Do you like to observe birds or other wild animals? You don't know with what device to watch them from a distance? We propose you to discover the spotting scope, a device that allows you to observe from a great distance.
The spotting scope: a device for long-distance observation
As we use them ourselves, we will tell you about this device. You will be provided with various information so that you can better understand what a spotting scope is, why it is used and how it is used.
The spotting scope is a monocular optical device that allows you to reach a much higher magnification than a simple binoculars. It is often used by birdwatchers. But it can also help other professionals to see better at a distance or for night vision.
In this short review, you will get the necessary information about the spotting scope, such as its description, use and usefulness. You will also discover some models of terrestrial spotting scopes.
Definition of the spotting scope
The spotting scope is a device with a single eyepiece used to observe objects at a distance. It has the same principle as the spotting scope or binoculars. However, the latter does not allow the same magnifications as the former.
Invented in the 16th or 17th century, it has been improved over the centuries. Today, it has an optimized design and specific features. It is mainly used by birdwatchers to observe birds. It is also used by navigators and professionals working in nature reserves or special sites who need to observe animals or specific species from a distance. Some amateurs and beginners in astronomy use it for astronomical observations. Accuracy and high magnification, two indispensable qualities for surveillance, are another common function of this device.
Its use has long been popular, and the device is now available to everyone. Observation of the sky, observation of the earth, observation of nature, there are so many activities that can be performed with this device that can be put in a backpack.
A practical and easy to use optical device
The use of a spotting scope is accessible to everyone. It is very easy to handle. It is held in the same way as binoculars. And although its optical performance is inferior to that of binoculars, it is better than binoculars. Moreover, for wildlife observation, its quality/price ratio is very justified. As already mentioned, it allows an interesting magnification. Depending on the model chosen, the spotting scope can be easily transported. Unlike a telescope, the image obtained with a spotting scope is straight.
How to choose a spotting scope?
As there are several models and brands of spotting scopes on the market, it is often difficult to choose one. Therefore, to find the right instrument, the most rational thing to do is to take into account some selection criteria. These are:
- Magnification (power)
The eyepiece is the essential element of a spotting scope. It ensures that it works. The magnification also depends on it. Variable zoom eyepieces are the most common. Some manufacturers offer the eyepiece as an option and others supply it with the camera. The higher the magnification, the better the eyepieces.
- The objective
The objective lens of the spotting scope ensures that the image obtained is bright. The larger the diameter of the lens, the brighter the image and the better the quality. However, the optical coatings have a role to play in the properties of the spotting scope. As in the case of binoculars, various lens coatings can be used to let in more light.
- The tripod
The tripod is a necessary piece of equipment for observers who wish to make a precise observation. Its use is particularly recommended when the magnification exceeds 10x, to avoid destabilization of the images obtained in spite of shaking during an outdoor observation.
- Taking photographs (digiscoping)
Digiscoping consists of taking photographs with a digital device using a long lens. The purpose of this setup is to be able to take pictures at high and unusual magnifications without having to buy specific devices that can be more expensive. In fact, with a telescope that allows a magnification of 40x, it is possible to obtain a result similar to that of a lens with a focal length of more than 1200 mm.
- Other accessories
The spotting scope can be supplied with various types of accessories. In addition to the tripod, it can also be supplied with a camera adapter, spotting scopes, carrying bags or cases, straps, etc.
What is the choice between the zoom or fixed eyepiece of a spotting scope?
To change the magnification of spotting scopes, zoom lenses are needed. In general, it is better to use fixed eyepieces to have a larger field of view. They are very useful, but they are usually expensive and their quality is also inferior to that of fixed lenses. Fortunately, manufacturers are trying to improve this with the new models they offer.
The use of spotting scopes for spectacle wearers
People who wear glasses often wonder what they are going to do when using farsightedness. Should they take off the attachments or keep them?
The answer is yes and no. Yes, they should be removed if the wearer does not have astigmatism. In this case, the correctors will help. However, it is also possible to use a spotting scope or binoculars without removing the glasses. To determine whether the model is suitable for spectacle wearers, the eye relief (ER) value of the eyepiece must be checked. This should be at least 15 mm. During the test, the user must necessarily put on the glasses and will check for himself whether he is comfortable or not.
Difference between terrestrial and astronomical spotting scopes
Terrestrial spotting scopes are adjusted for use in the field: they are solid, waterproof and dustproof. They are equipped with internal prisms that are usually inserted inside their body. In astronomical models, the focusing mechanisms are on the outside. They have a mirror instead of prisms. This element ensures that the image is transmitted with higher quality but with an inverted view. Astronomical spotting scopes are more delicate. They can be used for viewing at night.
What is the choice between an angled and a straight spotting scope?
The eyepiece of the straight-viewing models is located on the extension of their body. In angled spotting scopes, the eyepiece forms a 45° angle with the body.
However, the advantages of angled spotting scopes are more numerous for observation. First, they are very comfortable for observing birds in flight. Secondly, they are more stable and therefore do not need to be mounted on large tripods. And finally, they do not need to be adjusted when used by taller or shorter people.
Some examples of the best spotting scopes
Here are some models of spotting scopes:
KONUS Konuspot 20-60x100 spotting scope
This model has a large objective lens and a zoom eyepiece. It belongs to the entry-level models, but already has several qualities. For example, this spotting scope provides a very bright image. Its magnification is 20x to 60x with a diameter of 100mm. Its weight is 2097g.
Spotting scope VARAPPE Z-Track 20-60x80
This model has the advantage of being inexpensive and at the same time having several qualities. Its zoom range goes from 20x to 60x. It is a long scope that allows you to spot the object of observation at 20x magnification and then at a maximum of 60x if the field of view is narrower. It can also be easily combined with any brand of tripod. It has an anti-fog treatment. It is suitable for use by an amateur ornithologist.
PERL Dravia 15-45x 60 45° spotting scope
This spotting scope is a compact model for people looking for a powerful but space-saving device for activities. The 15-45x zoom eyepiece allows you to observe a target at a great distance. After a quick focus at 15x, it is possible to increase the magnification to 45x for maximum detail. In this way, the user obtains a sharp image. This model also benefits from an inert gas immersion-proof construction.
KONUS Konuspot 20-60x100 Spotting Scope
This spotting scope has a large objective lens and a zoom eyepiece to optimize observation. It belongs to the entry-level models. It is very bright, with a diameter of 100 mm and a multi-coated optic. The weight of this device is 2097 g. It is the perfect observation device for birders and hikers or outdoor safari enthusiasts.
Choose a spotting scope from our selection of exclusive devices
Now you have all the information you need to know about a spotting scope. You not only know what it is, but also how to use it and how to buy it. So you can buy your device without any worries.
We invite you to take a look at our platform to see our models of spotting scopes. Please contact us if you need more information about the device.