Best for a grand
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- Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2009 7:56 pm
Otherwise, you would do quite well with a Brunton or Celestron, but also consider the Pentax 65EDII with their high-end zoom eyepiece. The eyepiece that is normally bundled with the 65 and that gives you a 20-60x range is OK, but the one that you would normally get with the 80mm or 100mm scope is much better. That better eyepiece really makes use of the ED lens, and is a fantastic combination of size/weight/optical performance. Check out the reviews at some of the other optical forums and retailers. You can purchase the body and eyepieces separately, and this combo can be had for around $850 or so. Also, the Pentax line uses eyepieces with the standard 1.25" barrel diameter, so you can use all sorts of telescope eyepieces, including the Baaders and Tele-Vues.
Perhaps even better would be the Pentax 80mm, which comes bundled with the higer-end zoom eyepiece. There's a few places where you can get them for around $900. This would be the best I can think of for under a grand, especially for someone who is not concerned about weight. Check out the review at the Better View Desired website for info about this scope.
For just outside of your overall price range, you can get into the Nikon ED Fieldscopes. They are supposed to be great, but I would not spend the extra $500 that it would take to get one instead of a Pentax 80mm ED.
If you shop around, as Phil notes, you might be able to pick up the Pentax, but be sure you are looking at the zoom kit, not body only. Otherwise, you end with a scope an no eyepieces. The real beuaty of the Pentax is its ability to use any one of hundreds of different standard telescope eyepieces.
Jne_K wrote:If you shop around, as Phil notes, you might be able to pick up the Pentax, but be sure you are looking at the zoom kit, not body only.
Actually, the kit isn't all that great, as the kit eyepeice is from the lower of the two lines of eyepieces they make. If someone wants the 65mm Pentax, then they want to purchase the body only, and then purchase the better eyepiece separately. The combination will cost a bit more and may have to come from two separate vendors, but is well worth it.
Do not be tempted to stick the 70509 zoom in the PF65ED, however. It will not work with that short a focal length scope and that is excatly why Pentax made the XF zoom, but only after they discovered that the 70509 would not work in the PF65ED. On the other hand, as Phil indiocates, the PF65 is a dynamite scope with a fixed power eyepiece like the Pentax XW10 (39x is the PF65ED) Even so, 300 yard scoring is a lot to ask of any 65mm scope, ED or otherwise. I strongly suggest the PF80 or the Brunton for those distances.
I would agree that the 80mm version would most likely be better for 300yd range work, and in fact that would be the one I would purchase, given the OP's price range. One just has to decide if the extra weight is worth it. I didn't think so, but evidently that is a secondary concern for the OP.
Thanks for the update, Phil.
I understand about the weight issue and I am not a big fan of big spotters (carried those for far too many years). either, but as to whether the bigger scope is needed for 300 yard work - absolutely. Of course, in the end, whether it is worth it is up to the user to decide. I'm with you on big scopes.
You will do fine w/the Brunton, but I would bet dollars to donuts that the 80mm Pentax will be better. The Pentax w/zoom eyepiece isn't always easy to find under a grand, but they're out there.
Once you finally get one, please come back here and let us know what you think of it.....