Hawke Nature Trek 20-60x80 Spotting Scope
- 3 Comments
- Last updated: 16/12/2016
Optical aids in the field are part and parcel of our modern lives, and as technology moves on apace, so our dedicated accessories and tools of the trade, become increasingly sophisticated. Anything that can enhance our outdoor experience, and improve vision, has wide appeal across the board, with field sports enthusiasts, bird watchers, and of course shooters, all able to benefit.
On test here is one of the new breed of Spotting Scopes, made by Hawke Optics, under the Nature-Trek label, and at around £220, it’s fair to say it sits mid table in Hawke’s product line-up. That said, it’s difficult not to be impressed from the off with this model, since the unit comes superbly presented (and protected) in its own dedicated aluminium reinforced hard case. Dense foam padding cossets the goods, whilst spare compartments, and a stay-on soft cover, are also provided.
TAKE A STAND
One rather basic point to stress at the outset with this scope, is that it doesn’t come with a stand of any kind, so a camera tripod or stand needs to be independently sourced. Exactly what type, will be largely dictated by the specific use in mind. Field nature observation may require a large tripod for example, whereas Bench Rest/ rifle shooting applications will need a much shorter stand. It’s a simple route either way, with connection possible via a standard female1/4inch thread fitting. Just screw the scope into place and you’re in business.
Setting up is easy, once the stand is in place. A super soft rubberized eyepiece is fitted, which can neatly fold back on itself to shorten the shroud effect. With that set, just select your choice of magnification, from between 20x and 60x, by rotating the zoom control ring of the angled eye-piece. Fine focusing is achieved by adjusting the focus knob, until clarity is satisfactory.
At 3lb 6oz, the Nature-Trek 20-60 is actually considered fairly lightweight, yet the more substantial the tripod, the better. My heavy duty model is fitted with the quick release camera connector system, so couldn’t be utilized; and my other tripod, used here, proved fractionally too lightweight for the task, with a little too much flexibility detectable with the scope set on higher magnifications, i.e image shake.
Testing this Nature-Trek 20-60 was a real eye opener. I happened to view some old farm machinery whilst in the process, viewed at 400 yards. The manufacturers name plate (measuring around 5inches x 1.5inches) made a perfect subject. In use, the focus knob has just the right amount of resistance, with a silky movement conducive to fine adjustment. At 20x mag, the subject snapped into superb clarity, with a sharpness of image that impressed. Increasing the magnification to 30x still had the subject snapping in sharply (refocusing is needed once mag is increased), whilst on 40x, clarity was still good, but image shake became more apparent. Of course, at the top end 60x mag, shake is heightened still further, and some super sharpness and brightness is lost. Field of view is of course reduced accordingly at the higher end of magnification too, which becomes more relevant when tracking live subjects, but overall, the preciseness of operation, and quality feel of this unit, makes it all the more enjoyable to use.
As for tracking shots downrange, I viewed target cards at 100yards, and found 20x and 30x magnification to be perfect for the task. Again, a good compromise of less strain on the eyes, easy full field of view, brightness and sharpness of image, makes lower mag use more appealing. Versatility is the key though, and having super high magnification in reserve is handy for many situations.
Nature-Trek Spotting Scopes are nitrogen filled to ensure the image is free from misting, whilst the BAK4 optical prism system and fully multi coated lenses, combine, to produce a sharp, bright, image edge to edge.
Finally fans of digi-scoping are indulged, with the availability of a dedicated digital camera holder that fits onto the scope’s eyepiece, enabling the field enthusiast to capture images as they happen.
Competitively priced for sure, when considering the market, and Hawke’s product range, yet the Nature-Trek 20-60 is still one of the best spotting scopes I have encountered to date. It’s very well made, with a real quality feel to it, and an impressive performance to match. As for the stand, Hawke offer a variety of tripods for the task, so UK distributor, Deben’s website, is probably the best place to start.