotter to pick one.

Ikeepitcold
12-10-2013, 05:13 PM
Side by side comparison then narrow down by what you can afford

Bitterroot Bulls
12-10-2013, 06:20 PM
Get them side by side away from the store. Compare in good light and poor light. If you can get your hands on a resolution chart, do it and do a comparison at 50 yards and 100 yards. If you can't get a chart, then find something with fine detail around 50-100 yards away and compare. Then find something around 500 yards away and do the same. Then a mile. This isn't just for comparing spotter models, but also trying to find the best particular unit of the model you want, if you have multiple units available.

Optimally, you could learn how to do a proper star test and check each unit for optical aberrations.

Work2hunt
12-10-2013, 07:21 PM
Get them side by side away from the store. Compare in good light and poor light. If you can get your hands on a resolution chart, do it and do a comparison at 50 yards and 100 yards. If you can't get a chart, then find something with fine detail around 50-100 yards away and compare. Then find something around 500 yards away and do the same. Then a mile. This isn't just for comparing spotter models, but also trying to find the best particular unit of the model you want, if you have multiple units available.

Optimally, you could learn how to do a proper star test and check each unit for optical aberrations.

Thanks! I was hoping you would respond. I seem to remember in past posts you had lots of knowledge with optics. I'll have to google resolution chart and star test to figure out what the heck those are.

Bitterroot Bulls
12-10-2013, 07:46 PM
A google search won't be enough for star testing. I have an entire academic reference text on the subject.

http://www.amazon.com/Star-Testing-Astronomical-Telescopes-Evaluation/dp/0943396905

As far as resolution charts, the Air Force 1951 Standard Resolving Power Chart is the gold standard.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1951_USAF_resolution_test_chart

These are some of the steps I take to test scopes, but you could just look through a bunch of them and choose the one that tickles your fancy. Might be easier.

Ikeepitcold
12-10-2013, 08:43 PM
Dam BB why to I feel freakin stupid after reading that last post? Brainiac! Lol

480/277
12-11-2013, 03:18 AM
Pickup a Leica or Swarovski in the size you like, boom done.
I like the Leica 62

Work2hunt
12-11-2013, 04:50 AM
Dam BB why to I feel freakin stupid after reading that last post? Brainiac! Lol

I'm with you. My head hurts a little after reading that post.;)

ddress00
12-11-2013, 08:04 AM
I'm looking at getting a new spotter. I know there has been lots of posts about what do you think of this spotter, however I am open to feedback on spotters. However, I have the opportunity to be able to test most of the spotters at my house. Got a buddy who works at cabelas!

My question is how would one go about testing and evaluating each spotter to pick one.

Spotters are only has good as the amount of money you can spend. Optics are somthing i've skimmped on once or twice and I always regret it. I've had all the "big brands" spotters and i loved them, but honestly they are not worth 2000 to me. I've had a vortex i got for 1000 and its the best spotter i've had. its light, its short. i've got other ways to test them since your going to be taking them home, pm me if you wanna chat more in depth

BrettKoenecke
12-11-2013, 10:20 AM
How I would go about it:

Does it fit in my pack?
What does it weigh?
How much light does it gather v. how much I need?
How much usable magnification does it have? I find that 25-30X is plenty. Your mileage may vary.
How much resolution does it have? Can I see the details I need to see?
What does it cost?
What else do i need to buy? Eye pieces, tripod, etc.
Where can I get it cheap v. local sales and service?

I ended up with an open box Nikon Tactical Fieldscope 20-45x, 60mm ED from Cameraland.
What is right for me, might not be for you.

270whiz
12-11-2013, 01:26 PM
You get what you pay for mostly. When were getting ready for 1st out west hunt i bought a redfield and thought i was good to go . [not] . When i was looking at antelope and trying to judge between 14" and 14 1/2 or 13 3/4 at 500-600 yards it was tough. As luck would have it the rancher let us use his leupold goldring. 15x48 [i think it was]
anyway it made a big difference and i am saving my $ for a quality piece of glass.

JNDEER
12-12-2013, 08:14 AM
I cannot say I have done extensive spotter tests, but I did do a very big bino test.

for me, I found that there was a significant difference using a bino in the terrain I was going to hunt compared to looking around at my house, down the street, at signs etc.

so, I would suggest doing what BB suggested, but doing it in a type of terrain similar to what you will be hunting, or at least in the outdoors somewhere away from the city, lights, buildings etc.

clacklin009
12-13-2013, 12:27 AM
I've been looking at getting a new 60-65mm scope and have been comparing them in the store. I know that it is not kosher to say testing optics in the store is okay; however, I think it is fine. I have looked through the Leice, Zeiss, and Swarovski (ATS) and I found the Swarovski worked best for me. I liked having the focus ring on the body, and the eye relief worked well for how I like to use the optic. I felt the Zeiss was nicer to look through in regard to color but I didn't like the eye relief. I actually have compared the scopes twice and the first time I looked through the Zeiss I didn't like the edge but the second time I had no problem with it. I guess the point is I think our eyes can get a little funky on us when looking through optics so you might need to look and then take a break and look again and see if your first choice stays there. If it is good twice in a row it probably is the right choice. When I went back to look the second time I wasn't trying to make the Zeiss look better, rather, I was trying to see if the Swaro was the right choice. Good Luck.

sneakypete
12-13-2013, 10:40 PM
One word " VORTEX" I have the new 50mm spotter, great optics, very clear and light enough for the back pack!

Work2hunt
12-16-2013, 03:07 PM
Ok guys. After a weekend of staring through swarovski atx, the swarovski high definition, leupold gold ring, vortex razor, zeiss victory fl, cabelas euro hd, and the Nikon edg I've narrowed my list down a little. I'm still looking at the vortex, both swarovski's, zeiss and the cabelas.

Can someone tell me the difference between the swarovski atx and the swarovski high definition besides price and the modular ability of the atx. I haven't been able to tell a difference in low light, clouds, sun, close distance or medium distance (<1000yds). I need to go to a different spot to do some viewing in the 1 mile to 2 mile ranges.

Bitterroot Bulls
12-16-2013, 03:35 PM
The modular design is the biggest difference.

So it sounds like you are saying the 80HD and ATX85 resolve about the same amount of detail. This isn't surprising. I tested these two scopes side by side myself. I was able to resolve one element finer detail on a resolution chart with the ATX. The chart helped here, as the difference was not very noticeable when simply looking at different objects.

however, resolution isn't everything. The ATX also had a little more vibrant color providing a more saturated image. A really big difference was in FOV the ATX is very wide for a zoom and provides a full 60x magnifcation while if you want a wide angle zoom on the ATS, you have to get the 25-50 WA, and are limited to 50x.

The ATX also has a field flattener, providing a very low distortion image sharp to the edge, while the ATS shows noticeable pincushion distortion.

The ATS does have the advantage of being lighter.

grizzly
12-16-2013, 04:02 PM
Work2hunt, Bitterroot Bulls has probably forgotten more about optics than I will ever know. But the one thing that I would add is that the flattener on the ATX is very beneficial to help the flat sensor on your camera if you intend to digiscope heavily.

Here is the mechanical difference in the two Swarovski's from my research... this might save you some time. I was comparing the ATX 85 to the ATM 80HD with the 25-50 WA lens (the lens I would recommend for hunting). The ATX weights 11.8 ounces more (67.4 - 55.6 ounces) and is 1.4" longer (14.6 - 13.2 inches). These were important numbers to me since I am an "ounce-counter". The FOV is 124-68 @ 1,000 yards with the ATX. It is 126-81 @ 1,000 yards with the ATM (but the magnification is lower on the ATM).

I found a demo unit of the ATM on Cameraland for 2439 (including eyepiece) so bought that. It drop-shipped straight from Swaro to my door... totally unused. I couldn't be happier. Some of my buddies bought the ATX... they couldn't be happier. You can't go wrong either way.

Bitterroot Bulls
12-16-2013, 04:29 PM
Work2hunt, Bitterroot Bulls has probably forgotten more about optics than I will ever know. But the one thing that I would add is that the flattener on the ATX is very beneficial to help the flat sensor on your camera if you intend to digiscope heavily.

Here is the mechanical difference in the two Swarovski's from my research... this might save you some time. I was comparing the ATX 85 to the ATM 80HD with the 25-50 WA lens (the lens I would recommend for hunting). The ATX weights 11.8 ounces more (67.4 - 55.6 ounces) and is 1.4" longer (14.6 - 13.2 inches). These were important numbers to me since I am an "ounce-counter". The FOV is 124-68 @ 1,000 yards with the ATX. It is 126-81 @ 1,000 yards with the ATM (but the magnification is lower on the ATM).

I found a demo unit of the ATM on Cameraland for 2439 (including eyepiece) so bought that. It drop-shipped straight from Swaro to my door... totally unused. I couldn't be happier. Some of my buddies bought the ATX... they couldn't be happier. You can't go wrong either way.

Grizzly,

Thanks for the vote of confidence.

One note, while the ATM80HD is lighter as you noted, the ATX85 is actually shorter than the ATM80HD. The specs you listed was without eyepiece for the ATM.

http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii95/mcashell/Swaros_zps1c4f5f0a.jpg (http://s262.photobucket.com/user/mcashell/media/Swaros_zps1c4f5f0a.jpg.html)

Work2hunt
12-16-2013, 04:57 PM
The modular design is the biggest difference.

So it sounds like you are saying the 80HD and ATX85 resolve about the same amount of detail. This isn't surprising. I tested these two scopes side by side myself. I was able to resolve one element finer detail on a resolution chart with the ATX. The chart helped here, as the difference was not very noticeable when simply looking at different objects.

however, resolution isn't everything. The ATX also had a little more vibrant color providing a more saturated image. A really big difference was in FOV the ATX is very wide for a zoom and provides a full 60x magnifcation while if you want a wide angle zoom on the ATS, you have to get the 25-50 WA, and are limited to 50x.

The ATX also has a field flattener, providing a very low distortion image sharp to the edge, while the ATS shows noticeable pincushion distortion.

The ATS does have the advantage of being lighter.

BB,
You are correct in that I believe the 80hd and the 85atx resolve the same amount of detail. After printing off and posting the resolution chart you recommend at 100 and 500 yds I couldn't descerne any difference. I did think I noticed a little more brightness with the atx, but I would like to stare through both some more. As for any distortion at the edges I didn't pick up on it but I want to spend some more time with both of these along with the cabelas and the vortex.

Bitterroot Bulls
12-16-2013, 05:10 PM
The distortion will be easy to see.

Put a straight line (like a power pole) in the center of the field and move it toward the edge by panning the scope. You will see it appear to bend as you move the scope.

Warning***** When you start looking for these things, you will end up seeing them all the time!!!!

Work2hunt
12-16-2013, 05:39 PM
The distortion will be easy to see.

Put a straight line (like a power pole) in the center of the field and move it toward the edge by panning the scope. You will see it appear to bend as you move the scope.

Warning***** When you start looking for these things, you will end up seeing them all the time!!!!

Great. Like I need to pick apart a several thousand dollar piece of equipment!!!!;) I can here my wife now. "Why do you need to spend that money if something is wrong with it"......maybe I'll keep this to myself, just like the price!


On a slightly side note I did like the vortex until I got it in low light and had it next to the cabelas and the swarovski's. I quickly noticed a difference of 1-2 resolution lines in the 15-30 minute window after sunset. Ideally I would like to own the best of the best but how much of a difference will I notice when looking at deer or elk size game at 1+ miles. Unfortunately where I am at I don't have the ability to be spying on deer (or elk for that matter) from much more than 500-700yds.

Work2hunt
12-17-2013, 01:26 PM
Another question for the experts......

Clearly the Vortex states an unconditional warranty. I'm not good with reading the legal side of things. What is the "non lawyer" version of swarovski's warranty?

grizzly
12-17-2013, 01:51 PM
My real-world experience is Vortex was great when I sent in my old spotting scope, the repaired it and sent it back within 2 weeks. But I feel if it were a Swarovski, I wouldn't have had to send it in because the eyepiece wouldn't have broken in the first place.

In real-world results... Swarovski customer service is every bit as good as Vortex. My buddy had a pair of loaner SLC's sent to British Columbia when his binocs fell down a rockslide while hunting sheep. One call from the outfitter's wife to Swaro and new binocs were overnighted at no charge. He then sent in his old ones for repair when he got done with the hunt. Didn't cost him a penny.

There are dozens of stories just like this, a quick google search will make it obvious that the warranty isn't necessarily a victory either way.

Bitterroot Bulls
12-17-2013, 01:55 PM
Swarovski does have good customer service, but the warranty is not "no fault" or transferable, and Vortex's is.

For instance, somehow I scratched my SLC's objective. Swaro repaired them for a reasonable charge. It took several weeks to get them back, but they arrived back like new.

Work2hunt
12-18-2013, 07:08 AM
A little off topic, but is there a big difference between the swarovski ats and the ats hd? I have a friend who is willing to part with an ats 80, but he says it is not the ats hd.

Musket Man
12-18-2013, 11:14 AM
How big is the price difference between your friends spotter and a new HD version? I have not used any of the new HD models but the optics guy at Cabelas told me for the money and what I would gain he didnt think it would be worth it to upgrade my EL binos to the new HD EL's. Swarovski is good glass no matter what model it is and if you can get a good deal from your friend I dont think you would be unhappy with it.

Bitterroot Bulls
12-18-2013, 11:41 AM
I am not the guy at Cabelas ;), but here is my take:

The difference is in Chromatic Aberration control ("color fringing"). In terms of raw on-axis resolution, both the HD and non-HD are very good. However if you are glassing in high-contrast situations, you will not be able to use the resolution because the CA will be mudding it up.

Also some people notice CA more than others.

If you are digiscoping, the CA will be quite apparent in your photos, because cameras can't NOT notice it.

Personally, I will only get HD (or ED, APO, FL, or whatever term the manufacturer advertises) optics, because CA is quite bothersome to me, and I glass in high contrast situations (particularly snowy burns) and digiscope frequently.

Work2hunt
12-18-2013, 11:50 AM
How big is the price difference between your friends spotter and a new HD version? I have not used any of the new HD models but the optics guy at Cabelas told me for the money and what I would gain he didnt think it would be worth it to upgrade my EL binos to the new HD EL's. Swarovski is good glass no matter what model it is and if you can get a good deal from your friend I dont think you would be unhappy with it.


About $1200 less than a current Swarovski ats HD. Both are 20-60x80.

Work2hunt
12-18-2013, 11:57 AM
About $1200 less than a current Swarovski ats HD. Both are 20-60x80.

....And it should come with the full Swarovski warranty as he is a dealer and this is actually a demo unit wiht no visible damage.

Musket Man
12-18-2013, 01:22 PM
Guess I put my foot in my mouth BB. I didnt know FL was another term for HD. My 65mm Zeiss spotter is a FL so I guess I was using a HD spotter and didnt know it. I got a great deal on ($1200 and it was in like new condition) it from my cousin and I have been really happy with it! But for a saving of $1200 I would be very interested in the demo spotter.