My first telescope was a 30×60 Optolyth which was lightweight and great for local reserves such as Big Waters and Holywell Pond. As time goes by, however, technology improves as has the birders choice for greater magnifications, especially as zoom lenses have improved significantly. Also x60 is less popular nowadays with most birders, opting for at least x80.
In 2013, I decided to retire my Optolyth to the bottom draw of my desk. The scope itself is still, great, especially, since I had it stripped and cleaned back in 2011, however I needed something with a higher magnification for local sites such as Cresswell, and East Chevington for instance, where the birds are often beyond the reach of my Optolyth. Which scope should I get? That was a challenge, as there are so many to choose from nowadays. Key deciding factors for me were those such as weight, durability, flexibility and performance. The price was not a deciding factor for me as it was a long term investment, as they last so long and well my Optolyth is 26 years old and still going strong.
After lots of research and test drives, I opted for a Hawke with ED glass with Dielectric prism coatings , and a 20×60 zoom eyepiece x85. The image is very clear and bright and the zoom works great. There is also adjustable body rotation, a twist-out sunshade and a stay-on soft scope cover.
I have reviewed my decision a few times since, and compared this to other scopes and I’m very happy I chose this for my next generation telescope.