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Why you should start using a spotting scope.

What is a spotting scope?

What exactly is spotting scope? It’s a type of a telescope which is made for the observation of different objects mainly on the ground. It can be used in situations where the typical binoculars are not of a much help. The scope can magnify the terrestrial objects like sixty times with the help of a powerful objective lens with the diameter up to 3.1 in. (80 mm).

It can be used by many people, hobbyists and professionals like ornithologist for observing birds or hunters for verifying their results at the practice.

Spotting Scope Magnification

The standard optical assembly includes an objective lens, and image erecting system and an eyepiece that can be changed to achieve more or less magnified view. The more expanded systems can be equipped with a mounting for a tripod and the possibility of changing the focus. The eyepieces can give a magnification up to 60 times. Not more since it can result in shaking image even with a tripod. Even in a models with a relatively low magnification handholding the device can be nearly impossible. Remember that the scope with an angled viewer decrease the height of the tripod you should buy.

How to chose the best spotting scope?

Remember that it doesn’t matter if you are a sportsman or a nature conservationist. You deserve the best possible performance of a spotting scope. The most important thing is to achieve the clearest image in a excellent quality. The lens system made of HD (High Density) low dispersion glass can give you the crispiest edges of the object you’re sighting. Even if the object is very dark and on a bright background. Anti-reflection coating of the optics is a very big advantage. More expensive models use advanced materials like PFC (Pure Flourite Crystal) glass to ensure the highest efficiency. Larger objectives gather more light but they are more expensive as well.

Pirsch Spotting Scope

The second thing you should think about is a eyepiece. It would be good if it could magnify the object from 20 to 60 times. It can give you the freedom of changing the options wherever you want. The angled eyepiece (typically 45°) is the excellent choice in most cases since it can be more comfortable for every position – doesn’t matter if you’re standing or laying. And of course it’s better for birdwatching for example than straight viewing models since you can easily observe what’s high above you. It’s also easier to share it with others and more comfortable for a long sessions. Straight viewing models – which are generally less expensive – would be good for hunting. Another advantage is that you won’t be needing to raise it as high so you won’t be having any problem with the wind. Some of the manufacturers offer interchangeable eyepieces and the others’ products comes with eyepieces that are not interchangeable. Most of the time the user can chose between fixed magnification and zoom versions.

The advantages of straight and angled scopes

The third thing is the material the scope is made of. Remember that there is a chance you’d be carrying it around for many hours so it should be light, compact and made of materials of the highest durability. It should also be easy to transport and store. The oil and water resistant coating would be appreciated as much as a 360° rotating mounting for a tripod. It is a big advantage to be able to rotate the spotting scope body according to your wish. The rubber armoring can be very helpful when using the it in a poor weather conditions. The operating temperature of the scope should be from around -10 to 130 °F. Some of them are even submersible up to 12 ft.

The all-in-one set that includes a case with a strap, foldable tripod with adjustable height, view-thru case that can give you the fast access to the scope is something that you should definitely think about. With a help of a proper eyecap that is adjustable you would be able to observe the target with or without eyeglasses.

Working with the camera

If you’re enjoying taking pictures you should definitely think about getting a scope with an interchangeable eyepiece and a possibility to accept cameras. All you have to do is to buy a special adapter that will allow you to use your favorite camera or even a smartphone.

Why you should use a scope?

If you’re planning to start a new hobby than you should think about bird watching. You can believe it or not but according to USFWS (US Fish and Wildlife Service) almost 50 million Americans do it already! And there’s a good reason why they are using a scope. You will not get close enough to the bird with just binoculars. Even the most powerful binoculars won’t give you the magnification of the spotting scope. It is designed to give the image of the highest quality of a terrestrial objects and not the celestial objects like a typical telescope.

Celestron Spotting Scope

You will be surprised how detailed image it delivers. Instead of a fixed magnification you should consider zoom option. This is crucial since the bird watcher needs to receive the closest possible image. Achromatic lenses will certainly help in projecting the most accurate colors to identify the bird correctly. The video below will certainly show you the beauty of birding. This is a humming bird filmed with a spotting scope.

Humming bird filmed with a spotting scope
If you want to know our recommendation.

Our choice

For professionals

Vortex Razor HD 20-60x85 Spotting Scope
Vortex Razor HD 20-60x85 Spotting Scope
$1,599.00 Check it out on Amazon ▼
Check it out!

It’s always better to get the best option available that will give you the highest satisfaction. The results are the most important. So if you have a nice budget to spend you should think about purchasing this Vortex Razor HD spotting scope. It has an angled viewing (there’s also a straight model if you’re interested) and 85mm objective lenses made of HD extra-low dispersion glass. It can magnify the image from 20 to 60 times. A special coating protects the lenses from scratches and dirt. And if you’re looking to get the most accurate image when it comes to colors this is the model for you. Thanks to a big objective the objects are bright so you can use it when there’s not much light.

It’s waterproof and fogproof. It is filled with argon to avoid internal fogging.

It’s perfect for birdwatchers and for observing wildlife. The price is relatively low comparing other manufacturers’ models with similar parameters.

For beginners

Leupold SX-1 Ventana 15-45x60 Spotting Scope
Leupold SX-1 Ventana 15-45x60 Spotting Scope
$269.99 Check it out on Amazon ▼
Check it out!

This angled viewing Leupold SX-1 Ventana scope will be perfect for everyone that have had never anything to do with that kind of outdoor recreation. It is quite light (it weights 31 oz) and can render perfectly clear and detailed images with the highest color fidelity. 60mm objective lenses are made of BAK4 prism glass with a anti-reflective coatings. You can get the magnification from 15 to 45 times.

The scope has a mounting for a tripod so you can easily buy one if there’s a need. It is waterproof and fogproof filled with nitrogen. The biggest advantage is the price so you will not have to spend too much.