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How to Become a Spotting Scope Expert: Tips and Tricks

ArticleID 220  
Writer Isaac Thuku
Category Personal Article
For many individuals who love to watch the surrounding outdoor environment, the need to invest in a spotting scope becomes a necessity. Whether you love bird watching or wildlife observation among other outdoor activities that require precision, a spotting scope comes in handy. However, you need to identify a spotting scope that will meet your needs and preferences. However, this piece of equipment should not be confused for a pair of binoculars.

What is Spotting Scope?

A spotting scope is a unique telescope that is designed to boost and ease land/terrestrial viewing. You may argue that binoculars can serve the same purpose, but this is not true. While they may have some similar functions, spotting scopes have more power/magnification. Their key distinctive features include variable zoom eyepiece and multi-coat lenses. This ensures clear images even for fast moving objects.

Types of Spotting Scopes

There are majorly two types of spotting scopes. They are categorized depending on their technological advancement. You must understand the basic spotting scopes that come with fixed eyepieces and the more advanced spotting scopes that allow you to zoom for ease in adjustability. You can also look at another form of differentiation.

• The straight through type
The eyepiece and the path are aligned on the same axis therefore, allowing the light to move straight to the object in question.
• Angled type
This type of spotting scope leaves the eyepiece turned at about 45 or 90 degrees to the path. This is highly recommended for viewing objects that are at different heights. This allows you to look up or down at objects without adjusting your scope’s height.

The Basic (Fixed Eyepiece) Spotting Scope

This is the best spotting scope when looking to strike a balance between cost and aperture. It comes with a simple design as well as construction. Its parts comprise of an objective lens, a prism, as well as an eyepiece. You can change the magnification by interchanging your eyepieces. The provided eyepieces offer different magnification powers to meet your varying needs and viewing preferences. This is highly recommended for restricted viewers such as watching from the balcony of your home.

The advanced (Zoom) Spotting Scope

Alternatively, there is the option of going for the more advanced spotting scope, which is popular and sophisticated. Naturalists and users that are more mobile prefer this. This is because you do not have to carry along various eyepieces. They come with ready installed magnifications. They cost more than the basic spotting scopes with similar aperture and quality but for the right reasons. This is because they have advanced features.


Magnification also known as its power and it is indicated in numeral form separated by an “x” symbol. While magnification is an important aspect to consider, it is not the only key consideration. This is because you should not take very high or very low magnification. Very high magnification will decrease your images brightness, decreases your field or view, creates vibrations, as well as disturbances. Get the right magnification to meet your needs to avoid blur images. Remember bigger is not always better.

A Word about Tripods

A tripod serves the purpose of helping you to place your spotting scope in position. However, it is important that you do not compromise on quality, as a good quality tripod will serve you in the long-term even when you upgrade or buy a different spotting scope. It is advisable that you invest in a tripod model that has great features to meet functionality and durability.

Some Points to Consider

The market offers different spotting scopes with varying features and specifications. The key is to choose one that meets your individual needs and preferences. Here are some important factors to consider.

• Rigidity
It is advisable that you invest in a tripod that will hold your spotting scopes weight while meeting your needs. If you intend going outdoors a lot, ensure it is also lightweight so you can easily get around. The key objective is to ensure it remains firm on the ground so you can enjoy clarity.

• The Legs
Look into the strength of the legs as well as the ease in storage. The strength will be dependent on the weight of your spotting scope. Those owning heavier spotting scopes need to identify a tripod with a wider base so they can hold all the weight.

• The Head
The head refers to the section in which the spotting scope rests. Older models will allow you to make adjustments using bolts. Modern models allow for easy adjustability thanks to their clutch system thanks to its fluid head.

• The Shoe
The shoe plays a key role in ensuring you do not easily drop your scope. Go for a more advanced shoe that will ease and quicken the attaching to your tripod. Some have a removable shoe, which makes it versatile. Due to the ease of attaching and removing the shoe, you can easily use varying instruments fast. You can also purchase other shoes when the need arises.

Final Pre- Flight Instructions

• Purpose of your spotting scope
Consider 80mm to 127mm if you intend using it for bird watching. For lighter duties such as in house use will be just fine with a 50mm to 60mm.

• Picking on style
A fixed eyepiece is affordable while offering a large aperture whereas a zooming telescope delivers on convenience. Different people have different preferences and this helps to narrow down your search.

• Invest in a quality tripod to ensure that your spotting scope is safe and that it remains easy to use

• Create a balance with magnification to get clear images. This is highly dependent on what you intend to use it for. A realistic magnification will make it easier for you to view objects.

• You should never compromise on quality but that does not mean you have to break the bank. The market offers a wide variety of spotting scopes with varying features, which tend to affect the overall price.

Finding the best spotting scope will help better your outdoor viewing experience. Top it up with a quality and strong tripod and you are ready to go.

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