I was looking at that Leupold MK 4 spotting scope, but recently saw this one at the ALERRT conference in San Marcos Texas, and I liked what I saw so much I came home and bought one.
Prior to buying, I read some reviews, so I wasn't expecting much from the tripod to begin with (and I got what I expected). I also found the zoom ring difficult to turn without changing the orientation of the unit at the higher settings, but that may work in a bit with use.
Last Friday I set it up on a clear to partly cloudy day at the maximum magnification to observe a building approximately 1200 yards away. Mirage was negligible, but the conditions were also pretty optimal. Clarity was better than I expected, and more than sufficient enough to observe clothing worn and / or equipment carried by people in and around the building. Moving to a building 500 yards away, I could make out facial features on workers in the smoking area outside. In fact, I could even recognize the Marlboro Reds that one guy pulled out of his pocket.
I have yet to try this scope out at the range, but for what I wanted it for, it is well worth the $335 sales price. I'll compare it to a Leupold Mk4 when the temps get back up again, but I don't think that the performance improvement will be proportional to the increase in price.
I'd like to see a heavier duty case included or at least offered with this scope, but the one that is included will suffice for light use. I wouldn't trust it in the field, however, and I expect the zipper to be trashed inside of 6 months.
Bottom line, this is the best tactical spotting scope out there for the money. It has a usable reticle in the first focal plane, a rugged and compact design with plenty of magnification and excellent optical clarity. If you are looking for a nice spotting scope at a bargain of a price, look no further and buy this scope NOW.
Pros: Good quality glass, realatively compact, Mildot reticle in FFP
Cons: Trash tripod and case. Fitted cover that I doubt will survive any rough use.
This review was written in the old system and had content requirements that are different than reviews written today.