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  • 6 Post By Dermastor
  • 1 Post By 7x64

Thread: Unofficial Spotter Test

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016

    Unofficial Spotter Test

    So I am in the market for a spotting scope. I have been using a 20yr old Nikon now called Prostaff 3 16-47x60 Made in Japan. Its not a bad scope, doesn't look that impressive but gets the job done. Looking to take advantage of an overseas trip I wanted to see if it was worth bringing a better scope home or purchase here. I have recently read this article from Outdoor Life Magazine.


    Of course the top scopes are not available here so what was here and was it a step up from what I have been using. I trundled along to Reloaders and while buying some powder asked of I could have a look through what they had on hand. They very obligingly agreed. So before they could change their minds I dashed 100m down the road with some of their box tape and put up a Snellen eye chart. I then had a look through the 3 scopes on hand.

    Sightron S2 Angled 16-48x68 RRP $1000
    Vortex Viper HD Straight 20-60x80 RRP $1500
    Vortex Razor HD Angled 27-60x85 RRP $2800

    Set up on a decent tripod I checked the chart on x20 except the Razor as lowest is x27 then x40 I counted how many lines I could read. Then out of interest I looked at some tree stumps on Mt Mangere 2500m away. Scientific hell no, did it give interesting results you bet. I then did the same with my old Nikon. Sure you can do the test yourself. Yup you can complain about how I did it. I don't care its interesting only and might be of help to any wondering how much to spend on a new optic. You can't call me a Vortex hater as I own a heap of their rifle scopes.

    Lines I could read x20 x40
    Sightron S2 4 7
    Vortex Viper 4 5
    Vortex Razor 4 6
    Nikon 4 6

    Enough said this was done with my eyes they are not young anymore I wear glasses but not for this test. I wont go into the features you can read all about it however the scopes with a course and fine focus knob were much easier to tune. My pick value for money was the Sightron S2 it also has a very nice cover which would help protect it from bumps and environmental crap like dust

    Big thanks to the guys at Reloaders.
    dogmatix, tikka, WallyR and 3 others like this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Interesting. Folks should be aware that both Sightron and Vortex are companies that outsource their production (just like Bushnell, Nikon, and many others). They spec and order stuff from manufacturers to their specs - places like LOW in Japan, that make some Bushnell, Sightron, Weaver, amongst others. A lot of mid range, Japanese scopes are made by LOW - including some people hold in high regard - they make good stuff. Sightron gets some products from other countries now, but in the early days it all seemed to be LOW products made in Japan (just like the Optics Zone house brand Clearidge stuff). No idea where Sightron spotters are made, or more importantly, by who!

    Vortex is similar - they started as a retailer (Eagle optics), sold some lines under that brand while retailing others, then launched Vortex. Long story short, don’t get too hung up on brands in low- mid range optic gear!
    WallyR likes this.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Fair enough review. After all optics are subjective to how people find their viewing experience, although there's the technical side as well. I've been toying with getting either a spotting scope or camera. Not after trophy's as much as freezer. Want to see hits on steel at 700y and holes at 300.The right light and can do that with my 16x scope so thinking maybe a 20-40x50 spotter like the kowa as they are known for good glass. Don't want a big heavy beast to carry around either. That leads me to the likes of the canon sx60 for round the same money. Will it did until I saw a review comparing it to the earlier sx50 and there wasn't much difference between them, will not enough to justify twice the money. Only thing that worries me with a camera is robustness over time, the need for batteries and how to keep them dry. But they do offer great zoom, video for shot order and are lite and it's easier to look at a screen than through an eye piece, well for me anyway
    Did you have a look at the camera option? I'm really stuck on what to do. It'll be used 90% range shooting steel out far and targets up to 300 and for the odd hunt to see further than my binos.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    @r87mm I have not looked at the camera option I honestly wouldn't know where to start. I doubt a mid priced camera will give you any more resolution than a cheaper spotter. I have seen phones attacked to spotting scopes as well but looking at the gear the guys are using I just know its well outside my price range and yes you are right the batteries will always be flat. For the really long range I have a target camera good for seeing the hits but doesn't give you a big field of view to see the miss 3m to the left. Having just shot the Mayfield shoot seeing the misses is essential there was a flash unit at the 1000y gong but seeing what was going on at 1400y was a mystery. I looked through a couple of cheaper spotters and they were useless at that range. @7x64 Some of the Vortex product is made offshore perhaps most, however the high end stuff is either assembled or made in the USA not sure about the spotters the Razor sure was a disappointment.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    @Dermastor if you are looking at a spotter for shooting and you work in MILS then i suggest you check out the Bushnell Legend Tactical. It makes some sacrifices in some of the finer points but comes at a good price point.

    I would not recommend a camera for range shooting unless you shoot on your own and need it for video. Even then i suggest you play the video back on a computer....
    You cannot miss fast enough!
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  6. #6
    Member stug's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Oxford, Canterbury
    I have a SX-50 and have used it to look at bullet holes in targets at the range. It wasn't that great at resolving them. Can't remember the range, but was surprised I couldn't see them.



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