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  1. #1
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    Brought home 4 Spotters from Cabela's tonight...

    Read another forum about the the Krotos at Cabela's being on sale, and was going to order up a bunch of scopes to compare. But they didn't have the 65mm on-line. So called my local Cabela's and they had one. So I headed down after work.

    Wanted to get a few more to compare, so talked to the Optics guys. He said yes, buy what you want, try them out, and return what you don't like. Not a problem.

    Here is what I brought home, and initial thoughts after setting them side by side on the roof of my car, and scoping house numbers down the street. Weighed them on scale here at the house:

    Cabela's Krotos HD 15-45x65mm, $342, 2.89 lbs: Performed surprisingly well for this price range. Solid feel, very small compared to the others. Love the size and weight.

    Vortex Razor 22-48x65mm, $1,199, 3.61 lbs: Disappointed. Didn't seem as sharp as the rest, even the Krotos. Eye piece was wonky getting on and off.

    Swarovski ATS 20-60x65mm, $2,268, 3.11 lbs: This is a demo model from the floor. Had to swap out eye pieces with another Swaro in the case because it had a blemish we couldn't get cleaned off. Super sharp image. Impressive and very light weight.

    Cabela's Instinct Euro HD 20-70x82mm, $2,399, 4.21 lbs: Bigger, but surprisingly not as huge as I thought. It's basically the Meopta Meostar S2. Even has "Meopta" stamped on the base plate. Very impressive so far! I really like this scope.

    I will get some time with them outdoors tomorrow. More feedback to come.
    Last edited by Daubs; 01-26-2018 at 09:52 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Good luck. I've mentioned this before but I've done the same thing and never had any issues returning what I didn't want.

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  5. #3
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    When I see boxes that show signs of being opened I tend to stay away from buying that product. We know that what comes out of packages never goes back in the same way. I wonder why they encourage that from the outlet stores. I know it is hard to buy something that you can't try out but that is what we all face. Having been a GM dealer I can't tell you how many times we were told that if it has more than a few miles on it I don't want to pay new price.

  6. #4
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    You would be surprised how many folks buy things for a specific hunt then return them after they use it. Cabela's bargain cave is full of those kinds of returns.
    Interesting to see what you decide on. Check them all out in low light.
    We love our Swarovski but could only afford it on sale many years ago. Their warranty will be great if you ever need it.

  7. #5
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    My biggest problem with doing that would be the charges on my CC.

    Even if you did it at the end of your billing cycle and had 30-45 days to get them returned you are running the risk of having to pay for them if the credits don't go through right away.
    If you don't care where you are, you are not lost....

  8. #6
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    I'm not too worried about my credit card. I plan to have the spotters I don't select back at Cabela's tomorrow. Three days shouldn't cause me any problems.

    Had a chance to line them up side by side and do some comparisons. It was 11 AM, bright and sunny day. Glassing across town to one of the few tall buildings, and then closer to some signage. The building was 3 miles away, the signage was 250 yards. In the bright sun, differences were slight, but there were some difference. Remember, the Cabela's Instinct Euro HD is essentially the Meopta MeoStar S1.

    I did all my testing with all spotters set at 45x. Here is how I would rank them...

    Eye relief:
    1. Meopta / Swaro, virtually the same
    3. Razor, just a tad less...
    4. Krotos, almost bothersome, needs a bit more.

    Field of view @ 45x:
    1. Meopta
    2. Krotos
    3. Razor, but very close to the Krotos
    4. Swaro, surprise here. Quite a bit narrower than the other scopes at the same 45x power.

    Color contrast: They were all very similar, just minor differences...ranked them based on my preference.
    1. Meopta
    2. Swaro
    3. Krotos
    4. Razor

    Image: viewing antennas on the building 3 miles away...
    1. Meopta best image here, but remember, this is an 82mm spotter.
    2. Swaro, a very close second here...
    3. Razor, surprisingly just a little better than the Krotos. No where near the top two.
    4. Krotos, acceptable.

    Focusing:
    1. Krotos, smooth, and easy to turn the focus dial. But as it ages, it might loosen up.
    2. Meopta, tighter and not as smooth, but still good.
    3. Swaro, thought it would be better
    4. Razor, almost too tight.

    Edge to Edge clarity:
    1. Meopta, best to my eyes.
    2. Swaro, second place...still excellent, but not as good as the Meopta.
    3. Krotos, surprising third place finish aheads of the much pricier Razor.
    4. Razor

    Internals: shined flashlight into the objective, here is what I saw...
    1. Swaro, clean, no smudges, excellent build quality, excellent design, rounded corners, you can tell this is well engineered.
    2. Razor, clean, no smudges, good build, well engineered.
    3. Meopta, clean, a few minor marks on the non-optic areas, doesn't look as refined inside, clearly spent resources on the glass.
    4. Krotos, glass was clear and clean, and no metal shavings in side the scope. But non optic surfaces had what looked like smudges, finger prints, etc. Probably due to manufacturing standards.

    Eye piece removal:
    1. Meopta / Swaro, quality.
    3. Krotos...non-removable eye piece...
    4. Razor, didn't want to lock in place, difficult to remove. Surprising.

    Feel:
    1. Razor, rubber armored, very nice feel.
    2. Swaro, this just screams quality! But the exterior coating wasn't as pleasing to me as the Razor.
    3. Meopta, excellent.
    4. Krotos, Not bad, a mix of metal and rubber armored.

    Size & weight:
    1. Krotos, just a little lighter than the Swaro, but much smaller
    2. Swaro, about same size as Razor, but 11 ounces lighter
    3. Razor, surprisingly heavy for it's size.
    4. Meopta = beast!

    Price / Value:
    1. Krotos, this is a no-brainer here. @ $350 this is a hell of a scope for the price. Light, compact and good optics.
    2. Meopta, while it is the priciest and biggest spotter in the bunch, performance was above the Swaro to my eyes.
    3. Swaro, quality, tradition, warranty, it's all there...but still pricey.
    4. Razor, disappointed.

    I am going to get them side by side tonight at dusk to make a few more comparisons.

    Right now the Krotos is leading the pack. It's not up to the Meopta and Swaro optically, but for the price...will be very hard to beat!

    More to come...Daubs

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  10. #7
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    A few pics...

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  12. #8
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    I think you will find the low light situatuon to be what separates the good from the great. Try looking at fine detail at last light as if you are trying to look for points.

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  14. #9
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    Low light impressions: Set the spotters up side by side on back of my truck, aiming down the street approximately 150 yards to a real estate sign. Dialed them all to 45x and focused on a small gray circle (quarter sized), on a light gray background. And focused on small rust spots on the white sign. Tough to see even at 150 yards. Stared about 15 minutes before sundown.

    Razor: as the light dimmed and got closer to sun down, noticed the whites had a bit of a red/pink tint to them (looking at a real estate sign). The other scopes were more of a true white.

    About 10 minutes past sundown now, the Razor starting to lag behind the others. Meopta, Swaro, Krotos, then Razor...in that order.

    20 minutes after sundown, and still ranking them the same...Meopta, Swaro, Krotos, Razor.

    30 minuets after sundown, and I can no longer see the circle or the small rust spots. Meopta is still the brightest, followed by Swaro. Krotos and Razor just behind.

    The clear winner was the Cabela's / Meopta Spotter. It's really not a fair fight, as the Meopta has the larger objective. But man, talk about quality glass.

    I have to admit i was disappointed with the Swaro. Granted, this was a floor / demo model, and we had to swap out eye pieces to find one without smudges, but come on, this is Swarovski, supposed to be head and shoulders above the rest...right?

    The Razor also left me disappointed. Yes, great warranty, and quality optics, but the Krotos actually looked better to my eyes. And I could see details longer with the Krotos vs. Razor as the light faded.

    I have to admit I was rooting for the Meopta. I've got a local guy looking to sell his Cabela's Instinct HD / (Meopta MeoStar S1) for right around $1,200...and that fit in my budget. But the Krotos just keep performing. And performing.

    The differences between these four scopes is not all that great. Comparing 65's, yes the Swaro is better than the Krotos and the Razor...but $1,900/$1,000 better? Not to my eyes.

    For the type of hunting and shooting I do, the Cabela's Krotos HD 15-45x65mm is the clear winner here. Light weight, small package, very good optics, and the Cabela's lifetime warranty. Top it off with a $342 price tag and you have a hell of a good spotter for the money. Heck, this would be a good spotter at the retail price of $699.

    Fun to compare these four side by side and put them through the paces. Now it's time to pack them up and get them back to Cabela's. Daubs

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  16. #10
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    Great review, thanks for sharing your results/opinions with us!

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