Meopta S1-75 APO spotting scope
- By Chris Parkin
- 1 Comments
- Last updated: 19/12/2016
I have used a few high quality spotting scopes on occasion but fearsome prices held me back from committing! Well a good look through the Meopta range indoors at IWA in 2014 sees me now with a S1-75 APO. At the time it stacked up second in their line-up but was the top with a 75mm objective lens. I chose an angled, 20-60x eyepiece which is easier to use and I enjoy and appreciate its ability. 2015 saw a Meopix iPhone 5s adaptor arrive and that was when my eyes really opened!
Best results are off a serious tripod and I use a Manfrotto, which is one of the best! Meopta includes ¼”UNC stainless steel standard tripod mounting in an aluminium foot and yet another small detail that exudes quality for a long life. The tube has a lift off eyecup at the ocular end with a camera style lens cap at the front held in with sprung clips, sitting within an extending 26mm sunshade. This incorporates a rudimentary sighting system to align your scope close to target but the magnification control offered by the lightly rotating eyepiece’s rubberised collar is quick and smooth to use, either to broaden or restrict field of view inversely to the magnification.
Once your target is located, precise focus is controlled with a rubberised collar surrounding the main tube close to the centre of mass. The tube is aluminium and coated in a dull green finish, guaranteed waterproof and with a superb 30 year warranty if registered at the time of purchase.
The eyepiece has a folding rubber eyecup allowing comfort for both unaided and spectacle-wearing eyes, which cuts intrusive glare too. I like to fold it down as at long range with 60x magnification applied, keeping any physical contact with the unit to a minimum, regardless of stability, is advisable and the Meopta has eye relief just perfect for this job. The optional Meopix clips your smart phone into it and slots over the eyepiece, six sizes are available from 42 to 57mm so you can use it on other products too. This is one tiny piece of injection moulded polycarbonate I would now never be without. Called digiscoping; seamlessly adding a camera phone to a quality spotting scope produces some amazing results!
Either for photos, general target observation, normal speed video or delayed ‘shutter’ activation, a new breed of shooting accessory comes to life and that’s before we discuss high resolution filming at 120 frames per second for slow motion footage. You can video bullet impacts onto target, ‘trace’ the projectiles in flight, on odd occasions you can even briefly glimpse the tail end of the bullet or a tiny glint in sunlight as it drops into target and contacts. It is superb, I kid you not and I love it!
Between magnification settings re-focussing is required but I learned to use the Meopix at maximum or minimum setting. As the weight of the phone on the eyepiece tends to make it rotate, sag and ‘drift’ so if against either stop, it is solid and part of the learning curve (the iPhone automatically flips the right way up). For the solo shooter who doesn’t want to walk back and forth to targets, spotting and marking bullet holes, it will record it all for you for later de-briefing or when shooting steel at long range, careful setup of the scope/camera/tripod assembly can allow you to place it within 9” of the rifle’s firing axis, to closely observe and spot your own bullet splash.
I have also tried the SLR adaptor but my skills haven’t let me really capitalise on the setup and it does become quite bulky to use, if the wind is up it will buffet in the gusts. Mounted low to the ground for solo use or as close to the shooters line of sight is best and this equipment now lives permanently in my range bag whether I’m shooting solo or paired up.
Long distance rabbiting is where the unit works well ‘naked’. I still use binoculars to scan areas but when going out beyond 200-300 yards, having the scope fitted to a tripod means you can fix it in position when quarry is located and your buddy, if time allows, can lean in and ID the location easily rather than having to walk them in on land marks.
Using the 3x digital zoom on the phone is good in some circumstances but loses definition and pixelates. The Meopta like all high end optical products with first rate image resolution and fine focus control can show you detail at lower magnification that cheap high mag competitors can’t. Plus when you do wind up the zoom, the brightness fades a little but is still crisp if a little more focuscritical.
I have used the scope in spotting mode rested on a rucksack when laid prone and that does make the angled body choice preferable to me. But I won’t disregard the straight body as suitable for others, especially those who like to keep both eyes on target even with one dominant one on the magnified version of the image. For anyone wanting to learn about long range or for those who insist a bullet’s trajectory really is ‘flat’, watching the little bubble of trace seemingly drop like a stone onto target will give them a better view of the world if atmospheric conditions are right.
PRICES: S1-75 APO Angled Body £799 20-60x Eyepiece £238 SLR Camera Adaptor £209 Meopix iPhone 5 Adaptor £55 Stay On Cover £69
CONTACT: Viking Arms Ld, 01423 780810 (for nearest retailer) www.vikingarms.com