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Alpen Spotting Scope
on July 30, 2013
I give it five stars for what it is, not what it cannot be (and not just for the money). Let me clear up some confusion, nothing says its a zoom scope, its a 20 power focusing scope, with as designed very stiff focusing at the eye piece. You do not want to lose focus, once set.
In the instructions, it says SOME scopes have zoom at the eye piece. Its designed for tripod work, at fixed distances. Ideal for certain ranges with sharp images, not a wide field of view, which not needed for targets, or for looking at a SPOT for wild life.
It does gather enough light, unlike small compact binoculars, and I do hand hold it to check things out in some places I cannot get to easily.
It does not have good eye relief if you have glasses. This is pretty normal. Eye relief is ok, if you do not wear glasses, if you wear bifocals or trifocals, the focus is tough, depending on the rubber cups moving location against the glasses when hand held. I put the glasses on a strap, set the focus of the scope to my prescription, drop the glasses to the chest, use my preferred eye.
Its 20 power, if you have used a 10 power 400mm camera lens, you know its going to be difficult to hold steady, worse than binoculars, but its very good for looking across saw grass to a small dry island, before I decide to slog through the grass with a camera. Hunting without a gun as a primary with the camera as the long gun, is still hunting and this works for preview at longer ranges. Is it a gator or a log with attitude?
Think a fixed focal length 1960's old school telephoto lens, no zoom, focus and shoot. Its 800mm more or less, but its not as good glass for sure as a 2000 dollar camera zoom, but for 45 bucks, if you drop it in the water or out of a blind, or it rains on it, its not crying time.
I do not think its ideal for birding, its too hard to hand hold, get some good binoculars. Its designed for spot work on a narrow field of view at up to 100 yards, with decent precision. You can plan a track through stuff, is it a sasquatch or a naked redneck singing bad opera? Sometimes its a good idea to take a look first, bad Opera can be painful.