A guide to help you choose the ‘best’ spotting scope

Binoculars are a great help for close distance birding, but you need a special device to be amazed at faraway birds. This is where spotting scopes come for help. With this, you can distinguish field marks on shorebirds, waterfowl, and even hawks.

Before shopping for spotting scopes, a number of optical and design criteria should be considered. This article contains a compilation of what to consider when choosing a good spotting scope.

Criteria for consideration

  • Magnification power

A spotting scope is more like a medium-range telescope with a magnification power 15x-60x. To adjust the power of magnification, you have the option of single zoom eyepiece or interchangeable fixed-length eyepieces.

  • Glass Quality

High-end products’ lenses are coated with fluorite to give either high density (HD) or extra-low dispersion (ED) glasses. The difference in image clarity and brightness between the two can be noticed in low-light viewing conditions and at high power.

Based on the kind of birding you want to do, you can decide on what kind of glass you need.

  • Eyepiece Placement

Another feature that you should consider is the eyepiece placement. Some people prefer it to have their eyepieces configured as a straight view. This type allows you to locate and follow a bird quickly. Another type is the 45 degrees angled eyepiece which makes the view above the horizon easy.

Tips when choosing a spotting scope

Whenever you considering a model to buy, check its loss of light and heat distortion, which directly affects the image quality.

Another feature that you need to consider is the versatility of the zoom lens. You cannot compromise on this factor because of cost since poor versatility will result in poor view.

Don’t try to go for the cheapest option out in the market. The shortcuts used by the manufacturing company will give low field performance and a splitting headache. Invest in a good model because good quality spotting scopes can last a lifetime.

Also, don’t forget to buy a good tripod. No matter what model you choose, you need a sturdy tripod.

The bottom line

Before investing in any model of a spotting scope, make sure to do research and try them out if they are comfortable for you. There are a wide variety of options in the market. So, take your time and find the one that is right for you.