Yellowstone Park Information
Spotting Scopes & Binocular
What I like and why
In Support Of Responsible And Safe Wildlife Viewing
see quite a few folks out wildlife watching with massive 10X50 binoculars.
You really don't need anything that powerful when choosing a good pair
of bino's. I personally use (as of this writing) a pair of 8X30 Swarovski's.
If I need anything more powerful than that----- I go to the spotting
Hand holding a
pair of 10X50 binoculars can be challenging. Number one, your field
of view is going to be very narrow which can make locating a walking
or even running wolf difficult unless you can mount the binoculars on
a tripod, and trying to hand hold a massive pair of bino's is nearly
impossible for any length of time.
A pair of binoculars
in the 8X30, or 7X35 range will give you a clearer view with more light,
be very easy and light to hand hold for long periods of time, and most
importantly give you a wider field of view for locating the object you
are searching for.
When choosing a
new pair of binoculars I prefer a medium sized, fairly light weight
pair. Those tiny pocket bino's do a decent job and are lightweight.
The larger high powered bino's are not as easy to hand hold for very
long, and they put too much weight on my neck when I'm hiking. Medium
sized bino's fit my hand well, and they don't weigh a ton, and give
me a wider field of view.
Make sure the pair you choose is nitrogen gas filled, so
that they do not fog when the weather is wet, cold, or humid.
There are many great manufacture's to choose from.
My best advice is to spend some time looking through many different
pairs---outdoors in real life situations will give you your best test,
but you can get a decent feel and look while in a large store. Place
the strap around your neck, and walk or stand for awhile to see how
they will feel when your hiking. Is the weight ok? Does the strap cut
into your neck?
I know it's going
to look like I'm really pushing Zeiss on this page, but they do make
an excellent product, and often at a more affordable price. You just
can't beat their products. The exceptional glass, clarity, and reliability
are the best.
If I had to buy a new pair of bino's today, I would choose
list of spotting scopes on the market today is long and varied. One
of the most frequently asked questions I get every year is, "what
is the best wildlife spotting scope" ? And, since I spend so much
time in the field, often among large groups of wolf and bear watchers,
I get to look through hundreds, maybe even thousands of different spotting
scopes every year.
I carry and use
three different scopes. Every spotting scope on the market has its own
advantages and disadvantages. Which scope is best for you would depend
on how much you can afford to spend. How often you plan to use the scope,
and what types of activities you plan on using the scope with i.e.;
Backpacking, you'll want a light packable scope. Parking in a pull-out
and watching wolves or bears in Yellowstone, your options would be unlimited.
best spotting scope on the market today is the Zeiss Diascope 85.
"Your Zeiss scope
really impressed me! I'm buying the scope before my next visit to Yellowstone!
model features an angled view, which is great when you have people of
different heights all using the scope. The viewing eyepiece is large
and the object in view is large, super bright and clear.
The eyepiece can be rotated to the side, for use from a
vehicle window mount, or for younger kids to look through without dropping
the tripod to a lower height.
The large 85mm
objective lens is the largest on the market and allows you to view earlier
or later in the day when most scopes go dark from lack of sunlight,
but when most wildlife are active. In fact, I generally get another
30 minutes or more of viewing than other wolf and bear watchers.
are offered but I prefer the 20X60 zoom myself. The eyepiece also includes
a handy feature which allows eye glass wearers to use the scope easily.
Gas filled, making the scope water,
and fog proof. Lightweight--the lightest high end scope on the market!
every head to head test that has been conducted in real life field tests
with high end spotting scopes, the Zeiss Diascope 85 has come out on
top and declared the best.
second scope I carry and use is the Fujinon 80
large 80mm objective opening is large enough to allow you to use to
the scope late or early in the day. Some clients find the close eye
relief eyepiece easier to view through, and some find it more difficult.
The view is decent and bright, but not as bright or as
clear as the Zeiss. Still, a great scope, and one that I rely on everyday.
20X60 zoom eye piece. This
scope will fog and is not gas filled. $1000. limited warranty.
third spotting scope I use is the Leupold Gold Ring.
scope, although not large provides an excellent view. The optics are
great and the long eye relief makes it easy for eye glass wearers to
use the scope.
Eyepiece is fixed
power at 35mm with a 40mm objective opening, and the scope is armor
coated. Excellent choice for kids to use and for backpacking. A very
$800. Sealed gas filled, fog
and water proof. Drawback? 40mm objective lens makes it difficult to
use at dawn or dusk.
The Swarovski 80mm scope is one of the more popular
high end scopes you'll see in Yellowstone. Sells for about $1800. and
the warranty is limited and non-transferable.
I personally had
a difficult time viewing through this scope and most of my clients did
not like the view but preferred the Zeiss.
to choose from, but the 20X60 is the most popular. Gas
filled--water, and fog proof. Eyepiece rotates for use with a vehicle
Kowa is also a popular scope with some wolf and bear watchers, but the
eyepiece is small and difficult to view through for extended periods
of time, and even more difficult at 60 power.
The 40mm objective lens
makes this scope difficult to use at dusk or dawn. Heavy and somewhat
bulky. Sells for about $500. Fog and water proof.
Televid 60 is also a popular high end spotting scope among the wolf
and bear watchers in Yellowstone. The Leica has a large eyepiece, bright
and clear. The object viewed is large, but not as bright or sharp as
the Zeiss in my opinion.
small 60mm objective will not provide enough light at dusk or dawn,
and is best used with full sun.
Gas filled, water
and fog proof. Sells for about $1800.---one of the more expensive scopes
on the market.
The Leica is also
one of the heavier high end scopes. Limited and non-transferable warranty.
A choice of different powered eyepieces, but the 20X60 is the most popular.
are many other scopes on the market to choose from. Cabela's, and other
sporting goods stores offer scopes at various price ranges. Don't forget
to check out eBay. Some great deals can be found with a little searching
the right tripod is actually as important, or more important than the
spotting scope. Forget that cheap tripod you see at your local discount
store. Go to ebay or a used camera store and check out a Bogen tripod
with quick release pad. Those flimsy, cheap tripods you might be tempted
to buy will only give you trouble in the field.
Spend some money
and you'll have years of trouble free use. A really great used Bogen
tripod on ebay will sell for between $100.-$300.
I prefer, and own
3 of the Bogen 3046 tripods (painted black), each with a 3063 fluid
video head. The reason I use a fluid video head -vs- a standard camera
head is; you don't have to unlock anything to move the scope.
This is especially
handy when your tracking a fast moving animal like a wolf, bear, or
flying eagle in the wild, and once the animal being followed stops,
you don't have to lock the head in place to keep it in place.
A quick release plate makes it very easy and super fast
to set the equipment up. You don't want to be fumbling around with screws,
etc.......in the field. Especially when its cold and your wearing gloves.
Spotting Scopes -VS- Telescopes
This is a telescope
are fairly fragile instruments, and best used on your deck or yard and
not transported. A few visitors have used telescopes in place of a spotting
scope, but in my experience, most telescopes do not last more than a
day after being set up and taken down, then driven, possibly carried
and set up again.
on the other hand are designed to be tossed around, bounced in the vehicle,
and generally withstand shock and stress without any harm.
my story and I'm sticking to it!
I hope that this information will help make your decision making process
an easier one, and make your visit to Yellowstone or other National
Park a successful and enjoyable one.
Now get out of
that chair and go out and enjoy our wild America!
Zeiss spotting scopes. Wildlife spotting
scopes. What is the best spotting scope for wildlife? Wildlife viewing
scope. Scope for viewing wildlife. What are the best binoculars? The
best binoculars. How to pick the best spotting scope or binoculars.
How to choose the best binoculars or spotting scope. Spotting scope
reviews. Binocular reviews. What are the best spotting scopes and binoculars?
Leica spotting scope. Telescope vs spotting scope. Can you use a telescope
instead of a spotting scope for viewing wildlife?