ABOVE: A side-by-side comparison dram different pros and cons:front each scope. While the Nightforce is nearly $1000 more than the Vortex, the range goes to 70x power, offering a little extra zoom.
Long Range hunting and shooting distances in the olden days were around 300 yards. Hunting was usually done with a .30-06 or .270 Winchester; and more often than not, assisted by a straight 6x Redfield scope.
The shooter would usually crack one off and say, “Where did I hit?” The guy next to him would squint through his eight-power binoculars and shout out the appropriate adjustment, which was wrong two out of three times, because he couldn’t see well enough through the glass to be accurate.
In today’s long-range shooting world, shots are taken anywhere from 500 to 1,000 yards. When you spend time on a busy range here in the west, with plenty of room to stretch your barrel out, you can often find guys shooting beyond 1,000 yards.
The difference between the old days and now is due to a plethora of reasons; the most notable being the presence of comrades standing next to the shooter, spotting the impact of the bullet through high quality spotting scopes.
These optics are not only crucial for spotting the impact of the bullet at these long ranges but are also critical to spotting game during low light conditions. Therefore, a good spotting scope has to be part of your arsenal for long-range hunting and shooting.
In the past, Europe an-made optics have dominated the high-end spotting scope market; but times are changing. New optics companies come and go about as regularly as the eruption of Old Faithful; however, a few of these relatively new companies will be around for a long time.
I had heard a lot of buzz about two particular spotting scopes that I wanted to get my hands on and try out, since most of my personal scopes are from European descent.
In particular, the Nightforce TS- 82MM Xtreme Hi Def, with a 20-70-power eyepiece, and the Vortex Razor 85 MM Ultra High Def with a 20-60-power eyepiece were the ones I was interested in.
A few phone calls and both scopes were in my hands for testing. Before I stall my review of both optics I do need to be fair and let you know that pricewise, I am not comparing actual apples to apples. The Vortex has a street value $1,599 while the Nightforce Spotter comes in at $2,522...nearly $1,000 more.
The Nightforce is a cool looking spotter with some aggressive knobby knobs on the focus and power rings that give it an original look. The objective lens is big at 82 mm, which means the scope is heavy at 67 ounces or 4.2 lbs. It is not a backpacking scope, where every ounce counts.
The magnification is 20-70x. Most spotters only go to 60; but there have been many times when I was in the field and wished I had just a little more magnification.
The Nightforce provides that advantage. The quick-release, bayonet mount allows for quick and secure changing of the eyepiece.
The field of view when on 20X is 123.1 feet, which is a very good sight picture to spot your target. Today, most quality brands offer a lifetime warranty; Nightforce is no different.
They offer a limited, lifetime warranty; which pretty much guarantees that as long as you don’t run over the optics with your truck, they will take care of you. By the looks of this scope, I don’t know if that would do anything to the spotter. It looks rugged and durable, just like their riflescopes.
ABOVE: Here's an example of the power of the Nightforce. The zoom is incredible and also offers a slight edge over others during low-light viewing. Can yon see the flag on top?
Now for the Vortex Razor HD. This spotting scope is very well put together, and is also very aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
The scope has a 85MM objective for maximum light gathering. The eyepiece is standard, at 20-60x magnifications. Both scopes come with either angled or straight eyepieces.
The Vortex comes with a VIP unconditional warranty, which means to me that you can drop it off a cliff and as long as you can recover it, you can send it in for replacement or repair.
That’s usually how the VIP’s I know roll. The nice thing about the Vortex is an extra fine focus adjustment knob that allows you to really dial in the clarity on your targets or game. This is a nice feature.
Now for the field test. Both scopes, side-by-side, were very sharp when there was plenty of light out. The Nightforce APO fluorite HD glass, with its proprietary coatings, had excellent edge-to-edge clarity that was very noticeable.
The Vortex, with its apochromatic lens system and HD glass, was also impressive; but I did not get quite the edge-to-edge clarity that the Nightforce provided. Remember, $1,000 less money.
The optimal comparison on any glass is how it functions in low light. I set both scopes up side-by-side, on 60 powers, and switched back and forth behind the lens until there was total darkness.
My target was a rock at nearly 1,500 yards away. The Nightforce maintained its clarity and brightness much longer than I thought it would.
It outlasted the Vortex by nearly two minutes of what I would consider viewable light. During the test, I moved back and forth on targets from 100 yards to 1,500 yards and both scopes were spot on.
The two scopes were very comparable until the last few minutes of light; for a hunter, those last two minutes can be the most critical and important two minutes of the hunting day.
If your spotting scope budget is in the range of $2,500, you cannot go wrong with the new Nightforce TS-82 Xtreme spotting scope.
I was pleasantly surprised with the look, feel, and performance of the scope. Nightforce has a great addition to an already stellar line of long-range riflescopes. Now you can go long with then spotter.
If your budget is in the $1,500 range for a new spotter, then the Vortex Razor HD spotting scope is a great buy for the money. For all intents and purposes, it will get the job done.
One way the nearly 80-year-old Meopta Optika stays vibrant (and successful) is to look at changing consumer tastes and develop products that meet that evolving demand.
The MeoPix iScoping Adapter, developed to allow the iPhone 4 to interface with any binocular or spotting scope eyepiece, is just such a product. With the MeoPix, iPhone users can transform a smartphone into the ultimate long-range photo and movie-capturing tool.
The patent-pending and Apple-approved MeoPix iScoping adapter attaches securely to the iPhone. Its proprietary technology guarantees a secure fit, precise alignment, and says Meopta USA general manager Reinhard Seipp.
"The iScoping process harnesses the power of the iPhone to capture, edit, organize, and upload images from the field, and I can't think of a big-game hunter who would want to pass up that opportunity."
After reading an article about astroscoping (taking images through an astronomical telescope with an iPhone). Seipp got together with its inventor. Matt Geyser, to discuss adapting it to work with binoculars and spotting scopes.
They developed a prototype, and Seipp The results blew him away. Marrying the two technologies not only gave him superior images, but the ability to digitally manipulate those images. He believes that hunters and guides will flock to this new platform.
"They'll certainly like the quality of the images," he says, "but they'll also like the portability, as well as the ability to send the image to a family member or client almost immediately."