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  1. #1
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    Swaro 85 or a Vortex or Nikon

    I know there have been a few posts on this topic but I am going to be getting a spotting scope this year and wanted to get a fresh set of opinions based upon your experience. I have spent 3 years with some good binos hunting South Eastern Wyoming but am planning to go to Western Wyoming this year and want to make sure I have all the advantage I can get.

    Was thinking about shelling out the money for Swaros 85mm (straight) but now I am not so sure. Should I stay with my original decision which was based on the the rep of Swaro or head some other way. Are they worth it or should I save myself some cash and get Vortex or Nikon glass?

  2. #2
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    Swaro doesn't make a 85mm spotter.

    The STM 80 HD is a fine spotting scope, and competes with anything out there. It is also the lightest big spotter, which shouldn't be overlooked.

    However, it is the optical equal of the Vortex Razor HD. I have had them side-by-side several times, and the similarity in image is remarkable. The Vortex is available for much less money than the Swaro.

    I would look closely at the demo Zeiss 85tFL deal at Eagle Optics, as the new eyepiece does have a magnification advantage, but doesn't give up anything at the low end. I almost sold my Razor HD to fund the purchase of that Zeiss at that price.

    The other king-of-the hill spotter is the Kowa Prominar 88. A spectacular instrument.

  3. #3
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    Thanks bitter root. And I did mean the 80 HD model. I apparently got overzeralous with the number pad on the side of my keyboard. 8-) My goal is to get something that lasts. I truly believe in the N+1 strategy as getting "just enough" always leaves you wanting for more later down the road.

  4. #4
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    Once you purchase a top end spotter, you will never have to replace it... The bitter taste of cheap equipment remains long after the money is spent and your living with it... It's just like a marriage... "It's best to do it right the first time so you don't have to pay alimony and child support" lol... I guarantee you won't come cryin' with the Swaro but you MIGHT with something else... I love the insurance policy I have when I whip out my Swaro and light is fading fast! I can put it up and see if I have something worthy before it is too late when other glass leaves you hanging!

    Small moments during a hunt can determine success afield... If you could have determined that the animal you saw in low light the night prior wasn't a shooter, you wouldn't be back the next morning trying to find it again to confirm your suspicions... What many do not tell you is that most glass works great with good lighting... Where it really works against you is in these scenarios and that can be the difference of a big buck down or you chasing your tail. Good Luck!
    "This is A Way of Life"

  5. #5
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    Go with your gut and get the Swaro. If you don't, you'll be second guessing your choice and you won't be happy. I had the STS 80 HD for quite some time. It was a great spotting scope. Once off season hit I decided to go with something a little lighter and more compact. I ended with a 65mm HD Swaro. If you're going to be packing this thing for many years, I'd heavily think about going with a 65. Weight difference wasn't a whole heck of a lot (5 oz if I recall correctly), but the size difference was worth the move for me. Less bulk at least leaves me with the impression of less weight.

    I haven't had a chance to really put the 65 to hard use yet. But I suspect it will still do the job the 80mm did.

  6. #6
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    If you can find a place that has what you are looking to get, and do a side by side comparison at dusk. Your eyes will tell you which way to go. My eyes like the Swaro's, compared to the Zeiss, or the Leica's. When you looking at these scopes, it is a good time to compare tripod too. Just keep in mind your intended use. Backpack hunting, day hunting from camp, ect.

    For what it's worth, I use the Swaro 65, the older version non HD, and a compact Nikon Tripod because I backpack mostly.
    Last edited by Firearrow; 03-09-2012 at 05:03 AM.

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    There's no comparison in quality.....especially at first light. Buy the Swarovski.
    BOHNTR )))----------->

    B&C / P&Y Official Measurer

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    Quote Originally Posted by BOHNTR View Post
    There's no comparison in quality.....especially at first light. Buy the Swarovski.
    No comparison between the Razor HD and Swaro HD? I have compared them side by side in lowlight, and found them to be optical equals. In fact, the images are so similar, it is my belief that Vortex' design goal for the Razor HD was to equal the Swarovski 80HD. Perhaps that is why the Vortex has an eyepiece that is an exact duplicate of the Swarovski eyepiece.

    I don't have any brand loyalty. I currently use and love my Swarovski 10X42 neus. I have several Vortex products that I really like. I have had some Vortex products I didn't like.

    The Razor HD is clearly better at controlling optical aberrations (particularly chromatic aberration) than the non-HD swaro spotter.

    The swaro is definitely lighter, though, and has a helical focus, while the Razor has dual-ratio knobs. Don't think that I don't like the Swarovski, I do. It is an excellent instrument, and I would take it over the Razor, with all else being equal (including price). However, the Razor offers similar performance at substantial savings, and shouldn't be overlooked.

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    Similar performance, yes. But not equal, IMO. Of course my eyes are a lot older than yours.....I need all the help I can get.
    BOHNTR )))----------->

    B&C / P&Y Official Measurer

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BOHNTR View Post
    Similar performance, yes.
    Oh, so there is a comparison, then?

    The thing is, when comparing optics side by side, you are still comparing one particular unit of one design against one particular unit of another design.

    There is the chance that I compared an overperforming Razor to an underperforming Swaro HD. There is also a chance that you had the inverse. Most likely, it is a difference in the lenses behind the scopes: the lenses over our pupils.

    I encourage anyone to do as I did, compare them side-by-side, and see what you think.

 

 

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