When buying a spotting scope you need to know for what exactly will you be using it. Usually, nature observation is more of bird watching and birding. The majority of the terrestrial spotting scopes are good for wide-ranging bird watching. However, you need to take under consideration points such as – The general use of your scope, the type of birding you would be engaged in to select the best suited spotting scope that fulfills your requirements after reading the spotting scope reviews.
Understanding the birding spotting scopes and their important features:
Usually, the spotting scopes come with either a zoom eyepiece or interchangeable eyepieces. Depending on your choice and usage you can go for interchangeable zoom eyepieces or a zoom eyepiece. Here, you need to know that a spotting scope with a higher magnification does not necessarily mean a better spotting scope. You will also understand this better if you go through the spotting scope reviews on various optics websites.
Zoom eyepieces give you the flexibility of changing the magnification easily by adjusting the zoom knob. Alternatively, you can go for interchangeable zoom eyepieces, although tiresome but better viewing.
Field of View (FOV)
Field of view can be defined as the amount of the image you see using your spotting scope. The best bird watching scopes have a very wider field of view which enables you to easily locate birds moving fast and erratically. One thing that requires clarification here is that for wider field of view you have to compromise with the magnification. Generally, for a good all round birding scope eyepiece with a magnification of around 20x to 30x that come with wide fields of view or you can buy eyepieces with wide FOV.
Diameter of Objective Lens
A spotting scope that has excellent light gathering feature can give you brightest images. Bigger the size of the objective lens better the light gathering ability it has but on the other hand it also tends to make your scope bulkier, heavier and costlier. Commonly, the diameter of objective lens lies between 60 mm and 80 mm. Here, the decision lies what you prefer, a heavy and bulky scope or compact scope that is easy to manage and carry.
Other decisions that you need to make are between:
- Straight or Angled Spotting Scope
- Eye Relief – Long or Short
- Focusing – Quick focusing and Fine Tuning
- Lens Coatings – Single, Double, or Multi
- Types of Prisms – Porro or Roof
- Quality of Glass – HD (high density) or ED (extra-low dispersion)
- Fog proof – or Nitrogen purging by flushing out Oxygen and replacing it by nitrogen, an inert gas.
- Waterproofing – by being internally sealed with O-rings
- Ruggedness – Sturdiness