Customer Reviews: ALPEN 20x50 Compact Waterproof Fogproof Spotting Scope
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Style Name: 20x50|Change
Price:$70.84+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon September 13, 2008
What a pleasant surprise. For years, I've watched other guys lug around these bulky, 5 to 10-pound spotting scopes in suitcases so they can see if their bullets hit the bullseye at 100yds. After reading a few positive reviews, I opted to give this pint-size scope a try. It is a definite winner! It focuses easily and is as clear as any scope I've ever used. It is a straight view as opposed to the scopes with eye pieces that angle upward toward the eye. This product is a rare combination of bargain price and quality. The tripod is also good quality. This scope comes with a nylon carrying case that fits nicely into the side pocket, end up, of my SMALL range bag - and it only takes up half of the pocket at that. I hang my ear protectors over the portion sticking up. This way you don't have to start unzipping and digging into your bag for ear protectors (MANDATORY) before entering an indoor range. It weighs less than one box of some ammunition or a brick of .22LR.
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on November 28, 2010
I am a serious, experienced (40+ years) and very successful hunter and naturalist out west. Anyone interested in acceptable quality for checking out details at intermediate and long distances without the frills of pricey high-end and powerful scopes, this may be the scope for you. It's especially perfect for the outdoors person who is seeking a light weight and compact scope for checking on game animals as well as bullet groupings while sighting in at the shooting range. I find too much power (greater than 30X) in a terrestrial scope and you will see distortions and heat waves no matter what scope you use. Besides, this mini-scope fits nicely in my day and hunting packs and performed nicely in most instances for my purposes.

At first I was skeptical about the finish and optics given the low, low price of this product, but after I opened the box and used this scope in the field, I consider this the perfect addition for those hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts interested in only a product that improves your ability to find and observe your target objectives in the field. Unless you are a professional guide, you don't need to go through the expense of pricey scopes for scoping out big country such as I hunt for large animals. If you are like me and not one to show off or brag about having the best, this scope is adequate.
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on April 26, 2008
First, don't be fooled by the product image now offered by Amazon; this is indeed the model 728 with 45-degree eyepiece; Amazon pictures the similar model 725 with straight-through viewing. I use a spotting scope for birding, and I've been quite content with my trusty Bushnell Spacemaster (vintage 1992). But in preparation for a vacation that involves international airline flight I wanted a lightweight alternative. If I had unlimited financial resources I might have considered a few of the big-ticket products with impressive reviews, but money IS an object. But so is quality, and I knew I wanted a BAK-4 prism, multi-coated lenses (of course I would have preferred fully multi-coated), waterproof construction, compact design, light weight, and reasonably good close focus. The Alpen 728 specifications looked good, and I took a chance. I'm glad I did. This scope weighs less than two pounds, is quite compact, has a nice retractable sunshade, and delivers very good optical performance (especially when used in the range from 15X to about 30X). Light transmission is quite satisfactory below 30X, as is color rendition. I get a good sharp image. I can focus to less than 25 feet. The 18mm eye relief at 15X is quite sufficient for those of us who wear glasses, and even at 45X (with 15mm eye relief) it's still usable. The 45-degree eyepiece does facilitate shared viewing, and perhaps most importantly allows the use of a shorter tripod. I even like the threaded eyepiece cover. The cloth case is a nice touch; I'm not sure I'll ever use the tabletop tripod, but it looks like it would work for those who do use such a support. I'm not sure that sentiment will permit me me to replace the Spacemaster as my primary birding scope, but I feel quite confident that the Alpen 728 will see its share of use, even when airline travel isn't involved.
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on September 28, 2010
I shopped around to improve on my Celestron 65mm scope. I was looking into mid-priced scopes - no more than $500. I came across two internet articles by professional scope viewers who enthusiastically recommended this Alpen scope. I was surprised at how well it was rated given that it doesn't use specialized glass nor expensive coatings. It uses BAK-4 glass and fully multi-coated optics, however, and they rate it as high as some scopes costing twice as much.

I really like this scope. I use it on a mid-priced Manfrotto tripod with a trigger-gun head for easy viewing. I'm a bit particular and will someday move up again to a high-end scope, but in the meantime I have no regrets over this scope. While others claim that their views at 60X are every bit as clear and detailed as at 45X, I cannot agree. I find that the maximum "sweet spot" is about 50X. That is to say, the view at 50X is as good as at a lower zoom setting. Above 50X and the view necessarily dims a bit. On clear days that's no problem and maxing out the zoom was fine. But if there's shade or high humidity, maximum zoom will only magnify it.

The other day I was viewing some waterfowl on a lake about 100 yards away. It was a warm day with mid-level humidity. When I zoomed out to 60X, I couldn't fine focus the birds since the scope magnified the heat waves from the humidity. Backing down a bit helped. I also had the opportunity of viewing birds at about 60 yards with a Kowa scope. I admit the Kowa presented a terrific view. My Alpen didn't match it but it came close. But then again, the Kowa cost over 4 times as much!

Bottom Line: There's no scope on the market in its price range that can touch this Alpen scope - even spending four hundred bucks more won't get you a better scope.
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on May 22, 2009
Alpen 20x50 Waterproof Mini-Spotting Scope is a very good compact and very affordable monocular. The objective lens is big enough so it still usable under a low light condition such as in a cloudy day. It has fully coated optics with porro prism which is a plus for me. The 20x magnification may be troublesome for someone who does not have a steady hand. But it has tripod mount connector, so you can simply attached it to the tripod that comes with it or other tripod/monopod. I use it sometimes to see the sky on a clear night mounted on my full size tripod. The free tripod that comes with it is very weak, so I mostly use it for my PNS digital camera.
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on March 11, 2010
I spent over an hour at a local sporting goods retailer looking through different priced scopes, from inexpensive sub-$100 models on up. After trying several, it came down to this Alpen 728 and a Nikon Prostaff for $150 more. The image clarity, color and sharpness edge-to-edge were indistingishable between the two. The Prostaff with its 65mm objective (vs. 60 on the Alpen) was ever so slightly brighter at full magnification, but certainly not $150 brighter. (It took me several back and forth comparisons, looking at some dimly lit boxes in the back of the store to finally see the difference.)
I ordered it online, saving quite a bit, and when I got it home tested it in full daylight and in overcast conditions. Even on full magnification it had plenty of light to see what I was looking at. (Every 60mm objective scope is going to be dimmer at 45X, but at 30x in dim light it works great.) The zoom is nice and stiff, so it stays where you put it. The focus has enough range so that I can focus with or without my glasses. The fold-down eyecup gives me plenty of eye relief with glasses. It's got the same fully-multicoated, fogproof, waterproof, nitrogen filled specs as my Alpen binoculars (which I've owned for 2 years), and it's very solidly built. The little tripod that comes with it provides plenty of stability. The nylon case is fine, but a little bulky for my taste.
This is an outstanding buy for the price. I bought it for 200 yard target shooting and spotting game, but this scope may get me into birding and wildlife watching!
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on February 27, 2010
I had been looking for a decent affordable scope for birding for years (meaning under $1000, ideally under $500). With all the other ones in this price range that I had tried in stores, the image got very dark and the field of view very small when I zoomed in, making the zoom feature pretty useless. Then I read a good review of this scope on [...] (it was rated best of the mid-priced scopes they tested) and decided to give it a try. I was very pleasantly surprised at the image quality and brightness, and the eye relief (ability to see the whole field when using glasses) is good until you zoom in to about 40X (this is common in scopes). The image is still bright and sharp at 60X. Recently I was able to identify some ducks using 60X that were so far away I could barely see them with my naked eye, and while looking at some Canada geese that were about 900 feet away (across 3 sports fields, using 60X) I was able to see and identify a bluebird that was on the ground near them, with the blue back and reddish breast clearly visible. There is a slight bit of purple fringing on the edges of objects, especially at 60X, but it's not very noticeable. I have tried digiscoping once and it worked well, even under completely overcast skies.
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on May 12, 2007
I purchased this scope specificly for Fita archery and at 90 meters and 15 power I can see my arrows very clearly on the target. Testing it side by side with another brand the Alpen let in more light which is a real plus.
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on February 1, 2009
I purchased this scope to use to see the targets at a rifle match. I am in the Marine Corps and the scopes that were provided were old and often cloudy. The Alpen scope was crystal clear and it was the envy of the other competitors. I only utilized the 20x power setting, but could see the shot spotters easily from the 500 yard line. Lastly, the ability to rotate the scope around the mounting ring inorder to move the eyepiece to a more user friendly postion was also a big advantage over a few guys that had straight scopes. I would gladly recommend the scope to others.
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on May 24, 2007
This works. I wish there were a zoom feature. We use it for 50 yard viewing with no problems. It works well in the rain too.
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