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Leupold manufactures many riflescopes in the Mark 4 line, but here we have a pair of Leupold Mark 4 spotting scopes to review. These are intended as tactical spotting scopes that you might want to use as part of a team, with one person controlling the spotting scope and the other handling a gun.
If that’s the situation you might find yourself in (and there are obviously other uses for these spotting scopes), you should take a good, long look at the Leupold Mark 4 12-40×60 spotting scope and/or the larger and more powerful Leupold Mark 4 20-60×80 spotting scope.
I will look at both of these Mark 4 scopes in this review. If you just want to quickly check their pricing and availability at Amazon, you can click a link for either of them just below.
If you want to skip ahead to a specific section of this article, you can click a link in the box below. Otherwise, you can simply scroll and read as usual.
What Are the Special Features of the Leupold Mark 4 Spotting Scopes?
There are really only 3 things that make these Leupold spotting scopes special compared to other similar devices: the reticle, the Xtended Twilight Lens System, and the DiamondCoat 2 lens coating.
I’m not saying that other spotting scopes (or riflescopes) don’t have similar features. It’s just that these are the things that you should notice about the Leupold models. Other features are much more commonplace, and I will only mention them in passing.
Not all spotting scopes even have a reticle. That’s part of what makes the Mark 4 line good for tactical purposes. You could also use the reticle while hunting, but you might be less likely to be part of a team there, and you might have all the magnification power you need on your riflescope.
Both of these Mark 4 spotting scopes have a Mil Dot and a Tactical Milling Reticle (TMR). Which one you use is totally a matter of personal preference. The TMR uses various sized and spaced hash marks to increase ranging precision. Keep in mind that you will need to do some math using either of these reticles, though the calculations will be the same no matter which one you use.
The Xtended Twilight Lens System is Leupold’s name for their method of matching lens coatings to glass indices. Here is an explanation of the system in Leupold’s own words.
“When most scope manufacturers quote percentage of light transmission, they usually mean at 550 nm, the green wavelength where the human eye is most sensitive. The challenge is that in twilight conditions, green light disappears and blue/violet light takes over. Your eye is already handicapped when it comes to seeing the blue/violet spectrum, and if your scope is cutting too much of it out, soon you won’t be seeing anything.
“The Xtended Twilight Lens System places extra emphasis on matching coatings to glass indices to achieve the best possible transmission of the blue/violet spectrum, without sacrificing the color balanced light transmission across the visual spectrum of the Index Matched Lens System.”
The upshot is that you can use these Mark 4 spotting scopes earlier in the morning and later at night than many other spotting scopes in the market.
This video taken when the larger model was new. They mention another possible use for the Mark 4. The video has low quality audio, but it’s still worth a listen.
As the name DiamondCoat suggests, this outer lens coating is there to protect the glass from abrasions of any kind. Leupold says that the earlier DiamondCoat already exceeded military standards, so DiamondCoat 2 should really be something special.
“DiamondCoat 2 has the additional advantage of assisting in light transmission, for greater brightness, clarity and contrast.”
What Are the Specifications of the Mark 4 Spotting Scopes?
As described in the video above, these spotting scopes have a folded light path. Basically this means that the scope can be much more compact than it would otherwise be. These scopes are still over 12 (for the smaller) and 15 (for the larger) inches long. If they didn’t have mirrors inside, so that you really get two connected tubes – one on top of the other, you would have a unit that measured about twice that length. It would be more like a telescope than a spotting scope.
Both models are tripod ready, and you are more than likely going to want to mount them on a sturdy tripod. Not only are they over a foot long, but the smaller one weighs about 2.25 pounds, and the larger model weighs just under 4 pounds. You are not going to want to hold these in your hands for very long. You also wouldn’t be able to hold them steady for any significant amount of time.
The tubes are armor coated, waterproof, and fogproof. You should be able to take them just about anywhere in virtually any weather conditions. (I don’t know to what depth they are waterproof under the water.)
Both models have fold down eyecups. These might not make a whole lot of difference to you, since the eye relief is a huge 30 millimeters. You should be able to see through them properly from that far away, rendering the eyecups superfluous.
For what it’s worth, the close focus on the 12-40×60 is 36 feet. On the 20-60×80 it is 75 feet. Obviously these scopes are made for long distance work.
As you can tell from the model names, the smaller scope lets you magnify targets from 12 to 40 times the actual size. The larger varies from 20 to 60 times actual.
The field of view (FOV) of the smaller scope ranges from 168 feet to 52.5 feet at 1000 yards (if my calculations are correct). The larger scope goes from about 121 feet down to 42 feet at the highest magnification.
The 12-40×60 model has an exit pupil between 4.9 millimeters and 1.5 millimeters. The 20-60×80 model varies from 4.1 millimeters to 1.3 millimeters. The larger this measurement, the easier it is for you to see everything in the circle of view the lenses provide.
Conclusions about the Leupold Mark 4 Spotting Scopes
I haven’t found anyone complaining about anything regarding either of these spotting scopes. I think that’s understandable since they are basically military grade devices.
The only thing you might take issue with is the price, if you don’t have enough or want to spend that much on a scope (and a tripod). Then again, if you are interested in this type of spotting scope, it is probably going to be a once-in-a-lifetime purchase. If you calculate the cost over the years and number of times you’ll use it, it just might be worth the investment.