Spotting Scope options, Zeiss, Kowa

A5scott

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I'm checking out spotting scopes online, and I am leaning toward Kowa 883 or 99, but also considering Zeiss Victory Harpia 85.

Uses will be spotting during pro matches, including ELR matches to 2600 yards. A couple times a year I'll make it to a spot that goes out to more than 3000 yards. I'll also record some shots during range days with an iPhone adaptor.

Leaning toward wide angle zoom eyepieces as well.

I guess I'm wondering if I lose anything by going with the wide angle zoom, and if I lose anything going with the larger objective like with the 99.

The only real experience I have with spotters is at matches for a few minutes while checking out what other people have. I feel like these are some excellent options, but I was wondering what other peoples experience with them is.

Thanks,
Scott
 

6AYoteHunter

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Kowa or Swarovski are the best spotting scopes. I run the Swarovski because I can swap between an 85mm and 115mm and a STX and BTX. The Kowa is the best bang for you buck if just running a single spotter. Another good option is dual Swarvoski spotters on the bracket from the guy in Prescott, AZ at Wells Manufacturing.
 
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A5scott

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Yes some of the best options for sure. I was checking swaros, as I thought they were way over budget, but Eurooptic has some demo swaros that look like great options. Big eyes would be amazing, but I always end up closing one eye as they don't seem to line up with my eyes.

I'm also curious if the Wide angle zoom eye pieces have a disadvantage, and same for going with a bigger objective.

thanks again,
Scott
 

sinister

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Is this for individual shooting - spotting - coaching or pairs - teams?

I have a Kowa 883, have used a number of other premium spotters. Don't forget the Hensoldt 45 and 60 and 100mm Optolyth.

If going Big Eyes, the Kowa Prominars are unbeatable.
 

A5scott

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for matches... prs, elr, and range days, recording with an iPhone.

I know someone with an awesome Kowa Prominar big eyes setup and it's amazing, but a bit much for me. Something a little more streamlined even though I won't be hiking with it.

thanks,
Scott
 

Steel head

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    9A8AB9AC-869C-40F0-9C6D-F3B73D73FF4E.jpeg
    Kowa glass is amazing
    I use a phone cam adapter on it often for recording.
    I just wish there was a reticle.
     

    A5scott

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    View attachment 7780075Kowa glass is amazing
    I use a phone cam adapter on it often for recording.
    I just wish there was a reticle.
    I do love Kowa glass. A friend has a set and the are amazing. I I'm between the Kowa and the Zeiss. It's splitting hairs, and I'm sure either way I'll be very happy. Kowa may have more digiscoping support.

    Steel head, are you near Mt. Larch? I live in PA, but I drove up to the top once to check out Mt Rainier on a road trip up to Spokane. It was really cool seeing all the spots carved out for shooting.

    Thanks,
    Scott
     

    Steel head

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    I do love Kowa glass. A friend has a set and the are amazing. I I'm between the Kowa and the Zeiss. It's splitting hairs, and I'm sure either way I'll be very happy. Kowa may have more digiscoping support.

    Steel head, are you near Mt. Larch? I live in PA, but I drove up to the top once to check out Mt Rainier on a road trip up to Spokane. It was really cool seeing all the spots carved out for shooting.

    Thanks,
    Scott
    I’m just a bit SW of there.
     
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    A5scott

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    Are birders way more critical of glass and aberrations? I'm checking a birder forum and they are talking about the number of lemons that get through quality control, and checking out a few of the same scope side by side and picking the best of the lot. Of course the rona ruined everything, and could be part of the qc issues.

    Scott
     

    asplund01

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    Not nearly the same price range, but I have been looking at a Leupold Mark 4 TMR. How is that as a spotting scope and what should I be paying for it used in excellent condition?
     

    Steel head

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    The mk 4 are pretty good
    No idea on used prices but if I saw one for $800 like someone I know I’d definitely snap it up.
     
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    6AYoteHunter

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    Are birders way more critical of glass and aberrations? I'm checking a birder forum and they are talking about the number of lemons that get through quality control, and checking out a few of the same scope side by side and picking the best of the lot. Of course the rona ruined everything, and could be part of the qc issues.

    Scott
    The birders, coues whitetail hunters, and sheep hunters (they want to count growth rings) are the most picky when it comes to clarity. Birders and coues hunters are the most picky with color. I am a coues hunter. You have to have perfect color to find them when bedded in brush.
     

    A5scott

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    The birders, coues whitetail hunters, and sheep hunters (they want to count growth rings) are the most picky when it comes to clarity. Birders and coues hunters are the most picky with color. I am a coues hunter. You have to have perfect color to find them when bedded in brush.
    Yes, after reading some reviews of alpha glass spotters, and doing star tests to check for problems in the lens, and trying to find a cherry grade spotter out of a few lemons, I got the sense that they were way more picky. I'm guessing I'll be ok with picking up trace, lol.

    Thanks,
    Scott
     

    A5scott

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    I ended up getting Zeiss Victory Harpia 95mm. I found an open box deal.

    I went to have a look through the Kowa TSN-99 and the Zeiss Victory Harpia 85mm side by side. Outside the shop was a hill about 1450 yards away with houses on top.

    First I looked through the Kowa TSN99 and I liked the color and field of view, and it was pretty easy to get behind as far as eye box. It was bright and the image was nice, clear edge to edge. I do like the controls on the Kowa, but it was a difficult to stabilize the image while focusing. That's the tripods fault, as it wasn't awesome.

    Then we looked through the Zeiss and it was amazing how bright and clear it was. It made the kowa seem like I was looking through dense humid air, kind of bubbling effect, whereas the Zeiss just seemed as close to looking at the scenery without the aid of a spotting scope. I know I would have liked the Kowa 883 better than the TSN 99, but I didn't check one out. I've looked through swaros, though not the same day, and I prefer the Zeiss. I guess the coatings have a bit to do with that as well. That, and the field of view on the Zeiss is amazing.

    The Zeiss was also much easier to focus and keep the image steady using the same crappy tripod, so that was a plus as well. Again, I'm not faulting Kowa for a crap tripod. The Zeiss controls were just easier for me to keep it stable.

    I do have a lot of love for Kowa, and I went into this wanting the Kowa TSN 99, but in the end, the Zeiss beat it out.


    I went to the Delaware river to check some views, and Images were crystal clear at 1950 yards. It was cold so there was no mirage to deal with, aside from the mirage I could see billowing from a furnace stack. I could easily pick out the central air condenser unit at 1950 yards. I don't have a lot of time behind various spotters... mainly swaro, Leupold, kowa, and now Zeiss, but I really like this one.
    At 1500 yards, I could read street signs very clearly.

    I haven't had it at the range yet but I can't wait. Oh the moon looked really cool, and I will include a pic from my iPhone 12, and the scope is zoomed out to like 45x. I have to learn how to focus the camera better.

    Scott
     

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