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Hawke Endurance ED 20-60×85 Spotting Scope Review

Pros: Crisp, high-resolution image, impressively bright and sharp across the field of view. Fast, accurate focussing thanks to dual focusing knobs. Tough magnesium-alloy body. Included stay on case functional and effective. Excellent optical quality at a very compelling price point.

Cons: Not many, at the price — as with most zoom eyepieces you get a slight “tunnel vision” effect at lower magnifications. Close-focus could be better, but is rarely a limiting factor when using a spotting scope.

Price: RRP €899 (GB£699) including 20-60x zoom eyepiece and stay-on case (NB. Currently on sale at the Birdwatch Ireland Online Shop for €750).

Rating: Highly Recommended

With the retirement of it’s Frontier line of spotting scopes, the Endurance ED 20-60×85 now sits at the top of Hawkes spotting scope range. It’s a stylish, well-built scope that delivers superb optical quality for the money — something Hawke has built a solid reputation on. It may not quite have the finesse of top-tier scopes, but it does the job and does it very well. In terms of the performance at this price point, the Endurance ED 20-60×85 would have to be on a very short short-list.

View the Hawke Endurance ED 20-60×85 Spotting Scope on the Hawke UK & Ireland website.

Buy the Hawke Enduarance ED 20-60×85 on Amazon UK / Amazon US.

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Hawke Endurance ED 20-60×85 Full Review

I’ve reviewed several binocular models from UK company Hawke Optics over the years, and have always been very impressed with the quality of the features and optics they pack in at any given price-point. I was also very impressed with the diminutive Endurance 50 12-36x travel scope I reviewed back in 2016.

Hawke has retired it’s Frontier line of scopes, so the Endurance ED now sits squarely at the top of  Hawke’s spotting scope range (NB. Hawke still offers both Frontier and Sapphire binoculars sitting above the Endurance in its binocular range).

How does Hawke’s top-of-the-range scope — the Endurance ED 20-60×85 stack up. Let’s take a look.

First Impressions

This full-size spotting scope arrives in a very attractive box, with a professional, aesthetically minimalist design. Of course, the packaging is hardly important. but I find the thought and attention to detail that goes into the packaging often hint at what you can expect when you open the box.

The Endurance ED scope doesn’t disappoint.

With its sleek, modern lines and contemporary two-tone green and charcoal livery, this is a scope that certainly looks the part. It’s not small: sporting an 85mm objective lens this was always going to be a sizeable instrument, and yet it doesn’t look or feel overly bulky or unwieldy.

Balance and handling

Weighing in at 1,810 grammes, this is no lightweight, but it is in the region you’d expect from a spotting scope with an 85mm objective that uses high-quality glass. Remember, while lightweight is good on the whole, high-quality optical glass is dense and heavy — so if a scope (or binoculars, camera lens, etc. for that matter) feels unusually light, it’s often better to walk away!

Mounting

The scope mounts to your tripod of choice (and bear in mind you’ll need a good sturdy tripod to hold a scope of this size steady) via a large mounting plate on a rotating collar attached to the scope body. The mounting plate seems has two separate screw threads to attach to the quick release plate of your tripod… so you can centre the scope’s centre of gravity depending on the head you’re using. Once mounted I found the scope felt perfectly balanced on a variety of different tripod heads and didn’t have a tendency to tip forward or backwards unduly.

The rotating collar is a handy feature on an angled scope like this one. It allows you to rotate the body so the eyepiece is angled towards you when viewing in an enclosed space, such as from a hide or through a car window, for example. Another useful feature is the integrated pull-out sunshade. While not unexpected in a scope like this, this one works well to shield the large objective lens from glare and, crucially, rain.

Focus and Zoom

Coarse and fine focus: Hawke Endurance EDAll of the knobs and dials on the scope (coarse and fine focus knobs on the top of the scope body, and zoom ring integrated into the eyepiece) turn smoothly and work as you’d expect. The focus knobs are covered in a ribbed rubber that provides plenty of grip and makes them very easy to turn. The one nearest the viewer is the coarse focus. This allows you to move quickly through the full focus range from a quoted close focus of c. 10m out to infinity. It rotates a with a little more resistance than the fine focus knob, which turns freely, and allows you to fine-tune focus for maximum resolution and detail at higher magnifications.

In real-world use, I found the close focus of the scope was nearer the 7-8m mark. That’s still substantially longer than the 4-5m range you get in top-tier scope in this configuration (interestingly the 16-48×65 version of the Endurance ED has a quoted close focus of 5m), but is roughly on a par with scopes at a similar price point.

In most situations, close focus is unlikely to be a limiting factor, as you’ll typically be using a scope over much longer distances. However, if you want to use your scope for detailed, close up views of things like wildflowers, insects or other relatively close subjects, or if you plan to do a lot of digiscoping (taking photographs through your scope) at close range this is something worth bearing in mind.

The zoom is controlled by rotating a quite narrow ring on the scope eyepiece. It is much narrower than on other scopes I’ve used and reminds me a bit of a typical binocular diopter adjustment ring. It works well, and the ribbed rubber coating means it’s easy to grip and turn, but the fact it is so narrow can make it tricky to find intuitively at first without looking up. You get used to it quickly though.

Eyepiece attachment and eye relief

20-60x Zoom Eyepiece for Hawke Endurance EDThe eyepiece attaches to the scope body via a screw thread, rather than the quick release bayonet mounts favoured in many other contemporary spotting scope models. It screws in smoothly and securely and showed no sign of working loose during the review period.

The eyepiece itself sports the aforementioned zoom ring, and a large, rubber-coated eye-cup that twists up and clicks into five possible positions (fully up, fully down and three intermediate stops).

Maximum eye-relief for glasses wearers is quoted as 20mm — which should be ample for most people who wear glasses.

Weatherproofing

It goes almost without saying that both the scope and eyepiece assembly of the Hawke Endurance ED are fully sealed and nitrogen purged, making both sections waterproof and impervious to internal fogging.

Optical Performance

I’ve always been impressed by the quality of the view through the various Hawke optics I’ve tried at any given price point. You tend to get a lot of “bang for your buck” with Hawke, with features and performance that tends to rival optics several rungs higher up the pricing ladder.

The Endurance ED 20-60×85 is no exception.

Image Brightness, Resolution and Colour

Hawke scope sunshade

The image through the Endurance ED 20-60×85 is bright and sharp thanks to the large 85mm objective lens, high-quality low dispersion ED glass elements and the high-tech, multi-layered, high-transmission and anti-reflective coatings applied to all air-to-glass surfaces.

Hawke also hasn’t skimped when it comes to prism coatings in the angled body — using dielectric mirror coatings to maximise light transmission through the prism system. Dielectric mirror coatings reflect significantly more light than the silver mirror coatings that are usually used in scopes at this price point, and this no doubt contributes to the brightness of the image, particularly at lower magnifications.

Resolution is also impressive. At lower magnifications the image sings with crisp, high contrast detail, showing every nuance of your subject, while colours appear vibrant and neutral, with no noticeable colour cast. As you crank up the zoom the view remains impressively bright, with very little fall off in detail up to about 45-50x. Beyond 50x image quality does degrade somewhat, but to nowhere near the degree I was expecting. In good conditions, it remains acceptably bright and very usable right up to 60x.

Use of ED glass in the optical system means that chromatic aberration (colour fringing) is very well controlled. You can find it if you look really hard at the field edges looking at very high-contrast scenes, but in normal use you never notice it.

Field of view

Hawke Endurance ED Spotting ScopeField of view is an area where most zoom spotting scopes stumble. Zoom eyepieces (with a very few notable exceptions) can rarely rival the view through a comparable quality fixed wide-angle eyepiece… and yet almost all of the demand is for zooms in the 20-60x range.

Zooms inevitably introduce compromises in terms of image quality in exchange for convenience. One of the biggest of those compromises relates to the field of view. Figures quoted for the field of view of this 20-60x Hawke eyepiece (from 35-17.5m/1000m) are roughly comparable to those of other scopes in this price range. On the plus side for the Hawke is the fact that the image stays sharp across pretty much the entire field of view, with only very minimal softening right out at the field edge.

Another compromise inherent in zoom lenses is a “tunnel vision” effect. You see a wide black border surrounding the image,  reminiscent of looking through a tunnel, at lower magnifications. As you zoom in the border gets narrower, as if you’re moving towards the tunnel opening. While this does happen with the Hawke eyepiece, it’s nowhere near as pronounces as on some other scopes I’ve used, and in fact you’ll probably only notice it if you switch to the Hawke from a fixed wide-angle eyepiece or a top-tier wide-angle zoom.

Hawke also offers a fixed wide-angle 33x eyepiece as an optional accessory for this scope.

Accessories

The Hawke Endurance ED 20-60×85 comes with the 20-60x eyepiece, lens covers, a microfibre cleaning cloth and, notably, includes a cordura-style stay-on case to protect the scope both in transit, and, crucially, while in use out in the field. I’d describe the cover as functional, rather than stylish, and it doesn’t really echo the snazzy modern livery of the scope, but it does have flaps and openings in all the right places, protects the scope well, and doesn’t get in the way while you’re using it.

Warranty

The Hawke Endurance ED 20-60×85 spotting scope is covered by Hawke’s outstanding Worldwide No-Fault Lifetime Warranty. This basically means the company will repair or replace your Hawke scope should it get damaged, regardless of how it happened or who’s fault it was, for life.

That’s about the best warranty you’ll find anywhere and says a lot about Hawke’s confidence in and commitment to their products. You can find more details of the warranty on the Hawke website here.

Conclusion

During the review period, I’ve put the Hawke Endurance ED 20-60×85 through its paces in a wide variety of wildlife observation scenarios spanning different habitats and a range of weather conditions. The scope performed admirably across the board — delivering bright, detailed views and generally delivering the goods, and coping well with everything the challenging Irish climate managed to throw its way.

Only when conditions became marginal, and light levels plummeted did I find myself wishing I had my main scope with me — and that only happened occasionally. From viewing Fin and Humpback Whales in fading evening light off the West Cork coast to scanning estuaries for waders, to checking distant hillsides for soaring raptors the Hawke worked beautifully.

If you’re looking for a mid-priced scope that sports a host of high-end features and delivers superb performance for the money the Hawke Endurance ED 20-60×85 deserves to be on your shortlist.

Buy the Hawke Enduarance ED 20-60×85 on Amazon UK / Amazon US.

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Vital Statistics

Taken from the Hawke UK website:

Power: 20-60×
Objective Diameter: 85mm
Lens Coating: Fully Multi-Coated
Field of View: m @1000m/ft @1000yds 35 – 17.5m/105 – 52.5ft
Close Focus: 10m / 32.8ft
Eye Relief: 20mm / 0.8″
Length: 435mm / 17.1″
Weight: 1810g / 63.8oz
Nitrogen Purged – Waterproof and Fog Proof.

Acknowledgements

I’d like to thank Hawke for submitting the Endurance ED 20-60×85 spotting scope for review on Ireland’s Wildlife.

NB. Ireland’s Wildlife has no specific affiliation to any optics or gear manufacturer. All reviews on the site are completely independent and objective and carried out in accordance with our terms and conditions . If you’re an optics or gear manufacturer and would like to submit your product for review on the site please drop us a line using the contact form and we can take things from there.

1 comment

  • Liam Butler

    Thanks Calvin. I’m really interested in viewing and photographing birds in my Garden. Have always been interested in photography but this crazy year with shutdowns has given me a real interest in watching birds in my garden. Have used a pretty cheap scope with my phone attached but was drawn to this as it also has an attachment for a DSLR. ! I know you did not review this accessory but would be very interested if you had any thoughts on it or any other equipment I could combine my interest in photography with my new found love of Bird watching !

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