Thursday, August 23, 2012

Scopes: straight or angled?





I've been putting this off for far too long... What style of scope is better, straight or angled??? I happen to use both regularly, and decided the time was ripe to deliver some sort of analysis on this hotly debated topic in the birding world...


To start things off, I should let everyone know which scopes I'm using --- The Vortex Razor


It's pretty much THEE best scope for your $$, and I know of a large group of Ontario birders who have seen the light and switched to Vortex ... but that's not the goal here.. I'm working on picking which version is better!


 Lets start with the:

 STRAIGHT: when do I use it?

I use it when time is a factor... Generally birds in flight, but ESPECIALLY when I'm hawkwatching... Or using a scope in the woods (sometimes for passerines) - or generally anything that is flying IN THE SKY...


ANGLED: when do I use it?

When I'm birding in a group!!! It is considerably easier to get an entire group to look through a scope when you're using an angled eye piece....  Also when I'm birding INSIDE my car.. For some reason, I just can't do it with the straight, but the angled works perfectly on my window ledge...

Finally - I use it when stability is a factor... Often at Van Wagner's Beach or the Niagara River in big time winds, I enjoy keeping the angled eyepiece lower (for a taller person like myself) which I find really helps keep the image stable....


When does it not really matter???

Well to be honest, most of the time... Most of the birding done with a scope is pretty simple... (Eg,/ a flock of shorebirds at a sewage lagoon.. Or a flock of ducks on a Lake)... No matter what scope you use, you will generally get the job done... My personal prognosis is this: I CAN NOT find flying birds with the angled eyepiece very easily, even with LOTS of practice... I NEEEEED a straight angle for this... Yet 75% of the birding I do is more COMFORTABLE with the angled.... You'll pretty much just have to pick one and stick with it!!!





So which do you prefer and why??? 

=============================

Just for fun, here's a list of situations where I GREATLY prefer one over the other...


Angled:

--- If I'm with a group of people, I ALWAYS have my angled... Its 968% easier to get everyone to look down into the angled...

--- In winds 40kmh or stronger: (lakewatches, niagara river) - I notice a huge difference in stability due to my height (6'2"), by keeping it lower on the tripod...

Straight: 

--- birds flying against the sky or close to me!!! --- I can find flying birds MUCH faster with the straight... At Van Wagners, looking for dots on the horizion, you have lots of time and the angled is fine... If a shorebird races down the beach right past me, I may not find it in time with the angled....

--- at NETITISHI POINT, I bring the straight... This is a funny one, but when I'm hiding behind "the fort" in sub-zero temperatures and strong winds, my head doesn't have to stick above "the protection" to see into the straight eye piece, keeping me warmer! (An odd example, I know)...


Let me know what you think/like and why!! And give Vortex a look! They're my favourite otpics company by far, and you will not be dissapointed with their birding gear (and incredible warranty)... If you have any questions about Vortex, or the scope above (The razor, which I use), leave a comment or send me an email! :






2 comments:

  1. I bought the Vortex Razor (straight) earlier this summer! I am quite happy with it. I much prefer the straight as it seems easier to get on the subject. All in personal preference I guess.

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  2. I went through the same decision when choosing a scope. I purchased a straight one. I was happy with the choice until I had to look way up at a bird at a certain angle. At that moment I realized where I could use an angled scope. I need both types of scope. Good thing anyway as the straight scope is an inexpensive Alpen 786 that scored highly in a BirdWatching.com test for mid-prized scopes. However, I dislike strongly the chromatic aberration against high contrast subjects. Pretty much anything in water. Staying in the mid-prized range, I hear the Celestron Regal series is very good for the price and no colour abberations. You live and learn. And the excuse to get a second scope.

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