How to Pick the Right Spotting Scope
Picking the right spotting scope is easier than picking
the right binocular. There are fewer decisions to make and fewer models to choose
from. It’s almost a matter of letting your budget decide which spotting scope is
best for you.
If serious photography is planned, keep in mind that catadioptric
scopes (and the few high-end prismatic exceptions noted in our catalog, particularly
those with ED glass or fluorite optics) generally make better telephoto lenses than
a small prismatic scope.
If low light performance is important, look for the highest
If you spend a lot of time in the field, look for a reasonably
If you expect rough treatment or regular soakings, consider
a rubber-armored and/or waterproof scope.
If getting the sharpest, highest contrast image possible
is more important than convenience or price, consider single power eyepieces rather
than a zoom. Also consider ED glass or fluorite lens systems for ultimate sharpness.
From $200 to $2000, each time you double the retail price
of a spotting scope you can expect about a 10-15% improvement in optical performance.
Don’t be afraid to buy a spotting scope at the lower end of the price spectrum,
however, as they are all quite good. We’ve weeded out the poor performers for you,
choosing to carry only those which meet our standards, which tend to be high.
But don’t think you have to strain your budget to buy the
most expensive scope simply because it has the best optics. It may not fit your
birding style or your requirements for durability, field of view, low light capability,
etc. Pick the spotting scope with the features and performance you and your budget
will be comfortable with – but don’t underbuy, either. Buy the best optics you can
afford. As we’ve said before, good optics are a lifetime investment – and investing
in quality always
pays visible dividends.