A rifle scope’s view can only take you so far. A binocular also had a limited range. If these two routes of magnification don’t provide enough power for you, you’re in the market for a spotting scope. A lot of outdoor aficionados use spotting scopes for nature viewing and scenic observing. They can provide more detail at longer ranges. For example, they can provide enough detail to differentiate between similar species from very far away. Telephotography is also another application, manufacturers offer camera attachments on their spotting scopes. The camera attachment technology has improved by leaps and bounds, you are now able to take photos, use an SD card, or even upload it on the spot. Astronomy fans also have reason to by a spotting scope as they are very effective when star gazing as well. There are many uses for spotting scopes; this article will detail the things to look for when buying one and how to use it once you get it.
Specifications to Understand
Magnification power is the main reason we need a spotting scope. To start, we have to know how to read the power of a scope. You may see something like 12-36x50mm or 32x50mm, generally, the numbers before the x represent how many times further the naked eye can see with the help of that scope. Most scopes don’t go past 45x, at this point, there aren’t many practical uses for it.
The second number, in this case, 50, is how big the objective lens is. The larger the objective lens the scope has, the more light it can transmit. This is important when viewing objects in the dawn and dusk hours, also the hours when the game is most active. Another benefit of a bigger objective lens is that it will provide a larger field of view.
Field of view
Field of View specification is usually abbreviated and shows both yards and meters. If the field of view is 170 – 90 yards it means that at the lowest magnification, you can see 179 yards across and at the highest magnification, you can see 90 yards across.
The Two Types of Spotting Scopes
Angled spotting scopes have an angled eyepiece. An angled scope is better for viewing objects in treelines or animals that are hiding because of the ability to easily pan up and down. Another benefit is that you can use a shorter tripod, giving you less to carry when in the field.
A 90-degree spotting scope is a usual choice for those of us buying our first one. Although not recommended because of stability reasons, a straight spotting scope can be used without a tripod while standing up. It is easier to aim as you can move it left and right freely. With the help of a tripod, animals on the ground are much easier to view. A straight scope can provide all these benefits with less neck strain.
Lens coating is vital for a quality spotting scope. Lens coating is very expensive and can mean a big difference in price but a bigger difference in optical quality. Look for fully multi-coated lenses for the best experience.
The types of coating are lens coatings available are:
- Coated – A single layer on at least one lens surface.
- Fully Coated – A single layer on all air-to-glass lens surfaces
- Multi-Coated – Multiple layers on at least one lens surface.
- Fully Multi-Coated – Multiple layers on all air-to-glass surfaces.
Using a Scope for a Hunt
When buying a spotting scope, make sure you buy a tripod if you don’t already have one. This will steady your view. Even the slightest movement will negatively affect your view when looking at images with such high magnification.
To achieve the clearest image, slowly adjust your magnification while observing an object. Sometimes, an image will not clear up; heatwaves at high noon will blur your images. At a high magnification during a hot summer day, you’ll barely be able to see the horns on a buck just a half-mile away.
Many hunters in the west coast use high powered spotting scopes because of the wide-open country. However, the plains of the Midwest and open areas of the Appalachians are also good candidates for powerful magnification. Personally, I use my scope out west to pick out mule deer. A spotting scope is useful in providing the details of an animal before you begin to stalk it. You want to be sure of your prize buck before you begin a stalk. Often times during scouting season, animals will be in large herds. For example, during the fall deer are a lot less confrontational any may hang out together; this is a good opportunity for you to scout a potential wall hanger.
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