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Q:

The Best Affordable Spotting Scopes: Alpen 20x50 Waterproof Mini

I really want to see birds and other animals up close. What are the most powerful binoculars I can get?

20x50 Waterproof Mini.     Photo: Alpen

A:Some will balk at including the Alpen Mini in the same lineup as quality spotting scopes like the Leupold, but if you are just getting started in birding, this is your entrée. Like any standard scope, it’s nitrogen filled to reduce fog, as well as waterproof and dustproof. It also comes with a tripod. The optics bring you 20x closer with a 50 millimeter objective lens, and it weighs just over a half pound. ($60)

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