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Swarovski 80mm ATM HD vs. Zeiss Diascope 85mm

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/12/2012 at 12:22
Dixie07 View Drop Down
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I would like to hear a comparison and contrast of both of these top end scopes.  I currently have a 65mm Swaro HD, but on my last hunt decided that it was worth it to me to carry the extra weight for the larger objective.  I have tried to locate a Zeiss within a reasonable distance to me to look at for myself, but have been  unsuccessful to find one in stock to look at.  All thoughts are appreciated.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/16/2012 at 00:11
gulf1263 View Drop Down
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IMHO, if you can afford it, get another Swaro.
Do you have the newish 25-50 eyepiece, this is a very worthwhile upgrade, the 20-60 eyepiece was pretty good but the new 25-50 is even better.
I use the 65mm HD with the 25-50, fairly easy to cart around and great views.
The 80 HD will get you some more distance but will usually not be anymore effective because of atmospheric conditions vs the 65mm HD.
I have been told by others that Zeiss has more variance in their scopes, ie, the Swaro's are closer to spec and don't vary as much.
One individual tried four different Zeiss 85mm before he found one that wasn't visibly compromised...this was three years ago so Zeiss QC may have improved.
I compared a Swaro 80mm HD to the Zeiss 85mm two years ago and preferred the Swaro, that is strictly my personal view based on a sample of one each, note that I am prejudiced toward the Swaro.
Reviews of the new 85mm Swaro have shown it to be very good to superb depending on the reviewer (s) and the new 95mm has beat the Kowa, but just barely.
Sadly the only way to tell which is best is for you to compare the two side by side and take the one you liked the best.
Art
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/16/2012 at 12:37
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Dixie07,
 
I know I have answered you elsewhere, but I will post a little here:
 
The Swaro 80HD is a great scope, and very lightweight for a 80mm spotter.  Those I have seen were well corrected for all aberrations.  I prefer the 20-60 for hunting over the 25-50 because it is plenty wide at 20x and shows more detail at 60x than the 25-50 at 50x.
 
I believe the individual Art is referencing is Henry Link on Birdforum.  The Diascopes Henry tested were the older model and it was longer than three years ago.  Also the "defects" were discovered by star testing, and not by general use.  Many people have found "defects" by star testing Swaros (and Kowas, Leicas, etc.).  I wouldn't worry too much about that.
 
I own, and use regularly, a current model Diascope 85.  It has OUTSTANDING resolution right up to 75x.  I have not star-tested it, and don't plan on it.  It has better apparent brightness than the Swaro.  The Zeiss eyepiece is very wide at 20x and very sharp right up to 75x (given suitable atmospheric conditions).  It's downsides are some mild CA at the edge and more pincushion distortion than the Swaro.  the Zeiss has a slightly cooler color bias while the Swaro is slightly warmer.
 
Both are top shelf spotters from top shelf companies.
 
I have not seen the newest modular Swaro spotters yet, but I would like to.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/16/2012 at 19:14
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The Zeiss also has a $500 rebate going on right now.

The new 85T diascope with the 20x75 is what I would call a compound eyepiece-its wide angle at low powers and once you get above around 40x its more towards the standard FOV of other 20x60 eyepieces so it has FOV  advantages over standard non wide angle 20x60 eyepieces at lower powers  plus the advantage of going up to 75x if conditions allow. And let me tell you when conditions allow the 75x will impress you.

Zeiss focuses on brightness and center sharpness not edge sharpness so it will have some edge defects in the view (like any other optic except those with field flattening lenses). Its not a problem in a spotter. The Zeiss uses the full aperature of light coming through the objective lens for maximum brightness and FOV. Other scopes (vortex razor HD as an example) stop down the aperature to eliminate the edge defects in effect reducing performance to a smaller objective lens.

I am very pleased with mine and with the rebate going on or another deal like buying a demo I think the Zeiss is a best buy.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/16/2012 at 19:19
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It's really splitting hairs when talking high end glass like Leica, Zeiss, Swaro, or Kowa, even though the Kowa is the highest rated.  A $5000 Swaro spotter is ridiculous IMO.  How much better can it get, really? 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/16/2012 at 21:47
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Originally posted by JGRaider JGRaider wrote:

It's really splitting hairs when talking high end glass like Leica, Zeiss, Swaro, or Kowa, even though the Kowa is the highest rated.  A $5000 Swaro spotter is ridiculous IMO.  How much better can it get, really? 


Not sure who actually makes the highest rated spotter these days but if you got the cash the new Swaro ATX/STX spotters seems like a no brainer to me. Your no longer just splitting hairs with optics, your getting a modular design that enables your to build and grow from your original purchase. I'd love to test one and see how it compares optically to Swaro's older design which at the time was rated slightly behind Kowa.

http://www.swarovskioptik.us/en_us/products/spotting-scopes-atx-stx

At one time I had both the Swaro 25-50 and 20-60 eye pieces and I'm with Matt, preferring the 20-60 better for hunting.


Edited by mike650 - October/17/2012 at 06:49
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/17/2012 at 06:09
gulf1263 View Drop Down
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Matt: You are right, it is splitting hairs and I admit being prejudiced toward the Swaro.
The 25-50 eyepiece works better with my glasses.
An acquaintance went to three different shops before he found a Zeiss scope he liked...picky in a big way and I don't think he is welcome in at least one anymore.
I have been told the modular Swaro scopes can take special camera backs and digital transmission backs to be used with surveillance systems, our tax dollars at work.
Before I bought one brand vs another I would compare them to see what I liked and disliked.
People I have spoken to consider the Leica's delicate, I don't get that impression but some others do.
The old adage, try before you buy applies here.
The two 88mm Kowa's I have looked thru were superb.
Art
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/17/2012 at 12:43
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If you can't see it with a Kowa, Swaro 85HD, Zeiss, Leica, Vortex Razor 85 HD, Zen Ray ED, etc, you're not going to see it through a $5000 Swaro either.  That's my point.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/17/2012 at 20:28
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Originally posted by JGRaider JGRaider wrote:

If you can't see it with a Kowa, Swaro 85HD, Zeiss, Leica, Vortex Razor 85 HD, Zen Ray ED, etc, you're not going to see it through a $5000 Swaro either.  That's my point.  
JG,
 
I almost agree.  Under most lighting conditions I think any scope in your list should show what the others do. 
 
However,
 
I have tested the newest Diascope extensively against my trusty Vortex Razor, and in low light the Zeiss showed noticeably greater detail, and also allowed for more magnification than the Razor.  Once at low light, while examining a neighbor's brick chimney about 400 yards away, I could resolve the lines in the sides of the bricks with the Zeiss, while the Razor showed only general brick shapes in the fading light.  Under good light, the resolution abilities were indistinguishable to me, but as the the day ended, the Zeiss' advantage became more and more noticeable. 
 
That could translate into a real advantage in the field, under some circumstances.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/19/2012 at 09:04
JGRaider View Drop Down
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I've looked through that vaunted new Zeiss along side my Kowa 884 and still find the Kowa is still a smidge better, but you have to really look hard to notice it.  I hate the dual speed focuser of the Zeiss.

At the hour of the day you desribe, it's probably getting too late to shoot anyway, especially at distance. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/19/2012 at 12:39
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JG,

The advantage of glassing in really low light goes beyond shooting. For instance, I glassed up a buck at near dark last season, and found him before shooting light in the same area the next morning due to good optics. This allowed me to make an effective stalk under the cover of darkness, and complete the kill.

One clarification as well: I could not notice a resolution difference between the Zeiss and razor in good light at the same power The Zeiss still had the additional 15x of magnification that gives it a real detail advantage over any 20-60 spotter, IMO.

I bet the Kowa could handle a 75x eyepiece also, but as far as I know, they don't offer one.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/19/2012 at 15:07
JGRaider View Drop Down
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You're right, no 75x for the Kowa.  I had a Nikon 82ED that had every bit as good glass as my neighbor's Zeiss 85T FL, and had a 75x on the top end.  I found the 75x seldom usable here in the desert SW, but on the rare occasion it was it made a little difference.  

BTW......what do you think of this guy?

  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/19/2012 at 16:03
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I think he looks like he eats well.

Nice deer Maybe 170ish.

Hard to tell from that angle.

I specifically checked to see when the Zeiss was useable at 75x, and while it did take good atmospheric conditions, I noted that when 60x was useable, so was 75x.

I actually crank it up quite a bit.

Meopta has it right offering a super zoom and a wide angle zoom for their new spotter. I would like to see that one.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/19/2012 at 20:54
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I think you've got that deer pegged, as well as your spotter analysis. Smile
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/23/2012 at 06:59
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Just for reference, the new MeoStar S2 82mm HD is avaialble with either a 20-70x or 30-60x WA eyepiece.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/21/2012 at 07:37
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I just got the Meopta in to test with the 30-60 WA
It is an an amazing piece of gear.

If anyone is located in central Texas and would like to test I would be happy to accommodate.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/21/2012 at 08:44
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Charles,

I also have that scope and eyepiece for eval. Another great spotter option. I hope to have the ATX next month for a look.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/03/2012 at 13:12
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I took it to the range and was using it at 1K
I forgot the Iscope adaptor..

would have been GREAT to be able to quickly document my hits and make corrections as I was by myself
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/04/2013 at 13:00
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Originally posted by JGRaider JGRaider wrote:

You're right, no 75x for the Kowa.  I had a Nikon 82ED that had every bit as good glass as my neighbor's Zeiss 85T FL, and had a 75x on the top end.  I found the 75x seldom usable here in the desert SW, but on the rare occasion it was it made a little difference.  

BTW......what do you think of this guy?
 
  
Hi,
 In deed, there is no series ocular above 60x for Kowa's scopes. Nevertheles, with my Kowa 823, I can go up to 160x in order to see legs lags (and also planets such as moon,  saturn and rings, Jupiter and 4 of its moons). I use a specific kowa adaptor(out of production I think) + a Takahashi ocular 2.8mm.
Of course, you need quite lightly targets!
Yves
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