Best Spotting Scope Reviews: Find the Top Brands for the Money In 2020

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Hunter in the Mountains Looking Through FieldscopeWhen you’re shopping for the best hunting spotting scopes, how do you choose a good one that is right for you?

Do you narrow it down by budget, features, or glass?

How about by weight, size, and its recommended use? Does it need to be waterproof?

With our buying guide, spotting scope reviews, and info-packed articles, you’ll know exactly how to answer these questions by the time you burn a hole in your pocket.

Don’t risk buying the wrong spotter because you didn’t do your due diligence.  Instead, read our reviews to get the top spotting scope for your needs the first time.

The best spotting scope for hunting is really only one review away.

 

QUICK LIST: Best Spotting Scopes in 2020

  1. Leica APO-Televid 82 25-50×82 Spotting Scope – Best High-End
  2. Meopta MeoPro 80 HD 20-60×80 Spotting Scope – Best Under $2000
  3. Vortex Optics Viper HD 15-45×65 Spotting Scope – Best Under $1000
  4. Vortex Diamondback 20-60×60 Spotting Scope – Best Under $500
  5. Redfield Rampage 20-60×80 Spotting Scope – Best Under $300
  6. Celestron Ultima 65 18-55×65 Spotting Scope – Best Under $200
  7. Barska Blackhawk 18-36×50 – Best Under $100
  8. Vortex Razor HD 11-33X50 – Best Compact
  9. NightForce TS-80 20-60×80 – Best Long Range
  10. Burris Signature HD 20-60×85 – Best With Ranging Reticle
  11. Leupold Mark 4 20-60×80 – Best For Target Shooting

 

How to Choose a Spotting Scope in 2020

With so many options available and more great spotting scopes being pushed off the production line on a regular basis, it can be hard to narrow down your options – let alone decide on the perfect one.

To make your decision easier, we have hunted down the best-of-the-best and presented our top spotting scope picks for a range of budgets and uses. When choosing a spotting scope you need to therefore first ask yourself a few questions; What is your budget? What will you be using the spotting scope for? Do you have a preferred brand?

Once you know the answer to those questions, all of the information you need to make an informed choice is accessible right here from this page! So, start by looking at the extensive lists of our top picks via the links in the tables below. We are confident you will find the right spotting scope for you in no time!

BEST SPOTTING SCOPES
ttcatpages-table__imageCOMPACT8 best compact spotting scopesCOMPARE NOW
ttcatpages-table__imageLONG RANGE10 best long range spotting scopesCOMPARE NOW
ttcatpages-table__imageWITH RETICLES6 best reticle spotting scopesCOMPARE NOW
ttcatpages-table__imageTARGET SHOOTING7 best target shooting spotting scopesCOMPARE NOW

 

 

The Best Spotting Scope for the Money

Considering that some of the best spotting scopes in the world have price tags in the multiple thousands of dollars, it might be more helpful for you if we look at the best picks of what you can afford.

We understand that everyone has a different budget to work with and whether you are limited to spending $100 or less, or can afford to put down over $1000 on a premium spotting scope, there is something that will suit your needs – and your budget.

With that in mind, we have scoured the optics world, and with an eye on maximum bang for your buck, have assembled a list of spotting scopes we consider to be the best-of-the-best in their price category.

So, to get the best of what you can afford, make sure you check out the resulting lists below.

BEST FOR THE MONEY
ttcatpages-table__imageUNDER $1006 best spotters below $100COMPARE NOW
ttcatpages-table__imageUNDER $2007 best spotters below $200COMPARE NOW
ttcatpages-table__imageUNDER $3005 best spotters below $300COMPARE NOW
ttcatpages-table__imageUNDER $5006 best spotters below $500COMPARE NOW
ttcatpages-table__imageUNDER $10005 best spotters below $1000COMPARE NOW
ttcatpages-table__imageOVER $10006 best high-end spotting scopesCOMPARE NOW

 

 

The Top 10 Best Spotting Scopes

1. NightForce TS-80 Hi-Def 20-60X

NightForce TS-80 20-60x80mm Hi-Def, Angled Spotting Scope, Dark Grey
3 Reviews
NightForce TS-80 20-60x80mm Hi-Def, Angled Spotting Scope, Dark Grey
  • Magnesium alloy body for strength and thermal stability

If you’re familiar with this high-end, American brand, you’ll know it blows away most of the competition in the market.  With a peek through the TS-80, you’ll see why.

PROS:
  • Interchangeable eyepieces
  • ED glass
  • Magnesium chassis
  • High quality glass
  • Low light

CONS:
  • Heavy

NightForce is one of the best optics brands out there, particularly for use in low light.  Serious hunters and shooters look to NightForce for all their optics needs.  Their spotting scope selection may be few, but it’s difficult to top what’s already considered the best.

The TS-80 is a 20-60x power scope with an 80 mm objective lens.  Unlike many high-powered spotting scopes, you can use the entire power range effectively with crystal clear image quality right up to max power. It’s all in the glass, and NightForce has used Extra-Low Dispersion glass elements to reduce CA (Chromatic Aberration), enhance color fidelity, and improve resolution.

Additionally, they’ve topped off the fully multi-coated glass with their proprietary coatings including an external hydrophobic coating that repels water, dirt, and all the like.  With such a huge objective and tons of power, this spotter ain’t no light weight.  It’s a full 68 oz to lug around – yes, you’ll be using a tripod for this thing, but it’ll prove to be a champ in low-light conditions and to spot groupings at the range. Close focus distance for this optic is 20 feet.

It’s built with a magnesium chassis for robustness and strength, and of course, it’s equipped with the essentials to maintain its integrity in the harshest weather.

Yes, the NightForce TS-80 requires more than a pretty penny, but it won’t break the bank like comparable scopes do for twice the price.  Although this scope has been around for a while, we say, why mess with something that ain’t broke?  NightForce proves that some optics are here to stay for good.

 

2. Vortex Optics Viper HD 15-45X65 Review

Vortex Optics Viper HD Spotting Scope 15-45x65 Angled
  • The Viper HD 15-45x65 Angled Spotting Scope is packed with features for incredible glassing and high end optical performance.

It’s high priced, but if you want one of the best options under $1000, you can’t go wrong with the Viper HD spotting scope.

PROS:
  • HD optics
  • Compact
  • Helical focus
  • ArmorTek
  • Weatherproof

CONS:
  • Heavy

The demands are high when it comes to spotting scopes, and often there’s a large performance and quality gap between cheap spotting scopes and more expensive ones.  If you want any decent quality out of an optic, spend more.

The Vortex Viper HD weighs quite a bit more than some comparable platforms out there coming in at 58 oz, but at least it’s short and compact.

Onto the optics, the image quality is exceptional.  The Viper has HD optics that essentially means ED lens elements.  Color fringing is significantly reduced while resolution and color fidelity is improved.  Dielectric coatings also allow for brighter and clearer images.  This spotting scope is good enough to take some pics with.

A helical focus ring allows for fast and fine focus.  ArmorTek will protect that objective lens from scratches and debris.  Having been gas-purged with argon gas over nitrogen, it’s equipped with better fog-proofing capabilities.

While it is on the low-end side of the magnification range, its scoping quality is excellent.  There’s no point in having a higher magnification spotting scope if you can’t actually see clear enough to see out that far.  See the point?  Better glass may mean better quality regardless of distance.

 

3. Athlon Ares 15-45X65 ED Review

Athlon Optics , Ares , Spotting Scope , 15-45 x 65 ED ,
11 Reviews
Athlon Optics , Ares , Spotting Scope , 15-45 x 65 ED ,
  • Apochromatic lenses System gives you the result of images which have greater contrast, sharpness and color definition

You can count on this brand to provide more for less.  One example of this is the Ares 15-45×65 angled scope.

PROS:
  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • ED glass
  • Argon gas
  • Interchangeable eyepieces

CONS:
  • Quality control issues

To be fair, there’s not a legitimate complaint about the Ares spotting scope, but since we’re being nit pickers, there’s been very few issues with quality control.  With an excellent lifetime warranty behind the scope, they’re easy fixes or it will be replaced.

As a low-powered spotting scope, you can expect exceptional clarity right up to max magnification of 45x.  With Extra-Low Dispersion glass, dielectric coatings, advanced FMC optics, and BaK4 glass, you’ll have clear views with zero color fringing and sharp resolution to see bullet holes clear out to 100 yards and more.

It’s built with an aluminum chassis to provide you with only 50 oz of weight.  As is standard for Athlon, they’ve ditched nitrogen in favor for argon gas, and of course, the spotting scope is completely waterproof.

With an interchangeable eyepiece system, you’ll be able to pair the scope body with various Athlon eyepieces for even more power or perhaps a ranging reticle when Athlon gets into that game.

For 500 bucks (approx.), it’s a great deal for a high-quality spotting scope.

 

4. Vortex Diamondback 20-60X60

Sale
Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scope 20-60x60 Angled
106 Reviews
Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scope 20-60x60 Angled
  • The Diamondback 20-60x60 Angled Spotting Scope is a superb choice when you need a heavyweight performer in a light, compact package

Full-size, max power, no weight.  Now, that sounds like a spotting scope made for the hunt!

PROS:
  • Price
  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • XR FMC optics
  • Weatherproof

CONS:
  • Narrow field of view

With only 114-51 ft/1000 yards, the view is going to be narrow, so you’ll need to do a lot of scanning – best done on a tripod, by the way.  But, it is a spotting scope and the higher magnification and larger the objective lens, the less you’ll have in the field of view.

It doesn’t have “HD” optics per se, but it does have quality images due to the best type of FMC coatings you can have from this brand.  Plus, it has dielectric coatings that gives it that additional boost in optical quality.

For a full-size spotting scope, it really ranks in at the top weight-wise.  It’s only a mere 33.8 oz – it even beats out some 15-45x spotting scopes.  It’s 14” long, offers 14-17 mm eye relief, and it’s fog and waterproof. Close focus distance is 20 feet.

The scope comes with a custom fitted neoprene case that allows you to use the scope while it’s still in its protective cover, and it also comes with caps for both ends. With an unlimited lifetime warranty and for $500, you can expect the best out of this spotting scope as it stands against its competitors in this price range.

 

5. Emarth 20-60X60 AE

Sale
Emarth 20-60x60AE Waterproof Angled Spotting Scope with Tripod, 45-Degree Angled...
1,110 Reviews
Emarth 20-60x60AE Waterproof Angled Spotting Scope with Tripod, 45-Degree Angled...
  • 【High Magnification】This spotting scope features a powerful zoom magnification range that adjustable 20x to 60x magnification,45 degree angled eyepiece ergonomic...

This Emarth is likely the most popular spotting scope around.  Its low price is obviously the most attractive feature, but it seems its quality is better than expected for it to be doing so well in the market.

PROS:
  • Price
  • FMC optics
  • Weatherproof
  • Non-slip armor
  • Tripod included

CONS:
  • Unforgiving eye relief

Right off the bat, if you wear glasses or you plan on using eye protection while using the spotting scope, forget it – it’s not going to happen.  Even though eye relief is stated at 18-19 mm (approx.), it’s been said to be much shorter than advertised.  It’s best for those who plan on using the naked eye.

The FMC optics are great to see on a spotting scope under $100, but with only that to boast of, it won’t make the cut for seeing bullet holes past 100 yards.  While this is technically a high-powered spotter, expect to lose image quality past 40x – it’s the way it is with entry-level spotters.  The optical mechanisms just aren’t there to support the demands of such high power regardless of its ability to “zoom in” that far.

It’s gas purged to support fog proof protection, and it will hold up when the rain rolls in.  Making the buy even sweeter is an included tripod that you can use on the tabletops at the gun range.

If you understand that this is a spotting scope for backyard use, some casual work at the range for short distances, and wildlife viewing, you won’t be disappointed.  It’s cheap, it works, and it’ll do the job.

 

6. Creative XP GlassHawk HD 20-60X80 

Sale
Emarth 20-60x60AE Waterproof Angled Spotting Scope with Tripod, 45-Degree Angled...
1,110 Reviews
Emarth 20-60x60AE Waterproof Angled Spotting Scope with Tripod, 45-Degree Angled...
  • 【High Magnification】This spotting scope features a powerful zoom magnification range that adjustable 20x to 60x magnification,45 degree angled eyepiece ergonomic...

The GlassHawk is a nifty spotting scope and it proves to be worth the buy.  There’s always some skepticism when it comes to buying cheap spotting scopes, but this is one of the better ones.

PROS:
  • HD quality
  • FMC optics
  • Dual focus
  • BaK4 glass
  • Waterproof

CONS:
  • Stiff power ring

The GlassHawk has full-size magnification with a matching full-size 80 mm objective lens.  While it’s high-powered, image quality will slightly degrade at max power, but that’s to be expected.  However, it does hold up well throughout and may take some extra time to focus.

Focusing can be finicky as you have a dual focus system that you’ll need to master.  You have course adjustments for fast focus and a fine focus to really hone-in on sharpness and clarity.  Unfortunately, the power ring is extremely stiff – it’ll take one hand to steady the body and the other to adjust the zoom eyepiece.

With FMC coatings and ED glass, HD quality kicks in and allows CA-free imaging, so it may very well be good enough for recreational photography of wildlife and some celestial observation.

Included is a tabletop tripod that is nothing to write home about, a phone adapter, and Bluetooth photo clicker to capture those rare moments you would otherwise have to etch into memory.  But, don’t buy this scope for the accessories as you’ll likely end up upgrading them.  Buy this for the scope – it’s a decent buy.

 

7. Gosky 20-60X60 HD Spotting Scope

Gosky 20-60x60 HD Spotting Scope with Tripod, Carrying Bag and Scope Phone...
  • 【POWERFUL MAGNIFICATION】: Adjustable powerful 20-60x zoom magnification allows you to lock onto your target and zoom in for more detail. Perfect for target shooting,...

Gosky is a popular spotting scope brand for decent products, low prices, and excellent customer service.  Their Gosky may be under 100 bucks, but it’s likely right within budget if it’s your first-time buy.

PROS:
  • Price
  • Lightweight
  • FMC optics
  • Weatherproof
  • Full accessories kit

CONS:
  • Difficult to use at max power

This issue isn’t unique to Gosky – it’s a shared flaw for most spotting scopes under $500.  The higher the magnification, the higher the demand on the optics.  While the image does degrade at max power, some have been able to get adequate focus with it although it does get darker.

It has FMC optics with BaK4 glass – this is a big deal for an optic in this price range.  Its field of view is 110-50 ft/1000 yards – right within range for its configuration.

As an entry-level model, you can expect that it’ll do just fine for recreational use at the range for sighting groupings up to 100 yards, and of course, you can observe wildlife in clear detail from a safe distance hundreds of yards away.

The Gosky spotting scope is fog and waterproof, so you won’t have to pack it up for the day if it starts to sprinkle.  The included accessories kit consists of a carry bag, caps for both ends of the scope, and a lens cleaning cloth.  It also comes with a couple extras like a tabletop tripod and a digiscope adapter.

It’s your entry-level spotting scope – no frills to it, but it’s lightweight, has good glass, and is weatherproof.  For a first-time buy and for casual use, it’s an excellent spotting scope for the money.

 

8. Celestron Ultima 80 Review

Celestron – Ultima 80 Angled Spotting Scope – 20 to 60x80mm Zoom Eyepiece...
769 Reviews
Celestron – Ultima 80 Angled Spotting Scope – 20 to 60x80mm Zoom Eyepiece...
  • 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...

Now, this is a brand that knows optics, and they strut their stuff when it comes to spotting scopes.  Even though this is one of their basic models, it’s still a Celestron.

PROS:
  • Price
  • Sight tube
  • Waterproof
  • FMC optics
  • 80 mm objective lens

CONS:
  • Difficult to use at max power

It shares the same high-power weaknesses as many others of its kind – image deterioration at max power.  While the center remains crisp and clear, there is soft edging and some roll-off when you start cranking up that power ring past 30x making it difficult to focus.  But, the FMC optics and large 80 mm objective lens allows adequate light transmission to see groupings all the way out to about 200 yards.  At 300 yards, you may want to incorporate some splatter targets.

The spotting scope is O-ring sealed and nitrogen-purged.  To top off its fog and waterproof capabilities, it’s also rubber armored to absorb shocks and prevent scratches to the body.  The eye relief is 18 mm, so it’s good enough for most users, but some who wear glasses may find it a little pressing.

It’s 57 oz and is 19.3” long – right around comparable specs.  It comes with a carrying case and pouch for the detachable eyepiece, carry case for the entire spotting scope, and caps for the eyepiece and objective.

If you want a spotting scope that gets out a little bit further for range use, this Celestron may be worth considering.

 

9. Roxant Blackbird 12-36X50

Sale
Roxant Authentic Blackbird High Definition Spotting Scope with Zoom - Rubber...
897 Reviews
Roxant Authentic Blackbird High Definition Spotting Scope with Zoom - Rubber...
  • ACCESSORIES INCLUDED - Compact Precision Spotting Scope With ZOOM 12-36x50 (Includes Premium Portable, Foldable, Handled Tripod and Carrying Case and Lens Caps) 45 Degree...

Compact, lightweight, great performance.  The Blackbird, sometimes referred to as the Authentic Roxant Blackbird, is a low-powered spotting scope that can provide that extra oomph in magnification for the beginner user.

PROS:
  • Price
  • BaK4 glass
  • Military-grade glass
  • Compact
  • Lightweight

CONS:
  • Not waterproof

The Roxant spotting is pretty easy to understand and use.  The large ring in the middle allows for smooth and fluid focusing, the ring by the eyepiece controls magnification, and an included tabletop tripod allows you to swivel and pivot while mounted.  The mounting plate is compatible with any standard tripod incase you want a full-size or upgrade later on down the road.

Fortunately, with such low power, you could use this spotting scope free-hand and you will have a close focus distance of 26 feet. Steady yourself against a tree or on your belly while scouting the valley, and there’s no mounting needed.

It’s very lightweight at 17.3 oz, and it’s super compact with a 9.1” length.  It’s the perfect size to throw into a backpack and do your thing while you’re out in the wild.  Unfortunately, there’s a limit to how much roaming around you can do as it’s not waterproof.

Besides that, it’s a great hiking, bird watching, camping, and spying tool.  Short range hunters could make use of it too.

 

10. Bushnell Trophy Xtreme 20-60X65

Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope, Green, 20-60 x 65mm
69 Reviews
Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope, Green, 20-60 x 65mm
  • 1/4 inch -20 tripod mounting shoe/tabletop tripod with window mount

Touted as the ultimate hunting and bird watching spotting scope, we examine if it makes the cut.

PROS:
  • Price
  • FMC optics
  • Straight body design
  • Compact
  • Lightweight

CONS:
  • No exterior lens coating

So, we’re cutting the margins slim as you can tell since we’ve pointed out that it has no exterior protection coating for the objective lens.  It’s not a deal breaker, but for while you’re in the hunt, branches and drops can easily scratch the lens while rain drops and debris tend to bead up obscuring the view.  You be the judge of this.

At least it has BaK4 glass, FMC lens coatings, and Porro prisms that all adds to a well-done optics assembly ensuring light transmission and clarity.  With 20-65x power and a 65 mm objective lens, you can use the entire magnification range with minimal distortion at max power.  It can reach out to 100 and 200 yards for groupings before you’d need some shoot ‘n see targets, but of course, it can see much further than that for observation.

The straight spotting scope design makes it easy for using at the range or in the hunt when you’re on flat surfaces or looking downwards, however, it might not be so friendly for looking towards the skies or sharing with the buddies.

It’s very lightweight at 36.5 oz even though it’s a full-size spotting scope, and it’s only 15” long which makes for convenient portability for spotting in the field.  It seems to have the makings of an entry-level hunting spotting scope, and for that, it gets our recognition.  By the way, the masses have given it their approval, too.

 

Best Spotting Scope Brands

If your budget is still undecided and you are just beginning to navigate the spotting scope field, you might find the below A-Z list of optics brands helpful.

Some of these companies are known for producing affordable optics for the everyday hunter and outdoorsman, others are undeniably top-notch with price points that put them way out of reach of most of us.

But, each of these brands do have something in common, they are among the best in the world at manufacturing high-quality spotting scopes and fieldscopes. The reviews below are of those optics that we consider to be the top picks from each of the companies spotting scope lines. There is something here for everyone.

 

Barska

This low budget optics company has good intentions – to provide a variety of features at the lowest cost possible, and they do.

If you’re new to optics and you want to get some practice with some entry level optics that won’t hurt the bank, the tactical and hunting optics brand Barska is a good place to start.

 

Burris

If you ever only though that Burris was an entry-level brand, you’d be dead wrong.  Let us correct your attitude with their line of spotting scopes that can easily compete and claim victorious over other high-end spotting scopes in the market.

Don’t believe us?  Check them out for yourself.  You won’t be left wanting after you’ve seen what Burris can dish out.

It’s time to eat your words and redeem yourself with adding a Burris spotting scope to your arsenal!

 

Bushnell

One of America’s “golden children” in the optics field, the nearly century-old brand tries their hand at delivering spotting scopes for the avid hunter and enthusiastic birder.

With a variety on-hand, decent low budget prices, and their name behind their workmanship, Bushnell may just be your “go-to” brand once again.

 

Celestron

Celestron the telescope optics giant has really come out of its shell when catering to the hunter and naturist outdoorsman. They have been providing entry level optics for decades, and it shows strongly in their products.

Celestron is worth a browse and perhaps a buy, they might end up surprising you.

 

Leica

Leica is the optics giant of the world, not just in sport optics, but cameras and everything else lens-related. And, they operate at one of the highest levels of secrecy to protect their optical reputation.

When you’ve been around for as long as they have, you can’t help but wonder what a top Leica can do for you.

 

Leupold & Stevens

Another favorite American brand of hunters is Leupold. Their Oregon roots are American, their Gold Ring optics are American, and their optics for military service has always been for Americans.

Their optics are what you want when you need great quality, variety, and value all in the same boat.

 

Meopta

Meopta is proving itself to the world with their new optics, and in this case, with their spotting scopes. While they’ve been a relatively quiet brand among the lips of hunters in the past, those days are long gone.

With a deep history in optics, unbeatable value, and their rising spirit of competitiveness in the market, you might find you won’t have to shop anywhere else.

 

NightForce

NightForce has answered the demands of the hunters, and it’s been made manifest with their excellent, indestructible optics.

Their spotting scopes are the epitome of the supply and demand principle, so if you want quality with the reassurance of other hunters’ approval, NightForce is your brand.

 

Nikon

This long-trusted brand needs little introduction since they’ve been a favorite among optics users for eons. They keep their optics simple and streamlined, up with the latest features, and easy to use – everything a hunter wants out of a spotting scope.

Nikon delivers quality and value in return for your trust and loyalty. They wouldn’t still be around today if they couldn’t deliver.

 

Redfield

Don’t compromise on quality if you’re stuck with a restrictive budget!

Redfield’s vision is to provide great optics at great prices – no excuses.  They’re experts when it comes to designing a spotting scope that will fit your budget requirements without compromising on quality where it matters most – the optics.

Let Redfield do the hard work in figuring out how it gets made.  You get to enjoy spotting without breaking the bank!

 

Simmons

Simmons is a preferred brand when you want affordable, practical, and intuitive optics.

When you’re low on cash but you don’t want to compromise on optical size and performance, Simmons can get it done.

For a low budget and credible alternative to other disreputable brands, you can trust Simmons.

 

Swarovski

Swarovski is all class, panache, and swagger.  And, they can afford to be confident about it too – they’re the best. They think outside the box, they excel in their engineering feats, and they deliver quality and innovation like no other brand can.

When you spend big with them, you only have to do it once.

 

Vortex Optics

For a range of quality optics from low budget to premium, Vortex Optics has it all. With American expectations for optical performance as its standard, you won’t be disappointed in price, brightness, and sharpness. The Diamondback is one of the mainstay optics in their spotting scope lineup.

The family-owned, veteran-owned, and American-owned company are active hunters and marksmen themselves. Who better to trust for your hunting spotting scopes than them? Check out our extensive Vortex spotting scope reviews for all the details on this brand including their premium line, the Razor HD.

 

Zeiss

When you think of the authority of global glass, you can’t help but conjure up Zeiss. It’s their technology, their engineers and scientists, and their glass that sets the standard for the world.

If you want the best and you’re willing to pay for the best optics, Zeiss will deliver it on a silver platter.

 

5 Features to Consider When Buying a Spotting Scope

How to Use a Spotting Scope Like a LegendThe large part of the cost of your scope is highly dependent upon the features it has. So, for your benefit, we’ll cover the factors you’ll need to consider before you buy.

For more information on additional and premium features, see our article Straight VS Angled Scope Design & Other Features to Consider.

You can also find information on digiscoping, setting up and using a spotting scope and extra tips on choosing the right one for your needs in our how to use a spotting scope article.

 

1. Magnification

Choosing the Best Spotting Scope MagnificationLow power, high power, fixed, zoom eyepiece? Which do you go with and how do you maximize your power settings without reaping the viewing discomfort that consequently follows?

Magnification is often more emphasized than any other feature of a spotting scope – whether it’s due that kind of attention or not. And, you may be one of those hunters that have been sucked into the snares of not-entirely-truthful advertising and marketing tactics…

But, we’re here to tell you that not all magnification specs are created equal. A 20-60X80 may not be as powerful, luminous, or as far-reaching as an 18-45X65. But, then again, high powered spotting scopes are extremely convenient for when you need eyes on that extra far away object.

To get an in-depth understanding of how magnification range will affect your buying process, your hunt, and your target shooting, check out this guide to spotting scope magnification.

 

2. Aperture/Objective Lens Size

Spotting Scopes Versus BinocularsThe larger the objective lens size, the more light-gathering capability your optic has. But, how do you choose between the most common sizes? 50mm objective lens, 60/65mm, or even 80/82mm?

You’ll need to weigh up the priorities of what your hunting style is and then consider the sheer size and weight a larger objective lens packs onto the overall spotting scope.

But, for most hunters, either a 60mm or 80 mm objective lens is the most preferred size.

But, if you’re still not sure if a larger objective lens is for you over the lightweight and convenient binocular sizes, you should give this spotting scope versus binocular article a quick read.

 

3. Quality Glass

While magnification power has a lot to do with reach, you’d be surprised by how much more of a role the quality of the glass has over it than anything else.

High powered spotters without the good quality optics to support its most basic function, to provide a clear and magnified image, are practically a waste of money. Make sure you know what to expect from lens coatings and glass elements by checking out our spotting scope magnification article.

 

4. Eyepieces

Is an interchangeable eyepiece system for you? With those, you can change the power range from zoom to fixed or even to a different range of magnification levels.

I should also warn you that many high-end spotting scopes don’t include the eyepiece in the scope purchase – you’ll have to buy it separately, and they can become quite costly.

You might want to up your budget if you need the versatility an interchangeable eyepiece system provides.

 

5. Angled Scope vs Straight Body

Straight VS Angled Spotting ScopesWhat body style you want is going to be one of the very first factors you’ll have to address when buying a spotting scope.

But, what are the advantages of one style over the other? Will one body style suit you better in the field than in the car? What about when you hunt with others that need to share your optics?

For a full discussion on what body style of you should buy, this straight vs angled spotting scope article will compare them side by side.

 

Buy The Right Spotting Scope The First Time Round

Choosing the best spotting scope for hunting doesn’t have to seem like you’re navigating alien territory. With a little of the right information from the right reviews, you’ll soon know exactly what you want in a great quality spotting scope and how you’re going to implement it out in the field.

We’ve done the research, the testing, and the comparisons to jam-pack our spotting scope reviews with everything you need to know to make the most well-informed decision. Don’t make the mistake of buying a dud – buy the right spotting scope the first time around.

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