Scoping out the options

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Binoculars and telescopes can hugely enhance your safari experience as they make focusing on faraway animals easier. But which one is more useful? With the help of Swarovski Optik, Henry Bevan outlines the differences between the two, before explaining the mysterious practice of digiscoping

Binoculars
These come in all shapes and sizes, with prices ranging from £50 to £2000. They all do the same job, but are not equally effective. The top-range items are more likely to have crystal-clear images, HD glass and 100 per cent field of view for spectacle wearers. The Swarovski EL 32 offers a comfortable viewing experience and excellent image quality. However, for the casual observer who enjoys trekking or just sitting in their garden, a pocket binocular is ideal. For health and safety reasons, using binoculars with a magnification of more than 10x for a prolonged amount of time is not recommended.

Telescope
More serious nature watchers will find telescopes offer richer images with less portability. Telescopes cost between £250 and £3000 plus. Their objective lenses vary in size, ranging from 50mm to 95mm. Compared with binoculars, they have more variable and higher magnifications, but the quality of the telescope dictates the quality of the image. If you would like to see a lion’s eyelashes, the Swarovski STS80 is a good choice.

Digiscoping
This is the process of converting a telescope into a telephoto lens, which, depending on the telescope’s focal length, can be around 1400/1500mm.

How does it work?
It is as simple as attaching, pointing and shooting. Photographers connect a camera or smartphone to a telescope or binoculars using a T-Ring and a special adaptor. DSLRs should use the shortest shutter time and the automatic settings on a smartphone to take the best pictures.

Isn’t it impractical?
It doesn’t have to be. You can save space and take amazing photos by ditching the DSLR and telescope for a smartphone and binoculars.

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