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Ronald White

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Choosing A Terrestrial or Spotting Scope
 
Spotting scopes (or Terrestrial Telescope) are ideally suited for such activities as long distance birdwatching and nature study, telephotography, scenic observing, long distance microscopy, beginners’ astronomy and surveillance.

As an example binoculars are best for close-up birding, but for distant birds, a spotting scope makes a marked difference. Scopes allow you to distinguish marks on distant objects like a red kite that cannot be seen with binoculars. And at closer ranges, you’ll admire intricate plumage details you never saw before.

Astronomy telescopes are much more powerful, but usually do not gather enough light for observing and are not robust enough for use in the field.

We offer a whole range of spotting scopes & offer the best of qualities for whatever image you are looking at and whenever. We have something to suit your Magnification needs.
A spotting scope is a compact telescope designed primarily for terrestrial observing and is used in applications which require magnifications beyond the range of a typical binocular usually with a magnification power between 15x and 250x. Ideally, the objective lens should be at least 60 mm in diameter to provide a bright image.

To change magnification, scopes have interchangeable fixed-length eyepieces or a single zoom eyepiece.

With a spotting scope the observer can start with a low power magnification (eyepiece or the lowest setting on a zoom eyepiece e.g. in the 20x to 30x range). Once you’ve spotted the target you can then switch to a higher power.

Eyepieces have a bayonet fixing for a quick change and scopes have good focusing techniques to adjust the target. As an example the best all-round eyepiece for a birding scope is 20x to 30x.

Zoom lenses
Zoom lenses change magnification power from 20x to as high as 60x with a single, simple adjustment. Like binoculars though, scopes suffer from less light, narrower field of view, and more vibration as magnification increases.

Many mid-priced scopes have excellent zoom lenses giving sharpness and clear image indistinguishable from that at low magnification.


Glass quality
Top spotting scope lenses are made with fluorite-coated, HD (high density), or ED (extra-low dispersion) glass. The difference in brightness and image clarity between these high-quality scopes and those made by the same manufacturers using standard glass is particularly noticeable in low-light viewing conditions and at high power.

Light-gathering capacity
The larger the objective lens at the end the end of the scope the brighter the images because a large lens gathers more light. It also makes the binoculars heavier, this is why weight is included in Specifications and you should consider it before buying a scope.

Focusing
In spotting scopes, there are two methods for focusing. A grip around the scope barrel can be turned for rapid focusing or a knob which is turned and is slower but can be more accurate.

Tripod
You may not want to use one but serious spotters always have a tripod and reap the many rewards from it. Images will be more stable in outdoor conditions. You will often return to the same spot for observing and a scope supported on a tripod is all set and ready to go when your target arrives. So get a mid-weight tripod with as few leg adjustments as possible and a flip-lock design for a secure mount.

Straight-through or 45° angled Scope
Advantages of an angled telescope are that the observer is in a more relaxed position when looking through the scope and the tripod can be set at a lower position making it easier for tall and short people.

So if you are taking friends or children with you to observe, a straight-through scope and no tripod ends up like a pass-the-parcel game.

Eye Relief
The distance between the eye lens and the point where the pupil is positioned for full field of view and varies from eyepiece to eyepiece. Check that this within the right length if you wear spectacles so you can obtain the full field of view
Photography through a telescope
In most cases it is possible to connect a camera to a telescope via an adaptor, but it is worth remembering that a telescope is designed to look through, not for taking pictures, and the results will not be as good as a dedicated camera lens.
Care and Use
Looking after telescopes


Telscopes are valuable tools, so it is worth taking a little advice to learn how to achieve the best results and keep your telescope in good working order. Some models may represent a considerable financial investment. With the correct care you might well expect it to last a lifetime and with the good advice you can maximize it’s performance.

The basics After using a telescope in the rain, always wipe it dry. If moisture is apparent on the internal optic surfaces, leave it in a warm place to dry. Never dismantle it and do not put it back in the case until it is fully dry.

If your telescope has interchangeable eyepieces, change them as little as possible, every time you remove the eyepiece, dust will get into the telescope.

Problems?

How to use your telescope
A telescope is never a substitute for a binocular and it takes time to learn to use one - but it is worth the effort!

The following points should help you:

Try to use a tripod or support whenever possible.
Learn to keep both eyes open. If the light is bright use your hand as a shade.
Do not breath on the eyepiece, especially in cold weather, as this will cause the lens to fog up.

Using a telescope and tripod
It is a good idea to carry your telescope ready mounted on a tripod so that it is easy to use quickly. A strap can be useful, although many birders carry their telescope and tripod on their shoulder, making it easy to use when needed.

A tripod with a quick-release plate will be useful in hides. If your tripod does not have this, it is possible to fit one as an accessory.

When you are out in the rain and not using your telescope, keep the lens cap on. For extra protection a `stay on case’ is a good idea. Once fitted these should be regarded as a permanent part of your telescope.