Attn: Greg S. re TV-85
You have excellent taste in glass, my friend: I have a Tak TOA 130S and the TV 850 (and a TV 102), and I had the William 110--I couldn't believe how sharp that scope was! My first look through it was at the moon: I gasped!! Truly! an involuntary gasp. Cheers.
Tele Vue TV85
Excellent with HD4 Gibraltar Alt-Az mount as a quick portable solution to solar or planetary viewing. Would suggest getting a optional Tele Vue balancing aid if heavier eyepieces and/or cameras are used. While not as resolving as my Tak TOA 130 or William Optics 110 Fluro-Star, it's quite good as a grab and go telescope.
Tele Vue TV85
Excellent. I also purchased this with a HD4 Gibraltar Alt-Az mount. If you use heavy eyepieces and/camera equipment consider the optional Tele Vue balancing aid.
Tele Vue 85: An Unconventional Scope
The 85 is right on the edge of what it might be possible for a really dedicated birder to carry into the field. Fortunately, however, the Tele Vue is superbly balanced and its mass actually lends stability to any tripod you use with it, making any of the standard Bogan/Manfrotto tripods and heads quite effective. Okay, so why would anyone even think of carrying such an elephant into the field after birds? Simple answer: the view! You will note here that I did not say the ability to make IDs at greater distances, or the ability to make IDs where other scopes would fail. The fact is that I doubt you would ever find yourself in a situation where the extra resolution and brightness of the 85 would make a difference in your ability to identify a bird. No, the issue here is not identification level detail. The issue is the view—the shear beauty of the living bird, at any distance between 10 feet and half a mile, as seen through Tele Vue 85. By that I mean that it shows enough detail to identify and enjoy any bird you are likely to see in the field. And, believe me, I demand a high level of detail beyond what is necessary merely to identify the bird to enjoy it. I want to see something very close to the living bird. I want to be able to appreciate in inner architecture of the feather patterns—to see, at reasonable distances, the individual barbs on the feathers, even the breast feathers. I want the color to absolutely precise and as subtle in its shading and tones as it would be if I walked right up and held the bird in my hand. The Tele Vue 85 goes beyond need. The 85 shows, at any distance and any power, right out to the limits of daylight viewing, all the detail, I am convinced, that there is to see. In direct comparison with the finest scopes on the market, the Tele Vue 85 consistently shows a brighter, more subtly detailed, image of the bird. You can see things in the Tele Vue's image that just aren't there in the Pentax 80 mm or the Nikon Fieldscope. You can see things in the 85's image that aren't there in the Ranger. In the testing situation the detail was especially evident in the breast feathers of the hawk. All of the scopes clearly showed the feather pattern of the breast. The 85 showed individual feathers. At closer range, the 85 is the equivalent of a long range microscope, showing more detail than you could possibly see with the ***** eye. Of course, the TV 85 would make an ideal scope for the birder with a co-interest in astronomy. There are very few other scopes on the market that bridge the full range of optical utility from sparrows to galaxies as well as the Tele Vue 85. With the proper camera mount, the 85 would also make an exceptional 600, f7 telephoto lens. Tele Vue also sells a .8x converter/corrector for photographic use that makes the 85 into a wide field 480 mm f5.6 lens. So, to sum all this up, the Tele Vue 85 easily sets a new standard for optical performance in a scope compact enough (barely to take into the field after birds. If I had an afternoon to just study birds from a stationary location—to really look and enjoy the incredible beauty of the living birds—then the Tele Vue 85 would be the scope I took with me. And, even now, every time I look at a bird through one of the exceptional conventional spotting scopes I have to use, I will be thinking: I wonder what this would look like through the Tele Vue 85? I wonder what this bird really looks like? -- Better View Desired Reviews (condensed
The biggest surprise in our scope testing came when we lined up the top-ranked Leica APO and Swarovski ST80 HD scopes against the Questar and the two Tele Vue models. The Questar we used was fitted with 40x and 60x eyepieces (unfortunately, not as powerful as the ones Questar has sent us for previous reviews, and it did not stand out at these magnifications against the Leica or Swarovski scopes. But using the equivalent of a 25x — 75x zoom lens, the Tele Vue 85 attained an almost unimaginable level of brightness and edge-to-edge sharpness. As the day became more and more overcast and dusk was approaching, the Tele Vue provided a significantly superior image at 75x than either the Swarovski or Leica could muster at 60x. The Tele Vue 76, a slightly smaller and lighter version of the [Tele Vue] 85, was equally sharp but not quite as bright — its image at 60x was virtually identical to its two conventional competitors. Both Tele Vue scopes have a smooth and precise rack-and-pinion focusing system that is easy to operate with either hand — a nice feature when you’re panning with your scope or trying to take a picture through it with a digital camera. TV-76 APO telescope with Tele Vue 13mm Nagler Type-6 wide-field eyepiece and 60° diagonal. … the Tele Vue  took me for one of the best birding rides of my life. Scanning out across the lake at 75x, I spotted a whitish speck in the distant heat waves that I thought might be a loon. I then inserted a 2x Barlow lens between the zoom eyepiece and the scope, doubling its magnification to an incredible 150x. I could then clearly make out the face pattern and upturned bill of a Red-throated Loon. This local rarity was not even visible though my 10x binoculars. Continuing to play at 150x, I could discern the eye color of some immature gulls on a jetty 200 yards from the shore — ah, if only shore bird season weren’t so long past! -- Kenneth V. Rosenberg, Living Bird Magazine, Winter 2002