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Trophy XLT 15-45.     Photo: Courtesy of Bushnell

Q:

The Best Affordable Spotting Scopes: Bushnell Trophy XLT 15-45

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

A:The Trophy XLT is billed as a hunting accessory—and makes a good one—but for those who merely want to view nature from ultra-long distances, it makes an excellent scope for a hike. It’s 1.8-pound weight is a little bulky for stowing, but look what you get: a compact tripod, 15-45x magnification, 50 millimeter lens diameter, a waterproof housing—at a $200 street price.

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