The best spotting scope is ideal for a hunter, target shooter, bird watcher or anyone whose job requires enhanced vision. Ordinarily used in conjunction with tripod stand, a high-quality spotting scope provides imposing magnification and clarity better than any other sporting optic. Spotting scopes are, therefore, perfect for watching animals from a long distance. But how will you know the features that count?
Read on for everything you want to know about the spotting scopes. Our credible spotting scope reviews below details the types, a comparison of the best models and a buying guide. The guide explains the features you should look for while buying and the relevance of each essential characteristic.
Table of Contents
- 1 Types of Spotting Scopes
- 2 Comparison Chart
- 3 Things to consider before Buying
- 4 The Best Spotting Scope for Target Shooting
- 5 The Best Spotting Scope for Bird Watching
- 6 The Best Spotting Scope for Hunting
- 7 The Best Spotting Scope for the Money
- 8 The 5 Best Spotting Scope Reviews
- 9 Where to Buy The Best Spotting Scope Online?
- 10 Conclusion
Types of Spotting Scopes
Spotting scopes come in two varieties; a straight body and angled body version. Expect the spotting scope regardless of type to perform exemplary well in many situations. However, with a straight-angled type, you look straight ahead while whereas with an angled model, you view down the eyepiece. Consequently, each suits different situations as follows.
1. Straight Body Spotting Scope
Both the body and eyepiece of the scope lie on a horizontal optical plane. In some varieties, the eyepiece lies precisely in the same horizontal plane as the body while in other the eyepiece lies at a level slightly higher than the body. Either way, the spotting scope still maintains a flat optical design.
Suitability; Users with different expertise levels can comfortably use the straight model. However, since they’re particularly intuitive and user-friendly, new users tend to prefer them. As a novice, spotting and tracking targets is a lot easier and faster.
Additionally, Straight spotting scopes are especially convenient for persons who operate from blinds, stands, car mounts, and ridgelines.
2. Angled Body Spotting Scope
The scope eyepiece lies at an angle of 45 degrees to the body. They, therefore, tend to be somewhat difficult to use; your line of sight is at an angle. Such viewing angle means you have a slightly harder time detecting targets, but after practicing using them, you will eliminate the difficulty. Experienced users of spotting scopes will, nonetheless, perform much better with the model.
Suitability; Ideal for birding, casual astronomy and hunting, among other similar purposes, angled versions are sufficiently flexible for all round and all-purpose use. Besides, you can use them, irrespective of your height, without lowering and raising your head.
Consequently, you can easily and more comfortably use while in a lying or even seated down position. If you intend to utilize your scope for extended periods, or in the company of your friends we, just like in all our other spotting scope reviews, recommend this model.
|Konus 7120 20x-60x80mm Spotting Scope Review with Tripod And Case||Vanguard Endeavor HD 65A Angled Eyepiece Spotting Scope Review||Gosky 20-60X 80 Porro Prism Waterproof Spotting Scope Review||Redfield 114651 Rampage 20-60x80mm Angled Spotting Scope Review|
|Lowest Price||$205.99Amazon See it||$349.77Amazon See it||$129.99Amazon See it||$282.13Amazon See it|
|Model||7120||Endeavor HD 65A||20 - 60x80 Prism||114651|
|Weight||0.19 pounds||3.2 pounds||2.71||6.1 pounds|
|Product Dimensions||18.4 x 7 x 4.7 inches||1 x 1 x 1 inches||17.72 x 4.72 x 6.69 inches||16 x 7 x 6 inches|
|Read Full Review||Read Full Review||Read Full Review||Read Full Review|
Things to consider before Buying
1. Objective Lens
The single definitive feature of the spotting scope is a great objective lens composed of high-performance glass. So, always settle for lens quality as opposed to lens size because those of poor quality regardless of size deliver unexceptional view. Large lenses only produce an exceptional image at higher magnifications. However, the bigger the size of the objective lens the higher the price.
2. Prism System
Virtually all spotting scopes utilize refractor setup thus erecting an image that is right-reading and forward facing. You have two choices here; a Porro and a roof prism. The former happens to be the least expensive to produce yet the most efficient and as such is mostly available in the spotting scope. Roof prism, on the other hand, is slim and hence compact but doesn’t come with interchangeable eyepieces.
The spotting scopes come with removable eyepieces whose prices are, in some cases, not included in the quoted price. The purpose of excluding the cost is to allow you to choose from the various options available. Some eyepieces are single powered while others are not. Go for a high-quality model with a zoom eyepiece; it provides an attractive eye relief and produces outstanding image quality.
Spotting scopes come with a broad range of zoom meaning you can change their magnification while using them. The spotting scope provides a magnification range of between 15X and 60X. So, settle for the model that provides or even tends to this range because the higher the value, the more clear your target will be. Additionally, zooming out is always possible.
Digiscoping is the process of adapting your spotting scope to a camera so as to take long distance pictures while using it. So, if this characteristic is important to you, make sure both the camera and scope are compatible to allow you to take great pictures. Also find out before buying, if you will need special adapters and factor in the same in your budget.
The Best Spotting Scope for Target Shooting
An ideal target shooting spotting scope can shoot targets at varying distances. They also contain an eyepiece with a large field of view and plenty of eye relief because a typical target shooter doesn’t like bringing his or her eye closer than 15 mm to the eyepiece while shooting. Besides, an angled spotting scope particularly those with rotating tripod collars works best.
It allows the user to rotate the scope body and by extension the eyepiece, making it possible to shoot at various positions. A target shooting scope should also be nitrogen (or argon) purged and sealed making them waterproof.
Celestron 52312 Regal M2 LER 27×80 ED Spotting Scope
The wide field of view allows you to quickly bring your targets into the field of view and enables you to effortlessly follow targets as they move.
Its housing is also purged with dry nitrogen gas and hence internal lenses are sufficiently protected from fogging. This feature allows you to use your spotting scope in extreme temperatures including in foggy conditions.
- Large viewing area: this eyepiece allows you to look at all sides of your target and get crisp, high definition images of your target.
- Superior optics: it contains such powerful optics you get your dream viewing experience in a durable housing.
- 32 mm of eye relief: You can comfortably shoot your object without moving too close to the scope.
The Best Spotting Scope for Bird Watching
For a bird watching scope, ideal magnification range is 15-60X. If the value goes beyond 60X, the field of view narrows down and the brightness of your image decreases, a common issue in low light conditions.
The objective lens of such a spotting scope should lie between 50 and 80 mm. An 80 mm objective lens delivers the finest images in virtually all light conditions, particularly at higher magnification.
Experienced birders prefer wide angled eyepieces because they provide a larger field of view allowing them to scan at lower magnification to identify the bird. The exit pupil should not be less than 1.33 mm; anything less will reduce the brightness of the image.
Outdoor enthusiast justifiably regards Gosky 20-60X a high-quality, affordable and exemplarily performing spotting scope in the market. The product is feature-packed and hence provides a bright, crisp and clear view as you engage in your favorite activity, such as bird and game watching.
It is also fog proof and waterproof, meaning harsh weather elements can’t interfere with its performance. Below are its detailed features;
This spotting scope is perfect for bird watching for a number of reasons. It is affordable (comes with a completely multi-colored 8mm green-film objective lens and hence makes your viewing brighter and clearer besides delivering crisp images.
Its variable 20-60X magnification also allows you to zoom on your object with a lot of ease. The scope features a sturdyMagnalium framework hence is strong enough to be used in the field even in the harshest weather conditions.
Additional shock absorbing rubber armor provides stability and maximum protection. The exit pupil of this Spotting Scope is 4 mm at 20X and 1.33 at 60X both of which are in the ideal range.
Key Features and Benefits
Dynamic lens focusing feature: This feature, coupled with 20-60X variable magnification makes zooming on a target a breeze.
Digiscoping adapter: With this handy addition, you can conveniently use your smartphone to take pictures.
Complete package: Besides being affordable, this optics comes ready to use straight out of the box.
Digiscoping Cellphone Adapter: It comes with exceptional digiscoping mobile phone adapter that enables you to take great videos and images of distant targets with a lot of ease. To utilize this feature, simply place your smartphone’s camera on the eyepiece of the product and obtain videos and photos through it (eyepiece).
What more would one require from the spotting scope? It has more attractive features, though.
Metallic Tablet Tripod: This spotting scope appears with a metallic tripod stand which, provided you use properly, will provide both stable support and makes the scope steady giving you the ultimate viewing experience. A reliable support enables you to capture fine videos and images.
Eyepiece Shielding: This spotting scope appears to be an eyepiece slope, when spread out, protects the eyepiece of the scope from several destructive elements including dirt.
Optic Excellence: You can quickly zoom in a distant object thanks to an eyepiece 20-60x magnification, advanced prism, totally multi-coated 80 mm green film mixed objective lens and a good dynamic focusing method.
The Best Spotting Scope for Hunting
A common problem that hunters face is spending the entire day outdoors without bringing home a catch because they make inaccurate shots at their targets. A spotting scope with a 20-60X magnification suits a hunter best. Such a spotting scope should also have a 50 mm objective lens provides sufficiently bright images even the scope is used in poor lighting conditions.
Since hunting necessitates moving from time to time, a spotting scope that is easy to set up will come in handy. It should also be lightweight and not obstructive while shooting. A bid eye relief (of at least 14mm) will enable you to shoot your target without sacrificing your field of view.
Thanks to a 20-60Xmagnificatio, Redfield Spotting Scope is up to the task. It also measures 16 by 7.5 by 5.8 inches and weighs 5.08 pounds(thanks to a nitrogen filled polycarbonate housing) making it strong, compact and lightweight. The tripod comes with is also portable and practical.
The diameter of the objective lens measures 60 mm and as such deliver bright images irrespective of the prevailing light conditions. Slip-resistant ridges and rubber armoring simplify the setup process. The ridges also make focusing the optics a simple task (even when you have gloves on).
This angled spotting scope comes in a kit which, essentially, is an all-in-one glassing package is containing everything you need for a fulfilling spotting experience. It includes a carrying case with straps, a compact tripod stand, and view-through case.
The transparent case, in turn, contains eyepiece access and fold-down objective that enables you to use the scope without necessarily removing the case. As for the scope itself, its fully multi-coated optical path utilizes back-4 prism glass. Besides, it features 80 mm objective lens for maximum image clarity and brightness, making it one of the spotting scopes gadgets in the market.
Key Features and Benefits
Fog-proof performance: The nitrogen filled housing makes the spotting scope both waterproof and fog-proof.
Compact and Lightweight: Weighing 37 oz. and measuring 14 inches long, the scope easy to carry around.
High optical performance: 20-60X magnification range, 17-14mm of eye relief and 60 mm of objective lens provide commendable optical performance.
Robust design: A nitrogen-filled polycarbonate build makes this spotting scope not only lightweight but also resistant to harsh weather elements. Complementing its durable housing is Slip-proof ridges and rubber armoring. These attractive features are particularly handy when focusing or mounting the instrument while wearing hand gloves.
Enhanced Knob Control: The product’s focusing knob rubber surface contains profound knurls that provide tactile feedback. Such a surface provides a gripping touch that translates to effectual turning and improved control.
User-friendly extras: The Rampage scope features a twisted-up eyecup design in addition to a generous 19-17 mm eye relief capabilities. Subsequently, the spotting scope delivers a comfortable viewing experience to ordinary users as well as eyeglass wearers.
The Best Spotting Scope for the Money
Besides making sure that the scope you buy is within your budget, you want to ensure that it has all the features necessary for your ultimate viewing experience. Your ideal spotting scope need not be costly. So, settle for the brand that provides High-Density images, has a 20-60X magnification range and features lens coating.
Look out for phrases like Multi-coated, fully coated or even fully multi-coated in relation to lens coating. Coating enhances the efficiency in which high magnification setting operate by improving light transmission necessary for the optimum viewing experience. The optics must also be waterproof and fog proof for use in a variety of climatic conditions.
This spotting scope is affordable and contains all the features a typical viewer needs; excellent a magnification (20-60X), a stylish triplet apochromatic lens system that guarantees high definition views over the entire field of view and much more.
It is also fully multi-coated using scratch-resistant XR coatings for maximum light transmission and very high resolution.
A die-cast aluminum housing containing strategically-positioned rubber armoring provides optimum strength and durability. The O-ring sealed feature prevents debris, moisture, and dust for a waterproof performance. The argon purged body ensures the spotting scope if fog proof and shockproof. Vortex Spotting Scope, therefore, provides real value for money.
Extra Protection: Exterior lenses are covered with ArmorTek, an ultra-hard compound that protects the optics from oil, dirt and corrosive fingerprint marks.
Angled Design: this lowly mountable and hence stable design allows you to use your optics for different purposes like bird watching and astronomy.
Optimum image quality: Porro Prism provides optimum image quality in a conventional design.
The 5 Best Spotting Scope Reviews
The following is a list of the top 5 best spotting scope reviews of 2018 with brief details on their features and benefits to guide you in comparing and choosing the most appropriate and the spotting scope for your needs.
This spotting scope convincingly sets the pace for optical performance, durability, and portability. Featuring 45 degrees viewing angle, provides a step up from 65 mm in aperture the product effectively deliver a 50 percent brighter images.
It’s 80 mm refractor comes with excellent multi-coated optics fitted into a sturdy and compact and hence portable design. You will find its exceptional 20-60X zoom eyepiece irresistibly useful. Check out its features below.
Key Features and Benefits
Waterproof: You can use this model in extreme weather climatic conditions since it is adequately protected from water in different forms including liquid, moisture and fog. The danger of corrosion ruining your spotting scope is nonexistent.
Versatile: 80 mm Ultima was specifically designed to perform exemplary in a broad range of viewing circumstances. The model is, therefore, a fantastic all-purpose optical piece; you’ll find it helpful when observing nature and while performing long distance spotting.
Multi-coated optics: It’s excellent multicoating enhances light transmission through the lens thus producing optimal viewing experience. So, regardless of lighting in your work situation, this model delivers great images.
Camera adaptable: You can digiscope this model for a more practical use, particularly useful feature for wildlife observers and photographers. It enables them to catch the magnificence of a scene with one snap. This spotting scope is, thus, a perfect companion for an outdoor enthusiast who would like to take great pictures of the beautiful natural scenery.
Konus 7120 is a beautiful instrument meant for persons who are ready to go an extra mile to accomplish high-caliber shooting. You can, therefore, use the product for a full range of purposeless including animal/bird watching, moon watching and wildlife observation by relevant authorities.
It comes with a carrying case and a tripod. The package includes all the necessities such as a 45 degree angled piece, objective lens cap, camera adapter among much more.
Key Features and Benefits
Superior Optical Range: With a 20-50X magnification range and an 80 mm objective lens, Konus 7120 is a worthy member of the spotting scopes. Its camera at 1000 yards, delivers a 157.2-foot field view and a 2.9 mm exit pupil.
All-purpose spotting scope: The camera is ideal for, among others, photographers, hunters, and bird watchers. It comes with all the features necessary to use it for different purposes.
Includes a tripod and case: The package includes a tabletop tripod, weighing 55 ounces and measuring 17 inches long. It also contains a rotating tripod collar and a photo adapter. The adapter makes it easy to focus besides making it simple to place the camera above the eyepiece.
High Resolution: It provides a complete view of a thousand yards which translate to impressive clarity. The lens hood, Konus Spotting comes with, can also retract scope for a variety of uses.
Blackhawk irrefutably provides ultimate performance thanks to exceptional and innovative design, dynamics as well as technical precision. Skilled personnel who fully understand the nature of extreme hunting conditions spotting scopes endure while being used precisely engineer this model for ultimate optical durability and performance.
As such, it has all the features that a discriminating hunter would desire in the spotting scope. Ranging from housing to lens performance capabilities to durable construction, BARSKA Blackhawk delivers portability, value and optical performance.
Key Features and Benefits
Adaptable to all weather conditions: This product is fog-proof and waterproof implying it is usable in all weather. Shock absorbing armoring provides protection from undesirable shocks, bumps, and bruises.
High-performance optics: It comes with large objective lens and multi-coated optics that augment its light-gathering capabilities for bright images even in low lightings. It also has a glare-minimizing sunshade, and different zoom magnifications (ranging from 20-60X) and hence is suitable for a range of applications.
Convenient to use: BARSKA Blackhawk is ergonomically designed and contains shock absorbing rubber armor for optimum protection and comfortable overall handling. The kit even includes a tripod stand, premium durable aluminum case, and a soft carrying case.
Tinted objective lens: In addition to a handy sunshade, the product comes with green colored objective lens and as such provide unmatched protection from bright sunlight that potentially interferes with your viewing.
Firefield 20-60X is scaling new heights in spotting scope niche thanks to its advanced, using powerful yet gorgeous design. It improves drastically from other earlier spotting instruments and as such the product is one of the most technologically advanced models currently available, the fact that makes it feature in many spotting scope reviews.
Some of the features putting this product in the spotting scope items’ category are compact design and durable nylon structure for long-lasting use. Firefield 20-60X is, therefore, perfect for long-distance game tracking and target shooting.
Key Features and Benefits
Durable construction: The strong nylon material and shoulder straps ensure it stores securely and conveniently for an active day. Additionally, a rubber eyecup coupled with a three-section tripod implies it always provide a comfortable use.
Ease of maintenance: The included carrying case besides keeping your valuable investment safe keeps your optics sparkling clean even during your long treks on dusty roads or in the wildness. The time you spend cleaning it is, therefore, minimal.
Nitrogen Purged Housing: Firefield Spotting Scope features a nitrogen purged housing making it lightweight. Despite its light construction, the product performs exceptionally well in all climatic conditions.
Powerful optics: A user-friendly camera support allows you to convert your 20-60X instrument to the long-range digiscoping system effortlessly. Fully multi-coated lenses and, 60 mm objectives, on the other hand, provide brighter, more detailed images at all magnifications.
Endeavor HD has a compact size, solid build and sleek lines making it an excellent all-round spotting scope. The product is therefore robust and well-made thanks to a magnesium-alloy chassis and adequate rubber mounting for a secure grip. Additionally, the eyepiece connects to the structure through a locking bayonet fashion fitting.
As is evident in the following section, Vanguard principally comes with many high-end features typically found in costlier spotting scopes.
Key Features and Benefits
Useful Stay-on Case: the case protects the spotting scope from bruises and damages while you are using it or even in transit. The case slips over the product snugly before fastening with a secure zip and Velcro at the eyepiece and objective lens respectively.
Commendable optical performance: It features phase-corrected prisms, an ED glass, covering the objective lens section and as such eliminate chromatic aberration (also referred to as color fringing) as well as patented Vanguard coatings on all its air-to-glass surfaces.
Compact and light tripod: The Veo 235AP tripod this spotting scope comes with makes it easy to carry and use the product. So, you can easily take the kit even in the situations you would find a larger scope cumbersome.
Impressive performance in dim light: Endeavor HD 65A performs admirably well in low light conditions, particularly at lower zoom values. This feature allows you to use your scope until late into the evenings.
Where to Buy The Best Spotting Scope Online?
While there are very many ways and outlets to acquire the good spotting scope, some are less reliable than others. You should purchase your preferred model from a credible vendor to get value for money. Different spotting scope reviews will recommend different options but the only globally recognized, and reliable one is Amazon.com.
We, therefore, strongly recommend buying from the same site to enjoy very many benefits. Some of the many advantages of buying from Amazon are; you always get a genuine product, you’ll pay the right price (there are no middlemen to unnecessarily inflate prices), and the retailer delivers all the goods in record time.
Spotting scopes come in a wide range of types, prices and performance capabilities. The list above is not exhaustive but features top range products guaranteed to give you a memorable outdoor experience. So, for the best spotting scope make sure the product you settle for comes with all the features detailed in the buying guide.
All credible spotting scope reviews agree that the above features, namely, the performance of the eyepiece, objective lens and magnification have a huge bearing on the performance of the entire unit. So, pay close attention to these attributes in any of the models you are considering.