Athlon Talos 20-60×80 Spotting Scope

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The Talos 20-60×80 spotting scope is made by Athlon, a rifle-scope brand that offers a better value than Vortex (and considering Vortex’s recent QC issues, you may even say better). With a street price of only $130-$140 the Talos is Athlon’s cheapest spotter. In this video review, I present whether this spotter is a value or a did Athlon sell out and simply slap their logo on a generic Chinesium scope?

The package comes in a soft-lined black nylon fabric case with a split compartment. Above the scope compartment I found a generic straight leg tripod common with other budget spotting scopes I’ve reviewed such as the SVbony SV28. Despite the simple and inexpensive design, these tripods tend to be quite rugged and stable. 

The scope appeared to be well made with no faults or gaps in the seams. The outer surface wage largely covered in a rubber-like coating for weather protection and for improved grip. The front and rear lens caps were rubber and non-captured.

The integrated sunshade had a nicely textured coating and what appeared to be a sight notches, presumably to help you eyeball aiming the scope. The eyepiece has a built-in, twist-up eye cup. The tripod mounting ring allowed the body of the scope to be rotated to allow flexibility in viewing the scope from different mounting positions (eg. bench, hung, etc.).

The eye relief was fair and focusing knob buttery smooth. The magnification was a bit stiff but the ring was also smooth. The power ring rotated independently of the eyepiece to allow for easy mounting of a camera, though the rotating eye-cup does limit the positions of a camera mount. 

The optics were bright, offering high contrast, resolution and saturation. In my 100yrd range tests with the USAF resolution chart, at 60X I was able to resolve element #5 in Group “0” which is highest resolution optic I have yet tested. This is remarkable for a scope which retails for less than $150. While it is largish scope at 16.5” long, for those needing to do extreme long range precision spotting (100yrds) this is a great value option.

Available on Optics Planet: https://shrsl.com/3c5wh
and Amazon https://amzn.to/3H86wxH

RESULUTION TEST

Group 0 : Element 5

SVBony SV28 25-75×70

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https://youtu.be/KvnfV_iReUo

SVBony sent me a SV28 70mm scope after seeing my review of the 50mm SV28. The model they sent me wasn’t pre-inspected as it had some minor defects in the alignment and assembly of the sunshade and a tactile bump in the action of the focus knob when focusing at 50mm objects at 45x.

Despite these defects, the overall resolution and sharpness were good for a budget spotting scope. There was good sharpness from edge to edge. It was able to resolve lines down to Element 6 in Group -1 at 100yrds using the USAF 1951 resolution chart.

A street price of about $60 makes this a good value despite the defects. Be sure to keep your receipt and return it for one without defects.

AMAZON PRODUCT LINK: https://amzn.to/3wJWf6G

Celestron 10-30×50 Landscout

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Celestron is probably the biggest brand in consumer astronomy telescopes. They also make a varied line of terrestrial spotting scopes and binoculars. I wanted to see if Celestron’s Landscout 10-30×50 lived up to its brand reputation.

The most striking thing about the Landscout 50 is its compact size. It is the smallest 50mm spotting scope I’ve yet tested. My Bushnell Spacemaster is slightly shorter but only when compressed into its telescoping body. The Landscout 50 looks even smaller.

Notable among the competition is its ring mount which allows the eyepiece to be repositioned to allow use both on a tripod base, wall mount, or hanging from a roof mount.

Despite its small size optically, it performed big. Despite its BK7 prism, the view through the scope was bright. It produced no noticeable chromatic aberration at maximum magnification. Its resolution and sharpness were only middle-of-the-pack; not quite as sharp as an equivalent GoSky or SVBony 50mm.

It is sharp enough to use as a range spotter for 22LR at 100yrds. But it only offers 30x magnification, which is slightly less than competitive brands that offer 36x or 40x. That means your eyesight will be doing some of the heavy lifting to make out those .22 holes on paper.

At a $70-$80 price point, I consider this a good value. The compact size sold me. It’s small enough to fit inside an ammo can, field coat pocket, or even cram into a full range bag.

One significant footnote: the first time I ordered this scope from Amazon, I got a lemon that had problems with the inner lenses that were misaligned (it would not focus). I returned it and ordered a second one which is used in this review. While Celestron is a very well-known brand, it’s always important to inspect your purchases no matter who makes them.

PRO

  • Tiny size
  • Rotating mounting ring
  • Did I mention, it was really tiny?

CON

  • Middle of the road optical quality
  • Low magnification
  • No built-in sunshade

USAF51 RESOLUTION
Group: -1 / Element: 3

PRODUCT LINK
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3joIFAg

LANDSCOUT 10-30×50
Magnification: 10 – 30x
Objective Lens: 50mm (1.96″)
Eyepieces: Zoom
Field of View: 3.2° – 2°
168 – 90 ft (56 – 30 m)
Focal Length: 170mm
Eye Relief: 0.70″ – 0.60″
Brightness: 25.0 – 2.9
Lens Coatings: Fully Coated
Prism Glass: BK7
Weight: 15.5 oz (440 g)
Water Resistant
Dimensions: 8.9″ x 2.6″ x 4.9″

Roxant Blackbird 12-36×50

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The Blackbird is a small, light-weight, 50mm spotting scope from a brand I’d never heard of before. I had seen it come up in my Amazon “suggestions” when I started this series of episodes reviewing various 50mm spotting scopes for 22LR range use but on the surface it seemed to me to be yet another Chinese Off-Brand scope. But Maria Freed, a Subscriber to my YouTube channel, posted a comment suggesting I check out the Blackbird.

The Blackbird is small for a 50mm scope. Not quite as small as the Celestron Landscout but still small. It also had the best external features I like in other spotting scopes:

  • Captured lens caps so you can’t lose them (both front and back!)
  • Rear pop-up eyecup
  • Magnification ring turns independently of the eye-piece.

The optics are bright due to the PAK4 prism, but I found in the 100yrd range test, it was not as sharp or detailed as comparably priced scopes (save for the terrible Barska Colorado) with noticeable distortion on the edges of the image. When enter focused at the USAF resolution chart it managed to resolve down to element 6 in the -2 group, placing it near the bottom of previously reviewed 50mm scopes in terms of resolution and sharpness.

It runs about $70-$80 which is cheaper than an Orion but about $10-$15 more than the SVBony S28 which has slightly sharper image resolution. It’s still a bit better in color and brightness, so this scope may be a better choice for bird watching.

PRO

  • Built in Sun Shade
  • Pop-up Eyecup
  • Captured lens caps

CON

  • Middle of the road optical quality

USAF51 RESOLUTION
Group: -2 / Element: 6

AFFILIATE LINK
AMAZON: https://amzn.to/3mT1g8t