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How Do Spotting Scopes Work?
Siobhan J. Haines
Spotting Scope is a type of telescope typically used for observing wild animals and birds. A spotting scope features more magnification than a conventional binocular but less than an astronomical telescope.
The utility of a spotting scope becomes most obvious when the identification of an animal going in a large herd is required. Figuring out a specific animal from other look-alike animals becomes easy with such a device. For digiscoping purposes, few things can beat the power of spotting scopes.
It is possible by using binoculars or telescopes to take a closer look at birds or other animals, but if you want a precise view of your target animal, a spotting scope is preferable. Knowing how spotting scopes work is essential before knowing how to use one.
Spotting Scope Features Explained
Objective lens, also known as the Front lens, determines the image quality at higher magnifications. The diameter of this lens ranges from 50-100mm in size. It is also called “Aperture” of the lens. It is wise to buy the highest size of the objective lens considering its weight. Larger lenses allow to pass more light and create more bright images. This means you will get higher image quality with the larger lenses.
Manufactures often apply the chemical coating, which is known as Lens Coating, on the lens to reduce noise and increase light transmission. They also offer “fully coated,” “multi-coated” and “fully multi-coated” lens to improve image quality. The premium quality spotting scopes’ lenses are multi-coated with multiple layers on the surface.
There are two types of focusing mechanism in the spotting scopes such as Helical and Knob focusers. The focusing characteristics determine how quickly you can focus on the object with maximum precision. Between these two options, the helical focuser is the finest option for birding as it can change magnification rapidly along with the movement of the bird. For hunting or spotting slower animals, Knob focuser is best as it gives you more precise information than the former one.
The eyepiece remains at a little distance from the users’ eyes. This distance is called the eye relief where the light rays transmitted from the object pass to enter into your pupil. The comfortable eye relief distance is about 15mm to see the full field view. This feature is very important for those who wear eyeglasses. Nowadays, manufacturers are offering long eye relief for those who need to wear eyeglasses for convenient viewing.
You might have seen some designation on the glass label of the spotting scope such ED glass, APO glass, HD glass, Fluorite glass. These special qualities of glass will cost you more but create a huge difference in image quality comparing low-quality lenses. Remember, you must pay for the good quality images when it comes to buying any types of optical instruments.
The magnification of spotting scope is higher than standard binoculars and varies between 15x to 75x. The power of the eyepiece determines the magnification of the scope. The important fact you should know that image quality drops off as the magnification goes up. Even premium quality scopes also lose a little quality at the highest magnification.
The condition of the atmosphere has effects on your birding, hunting and digiscoping too. Humidity, ever-moving air, dry climates, dust and so on hinders the magnification and image quality at large.
By now, you have got to know how spotting scopes work. The construction follows simple optical physics, but manufacturers add values to offer you more precise and superior quality images. After reading this article, if you want to know about the spotting scopes, binoculars or telescopes, then do not hesitate to contact us.