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Pls recommend a scope for 0-350 for whale watching/ocean

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Pls recommend a scope for $200-350 for whale watching/ocean

Postby neilaevans on Mon Dec 08, 2008 6:26 pm

Hi there,
I sent this question straight to the store, but thought I'd ask here as well.

I'd like to get my mother a spotting scope (or telescope) for whale watching and general ocean observation. She has a house on the beach, and feels that her binoculars (she has several, include a 8-24 by 50mm) don't provide enough magnification. She was looking at one of those 25-125 zoom binoculars in a SkyMall catalog, but I've heard they're junk... So I'm looking for a spotting scope or telescope, with a tripod, that would give her more magnification and stability but still be easy to use. I'm hoping to not spend more than $350 or so. I assume I'm looking for a spotting scope, rather than a telescope, but I frankly don't know the difference!

As someone with no background in scopes or optics, the selection is rather overwhelming and I'd appreciate any suggestions! The Bushnell Legend seems like a good option, but I'm sure there are others.

Thank you (and my mom will thank you as well)!
neilaevans
 
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Postby Jne_K on Tue Dec 09, 2008 7:13 am

Hi

Your're right - zoom binoculars are junk, so good work.

In that price range, I would try the Bushnell Legend 20-60x80 Comes with a cheap tripod, but will fit any standard photo tripod. If you don't have one, the Nikon 848 is a good choice.
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Postby neilaevans on Tue Dec 09, 2008 1:54 pm

Thanks Joanie,
I just ordered the Legend!

-Neil
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Postby Jne_K on Tue Dec 09, 2008 1:57 pm

That's great! Thanks for the order.
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scope $300-350 for whale watching/ships/ocean maybe astronom

Postby Water guy on Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:35 pm

Jne_K wrote:Hi

Your're right - zoom binoculars are junk, so good work.

In that price range, I would try the Bushnell Legend 20-60x80 Comes with a cheap tripod, but will fit any standard photo tripod. If you don't have one, the Nikon 848 is a good choice.


This model is discontinued - any updated recommendation? It's a gift and I'd like them and their guests to be impressed out of the box (don't mind buying another eyepiece if necessary) thx.
Water guy
 

scope $200-350 for whale watching/ships/ocean maybe astronom

Postby Water Guy on Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:55 pm

Jne_K wrote:Hi

Your're right - zoom binoculars are junk, so good work.

In that price range, I would try the Bushnell Legend 20-60x80 Comes with a cheap tripod, but will fit any standard photo tripod. If you don't have one, the Nikon 848 is a good choice.


This model is discontinued - any updated recommendation? It's a gift and I'd like them and their guests to be impressed out of the box (don't mind buying another eyepiece if necessary) thx.

Hi,
Sorry I made mistake on price range, open to same range $200-350. Thank you.
Water Guy
 

Re: Pls recommend a scope for $200-350 for whale watching/ocean

Postby Jne_K on Thu Jun 04, 2009 7:28 am

Hi

if you can squeeze a bit more on the budget, try the new version of the Legend in the Legend HD Otherwise, I like the Vortex Sandpiper
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Re: Pls recommend a scope for $200-350 for whale watching/ocean

Postby Water guy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 5:47 pm

Jne_K wrote:Hi

if you can squeeze a bit more on the budget, try the new version of the Legend in the Legend HD Otherwise, I like the Vortex Sandpiper



Hi, thank you for your response. The hardest part for me is getting a truer sense of what is meant by "poorer/better" image quality. Could you perhaps tell me what one would notice between the scopes you mention and say this one: http://www.opticsplanet.com/barska-25-7 ... scope.html? Wouldn't the larger size be good for low light conditions? thx.
Water guy
 

Re: Pls recommend a scope for $200-350 for whale watching/ocean

Postby Jne_K on Fri Jun 05, 2009 8:39 am

Hi

Image quality is the general term that describes the total package of resolution, contrast, image brightness, color correction, edge sharpnness and freedom from distortion. There is no standard measure for any of these that you can use for comparison, but price is ALWAYS the best measure of performance on a spotting scope, not any individual feature. Yes, all else equal, a 100mm scope will be brighter than the same model in a smaller size, but when you start comparing it to different models, even within the same brand, all bets are off. Go with price.

Keep in mind that you better think carefully about any 100mm spotting scope if you plan to be moving or carrying the scope at all and that size scope MUST have a large, heavy and expensive tripod to do the job right. Lastly, just as I said before, go with price. A cheap 100mm lens is still a cheap lens
Thanks for posting with us
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Re: Pls recommend a scope for $200-350 for whale watching/ocean

Postby Water guy on Fri Jun 05, 2009 11:22 am

Jne_K wrote:Hi

Image quality is the general term that describes the total package of resolution, contrast, image brightness, color correction, edge sharpnness and freedom from distortion. There is no standard measure for any of these that you can use for comparison, but price is ALWAYS the best measure of performance on a spotting scope, not any individual feature. Yes, all else equal, a 100mm scope will be brighter than the same model in a smaller size, but when you start comparing it to different models, even within the same brand, all bets are off. Go with price.

Keep in mind that you better think carefully about any 100mm spotting scope if you plan to be moving or carrying the scope at all and that size scope MUST have a large, heavy and expensive tripod to do the job right. Lastly, just as I said before, go with price. A cheap 100mm lens is still a cheap lens


Thanks again. I think the conundrum is that when one is at my price range, which by all standards would be at the bottom when the other side of the range is easily $1000, then $2000, you begin wonder how "good" anything is under $400, esp. when all the scopes show they are marked down by 30-50%. A cheap lens is still a cheap lens, but in my range they are all "cheap" relative to what is universally accepted as good - I do have a background in photography, so I do get what you're talking about. But as I am buying this for another person, whose eye may or may not be trained, the question becomes would they notice the poorer image quality and, if at the bottom at the heap it is difficult to notice "fair" image quality vs. "less than fair", esp. when image brightness is differnt, should I just go with something that will be more versatile in terms of workable light. What do you think?

Can the average person who is not a lens/photography enthusiast immediately tell the difference, let say in the example we have here with the two you recommended vs. the Barska 100? If they used these three scopes at dawn or dusk, would there still be noticeable difference, i.e. your scopes would still look better, or would the brighter image of the 100 offset the better clarity of the smaller lenses? As for size, I imagine they will just stick this thing on their deck, so I was going to get a heavy duty tripod.

I definitely get the price metric. For the average untrained person, it might be easy to tell the difference between fair vs. good/excellent, but unfortunately my situation is probably comparing fair to OK. I realize all this is subjective and do some degree personal preference, but in your experience, what does the novice detect - i.e. what do they notice first as far as being a negative - blur or darkness?

Is there a matrix/range of some sort that shows acceptable price ranges for difference size lenses if one does not want to sacrifice too much noticeable quality at the low end?

In your suggestion of the 65mm vs. 80mm - is the 65mm going to be noticeably/unacceptable dark in low light conditions? Like the OP, this is a gift that will probably just be used on a deck facing the ocean for whales, ships etc. As they are novices, out of the box, I don't want to them to wonder too much about why their image doesn't look good at certain settings/zooms/conditions.

thx,
Water guy
 

Re: Pls recommend a scope for $200-350 for whale watching/ocean

Postby Jne_K on Fri Jun 05, 2009 11:54 am

Hi

If all you are going to be doing is setting it up in a living room for scenery viewing, any scope 60mm or larger in this price range will work. The inexperienced user for something like this will not need super performance, anway. In my expereince, they are often more concerend with how a scope looks on the outside than inside, how it fits in their decor.

I think you are wasting your money with a 100mm scope. You don't need it and you will spend nearly as much on a tripod that can do a good job of supporting it. Don't kid yourself - a tripod that will do a decent job for nay 100mm scope, cheap or otherwise, is going to set you back at least $200. The issue has nothing to do with optical quality when it comes to the tripod. On the other hand, you can get by with a $100 tripod for an 80 and especially a 65 and have money left over to invest in a better grade scope. Your call, though.
Thanks for posting with us
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Re: Pls recommend a scope for $200-350 for whale watching/ocean

Postby Water guy on Fri Jun 05, 2009 12:47 pm

Jne_K wrote:Hi

If all you are going to be doing is setting it up in a living room for scenery viewing, any scope 60mm or larger in this price range will work. The inexperienced user for something like this will not need super performance, anway. In my expereince, they are often more concerend with how a scope looks on the outside than inside, how it fits in their decor.

I think you are wasting your money with a 100mm scope. You don't need it and you will spend nearly as much on a tripod that can do a good job of supporting it. Don't kid yourself - a tripod that will do a decent job for nay 100mm scope, cheap or otherwise, is going to set you back at least $200. The issue has nothing to do with optical quality when it comes to the tripod. On the other hand, you can get by with a $100 tripod for an 80 and especially a 65 and have money left over to invest in a better grade scope. Your call, though.


I appreciate this kind of advice. What is the tripod that comes with the Legend HD you recommended - is it sturdy enough have to have up all the time? thx.
Water guy
 

Re: Pls recommend a scope for $200-350 for whale watching/ocean

Postby Jne_K on Fri Jun 05, 2009 1:36 pm

Hi

Minimal, as are all tripods offered in kits. Would defintiely upgrade to something like a Nikon 848.
Thanks for posting with us
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Re: Pls recommend a scope for $200-350 for whale watching/oc

Postby Richard on Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:16 pm

I am looking for the best binoculars with the best tripod to use at our beach house. I am less concerned with price and more concerned with quality, magnification, and easy of usage.
Richard
 

Tripod binocular

Postby Richard on Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:18 pm

I am looking for the best binoculars with the best tripod to use at our beach house. I am less concerned with price and more concerned with quality, magnification, and easy of usage.
Richard