Zeiss Diascope 65 FL
After scouring the internet for a decent review of the Diascope 65 and finding nothing, we were excited to get out and put it to the test. There are 3 eyepiece options: 15-45x, 15-56x, and a fixed 30x. We chose the 15-56x because it offered the best zoom range and an generous field of view.
Optically the Diascope performs extremely well is some areas and struggles in other areas. When it comes to definition in the center of the scope it is amazingly sharp and defined. Even out to 56x the detail in the center of the image was as good as any other scope we’ve looked through. Using our Tinesup digiscoping set-up we were able to get some amazingly sharp pictures through this scope. Unfortunately the sharpness was only in the middle of the scope and as you moved closer to the edge of the image the clarity went downhill quickly. Basically the outer 20% of the field of view was noticeably less defined than the center of the scope.
Overall the colors looked okay and had decent contrast when looking into the shadows. There was a noticeable blue/green hue that seemed to help with contrast but in low light darkened the image slightly.
Eye relief was generous at the lower 15x and the max 56x but declined a lot in the middle ranges of 25-40x. It still offered a full FOV but cut it pretty close on the middle ranges. The eyepiece is the nicest we’ve seen with a super smooth zoom control, but it is quite large and does add to the overall bulk of the scope.
The focus control is very unique and does take some getting use to. Zeiss combined the fine/course or micro/macro control into one hybrid knob. Basically the top 270 degrees of the wheel is fine focus which is smooth, slow and precise. Once you hit the edge of that 270 range the tension increases substantially and the focus speed is becomes 5 times faster. Then returning to the 270 top range goes back to fine focus again. While it is nice to have only one knob to focus with it was frustrating and difficult to adapt to initially. After using it for a while it became a little easier and more intuitive but there is definitely a learning curve with this focus wheel.
The objective lens cap is similar to a standard camera lens cap and is far from dust proof. The eyepiece lens cap offers more dust protection but falls off easily. Both are easy to remove with gloves, which is their only redeeming quality.
This scope does have an amazing zoom range of 15-56x and a nice wide FOV at lower magnifications. The image definition is sharp and crisp in the center of the scope but pretty bad on the edges. It is the most affordable of the big three (Swarovski, Leica, Zeiss). I would buy this scope if I was looking for great image detail for spotting at long distance but didn't want to pay the price of the Leica or Swaro.