At the beginning of June, we took on a new advertiser, a company I’d never heard of before. Looking into this site, I learned about a novel service that may very well improve the birding experience for a great many people. It’s all about the optics. I knew this of course but didn’t truly understand it until I got my Swarovski SLC 10x42s (full disclosure: 10,000 Birds also has a relationship with Swarovski Optik. What can I say… we’re lucky that way!) I was rocking some decent discount glass before but high-quality optics truly made a world of difference. If you’ve ever upgraded to premium optics, you know exactly what I mean; every bird is brighter, sharper, and closer in an instant.

If price was no object, we’d all wield bins fit for kings. However, most enthusiasts have trouble scraping up that extra thousand or two dollars for prime glass. Enter Optics4Rent. Their motto says it all: “Rent the Best – See the Most!” I interviewed founder Todd Doebler to make sure we all get the straight scoop on this fascinating service:

What inspired you to create Optics4Rent?
The inspiration came from my own experience in purchasing a Swarovski Spotting scope for going out West. I went out west and loved the scope, but in driving home I thought, “it’s a lot of money to invest in something that I use extensively one or two weeks a year.” So I started investigating into who else was doing this with high end optics and really didn’t find anyone that catered to the birding community.

How has the response been?
The response has been great from people that have viewed the web site. The actual ordering has been slow, but I believe it’s more of a case of having to educate the bird watching public that this service is available.

Where do you see the site going?
I see the site moving toward carrying what I call the big 3, Swarovski, Zeiss, and Leica as we all have our favorites and I want to be able to serve the needs of everyone in this arena.

How do you choose which optics to carry?
This is a great question as bigger is certainly not always better. I love the 15×56 binoculars as they can be hand held if necessary, but really work well on the included Swarovski tripod as it lets bird watchers keep both eyes open instead of with a standard spotting scope where you end up having to close one eye. Closing one eye can get pretty tiresome, especially if you’re not used to it, so I recommend the 15×56 binoculars with the tripod. For normal carrying binoculars the 10x42s work awesome and are light enough to carry. With the Spotting scope you do get the extra magnification, which sometimes you need when the wildlife is really far away or very small.

How would you classify your nature watching proclivities (i.e., Are you a birder?)
I love wildlife viewing, we’re fortunate enough to live on a remote lake in northern Wisconsin, so we can watch Loons nesting, eagles harassing the Loons, lots of waterfowl and also get to enjoy watching the deer and beavers and sometimes the otters.

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.