Why Are Spotting Scopes So Popular? Understanding Optics And Mechanics

If you have ever traveled to the great outdoors and found yourself wanting to examine a bird or a plant from up close, you probably thought already about getting a pair of binoculars. However, while binoculars for bird watching and observing nature, in general, are all the rage, some people prefer spotting scopes.

Have you ever wondered why? After all, binoculars appear to be so convenient. Understanding the optics and mechanics behind a spotting scope will help you realize why these optical devices are so popular right now.

How does a spotting scope work?

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 20-60 x80 (45 degree) Spotting Scope. Hunting & Birding Scopes, Spotting Scopes.
 Spotting Scope

A spotting scope is made from a complex set of lenses that refract light to provide you with a crisp image. The lenses will gather and focus light in the same manner as a telescope, which is why spotting scopes offer a higher performance when compared to binoculars.

The diameter of the objective lens plays a vital role in image quality. In easy to understand terms, the larger the objective lens, the better the image, which is something that differentiates it from a telescope.

The light will go through the eyepiece; then, the magnification plays its role in creating a larger image of what is observed through the lenses. Another thing you should know is that if you get a model with high magnification, the image resulted tends to become blurry.

That’s the reason why you’ll notice that magnification is not that high on spotting scopes. On the other hand, the optics quality is high, as the lenses are multi-coated to reduce image noise and offer a crisper image.

When are spotting scopes a good option?


Spotting scopes enjoy such great popularity for a reason. When you go hunting or bird watching, you will notice that a spotting scope can cover more considerable distances than binoculars can. You couldn’t use a telescope for such purposes, although there are models designed for terrestrial viewing because they are too strong.

Another nice thing about spotting scope is that they usually offer the benefits of variable zoom features, and give you more versatility than you could expect from other optical devices. As long as you get yours from a reputable company, you will enjoy excellent results.

And you don’t have to worry about pricing, either; there are some really affordable spotting scopes from Bushnell that combine quality and reasonable price tags.

Excellent focus is a great plus

A spotting scope is made to bring details into focus, which means that you can use it for short distances, as well as long distances. It is this type of versatility that recommends them most for bird watchers who want to be able to get close to the specimen they wish to observe and focus on various details.

Created with portability in mind

Spotting scopes are mainly used outdoors, by hunters, hikers, and bird watchers; therefore, they are designed to be portable, so you don’t have to worry that they might be more cumbersome than binoculars. Some are even small enough to fit inside a pocket, so you can easily imagine why they are such a good pick.

Some details you shouldn’t overlook

The good news is that you can end up spending very little money on a spotting scope, considerably less than on a telescope, and on par with what you may budget for a pair of binoculars. However, if you want superior performance, you will have to consider shelling out more money for some extra features.

For instance, if you intend to use your spotting scope for hunting, and other outdoor activities, you may find it useful for your model to be waterproof. Certain features, such as O-ring seals and nitrogen-purged construction, guarantee that your spotting scope will behave well in fog and rain conditions.

In case you don’t want to worry about image shakiness, which occurs when you zoom in, you should also consider investing in a tripod. Such a simple add-on will eliminate this problem, and you will be able to scout your surroundings in perfect conditions.

Never underestimate the importance of high-quality optics. That is one of the main points of comparison between different models, and what you should focus on when you want to invest in such a device.

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