Spotting Scope VS. Binoculars: What to Use?

spotting scope and binocularsConfused? Don’t worry, we got you covered.

Spotting scopes are like mini telescopes you can bring around with you. Compared to binoculars, they have larger apertures and therefore give a brighter and sharper image in a low light situation. They are for viewing faraway animals and are helpful when you want to go glassing during sunrise or sunset. Find our buying guide on them here.

If you’re into digiscoping or telephotography, you should consider spotting scopes. They can help you acquire your target better. Plus, you don’t have to get too close to your target to get a detailed view. Spotting scopes don’t require installation too! However, if you’re tight on budget, you might have a problem. Compared to binoculars, spotting scopes are more expensive and will require additional accessories such as a tripod and a pouch. If you’re always on the move, you should be patient if you have a spotting scope. That’s because it’s sensitive and needs to be steady before it can do its job. Spotting scopes weigh a little more than binoculars, too.

On the other hand, we have binoculars. They are two mini telescopes attached together. They require you to use both eyes, unlike spotting scopes. Binoculars are convenient because they are handheld. Plus, they come with a cord which you can sling across your wrist or neck in no time. Binoculars are lighter than spotting scopes and therefore can be brought easily. They also need no installation and are even cheaper than spotting scopes! Binoculars are also easier to use thanks to their fixed and lower magnification. However, you have to get physically closer to your target if you want a more detailed image. That’s the downside of their low magnification. So if you’re studying the details of animals such as birds, a spotting scope would be more beneficial.

When all is said and done, you have to decide whether or not you value convenience, magnification, or price. If it’s convenience, you should consider buying binoculars instead. If it’s magnification, spotting scopes can perform better. And if you worry about the price, you might consider binoculars instead.