I sent this out before xmas, but it did not get through, so here it is again.
I am also after Phil Straw's email address, as I have some wader counts from
Comerong Island for him, so if you are out there Phil, can you get back to me.
Xmas has come early for me in the form of a Swarovski AT80 spotting scope with
zoom lense and a Swarovski tripod, purchased from the Bird Shop. It hasn't had
much use yet, but I had some great views of a Channel Bill Cuckoo eating figs
in a fig tree yesterday - amazing detail and clarity.
No longer will I have to creep up to waders to get a good view with 10X bins.I
can't wait to take it down to Shoalhaven Heads to test it out. Does anyone have
any tips on the best ways of using the carry strap on the tripod with the scope
Highlights for 99: Our 16 month old boy Kane pointing out the magpies and
galahs in our garden, and then pointing them out in the field guides (which are
amongst his favourite books), and also seeing him awestruck at flocks of
Silver Gulls at the beach.
I received a number of excellent and extremely helpful replies to my RFI on
spotting scopes a couple of months ago. I have summarized these into the
following conclusions for those of you out there who are interested. I have
also added my own opinion from discussing scopes with retailers.
Of the 17 replies, 11 people owned a Kowa (inc 2 with 60mm scopes), 5
Swarovski and 1 Leica. Just about all recommended their scope to me as an
Those that owned the Swarovski AT80's were the most passionate about the
quality of their scope. Retailers indicate that the Swarovski and the Leica are
a better quality scope to the Kowa.
As all the scopes are excellent, the question comes down to personal
preferences and whether or not the approx $400 extra for a Swarovski or Leica
is a better deal than the Kowa?
Straight or angled view??
13 of the 17 people opted for the angled view, primarily because it is more
comfortable to use; easier to look up into nests in trees, and does not need as
tall a tripod to maintain a steady image.
However, if you are going to use the scope for photography, the straight view
Zoom or Wide angle fixed lense??
The replies were 50:50, and very mixed. Some people passionate about the
benefits of a zoom - the flexibility, while other have both but use a wide
angle predominantly, because they get a better image. Some have a zoom, but do
not use it above 40X or 45X, while others regularly use the zoom at 60X
especially for identifying waders. Most 30X wide angles have a wider field of
view than the zoom at 20X.
The Swarovski zoom is reputedly the best zoom on the market, although the Leica
zoom has also been upgraded recently.
Flourite or Standard Multi Coated Glass??
5 people had flourite lenses - all on the Kowa scopes. The common message was
that the differences are only small, perhaps only distiguishable in 5% of
situations, but flourite or high definition lenses provide better clarity and
colour, especially in low light situations.
A flourite was definately recommended for photography, providing enhanced truer
Most people replied that a scope has added a totally new demension to their
birding, one that I am looking forward to experiencing.
Another tip from a number of the repondents is to buy a sturdy tripod - the
best you can afford.
I have a summary of a similar request from the US based bird chat which has
some good info for those who want some more specific detail about scope
The internet site Better View Desired also has some good info comparing scopes
and other optical products at lightshedder.com
Once again thankyou all for the helpful advice.
Cheers, merry xmas and happy birding
Chris and Heidi Presland
Toolijooa NSW South Coast
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