The market for 50mm lightweight scopes was for a long time dominated by Opticron, and later Nikon set the bar with their ED50. Now there is a much greater choice with models from Opticron, Nikon, Vortex and now Viking.
The lightest, and arguably optically best, of these travel scopes is still the Nikon, but it is the most expensive of the bunch and is facing some stiff competition. This comes in the form of the Vortex Razor 50, the Opticron Mighty Midget 3 ED and their GS52 ED and Viking's 50mm ED Pro.
The new Viking 50mm ED Pro is everything you could want from a travel scope, being light, compact, and with superb feeling build quality. The supplied zoom eyepiece gives a magnification range of 12-36x (fairly typical for 50mm scopes) and retains a reasonably wide field of view throughout. Also in the box you get a gripper style case which allows you to use the scope camcorder-style. At 12x it is possible to hand hold the scope but a lightweight monopod or tripod is essential for prolonged viewing at higher magnifications. A very simple but welcome finishing touch is the lug on the objective lens cap which you can put a cord through to avoid loosing it. Using it on the dragonflies around our pond I was able to take advantage of the good close focusing that you get from small scopes, further adding to their versatility.
The Viking and all the other travel scopes are available from Cley Spy both online and to test at our Glandford shop in North Norfolk.