Buying the Right Spotting Scope: Key Points to Remember

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For many individuals, birdwatching is an interesting and enjoyable hobby. However, if you want to make birding an exciting and rewarding experience, you should acquire excellent optics in order to catch sight of the finest birds.


Back in the day, only elite birdwatchers were able to own such fine pieces but this time around, you can get one at a price you can afford. What are spotting scopes used for?


There are many uses for the device but the most common is for birding purposes, hunting, and wildlife watching.


The majority of active birdwatchers have excellent scopes in their gear. Because there is a demand for good scopes now, nearly all known optical companies produce birdwatching optics, and selecting a good one is more crucial than ever.


Whether you use the scope for hunting or birding, the same standards are applied when selecting a spotting scope. However, if you are new to this pursuit, you might be confused as to what spotting scope you should buy.


In this segment, we are going to talk about the factors you should take into consideration when choosing a spotting scope.

Important Factors to Consider

Nearly each and every standard birding scope features the same range of features but when it comes to external appearance, there are aspects that do differ. In many cases though, selecting a particular spotting scope model will be based on the user’s personal preferences.

Kind of Birdwatching Experience

Before you buy a spotting scope, you should first determine the kind of birdwatching experience you are into. If you are into watching larger birds like hawks and eagles, the device’s weight should be of utmost consideration.


However, if you do most of your watching inside a vehicle, the weight of the scope may not be that important. Budget scopes are not designed to be weatherproof or durable so they cannot be used in tougher weather.


However high-end ones have those features and they let users go birding in whatever weather condition, be it snowy or rainy.

The Eyeglasses Aspect

What are spotting scopes used for in case the user wears glasses? If you wear eyeglasses, you have to give your selection more thought since the field of view might differ.


For eyeglass wearers, a tunnel view that is narrow is not suitable. Thus birdwatchers with glasses should look for excellent eye relief.


There are optical units that include front objective lenses that are bigger than 80 mm and have a broader field of view. They give users brighter images, however, they are often longer and heftier.

Fixed or Zoom

The majority of scopes for birding either include zoom eyepieces or fixed magnification at 22x or 30x. There are birdwatchers who choose fixed magnification and wide-angle models while some are more into eyepieces with zooming abilities.


Optical zoom is important for many when it comes to selecting a spotting scope. The majority are flexible with a range spanning between 15 to 75 magnification levels.


You want to guarantee that the scope goes sufficiently low and that it will be simple finding an item to the maximized FOV with minimal shaking. On the other hand, you may want to own a scope that you can zoom in and acquire a close-up view from a further distance.


Keep in mind that the higher magnification you have the device arranged at, the less clear the image will become. The image will also have a smaller FOV and due to movement, the object will look more unstable.


High-end spotting scopes have optics that give great FOV, take in plenty of light and provide crystal-clear images. For more affordable spotting scopes with decent quality, you should go for a model that has a 15x magnification power that can go up to 40 or 50.

Types of Glass Lenses

There are many glass lenses being sold in the market right now and they run the gamut from fluorite-coated, high-density, ED or extra-low dispersion lenses and standard ones.


In normal or lower magnifications, the differences among these glass types are not noticeable but as the user keeps magnifying in either low light or heat waves, the disparity becomes more obvious. If you own fixed magnification eyepieces, you should opt for non-ED, non-fluorite, or non-sporting types.


Now that you know the factors and what spotting scopes are used for, choosing a good spotting scope should not be that much of a challenge. Hopefully, you have acquired some useful tips that can help you in your search.

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