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Spotting Scopes of Note

Alpen 788 Review

Mid-priced Scopes Round-up

by Michael and Diane Porter

Alpen Rainier

We got a big surprise when we lined up three big scopes and compared their resolving power. The Alpen 788 smoked the other two! Even though its price is the lowest of the three and it alone does not tout -2013ED or HD glass elements, it easily bested their resolutions. The image was beautifully clear, with good contrast. It also stood out among its competitors for its extremely low degree of chromatic aberration.

The scope also won the top score (4.3) in the full-sized ergonomics category, for its ease of handling. The focus knob is perfect. Although a single rather than dual knob, it works smoothly and offers just enough resistance for precise focusing. The eyepiece twists up and provides good eye relief throughout the 20x to 60x zoom range. The scope rotates in its tripod mount ring.

You get extras, too. Besides the zoom eyepiece, it comes with a tabletop tripod and nylon padded carrying case. We tested the angled model (#788), but it's also available in a straight model (#786).

And here's a bit of trivia: the United States Paralympics Archery Team chose this scope to use in their competitions in the 2008 games in Beijing, China.

Alpen products carry a lifetime warranty against defects and workmanship. Customers are encouraged to call if they have any problem with a product. Although the warranty is technically not transferable, Alpen does not require a sales receipt.

30x resolution score: 4.3; 60x resolution score: 3.3; Overall score: 4.27

This article appears as part of Mid-priced Scopes Review, in the May 2009 issue of Bird Watcher's Digest.

Update July, 2013

Since this review was completed, we have done side-by-side tests of the Alpen 788 against a number of new mid-priced scopes made by other manufacturers. We find that the Alpen 788 still offers the best optical quality of any scope in its price range.

See price

Copyright 2009-2013 by Michael and Diane Porter.



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