Spotting scope?

Are there any of you who have the scoop on where to buy the higher quality spotting scopes at the best price? Must be powerful, clear, have zoom, and most compact/high quality is preferred.

Any feedback, or recommendations would be helpful as well. Best quality for the money, and the features listed above is what I’m looking for.

Thanks! Splash

Check the archive…

– Last Updated: Feb-19-06 12:00 AM EST –

Do an archive search splash; use spotting scope as subject.
I asked about them myself on a 12/5/05 thread & got some good responses.
Haven't gotten one yet, but am leaning towards Leupold Sequoia, Model 55888 w/ angled body, and 15-45x60 magnification.
If you get one any time soon; let me know what you get & how you like it.


Thanks Bob
Will do.

Check out
EAgle optics. The have good prices, and if you go to their website you can get all the information you need as far as specifications like size, weight, waterproofness, etc. Even if you don’t buy from them, it’s a good site just for the info. You didn’t say what your price range is, but a decent compact moderately priced scope is the Nikon Sky and Earth. If you’re looking for top-notch, and price is no object, the best I’ve looked through is the Leica Televid 62mm, available with a 16-48x zoom eyepiece. Nikon’s Fieldscope III is also worth a look, as is the small Zeiss, and I believe they don’t cost as much as the Leica, although I could be wrong. The smallest Swarovski is not quite as compact as the ones I’ve mentioned, but gives a great look as well. Good luck with your search.


if your water isn’t flat, be sure
that you are able to see clearly when in motion. I’m not sure if a spotting scope is different than a monocular, but I bought one a few years ago and can’t see anything when the water is choppy, which is basically always in these parts. It’s useful at night to spot barges as that’s the only time the water is somewhat flat. Lyn

The finest optics…Swarovsky
Big bucks but I’ve never looked through a cleaner more corrected scope. Birdwatchers love’em.

And you can even get the hip flask for a mear 249.00 to go with

Swarovski and Zeiss
make the finest. Here is an article that came out before the new Zeiss was available.

For a good message board to answer many questions about scopes try:

Personally, I use the Zeiss Diascope 85FL, but I would be very happy with any of the top models. Generally, you get what you pay for, but there are some bargins out there.

You can buy from the NY camera stores at pretty good prices, but I have had great service and fair prices from from a small shop on the Hudson River North of NYC.

Ask for Dan.

Good Luck.


A deck mopunted…

– Last Updated: Feb-19-06 11:57 AM EST –

...retardant for pesky jet skiiers?

Scopes are nice, but I prefer the old one long,
one short and walk the rounds in routine. I like
the look in ther eyes when they realize they've
finally gotten in range.

The boat bounces too much for me to use a scope.

Swarovski ST-80
I have a Swarovski ST-80 w/20x60 zoom eyepiece I’d sell. Virtually new, demoed once.




– Last Updated: Feb-19-06 2:59 PM EST –

I realize now that I should've told you what I'd be using this scope for so that you can better advise me.

When paddling (16' kayak, and canoe) I'll be using this scope from land, stops, campsites, etc.. ofcourse. Not only for spotting wildlife, etc..but for spotting sailboats, and the like that most times pass many miles offshore due to shallower waters of most coastlines I paddle.

As far as price goes. I'm not wanting to pay the fluff prices.(my term) I do realize in some sense one does get what they pay for, but since I'm not taking photos through it, or high color quality and the like is not a large issue, I want something that will suit my needs ofcourse without getting deep into the pocket. That being said, I don't mind paying a larger price if I see the benefit is sufficient enough to justify the price. I'll most likely only be using this on 10% of my trips, and it's a luxury, and not an essential. I've found my binoculars just fine for the wildlife watching I do.

Quality, and features versus price is ofcourse important, plus something that is compact is always beneficial as well. I could easily buy a large pelican case later if I wanted to strap it to the aft deck for my longer trips, but I'm confident that it will easily store out of the case into my large storage compartment along with the rest of my gear on 2-3 days plus trips. My dry storage comparments are very large, and have the largest openings of any I've seen on the market so I don't believe that's going to be a problem.

I appreciate the advice, and suggestions. They will be useful in my decision. Thanks again.


Birdforum is a good site. Thanks!

2nd for the leupold wind river sequoia
That is the scope that I have for more extreme duties and it has held up well plus it comes with everything you need and it is waterproof

Check out your local Audubon Society. For the price of membership, they’ll grant (in NJ) a price discount which, for a high quality scope, exceeds the membership cost.

I e-mailed you about the ST-80…
but I got an auto reply. Might want to look in your spam folder.

Stellarvue Nighthawk
For the money is one of the best scopes around. when used with an erecting prism it make a fine spotter. you can find these used for around 300.00 on Astromart.

Splash - One thing to conside is that an 80 mm scope is not considered compact, but rather full-size (read much larger and heavier). The compact scopes are in the 60 to 65 mm range, with a few at 50 mm. I myself have the Swarovski ATS65, which I consider to be one of the largest of the compact scopes. That Leupold sounds like a good compromise.


One other consideration
Besides getting a good scope (I endorse Bob on the Leupold - great optics for the price) also get a good sturdy tripod.

In my experience, you want one that will extend high enough so that you are not constantly bending over to see through the scope. Also, I found that the lighter weight tripod I used for my full size 35mm SLR was not steady enough for a spotting scope. Instead we bought a good quality sturdy tripod designed for VHS video cameras. While it is larger and heavier than I would prefer, it is rock solid for viewing birdlife over extended periods of time.

For your intended use the compromise would probably be between stability and size in order to fit in your kayak.

On the other hand why don’t you come over to the light side with Bob and me and switch to a canoe :slight_smile:

Won’t work.
Paddling in the windy coastal areas for days/weeks/etc. on end, and being in a canoe just don’t mix or I’d have never switched to sea-kayaking several years ago. I will however be using my canoe on the local lakes/river kayak/camping trips I do.

Size isn’t a huge issue as I can always strap the scope in a waterproof box on the aft deck as I mentioned above. But if I can find what I need in a size that is suitable, that would surely be beneficial for dynamic reasons on the water.

After studying many reviews, and taking into consideration the quality/features vs. price (value) I’ve narrowed my search to the Leupold #55888 as Bob suggested, or possibly making the step up to the Pentax PF80ED. Ofcourse the 80mm will be somewhat more difficult to accomadate with it’s size, but it is in the $700 range, and competes if not out performs the scopes that are into the thousands of dollars. It’s the only scope that has no negatives on it’s reviews, and is praised by vetran birders world-wide as “the best I’ve ever used”. These are from independant reviews btw. Not the advertising reviews. I may just go with the larger scope and just plan on using it on fewer trips. Otherwise I’ll just go small, and simply invest in a higher quality pair of binoculars maybe w/small tripod.

The information posted here has been helpful. All of it is being taken into consideration. Thanks again. I appreciate the help.