I'm in the market for a new scope, Ideally I'd like to get a Swarovski but financial restrictions mean this isn't going to be possible however the RSPB HD one may be a viable alternative. I've seen it in the shop at the Lodge but wasn't too impressed if I'm honest however I'm wondering if that was just that particular scope.
So anyone got one? What's it like to live with in real life?
Alternatively what other options are there around that price range?
Most of the RSPB optics are pretty good and seem to represent value for money but if you were not impressed in the shop maybe they are not for you,you must be happy with your purchase.
I already have a pair of their HD binoculars which are excellent IMO. There just seems little in the £1000(ish) scope price range.
Try looking at Opticron stuff good quality gear at mid range prices,both our scopes are Opticron from the lower end of the price band. These seem to suit us fine but as we tend to be on the move a lot when birding I would not say we were big scope users but of course they are almost essential in certain situations.
I would agree seaman, I have an Opticron 60 with a 20x and a 35 x eypieces, they are great and not so expensive, but I would think the clarity on more expensive gear, is what you pay for, but we can still see the birds well enough to study and id them, and we enjoy. Alan
As Alan says there is a difference in clarity in the top whack optics but not everyone can run to it along with mortgages and family expenses.I have used Opticron stuff for both my wifes optics and my own for a lot of years and manage fine with them.I would hate new comers to think they could not get into this fantastic hobby unless they had top of the range kit.
I know there's a big case in optics (even more so than other things) of the law of diminishing returns. Is a £2000 scope twice as good as a £1000 scope? Certainly not. I'd expect something like a 10-20% (a best) improvement. I'm going to check out the Opticron HR 80 GA ED, so far reviews seem very positive but I'll need to see it for myself obviously.
If it suits you go for it,the HR66 is a great scope so no doubt the 80 will be equally good.
I use a Viking AV80 with a 20-60x eyepiece, get along really well with this. Also got the digiscoping attachment for DSLR, use this with a Canon 500 (still practising with this)
I field tested the HD scope last summer and it was very good- there was some concern over quality control later but that seems to have been overcome.
It has an eyepiece very similar to the swarovski so digi-scoping should be nps. Certainly my adaptor would easily retro-fit it.
As to scope buyin in general - see my posts on scope buying on this forum .
Second hand is still a good option.
I've just checked out both the Opticron and RSPB scope in more depth and personally I found the RSPB to have a much brighter, detailed image. I also looked at the Swarovski and it was as expected very very good. Was it £1000 better than the RSPB one? Probably not but I'm seriously tempted.
Update: After much head scratching, internet research and field testing I finally parted with my cash and purchased . . . a Swarovski ATM 80 HD.
Considering the use it'll get and the likelyhood of it's length of service it seemed the only sensible choice. It's more than I wanted to spend but I need to look at the long term. Plus the image quality really is outstanding.
the swaro HD should last you 10 years easily- probably 15 or 20 :)
IMHO It's probably one of the top 5 birding scopes and the 80 mm model is very good for digi scoping
Others may differ
I don't intend on buying another anytime soon (I'm skint now lol). In due course I'll get all the relevant connections for digiscoping.
I used a Swaro 65 with a Canon Powershot A640 and my B&Q adaptor- see my gallery for examples.
My current cam is a Leica D LUX 3 . It will work with the swaro but I now have a bigger scope.
I've been looking at the HD scope, which is realistically possible for me to save for. I tested it and liked what i saw and certainly an improvement on my current one. I'd love a swarvo/leica but a 16 year olds funds don't stretch that far. I've got a fair bit saved which is why I can be this optimistic. Any other suggestions around that price. Ideally I would like an '80' scope.