Spotting Zoom

Advanced Birding and the Spotting Scope

Advanced Birding and the Spotting Scope

 

Most of us begin birding with a field guide and a pair of binoculars.  Yet, we eventually realize that certain situations demand our acquisition of a spotting scope.  It may be that we find ourselves at the wetlands and can not quite tell if we are looking at a White Faced or Glossy Ibis.  Or, we spot a raptor across the canyon and can not say if it is a Red Tail or some other hawk.  Or, maybe, we just would like a better look at the Black Throated Green Warbler high up in the oaks.

 

Your advancement in birding does not mean you are becoming an elitist.  Your expertise is growing and should be cause for celebration.  Owning a spotting scope doesn’t make you an elitist either.  In fact, many manufacturers have improved their processes to accomplish advances in construction and image quality while making their product more affordable.   The spotting scope is now considered as essential as the binoculars.

 

There are many elements in the choice of a scope.  Many are personal preferences.  One such is whether to buy a scope that is straight through (ST) or angular (AN) sighted.  It is probably easier to find and focus on some distant bird using the ST configuration.  With practice, one can adjust to an AN scope and become just as proficient.  However, if you find that you are often in a group and sharing a scope the AN may be the better choice.  You can set the height to the shortest person in the group and everyone can easily view whatever bird is the subject of inquiry.

 

Light gathering ability is a major consideration in a scope.  Generally, the larger the objective lens the greater the ability to gather light.  An 80 mm objective gathers more light than a 60 mm lens.   However, with a larger lens also comes added weight and cost.  For most of us, and in most circumstances, objective lenses in the 60 to 65 mm range are quite adequate.

 

The eyepiece, or ocular, can be fixed or variable.  A 20x ocular is good for fixed eyepieces, but variable magnification are either 15x-45x or 20x-60x.  The lower magnification on the variable ocular is used to locate and focus the bird while the greater magnifications can be zoomed in to gain detail for a sure identification.

 

Eventually, one has to make a decision as to what amount to spend.  For those whose budget is limited the Cornell Laboratory Scope Quest 2008 becomes an excellent source of information and advice. Ken Rosenberg organized this event and compiled data on a number of scopes.  In this, the Stokes Sandpiper Scope did quite well.  Ken writes, “An even nicer surprise was the Vortex Stokes Sandpiper, which at $359 or less could be the best buy of any model we tested.  This small, lightweight scope is fully waterproof, works well with eyeglasses, and provides an image nearly as nice up to 45x as the more expensive [models].”  

 

Considering image quality, ease of transport, magnifications, objective lens size and, of course, cost, it all comes down to what fits your personal needs and preferences.  Once you have made your choice, enjoy it to the fullest.

 

About the Author

Roy Smallwood is the owner of Kingbirdfeeders.com. Roy began this enterprise after a 26 year career as a teacher of science. His love and enjoyment of the outdoors and birding in particular is the impetus for the company. He is an active member of the Central Texas Audubon Society. He encourages everyone to participate and enjoy birding whether in the backyard or in the field. Visit www.kingbirdfeeders.com for , binoculars and spotting scopes and happy birding!

How does Zoom function effect the estimation of a laser spot size on an image?

Hi All,

This is a following question from another question, "Estimate the size of laser spot in digital camera?"

The camera has a zoom function and have been used to obtain this image. If I know the magnification, like 10x, how do I estimate the size of the spot with the zooming effect?

Thank you.

If it has an optical zoom, the spot should be 10 times as big.
If it uses digital zoom, the spot is the same size.

Celestron C65 Mini Mak Zoom Spotting Scope




25 75X70 Waterproof Spotting Scope Zoom Binoculars Monocular w Tripod
25 75X70 Waterproof Spotting Scope Zoom Binoculars Monocular w Tripod

$62.89
25d 14h 12m remaining

Pocket Compact Monocular Telescope Optical HD Lens Spotting Scope 30x25 Zoom
Pocket Compact Monocular Telescope Optical HD Lens Spotting Scope 30x25 Zoom

$7.59
2d 10h 15m remaining

20x50 Zoom Portable Monocular Telescope with Tripod Stand Spotting Scope
20x50 Zoom Portable Monocular Telescope with Tripod Stand Spotting Scope

$18.34
22d 10h 47m remaining

Bausch  Lomb Discoverer Zoom Telescope Spotting 60mm
Bausch Lomb Discoverer Zoom Telescope Spotting 60mm

$30.00
3d 10h 52m remaining

Bausch  Lomb Discoverer Zoom Telescope 15 60X 60mm Lens Spotting Scope
Bausch Lomb Discoverer Zoom Telescope 15 60X 60mm Lens Spotting Scope

$45.00
24d 8h 12m remaining

Simmons Blazer Spotting Scope 20X60 zoom
Simmons Blazer Spotting Scope 20X60 zoom

$55.00
21d 22h 13m remaining

16X52 Zoom Compact Sports Monocular Telescope Mono Spotting Scope T9B1
16X52 Zoom Compact Sports Monocular Telescope Mono Spotting Scope T9B1

$7.43
35d 14h 43m remaining

Optical HD Lens Pocket Compact Monocular Telescope Spotting Scope 10x25 Zoom
Optical HD Lens Pocket Compact Monocular Telescope Spotting Scope 10x25 Zoom

$7.39
2d 10h 49m remaining

20 60x60mm Zoom Angled Spotting Scope Monocular Telescope with Tripod Soft Case
20 60x60mm Zoom Angled Spotting Scope Monocular Telescope with Tripod Soft Case

$128.98
19d 16h 10m remaining

12 36x50A Zoom Monocular Telescope BAK4 Spotting Antifogging Scope With Tripod
12 36x50A Zoom Monocular Telescope BAK4 Spotting Antifogging Scope With Tripod

$56.51
28d 11h 28m remaining

20x To 60x Zoom Angled Spotting Scope Monocular Telescope with Tripod Soft Case
20x To 60x Zoom Angled Spotting Scope Monocular Telescope with Tripod Soft Case

$69.99
10h 48m remaining

25 75X70 Precision Zoom Telescope Monocular Spotting Scope Waterproof + Tripod
25 75X70 Precision Zoom Telescope Monocular Spotting Scope Waterproof + Tripod

$38.05
23d 9h 42m remaining



« Previous12345...89


Tagged with:

Filed under: Astronomy Binoculars