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How-to pick a Spotting Scope for Birding

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There are many kinds of scopes available. Birding spotting scopes come with many features and its price generally ranges from $100 to $2,000. The costlier ones are characterized by large objective lens and special coated optics.

While purchasing a spotting scope, one should consider many factors. The factors include: the objective lens’ size, alignment of the eyepiece, total magnification and even the money one can spend on the scope. If you willing to purchase a scope you can visit the Scope section for acquiring detailed information about spotting scopes and can compare them as well . You can also take a tour to the Cornell lab of Ornithology to read authentic reviews of the latest spotting scopes available from a variety of manufactures.

Apart from the factors stated above, you should go for a spotting scope with a suitable eyepiece’s angle. Spotting scopes which come with an eyepiece angle of 45 degrees is more stable as they tend to lower the tripod stand.  Increase in stability reduces vibration.

There are two designs for spotting scopes: straight and angled. straight design is the best option for those who is fond of birding from cars. For mounting the spotting scope on the window, many types of window mounts are available in the market. Moreover, a straight designed spotting scope is also easier to use from an elevated position.

Using the spotting scope with a zoom eyepiece is preferred by many birders. With the help of the zoom, the user can easily switch from a lower magnification ( say 20x) to a higher magnification (say 60x). It is a known fact that the higher the magnification the more is the light collected, the less the magnification the less is the light collected. If the vibration affects are not reduced the images captured at high magnification can result into poor images.

Expensive scopes come with a special optical glass and coating to prevent the images from getting blurred at high magnification.

Generally, images captured at 20x level results into best photographs. However, images at 60x level are very useful for identification of birds.

The adapters for digital camera are very expensive. Often the adapters designed for the digital camera by the manufactures is suitable for only that line of scope. It is advisable to check the price of the adapter before purchasing the spotting scope, so that later you don’t end up paying huge amount for the adaptor.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Janice April 3, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Trying to find a good scope around $250-$300 for watching an eagle’s nest about 500-600 feet across a marsh. I don’t know much about lenses and such, so I’m somewhat lost. Any suggestions?

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