Spotters: Under $900


This is sort of an interesting category since $900 or so appears to be the level of financial discomfort that a lot of people are willing to tolerate.  While in the higher price ranges there are only a few Chinese made scopes that I have recommended, here just about everything is made in China.

Arguably the best news here are with the smallest objective lens diameter of 50mm.

If you can’t bring yourself to buy the 55mm Kowa Promina for more than double the money, Vortex Razor HD 11-33×50 is your huckleberry.  It is tiny and optically superb.  It is quite similar to the 50mm Nikon Fieldscope, except the eyepiece is much better in terms of user friendliness.  I keep on deliberating whether I should buy the tiny Razor or not, but lack of a reticle is holding me back.

Same story with the very nice Athlon Cronus 12-36×50.  It is really nice, but there is no reticle.  The biggest reason I prefer the Razor is the straight eyepiece.  Cronus is angled only.

Going up in size to a 65mm objective, we have another gem of an option: Athlon Ares G2 UHD 15-45×65.  It is a very nice conventional spotter by itself, but what makes it a gem is the available 22x reticle eyepiece.  It is the same reticle as in my Cronus Tactical spotter (disclaimer: I helped Athlon with the reticle design, but with only a few suggestions.  It is mostly their concept) and it looks very promising.  We’ll see how it holds up for me longer term.

With 80mm or greater objective, we have the larger of the two Vortex Viper HD spotters: 20-60×85.  It is a very respectable spotter, but the biggest reason it gets on my list is the available fixed power reticle eyepiece.  Unfortunately, the eyepiece is 33.5x which is a bit more than I typically like in an eyepiece of this type, but it seems to work quite well.

Athlon makes a larger Ares G2 spotter 20-60×80, but I have not see it yet.  It also has a fixed power reticle eyepiece with 28x magnification.  It is on my list of spotters to look at.  Until I do, I am inclined to go with a known quantity: Viper HD.

If you do not need a reticle, I was pleasantly impressed by the less expensive Hawke Endurance 20-60×85.

There are a few potentially interesting designs in this price range from Bushnell, Sightmark and some others, but I have been unsuccessful in getting these companies to reply to my e-mails, so it has not been easy to look at them.

Given my time limitations, I sorta end up going down a path of least resistance in mostly testing products that are comparatively easy for me to get my hands on.

One of the brands that I do talk to is Leupold, but I completely ignored their newer spotters.  I plan to take a closer look at them.

 Posted by at 11:03 pm

  One Response to “Spotters: Under $900”

  1. […] Re: Trying to decide on Spotting Scope Under $1,000. I did order a Pentax 80mm today, up grading from an older Bushnell Space Master. Vortex Razor and Zen Ray where in the running, but what brought me to the Pentax 80mm was the eyepiece. For under a 1,000 I got a Pentax and a 20mm fixed eyepiece. I did not look at scopes over 2K. Reviews such as the following Pentax 80mm Ed Spotting Scope | Better View Desired […]