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Spotting scope - is this normal?

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#1 Stuart W Johnson

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 04:30 PM

I am still learning about binoculars and optics. I just purchased a brand new Meopta Meopro 80 spotting scope. It is 20-60x80.

Are my expectations correct?

On 20x, it has a good clear image. Still not as good as my Canon 10x42L binoculars. But good. As I range to 30x, 40x, and so on, the image becomes dimmer and less defined. I know this is because the exit pupil is shrinking. However, it seems like anything above 30x is not really even useable. I’m not sure why there is even an option to choose 60x.

Is this normal? I think it is supposed to be a decent scope. I’m just scratching my head because it really doesn’t offer much improvement over a good set of binoculars.
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#2 Mark9473

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 04:50 PM

Depending on weather and viewing distance it may just be atmospheric turbulence.

Or it may be defective.



#3 sg6

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 04:52 PM

Unfortunately Yes.

People buy on those numbers, and the bigger the number the more they draw people in.

I would said 6-20x would be a lot more useful.

 

Would have thought Meopta would have been better, but seems not.

 

Does take a lot to better good 8x42's and 10x42's. Rather unfortunately there is this idea that astromony needs optics with impressive numbers, the quality comes later, maybe.


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#4 Erik Bakker

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 04:56 PM

Take your time to familiarize yourself with your new scope and higher powers. From 12x and up, atmospheric turbulence quickly starts to show up in the images.

 

With calm air, 30x should be wonderful in an 80mm scope. Most 80mm spotting scopes have their sweet spot in the 20-40x range and max out in real life at around 50x. Only under very good atmospheric conditions and a good quality sample of a spotting scope, you will still have a good image at 50x. But that image does need good light and plenty of it along with a calm atmosphere and optics in equilibrium to the local ambient temperature.

 

The moon is a good object to try that, once it is a bit higher in the sky. 60 degrees above the horizon is a good starting point to free the image from most unsteady steady layers of air and make sure to avoid observing over heat sources, like house and their roofs. Not to mention heat plumes.

 

Just take some time to enjoy higher powered views of our universe.


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#5 Stuart W Johnson

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 05:43 PM

Interesting. I did not consider that I was magnifying the atmosphere. That makes complete sense. I will try it on a full moon soon.

So, the higher mags require better atmospheric conditions.

I don’t think the problem is the scope. I think it is my lack of knowledge.

#6 KennyJ

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 05:43 PM

Stuart,

 

Are these observations you report in daytime use or on the night sky, or both?

 

I've owned a few spotting scopes in my time, the best of which was a Zeiss 85mm Diascope, with 20-60x zoom lens.

 

The images seen on the night sky through that scope never appeared as poor as you are describing, but were definitely not as impressive as those through my TeleVue 76 as regards image sharpness -- probably mainly as a result of the presence of prisms to provide the same "correct" orientated image as binoculars provide.

 

That said, even that was no worse than the overall quality of images through my 102mm f5 refractor when used with $50 eyepieces.

 

Even in daytime use, which is what I bought the Zeiss scope for, I always considered the "zoom capability" to be more of a "fun/ novelty feature" rather than anything else.

 

The times were certainly few and far between when the 60x magnification really proved any more useful for discerning details than 40x.

 

Kenny


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#7 Erik Bakker

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 05:50 PM

As a side note, the full moon is the least interesting phase if you want to observe lunar detail, such as mountains and craters. But right now and over the next few days, the moon will show wonderful detail before the moon becomes full.


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#8 TOMDEY

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 05:54 PM

Well... at $1400, it should perform pretty well. That's not cheap, but also not Top-Shelf Premium, either. I'm assuming that you got it new, and are disappointed with it, right out of the box. For just a bit more, you can have the Zeiss CONQUEST Gavia 85 with 30-60x zoom. Give that one a try, if the Meopta is not up to your standards! Tom



#9 Stuart W Johnson

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 06:15 PM

I got it new. And, my results were in the day time. I will try it at night. And, I will wait for a crystal clear day.

The scope seems very well built. At 60x, the exit pupil naturally pretty small. I think I am just limited by the physics of the thing.
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#10 TomK1

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 06:16 PM

I have an 82mm 30-60x wa Meopta spotting scope.    My images are very usable and pleasing from 30x to 60x albeit dimmer as I go up to 60x.   Eye pupil placement becomes more critical as I go up to 60x ( kidney beaning becomes more pronounced if the pupil is just not in the right position).     There is a loss in sharpness as I go up in power but it varies from almost insignificant to noticeable depending on the amount of light ( when it sunny/bright , almost no loss in sharpness), atmospheric conditions ( hot versus cold ambient), whether I'm viewing level at 100 yds vs 10/30 miles or whether I'm viewing way above the horizon close or far at raptors/pelicans.    Yes, my image dims much more on grey overcast or evening twilight and I lose sharpness.    I have not experienced the dissatisfaction you have described.   My scope gives very good views close and very far given the ambient conditions   You may want to return it for a refund.   I also have floaters, and they are becoming more noticeable at high powers with every passing year   At some point, I'll need to get my eyes worked on like some others on the site.


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#11 IDONTSEEIT

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 02:33 AM

While likely not the cause of your image problems, you should be using a fairly solid/heavy tripod for an 80mm spotting scope, what brand/type of tripod are you using?

 

Don't know your location, but trying to do long-distance viewing like at something more than a few hundred feet away, especially during the middle portion of the day, is often frustrating & futile due to atmospheric turbulence, haze, etc.

 

If you have a stretch of space in your home, of at least 40-feet or so, like a long hallway, a basement, etc., you could tape a printed page from a newspaper, magazine, catalog, whatever, to the wall, make sure it's well lit, then try viewing it at all magnifications.

 

The atmosphere in your home should be stable. If at higher magnifications, say over 30X like you've experienced, your images get really bad, like you can't read the text anymore, then there may be a problem with either the eyepiece(likelier) or the scope. Dimming at higher magnifications is normal, but serious image degradation should not happen, especially not in a $1,400 scope. I have scopes that cost under $200 that produce pretty decent images even at their maximum magnifications of 45 or 60X.


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#12 Chuck2

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 02:47 AM

My $100 Celestron C-70 spotter is rated 25x-75x. The image is razor sharp with excellent contrast up to 50x, above that the image begins to break down.

 

Your Meopta Meopro 80mm is 14x the price with greater aperture. Take some time to get a feel for the limits of higher magnification and it should prove to be a great instrument and provide years of wonderful views!


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#13 gwlee

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 09:30 AM

I use my 72mm refractor as a daytime spotting scope, usually at 16x. The atmosphere is occasionally steady enough to allow 23x, but that’s about it.

#14 paulsky

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 09:58 AM

The Meoipro have some ED lens or similar?

Paul



#15 edwincjones

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 11:20 AM

Are my expectations correct?

On 20x, it has a good clear image. Still not as good as my Canon 10x42L binoculars. But good. As I range to 30x, 40x, and so on, the image becomes dimmer and less defined.

 

 

That has been my experience with spotting scopes and telescopes with increasing mag EPs.

You push the mag too much (for atmosphere and/ or optics ) and the image deteriorates.

There is a sweet spot.

 

edj


Edited by edwincjones, 23 November 2020 - 11:21 AM.

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#16 bman940

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 11:44 AM

I have that same Spotter and I am very pleased with the result I get. I can confirm that atmospheric conditions can play a role in less than optimal viewing. From haze, dust in the air, mirage to less than optimal lighting conditions. I would make sure you haver all the fine focusing correct and see if things don't get better for you. 


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#17 Stuart W Johnson

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 12:06 PM

Thanks.  I took the scope out last night to look at the moon.  Much better.  Very clear and defined up to about 40X.  So, I think you guys are right about the atmosphere. 

 

I will try the hallway test soon.  As soon as I get a very clear day, I will try it again outside. 

 

I don't see a fine adjustment on this scope.  Is that normal for spotting scopes?


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#18 DavidNealMinnick

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 01:11 PM

 

 

I don't see a fine adjustment on this scope.  Is that normal for spotting scopes?

 

Some spotting scopes have coarse and fine adjustment for focus, some don't.



#19 paulsky

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 09:28 AM

Personally I have used lower-middle class spotting scope and the 40X or even 50X supported them perfectly, and I'm talking about achromatic models ...
kind regards,
Paul.



#20 Stuart W Johnson

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Posted 27 November 2020 - 03:53 PM

We had a crystal clear day today because of high winds yesterday. Took the Meopro out. You guys were right. It is completely clear and useable even to 50x and 60x. Thanks. I learn a lot from you guys.

 

The atmosphere was the limiting factor.


Edited by Stuart W Johnson, 27 November 2020 - 03:54 PM.

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#21 Gastrol

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Posted 28 November 2020 - 12:06 AM

I’m not a fan of zoom eyepieces, in general... mainly due to the narrow AFOV.    I have 2 Pentax spotting scopes, 65 and 80mm, and bought them without their respective zoom eyepieces.    I’m able to use all my 1.25” eyepieces, tack sharp, even beyond 70x.    In fact, the 80mm spotting scope frequently piggybacks on my CPC1100.




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