Best Spotting Gear For The Price

Hi all,

I have been looking through some of the gear posts but many are quite old now. 

I am wondering which range of current binoculars and spotting scopes you would recommend for a beginner. I don't have a huge budget but I want something worth buying that will give good results. I have a cheap scope from Maplins (£50) but I have seen RSPB ones (I think) that are more expensive (£300+). I'm looking somewhere in between, maybe even under the £100 mark.

Are there any i should be looking at over others?

Thank you,



I love birding so much I wrote my own blog. It's a great way to learn and share.

  • In my opinion a decent pair of binoculars is vital,decent names for those on a budget are Opticron and Hawke who both market decent bins in your range. When you have sorted out your bins it is time to look at scopes but do not forget to also allow for a tripod in your budget.


    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • Some of the RSPB ones are decent for the price, but the best solution is to go and try them. Different people find different bins work for them (or not) and it isn't about price. I just cannot get on with Swarovski binoculars for example, despite them being top notch optics, I find the Zeiss ones suit me much better. As a rule of thumb, spend as much as you can after trying a few at a shop where you can experiment. Around this part of the world (Suffolk), Minsmere has a good range (they've got an optics event on this weekend too), or Cley Spy (on the N-Norfolk coast) are probably good places to aim for. Scopes are much the same, with the added complication of deciding whether you want a full size one (better view, brighter) or a small one that will fit in your bag when out & about


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  • Thanks for the good info. I'm waiting until my budget allows me to justify the expense.

    I have a fairly cheap scope from Maplins with a mobile phone mount. Unless the light is really good my photos can be a bit fuzzy.

    Luckily I have a decent tripod already. A trip to the shops for me soon I think.

    Whistling Joe, loving the photos. I now feel inadequate

    Thank you for the advice.


    I love birding so much I wrote my own blog. It's a great way to learn and share.

  • Add to the list of Opticron, and Hawke, for budget binoculars Nikon and Bushnell are two others to look at, both of which I use still today, both Bushnells are weatherproof.

    The Bushnells were about £50 when I bought them around ten years ago, and the Nikon Travellites were just over £100

    I think the RSPB's own binoculars are Viking, another good budget brand.

    As already mentioned by Whistling Joe, it would be wise to try before you buy, many RSPB reserves and wildlife trusts where they have full visitor facilities, often have an adviser and some even have days specifically set out to try equipment.

    Also, as Seaman mentioned, consider some cash for a tripod, depending on how big your binoculars are when you buy.


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  • Thanks Mike.


    I love birding so much I wrote my own blog. It's a great way to learn and share.

  • You're welcome Stuart, and good luck.


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