Hawke Endurance ED 20-60x85 telescope

OUR VERDICT: When a sharp image is obtained it remains so practically to the edge, and it’s very bright.

Hot off the production line, the new Hawke Endurance ED 85 mm scope arrived on my desk for review in mid-November. This telescope represents the second incarnation of this ED model, with the key differences being a larger objective coupled with a significant reduction in weight, while the Endurance range itself has undergone significant change since the launch of the original models back in 2006.

An 85 mm objective means increased light-gathering capacity and greater resolution compared to the previous 80 mm model. Naturally this scope is a little larger, but the magnesium alloy body has helped to bring the weight down from a shade over 2 kg to just under 1,800 g, including the zoom eyepiece. Rubber elements are restricted to coverings on the lens hood, the dual focusing knob and the lower part of the prism housing, and there is a lightweight tripod mount on a rotating collar which click-stops at a number of positions around the narrow waist of the telescope body. The centre of gravity is through the mount and I was pleased to discover the scope sat perfectly balanced on my tripod without tipping backwards or forwards.

You can remove the angled eyepiece if desired, as it just screws into the prism housing without locking. I had some initial concerns it might work loose while operating the zoom, but the deep thread forms a tight and solid connection and this did not happen during the testing period. The eyecup twists out and very loosely click-locks in four positions above the base setting. In the fully extended position, however, I was able to see the full field of view only when the magnification was on its lowest setting.

This scope employs a split dual focus knob, the main part of which provides the general focusing function. It was a little stiff initially, but appeared to loosen up with use, although I discovered it took a considerable number of rotations to adjust the focus over a large distance range. The smaller fine tuning part turns very easily and smoothly. It has a wide range of tolerance and I found it very effective in helping to obtain a sharper image at the high end of the magnification scale. I say sharper because beyond about 45x magnification the image begins to soften noticeably, although not to the extent that it becomes too difficult to discern areas of plumage detail on distant birds.

When a sharp image is obtained it remains so practically to the edge, there’s very little distortion and it’s bright – the big objective lens pulling in the light. I found the colour reproduction pleasingly close to natural, although the image softness at higher magnifications appears to ‘soften’ the colours, too. There is a reasonably low level of chromatic aberration and the image as a whole is highly acceptable, given the £599 price point. Accessories included are soft rubber lens covers and a stay-on case with an inner ‘sock’ which is designed to give added protection to the eyepiece. This model is certainly worthy of consideration if you are looking for a scope with a large diameter objective towards the more affordable end of the market.

Tech spec

Price: £599 (with zoom eyepiece)
Size: 385x100 mm (body only)
Weight: 1,580 g (body), 210 g (zoom eyepiece)
Field of view: approximately 35-17.5 m at 1,000 m
Close focus: 7 m
Gas-filled: yes
Waterproof: yes
Guarantee: 10 years