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Author Topic: Super Tele Zoom Lens substitute for a spotting scope?  (Read 3076 times)

Landtosea

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Super Tele Zoom Lens substitute for a spotting scope?
« on: February 24, 2013, 06:20:30 PM »
I am hoping that someone here may be able to give me some insight. I am an amateur photographer and avid long range firearm enthusiast. I need a spotting scope to see pencil diameter sized holes in paper targets at 300yds. To accomplish this with a spotting scope I am looking at minimum $1300 with my employee discount. I would much rather sink that money into a prime lens or converter and get dual purpose usage from my investment. I tested a 100-400 Canon prime at max zoom on a 7d body today in full sunlight and it was just capable of accomplishing this at 100, maybe 150yds in better conditions since there was a lot of mirage in the 90 degree heat on the beach where I tested. Does anyone who has had experience with Canon lenses above 500mm converted or not have a guess at which mm I may be able to do this? I was hoping that I could get a 2x for the 100-400, but I am not optimistic that this will get me past 200yds. Maybe a 500mm with the 2x?

Thanks in advance for any insight!

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Super Tele Zoom Lens substitute for a spotting scope?
« on: February 24, 2013, 06:20:30 PM »

viggen61

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Re: Super Tele Zoom Lens substitute for a spotting scope?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2013, 07:27:04 PM »
I am hoping that someone here may be able to give me some insight. I am an amateur photographer and avid long range firearm enthusiast. I need a spotting scope to see pencil diameter sized holes in paper targets at 300yds. To accomplish this with a spotting scope I am looking at minimum $1300 with my employee discount. I would much rather sink that money into a prime lens or converter and get dual purpose usage from my investment. I tested a 100-400 Canon prime at max zoom on a 7d body today in full sunlight and it was just capable of accomplishing this at 100, maybe 150yds in better conditions since there was a lot of mirage in the 90 degree heat on the beach where I tested. Does anyone who has had experience with Canon lenses above 500mm converted or not have a guess at which mm I may be able to do this? I was hoping that I could get a 2x for the 100-400, but I am not optimistic that this will get me past 200yds. Maybe a 500mm with the 2x?

Thanks in advance for any insight!

A rough comparison method is to consider each "X" of a binocular or spotting scope to be equivalent to 50mm. So, a 400mm lens is about an 8X spotting scope.

As for cost... While I see where you are going, the latest Canon 500mm f/4L II lists at $10,500! Even used, the prior generation is still selling over $6,500...
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Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Super Tele Zoom Lens substitute for a spotting scope?
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2013, 07:51:28 PM »
I presume you would use a adapter like this one They run $180 and would turn a 100-400mmL into a 10 - 40X spotting scope.
http://www.amazon.com/Lens2scope-10mm-Eyepiece-Canon-Angle/dp/B004GGBQAC
 

 
 

Landtosea

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Re: Super Tele Zoom Lens substitute for a spotting scope?
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2013, 09:44:02 AM »
Interesting Spokane, I was not even thinking about the fact that the camera eyepiece is not ideal for the purpose of using as a scope therefore needing an adapter. Thanks!

To clarify what I am looking for from the forum community is: those who have used super teles above 500mm, do you feel you see enough detail that you could discern a pencil sized hole in white paper?

Using viggen61's rough estimate formula I am assuming 600mm is going to be the minimum, but I would like some real world confirmation? If this is correct, I can add a 2x extender and the eyepiece adapter to the 100-400mm and be good in theory...

Plainsman

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Re: Super Tele Zoom Lens substitute for a spotting scope?
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2013, 11:09:03 AM »
Nikon used to make one - I mean Nikon made in Japan - for Nikon lenses only in the 80s and 90s I think.
Very high optical and mechanical quality.
When they - rarely - crop up they are very expensive.
The 180USD one illustrated for Canon would probably be made in China with maybe dubious optics!!

Jackson_Bill

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Re: Super Tele Zoom Lens substitute for a spotting scope?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2013, 11:33:34 AM »
The spotting scope and supertele are two different things. First, you can get a 30x spotting scope for $500. Second, using any supertele on the shooting range is kind of like using a micrometer for a C-clamp.
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TexPhoto

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Re: Super Tele Zoom Lens substitute for a spotting scope?
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2013, 11:40:14 AM »
Spotting scopes can be had for Waaaaaaaaaaaaay less money.  If you had a good tele, or super tele, I'd say pick-up a cheap spotting scope just to avoid wear and tear on your lens.

A quick check of eBay finds them for $50+ I am not saying the $50 one is good, but a spotting scope is something that gets tossed into your rifle kit and beat up on.  I don't think you want to do that with a $$$ lens.

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Re: Super Tele Zoom Lens substitute for a spotting scope?
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2013, 11:40:14 AM »

Landtosea

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Re: Super Tele Zoom Lens substitute for a spotting scope?
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2013, 11:51:08 AM »
I do not hunt, this is for long range sport shooting so my equipment wear is not bad. I have a good (not the best which is 2x the cost) spotting scope, a Leupold 12-40x HD Gold Ring which runs $1100. It is not enough for 300yds+. The next step up at 20-60x is in the $2300 range. This is the minimal quality scope available to offer the needed sharpness to spot holes on paper at long distances. That being said, I may try the 2x on the 100-400 and add the eyepiece. Since I would use the 2x for photography I would only be out the cost of the eyepiece adapter under $200 shipped.

señor Steve

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Re: Super Tele Zoom Lens substitute for a spotting scope?
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2013, 12:27:21 PM »
That's disappointing a 40x leupold doesn't get it done.  You sound like you really want an excuse to buy the 100-400, but I can see 6mm holes at 300 all day long with a nightforce 12-42 scope at half magnification. Maybe buy the camera lens and digital zoom in live mode.
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Landtosea

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Re: Super Tele Zoom Lens substitute for a spotting scope?
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2013, 12:29:46 PM »
I have the 100-400 already. If using for the spotting purpose described I need more, much more.

AJ

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Re: Super Tele Zoom Lens substitute for a spotting scope?
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2013, 12:33:16 PM »
Maybe a 500/8 mirror lens, 18 mpix body (e.g. drebel), and a huge bombproof tripod.

Hesbehindyou

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Re: Super Tele Zoom Lens substitute for a spotting scope?
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2013, 12:42:25 PM »
I tested a 100-400 Canon prime at max zoom on a 7d body today in full sunlight and it was just capable of accomplishing this at 100, maybe 150yds in better conditions

Try again with Canon 100-400 or similar with 10x zoom on Liveview - that's an effective 4000mm on a screen a whole lot bigger than the viewfinder. Go to 5x if it's a bit shaky.

Don Haines

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Re: Super Tele Zoom Lens substitute for a spotting scope?
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2013, 01:23:38 PM »
I would head to a decent astronomy store. They will have a selection of decent spotting scopes and high powered binoculars that you should be able to get at a reasonable price..... and the best thing is you get to touch and try the gear first.

My suggestion is: Print/draw your target with your 1/4 inch hole... plus one or two sizes larger and smaller, park car 300yards from store with target on the roof, and try out what the store recommends right there..... there is nothing better than seeing it work to let you know that it will work.

You will also need a solid tripod to hold your viewing instrument. I would suggest a "gear-head" tripod head, something like http://www.manfrotto.ca/product/8374.31708.76913.0.0/410/_/Junior_Geared_Head to help aiming...
« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 01:25:22 PM by Don Haines »
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Re: Super Tele Zoom Lens substitute for a spotting scope?
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2013, 01:23:38 PM »

Landtosea

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Re: Super Tele Zoom Lens substitute for a spotting scope?
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2013, 01:44:38 PM »
I would head to a decent astronomy store. They will have a selection of decent spotting scopes and high powered binoculars that you should be able to get at a reasonable price..... and the best thing is you get to touch and try the gear first.

My suggestion is: Print/draw your target with your 1/4 inch hole... plus one or two sizes larger and smaller, park car 300 yards from store with target on the roof, and try out what the store recommends right there..... there is nothing better than seeing it work to let you know that it will work.

Thanks, but I have done the homework on the spotting scopes and know what models perform and which do not. I am really surprised that senor Steve can see them with his 42x Nightforce, even though that is an expensive high end scope? This is a prime example of glass quality making the difference and why a cheaper spotting scope is not going to help.

What I did not think to try and you brought to mind is my son has a decent telescope. I have to at least give it a shot... I am still interested in my lens options and may pursue the above mentioned 400mm combo.

Don Haines

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Re: Super Tele Zoom Lens substitute for a spotting scope?
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2013, 01:58:37 PM »
I would head to a decent astronomy store. They will have a selection of decent spotting scopes and high powered binoculars that you should be able to get at a reasonable price..... and the best thing is you get to touch and try the gear first.

My suggestion is: Print/draw your target with your 1/4 inch hole... plus one or two sizes larger and smaller, park car 300 yards from store with target on the roof, and try out what the store recommends right there..... there is nothing better than seeing it work to let you know that it will work.

Thanks, but I have done the homework on the spotting scopes and know what models perform and which do not. I am really surprised that senor Steve can see them with his 42x Nightforce, even though that is an expensive high end scope? This is a prime example of glass quality making the difference and why a cheaper spotting scope is not going to help.

What I did not think to try and you brought to mind is my son has a decent telescope. I have to at least give it a shot... I am still interested in my lens options and may pursue the above mentioned 400mm combo.

I was thinking 4"telescope myself..... and a telescope tripod allows fairly easy aiming. I suggested the astronomy store as there are some really nice spotting scopes and astronomical binoculars that you see in astronomy stores that you don't tend to see in hunting stores.... a very different purpose.

BTW, the rifle range at work uses a 4" telescope on the 200 meter range and binoculars on the 100 and 50 meter ranges.
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Re: Super Tele Zoom Lens substitute for a spotting scope?
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2013, 01:58:37 PM »