Angled Spotting Scopes
A spotting scope is a hand-portable telescope fitted with a large objective lens that is used for terrestrial observation. Normally used in conjunction with a tripod, spotting scopes are commonly fitted with a range of eyepieces to achieve differing powers of magnification and image clarity. Some also act as lens attachments for SLR cameras, and can be used for ‘digiscoping,’ using the extra zoom afforded by the scope to take very detailed long-distance images.
Spotting scopes normally come in one of two configurations – straight or angled, dependant on the location of the eyepiece. Each type has specific uses, depending on the circumstances and activity in which they are used. For this article, we are going to focus on angled spotting scopes, which normally use a reflector mirror to allow the eyepiece to be positioned at approximately 45 degrees to the body of the scope. As well as allowing for greater stability when used on a tripod, angled scopes are also much more comfortable and are generally more suitable for use by children than their straighter cousins. Angled scopes are best suited to observing objects that are high up, such as watching a bird in flight or lunar astronomy.
Angled spotting scopes make great field telescopes. Their portability combined with the fact they are normally made with a highly-durable rubber casing makes them ideal for carrying out into the wilderness. Their high imaging power makes them useful for a wide variety of outdoor activities – long-range hunting, plane spotting and birdwatching all provide ample opportunities and uses for angled spotting scopes.
A typical angled spotting scope is normally around 300-400mm long, with a lens of at least 60mm in diameter. Most lenses are between 60-80mm, though both larger and smaller lenses exist. A larger lens makes for a better, clearer image, while smaller lenses make the scope much less bulky and easier to carry and relocate. Most of the eyepieces used in angled spotting scopes are set to a magnification of 25x-32x, but once again measurements either side of these values are available. It is also possible to pick up spotting scopes with variable zoom lenses, but it is important to bear in mind that at higher magnifications zoom lenses can often result in a shortened field of vision, as well as limiting the light that can be captured by the scope and thus affecting the clarity of your final image.
Straight Spotting Scope