Optics Retailers

Take the long view…

Fatbirder regularly reviews birding optics… check out the archives before buying.

After reviews, optics retailers are often the best source of information about birdwatching equipment. It pays them to make sure you get equipment that suits you, not necessarily the most expensive option. Some of the sites have comparisons of equipment, league tables etc. Some manufacturers (see Optics Manufacturers) also thoroughly review their own products and are also good sources for spare part.

A couple of the sites below are just for information… including some no nonsense explanations of the technical terms most birders bandy about but few understand! Also, if you are thinking of buying, take advantage of the modern trend of optics suppliers to go out in the field and show you their wares on your local reserve… it is definitely the way to see what suits you rather than just buy on reputation.

Most of the retailers listed supply worldwide but you may need to add local tax when importing (e.g. Europeans may have to add VAT to US prices etc.)

The mark-up of makers to retailers is often high, but almost all the top brands dictate the retail price leaving very narrow margins for discounters. This is done to keep ‘quality’ optics far more expensive than ‘cheap’ models. But, test everything out often the optical difference between inexpensive optics and the prestige brands is marginal – the difference may well be the after-sales service and guarantee length.

Useful Information
  • Best Binoculars 2021

    Outdoor Union
    Whether you want to enjoy every detail of the surrounding wildlife or you need them for orientation, a pair of quality binoculars can be a great addition to you hiking equipment.
  • The 9 Best Budget Bird Spotting Scopes On The Market In 2020

    Whatever your budget, you want to make sure that you buy a scope with a sealed lens, else you’ll likely end up with an item more dust than scope – and no one wants that!
Forums & Mailing Lists
  • Cloudy Nights Binocular Forum

    Forum & Reviews
    Many rievws listed with comments
Other Links
  • ABA Sales (US)

    ABA Sales is the mail-order company that is wholly owned and operated for the benefit of the American Birding Association, and so benefits birders and birding. We carry a wide selection of books for birders, specializing in field guides, ID guides, and bird finding guides, plus other birding titles and checklists. We also carry a wide selection of optics including selected top-notch birding binoculars and spotting scopes by Kowa, Bushnell, Zeiss, Leica, Swarovski, Meade, Swift, and Nikon, plus the best selection of Gitzo and Bogen birding tripods and parts, and other birding gear and accessories.
  • Agent 74 (Ireland)

    Located in Co Wicklow - Spotting scopes & binoculars perfect for bird watching. Whether you are using a spotting scope on a tripod in a hide or want a pair of lightweight binoculars to take on a hike with you, Agent 74 has it covered
  • B&H Photo-Video (US)

    B&H Photo-Video is a retailer and mail order company with among the world
  • Binoculars.com (US)

    We offer binoculars for every viewing interest, including astronomical binoculars, compact binoculars, waterproof binoculars, birding binoculars, and sport and hunting binoculars. We offer several leading brands of binoculars, including Barska, Bushnell, Celestron, Leica, Meade, Nikon, Orion, Pentax, Steiner, and Zeiss.
  • Birdnet Optics Ltd (UK)

    Binoculars, Telescopes, Digiscoping, Books, Clothing, DVDs, CDs, Accessories, New Naturalist
  • Bob Rigby Photographic Ltd (UK)

    Bob Rigby Photographic are the sole official UK importers and distributors of professional quality tripod heads and accessories made by Acratech, Wimberley & GimPro.
  • Brandon Optics (Canada)

    Brandon Optics carry well selected brands that sell for the astronomy and outdoor lifestyle industry since 2004. We are dedicated to serving the needs of astronomers, bird-watchers, hunters, tactical gamers and just about everyone who could call themselves an nature lovers.
  • Bristol Cameras (UK)

    Established in 1995 by experienced photographic retailers, Bristol Cameras now have an excellent reputation right across the UK and has gone from strength to strength as established digital camera retailers
  • Campkins Cameras

    We specialize in providing high-quality binoculars, telescopes, and spotting scopes from popular brands such as Zeiss, Swarovski and Opticron to name a few. Our selection of products is specifically curated to meet the needs of avid birders, and our team of experts is always on hand to provide expert advice and support
  • Carson Optical (US)

    Whether you're indoors or out, Carson has the right optic for any situation, at the right price!
  • Clifton Cameras (UK)

    A range of cameras and a limited range of binoculars. Mark Williams Tel 01179 734484 Clifton Cameras 82 Alma Rd Clifton Bristol BS8 2DJ
  • Deutsche Optik (Germany)

    Founded in 1990, our quarterly catalogue is unique in offering a fascinating mix of new and historical optics from the world`s finest optical houses. Our customers include birders, collectors, decorators, sportsmen, view homeowners, and general enthusiasts from around the world.
  • East of England Binocular Centre (UK)

    Based in Lincolnshire another on-line optics retailer. A site where you probably need to know what you want already as it is very sparse. Suppliers of: Bausch & Lomb, Bushnell, canon, Doctor, Helios, Inpro, Olympus, Opticron, Optolyth, Pentax, Swift & Zeiss.
  • Focalpoint (UK)

    Focalpoint is a family run business dedicated to its customers in a highly specialized field. We pride ourselves on our friendly, unbiased advice and on our wide range of specialist equipment Telescopes, Binoculars, Tripods, outdoor clothing, and Accessories.
  • Harrison Telescopes [UK]

    The UK Specialists For Telescopes & Binoculars
  • Hunt's (US)

    Mail order optics from Maine.
  • In Focus (UK)

    We are the leading specialist retail supplier of optics to the birdwatching community, with seven shops and a comprehensive programme of field sales days. As main sponsor to the British Birdwatching Fair, we have a proven commitment to birdlife conservation. Our service is based on value-for-money and personal after-sales attention. All our shops are managed and staffed by optics specialists - many of whom are well-known birdwatchers in their own right. Our shops are listed here and in every one you can be sure of a warm welcome and helpful advice.
  • Jessops (UK)

    Jessops is the UK's No.1 Photographic Retailer. Available to buy online you have a choice of 20,000 products including Cameras, Digital and Video equipment, Darkroom products, Film and all related accessories - all backed by our network of over 180 stores nation-wide. Our reputation has been built on the excellence of our service, value for money, the most extensive range of products in the UK, and our unbiased advice to customers. We pride ourselves on our integrity, the quality of our staff - the majority of whom are keen photographers - and our commitment to photography.
  • London Camera Exchange (UK)

    All LCE branches sell a wide range of the latest photographic equipment, together with a selection of USED stock. The exact mix of products varies from branch to branch in order to reflect local demands. With this in mind it is always best to contact the branch prior to making a journey to confirm that any items you require are available
  • Microglobe (UK)

    Discount optics online from the London store
  • Newpro (UK)

    Phonescope etc
  • Opticron (UK)

    Clearly the easiest choice you'll ever make
  • Optics Planet (US)

    The OPMOD Beginner Birding Kit - Recommended by Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a terrific buy that gives you six products at one low price! This exclusive value package is available only here. The OPMOD Beginner Birding Kit - Recommended by Cornell Lab of Ornithology is perfect for the beginner birder
  • Optik-Pro (Germany)

    Wir sind einer der f
  • Orion Optics (US)

    Orion Telescopes & Binoculars is the largest direct-to-consumer brand of quality optics for amateur astronomers and outdoor enthusiasts in North America. Established in 1975, we've built our reputation on providing high-quality products backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee, competitive prices, and the best customer service and support in the industry. We've been selling direct since 1975 through our 100-page mail-order catalog and, since 1997, via our full online catalog. Unlike web-only storefronts, or department stores that sell optics only seasonally, we're specialists in telescopes and binoculars - it's what we do year-round.
  • Park Cameras

    Park Cameras was established in 1971 in Burgess Hill, West Sussex. For over forty years we have forged a reputation across the photographic industry as one of the top independent photographic retailers in the UK, serving the needs of all photographers, from enthusiasts through to professionals, through the very highest level of customer service.
  • Sheffield Photographic Centre (UK)

    The premier independent dealer in Sheffield for Canon, Pentax, Minolta, Leica, Nikon, Olympus, Kodak, Tamron, Mamiya, Fujicolor, Ilford, Ricoh, Lowepro, Samsung, Kowa, Opticron, Gossen, Meopta, Minox, Swarovski, Agfa, Fotospeed, Tetenal, Forte, Cobra, Metz, Courtenay, Paterson, Kentmere, Manfrotto, Polaroid, Digital Imaging, Used cameras and darkroom equipment, Monochrome products, Chemicals, optics, the list is endless
  • South West Optics (UK)

    South West's leading Optics specialist. Telescopes, Binoculars, and accessories. Free Delivery on Internet Sales. (Say you saw it here!) Interest free credit on selected items. Part Exchange often possible. We also sell second-hand equipment. Long term credit available. Leica, Nikon, Swarovski, Zeiss, Opticron, Bushnell etc.
  • Spotting Scopes (US)

    SpottingScopes.com provides a spotting scope selection of Leupold, Bushnell, and Nikon spotting scopes and telescopes
  • UK Wildlife Cameras

    Our aim is to provide the best quality products in the wildlife watch market at low competitive prices. We sell all sorts of Camera kits and accessories for your needs and essentials. In addition to this we are daily adding a comprehensive range of garden products
  • Viking Optical (UK)

    Viking first began supplying the specialist optics market in 1985, and was founded by individuals whose experience within the optics field stretched back to the origins of modern optical technology, as we know it today. Viking recognized a need for performance and value. Our materials are sourced from around the world and our partners are among the world's leading authorities in binocular design. We strive to combine our experience, user relationships, commitment to quality and dedication to new and improved techniques; presenting a concise and effective range of professional binoculars. Our standards are recognized by the British and internationally acclaimed, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Our relationship has spawned many superb products designed specifically for the naturalist.
  • Warehouse Express (UK)

    Voted Retailer of the Year with over 14,000 product lines on their website this company specialises in Optics and Digital Photography and are renowned for their outstanding service. They stock all the leading brands including Leica, Swarovski, Zeiss, Kowa, Opticron, Nikon, Bushnell, Swift, Canon, Fuji, Olympus, Manfrotto, Slik, Skua, etc, and offer a superb next day delivery. Warehouse Express with Birdwatching Magazine are now running a new worldwide competition International Wildbird Photographer with over
  • Wilkinson Cameras (UK)

    Digital cameras etc.

Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

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