By Dan Kidder
In the world of optics, there is no company as underrated as Alpen optics. Known widely among the bird watching community, many in the hunting community are unfamiliar with the quality of their products, since they opt to spend more on product development than glitzy marketing campaigns.
For my money, I appreciate their quality glass, fully multi-coated lenses, and BAK4 prism that provides excellent clarity and light gathering. The durable rubberized coating on the exterior, protects the chassis and gives superior grip and control.
The scope is available in either a straight or angled design. I prefer the 45-degree viewing angle as it is less tiring to look through for a prolonged length of time, but some find it easier to find your target on full magnification with the straight design. It is really a matter of personal preference.
The 20-60×80 spotting scope provides a 113-foot field of view on 20 power at 1,000 yards, which is excellent for getting on and staying on your objective. Zoom into to 60-power, and you still can keep an eye on 55 feet of real estate, so you have plenty of room to move the scope and keep your animal centered in the eyepiece. This is a great trick with something that has that much magnification. The included tabletop tripod has incremental adjustment wheels that tweak the tripod for you, so you aren’t relying on a steady hand to keep your target centered. The legs lock in place and provide a very stable viewing platform that is often very wobbly in other brands of this price point.
The eyepiece is comfortable to look through, and the adjustable twist up eyecup lets you view it with glasses, sunglasses, or the naked eye. The large knurled and smooth turning focus knob is handily placed beneath your fingertips for easy access, when gripping the bell of the scope housing.
On the bottom of the scope is a standard ¼-20 threaded tripod mount port, so it can be used with most of the tripods on the market for free standing field use. The padded and protective carrying case stows both the scope and the tabletop tripod in the same case for ease of storage and transport.
PhoneSkope makes an adapter for this scope, and I have been able to capture some amazing photos and videos using the spotting scope and my iPhone6. The light gathering capability, coupled with anti-glare coating on the lenses, gives me very crisp images, even at vast distances. The 80mm objective lens sucks in light, so even in the shade or twilight hours, you get vivid contrast and great color clarity.
Alpen also offers exceptional customer service and a lifetime warranty, and you won’t find friendlier people out there.
But as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so you should definitely take a look through the Alpen 20-60×80 Waterproof Spotting Scope the next time you visit your local Sportsman’s Warehouse.