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Guide to Choosing the Right Spotting Scope

What Do the Numbers Mean?

A spotting scope is always represented by two sets of numbers. For example 20-60 × 80. The first set of numbers refers to its magnification (or zoom). For example 20-60x means 20x to 60x variable zoom. The second number refers to the diameter of its objective lens. A spotting scope will usually have a 60mm to 100mm lens.

What is the Best Magnification?

Most spotting scopes will have a variable zoom, for example, 15-45x or 20-60x. The higher the magnification is, the more detail you will be able to see.

What is the Ideal Lens Size?

A spotting scope with a larger lens will have better light-gathering capability than a smaller lens spotting scope. This means that the image you see will be brighter and clearer. However the bigger the lens is, the larger and heavier your spotting scope will be.

What Other Features Should I Consider?

If the spotting scope will be used in extreme weather conditions a feature like weatherproof and fog-proof is desirable

Do I Need to Use a Tripod for My Spotting Scope?

Definitely -spotting scopes use high magnifications so must be stabilised to eliminate image shakiness. Most of our spotting scopes come with a table tripod but the heavier ones don’t. They have a camera tripod mount and need a heavy-duty tripod – ideally one specifically designed to carry binoculars and spotting scopes. We stock these ($199)

Can I use the Spotting Scope for Astronomy?

If your main intended use for a scope is astronomy, get a telescope.However, if you want an optic that can be used for viewing birds, wildlife, and occasionally for taking a look at the night skies, then a good quality spotting scope will do all these. The Konus 80 or 100 are a good choice with their large objective and mounted on the right tripod it will be easy to move the scope around the sky.


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