Contact Info

Jacobs Photo & Digital
Address: 9 Mokoia Road Birkenhead
Auckland 0626
New Zealand

Phone: 09 480 5903

Buying a Spotting Scope can be challenging online as they all look very similar. Instead of jumping into technical specifications here is a brief guide as to what they are and what to stop for. 

Do I need a spotting scope?

Spotting scopes are land based telescopes. If you are trying to view something at a distance on land and binoculars don't cut it, a spotting scope is what you should be shopping for. 

If you do any Bird watching, target shooting, general viewing from a deck or hunting at long range, you are going to want a spotting scope. Even if you want to isolate a object @ close range, a spotting scope is still going to be the best product for your needs. 

Why should I buy a Spotting scope over a Telescope?

A Spotting Scope is a special type of telescope that is far better at viewing objects on land or at sea than a conventional telescope. If you're after a telescope for terrestrial use, we strongly recommend using a spotting scope instead - its optics corrects the orientation of the image. Some spotting scopes can be used for astronomical viewing, however this is usually limited to simply seeing the craters of the Moon and getting a closer look at constellations.

The optics for spotting scopes are oriented the right way up and have a built-in zoom lens, which makes it easier to find and track objects than with a telescope. Compared to a pair of binoculars, they have a larger aperture for low-light conditions and a higher magnification for more detailed viewing.

Features of a spotting scope include:

  • Sun Shade to stop stray light. 
  • Standard Tripod fitting
  • Lighter and more portable than a Telescope
  • Zoom eyepiece @ the correct range for land
  • Smaller and easier to move
  • Often Weatherproof
  • Fast to focus
  • Wider angle of viewing for tracking objects compared to a basic telescope

Do I want straight or Angled?

Nearly everyone uses an Angled eyepiece. This is a comfort thing as it's easier to view in this position. It makes changing heights easy as most good spotting scopes have a marksman screw that allows the scope to rotate on it's mount. (the collar in the middle of the scope)

Straight scopes are great if you don't move the scope or are using it inside of a car, straight scopes are also used by hunters in the bush as they can use a tree as a prop.


If waterproof is in your price-range, it's worth the upgrade. Waterproof scopes are great outdoors and are much more resistant to dust. 


Most of the time, a scope will be setup in one place for long periods of time however you must consider the weight in order to get it there in the first place. If your going to be hiking with a scope, you generally don't want to be carrying some 100mm monster up a mountain. Lower sizes of scopes are lighter. For example a 60mm scope is lighter than a 80mm however the 60mm is much dimmer. It's a balancing act. 

How much do I want to spend?

browse our range of spotting scopes here

The truth is that scopes, like most other optical products are priced on a scale. The more it costs the better it is. Try to know how much you want to spend before browsing. Spotting scopes range from $350 to $6000 without a tripod.  There is a noticeable quality difference every time you step up a level. For example from a $350 to a $1000 the color and sharpness of the image is much better and cleaner. It's also often wider at the same zoom range. Not to mention the other features you normally get like dual speed focuser and weather sealing at the higher price ranges. 

Objective lens size

This determines brightness and size of the scope. For viewing distance objects from your deck, a 80mm or 100mm is going to be what you want. For hunting or bird watching, you may want to consider something in the 60mm range to save space and size. 


This is a large subject and not something we will cover in this guide. Basically Digiscoping means to attach a camera for super long range photography. Many of the better scopes are built with this in mind. You will need to purchase different adapters for your camera depending on model and make. Please contact us for help in this department. 

For more information, of if you have a question please give us a call or email and we will be able to help.

If you're looking for Tripods for Spotting scopes please click here.



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