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Discussion Starter #1
Just wondering if anyone on the forum has much knowledge of spotting scopes for birding/astronomy

Been looking at Leica Apo-televid 65 and similar ones from swarovski , nikon, and zeiss.

has anyone experience of these

I use Trinovid 8X50 leicas already so need decent quality.

just fishing for opinions.

Thanks
 

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I have a 65 mm swarovski. It is one of the best things I have ever bought. I live close to Morecambe Bay where the wee buggers are a long way off. The telescope upgraded from a reasonable Opticron. When I was trying the scope it took me about 19 seconds to decide as the Swarovski is so much better than a good new opticron.

I use 10 * 40 optolyths and 8 * 40 Leica binos. (I love the leicas, they just feel right).

If it's your first scope think carefully regarding the angled eyepiece. Tripod quality is important re adjustment and weight.

Looking at the moon is remarkable as the sun shining on the edge of craters feels almost like you are there.

I haven't tried the leica telescope as my local dealer sells mainly Swarovski and he says leica can be hard to deal with.


Edited by: ducatikid
 

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Discussion Starter #3
was definately going to get an angled one, and I reckon a top 65 is better than a middle of the road 82mm one. prefer fixed mag rather than a zoom as cheap zooms are such pish.

I'm spoilt rotten by the 8x50 leicas as they are just so very bright .

some years ago I used a non-apo televid 77 with zoom eyepiece and it was good but things have moved on since then.

I reckon the leica 65 apo is now rather much better than the old non-apo 77 just whether I can justify the cost. I know the new swar ones are 'modular' ie different objectives/bodies and eyepieces and are really very new to the market.

guess I'm just going to have to find somewhere with them in stock and compare.

I maintain that buying cheap is a false economy and quality will last, my bins are as good now as when I got them donkeys years ago (if rather heavy!)

thanks

John
 

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Discussion Starter #4
PS morcambe bay is a great spot, we have friends near garstang and often are down that way...lovely countryside/coast as long as you dont stray too far south to blackpool!
 

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I've just looked at the Swarovski website and discovered the new modular range. I only got my scope last year, but the new versions appear to be much more versatile. I'll have to save up.
 

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The optical quality for all three of the European manufacturers can be taken for granted, so it will be down to style, ease of use, and that elusive thing - "feel".

I use Leica and Zeiss for 35mm photography and the image quality is very high. The Japanese-made Zeiss lenses are good for handling, but the Leica lenses always feel engineered to last and made to a quality, not a price. I've never used a West German Zeiss lens, so I can't judge those, and the prices for them are up there with the Leicas.

A good tripod will be essential.

It's worth having a look at Ffordes website -http://www.ffordes.com - as I got myself a Gitzo Basalt at a very good price as it was last year's model. Carbon Fibre is not essential, as the Basalt are nearly as light. I've bought a fair bit from Ffordes over the years and have had no problems.

They have Zeiss, Leica, Swarovski, Nikon and Opticron in stock and some used items as well. It might be worth a trek to Inverness-shire.

Nick
 

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Nikon, Leica, Zeiss and Swarovski are all good. I think you are best to get down to a good dealer, where you can try out instruments on birds. I have a Leica APO 77. It might be 'old', but it is still a first rate instrument. You might want a smaller instrument (65mm) for birding as it will be lighter to carry, and the latest zooms are very good. That said the 77mm scope is not that big or heavy. For astronomy a spotting scope is great for wide field views of galaxies, globular clusters, that sort of thing, but not so good for the planets. For high powers you might be better off getting a traditional refractor (no prisms, bigger F number e.g. F10). Spotting scopes are fast instruments, and although some take astronomical eyepieces, the low F number makes it hard to get high powers. It also increases the cost as it is harder to make a good fast telescope.

A possibility is to buy a mint condition previous generation spotting scope for birding, and a small astro refractor or reflector for astronomy. Apparently some of the Chinese made small astro telescopes are pretty good despite very low prices. Or find a spotting scope that has an adaptor for astro eyepieces, although I think even a cheap astro scope will give better high power images than a top of the range spotting scope.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
tried a few out....decided on the swarovski non-modular ones

Managed to get a 20-60 zoom EP for a bargain price so adding the 80 HD ATM body

Ideal for observation and digiscoping...as for astronomy, will get a dobo light bucket affair at a later date!

Thanks for all the advice

PS Leif....is that the same Leif on the bird forum, if so...wise posts , thanks

Edited by: Privatedoc
 

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ATM 80HD arrived today....wow, wow and triple wow....what a stunning scope...thanks for the advice chaps

(must buy a digiscoping adapter next !)
 

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alodk said:
Makes me wanna use my Skywatcher 130p AZ GOTO again. Maybe it is better if I can go to a good spot in my New up. I used to set it up on the corner of my street, among the city lights.

http://www.scopesnskies.com/prod/skywatcher/telescopes/130p-synscan.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C03CdNY71k8
I hope I am not stating the obvious, but if you can get away from city lights - and I mean away, not just down the road, so light pollution is minimal - the view even with the naked eye is awesome. Binoculars, even modest ones, will show so much, and as for a scope ...

Privatedoc will surely be in an area with incredible skies. With a wide field spotting scope it is fun to search for galaxies. I hunted down M31 with the naked eye and then M101 (if I recall correctly) using my scope at 20x. That was in south Devon where the skies are gorgeous, you can see stars down to the sea, with the ships bobbing around.
 

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I've just got back from rural Norfolk (near Reepham) and the view of the sky, even just a few miles from Norwich, was amazingly clear and bright.

Nick
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Its a lovely dark-sky site where I live, only prob is the weather is awful!...too wet to be out the last few days....waiting for a dry day then will try digiscoping with the swaro.

Having previously lived in a city, it is not just street lights but the overall glow of the sky from the conurbation that kills any decent views. to be honest, a dark sky site and a pair of binoculars are way better than the best amateur telescope in a city.
 
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