From Randy H. in Bismarck, ND:
This Vortex Diamondback 20-60x80 Straight Spotting Scope is a great value if you're like me and cannot justify having huge money tied up in a scope.
I compared this scope side by side with a friends old Leupold Sequoia, same size. In my opinion, while very close, I think the Leupold has slightly better glass and slightly finer zoom. It was only noticeable at full zoom and viewing at great distance. I imagine that all the scopes in this price point are going to be similar for the most part so I'm satisfied with the quality on my Vortex Diamondback.
Where the Vortex Diamondback excels for me is the functionality. This scope is more centered on the pan head, making it noticeably more stable and smoother when finding and following your target. Maybe all the new ones are centered better now but my buddy's Leupold is very front heavy which is maybe not as bad with a high quality tripod and head but is still a stability factor in my opinion.
The eyepiece on the Vortex Diamondback is very functional also. The zoom is independent to the eyepiece so if you are digiscoping with your phone or camera, this eyepiece works great. You can zoom in and out and the camera stays in the same position. The eyepiece is also rigid enough to hold my phone horizontally if I choose. With the Leupold, the weight of my phone would turn the eyepiece and begin zooming in.
The tripod I went with was a Vanguard Abeo 283AV Aluminum Tripod Kit that the great folks at Eagle Optics packaged together for me. Most people already know this I suppose, but I now appreciate the tremendous importance of having a quality tripod. The 283 is very stable and the 114 pan head is great.
I am very satisfied with both the scope and tripod and I was very happy with Eagle Optics for their friendly service and fast processing and shipping. While the Vortex Diamondback is a lower price point scope, it has a great warranty, it has great functionality and fits my application well. Thanks Eagle Optics!