How To choose a Spotting Scope – 8 Step Guide
Going to buy a new spotting scope? But don't know how to choose a spotting scope for you. I write the following spotting scope guide to help make this decision process easier for you. The most important factors involved in choosing a new spotting scope have been highlighted below.
A spotting scope is a small portable telescope with added optics(a lens or any other optical component) so as to present an observation of an optimized terrestrial image. Spotting scopes are widely used because they provide more magnification than what binoculars and telescopes can provide.
Most people use them for hunting, surveillance, birding, viewing landscapes, wildlife, ships and other distant objects. Choosing a good spotting scope can easily help you to change your play field and viewing style. This is so, because spotting scopes are more portable, rugged, have high zoom power, are compact and more efficient at a shooting range.
However, if you do not choose a spotting scope wisely, set up can be tedious and time-consuming in addition to incurring more expenses for extra accessories.
Here is what to look for when choosing a spotting scope
The zoom power is determined by the nature of the zoom (focal )lenses . Most spotting scopes come with variable zoom lenses( to allow rapid change of the size of an image) . This means that it is possible to change their magnification. Just like in cameras, the more the magnification in spotting scopes, the better you’ll get access to more details. A spotting scope can offer a maximum magnification of 15x to 60x. So, if you prefer looking for details and yet with high quality, choosing a spotting scope with a high zoom power would be appropriate.
Modern scopes have variable magnification eyepieces( group of lenses closest to the eye) , multi-layered film objective zoom lenses(the lenses nearest to the object) , quality prism and outstanding dynamic centering systems (that allow viewers to easily focus in on faraway distances). This gives an opportunity for providing brighter and clearer view images.
Quality of glass lenses
Good spotting scopes have high density (HD) lenses which are fluoride – coated. This allows them to have low dispersion effects and as such, they provide brighter images even in low- light viewing conditions like at night.
Eyepiece Shield and placement
Whereas most scope models offer two basics designs: the straight eyepiece and an angled type, the 45- degree angled scope model eye-piece makes viewing above the horizon easier. Some models even have rotating angled eyepieces which allows the user to see crisp images of wildlife within hundreds of yards
Also important to note while choosing your spotting scope, is the possession of the eyepiece shield, which when extended, performs its principal job of safeguarding the scope's eyepiece from lots of things such as dust.
Set a Budget
Budget varies from person-to-person. Spotting scopes can cost from $100 to $2,500. The more expensive Spotting scopes often provide a higher magnification, HD images performance.
Waterproof & Fog proof
You must choose a water and fog proof spotting scope if you are like outdoors most. Waterproof or fog proof scopes are essential if you use the scope outside in different kinds of weather.
Possession of Tripod and which one should you get?
The shorter metal tripod is inherently more stable which makes viewing more convenient.
A good spotting scope is designed with a metal tablet tripod, which if used effectively, will not only provide secure support but also stabilizes the scope to be able to get the best taking positions to capture sharpened images and videos.
Focusing abilities and eye relief
Focusing is usually done using either a focusing collar(auto-focus drive designed to assist sight) or the whole barrel of the scope. While this technique of focusing gives clear and sharper images, other models which use small focus knobs which are mounted near the eyepiece are slower but they provide precise focusing when twisted. And in this case, it would also be important to consider the feature of eye relief of the scope. Because this is what makes it possible to position your eye further away from the eyepiece and still see clear images.
Designed for bird watching, target shooting, landscape viewing and other outdoor activities, choosing a good spotting scope with all the features like eye relief, quality of glass lenses, zoom power and good optic quality is key to a good spotting experience.