Spacemaster Zoom Kit, 60mm, 15-45x zoom

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The straight-through viewing Spacemaster is “a long-standing favorite among birders,” according to a review in Audubon magazine a number of years back, which stated, “For its combination of excellent optics, rugged construction, and reasonable price, it may be the best buy on the market.”

Another review, in Cornell University’s Living Bird magazine, commented that the Spacemaster “continues to hold its place as the best of the inexpensive scopes, and it’s an excellent choice for birders on a budget.” Yet another review, this one in Wild Bird magazine, noted that the 60mm Spacemaster “provided a brilliant, optically sharp image.”

This new version of that best-selling and highly-reviewed Spacemaster adds some new features that make the “long-standing favorite” an even better value for the price-conscious birder. For instance, the Spacemaster is now totally waterproof and fogproof. Its optics are fully multicoated for brighter and higher contrast images. And it now has special “Rainguard” water-shedding optical coatings for clearer images in wet weather, once a feature of only the most costly birding optics.

This Spacemaster Zoom Kit comes with a backpack carrying case and a short cartop/tabletop tripod at a special money-saving package price. Lightweight, highly transportable, with precise focusing for critical viewing and very good images at a very reasonable price, the Spacemaster has been one of our most popular and popularly-priced spotting scopes for years, and rightly so.

Optical features of this spotting scope . . .

  • Multicoated optics: All air to glass surfaces of the Spacemaster optics are fully multicoated with multiple layers of ion-deposited high light transmission materials for bright images and high contrast. These coatings increase the light transmission though each air to glass surface to over 99% per surface (there are over a dozen such surfaces in the objective lens, image-erecting porro prism, and eyepiece combined). Without these multicoatings, each surface would reflect back and lose 4% of the light falling on it (a total light loss through the system approaching 50% without the multicoatings).
  • Porro prism: The image-erecting porro prism system within the scope body uses costly BaK-4 glass prisms. These multicoated prisms provide high light transmission, without any vignetting or loss of brightness at the edges of the field, as you’ll find with lesser spotting scopes in this aperture and price range.
  • Water-shedding “Rainguard” lens coatings: External optical surfaces are treated with permanent “Rainguard” coatings. These special hydrophobic (water-repelling) coatings are so smooth, even at the molecular level, that water can find virtually no grip on the lens surface. This causes the condensation from rain, fog, snow, or your own breath to form in much smaller droplets than on standard optical coatings. Smaller droplets scatter less light, resulting in higher light transmission and a clearer image.
  • Zoom eyepiece: The built-in 15x to 45x zoom offers excellent observing flexibility. About a third of a turn of its helical power change collar moves smoothly from a 15x magnification, with a substantial 125’ field at 1000 yards for locating birds, to 45x and a still-reasonable 42’ field for close-up examination of field markings. The zoom eyepiece is permanently attached to the Spacemaster body to maintain the waterproof integrity of the scope and cannot be removed. A slip-on plastic eyepiece dust cover is standard. The Spacemaster is not adaptable to photography. Eye relief is limited (10mm at 15x), so there will be vignetting of the field for those who must eyeglasses while observing. The eyepiece has a soft rubber rim (but no eyecup) to keep eyeglasses from getting scratched when using the scope.
  • Mechanical features of this spotting scope . . .

  • Rubber-armored body: The rugged die-cast alloy body of the Spacemaster is clad in durable black armor to take every kind of rough treatment in stride. The armor also insulates the scope to keep it comfortable to the touch in all temperatures, and is ribbed and lightly textured to provide a sure grip in wet weather. The body has a tethered soft rubber slip-on objective lens cap (not shown in the images) that can’t be lost in the field. The lens cap protects the optics from accidental damage when traveling or moving with the scope through woods or undergrowth. A standard 1/4” x 20 thread mounting hole is built into the base of the scope for mounting the Spacemaster on any standard photo tripod.
  • Weatherproofing: The Spacemaster is O-ring sealed and nitrogen-purged to be totally waterproof, fogproof, and dustproof in all climate extremes – from the cold and mists of Attu to the warm and dripping humidity of the Costa Rican rain forests.
  • Focusing: A five-turn rotary focusing knob built into the right side of the body provides fast and accurate focusing from a 30’ close focus out to the horizon and beyond, even while wearing gloves or mittens. The Wild Bird review rated the Spacemaster focuser as being “highly effective . . . focusing is smooth and easy, and can be accomplished with one finger.” The focusing knob is partially recessed into the body to prevent snagging of clothing.
  • Peep sight finder: A non-magnifying peep sight finder built into the top center of the scope helps you center the Spacemaster on distant targets.
  • Carrying case and tripod: This Spacemaster Kit comes with a Cordura-type nylon backpack carrying case, and short (12”-16” adjustable height) cartop or tabletop tripod. The padded Cordura-type carrying case sheds water, if you get caught in a sudden shower. It has a padded handle for carrying, plus soft padded shoulder straps for more comfortable backpack-type use, and a generous zippered outside pocket for storing field guides, sunglasses, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and other similar birding necessities. The interior of the case has soft cloth pockets that hold both scope and tabletop tripod and keep them from rattling together.
  • Lifetime limited warranty: The Spacemaster is warranted against flaws in materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the original owner.
  • Magnification:
    Magnification is the ability of a telescope to make a small, distant object large enough to examine in detail. If you look at the Moon (250,000 miles away) with a 125 power (125x) telescope, it's essentially the same as looking at it with your bare eyes from 2000 miles away (250,000 ÷ 125 = 2000). The same telescope used terrestrially will make an object one mile away appear to be only 42 feet away (5280 feet ÷ 125 = 42).
    The magnification of a telescope is determined by dividing the focal length of the telescope (usually in millimeters) by the focal length of the eyepiece used (again, usually in millimeters; but in all cases by the same unit of measurement used for the telescope focal length). For example, a 2000mm focal length telescope and a 10mm focal length eyepiece will give you a magnification of 200 power (2000 ÷ 10 = 200). The same 2000mm telescope with a 20mm eyepiece will give you 100x (2000 ÷ 20 = 100).
    Field of view 1000 yards:
    125' @ 15x; 42' @ 45x
    Near Focus:
    Eye Relief:
    Eye relief is the distance from the last surface of the eye lens of an eyepiece to the plane behind the eyepiece where all the light rays of the exit pupil come to a focus and the circular image is formed, sometimes called the “Ramsden Disk.” This is where your eye should be positioned to see the full field of view of the eyepiece. If you must wear glasses because of astigmatism, you’ll usually need at least 15mm of eye relief or longer if you want to see the full field of view with your glasses on.

    A note on our eye relief figures: Quite often, our eye relief figures will differ from those of the manufacturer. This is because we measure the “usable” eye relief, while the manufacturers specify their usually-longer (but technically correct) “designed” eye relief.

    The eye lens of the eyepiece is normally recessed below the rubber eyeguard or rubber rim of the eyepiece to keep the lens from being scratched during use. An eyepiece might have a “designed” eye relief of 15mm (and the eye relief will truly measure 15mm from the eye lens to where the image forms). However, if the eye lens is recessed 3mm below the eye guard, the Ramsden Disk forms only 12mm above the eyepiece body (the 15mm “designed” eye relief, less the 3mm of eye relief made unusable by having the eye lens recessed into the body of the eyepiece). This “usable” eye relief of 12mm (measured from the rolled-down eyeguard – the closest point you can get your eye to the eye lens – to where the image forms) is the eye relief figure we would measure and list in this website.

    Why is it important to list the “usable” eye relief? For those people who don’t wear eyeglasses while observing, a few mm difference between the eye relief they expect from the manufacturer’s literature and the shorter eye relief they actually get in real life doesn’t mean a lot. They can simply move a little closer to the eyepiece to see the full field, and never realize that the eye relief is a little shorter than they expected. However, some people must wear eyeglasses while observing, because of severe astigmatism. These observers can’t move closer to the eyepiece if the eye relief is shorter than expected because their glasses get in the way. For these people, the real life “usable” eye relief is more important than the technically correct but sometimes not fully usable “designed” eye relief. We measure and list the actual usable eye relief so that people in the real world can pick the eyepieces that will work best for them.

    10mm @ 15x; 6mm @ 45x
    Exit Pupil:
    The circular image or beam of light formed by the eyepiece of a telescope. To take full advantage of a scope's light-gathering capacity, the diameter of an eyepiece exit pupil should be no larger than the 7mm diameter of your eye's dark-adapted pupil, so that all of the light collected by the telescope enters your eye. (The eyepiece exit pupil diameter is found by dividing the eyepiece focal length by the telescope focal ratio.) Your eye's ability to dilate declines with increasing age (to a dark-adapted pupil of about 5mm by age 50 or so). For those in this age group, eyepieces with exit pupils larger than their eyes can dilate to simply waste their telescope's light-gathering capacity, as some of the scope's light will fall on their iris instead of entering their eye.
    4mm @ 15x
    Twilight Factor:
    A number used to compare the effectiveness of binoculars or spotting scopes used in low light. The twilight factor is found by multiplying the size of the objective lens (in mm) by the magnification and then finding the square root of that result. The larger the twilight factor, the more detail you can see in low light. A twilight factor of 17 or better if usually required for reasonable low light use.
    This is the diameter of the light-gathering main mirror or objective lens of a telescope. In general, the larger the aperture, the better the resolution and the fainter the objects you can see.
    A binocular or spotting scope whose body is clad in rubber or polyurethane armor is said to be armored. Armor can be applied for looks, a better grip, noise-proofing, etc. An armored body does not guarantee that a binocular or spotting scope is waterproof, although most waterproof optics are armored.
    The weight of this product.
    43 oz., scope only
    Limited Lifetime
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    • Zoom eyepiece
    • Peep sight finder
    • Backpack carrying case
    • Cartop/tabletop tripod
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    Bushnell - Spacemaster Zoom Kit, 60mm, 15-45x zoom

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    Bushnell - Spacemaster Zoom Kit, 60mm, 15-45x zoomImage of the backpack carrying case.
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    Our Product #: 7552N
    Manufacturer Product #: 78-1818
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    The Spacemaster is “a long-standing favorite among birders,” according to a review in Audubon magazine, which stated, “For its combination of excellent optics, rugged construction, and reasonable price, it may be the best buy on the market” . . .

    . . . our 37th year