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Jacob's Photo & Digital
9 Mokoia Road
Birkenhead
Auckland 0626

Our Top Spotting Scopes

Top 3 General Purpose Spotting Scopes

A general spotting scope is something that you would use for enjoying a view at your house or bach. If you are looking for something to enjoy watching the boats or enjoying your view these are the products for you.

Having a simple to use unit is an advantage in this category, as in a house setting many different users could be using the scope. It needs to be simple and flexible enough for everyone and their eyesight.

Entry-level

The Konuspot-80 is our best selling scope by a mile, and is what most general purpose users buy for its fantastic quality to price ratio. Saying that, it's not suitable if you are near water as it has no weather sealing and doesn't handle getting wet well.

Included carrying bag, smartphone adapter and miniature tripod make it an excellent complete package, however a full sized tripod is recommended to get the most out of it.

It also comes in an 100mm version for better brightness and low light performance if your budget allows for it.

Mid-range

The Kowa TSN-82SV is a classic model (first released 1984) that Kowa has continued to revise year after year due to overwhelming demand. People love the style and it's focus on optics, rather than bells and whistles.

It's waterproof and nitrogen-filled to stop it from fogging up. Compatible with a wide range of accessories for digiscoping.

Included eyepiece magnification: 25-50x

It is built to last, and comes with a 10 year warranty.

Top-end

The best optic we have ever used. We agree with this Swarovski statement:

The BTX combines the visual power of both eyes with a revolutionary viewing experience. Crucial subtleties can be seen with the crystal clear optics, with every detail now fully on show. A forehead rest and angled view guarantee comfortable viewing for hours on end. The benefits of binoculars and spotting scopes are combined in the BTX eyepiece module. It presents vivid, true-to-life images and offers the comfort required for long-term observation.

While it's not like other spotting scopes on this list due to the fixed magnification and dual eyepieces the image quality is ridiculous. It's for people who want the best.

Top 3 Hunting Spotting Scopes

A hunter's spotting scope should have great low-light performance in addition to being tough and portable. Since 100mm and some 80mm scopes are heavy, we find 65mm (or smaller) to be a good compromise between light gathering, and size.

Bushnell Prime 16-48x50 Spotting Scope-Jacobs Photo and Digital

Entry-level

Waterproof, easy to carry and extremely well protected it's the ideal budget hunters scope. Even if you do manage to break it, the Ironclad warranty offers complete coverage for the lifetime of the scope.

Since it's a straight eyepiece using it with a tripod that has an adjustable center column would be ideal. The scope works well with window mounts.

Mid-range

A massive jump in price, but also quality. This Japanese scope features top tier built quality (JIS-7) Water will not enter the enclosure even when it is immersed in water under defined conditions (Immersion resistant). Kowa's sharp and clear optics give a great viewing experience in any condition. It's also photographer friendly, if you wanted to view the game on the back of a camera for example. The whole unit is waterproof, including the eyepiece. It has a wide range of accessories available.

Swarovski ATX/STX 25-60x65-Spotting scope-Jacobs Photo and Digital

Top-end

A fantastic scope if you need something small and light to throw in your pack. It's one of the most used models in New Zealand because of its clear optics, great eyepieces and massive range of accessories from tripods, to iPhone adapters, and bags.

While the huge FOV and amazing fluorite optics are great, the real icing on the cake is that it can be disconnected in the center rather than just at the eyepiece offering huge advantages in portability.

Top 3 Birding Spotting Scope

There is nothing quite like getting an extreme close up view with a spotting scope. A good spotting scope will change your birding forever, giving you the detail that a pair of binoculars cannot. It's very budget driven, if you are into bird watching, get the best scope you can afford.

If you're interested in digiscoping, a straight-angled eyepiece might feel more natural, but for both, a 45 degree is vastly more comfortable. We know these are not cheap products, the cheaper spotting scopes don't have fantastic optical quality, features or accessories so they are not ideal for bird watching. If you can get to it - the list of scopes below is what we would recommend.

Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A Spotting Scope-Spotting scope-Jacobs Photo and Digital

Entry-level

Starting the pack is the Vanguard. It is really the cheapest option with a good digiscoping adaptor available (not included) that screws directly into entry-level DSLR lenses, not onto the camera itself. This keeps the price down while giving you the maximum field of view.

This Scope comes with a Lifetime warranty, is built from Magnesium and contains HD glass, for a great image even at the range & high power. It is also quick to set up and focuses while being completely weatherproof.

Kowa Prominar 77mm with 25-60x eyepiece Spotting Scope-Spotting scope-Jacobs Photo and Digital

Mid-range

Kowa is an old birding company, featuring some of the best optics possible in a spotting scope. The 77mm model is considerably cheaper than the flagship Kowa 82mm but has all of the same features. It is very flexible in terms of camera attachments, working well with DSLR's and Smartphones alike.

The Optics are XD, reducing chromatic aberration that can really distract the viewer when on high power. The whole unit is nitrogen purged to make it waterproof and fog proof while it's balanced design keeps it stable when panning.

The eyepiece included is also a wide angle, so even on 60x power, it's easy to track your target.  

Swarovski ATX/STX 30-70x95-Spotting scope-Jacobs Photo and Digital

Top-end

Featuring a huge, 95mm objective lens, modular design and Swaroski's Swarovision fluoride-containing lenses offers bright, beautifully clear images with a focus on hybrid use. The DSLR adapter (not included) for example can be quickly attached and released at a moments notice for changing between visual and digiscoping uses. The modular design breaks in half, allowing storage into a backpack when hiking while only weighing 2kg's.

Both the focus and zoom are right next to each other, easily controlled by one hand. The idea is that you can be panning and focusing at the same time for majestic in-flight close-up imagery. It's incredibly immersive.

 

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