How to choose a spotting scope

When you think about a perfect gadget for viewing nature up-close, a pair of binoculars is the answer that comes right off the top of your head. This evergreen piece of equipment comes incredibly handy for casual birdwatchers, or for those who like to keep track of objects that are not on the back of beyond. However, for those who seek to rejoice at scanning out the fine details of anything that happens to be far-off, a spotting scope is the definite solution.

The following is the guide that will help you select the best spotting scope based on design and other characteristics.

Eyepiece—Fixed-length vs. Single Zoom

  • The magnification of spotting scope is governed by either interchangeable fixed-length or a single zoom eyepiece.
  • When buying a fixed eyepiece, keep in mind that the higher magnification power is not always effective. An eyepiece with a magnification power between 20x and 30 would be enough in most of the cases.
  • Single zoom eyepieces are great for birdwatching. Start with the lowest power and switch to the higher power for details once the bird is located.

Glass Quality

  • One of the leading factors that affect the quality of an image that is observed by the viewer.
  • A good quality glass, unlike ordinary glass, promotes an abundance of light to enable a vivid image.
  • The lenses that are made of HD (high density), ED (extra-low dispersion), and fluorite-coated glass are the best regarding quality.
  • To observe the difference between a standard quality and a top quality glass, test the lenses in low-light conditions with high magnification.

Straight vs. Angled Spotting Scope

  • A spotting scope usually comes with a straight or angled configuration.
  • A straight spotting scope is for those who go to the activities alone and do not need to share the spotting scope with others.
  • It could be adjusted to the eye level of the viewer on a tripod for long durations of scanning.
  • An angled spotting scope is the ideal option when a spotting scope has to be shared or used to gaze upon the overhead birds.

Focusing Criteria

  • Normally, a spotting scope requires the user to rotate the knob located on its barrel to focus the image.
  • Some spotting scopes involve the focusing in two steps—one knob instantly shifts from close-up to infinity, while the other one fine-tunes the focus.
  • We recommend trying each of the two focusing mechanisms to find out which one suits you better.
  • Usually, the minimum focusing distance of a spotting scope is twenty feet. To find out the exact minimum focusing distance for your spotting scope, consult the user guide.

Sometimes no matter how good a configuration looks like on paper, it feels different upon trying; therefore, make sure to try your spotting scope before purchasing. Moreover, check if the case that comes with your spotting scope is sturdy enough to resist it from damages and always keep your spotting scope in its case when not in use to secure its longevity.