MeoPro HD 80 Spotting Scope: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Meopta MeoPro HD 80
MeoPro HD 80 spotting scope from Meopta. Photo provided by Meopta.

This report covers:

  • Otho is interested
  • Attaching my iPhone to the spotting scope
  • Oh-oh!
  • Otho needed the Meopta
  • Fix the problem
  • Stable tripod!
  • How well does it work?

This is a continuation of my report on the MeoPro HD 80 spotting scope from Meopta. I have now purchased this scope, so it’s mine to use from now on. Every time I look at it, I see it for the first time. It’s like being at a party and seeing the prettiest girl there and envying the lucky guy who gets to go home with her — then realizing she’s with you!

Last time I told you about using the scope at the range for the first time. I mentioned it was possible to attach a smart phone to the scope so you could view your targets even larger, because the phone has a zoom capability that’s separate from the spotting scope. Today I want to tell you how that went.

Otho is interested

One thing that last test did was raise some interest in my shooting buddy, Otho. He’s a troglodyte when it comes to cell phones. Someone tried to give him a smart phone and he claimed it was smarter than him. Like many of us who now get senior discounts, Otho doesn’t like technology that’s made for 20-somethings. But the idea of seeing targets that are far away does appeal to him. Finally — someone came up with a good reason to put a camera into a phone!

I told him I had an old smart phone that is no longer active, and I would gladly donate it to the cause if he could make it work. So, he watched how I attached the phone to the spotting scope.

Attaching my iPhone to the spotting scope

Meopta sent an “adaptor” which is a fitted rubber cup that goes over the scope’s 57mm eyepiece. So far, so good, because there are not a lot of smart phone adaptors for scopes with 57mm eyepiece  lenses. Make that none! I guess that’s because if your eyepiece is that large, they (the people making cell phone adaptors) probably figure you work for NASA and don’t need their help!

Meopta adaptor
The Meopta adaptor (left) is a rubber cup that fits over the scope’s eyepiece. The paddle attached to it with JB Weld residue from the failed first experiment, is glued to the back of a smart phone case (right) to hold the phone. Not the strongest arrangement — especially when I own a large phone that weighs a lot!

I attached the adaptor to an iPhone case and it seemed to work well. When I zoomed in on my target at 100 yards I couldn’t believe how easy it was to see! I still have problems from my repaired retina, so being able to look at the target with both eyes is a plus. Also, as a writer I want to take pictures of targets through this scope for articles I write. Often it is impossible to walk down to the 200-yard berm to retrieve a target, but with this I can get there from my shooting bench! That’s a big reason to get it.

I took a preliminary photo of the target at 100 yards prior to shooting and, given what happened next, I’m glad I did. The image isn’t as sharp as it could be because I didn’t spend any time getting it. I was just setting things up — or so I thought.

Meopta target
This is the picture I took through the spotting scope. Please forgive the blurriness. I was only seeing if the scope was aligned. I did plan to refine the focus later. For reference, the central square is about one inch across.

MeoPro second 200-yard group
This is a 200-yard target that’s twice the size of the 100-yard target shown above. My goal this day was to show a photo of a group shot from 200 yards away, taken through the spotting scope.

Oh-oh!

After taking that first image I needed to get something, so I slid my chair back and stood up. When I did, my shoulder hit the bottom of the phone and broke the JB Weld bond, dropping the phone onto the cement. Fortunately it was protected by the case and landed case side down! But the test was over for that day. That’s why you can see the JB Weld residue in the first picture.

Otho needed the Meopta

Later in the shooting session, Otho found he could not see the bullets holes from his .221 Fireball in the bull at 200 yards, so he asked me to take a look. I counted them, told him where they were and also saw the larger 7.62X39mm holes he had shot from another rifle. I could see the difference in the size of the holes left by each bullet at 200 yards! If that isn’t a ringing endorsement of the MeoPro HD 80, I don’t know what is!

Meopta Otho
Otho uses the MeoPro HD80. He can’t see the bullet holes through his spotting scope.

Fix the problem

To fix the problem I needed to attach the phone case to the adaptor more securely. The old glue was carefully scraped off both parts, down to bare plastic.

I thought about small screws that would be the most secure way to attach the two, but there are some clearance issues I didn’t want to deal with. Instead I found a Permatex epoxy made especially for plastic. Using a Dremel tool and a dental burr, I made numerous divots in both the back of the adaptor paddle and the back of the phone case — the two places that would be glued together. Then I mixed the epoxy and applied it to both pieces. The phone had to be installed in the casefor this to properly align the camera lens with the small opening in the adaptor. Fortunately the epoxy set up in 5 minutes. Then I allowed it to cure for 24 hours.

The other thing is I have to do to make this work is take any pictures in one go, then remove the phone from the scope. If I had done that, the phone wouldn’t have broken the glue bond the first time.

Meopta remounted
This is what the camera looks like when it’s properly mounted. The scope is rotated to the side so the camera hangs straight down. That increases the shear strength of the epoxy bond.

Stable tripod!

I spent real money on the spotting scope, I sure as heck won’t mount it on a ten-dollar tripod! That would be like putting a mass-produced airgun barrel on a 10-meter target rifle!

I used a major tripod made for a large medium format camera. It’s the one I used for my Mamiya RB67 6X7 camera years ago. That’s a camera that’s so large some guys put wheels on them and tow them behind their cars (that’s a joke — for all you non-camera guys). The point is — NO VIBRATION! A perfect scope like this would be ruined if it vibrated when you looked through it — yet I see guys at the range all the time using tripods they got for free when they spent $100 at a camera store. Of course the scopes they have aren’t any better!

How well does it work?

That’s a question that’s going to have to wait until next time. The goal is to put several holes close to each other in paper a long way away and take their picture through this spotting scope. All I have to do now is find something to make those holes.

37 thoughts on “MeoPro HD 80 Spotting Scope: Part 3

  1. BB
    I say good job on attaching the phone case to the cup with the epoxy. If it works and holds up why not.

    And the phone with its magnification is a nice feature to have added into the mix.

    And there are apps that you can get on your phone that adds on screen focus and exposure by touching the screen. Photo 360 is one. But if you go to your app store on your phone you can get different ones to suit your purpose. You should check them out.

    But it’s pretty cool to be able to stand back from the phone screen and anyone close by can see what you would only see if the phone camera wasn’t attached.

    I for sure like my Iscope phone adapter on my Marauder and Talon SS.

    Oh and you know you can also hit the video record button with your spotting scope and pan your shooting area. Maybe you can link a short video in on your next report. I would like it just to maybe see the shooting lanes or range you go to.


    • GF1,

      If I could think of an interesting thing to video I would, but shooting at paper is boring. The scope would remain still because it isn’t attached to the rifle, but I can’t blow things up at my range.

      I will think about it.

      B.B.



      • BB
        I just read down farther.

        Chris has a good idea. Point the spotting scope at the target and do 5 shots or something one right after another while your phone is taking a video from the spotting scope.

        I would like to see that.


      • Hi Tom,
        I hope linking to another blog is okay: Ted’s Holdover has some great examples of point of view video through the rifle scope and some gadgets that make it it easier. I’m not sure the kind of adapter he uses will mount to a 57mm eyepiece, but it manages my 1.25″ telescope eyepieces with room to spare, and I think it’s speced to 2”.

        https://youtu.be/XQ11oVUjbR0

        https://youtu.be/BVWMroUgrJI

        If I remember right, recent versions of iOS allow moderate slow motion video: Ted used a compact camera to follow pellets to the target.

        With your phone mounted on the rifle scope, you can use camera zoom to help aim while shooting… that might help while you recover from your retina issue.


  2. BB,
    I’m afraid it was a Mamiya RB67, not a Minolta.
    Finally! I can say I once knew something BB had forgot:):);)
    A fine camera, by the way, nearly the same size and weight of your former armored vehicle. I used to have one too and referred to it as “the camera with a palpable recoil;););)
    David


  3. B.B.,

    Very nice and interesting. Between you and Gunfun1, your testing, reports and photo’s might take on a whole new look, not to mention the video options. It would be nice see a video of 8 shots or so fired in rather rapid succession. Watch it “live” so to speak.

    Always nice to see you out at the range. I really feel for ol’ Otho there as he looks like he is in the middle of a full melt-down, (soaked shirt). Or, he poured some water on to stay cool. I imagine that you down South laugh at us Northerners about not being able to take the heat, just as we marvel at you all thinking 40 degrees is cold and winter like. As you say “you can have it” about our snow, I say the same on the heat. Though it will be mid 90’s the next few days with heat indexes around 105. I will say though, you all have had some really strange weather the past few years.

    Chris


  4. G’day BB
    Is the Meopta adaptor permanently glued to the smart phone case? If so, some Velcro might be substituted to be able to remove the phone case from the adaptor.
    Cheers Bob


  5. B.B.,

    Glad to see this review, as it will be helpful to anyone trying to find a great scope for the least amount of money. Sounds like a best buy.
    Also glad that you’ve tried your hand at digiscoping, or afocal photography with a digital recording device. There are other modes of photography which may be used with telescopes, but digiscoping is the only one which works with phone cameras. Your comments about needing a stable tripod are spot-on. While obtaining good focus is obviously important, vibration damping is just as critical and is usually more challenging. Wanted to pass along a tip. To obtain the most highly resolved pics, you should use either a remote shutter release or use the camera’s delayed release timer so that you are not touching the camera at the moment of image capture. Do not touch the entire system for two seconds prior to shutter release to allow any persistent resonance to dissipate.
    If you must touch the camera’s screen to release the shutter, or if your support is less than rock-stable, then there are things that can be done to minimize vibration. Hang a sand bag off the tripod’s ballast hook. You can also drape a blanket or comforter over the optical tube assembly, or even press a steady hand lightly against the optical tube in a pinch. And there are vibration-reducing pads which may be placed underneath the tripod’s feet (available from astro-equipment suppliers like Orion).
    Also be aware of any external vibration sources such as trucks rumbling over nearby roadways. Wind will also induce vibration. Digiscoping from boardwalks or other elevated structures can be particularly difficult.
    I did all this for a couple of years before switching to conventional supertelephoto lenses, such as the Canon 500 f/4 L IS. I was photographing birds, and became frustrated with the telescope’s poor performance on action shots. Was missing too much good stuff.
    Thanks for digging into this. Very useful info for serious shooters.


    • Walt,

      I use the shutter delay. I’m used to controlling vibration from my film camera days when ISOs were slower. My iPhone has a 3-second delay that works great.

      So — you’re the guy with the white Cannon lens that costs as much as a new car! My buddy, Mac, used stuff like that at the National Archives. I’m just a prosumer-level guy — a writer without a photographer.

      B.B.


      • B.B.
        If you are like me, you would probably prefer a remote shutter release over using the shutter delay. Fortunately Apple provided one with your iPhone. The earbuds that came with the phone will function as a remote shutter release. Just plug the earbuds into the phone, set up your picture as normal, then use the volume button on the earbuds as the shutter release. Works great and it is already included with the phone.
        Tom


  6. BTW, your test image isn’t bad at all considering that you didn’t fuss with the focus. The large focusing ring on the Meopta’s tube should make that fairly easy.


  7. From the sweat drenching Otho it looks to be about as hot and humid in Texas as it is here in Arkansas. I really should look into getting a spotting scope, but as usual I want more toys than I have money.


  8. B.B.

    Thanks for an unexpected report. If the MeoPro is so good, why do you need the extra enhancement of the camera?
    The really cool video’s on U-Tube are the super slow motion ones where you can actually see the pellets flight. I guess you need a super slow motion camera. Would 1000 fps be slow enough?

    -Y


    • Yogi,

      I don’t need the phone, except to take pictures for my writing.

      Yes, 1000 frames per second is not slow enough to see much. Those videos are being shot at 40,000 f.p.s.

      We used a 1000 frame camera on American Airgunner. I slowed it down so you could see the pellet pass by, but no detail.

      B.B.



  9. BB
    Got a question. A little while back the seal in the Brodax that seals the co2 cartridge started getting flattened out and leaking. I made one out of some flat material that is the same hardness as black o-rings. It lasted for about 5 cartridge then it started tearing up.

    I have some seals comming from Crosman that I believe will work.

    But the question is. Do you think a leather seal would work if I make one? Have they ever used leather seals to seal co2 cartridges in the older days?



      • BB
        Probably true.

        But I did check the mail on the way to work and I did get the seals from Crosman today. They look like they will work. But I’ll have to wait till I get home tonight to put one in to see. Plus got to get some more co2 cartridges tomorrow. So won’t know for sure till tomorrow night if it seals right.


        • GF1,

          Back in, 33.95’s, M-rod, 70 yards:
          1) 8/8=2 9/16, 7/8=1 1/4
          2) 8/8= 2 3/8, 7/8= 1 7/16
          3) 3 1/8
          4) 8/8= 2 3/8, 7/8= 1 9/16
          5) 1 7/16
          6) 2 1/16

          100 yards:
          1) 8/8=3 3/4, 7/8= 1 5/8
          2) 8/8= 2 3/8, 7/8= 1 7/16
          3) 3 5/16

          That is just for anyone wondering what an average shooter can do. I still have fliers for no obvious reason. Try really hard and keep everything the same,… and bam!,…. one heads off in a new direction, way off, for no seemingly reason at all.

          As for you GF,…. do you think that the (hammer) and/or the (striker) can move out of adjustment with repeated firings? I think I remember the (striker) had a set screw at one time, but they did away with it. I think the hole is still there, just not tapped.

          What ya’ think?


          • Chris USA
            You got some good groups in there today.

            And on the adjustment changing on the Marauder. You know I have had a gen1&2 Marauder rifle in each caliber that’s made. A couple 1720T’s a Marauder pistol and they all adjust the same way as far as the striker and striker spring goes.

            I have not had them lose adjustment from how I set them. Not even a little bit.

            But there is one thing that I do know happens and it will cause problems. If the striker spring pressure is adjusted all the way in for maximum spring pressure it will like click off the spring coil. So if you keep turning the adjuster can you can feel it come back on the coil and pressurize then come off again. It will keep repeating that if you keep turning the adjuster.

            I go to where it clicks off the coil then feel the coil pressure again. But I back off one turn at that point. Then you don’t have the variation of the adjuster not being in the threads.


            • GF1,

              Very good thought. I remember thinking the same when I was setting it up. From my notes, it should be 6 1/2. At 7, it comes out of the threads like you are talking about. I may try 6. I will at least verify what the striker and hammer are set at -vs- what my notes say.

              Something to play with tomorrow. Thanks.



  10. Impressive technology but what exactly is it for? Attaching a camera to a rifle scope to see the sight picture is educational and amazing, but what do you get with a camera attached to the spotting scope? Is it a permanent record of shots taken? Is it seeing a movie of your shots as they unfold on the target? Or is it to save the trouble of walking down to the target and marking it?

    Gunfun1, I remember your mentioning the Talon but I didn’t see the video. The videos of your laser were as much as I had time for. Odd that a laser that you had bought before was so much weaker in a second edition. That’s like when I ordered two copies of a UTG flashlight from PA with a self-defense strobe function. One had the strobe and one did not.

    ChrisUSA, thank you for your comments. But I think you would reserve judgment on my expertise if you saw me at the range. With my head full of visions of lasers, I couldn’t even get my green pistol laser to show up on the 7 yard target. And as an additional indignity, the laser came flying off the gun after one shot because it was not attached properly. Well, I have been on the blog for 10 years which allows you to cover a great quantity of ground. Otherwise, it is amazing what you can pick up on the internet and browsing gun magazines.

    Since you mention it, here is a recent discovery that is fascinating to me. One fateful day, I came across Jack Dempsey’s manual of boxing which was a revelation to me. He is long before my time, and I only knew of him as a name with a big punch. His defeat by the technician Gene Tunney made me think that he was a crude slugger. Nothing could be further from the truth. The book is almost 300 pages and reads like a work of scholarship on every detail of boxing technique. Compare that to the illiterate comments you hear from modern fighters. Tunney himself claimed that Dempsey was the most intelligent fighter he ever met. It turns out that Dempsey’s fabled power was not just a natural gift but the result of very complex technique, as sophisticated as anything I have seen in any martial arts style. How many punches does one see in a lifetime in movies or sporting events? The mechanics described by Dempsey are completely different and frighteningly powerful. Dempsey also personally invented the bob and weave defense that is now universal. It would be fair to say that he largely invented modern boxing. And he himself says that at the time of writing in 1950, the technical level of boxing was a pale shadow of what it used to be because of commercialism, and boxing was much bigger in 1950 than it is today.

    Anyway, I have worked with this treasure over the years and derived great satisfaction from hitting the bag, but there was one small detail missing. Somewhere in the middle of the book, Dempsey says that when landing a punch, you need to tense your arm all the way up to the shoulder. He writes: “Tense your arm steel hard up to the shoulder with a ferocious grabbing snap.” I’ve never heard of this anywhere, and it is very difficult to coordinate. With all of his footwork and body movement, I just let this last point slide.

    But recently, I’ve been using a much heavier bag than before and found that I had a persistent headache, so I revisited this last detail. Dempsey’s rationale for tensing the arm is that it is “like chambering a bullet and forcing the pressure to go forward into the target rather than into you.” I figured that this rebounding effect was causing my headaches. So, I finally revisited the technique and got it to work. Now I can punch like Jack Dempsey! At least in a mini-me sort of way. It goes to show that there is very little that is unrelated to shooting in one form or another. With your Jack Dempsey punch you will never be unarmed.

    Matt61


    • Matt61
      Yep it is strange that one of the same thing is so much different. Maybe the government policy it some restrictions on how much power a laser can be for sale to the general public. And maybe the same with your flash light.

      And I did post the video of my Talon SS yesterday so you could see it.

      And I don’t know if anybody caught it on the Talon SS laser video of the long distance shot. But the shot cycle sure shows up different on video between the Talon SS and the .25 Marauder.


      • Didn’t get to finish my reply. Someone was needing something and had to go.

        But the shot cycle shows a quick upward bump in a sense then comes back down on the target with the Marauder long distance shot. The Talon SS is a upward bump but not as much as the Marauder then comes back down on the target. The Talon SS shows a slight blurred side to side vibration in the video that is right after the barrel lifts and before it settles back down.

        The camera on a gun scope sure shows alot if you really pay attention.


    • Matt 61
      Wow, lots of good stuff on Dempsey. Can you please tell me the title of the book and the date. There are several books listed under his name, including one called “How to fight Tough” about his training program for Coastguardsmen in WW2 when he was a lieutenant.

      Television really ruined boxing because kids were rushed along too fast. I go with Ali on being the best. Great talent, lightning speed, Angelo D as trainer and he listened to old time greats like Archie Moore. I saw most of his fights and knew someone in Liston’s corner. Who do u like?
      Fido3030


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