Upgrading; but to what?
I have a ~ 25 year old 60 mm Bushnell scope which has served me well and with which there is nothing wrong - except that bigger, newer scopes are a lot better!
Thus, I would like to upgrade to a better scope. If money were no object, I would go for a Kowa 883, but reality is such that I have to limit myself to about $1800. Primary use would be birdwatching, mostly shorebirds and waterfowl, sometime at considerable distance. My main consideration is optical performance as I typically do not carry my scope very far from my vehicle, in addition, I am also planning to keep my small scope for those occasion when I do want portability.
The following models have piqued my interest:
Vortex Razor 85 (Have seen several very positive reviews on this one, but have yet to see the scope)
Nikon Fieldscope 82 ED (Very positive reviews here as well, but concerned about eye relief as I wear glasses)
Pentax 80 PF ED (As with the above two, have heard good things about this scope, but perhaps not quite the quality of the above two?)
There are lots of other scopes, but so far,these three have caught my attention in the price range I am considering. However, I am certainly willing to consider other options, including getting a smaller scope if I could get the same performance at the same price (likely asking too much of a smaller scope).
Your thoughts would be appreciated,
On your list, the PF80 is my choice if you want a scope with a zoom that is user friendly for glasses. The 70509 zoom is definitely a premium zoom eyepiece and will bring out the best in the PF80. Going with the Pentax will also allow you to get a good tripod - a must if plan to use a larger scope.
I am curious as to the reason for your recommendation. I suspect the eye relief is the reason you did not go with the Nikon, but I am curious as to the reason you prefer the Pentax over the Razor.
For my purposes, and the price I am willing to pay, are there no other models to consider other than the Pentax?
By the way, I already have a solid tripod, so no issue there - not that I want to spend more money than necessary!
http://www.betterviewdesired.com/Pentax ... -Scope.php
Pentax makes high-end and very highly-regarded astronomical eyepieces. Vortex has not. Pentax (and Nikon) has been making high-end camera glass for a number of decades. Vortex has not.
You can find the 80mm Pentax w/zoom for around a grand, sometimes less. You could add one of their fixed-power eyepieces and get great eye relief, and still stay within your budget.
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Glad to help.
For one, I have not reviewed the Razor, though I have no doubt it is a good scope - my experience with Vortex and their products has been top notch - but, I don't like to make recommendations on products I have not tested or used. The Razor is relatively new and the jury is still out on it as to how it fits in with other scopes in this price class, but I will gladly offer a review when I get my hands on one to test.
For another, as Phil states, the Pentax is an excellent scope with a great track record. It has been around a long time, so you don't have to take just our words on that. I have tested it, though, on charts and used it in the field, so I am very comfortable when I say it is a best buy for its price. As an eyeglass wearer, myself, I promise you will love that zoom eyepiece and, as Phil says, the ability of the Pentax to use standard telescope eyepieces is also a big plus. The PF80 kicks some serious optical butt when paired with a Pentax XW fixed power eyepiece, for instance.