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Going up one notch in price range can land you that little bit extra in quality.
When it comes to affordable spotting scopes, you'll appreciate the low price tag and the extra clarity you can get for a $200 optic.
If you want the absolute best of the entry level market, don't bother straying from the best.
We've got the top picks of the price range right here!
Our 7 Top Spotting Scopes Under $200
For 200 bucks, you can get yourself a brand name optic with a solid foundation and concrete functionality. You want to look for brands like Bushnell, Redfield, and Celestron. They know what quality optics means for a hunter, but they also know that budget constraints have a tighter hold when you're shopping.
Entry level doesn't mean cheap. It just means you're going to forfeit some custom and lavish features that only comes with one-time, lifetime buys. But, even for these prices, you can still get yourself a decent spotter that puts all the quality into the bare basic features to ensure you get dead-on with every shot. Here are the spotters that made the cut!
|Celestron Ultima 65||CHECK PRICE|
|Gosky 20-60×80||CHECK PRICE|
|Athlon Talos 20-60x80||CHECK PRICE|
|Landove 20-60x80||CHECK PRICE|
|Celestron Ultima 80 – 45°||CHECK PRICE|
|SVBONY SV13 20-60x80||CHECK PRICE|
|Simmons Venture 20-60x60||CHECK PRICE|
Best Budget Spotting Scopes Under $200
1. Celestron Ultima 18-55X65
- ULTIMA STRAIGHT SPOTTING SCOPE: The outdoor enthusiast’s choice is our great all-around spotting scope with an 65mm objective lens and a straight-through viewing angle....
- INCLUDES ESSENTIALS FOR BETTER VIEWING: Celestron Ultima 65 includes an extended tripod mounting plate, a zoom eyepiece with an integrated T-adapter for digiscoping, a...
Celestron impresses with all of their spotting scope series, and the spotter to snatch up second place in this low budget category is the Ultima 18-55X65, and it certainly deserves it too.
While coated or fully-coated coatings are typically the standard for entry level spotting scopes, Celestron ups the ante by playing in the big boy's park with equipping their low budget spotters with fully multi-coated optics. Score one.
Then, they further impress with their low cost of around $150 and over 500 online reviews on the Ultima series. Now that customer review base should be shouting loud and clear that there's something to consider here. Score two.
But, I think it's the fact that the Ultima spotters are excellent tools for long range glassing. It's been purported, not once, not twice, but many a time that this low budget spotting scope can have you seeing out over 1000 yards away. It's a win!
2. Gosky 20-60x80
- Fully multi-coated 80mm green film objective lens, eyepiece and quality prism inside - guarentee the key elements of a spotting scope, and make your view brighter,...
- Variable 20x to 60x magnification and dynamic lens focusing system -- makes it easy to zoom in on target. Designed for birdwatching, watching wildlife and scenery.
- Durable Magnalium Framework and Rubber Armor - Its tight fitting protection makes it usable to withstand the toughest weather conditions. The shock-absorbing rubber armor...
This Gosky spotting scope whacks it out of the ball park when it comes to acquiring the approval of the crowd. The masses couldn't be more impressed with the quality, luxury features, and the price of this spotter.
But, what can you expect to get at this price? The Gosky is a high-powered and long-ranging spotter with a dynamic lens focusing system for fast, precise, and clear image quality. Target acquisition-done!
Something of note that you don't ever see on a spotter priced this low is digiscoping abilities - this Gosky has it. It comes with a digiscoping cell phone adapter for you to capture those moments that Nature doesn't always repeat. This is what makes this spotter the perfect scope for wildlife observation, birding, and even archery. For 200 bucks, you've got yourself a pretty fancy gadget for a shockingly great deal!
3. Athlon Talos 20-60x80 – Best Value
When buying a spotting scope on a budget, manufacturer reputation may mean everything. One such brand to trust is Athlon. The Talos 20-60x80 provides a quality option for the tight budget.
- FMC optics
- Silver prism coating
- Composite body
- Excellent for range use
- K9 prism glass
The Athlon 20-60x80 is perhaps one of the best performing spotting scopes for the price. The Talos is entry-level, and if you’re on a budget and are looking for brand name, Athlon satisfies both cost and name recognition requirements.
Things you should know right off the bat is that the Talos has 17-15mm of eye relief which is a lot better than the 13-10mm seen in the $100 spotting scope price range. However, it’s still tight for glasses wearers and the eyebox will be finicky at max power.
At 60x, the optics will not have stellar performance, but this is expected at this price point. However, it does have FMC and silver coatings on the K9 glass. This combo of optical quality is good enough for groupings at the range, observing wildlife, and amateur lunar/stargazing with better-than-expected resolution.
It must be mentioned that K9 can be considered the same as BK7 glass but Athlon gives the prisms a silver coating to improve surface reflectivity. As expected, you will struggle with chromatic aberration, so it’s not the best option for lunar digiscoping or serious birdwatching.
Built with a composite body, the spotter weighs in at 38.5oz, it’s fully armored for shock and scratchproof protection, and it’s also been nitrogen-purged and O-ring sealed. For the money, the Athlon Talos offers great value for the user who recognizes quality in a low-end optic.
4. Landove 20-60X80
- Big Eyepiece and High Magnification：Variable 20x to 60x magnification and dynamic lens dual focus system -- makes it easy to zoom in onto your target. HD 24mm 2inch big...
- BAK4 Prism and Larger Lens：Big 80mm objective lens and fully multi-coated optics with BAK4 Porro Prism and 9pcs/4groups lens increase light transmission, deliver...
It's new, big, and jam-packed with value. The Landove 20-60x80 spotting scope is as legit as it comes for an economical optic from an up and coming brand. What does this scope have that others in this lineup lack? Read on!
- Dual focus
- High magnification
- Large 80 mm objective lens
- Accessories included
Really, a 20-60x80 scope is going to be on the heifer end of things, and 44.8 oz isn't too bad considering it could easily top 5 lbs with these specs. Now, to focus on the highlights…
As an optics nerd, the Landove catches our eye with its coaxial dual speed focusing dials - just a fancy way to say it has dual focus. On a scope this cheap, you will never see dual focusing, so the Landove just earned some quality points and two thumbs up.
It's important with high magnification and a large 80 mm aperture that it has fully multi-coated (FMC) optics, a quality feature not always guaranteed on a budget scope, but Landove nails it. Granted, image quality might degrade at 60x, but it's still going to have quality performance for all the good stuff like range use and watching deer in your backyard.
As is expected with many economical options, this scope doesn't come alone but as a kit. The table top metal tripod, carry bag, eyepiece cover, and lens caps are all expected, but what you probably don't expect is the upgraded, new, and large smartphone digiscope adapter. Seriously, that's an extra 20 bucks, give or take a little, just given as a freebie in the buy. You sold on this scope yet? We are!
5. Celestron Ultima 80 - 45°
- ULTIMA ANGLED SPOTTING SCOPE: The outdoor enthusiast’s choice is our great all-around spotting scope with an 80mm objective lens and a 45° viewing angle. Perfect for...
- INCLUDES ESSENTIALS FOR BETTER VIEWING: Celestron Ultima 80 includes an extended tripod mounting plate, a zoom eyepiece with an integrated T-adapter for digiscoping, a...
Yes, we've already covered the Ultima 18-55X65 spotting scope, but we also wanted to tell you about the 20-60X80 one. Why go one notch higher? Because this spotter can get you 50 percent brighter images with the larger 80 mm objective lens.
Speaking of lenses, they're multi-coated, fog-proof, and the eyepiece offers excellent relief. However, this is no hand-held device. Celestron doesn't even begin to offend the buyer by offering a flimsy tripod, they leave it to you purchase and make that decision. A word of advice: don't skimp on a tripod for this beast.
This beast of an optic also comes with a sight tube, not something you see everyday on a budget optic. But, the catch is, to get it under $200, you've got to move fast while it's on sale. If you're too slow, you'll miss out on the deal and perhaps your trophy too!
6. SVBONY SV13 20-60X80
- 20-60x80mm;20-60x zoom magnification makes long-distance details more clear;large 80mm objective lens provides powerful light gathering ability;2.37” resolution can get...
- High-quality optical design;MC and silver Prism Coating design minimize the amount of light loss during the transmission;concentrate more light for 60x high magnification...
A generic, off-brand spotting scope makes the lineup with its high rankings online, low price tag, and quality features. SVBONY is working diligently to make a name for themselves in the optics industry, and their SV13 spotting scope is just one of their products that's climbing the rungs and making it to the top.
- High magnification
- Large 80 mm aperture
- Includes camera adapter
- Short eye relief
At first glance there's nothing memorable about the SV13 spotter. It's brown, it looks like a generic scope, and it's not from well-recognized optics brand. But, if you were to do a little digging into the track record and customer satisfaction rate of the company and into the scope itself, you might be swayed into giving it a chance.
The 20-60x80 scope has fully multi-coated optics with BaK4 prism glass - good starting point for a budget spotter. It also has a fully-armored body, rotating tripod ring, twist-up eyecup, and a retractable sunshade - all standard features.
But, what is viewing quality actually like? As a budget scope, you should expect some degradation in image quality at max power - it's usually a given. But, the trending complaint isn't with image quality, it's with the stated 17.9-15 mm eye relief. With the eyecup extended out, users experience eyeball to eyecup pressure - short but usable that takes some getting used to.
The IPX7 rating is something of note as spotters haven't always been the most waterproof optics in the past. The SV13 is both fog and waterproof to keep you out longer in questionable weather.
This model comes with a phone adapter but without the tripod - it keeps the price nice and low. Its solid performance has proven to be memorable for the many buyers that reckon it’s a deal.
7. Simmons Venture 20-60X60
If you're a fan of budget optics, then you'll like the new Venture 20-60x60 spotting scope from the established Simmons brand. The ProSports have come and gone and the Venture line is the new replacement. While prices did go up just a tad for the new series, it still comes in on the lighter end of the price scale.
- High magnification
- Fully multi-coated optics
- Easy to use
- Accessories included
- BK7 glass
The high power Venture spotting scope will be your lightweight pal in the hunt or at the range. Even though it weighs approximately 2 lbs, it's technically as heavy as its lower magnification sibling, the 15-45x60 Venture spotting scope. Not too bad in poundage now, right?
Optical quality will be as expected for an affordable, entry-level optic. The BK7 glass might affect exit pupil shape, but with fully multi-coated optics, brightness and clarity should be acceptable for your intended use and definitely for the low price.
The price is tough to beat, especially when you're getting a table top tripod with a built-in window mount, a hard plastic storage case, and a soft carry case included in the buy.
For recreational use and getting sighted-in at 100 yards while staying within you budget is easily done thanks to Simmons.
What to Look for in a Budget Spotting Scope
You might be dabbling in the economical market of spotting scopes, but 200 bucks is still 200 bucks. You don't want any penny to go to waste, and that's why we're here. To stretch every dollar, focus on the basic features of the scope.
If there's a ton of marketing gimmicks being hauled in your face, steer away from that hype. Instead, look for quality where it matters most-in the glass, focus systems, and rugged build. Here's a quick look at how you can get that done.
- Design: Consider whether angled or straight is for you.
- Glass: The higher the quality, the better.
- Coatings: The more, the better. Additional prism-specific coatings may be rare in this price range, but if it has them, it's a definitely a perk.
- High power 20-60X: You want to make sure you get accurate distances with these spotting scopes by being brand-specific. Going higher-powered in this price range may result in poorer image quality.
- Eye relief 13-18 mm: Ensure your investment is comfortable to glass with.
- Exit pupil 3-5 mm: Smaller than 3 mm? Expect to lose out on a lot of light-gathering potential.
- Aperture: Going larger might seem better, but just remember you're tacking on weight with each size increase.
- Size/Weight: Be activity specific here. Don't go heavy weight if you're trekking and plan on using your spotter hand-held. Go compact instead. You can afford to go heavy and large if you're stationary most of the time for things like birdwatching and wildlife observation.
- Durability: Look for rubber armored bodies, waterproofness, and fog-proof features.
Spot For Quality!
To recap, here is our list of the top picks of the 7 Best Spotting Scopes Under $200:
- Celestron Ultima 65 18-55x65 - Winner
- Gosky 20-60×80mm - Runner-Up
- Athlon Talos 20-60x80
- Landove 20-60x80mm
- Celestron Ultima 80 – 45°
- SVBONY SV13 20-60x80mm
- Simmons Venture 20-60x60mm
It's going to take a good pair of eyes and smarts to spot a spotting scope with real quality. Unfortunately, there's a dime-a-dozen of poor optics in this price range, so you've got to focus in on getting the best out of the bare basic features.
Don't be tempted by the scope that says it has it all-in this price range, a scope rarely does. Instead, spot for quality where it matters most. It's all in the glass, durability, and ease-of-use. Wishes of wise shopping decisions be upon you!
If you feel you have got some extra cash to spend then you might want to have a look at our lineup of these good spotting scopes available on the market today.
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- Barska 20-60x65mm WP Level Angled Spotting Scope Review
- Barska Blackhawk Spotting Scope Review (Angled Body 18-36x50)
- Barska Tactical 11-33x50mm WP Mil-Cross Rangefinding Reticle Spotting Scope Review