Objective lens 82mm
Field of view
Eye relief 18mm
Length with angled eye piece
Agents Dead Eye Dick
Nightforce is a name synonymous with top quality riflescopes and now after a long wait they have launched a spotting scope, the TS-82™ Xtreme Hi-Def™
Magnification range is 20x-70x with a big 82mm diameter light-gathering objective lens up front. The standard eyepiece on the TS-82™ covers the 20x-70x magnification range and there is an optional 30x-60x wide angle eyepiece also available. Both straight and angled configurations are offered for each option with a quick-release bayonet mount allowing easy, secure changing of eyepieces. When it comes to eyepieces, I much prefer angled ones as I find them easier to get behind when scoping on the hill. The eyepiece has a retractable rubber eyecup, perfect for those with glasses to use when wound in and also in the fully out position for use with an unobstructed eye. Adjustment of the magnification ring on the eyepiece is nice and firm and the magnification numbers are bold and easy to read. The raised pyramid-shaped rubber grip on the magnification ring makes adjustment easy, especially when wearing gloves. This type of aggressive grip is also a feature on Nightforce scopes. The TS-82™ has a good magnification range, although there are several things that tend to limit the usefulness of the higher magnification values. From a practical point of view 40x-50x is about as high as you will get to use most of the time. Heat shimmer, even on cool days, can stop you using a spotter on high magnification as it renders the image unviewable and when combined with atmospheric haze, the maximum magnification usable may be even lower. Tripod rigidity is key when using high magnification and even then, if you’re exposed to wind when viewing, the spotter will always be moving. In low light conditions the exit pupil diameter of the optic has a big impact. On 70x magnification and with an objective lens size of 82mm, the maximum diameter of light exiting the eye piece which your eye will see is 1.17mm but on 20x you will see 4.1mm. The average diameter of a human eye pupil is 2-3mm in bright light and 4-5 in low light conditions – this means that in low light conditions using high magnification the image you see will not be as clear as it would be in bright conditions. This is why the performance of high magnification optics at first or last light is nowhere near as good as during the middle of the day. The large focusing ring located on the main body was precise, comfortable to use and also had Nightforce’s aggressive grip pattern on it. The body is made from aluminium and is coated with rubber to give a degree of shock proofing and protect against everyday wear and tear. Colour finish of components is grey and black. The objective lens is coated with a hydrophobic coating which sheds water. As with all spotters, it needs to be mounted to a good sturdy tripod to prevent image shake and viewing fatigue. The tripod base accepts the standard ¼” 20-thread screw found on most tripods. When the TS-82™ is mounted on a tripod, there may be times when you want to rotate the spotting scope to achieve a more comfortable or suitable viewing position. Simply loosen the locking knob on the rotational axis collar to rotate the scope 360°. The raised rubber inserts fitted to the rotational axis collar cover screws used for fitting accessories. Build quality of a spotter can have a big impact on viewable image quality. The resolution of some spotters can deteriorate as magnification is wound up, to the point where the top end magnification is unusable. A good test of build quality on a spotting scope or vari-power riflescope is to set the focus when on minimum magnification and then wind the power up. The focus should not change and in the case of the TS- 82™ it performed very well with no noticeable change from 20x up to 70x magnification. Optical testing produced some very good results after I spent time in the field and in the optical testing lab looking at resolution and also flatness of field. At 70x magnification resolution was 1.25 seconds of arc which is very good and simply put means you see could see a gap of 0.6mm between two fencing wires at 100 metres. The spotter features a retractable sunshade at the objective end to prevent glare, as well as providing protection for the lens, and is an excellent feature to have. For those for want to do a bit of quick digiscoping on the hill there are several adaptors available to allow you to attach your iPhone 4 or 5 and take photos or video.
My first opportunity to use the spotter came on a trip to an area of Kaweka tops in mid- November looking for some prime springtime sika meat. Using binoculars is of course essential in this sort of terrain and when combined with a spotter locating deer is made even easier. While spotters are great for evaluating trophy heads from a distance, what I love using them for is systematically glassing every nook and cranny on a face – it’s amazing how much game you pick up which has been missed after countless sweeps with binoculars. These aren’t the animals standing out in the open but the ones bedded in the tussock, backed up against rocks and bluffs or bedded under trees on the bush edge or clearings. My next chance came when I was asked to secure venison for a work BBQ where we were going to treat our overseas guests to a Kiwiana style lunch of venison,paua, crayfish and whitebait fritters. I don’t tend to hunt my favourite spots much in summer as the hinds have fawns and the stags are in velvet. That’s just my personal preference, although it is the perfect time to pick up a freezer-filler in the form of a spiker or yearling. Wellington had turned on a cracker day with little wind and high temperatures so plenty of sweat was lost climbing up high. Carrying a spotter and tripod certainly adds to the load but once you arrive at your destination that’s quickly forgotten. The valley head I was hunting has some great slips running down into the creeks amongst heavy bush, making it a deer hot spot. I have a series of look out points I use to glass the area and it wasn’t long before I spotted a hind on the edge of a slip and sure enough she had a lovely spotted fawn in tow. Sweeping the area with the spotter I saw a yearling bedded just inside the bush edge nearby. A quick climb got me onto the top ridge where I had the wind in my face as I crept down the edge of the slip the deer were on. I love this type of heartin- mouth, close-up and personal hunting where you’re using all possible stealth and cunning. The hind and fawn came into view and then I spotted the yearling nearby, still inside the bush edge 20 metres away. A quick shot with the .223 and I had a good supply of venison.
Optical testing showed the Nightforce TS-82™ Xtreme Hi- Def™ to be a serious contender in the range of top end spotters currently on the market. In the field it performed flawlessly as you would expect and overall was a very good piece of kit. It comes with Nightforce’s Limited 20-year Warranty. This transferable warranty covers mechanical defects in materials and workmanship in the optical and mechanical components. Not included is intentional or accidental damage. Copyright 2015 NZRod&Rifle