Tips On How to Choose A Binocular or Scope for Wildlife Viewing

How to Choose
A Binocular or Spotting Scope

Here are the features to look for






Florida Everglades


How To Choose a Binocular
or Spotting Scope

A new generation of mini-binoculars and compact scopes give excellent optical performance, and some of these scaled-down instruments weigh as little as 11 ounces.

Waterproof/fogproof optics can endure even the wettest conditions.

Points to keep in mind when making a selection:


Binoculars' magnifying power can vary widely, though seven-power (7X) is probably the most popular. With 7X, an animal at 70 yards will appear to be only 10 yards away, giving the viewer decidedly more detail.

It's possible to go up to 20X, though the price for a quality pair with that magnification is expensive. That kind of power usually isn't needed in Florida unless you're looking for incredibly close detail.

Unlike Alaska and many other places with wide open spaces, most Florida wildlife viewing is done at fairly close quarters.

Light gathering ability

Under what light conditions are you usually outdoors?

In bright daylight or during the most subdued shadows and haze of early morning and late afternoon? Some optics pull in more light to brighten your subject, while others are suited only for full daylight viewing.

A product's specifications can provide a pretty good indication of light gathering ability. Binocular specs, for instance, are given in two numbers divided by an "x": 7 x 35, for instance, or 10 x 50.

The first number is the magnifying power, the second is the diameter (in millimeters) of the objective (front) lens.

The diameter of this front lens is important in determining light gathering ability, since the wider the lens, the more light it will allow to enter.

The brightness of the image is determined by the size of the exit pupil, which is the concentrated light coming out of the eyepiece.

The larger the exit pupil, the greater the brightness of the image.

There are many more factors to consider, even in terms of light magnification. For more information, continue to Part 2

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