Friday, December 4, 2009

Review: ProMaster Spotting Scope

My father-in-law, Lynn Davenport, recently purchased the ProMaster Infinity 80mm Spotting Scope from Idaho Camera. I've been able to use it twice now for extended periods at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Utah and on a recent trip to the Cascade Reservoir here in Idaho. I've used it enough to have formed an educated opinion about it, so I figured I'd share my thoughts.

First of all this scope is a great bang-for-your buck buy. Priced in the mid-$200's makes it affordable to most serious birders and the quality of the image is superior to any of the other $250 and less scopes that I have ever looked through.

This scope has pretty good clarity, especially at the lowest magnification power of 20. The clarity and eye relief appear to suffer at higher magnification. The viewing circle closes down to a pretty small circle at the highest power, but that could partly be because I wear glasses.

One challenge we do have with this scope is being able to find the target to focus on. Higher-end scopes often have a sighting tool to help you find the bird before putting your eye to the eye-piece.

The ProMaster performed wall on a tripod and just as well from the car window.

I found that it focuses easily, but not quickly.

Recommendation: Good value for birders on a budget. A great starter scope for the price. Lynn is more and more impressed with it the more he uses it. The next level of ProMaster has ED glass, which may be very impressive. Overall this ProMaster scope is a giant step up in quality from the Denali and Celestron that I have previously reviewed, but not that big of a step up in price.

I have determined that I am going to save up and by a great value scope that is priced around $1,500.

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