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Mid-Range Comparison

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Mid-Range Comparison

Postby mtaylor12345 on Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:28 am

Hi,

In looking at [link=http://www.OpticsPlanet.Com]optical[/link] quality, are there notable differences between the [link=http://www.opticsplanet.com/celestron-brand.html]Celestron[/link] Regal 65ED, [link=http://www.opticsplanet.com/kowa-brand.html]Kowa[/link] 601 (w/ 20-60 zoom), [link=http://www.opticsplanet.com/kowa-brand.html]Kowa[/link] 661 (w/ 20-60 zoom), and [link=http://www.opticsplanet.com/s/fieldscope/cat~ss_sort~rank-des]Nikon Fieldscope[/link] III (non-ED)? Are the [link=http://www.opticsplanet.com/kowa-brand.html]Kowa[/link] models functionally the same (except for the extra 6mm)? The small difference seems kind of arbitrary.

Build quality differences?

What's a good [link=http://www.opticsplanet.com/tripods.html]tripod[/link] set-up that doesn't cost more than $200?

I'm a birder and I'll hand-digiscoping some birds, primarily for ID verification, not super quality pictures. I'll be laying the scope in the trunk as we get in and out of the car at different stops. I might take the set-up hiking, but not often. I might also travel with it, but not often.

Mike
mtaylor12345
 

Re: Mid-Range Comparison

Postby Jne_K on Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:58 am

Hi

The 601 body is different than the 661 body. The 601 is a polymer/plastic body that makes it one of the lightest 60mm spotting scopes on the market. The 661 uses an alloy body and also has a rotating tripod collar not found on the 600 series.

Optics on non-ED 601 or 661 are excellent. You won't notice a great deal of difference, visually, between these and the ED versions until you crank up magnifications above 40x or so and then the ED will give slightly more resolution via better color correction. Notice I said slight. The difference is there, though, if you look for it. Very little difference between a 601 I tested and my ED 663, for instance.

Myself, I would choose the Kowas simply because of their super 20-60 zoom eyepiece. It is a significantly better zoom eyepiece than the Regal zoom, optically and mechanically, and it has much better eye relief than the Nikon zoom. As a birder, myself, I much prefer zooms and that Kowa 20-60 600/660 series zooms ranks right up there with the best. If you prefer fixed power wide angle eyepieces, though, you have options in either the Koaw or the Nikon and even more options with the Regal, since it can use standard telescope eyepieces.

For digiscoping, I do recommend an ED scope, for the same reason as using an ED camera lens. It will get you better pics, assuming decent optics and, yes, the Regal qualifies, here. If the digiscoping is just a sometimes thing, though, a Kowa 601 with the 20-60 zoom will work. In a pinch, I've taken nice pics with my Kowa 663 using that zoom eyepiece. As zooms go, it is a digiscoping friendly eyepiece. Can't say that for the Nikon zoom. The zoom eyepiece on the Fieldscope is too short on eye relief to do a good job of digiscoping.

As for a tripod on a 60mm class scope, the Bushnell Advanced Titanium 784040 is well made and sturdy, yet fairly light. Tough to beat for the money.
Thanks for posting with us
Joanie K - Your personal optics expert

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Re: Mid-Range Comparison

Postby mtaylor12345 on Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:39 pm

Thanks for your prompt reply (on a Sunday no less)...I appreciate your feedback.
mtaylor12345
 

Re: Mid-Range Comparison

Postby Jne_K on Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:50 am

You are very welcome. Glad to help.
Thanks for posting with us
Joanie K - Your personal optics expert

Forum: http://www.opticsplanet.com/msgboard
Blog: http://blog.opticsplanet.com/
Store: http://www.opticsplanet.com/

Phone: (800) 504-5897
Fax: (847) 919-3003
Jne_K
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7665
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2003 3:09 pm