View Full Version : Best Combination of Spotting Scope Glass + weight

Montana Chrome
07-26-2013, 10:31 PM
Am looking for the best combination of weight and glass in a spotting scope for backpack hunting trips. I wear glasses, which also complicates the situation. Any recommendations ?

07-26-2013, 10:38 PM
First of all, welcome to the forum! What is your budget? Swaro 65 will do the trick, also look at vortex razor 50 and 65. Some of the vortex eyepieces I heard aren't too eyeglass wearer friendly. Don't forget to check out the Nikon ed50 as well!

07-26-2013, 10:44 PM
If you can find a used Swaro 65 HD either ATM or STM (I'm going off memory for the model, but I think I'm right) you will certainly be finding what you are looking for. The ATM or STM is the model that was made with magnesium but not all of them are HD so you will have to pay attention to what one you are getting. The ATM and STM are lighter than the ATS or STS and are the best combination of weight and glass. Eye relief is a tough one with spotting scopes because they don't have much, however I have been told to look at the Leupold Gold Rings, and I think those are light scopes.

Don't quote me on the Leupold eye relief, but I know a guy that glasses with glasses on and he spent a lot of time looking through scopes before he settled on a Leupold Gold Ring because the eye relief was better for his glasses. May not work for you but worth looking into.

Montana Chrome
07-26-2013, 10:49 PM
Willing to spend a fair amount if I could get something light that will still get the job done - there are a bewildering number of choices out there. I have a pair of 10x42 ELs as my main piece of glass but need to update my old Bushnell Trophy Spotting Scope - going on 35 years old now. Many of the local "Ultra Killers" swear by Leica. Will check out the Swaro 65 and others - thanks for the tip.

Montana Chrome
07-26-2013, 10:52 PM
Good stuff - exactly what I'm looking for. Am an engineer and just hate to re-invent the wheel - some folks might really enjoy the quest to find the perfect scope - I would prefer to spend less time looking for a scope and more time looking through it!

07-27-2013, 08:53 AM
Another vote here for the swarovski 65mm although there is nothing wrong with the Leica 65mm. Both have great warranties but the rumors I've read on websites such as this one are that Swarovski honors thier warranty better with no hassle and no problems. If you still want a lighter scope you might check out the new Razor 11x33x50 by Vortex or the Nikon ED 50. Everybody seems to love them but I've had no experience of my owne with them. You are gonna want a lightweight tripod as well. When hiking I use the small Outdoorsmans tripod, made out of aluminum, which folds down to about 15 inches. There are new carbon fiber tripods out there that are very lightweight that are becoming very popular. Goodluck in your search. fatrascal.

Musket Man
07-27-2013, 09:09 AM
I have herd leica is a great spotting scope. I have never used 1 but I believe it is comparable to swarovski and ziess. IMO a good 65 is the best all around spotting scope and best balance of weight size and performance. Since you have EL binos I would recomend a high quality scope to go with them. In my experience a lower quality scope looks alot worse next to really good binos. I have 10x42 EL's and a 65 zeiss spotting scope.

dead river
07-30-2013, 08:39 PM
The Nikon ED 50 is a great piece if you can live with the limited power range (33x or so from memory). I bought mine after reading reviews and getting some input from Bitterroot about 2 years ago. It is SOOOOO lightweight you end up always having it. It fits in the top flap, detachable fanny pack/ cover hood of my pack or my glove box even if i have the padded cover on it. It has good resolution to the extent of the magnification. My only regret with it is that i found myself wanting more scope power at times. If i was always gonna be under pack, i would live with it. An ounce at dawn is a pound at dusk to reference an old backpacker saying. Vortex now has a competitive model also but i trust the Nikon. I know you see the Eastmans using them on their pack trips from time to time...quality glass, light weight.

I am going to buy a larger scope and i am trying to decide whether or not to liquidate mine for a 65mm scope. It will weigh a lot more but i will have more power to judge animals at long range. I know it contradicts the weight concern comment above, but that just makes me cheap not wanting to fund two scopes, not a hippocrit!

07-30-2013, 09:54 PM
I wear glasses and love my Vortex Razor HD 16-48x65. Excellent glass, well priced, and you won't find a better warranty.

85mm is too big for most backpackers and I wanted more zoom than what the 50mm offers. It's my Goldilocks scope.

07-31-2013, 09:09 PM
love my swaro 65

08-03-2013, 11:31 PM
I really like my Nikon ED50 and the Promaster tripod and head I got from S&S archery. I find myself packing it when I'd leave heavier glass behind. I haven't seen the new Vortex 50mm yet but expect it would also be great. It is heavier than the Nikon by a good bit though and it will have to be really impressive to outperform the Nikon.

I've used my Nikon against my hunting partner's Vortex 85mm Razor and was really impressed with how close the little scope stayed. The Razor is better for sure, but not as much better as I thought it would be. The place we haven't compared them yet is at high altitude in really good clear air. At home and on our last antelope hunt the dust, mirage, and wind made the magnification advantage of the big scope play less of a role.

We bought our scopes to compliment each other and they do that well. We put in for tags together each year and mostly hunt together in the field.