Hawke Endurance ED 15-45x60 spotting scope
Managing to distribute a handful to the trade just before lockdown, Hawke has introduced two new Endurance ED compact spotting scopes to the market for 2020. Now widely available, the 13-39x50 and 15-45x60 have been designed with portability as a key feature, alongside image quality and ease of use.
The slightly larger of the two models, with its higher magnification providing the greatest reach, was for me, the obvious choice for field testing and it did not disappoint. The optics are housed inside a lightweight, high-impact polycarbonate material and the total mass of 895 g is little more than some binoculars at the higher end of the weight range. At 830 g, the smaller, 50 mm model weighs even less. This means a light tripod can be used to support it, adding to the travel theme.
Textured rubber covers the underside of the prism housing and the area around the interface with the eyepiece, which is a locking screw-fit as opposed to bayonet-fitting. Eyepieces are designed to be interchangeable and the 15-45x zoom supplied has a grippy rubber circumferential ring, facilitating a positive, smooth-turning adjustment through the magnification range.
The eyepiece incorporates a twist-out, flat rubber-covered eye-cup, which can be extended to any required position, loosely click-locking only at its full extent. This delivers a maximum eye relief of 20 mm, at which I was pleased to still be able to see the full field of view at the lower end of the magnification range, but it was reduced by about one-third on the maximum magnification.
I found the 60:40 split 'fast:fine' dual-focusing wheel very smooth turning and very responsive. It took minimal turning of the 'fast' element to focus on subjects between distances of 10 m and 1,000 m, but outside this range the knob required considerably more turning. I also discovered I could use the fast focusing to obtain a sharp image on full magnification without the need to apply the fine-tuning element, although this 'tweaking' option is clearly still there if needed.
Delving into the optical specification of this scope reveals the integration of ED glass, used to reduce the level of chromatic aberration and to improve clarity and image sharpness. All lenses are fully multicoated and the prisms have dielectric coatings to increase reflectivity. There are, of course, different grades of ED glass, but that which is employed in this model appears to serve it well.
I found the colour rendition to be close to neutral, while the subject colours were bright and natural, although contrast at the higher end of the magnification scale appeared to decrease slightly. Nevertheless, I was able to appreciate some of the subtle tonal differences between mantle colours of individual large gulls on the flooded pools of one of my local construction sites.
There was a slight loss of definition toward the edges of the field, and to my eyes, the image appeared to be fractionally brighter away from the very centre of the field, although this was largely unnoticeable.
Seemingly good value for the price, the Endurance ED compacts come complete with soft rubber lens covers and a stay-on, protective case with carry strap. The material covering the focus wheels cannot be pinned back and secured and it can spring up and flap a little, obstructing operation if you customarily use your left hand to adjust the focus while operating the tripod's pan handle with the right hand. This is, however, a minor point and can be rectified with a little ingenuity and 'customisation'.
- Price: £499
- Size: 308x112 mm
- Weight: 895 g
- Field of view: 49-26 m at 1,000 m
- Light transmission: not available
- Close focus: 2.5 m
- Gas-filled: yes
- Waterproof: yes
- Guarantee: Limited lifetime warranty
+ Can see full field of view at lower end of magnification range
+ Colours bright and natural
- Contrast at higher end of magnification scale appeared to decrease slightly