Athlon Optics may not be a brand you are all that familiar with, but we wanted to put together this G2 UHD Athlon Ares Spotting Scope review to test out the 15-45x65mm version against a number of other 65mm spotting scopes on the market.
This Athlon Ares Spotting Scope review of their G2 UHD 15-45×65 mm model was was based on our comparison of this Ares spotting scope against handful of other 65mm spotting scopes on the market. When you are trying to decide what the best spotting scope is for your needs, there’s simply nothing better than getting to put it to the test in the field side by side with a number of other spotting scopes. When right next to each other, you can really start to see the differences.
That’s exactly what we had the chance to do for this series of spotting scope reviews. Our goal for this project was to find the best compact spotting scope, the best 65mm class spotting scope, the best 85mm class spotting scope, as well as the best values in each of the categories.
Love optics? We certainly do here at Backwoods Pursuit, so make sure to check out our MONSTER 26 BINOCULAR REVIEW. We lined up 26 pairs of the best binoculars we could find and tested them side by side!
Want to see how the Athlon Ares 15-45×65 UHD Spotting Scope performed next to 18 of the best spotting scopes on the market? Check out our MASSIVE SPOTTING SCOPE REVIEW where we lined up 19 of the best spotting scopes we could find and put them to the test. Side by side with volunteer testers, no brand loyalties (at least as much as humanly possible), many lighting conditions, and 14 guys ranking these things. What an awesome project to put together! Over 2 years of work, research, and testing went into this review. You don’t want to miss this!
Dive into the details on EVERY spotting scope in the review above by becoming a Backwoods Pursuit Member (totally free) and you can download the data we used to put this review together. Make sure you check out all our other spotting scope reviews as well! We’ve had the chance to test quite a few in recent years and just might be able to help you find the perfect optic for your style of hunting!
The Testing: Athlon Ares Spotting Scope Review
As mentioned above, this Athlon Ares 15-45x65mm UHD Spotting Scope was a part of that huge review, but we also wanted to go into more detail on it than we could provide in that review. We were able to test the Athlon Ares 15-45×65 next to a bunch of other amazing spotting scopes to really get a good sense of how it performs.
Athlon Ares Spotting Scope Specs
The Athlon Ares 15-45×65 Spotting Scope features UHD Extra-Low Dispersion Glass, a great compact profile, a barrel focus mechanism, a silky smooth eye piece, and zoom mechanism.
- UHD ED Glass
- 15-45×65 mm
- Smooth twist-up eye cup (no clicks)
- Eye relief: 19 mm-16 mm
- Barrel focus system
- Rubber armor
- Sun shade
- Weight: 49 oz
- Compact size
- Smooth eyepiece
- Price: $599
Weight/Body Construction: Athlon Ares Spotting Scope Review
The Athlon Ares Spotting Scope is built with aluminum alloy keeping the cost to a minimum but adding a little extra weight. Given that the Ares features a 65 mm objective lens, the 49 ounce weight is pretty manageable, but it certainly isn’t the lightest weight compact spotting scope we tested. (That award goes to the Kowa TSN 553.)
Focus System: Athlon Ares Spotting Scope Review
Another fantastic feature we noted during this Athlon Ares Spotting Scope review is its barrel focus system. Most of the group found that the barrel focus design as a whole made it slightly more difficult to bring the spotting scope into fine focus, particularly at higher magnification when you really need it to be fine, however, the dual focus system offered in the Athlon Cronus Spotting Scope gives you that superb dual focus system.
The Athlon Ares barrel focus system is super smooth with just the right focus speed to make resolving the image a breeze. This was yet another area that this Athlon Ares Spotting Scope performed well above its price point. (You may have started to notice a pattern here.) The Athlon Ares WAY out-performs others at its price point.
Eyepiece: Athlon Ares Spotting Scope Review
The eyepiece on the Athlon Ares Spotting Scope is super smooth and can be micro-adjusted to meet your eye relief needs. Rather than a multi-click adjustment option, Athlon Optics puts a smooth adjustment with no click stops, and you get an impressive 16mm-19mm of eye relief as well! The eyepiece has enough resistance to keep it from moving when in your pack, but not too much to make it difficult to adjust. The Athlon Ares eyepiece is very similar to its bigger brother, the Athlon Cronus, and both remind me of the Swarovski ATX eyepiece, and that is saying something! It was one of my favorite eyepieces.
Edge-to-Edge Clarity: Athlon Ares Spotting Scope Review
Again, the edge-to-edge clarity of the Athlon Ares Spotting Scope was excellent and produced a nice, crisp image almost to the entire field of view. You do lose a little clarity on the outer 3-5% of the field of view, but at this price point it was again an incredible performer. The Ares scored exceptionally well in this department for our group review and easily took the top spot in its price category among the 65 mm size spotting scopes.
Color Temperature: Athlon Cronus spotting scope Review
The Athlon Ares 15-45x65mm Spotting Scope gives you a pleasant, warm color temperature – not as harsh as something like the Swarovski ATX but not as much on the yellow scale as the Sig Oscar 8– and there was no grey tint like the Vortex Razor HD has. It really is a great balance of color producing a crisp image.
Image Clarity/Low Light Performance: Athlon Ares Spotting Scope Review
How was the image clarity of the Athlon Ares Spotting Scope? That’s really what matters most. No one wants to lug around a couple extra pounds if the optic isn’t going to do what you brought it to do. The Athlon Ares Spotting Scope once again impressed us in its overall optical clarity- not just me, but our entire group.
Make sure to see how it ranked among the group over in our Best Spotting Scope For Hunting review.
The image produced by the Athlon Ares 15-45×65 mm was crisp, clear, and produced a nice color contrast, even into the waning hours of the evening. While the Ares did drop off in the low light, brightness, and image clarity compared to spotting scopes with alpha glass, that’s no surprise given that you would need to spend a lot more money on those kinds of optics.
With that being said, again it performed exceptionally well for its price category, and quite frankly, wasn’t far from the likes of the Kowa TSN 553, which is incredibly impressive. Spending that extra money on the Kowa TSN 553 or the well-known Swarovski ATX gets you a few extra minutes of good viewing in low light, so whether that’s worth it to you is entirely your decision.
Wide Angle View: Athlon Ares Spotting Scope Review
Another area that blew us away doing this Athlon Ares Spotting Scope review was the impressive field of view you get. Looking through the Athlon Ares Spotting Scope vs. the Kowa TSN 553, you can instantly see that you get a much wider field of view in addition to great edge-to-edge clarity. No tunnel affect here on the Athlon Ares!
If you saw my Kowa TSN 553 review, you may have read that the narrow field of view and tunnel affect in my biggest complaint with that spotting scope. The fact that you get such a big field of view with this Athlon Ares Spotting Scope is incredible.
Here’s a quick rundown at 1000 yards at minimum and maximum zoom:
- Athlon Ares: 81 ft-171 ft
- Kowa TSN 553: 69 ft-132 ft
- Maven CS.1: 81 ft-174 ft
- Swarovski ATX 65mm: 68 ft-124 ft (25x-60x eyepiece)
As you can see, both the Athlon Ares and Maven CS.1 give you an impressive field of view vs. the Kowa TSN 553. The Swarovski ATX 65 mm has a zoom of 25x-60x, so it’s not really a fair comparison vs. the 15x-45x zoom of the others, but it’s a good reference point of the awesome field of view you get with the Swarovski ATX.
Chromatic Aberration: Athlon Ares Spotting Scope Review
Minimal chromatic aberration was noted during our testing, but we did note some in the image during this Athlon Ares Spotting Scope review. We had some great viewing conditions to test for this in our group testing as there was scattered snow patches in the hills over a mile away. There was a little of that greyish/blueish blur around the very edges of snow line where the snow stopped and the brown dirt started. Again, it wasn’t bad, but a little was noted. Again though, for a spotting scope coming in at just $599, it was impressive.
Keep in mind that we had the luxury of having many, many spotting scopes (19 to be exact) side by side for hours at a time, going back and forth from one to the other to make out these differences. But, hey! We are talking optics here, so being nit picky is part of the deal, right?
What We liked: Athlon Ares Spotting Scope Review
If you couldn’t already tell, we were downright impressed with this Athlon Ares Spotting Scope. There was so much to love doing this Athlon Ares Spotting Scope review, but here’s a quick rundown of the things that were most impressive about it:
- Crystal clear image
- Great edge-to-edge clarity
- Incredible value
- Wide angle view
- Silky smooth eyepiece and zoom mechanisms
- Compact size
- Price point
What We Didn’t Like: Athlon Ares Spotting Scope Review
There wasn’t a lot to dislike about the Athlon Ares Spotting Scope, but there were a few things noted that we felt would be an improvement for the spotting scope:
- Some chromatic aberration
- Weight for a compact spotter
Athlon Ares Spotting Scope Review: The Warranty
Athlon Optics backs its optics with a full lifetime, no questions asked warranty. There was a day not that long ago where this was unheard of and only one company offered that kind of backing to their optics. That’s no longer the case as a good number of optics companies now offer such amazing warranties. Athlon Optics is one of those companies. You can just get out there and glass with your new Athlon Optics glass without worrying that, if an accident were to happen like we all know they can, you are out a lot of money. That’s a peace of mind that is awesome to have.
How The Athlon Ares Spotting Scope Ranked
Relative to Its Price Category
Low Light Performance
Edge to Edge Clarity
Athlon Ares Spotting Scope Review: Conclusion
After field testing for this Athlon Ares Spotting Scope review, as well as gathering 14 opinions from others on how it stacks up, we were not only extremely pleased with the Athlon Ares UHD 15-45x65mm spotting scope, but very surprised. Athlon Optics has more than lived up to the good things we’d heard about it. Sure, there are a few things to improve on, namely the weight, but you can’t have it all- at least not without spending a king’s ransom. With that being said, the Athlon Ares UHD 15-45×65 mm Spotting Scope is one to consider if you are in the market for a compact spotting scope that will give you excellent performance without mortgaging the farm.
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