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Should You Use Binoculars, A Spotting Scope, Or Both, For Birdwatching?

If you’re a keen birder, you’ll know that trying to zoom in and capture a rare bird in all of its glory using just a smartphone, is never a success. Even if you don’t want to take a picture of the bird, you might think that looking at it through a smartphone lens would help you identify it accurately, and observe it in its natural habitat, better. However, with the image jumping and blurring, you’re generally left cursing the fact that you didn’t invest in either a good pair of binoculars, or a Celestron Ultima Refractor 100 Spotting Angles Scope.

Why should you use a spotting scope for birdwatching?

Spotting a rare bird can make you feel like you’ve hit the jackpot, but not knowing whether you’ve spotted one because you can’t see it clearly enough, can be a bitter blow, especially if you’ve spent hours crouched down in the cold, hoping something would make an appearance. While binoculars can be great for giving you a closer view of a bird, they don’t often get you as close up as you’d like, at least not in the way that a spotting scope can.

With a spotting scope that has outstanding capabilities in terms of magnification, is lightweight enough to easily carry from a to b as you move from one location to another, and is reasonably priced, you can get close enough to view beautiful birds with breathtaking clarity; as if they were perched right on your knee!

As with any kind of optical viewing device, take your time to choose one that fits your needs and budget, as the Celestron Ultima Refractor 80 Spotting Scope might, and don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions about your potential investment.

Why shouldn’t you use binoculars for birdwatching?

It’s difficult to observe birds with binoculars as a result of their field of view, which is much smaller on models with higher levels of magnification. The image of the bird will not be as bright due to there being less light, and with a shaky or unsteady hand, it’s impossible to use binoculars with a higher magnification to any great effect. While you could use a tripod adapter to help you keep the binoculars steady, this hefty chunk of kit isn’t conducive to hiking through nature or moving easily from one location to another.

Ultimately, for spotting birds close up, you’ll need a good quality spotting scope. For observing them in the distance, you may find a pair of binoculars to be adequate for your needs.

Is it true that some birders use both binoculars and a spotting scope?

While the purpose of a spotting scope is not the same as that of binoculars, some birders who like to observe birds at a close distance or while scanning the horizon or sky for birds, and want to study specimens in an open landscape in more detail, do carry both.

A good pair of binoculars with a larger field of view may be all you need when orienting yourself and observing birds from afar, but to get a clear view of a bird once you’ve spotted it, you’ll almost certainly benefit from a Celestron Landscout 20-60x80mm Spotting Scope with Smartphone Adaptor.

So while the answer to the question of whether you should use binoculars, a spotting scope or both for birdwatching, isn’t exactly straightforward, it is clear that a spotting scope will always give you the clearest view of a creature, even at a distance.

To make sure you’re always equipped, why not invest in both!

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