If you are looking for a spotting scope, you might be a birdwatcher, a wildlife observer, a hunter, or even a photographer.
No matter whether you need this tool for professional use or a hobby, you have to pick the proper lightweight spotting scope. This article will help you to figure out which features you need in the first place and how to make a choice.
If you still don’t know the difference between a telescope and a spotting scope, you are not the only one. Many people are lost when it comes to choosing the right tool for distant object observation. The spotting scope is the telescope’s model, which is portable and powerful enough to conduct observations in the fields.
Usually, such models are lightweight and transportable. You can use them for bird watching if you need to constantly change the location. Yet, it is also a helpful tool for enduring hours of observations from one spot. If you want to spend the night stargazing and take incredible photos, you don’t need a gigantic telescope. Just find a powerful spotting scope with enough magnification and a suitable objective lens.
The eyepieces of spotting scopes are frequently interchangeable and can be adjusted for a variety of magnifications. They may also include variable zoom. Magnifications of less than 20x and greater than 60x are uncommon because the latter can cause excessive image shaking, even when mounted on a tripod, as well as inferior image brightness and a restricted field of view.
The eyepiece mount configuration can be either “straight-through” (where the eyepiece is on the same axis as the scope body) or “angled,” where the eyepiece is at an angle from the scope body—typically 45 degrees.
You have to take into consideration numerous factors before you buy the best model for you. Since spotting scopes are not that cheap, you have to do some homework in advance. Here is what you have to keep in mind:
- Magnification. Magnification is a “zoom” that will help you see the object clearly at a long distance. The high magnification level will help you use your device for faraway objects. Yet, the quality of the image depends on your choice as well. The standard magnification is 20x. You can find even 60x magnification lenses. The best quality of the picture is at 20x, and the lowest is at 60x. The bigger the distance, the lower the quality of the image;
- Angled or straight shape. You have to decide which type of spotting scope you need. Straight scopes offer the same optical plane for the eyepiece and body. The angled shape mode is more comfortable to use when you are sitting or lying;
- Size of the objective lens. You will need a large lens to see the objects brightly and clearly. If you are working in dim light conditions, search for the bigger lens. Yet, a big lens is also uncomfortable and heavy. You will not be able to carry it around with you for a long time. Another thing to consider is that a large lens is more expensive as well.
- Focus. Spotting scopes usually need a specifically designed mechanism that allows focusing lenses in no time. Basically, you can choose between two types of focus – progressive and variable. Whether you have a knob or helical control, you can decide which type of focus you want and adjust it. Helical control is definitely more widespread among birdwatchers who need to constantly make adjustments to the focus. Meanwhile, the knob is great for photographers and hunters of slow animals;
- Field of view. This is the maximum possible area that you can observe, and you need to make sure that it is wide enough to catch all the objects you are watching. This factor unites other factors, including magnification, lens diameter, eyepieces, and the assembly of different components. The measurement that is used for spotting scopes is signed in the feet for 100 yards. Apart from that developers of angular models add FOV, which is based on the height of the angle. The higher it is, the wider picture you receive in the scopes. If you want, for any reason, to convert angular to linear numbers, you have to multiply the angle you have by 52.5. The sum you receive will be your feet FOV;
- Minimum distance for the focus. Every spotting scope has the minimum distance from which you can capture the objects via the lens. If you will try to walk closer than this distance allows you, you will have a blurry image in the binoculars. It is not the same for all lenses. If you normally work with short distances, you need to consider this detail.
You can start by making a list of objects you want to explore with a spotting scope. Decide which features you need for your work the most. After that, you will easily pick the most appropriate model for you.
Pay attention to the lenses and magnification abilities of various spotting scopes on the market. Make sure there are positive reviews under the model’s description.