When you are a beginner in the hunting niche, chances are that your inclination for long-distance vision will primarily depend on binoculars. They are manual, easy to use, and comparably cheaper, right?
Well, as much as binoculars have created a good name for themselves in the market, you can’t deny the fact that spotting scopes are highly underrated but highly functional at the same time. If you have access to a good and proper spotting scope, chances are that you won’t have a hard time using it for your hunting needs.
Compared to a binocular, spotting scopes come with a highly adjustable magnification, which you might not be able to achieve with a binocular. This article will walk you through the significance of a spotting scope and a binocular and why the former is a better option for hunting.
Spotting Scope vs. Binoculars – Definition
Before we look into the comparison between these two hunting equipment, the first thing worth looking into is the definition of both products.
Spotting scope is a high-power telescope material that is optimized to streamline your visual field when it comes to hunting. It has a highly adjustable magnification power, one that you won’t regret indulging in when you are hunting in the denser parts of the forest.
Binoculars, on the other hand, are optic devices, which include two compact telescopes with refracting glasses placed side by side. They are used for viewing objects at a farther distance, much like how you would with a spotting scope.
More or less, the functions of a spotting scope and a binocular are the same. They are a type of telescope that people use during their hunting expeditions.
But, the question of the hour is, “Which one is a better choice for hunting?”
How to Compare Spotting Scope and Binoculars for Hunting?
Now that you have a basic idea about spotting scope and binoculars for hunting, the next thing we have to focus on are the factors that differentiate the two.
Following are a few factors that you need to look out for:
When you are using any kind of optic-based equipment for hunting, magnification is possibly the most common and decisive factor. So, when it comes to differentiating between a spotting scope and a binocular, magnification plays a very crucial role.
While binoculars offer a maximum of 25 x magnifications, some of the high-end spotting scopes can produce up to 100x magnification, which is nothing short of amazing.
So, if you are hunting in the depths of the forest and need to have a clearer field of view of the animals or the target, we’d recommend looking into a spotting scope.
Also, spotting scope offers a lot more flexibility when it comes to the zooming feature, meaning that you can zoom a lot and still get a clear view of the target. Most binoculars come with fixed optics, which means that the magnification is set at a particular degree only.
Binoculars are no doubt portable and easy to travel with, especially when you are going on a hunting expedition where you want to travel light. However, you also need to understand that the bigger the magnification of the binoculars, the bulkier it’ll get. So, if you are carrying a small binocular with you, chances are that it will come with a lesser magnification. You have to compromise on one front.
Spotting scopes are portable in their way but might be a bit bulky compared to binoculars. However, that doesn’t mean that you’d have a hard time lugging it around. Most of the spotting scopes either fit inside a bag or can be carried around the neck.
Always look for a lightweight and easy-to-carry model of a spotting scope if you don’t want to compromise on the magnification part.
Another factor about the binoculars vs. spotting scope war that deserves a mention is wearability. Ideally, we’d recommend that you opt for a binocular if you want to prefer better wearability. When you are carrying a spotting scope, be assured that you’d have to carry it in the bag. You can’t hang it around the neck and forget about it.
Next up on the list of comparisons is the application of the binoculars and the spotting scope. The best way to sort things out when choosing between a binocular and a spotting scope is to pick one based on your intent.
Are you picking one for birdwatching, hunting, or for target shooting? Clarifying your purpose is very important, especially when it comes to choosing the best pick for yourself.
If you are hunting in areas with dense forests and thick timber, we’d recommend considering a spotting scope over a binocular since the magnification is a lot better in the former. Even for open country spots and stalking, the spotting scope works a lot better compared to a binocular.
So, when it comes to the application, we can’t be a little biased and suggest you go for the spotting scope as opposed to the standard binoculars. The only aspect where we’d recommend binoculars over spotting scope is when you are bird watching.
Also, for the target range shooting or hunting experience, the spotting scope takes the crown, thanks to its usability and precision.
The next factor that’s worth looking into when it comes to picking between a spotting scope and a binocular is the optics combination. When you have the correct optical strengths, your success in the hunting expedition drastically rises. So, if you can get the best of both worlds in a spotting scope, why would you stick to a mediocre binocular?
Also, if you have the choice to combine a spotting scope with a binocular, that further optimize your hunting experience and further optimizes your chances of making a secure hunt.
However, when you are combining two or more optics, be assured that you have to be mindful of a few factors, including the choice of glass and lens and the expertise needed to make the most out of the situation.
When you are hunting in the depths of the jungle where things are quite limited and you are working in a very fine line of control, we won’t recommend sticking to a binocular that has very low zoom and magnification power. It won’t allow you to precisely spot your target and zero in on them.
On the flip side, when you are using a spotting scope with up to 100x magnification, you can spot and zero in on the target without needing to inch closer to their vicinity. This comes in handy when you are hunting ferocious wildlife that might put your health and life on the line.
Always opt for optics that offer better magnification without putting you in line with danger or fatality, especially when it comes to wild animals in the denser parts of the forest.
Low light view
Another factor that is worth considering when choosing between a binocular and spotting scope is the low light visibility. Spotting scope has a much larger objective lens, which means that its low light visibility is comparably better than that of the binoculars.
If you are hunting at a short-range distance during the daytime, a cheaper and sturdy binocular will do the job. However, if you are hunting at a long-range distance during the evening or night-time, you need access to a high-quality spotting scope that will allow you to spot your target even when the visibility in the surrounding is comparably low.
Also, the glass quality and the light transmission through the spotting scope make a lot of difference when it comes to low light or night time visibility. Ensure that you keep a check on both these factors without fail.
Binoculars are cheaper. There are no two ways about it. You will find binoculars priced at $20 and even high-end ones at $200. But, when it comes to buying a spotting scope with good magnification and a sturdy build, the minimum price you’d work with is around $100. That’s the rough price that most spotting scopes start from.
And, the price is justified because you get the features and specifications to match up with it. But, if you are a beginner hunter who doesn’t have much idea about the tools and equipment and doesn’t want to splurge out a lot of money, we’d recommend sticking to a binocular in the beginning.
As you polish your hunting skills and get advanced in the niche, you can consider making bigger investments like that of the spotting scopes.
That’s all you need to know about spotting scopes and binoculars for hunting. If we had to share our personal choices, we’d recommend spotting scopes as a better choice. However, if you are just starting and have a very limited budget, binoculars aren’t a bad place to start with. Just ensure you stick to a good-quality product, irrespective of which you buy.