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Need recommendation and advice

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Need recommendation and advice

Postby Nancy on Sat Nov 28, 2009 9:32 pm

I want to purchase a spotting scope and am looking for recommendations. The main use would be to observe boats or dolphins in the bay, which is about 200 feet away plus on land - birds, butterflies and other wildlife. Most viewing would be through a window. A second use would be for amateur astronomy outside. A camera attached would be nice but not absolutely necessary. Price would be about $500 plus tripod. I have read that a spotting scope would be better than a telescope for these uses but input would be appreciated. Thanks for your help.
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Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2009 9:21 pm

Re: Need recommendation and advice

Postby PhilR. on Sun Nov 29, 2009 12:41 pm

Since a good tripod will be around $100, that leaves you around $400 for the scope. The problem with your requirements is that a $400 spotter leaves a lot to be desired as an astronomical scope. Not saying you can't do it, as I use my Pentax spotter for occasional skywatching, but my Pentax costs a lot more than $400.

For your terrestrial needs, a good 60-65mm scope would do fine. I would be inclined to get one with an angled eyepeice, which makes it easier when looking upwards. If I were to spend $400 right now, I think I would go for the new Celestron Regal. The Bushnell Excursion also looks good, if you like the folded light path design.

If you really want to stargaze with a spotter, then get an 80mm as you want to be able to gather as much light as possible. I can't think of a good 80mm in your price range, but Celestron makes them, as does Konus and Bushnell. Certainly a decent 80mm spotter will take care of your daytime viewing needs.

Personally, I would get a Bushnell 65mm Excursion for daytime use, a set of astronomical binoculars w/tripod mount such as the Celestron 20x80, and a tripod that will extend high enough to put the binoculars above your head so that you can look upwards while standing and not have to crouch. Come to think of it, since your daytime viewing range isn't great, you could do well with a good set of 20x astronomical binoculars alone. The Oberwerk 20x90's would be a good place to start. Viewing with two eyes is more comfortable than viewing with one, especially when viewing for long periods of time. I have gotten to where I leave my Ober's on the tripod all the time, since I use them frequently, both day and night. Be aware however that a large set of binoculars such as the Oberwerks are not very portable, so you don't want to go hiking with them...
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