Check Today’s PricePros – Best-in-class image quality – Includes two eyepieces for varying needs – Amazing light gathering capability Cons – Very pricy investment – Included tripod is decent, but not as good as it could be – Eye relief is a bit on the short side, especially at maximum zoom
Welcome to my review of the Leupold Kenai SX2 HD Angled Spotting Scope Kit. Leupold is known for best-in-class optics, so I was definitely overjoyed to get my hands on the latest Kenai spotting scope to try it out. Let’s take a look and see how this kit stacks up against the rest of the field of spotting scopes.
This model features a large 80mm objective lens and angled eyepieces (but it’s also available with straight eyepieces). I say “eyepieces” because this puppy is actually two spotting scopes in one: you get a 30X eyepiece for fixed magnification, as well as a 25X to 60X eyepiece for variable zoom. Eye relief with the variable zoom eyepiece ranges from 17.4mm to 17.9mm, which may be a bit short for use with eyeglasses. The 30X eyepiece offers 18.5mm eye relief. Close focus distance is exceptional, allowing you to zoom in on items as near as 11.8 feet away. The spotting scope is 14 inches long, and weighs 3.65 pounds.
What Comes in the Box?
With this kit, you’re loaded for bear. You get everything you could possibly need, including the following:
- The Leupold Kenai SX2 spotting scope itself
- A 30X eyepiece
- A 20X-60X eyepiece
- Lens caps
- A hard carrying case
- A soft carrying case
- A pan-head tripod
- A cleaning cloth
- The instruction manual
Both cases are excellent quality, helping to keep your investment safe and secure. The tripod is decent, and better quality than most included tripods, but still has some quality control issues. The first one I received wouldn’t lock the legs in place, so I had to contact Leupold for a replacement.
How Powerful Is the Magnification?
Since you get two eyepieces, the answer here is “it depends.” You get a 30X eyepiece for fixed, wide-angle usage, as well as a 25X to 60X variable zoom eyepiece for use when you really want to get up close and personal. Color reproduction is spot on, without even a hint of chromatic aberration using either eyepiece, and the image quality is crisp and full of contrast.
The field of view with the 25-60 eyepiece is quite good, ranging from 52 feet (at 1,000 yards) with maximum magnification to 94 feet using 20X zoom. Through the 30X eyepiece, you’ll enjoy a 125.7 foot field of view from 1,000 yards.
How Easy is the Kenai SX2 to Use?
This spotting scope provides the magnification wheel on the eyepiece, and the focus knob on the upper forward edge of the scope’s “shoulder.” Both are quite easy to use, offering plenty of knurling for use when your hands are slippery or you’re wearing gloves. The integrated tripod ring rotates, so you can adjust your viewing angle to your personal preference.
What’s the Light Gathering Capability Like on This Scope?
The Kenai SX2 offers the best light transmission that I’ve ever seen in a spotting scope, with twilight factors of 44.7 to 69.3 with the variable zoom eyepiece and 49 on the fixed magnification eyepiece. This means not only that you can use the tripod in lowlight conditions to spot your shots or prey, but that the spotting scope can be used for backyard astronomy with ease. An integrated, extendable sunshade allows you to avoid sun glare on really bright days.
How Are the Optics and Focus on This Model?
This particular scope utilizes a roof prism design, and Leupold incorporates BaK-4 prism glass into the optics. This provides for fantastic refraction, and the manufacturer has obviously done a great job with the phase correction coatings. There’s literally no phase shift at all in this scope. The optics are fully multicoated, and the objective lens uses extra low dispersion glass. The ocular eyepiece lenses are coated with rare earth elements for superb color rendition and razor-sharp resolution.
Throughout the entire range of magnification and using the fixed magnification eyepiece, you’ll get best-in-class image quality with terrific color reproduction, resolution, clarity, and contrast. Focus and magnification is smooth and easy, with the wheel/knob offering just enough resistance to keep you from accidentally misaligning your image.
What’s the Housing Like on the Leupold Kenai SX2 HD Angled Spotting Scope?
This model has a magnesium housing, with plenty of texture for those times when you are using the glass handheld. It’s tripod-ready, with a rotating tripod ring for adjusting your viewing angle for optimal comfort, and there are twist up eyecups for adjusting the eye relief. You also get a retractable sunshade, helping keep glare out of your image.
How Durable is the Scope?
The Kenai SX2 is shockproof, waterproof, and fogproof. The lenses are permanently O-ring sealed, and the optical chamber is nitrogen-purged. This puppy is built to last, and that’s reflected by the no-questions-asked lifetime warranty the original owner enjoys.