Do you love bird watching? If yes, then we have the exact thing for you. A Spotting scope is a small portable telescope that can be used for the observation of terrestrial objects and their activities. The Spotting Scope is provided with additional optical lenses that help us in getting an erect and upright image of an object.
It may be used for bird watching, observation of a particular animal from a long distance and even for surveillance. A spotting scope can be used in screening an object in the order of 20-60x where the action of normal binoculars falls short. A large number of spotting scopes is available in today’s market, and we are going to help you in choosing the best Spotting Scope for your need.
Table of Contents
- Buying Guide for a Spotting Scope
- Best Spotting Scopes in the Market –
- 1. Vortex Razor HD Spotting Scope
- 2. Celestron 52252 100mm Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope
- 3. Celestron 52306 Regal M2 100ED Spotting Scope
- 4. Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A
- 5. Konus 7122B Spotting Scope Kit
- 6. BARSKA Waterproof Straight Spotting Scope
- 7. Emarth Waterproof Angled Spotting Scope
- 8. Redfield Rampage Spotting Scope Kit
- 9. Alpen Spotting Scope Kit
- 10. Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope
- Types of Spotting Scope
- Application of a Spotting Scope
Buying Guide for a Spotting Scope
As you can see, there are so many types of spotting scopes available in the market. Now which one would be the best spotting scope for you? This depends on what type of object you are going to observe using this scope. Now, we are going to help you by mentioning the various criteria which you should keep in your mind while choosing the scope.
Decide between an open angled and a straight spotting scope – You should buy a straight scope if you are planning to watch an object at your same height. That means your eyes would be at the same level as that of the object. Like if you observe activities of terrestrial wild animals or birds from a tree house.
An angled scope can be used for watching objects at a height higher or lower than you. Like watching birds sitting on the ground.
Magnification – The magnification of a lens is given by two numbers separated by “x”. Like 45×60. This means the object is 45 times closer than what can be seen with naked eye. The number 60 mean the diameter of the front lens. It indicates the amount of light entering the lens and hence the brightness of the image.
Field of view – A wide field lens is preferred because it gives an advantage in watching birds and wildlife. Animals which are fast moving can be easily spotted using a wide field lens.
Extended eye relief – Lenses should be bought with extended eye relief. Eye relief is the distance you can embrace a spotting scope away from your eyes but still get a full view.
Larger exit pupil – Scopes with larger exit pupil should be bought as they help in making the images brighter. Exit pupil gets smaller when the magnification of the lens in higher giving a dimmer image.
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Fullymulti-coated with magnesium fluoride – This helps in the reduction of light loss and reduce glare from reflection. More the number of coating on the lens brighter is the image.
Warranty– Scopes with longer warranty period should be preferred.
Budget – Price of spotting scopes varies from $200-$2000. So you should decide your budget from before and choose the one that fits your budget.
Note – The spotting scope that you are taking should be usable under all weather conditions. So it should not just be waterproof but also fog proof, rain proof, and mist proof. Otherwise, it may be damaged.
Best Spotting Scopes in the Market –
There are so many Spotting scopes in the market and today we are going to tell you about few of the best spotting scopes in the market.
1. Vortex Razor HD Spotting Scope
It is one of the finest spotting scopes available in today’s market that competes at the highest level of performance. It comes with advance optical technologies, ultra sleek functionality and precision craftsmanship. An advanced optical element reduces color aberration and provides remarkable clarity, resolution and color accuracy.
- Triple Apochromatic lens with HD glass
- 85 mm objective lens and 20-60×85 zoom
- Waterproof and fogproof
- Eyepiece dual feature knob for precise focusing
- Dielectric prism coating for brighter images
- XR anti-reflective coatings for maximum brightness.
- Premium coating delivers the highest level of light transmission with multiple anti-reflective coatings on air-glass surfaces.
- Being waterproof and fog proof allows it to be used even under wet conditions without causing any damage to the device.
- The manufacture did a great job in making it sturdy.
- Angled body design for observation of higher objects.
- Bright and sharp images with a high degree of resolution.
- It is a bit heavy and can be difficult to move from one place to another.
- It is a bit pricey.
2. Celestron 52252 100mm Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope
Celestron 52306 enables its users to enjoy high-end spotting scopes at an affordable price. This model is considered one of the best of Celestron’s because it has all the features of an M2 scope plus a 100 mm diameter lens. Thus, it helps in getting greater amount of light and provides the clearest images of birds and targets. This spotting scope can even be used for a few astronomical studies as well.
- ED objective lens to reduce chromatic aberrations
- It has the diameter of 100mm
- XLT Fully multicoated with magnesium fluoride.
- This spotting scope has a dimension of 19.2in.x4.8.in.x4.8in.
- Extra-low dispersion glass limits the extent to which light is scattered as it passes through the lens.
- Better image sharpness, clarity, and minimum colour
- Multi-coated lenses for brighter images
- The 20 mm eye relief doesn’t strain the viewer’s eye much.
- The magnesium alloy body makes it sturdy and less prone to damage.
- Large field of view enables better and widerview
- ED screens available at manyeffective costs are not found anywhere else
- It is not one of the lightest spotting scope.
- Setting it up on the tripod is time-consuming.
3. Celestron 52306 Regal M2 100ED Spotting Scope
This scope is also capable of superior performance at an affordable price. It is great for bird watching, target shooting and observing nature. Celestron 52306 is endow with the best levels of light gathering technology and a durable body. It can gather up to 50 percent more light than the 80 mm scopes. Experts say that a bird species can be observe from as far as 600 yards away with this scope. This is due to the combination of high light gathering technology that doesn’t damages the image resolution upon zooming.
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The T ring adapter allows a camera to be mounted on the scope and this enables them to take pictures of birds and objects from long distance. Presence of a waterproof optical tube helps in improving the viewing ability of the scope even in harsh weather conditions like rain. Provided with a large aperture, multi-coated optics, and high zoom it is one of the best spotting scope in the market.
- Diameter of the objective lens is 100mm
- It is multi-coated with magnesium fluoride.
- It has a magnification of 22x-66x
- Angular field of view for this spotting scope is 1.8-1
- T ring adapter allows a camera to be mounted on the scope.
- It has a great light capturing ability due to large diameter of screen.
- Multi-coated optics to prevent dispersion of light rays and improves the light intensity and image clarity.
- The zooming ability of the scope is one of the best and is said to be better than many expensive brands.
- This scope is one of that scope that is affordable but doesn’t compromise on quality and features.
- It lacks an ED Objective lens.
- It has lesser eye relief distance and field of view as compared to other scopes in the market.
4. Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A
Vanaguard is one of the reliable manufacturers that are manufacturing spotting scopes and its accessories for over 30 years. The specialty of Endeavor HD is the outstanding long range with a very large field of view. Provided with premium ED glass, it is one of the best spotting scope at an affordable price. ED screen prevents light dispersion and thus prevents chromatic Aberration,improves light intensity and image resolution. Angled nature of this scope makes it a great choice for bird watching.
- Premium ED glass with BAK4 roof prisms
- Multiple coatings on all air-glass surfaces to prevent loss of light intensity
- Fog proof and waterproof
- Magnification 20x-60x
- Lens diameter 82mm
- Eye relief 19-20mm
- Angle of view-2.1-1 degree
- High magnification allows objects to be spotted from a far distance.
- A Larger angle of view and field of vision improves the abilities of this scope.
- Rainproof and fog proof
- It comes with a premium lifetime
- The cost of this scope is not very high and is easily affordable.
- Lens diameter is not great, and that reduces the amount of light entering the scope.
- Eye relief of other scopes is not as expect.
5. Konus 7122B Spotting Scope Kit
This is a highly powerful spotting scope with very high image definition due to the over sized 100mm lens. It is an angled scope with 45 degrees angled eyepiece that helps in seeing at the objects at a height above you. Thus, it is very useful for bird watching.
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- It has a 100mm objective lens
- Multicoated objective lens
- 20-60x zoom eyepiece
- Angled eyepiece at 45 degrees for easy viewing.
- Can be placed on nearly all tripods
- Included camera adapter for taking photographs.
- 100mm lens diameter for brighter better intensity images.
- High magnification for viewing far away objects.
- Multi-coated objective lens prevents dispersion of light rays and improves the light intensity and image clarity.
- The T ring adapter allows a camera to be mounted on the scope and this enables them to take pictures of birds and objects from long distance.
- Doesn’t have an ED screen to prevent light dispersion.
- Relief length is not the best.
6. BARSKA Waterproof Straight Spotting Scope
It is one of the best straight spotting scopes available in the market. The wide zoom range makes it an ideal choice for bird watching, spotting at the rifle range. It may even be used for lunar observations. Its zooming ability ranges from 20-60x. So the 20x zoom is used for observation of the landscape while the 60x zoom is used for focusing a particular object.
- 60 mm objective lens which is fully coated
- BK-7 Porro prism
- 20-60x magnification
- Exit pupil is 3mm-1mm
- Eye relief is 14.5mm-11.2mm
- Pan Head tripod stand included with the scope.
- Large magnification makes it ideal for looking objects far away.
- BK7 Porro prism improves the image quality and prevents light dispersion.
- A Large field of view gives a better and widerview of the landscape.
- The tripod stand which comes with d scope is very useful for placing the scope at a place and observation.
- The diameter of the objective lens is just 60mm, and that prevents a lot of light coming into the scope.
- Eye relief is very short.
7. Emarth Waterproof Angled Spotting Scope
This spotting scope has been made exclusively made for travelers. The size of this scope is compact and that makes it easy to move around. It is perfect for outdoor activities like bird watching, hiking, observation of the landscape and other such outdoor activities. Its high-quality lens ensures that the images are of high quality, vivid color and with sharp resolution.
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- Objective lens diameter is 60mm
- Magnification of this spotting scope is 20x-60x
- Prism used in this spotting scope is BK7
- Eye relief distance 17-13.5 mm
- It is very lightweight thus very easy to carry and portable.
- High magnification enables easy zooming and seeing far away objects.
- Being fogproof and waterproof makes it an ideal choice for difficult situations.
- BK7 prism and multiple layer coating provide enough light for viewing purposes.
- This scope is best for travelers who need to carry it and walk over long distances. But for other purposes,it’s not very effective as its lens diameter is just 60mm.
- Eye relief distance is not great.
8. Redfield Rampage Spotting Scope Kit
It is one of the better spotting scopes available in the market that can be used for bird watching and surveillance. The objective lens diameter of Redfield Rampage is 60mm. It has a great build quality and retractable lens shade. Looking at far way object with this spotting scope is easier due to it high magnification.
- Magnification is 20-60
- Retractable lens shade
- It has a soft case covering that prevents it from damage if it falls.
9. Alpen Spotting Scope Kit
Alpen is good and effective low budget spotting scope by a reputable company. It is useful for bird watching, for long range target shooting and surveillance. Its built quality is great considering it price rage. It is waterproof, shockproof and fog proof. It has multiple coated lens and optics for superior brightness, resolution,and color quality. BAK4 prism setting, high diameter objective lens, multiple coatings increase the brightness,Color quality and resolution of the images.
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- It has80mm objective lens.
- Zoom of the spotting scope is 20-60x.
- It has 45 degree angled eyepiece.
- High zoom allows us to focus on distant objects.
10. Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope
The last prouct to feature on our list of best spotting scope is from a very reputable brand called Bushnell. This bushnell spotting scope is portable all-weather spotting scope for hunting and bird watching. Quality of this scope is not amonst the best, but the heghlight of this spotting scope is its leightweight design which makes it a perfect choice for outdoors.
- Objective lens is 50 mm
- Magnification of the spotting scope is 12 to 36x.
- Field of view is 140 feet at 1000 yards
- It weight just 600 gm
Types of Spotting Scope
There are various types of spotting scopes available in the market that are classified according to different criteria. But under the broad category, they are classified into three groups.
Straight Through Type
This is a type of spotting scope in which the eyepiece is on the same axis as the path in which the light travels through the lens. They are the easiest kind of spotting scope with simple design and require a limited amount of experience in handling.
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Angled Spotting Scope
These are spotting scopes in which the eyepiece is mounted at a roughly 45-degree-angle to the optical path of the light. Its major advantage is that it can look at higher elevated objects from the same position without depending on a tall tripod stand.
Shoulder Mounted Spotting Scope
These scopes are fitted with a stock that allows them to be braced on the shoulder. Their advantage is that they are easy to use plus stable and doesn’t require a tripod stand for setting up and moving from one location to another.
A coating on the lens surface reduces light loss, works as an anti-glare and reduces eye strain. Many scopes are coated with a thin coat of magnesium fluoride, and this leads to better light transmission.
Coated – In this a single layer of magnesium fluoride is given on atleast one lens.
Fully-Coated– A single layer on all air to glass surfaces is coated.
Multi Coated – Multi layers on atleast one lens and all surfaces are coated at least one.
Fully Multi Coated – Multi layers of magnesium fluoride coating on all surfaces.
Exit Pupil – This is the size of the column of light that exits the spotting scope. Larger exit pupil gives brighter images, and smaller exit pupil produces lighter images.
Prism System – Every spotting scope is provided with a prism system that helps in inverting an upside-down image and make it erect. The prisms are made up of borosilicates or barium crown.
Roof Prism System – in this the prisms closely overlap each other making the objective lens directly line up with the eyepiece. The resultant image is slim and straightened as the prisms and lenses are in a straight line.
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Porro Prism System – In this type of lenses the objective lens is offset from the eyepiece. This provides greater depth perception and offers a wider field of view.
Magnification Power – The magnification power of a spotting scope is highly variable. Like its normal range is between 15×60-45×60. More the magnification larger the image is seen from a further distance.
Application of a Spotting Scope
A Spotting scope is a smaller portable version of a telescope that is mainly used for the observation of terrestrial objects. A spotting scope is an object that is used when the magnification of binoculars fall short. It is a gadget that is mainly used by professional people for some specific purpose and very rarely by amateurs.
For bird watching – The spotting scope maybe be used for bird watching from ground and tree. From the ground, an angled spotting scope is taken and is pointed at a particular bird on the tree. This is mainly used by people doing bird watching from some vehicle.
For bird watching from the tree, a straight scope is preferred that is set on the branches of a tree and pointed at a bird or a birds nest. Thus, spotting scope is a very useful instrument in case of bird watching.
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For watching wild animals from a distance – Zoologists and wildlife photographers and researchers often need to spot wild animals from a distance. They take pictures and observe their habits. For them, a spotting scope is very useful as they can easily keep an eye on the animals from a distance.
In combat and warfare– The spotting scope helps a lot in warfare as you can keep an eye on your enemy and their activities from a distance. They also help in target shooting. They are better than binoculars because their magnification and field of view arelarger.