View Full Version : 80mm Spotting Scopes are HUGH

03-12-2012, 06:00 PM
Been thinking of upgrading my spotting scope. Now keep in mind I am on low fixed income today. Years past I had plenty of money to spend on [I]STUFF[I], but that was before cancer, losing everything I had, well just about everything anyway and now surviving on social security.

I purchased my current spotting scope almost 20 years ago for a tule elk hunt here in California. I figured it would only collect dust after that hunt, but as all of you know that was not the case. A spotting scope is a need to have item in our hunting equipment it is used constantly. The scope I bought back then and have been using ever since was a good scope in its day and there wasn't the selection there is today, that scope is a Bushnell 15-40x60.

All that being said I have been looking at two scopes in particular, the Vortex Nomad and Alpen Optics products. The Vortex Nomad 20-60x60 has gotten a few negative reviews, both here and other web sites but I am thinking those comments may be in comparison to higher end optics. I liked the size of the Nomad and it easily out performed my current scope. It was clearer and a bit brighter, but not sure I was getting much more bang for the buck compared to what I have now. Where I was at I could only use it out to about 200 yards and it was indoors.

Alpen Optics's headquarters and warehouse is located just down the road a couple miles from here. I went there today with my current scope to check out their product. I looked at both the straight and angled 20-60x80, but WOW those 80mm Objective lens are gigantic. It was the most clear of all scopes and resonably light weight for its size, but what a big scope. I also looked at their 20-60x60 angeled scope and again it was clearer than my scope but about the same brightness.

I rifle hunt and bow hunt. I use my spotting scope from a window mount on my truck and a tripod on a hill side. I have a number of tripods that I use based on if I am near the truck or have walked back in a ways. I also backpack and carry my scope with me. And of course use my scope at the range.

One thing I am thinking if I end up with a 80mm scope is keeping my existing scope in my pack and the big scope on either a tripod or window mount.

Tough decision, the 60mm Vortex and 80mm Alpen are about the same money and I have found Alpens used for about a 30-40% markdown, but really wondering which way to go. My current spotting scope isn't the best by a long shot and what I am looking atisn't even close to whats out there, but its what I can afford. One thing I wish I could do is have all three scopes at the same place in low light conditions to a comparison.

I guess what I am asking is of you guys that have experience with 80mm scopes, are they too big? Do they get in the way? Does anyone carry one in their pack? Is the extra light gathering worth the bigger size?

I know most of what I read about here site and other sites are about pretty high end stuff and believe me if it was three years ago spending a thousand or two wouldn't be out of the question, but that ship has sailed.

Your opinions would be appreciated.

Bitterroot Bulls
03-12-2012, 06:45 PM
I have backpacked my Vortex Razor 85HD many times, and it really wasn't too bad. I sure like packing the little ED50 better, though!

I am one of those guys that didn't really like the Nomad too much when I owned one, but if I was looking in that price range, I would look strongly at the Celestron Regal ED (this one first) or Theron Saker.

I can't say anything about the Alpen products, as I haven't seen one.

03-12-2012, 06:49 PM
I recently sold an 80mm for a 65mm and I find the little less weight and substantially less bulk to be a good trade off for a few extra minutes of viewing. You are right, 80mm are HUGE. Now throw a case on them and they get even bigger. Now start strapping crap to your pack and it becomes cumbersome.

I haven't put my 65 through a full hunting season yet, but I think I'll like it vs the 80.

My buddy has the Nomad and he's happy with it, so long as you understand it's not going to even come close to competing with the high dollar spotters.

03-12-2012, 07:03 PM
I currently have an Alpen 20-60x60 angled spotter. I like it for what it is. The optics are very clear and comparable to the Vortex. Alpen has a great warranty just like vortex does. You really couldn't go wrong with either for a pack scope. There is no way I would pack and 80 where I hunt. The 80 optics are quite a bit brighter, but I will bite that bullet for weight savings and packability. The one con that I have with the Alpen is their focus knob. It is touchy and takes a little more finesse to get it to final focus compared to the Vortex. I have gotten the feel for it though and it no longer bothers me much. Hope this helped.

03-12-2012, 07:22 PM
Thanks for the info. I'll check into those scopes that Bitterroot Bulls mentioned abd thanks for the Alpen review. I was all set on getting an 80mm until I got my hands on one today. I think I'll just take my time and find the right one. Thanks for the opinions, it really helped me out.

03-12-2012, 10:40 PM
I pack a Nikon 60mm field scope. I'm looking into the HD50. I have had a couple 80mm and there is no way would I pack one. Way to big for me. When I had one it stayed close to the quad or pickup. One of them was a Alpen and it was pretty good as far as the glass. I think if you can afford it I would look into the Nikon or Luepold. I sent the Alpen back twice for specks of black in the glass which both times they gave me new scopes. It wasn't a huge deal but the quality is fairly low compared to the others in the same price range