Leupold SX2 Alpine HD Spotting Scope Review (Angled)


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Leupold has phased out the SX-2 Kenai spotting scope series.

Don’t weep as there is a replacement for the mid-range quality spotters, the SX-2 Alpine HD.

For the money, the Alpine HD looks like it can’t be beat.

With HD image quality, a super-tough build, and a lifetime warranty under its belt, it offers the type of performance and protection that outdoorsmen need.

Rain or shine, snow or safari, the Alpine spotter is ready to be tested and pushed to the max.

Quick Overview…

What We Like: Good specs

What We Don’t Like: Possible chromatic aberration

Best Uses: Hunting, For the Range, Birdwatching, Wildlife Observation, Sight Seeing, Surveillance, Tactical Use

  • Magnification: 20-60x
  • Objective: 80 mm
  • FOV:  102-48 ft/100 yd
  • Close Focus Distance: 9.2 ft
  • Eye Relief: 18-19.5 mm
  • Configuration: Angled
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Length/Weight: 16.77”/67 oz

Our Verdict: The Leupold SX-2 Alpine HD spotting scope is a welcome newbie to the market. For the money, it offers more than it should. With a tough build and lifetime warranty behind it, it’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser for hunters, shooters, and enthusiasts that often take the road less traveled.

Who is the Leupold SX-2 Alpine HD 20-60X80 Best Suited to?

The SX-2 is a high performing spotting scope priced in the entry-level market. It has mid-range quality, but it’s best suited to the beginner or intermediate user.

Advanced users would likely demand more from the glass such as ED glass. While it is absolutely an adequate spotter for birdwatching, more experienced birdwatchers would prefer a spotter that has less chromatic aberration to observe their targets with true color fidelity – something that ED would provide.

As it is, the Alpine HD is a lightweight, highly portable, and compact spotter with excellent optics for its price point. The competition will find this spotting scope a tough competitor given its value

How Does the Leupold SX-2 Alpine HD 20-60X80 Perform?

Leupold SX-2 Alpine HD 20-60x80 Angled Spotting Scope
Image Credit - Leupold

The Alpine HD spotting scope is a performer. It’s rugged, tough, and durable. It’s certainly made for hunters or outdoorsmen that are undeterred by nature’s harsh climates. However, sometimes the best views and trophy takedowns are in these remote, extreme-weather environments. The Alpine is ready and made for it.

However, it’s not only its lightweight and tough exterior that’s important, it’s the optics. The Leupold spotting scope provides absolute sharp and clear images through to max power for miles of seeing. This is essential for spotting groupings up to 1000 yards, given that mirage isn’t present to ruin the day, and for glassing for trophy bulls or observing wild animals from a safe distance.

Between Diamondcoat, Guard-Ion, and the Twilight Max Light Management System, you can glass in the early morning hours or at last legal light without issue. When brightness, clarity, and sharpness at high power is what you need, a spotting scope with the optical aptitude to keep up with your demands should be the order of the day.

Features & Benefits

SX-2 Alpine 20-60x80 HD Angled Spotting Scope
Image Credit - Leupold

Good Specs

The SX-2 Alpine HD spotting scope is new and sports the right specs for the hunter, wildlife observer, and range shooter.

The Alpine has a compact build with a 17” (approx.) length and 4 lb (approx.) weight. Since it has a rotating ring and is tripod mountable, it can easily be used in any position that you find best for your needs at any given time. You can also top it onto a window mount comfortably.

Eye relief is great at 18 mm at max magnification. This should be forgiving enough if you glass with regular glasses or sunglasses. With long eye relief and an oversized eyepiece, you could glass all day long without strain and fatigue.

The angled design is excellent for comfortable viewing, birdwatching, and for times when multiple users will be using the same spotter.

If you’re using the Alpine HD for the range, you’ll be more than pleased to know that it can see groupings at 300 yards plus. For the price, test it out to see how well it does at 1000 yards. Don’t be surprised to find out that it performs well.

Low-Light Ready

Leupold puts their low-light technology into the mid-range spotting scope with the Twilight Max Light Management System. With Diamondcoat and high-definition coatings at work, you have edge-to-edge clarity and brightness that can keep you in hunting mode longer.

Not only do you have a good, large 80 mm objective lens to allow in as much light as possible, the Twilight Max eliminates 85% of stray light that causes glare. With the extra clarity and brightness, you can extend your glassing and shooting by 20 minutes that could very well be to last legal light.

Helical Focuser

It wasn’t too long ago that focusing knobs were all we had. Then helical focusers came along, and the trend has been picked up to make it a standard feature on mid-range to high-end spotting scopes.

The helical focuser is a collar-style ring in the middle of the spotting scope body. When properly made, they provide ultra-smooth focusing allowing for fine adjustments. With this focusing style, you can do away with the dual-focus systems that would usually require another knob.

Having a helical focus system on the SX-2 is an instant sign that this spotting scope has value and quality at its core.

Rugged Build

Even though the SX-2 comes with a protective, soft viewing cover, you’d be wrong to think it can’t hold its own. The polycarbonate chassis is covered in a grey rubber-armor with reinforcements in weak spots that makes it durable and ready for exposure in extreme climates – Tundra hunting anyone?

The tough build doesn’t end there. The objectives have military-grade, scratch-resistant glass and Guard-Ion lens coating treatments to shed water, dirt, oil, and all the nasties that can interfere with glassing.

What about when it’s bright outside? The integrated sunshade cuts out glare and is effortless to deploy.

But can it stand up to the conditions of harsh climates? It sure can. As is expected of its price range, it’s completely 100% waterproof and fogproof.

Guaranteed for Life

The SX-2 spotting scope is covered for life under Leupold’s lifetime warranty. You read that right – a lifetime warranty.

They put so much trust in their high-quality optics that they’re willing to provide service, if it needs it, for the lifetime of ownership.

If a replacement is warranted, they will provide a new spotter at equal value or better.

Limitations

Possible Chromatic Aberration

While the term “HD” is mentioned in the product name, there is no reference to ED glass, and if it had it, you can bet that Leupold would mention it. Without it, there is a possibility of chromatic aberration that would be significantly noticeable the higher the magnification.

This could be a drawback for birdwatchers as it would be seen on and around birds and their habitats in high-contrast environments. It could also be annoying for those who may be looking to the skies from time to time as the moon and Jupiter would have a distinct blue/purple bloat.

However, for most hunting, shooting, and surveillance purposes, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Popular Questions

Does the Leupold SX-2 Alpine Spotting Scope come with a Tripod?

No. A tripod is not included in the buy. However, the SX-2 Alpine HD is tripod-ready with a ¼-20 rotatable tripod adapter port for fast and easy mounting to any standard photo or field tripod.

Can the SX-2 Alpine HD Spotting Scope be Used for Stargazing?

The Alpine HD could very well be used for amateur stargazing of the moon, planets, and some DSO (Deep Sky Objects), but a telescope is the preferred instrument for the job.

What Accessories are Included with the Leupold SX-2 Spotting Scope?

The SX-2 Alpine HD spotting scope comes with a protective soft side case that remains on the optic during use and storage. It also comes with lens caps.

Can the Eyepieces on the Alpine HD be Switched Out?

The SX-2 Alpine HD spotter does not have an interchangeable eyepiece system. It cannot be used with telescopic accessories such as a Barlow lens, filters, or eyepieces that offer varying levels of magnification.

Conclusion

Leupold brings mid-range quality to the entry-level market. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, but it does have more than enough to provide reliable and consistent performance you can rely on wherever your next hunt takes you.

Regardless of what happens while you’re out in the field, you can feel confident that Leupold will have your back since the SX-2 Alpine HD is covered with a lifetime warranty.

You can tell Leupold engineers have been hard at work because the SX-2 is a high-quality product that is affordable at the same time.

Further Reading

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