NcStar 20-60 X 60 Green Lens Red Laser Spotting Scope with Tripod Review
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- Rotating tripod mounting ring
- Integrated sunshade and objective lens cap
- Includes a laser pointer for easy spotting
- Soft images beyond 150 yards
- Narrow field of view
- Some quality control issues leading to defective units
Welcome to my review of the NcStar 20–60 X 60 Green Lens Red Laser Spotting Scope with Tripod. I’ve evaluated several NcStar scopes and other optics, but this is the first time I’ve had the chance to check out one of their spotting scopes. NcStar is pretty well known for making cheap optics, so I didn’t set my expectations very high for this one. Let’s see how well it performs compared to the competition.
This scope features a 60mm objective lens, set up in a porro prism design. The manufacturer doesn’t specify what the eye relief is on this glass, but I’m estimating it at approximately 20mm with full magnification. I wear eyeglasses, and didn’t have any problems getting a full field of vision from the scope.
This spotting scope measures almost 14 inches long, and weighs 2.38 pounds without the tripod.
What Comes in the Box?
Obviously, you’ll want to know what you’re getting for your money. NcStar includes just about everything you could imagine needing, and then some. In the box, you’ll find the following:
- The NcStar 20–60 X 60 Green Lens Spotting Scope itself
- A soft carrying case
- A tabletop tripod
- A red laser pointer
- Batteries for the laser pointer
The soft carrying case is nice and well made, providing good protection to your investment. The tripod, like most bundled mounts, is almost completely useless. It’s shaky and doesn’t have legs that can be leveled on uneven terrain. Ditch it and get a professional tripod.
What’s the Magnification of the Scope
This spotting scope has variable magnification from 20X to 60X, with green-tinted lenses to provide for better color reproduction and clarity. I didn’t notice any chromatic aberration through the scope at any magnification.
The field of view through this glass is a bit narrow, ranging from 51 feet at 1,000 yards with maximum magnification to 114 feet at 20X power.
From 20X to about 40X, image resolution and clarity is quite good. As you get to maximum power, though, you’ll notice a softness around your images beyond 150 yards. This makes the spotting scope a bit difficult to use when shooting, unless you’re using a large-caliber rifle.
How Easy Is It To Use?
Like most spotting scopes, NcStar has set up this model with easy-to-find and use controls. The magnification control is built into the eyepiece, and has plenty of knurling for use with slippery or gloved hands. Likewise for the center focus knob, but I’m not a fan of the way this control has been offset to the side of center. It works out fine if you’re right-handed, but can be awkward to use if you’re a leftie.
What’s the Light Gathering Capability Like on This Model?
Make no mistake, this is an inexpensive entry into the realm of spotting scopes. As such, you won’t find it providing as much transmittance as more expensive alternatives. With that said, it allows plenty of light for use in normal daylight conditions, and even works pretty well in low-light situations. You won’t, however, be able to use this glass for backyard astronomy. Things might be better if the optics were fully multicoated, but it is what it is.
How Are the Optics and Focus on This Spotting Scope?
As previously noted, this model utilizes a porro prism design and multicoated optics. The prisms used within the spotting scope appear to be BaK–4 glass, which is definitely a plus. The 60mm objective lens provides for a relatively clear and sharp image under 150 yards, but the view turns extremely soft beyond that. With that said, it’s excellent for spotting large objects, just not so useful for smaller targets. I wouldn’t recommend this spotting scope for birdwatching, for example.
Focus and magnification adjustment are smooth, but with enough resistance to keep you from accidentally knocking your image out of alignment. As previously noted, however, getting a sharp focus on smaller objects beyond 150 yards just won’t happen with this model.
What’s the Housing Like?
While the housing itself seems to be plastic, it’s protected by a rubberized armor coating. I wish I could say there was plenty of texture around the body for a good grip, but I can’t say that. I didn’t run into any problems dropping the scope, but I can see it being a problem if you have very sweaty hands or slippery gloves.
How Durable is the Scope?
With O-ring sealed lenses and an optics chamber that’s nitrogen-purged, the NcStar 20–60×60 spotting scope is both fogproof and waterproof. The rubberized armor housing means the scope is also fairly shock-proof, so a few bumps and falls shouldn’t cause you any problems.