[CT Birds] Scopes?

Clay Taylor ctaylor at att.net
Thu Nov 1 14:00:39 EDT 2007


That's funny - Sarah's message arrived on my computer earlier than Grace's.
Ah, technology....

Pete Dunne said it well years ago - spend as much as you possibly can on
your optics and you will appreciate the difference every day.
  Translation - you get what you pay for.

I am not sure what the 18-38x scope was, or its price tag, but I suspect
that it is a low to mid-priced scope.   It certainly won't compete with the
Swarovskis and Kowas, but might be as good as you can do in the price range.
Hint - when you are comparing scopes or binoculars, whether it is at a store
or in the field, look at SPECIFIC things -

A resolution chart is best, but something like a distant sign or a car
license plate with fine, contrasty detail is a good start.   How well does
the optic make the details "Stand out", and which optic does it best?
Looking through a window is OK, but outside is better.    Beware of heat
shimmer on a sunny day - even if it is 30-degrees out, bright sun on
pavement can kill image details at a few hundred feet.

Look at the optical performance at the center of the image, then move the
subject halfway to the edge, then out to the edge.   All lenses are best in
the center, but the ones that have good edge sharpness will give you an
overall clearer, easier to see image.    You would be surprised how your
brain "watches" the edge of the field, even if you are not paying attention
to it.

If your eyes do not have to strain as much, you don't get eye fatigue, and
you spot things much more quickly.    Keep the optic up to your face for
20 - 30 seconds, constantly looking at things.   If you find yourself
straining, or having trouble keeping focused, that tells you something.

Other considerations -

What do you think you will be doing with the scope?    Most birders use the
scope as Option # 2 - first they find a bird with their binoculars, and then
if they can't ID it, they go to the scope.    Some (like me!) love to scan
at long distance with the scope for ducks, hawks, shorebirds, etc., and then
turn up the power on the zoom if we need to see the subject a little better.
Some birders fall somewhere in between.

Are you considering any bird photography through the scope?    While
digiscoping is pretty straightforward and relatively easy, getting good
results (supply your own version of "good" here) usually costs more money,
and definitely takes time in the field to become proficient.    The scope's
quality is usually more important than the camera's cost.

Don't skimp on a tripod - if the scope is shaking, you still can't see any
details.    Buying a "heavy" tripod might not necessarily be the answer -
the carbon-fiber tripods are expensive, but they dampen vibrations better
than most aluminum tripods that are much heavier.

Feel free to come back with questions,

Clay Taylor
Moodus, CT
ctaylor at att.net

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Peregrine Information Consultants" <info at peregrineinfo.com>
To: <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
Sent: Thursday, November 01, 2007 11:22 AM
Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Scopes?


> Hello,
>
> If it's list-appropriate, I would appreciate seeing replies posted to the
list, as I will soon be in the market for a scope, too.
>
> Sarah
>
> Sarah Hager Johnston, BMus, MLS
> 860-676-2228
>
> Peregrine Information Consultants
> www.peregrineinfo.com
> Research and writing for insurance, risk management, safety & health,
business, and medical professionals
>
> Grace Notes
> www.grace-notes.com
> Program annotations, research, and writing services for classical musical
ensembles and the professionals who serve them
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Profatilov, Grace [mailto:Grace.Profatilov at yale.edu]
> Sent: Thursday, November 1, 2007 12:12 PM
> To: ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org
> Subject: [CT Birds] Scopes?
>
> This may be considered off topic so could responders write directly to me?
>
> I'm looking to purchase a scope. I've looked at the 20x x 80x and the 18X
to 38X. There doesn't seem to be a significant difference between the two
(when looking out the front window of  the Fat Robin at the house across the
street) and the 18x x 38x seems so much lighter and easier to carry around.
Will I be terribly disappointed some day that I bought the smaller scope?
>
> Thanks!
> Grace Profatilov
> grace.profatilov at yale.edu
>
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>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
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