Eagle Optics has been offering their Denali 15-45x60 Angled Spotting Scope as a special for $99.99 showing an original asking price of $269.95. Being a big fan of Eagle Optics level of service and my on-going delight with my Eagle Optics Ranger SRT binoculars, I have a high expectation of quality from them. I ordered this scope without ever having tried it out, but I really really wanted to have a scope for the Avimor Big Sit. My wife is making me hide it in my office as it is supposed to be from Santa at Christmas.
Unfortunately, it is a scope that is only worth $99, especially comparing it to scopes traditionally priced around $270. I would have sent it back to Eagle Optics and purchased a higher end scope, but alas, my 30 days had already passed and I'm stuck with a disappointing scope.
Fortunately, my father-in-law recently purchased a new scope (a Promaster 20-60x80 purchased from Idaho Camera) that I will review later. Lynn has allowed me to "store" his Celestron. I'll just keep the Denali on my desk to view the daily battle for King of the Cottonwood out my office window, or maybe I'll sell it at a discount and chalk up the loss to my spotting scope purchasing education.
To give this scope a fair and thorough review, here are the pros and cons of the Eagle Optics Denali scope.
Lightweight. Compact. Comes with a very nice case that stays on during use. The case covers even fold and Velcro back so that they are not in the way of the eye piece or lens.
Color transmission is not great and image strongly blurs around the edges. Using the higher magnifications makes the scope almost unusable. The focus wheel is so stiff that you end up moving the entire scope and you lose what you were trying to focus on. Image shake also makes it very challenging to look at the finer details of birds for identification. Eye fatigue was a major factor because of the lesser quality optics. The table top stand it comes with is not of very good quality, but they must expect everyone to upgrade to a Manfrotto fluid head.
Note to the good folks at Eagle Optics: If you are reading this, I still love you guys! If you are willing, I'll send this scope back at my cost and ask that you put my $99.99 toward in-store credit so I can upgrade to a higher-end scope. I still have the original packaging!
Note to readers: If you are looking for a good deal on an inexpensive scope that is perhaps not fit for an avid birder, but you want an inexpensive scope to have in your car or in your home, please e-mail me and we can make a deal...that is unless Eagle Optics contacts me first!