Today, having a spotting scope will help you get more out of your hobby and your outdoor activities. We have done the extensive legwork needed to put together this guide. That will help you to buy the Spotting Scope that you’ll enjoy using and give you the most bang for the buck as well.
Spotting Scope Uses Activities
Spotting scopes are essential if you are getting involved in such activities like hunting, bird watching, etc. Because there are various brands on the market, it would not be easy to single out one product as the best. However, you can always choose based on the activity you want to undertake with this spotting equipment. There are different ways of using it. Most people attach it to a camera to view long-range wildlife. You can use it to take pictures of dangerous animals at a distance without disturbing them and endangering your precious life. Whatever you are using it for; allows you to have a better view of your target.
What are you going to be doing with your Spotting Scope?
Before you take things we have listed for you under advisement, you need to be clear on the purpose of why you are buying a spotting scope in the first place. So, decide first what category of person you fit into (See Above), and that will give you an idea of the type of scope you need.
A good scope is an investment, and as you should not buy such willy-nilly. Saving up for a good scope is much better than going out and carding the first one that catches your eye. Budgeting gets you a better scope, and you have time to evaluate the different ones available to get the one that fits your interests and needs best.
It also makes sure you are not disrupting your family’s fashion or putting a strain on your finances. Getting a good spotting scope should not take first place over your family responsibilities. Food on the table trumps bird watching.
How close do you want to get?
This, of course, refers to how much magnification you want to have. Many of the freestanding spotting scopes magnify between 20 & 50 times. Above this, the quality of the image suffers unless special precautions are taken. A riflescope has different parameters and is covered in a separate article.
So get a scope with the right amount of magnification you require. And you will be much happier with the results you get in the field where the light changes quickly and to see the most detail. It would help if you got close, either physically or by zooming in on the object of your interest.
How Bright do you want the image to be?
Next on your list of things to consider when choosing a good spotting scope is the diameter of the scope’s lens at its front. The larger lens and the better light gathering ability of the scope and the higher the magnification you can get without clarity.
- 50-80 mm is the range of most freestanding spotting scopes.
- 60 mm is a good round number that fits a large chunk of the scopes you’ll find today.
- 88 mm and larger spotting scopes are at the high end of spotting scopes and entering into the rarified atmosphere of terrestrial, atmospheric, and astronomy scopes.
The prices, as a result, start going up sharply. For most spotting needs, however, a 60mm lens should satisfy most. However, your conscience is your guide, and if a smaller or larger lens could suit you better.
How Bright do you want the Image to be? part II
Are you ready for another go at getting more light through your scope? Aside from increasing the diameter of the lens. You can get special coatings that further enhance the light gathering properties of your Spotting Scope.
Another thing that gives you a more precise image is to open up the exit pupil of the lens. That means the shaft of light that reaches your optic nerve is wider. This means a better lens setup for the end you are looking through. This can again raise the cost of the scope.
How comfortable do you want to be?
Do you wear glasses? How do you feel glued to an eyepiece for hours at a time? Snipers who work in pairs can only stay on their scope for about 30 minutes at a time before eyestrain and fatigue take their toll.
So when you are selecting a good spotting scope, check how it and your eyes match up. If you wear, glasses see if you can get a scope that adjusts for eyesight. Many binoculars have this ability, so you don’t need to wear your glasses. The same is true for some spotter scopes as well. Otherwise, find a scope that works best with your eyeglass prescription.
Are you going to be out in the wild?
If you are planning to use your scope at a range or enclose a shooting area, have a scope that is waterproof or armored might not be needed. But, if you are like most of us, who spend hours or even days in the field, you need to make sure your scope is waterproof and can waistband rough going.
Getting a protective case is another option as if/when the weather changes, you can seal it away to protect it from the element. However, if you are a diehard Birder, you get some of your best bird watching in during a summer storm. If this describes you, make sure your spotting scope is waterproofed and can handle a drenching if it falls out of your pack. You can even find scopes with tubes covered in Kevlar or made from Armor Tek.
If you have a low power with a wide lens and a study hand, you can most times get a clear view of what you are looking at. However, up the mags and at 1,000 yards, you might have your work cut out for you to get any clear view.
Therefore, a good tripod is almost a necessity. Many of today come with one, but they are usually short, and you have to lie prone to use them. A good Camera tripod is often the proffered way to go as it offers stability, and you can sit or stand as you choose in comfort while looking through the scope
Where do you get the best selection?
Your local sporting goods store is one place many start their search. However, they are often overpriced, and you’ll see they are the favored brands of the shop. Amazon, eBay can snag you a used one with spotty results on quality or condition. The same with the various shows you go to.
Online offers a more price-friendly alternative from the above. Out of the big 3, Amazon, eBay, and Taobao, Amazon offers the best selection, price, and quality. You can search on features, and Amazon will narrow things down for you.
- To do this, you need to use reverse psychology.
- Read the reviews of the scope you like, and instead of looking at the 5 Star reviews, look at the angry customer reviews. They give you the worst you can expect upfront.
- Next, look at the higher ratings as they will give you an idea of what people use the scope you want is being used for.
- Finally, you can see what they feel about the product.
- This will give you a ballpark in which you can make your final Go-NoGo buy decision.
- Never buy a scope that has less than a 4-star rating unless you have outside confirmation of the worth for the scope.
Also, Amazon gets it to your door in a couple of days, and they have a good rep when it comes to returning goods you aren’t happy with. That and the warranties from the makers give you a safe way to get the spotting scope you want.
How do you know if you are getting a good deal or a lemon?
If you have settled on a scope, the next thing is to verify that it will do what you and it claims to do.
You have seen the 10 things you need to do to get the spotting scope that your budget will support. First, you needed to find out who are you and what use you will put the scope to? Followed up with some of the physical characteristics of what makes a good scope. We’ve covered the main points like waterproofing, materials it is made out of. We’ve also touched on how to get the best image possible using Lens diameter, coatings, and Pupil diameter.
When you take all of this, you now have a well-rounded picture of what you should be looking for. BTW we also offer a few of the places t find a variety of spotting scopes and how to winnow throw the reviews to get an accurate picture of what scope is like and what level of rating is acceptable to buy one.
So this article is a condensation of years of being in the field and spending time looking through hundreds of various scopes you can find on the market today.
Now go out and get that scope that takes your hobby to the next level for your enjoyment and fulfillment.