I have two, a fancy Nikon that I picked up at an auction, and a
Chinese Meiji clone that I bought from Otto Frei for around $1000
The Nikon’s definitely a better, sharper scope, but $5000 better?
Probably not. That said, the Meiji’s clone’s much better than the
$300 scopes that I’ve tried. The $300 scopes are pretty crappy.
Better than an optivisor, for sure, but nothing I’d want to be
looking through for hours.
The one thing you want to make sure you get is a GRS acrobat stand.
Amazingly useful, especially if you’re going to be using the scope
for hours. Two big issues: (A) headrest. Gives you something to use
to brace your head, so you don’t get black eyes from the eyecups, and
also lets you stabilize the thing, relative to your head, without
using the hands that you’re also using to work. (B) lets you put the
scope anywhere within range, just by grabbing and moving. Bar+Post
mounts aren’t as flexible.
Both of mine are zooms. I tend to leave them set to about 10X
(widest field, lowest power) most of the time. For fussy engraving,
I’ve been known to zoom in to 20x. They’ll both go in to about 50x,
which is great for inspection, or getting a really good look at your
engraving point, to see how good a job you did with that last
sharpening pass, but not a whole lot of use for doing any real work.
For whatever that all’s worth.