Video Product Review: Zeiss Victory Harpia Spotting Scope
This spotting scope was given its’ name because of the Harpy Eagle, which is one of the most powerful raptors. This name is very unique as well as fitting for this new super premium spotting scope, one of the most powerful optics hitting the market in 2018. Zeiss has done way more than increase the size of the objective lens on this unit. It has launched something that is an entirely new way of thinking when it comes to spotting scope design and output.
The most exciting thing about this new scope is that the zoom is no longer in the eyepiece. Since the inception of spotting scopes, the zoom had always been controlled in the eyepiece on a variable range spotting scope. At low magnification, you were able to get the greatest amount of light transfer through the scope and into your eye. However, increasing the magnification quickly reduced the amount of light. At low light when the animals are most active, your highest magnifications were reduced until more light became available.
The new design of the Harpia spotter puts the zoom within the objective body of the scope, which gives you a wider angle throughout the zoom ratio, but more importantly allows for more light to pass through. This provides a constant 72-degree angle of vision throughout the zoom process. You just have to see the difference to believe it. Because these adjustments are on the body, it also makes your focus and zoom rings right at your fingertips, where they belong at all times.
There will be two different models of these scopes available for 2018. The Harpia 85 will have an 85mm objective and will weigh in at 4.75 lbs., while the Harpia 95 will weigh in at 5.06 lbs., so definitely not a lightweight backpacking setup. The edge-to-edge clarity and color fidelity are as good as you can get. The 3-time magnification zoom is going to give you a 22-65 magnification with the 85mm objective and a whopping 23-70 magnification with the 95mm objective.
Since this is a super-premium spotting scope, Zeiss has put the best of all glass as well as coatings which include their highest grade of Schott Fluoride lenses, ZEISS HT (high transmission) glass, T* light transmission lens coatings and LotuTec protective coatings. The ZEISS Victory Harpia spotting scopes are “Made in Germany” and are available as an angled version only.
Some additional features were well thought out with this launch, including that the baseplate is form-fitted to match up with the standard Manfrotto head mounts; however, they are also drilled and tapped to accommodate your standard 3/8” screw-in adapter if this type isn’t what you use.
Since you have a great piece of glass, Zeiss is also launching several accessories to adapt your mirrorless cameras to this scope for high quality photos and video. They will also have smart phone adapters as well. You can also rest assured that your Harpia is covered by Zeiss’s limited lifetime transferable warranty and 5-year no fault policy.
My name is Dan Kidder, I am Managing Editor of Sportsman's News Magazine. I am a former Marine who served with the Fleet Anti Terrorism Security Team Company during Operation Desert Storm. Prior to moving to Utah, I served as communications director for Georgia Congressman Mac Collins in his Washington, DC office. I am the President and CEO of On Target Defensive Training, offering firearms and unarmed combat courses to civilians and law enforcement. My students have included federal agents of the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, Border Patrol, ICE, local and state law enforcement, national celebrities, and the general public. My beat at Sportsman's News includes tactical firearms, personal protection, survival, first aid, camping, and hiking.