Best bang for the buck!
This scope costs can be found for under $500. In the resolution testing that we did in January of 2009 and more recently, the Alpen 788 beat out scopes costing twice as much. The image was remakably bright and clear image. And when we cranked the zoom eyepiece up to maximum magnification of 60 power, the image remained sharp. The Alpen 788 showed less chromatic aberration than the other scopes. All the judges in our survey were impressed.
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. The focus knob 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. It comes in an angled model only.
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.
All told, we consider the Alpen 788 the best buy of any spotting scope in its price range.
Update March, 2015
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.
© 2009 - 2015 Michael and Diane Porter