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Binoculars and Scopes

Binoculars are a must for watching birds, but choosing which model to buy can be bewildering.

If you're in the market for some new binoculars, there are various optical and design characteristics to take into consideration. Price is an issue too: binoculars range from under $100 to well over $1,000. Yet price is a good measure of craftsmanship and materials, and a wise purchase will give you much pleasure and, with care, should last a lifetime.
If you're ready to buy, we offer some shopping tips to help you make the binocular choice that's best for you.  We want you to hold the binoculars - do they feel comfortable?  Are they the best weight and size?  Look through them - do they feel right on your face?  Do they accomodate your eyesight and/or glasses?  Are they bright enough for you?  Binoculars need to have a "test drive" before you purchase them!

And once you've purchased your new binoculars, you'll need to know how to keep them in good condition, and how to adjust (or "calibrate") them for your eyes so you can get the sharpest view possible. We show you how.


Binoculars are best for close-up birding, but for distant birds you'll be amazed at what a difference a spotting scope makes. You'll be able to find more birds, and you'll distinguish field marks on distant waterfowl, shorebirds, and hawks that may be impossible to see with binoculars. And at closer ranges you'll admire intricate plumage details you never saw before.

As with binoculars, there are a number of optical and design characteristics to keep in mind when you're considering buying a spotting scope.