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Best spotting scope 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated January 1, 2020
Best spotting scope of 2018
Check them out and decide which one suits you the best to splurge upon. There is a wide range of products available on the market today, and below I have reviewed 3 of the very best options. After carefully examining the reviews and ratings of the people who have used them earlier this listicle has been made. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your comfort, style, or accessibility, we have picks to fit a variety of needs and budgets.
Test Results and Ratings
Why did this spotting scope win the first place?
I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I also liked the delivery service that was fast and quick to react. It was delivered on the third day. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch!
Why did this spotting scope come in second place?
The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price.
№3 – Gosky 20-60X 80 Porro Prism Spotting Scope- Waterproof Scope for Bird watching Target Shooting Archery Range Outdoor Activities -with Tripod & Digiscoping Adapter
Why did this spotting scope take third place?
It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. I hope that the good reputation of the manufacturer will guarantee a long-term work. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new.
spotting scope Buyer’s Guide
Spotting Scope For Birding
Kowa Prominar, adds this spotting scope to its 201lineup. It features outstanding optics and excellent tight controls. The appealing exterior is same as that of others made by this Japanese company.
This high performing 66mm spotting scope features a rugged construction. It is made using strong and lightweight poly-carbonate materials.
The ultimate result is a rigid and sturdy structure that not only endures hard and consistent use. This best birding scopes can withstand the bump or fall without getting damaged.
It has a well-thought out design that features user-friendly shape coupled with rubberized coating. This makes it ergonomic and hence easy to handle even for long periods of time. Furthermore, this handheld spotting scope is also waterproof and fog proof. The Kowa Prominar ED 66MM is completely filled with dry nitrogen gas. The benefit of this gas is preventing the lens from fogging. This enables the lens to remain clear even in harsh weather.
Constructed of strong, lightweight polycarbonate materials.
Several eyepieces (sold separately) to fit most any spotting.
Bushnell Trophy XLT
Yet another great spotting scope by Bushnell that is worth your money. All the air-to-glass surfaces are characterized by anti-reflective coating. It is also equipped with fully multi coated optical systems. These help that ensure the quality of all the images are bright.
The fully multi coated optical systems also improves resolution considerably. It also has anti-reflective coating ensures a small percentage of light is lost before it reaches the users’ eyes.
This spotting scope is also nitrogen purged. O-ring sealed making it both waterproof and fog proof. This piece of equipment can completely withstand immersion in water.
All the interior optical surfaces of this device do not fog. The zoom feature is also high-functioning as it enables you to zoom in for higher resolution. You can also zoom out for wider view simply at the touch of a button. The Trophy XLT also has a sturdy, rugged and rubber armored housing. This housing that makes it both ergonomic and invulnerable to wear and tear.
The spotting scope makes use of extra-low diversion glass to ensure there is no color fringing.
Although it is extremely easy to use and carry it still offers an optimum magnification of 60X.
Since it is both water proof and fog proof, it suitable for use in harsh weather conditions.
This spotting scope is both easy to use and the set up is extremely simple.
With all its excellent specifications and outstanding features, it only weighs a meager 42.ounces. This makes it light enough to carry around without straining.
It comes with a premium hard-side case together with a compact tripod at no additional cost.
There is a wide-spread complaint that this spotting scope in vulnerable to breakage and needs careful handling.
Bushnell is an industry leader that has been in the market for over 50 years. This product is in line with this company’s objective which is to produce reliable, effective and affordable optics.
Redfield 114651Rampage 20-60x80mm Angled
It is excellent mid-range spotting scope that does not jeopardize great performance for affordability. It is made from high-quality poly-carbonate housing. This device is made from a material that is sturdy, rigid and long-lasting even when consistently used.
The rubber armored housing is incredibly helpful as it helps to ensure a non-slip grip. This makes this device extremely easy to set up. Even beginners who have no experience will enjoy using this scope. Its angled body design also features water and fog resistant seals.
Extremely affordable even if you are in a tight budget; even at its price the features are still reliable.
Has an ergonomic design that makes it easy to use.
The rubber armored housing helps avoid constant loosing grip that is a huge issue with spotting scopes in this price range.
At a meager 6.ounces, it is extremely light and convenient to carry around.
The quality of materials used to make this device is low hence vulnerable to premature wear and tear.
Susceptible to breakage hence not very durable if used consistently.
Needs to be handles with extreme care which is sometimes challenging.
Many users have reported that the seal used for water and fog resistance is not very reliable.
It is a wonder that at it’s reasonably affordably price, it comes with a high-quality 100mm objective lens. Although cheap, this scope that will mesmerize you with its functionality. This Konus scope is arguably the best when it comes to performance in its price range.
In fact it serves as prove that a cheap price tag does not necessarily mean lack luster performance. Even in a dim-lit environment, it still has the capability to deliver great images with the same brightness as that of a full-sized binocular.
Invulnerable to wear and tear and also long lasting.
Considering its cheap price, it delivers high functionality and great resolution and visual clarity.
Aside from the rubber armoring and metal body being rainproof and fog proof, it is also anti-shock.
Weighs a meager 5.pounds hence very convenient to use and carry around.
It is not fog proof meaning the image is greatly distorted in a foggy or high humid environment.The image quality cannot meet professional standards.
Although price always translates to great quality when it comes to spotting scopes, this particular goes against that notion as it is still reliable and performs reasonably well.
Tread carefully when it comes to warranties. It is advisable to go for scopes with a lifetime warranty. Such a warranty is an indication of the manufacturer’s confidence in the quality of their product. No warranty is a big red flag that should not be ignored.
A. In this case, you need a scope with extended eye relief.
Wrapping it up
There’s a reason why spotting scopes enjoy more popularity than the conventional binoculars…i.e. they have a higher magnification capabilities.
Don’t be a surprised to come across a scope with magnification capabilities of up to 60x- that’s the maximum power in most cases. And magnification range of 15-20x is usually the minimum you’ll get.
Needless to say: the greater the magnification, the longer the distances you’ll be able to access with your scope.
But I’m assuming that you’ll be using your scope for hunting, and maybe birdwatching activities, so I’d advise you to look for models with a magnification of 30-40x.
That’s for the obvious reason.
The larger objective lens made of premium materials will give you superior images at the highest magnification power as opposed to the smaller lens with the same quality. And the larger the lens, the more money you’ll have to spend for that scope.
High magnification isn’t complete without the lens coating aspect. This explains why this particular factor is quite critical. It enhances the overall efficiency under which a high magnification setting takes place by improving the light transmission for the optimal viewing experience.
Ensure the spotting scope you intend to buy features either a multi-coating, fully multi-coating or full coating.
Consider close focus as well
Close focus refers to the closest distances your spotting scope can see.
Most of the models out there have a close focus less than 20 ft. Thus, you should ensure that the targets you wish to view appear some sufficient distance away.
This is what you should do
Right after setting your magnification in step above, try viewing your target area. This allows you to know how to adjust the magnification level accordingly so that you Cleary see the target.
You probably wouldn’t want to hear this
A sudden highly magnified glass can easily harm your eyes. Most hunters feel uneasy when watching off their shooting scopes for an extended period.
Luckily, you can combat this issue by hitting the reset button when spying a new area to reduce the magnifying glass’ effect on your eye.
Depending on what exactly you plan to use your scope for, you want to choose a model with a sufficient Field of View (FOV). The FOV refers to the amount of visual range your scope has with regards to the horizontal and vertical boundaries of the image. What determines the size of your FOV is the amount of magnification.
Simply put, the more magnified an object or area is, the smaller the FOV. Choose a spotting scope with a sufficient range of vision to accommodate your needs. Most scopes have the ability to zoom in and out, allowing you to adjust your FOV as you see fit.
Like telescopes, spotting scopes can get pretty expensive for the higher end models. When deciding on the right spotting scope for your needs, keep in mind what kind of budget you will have.
In addition to the scope itself, you may want different lens covers and different tripods, so keep in mind any accessories (including bags and transportation equipment) you want in addition to the scope. Some models can cost well over two thousand dollars, so make sure that it is worth the investment before splurging on something you may only use a few times.
Ultimately the amount of coating you need will depend on how you use your scope. If you plan on using it for photography, for example, you may want a Multi-Coated or Fully Multi-Coated lens to provide the most exceptional high-definition image possible.
The aperture of a spotting scope refers to the size of the front of the scope, which is where the lens sits. Simply put, the larger the aperture, the more light comes in. If you want a beautiful, clear, bright image, choose a scope with a sufficiently large aperture. Since spotting scopes are meant to be used during the daytime, a large aperture will help you capture the best image possible, even if the sky is overcast or darker than usual.
If you are using the scope for hunting, a bright image will help you identify your prey much easier, making you more efficient in your process.
First on our list is the BARSKA Benchmark 25-125x8Waterproof Straight Spotting Scope. This scope is designed for shooters and nature explorers. The first thing to know about spotting scopes is the meaning of the numbers that accompany each model name.
The first two numbers, in this case 25-125, refers to the optical zoom the scope has. This means the BARSKA can magnify from 2to 12times.
The third number, in this instance 88, refers to the size of the aperture, and the measurement is always in millimeters. Thus, the Benchmark scope has an aperture of 88mm, which is more than sufficient for most scoping needs.Now that we understand what the numbers mean let’s dive into the features of this scope.
Fully coated optics
The fully coated optics boosts the light transmission because of the anti-reflective coating layer that is in all air to glass lens surfaces. Again, the device has a shock absorbing armor that is effective for rough conditions.
When talking about durability, the Benchmark is built to withstand a lot of punishment. The case is waterproof, which is a huge plus, and includes an interior rubber casing to keep all of the internal components intact in the event of bumps and spills. The tripod is the only thing that isn’t necessarily rugged since it is a small, tabletop rig. However, if you prefer something longer or more durable, you should be able to purchase any tripod and have it fit with this scope.
Optical multi-coated zoom lens
The optical zoom scope can magnify from 20 to 60 times with a twist of the knob.The lens on this model is multi-coated, and it is designed to minimize glare while maintaining the full brightness at all magnifications.
Waterproof and lightweight
The unit is fully waterproof and comes with a soft carrying case for easy transportation. This model does not include a tripod, though. The lightweight design only weighs just under five pounds, making it very easy to take with you.The Ultima comes with a limited lifetime warranty, so you know that it is made of high-quality materials.
Emarth comes with multi-coated optics makes the lens able to provide a clear and detail view of your subjects. You can observe and read the movements and behavior of birds and animals with a better clarity.
Ergonomic Design of this scope helps you to handle the scope easily. Shock absorbing rubber armor ensures maximum protection.
The lens is fully multi-coated, which is the best kind of coating possible.The coating delivers sharp, high-definition images every time.This unit does not come with a tripod. However, it can be adapted to fit almost any tripod you have or decide to purchase. The Rampage also comes with a soft carrying case for extra protection while carrying it.
Fully coated waterproof lens
The aperture of this scope is 80mm, which provides ample light and brightness to your images. The lens is fully-coated, which helps to reduce glare and make the images sharper.The Tasco Spotting Scope is fully waterproof and fog proof, so it is built to withstand most weather.
Additionally, while this scope is made of durable material, major bumps or drops may damage the internal workings, so be careful.This model comes with a small, handheld tripod, and will fit with most other types of tripod if you want something longer. The piece that comes with the scope can attach to your car, allowing you to use it without having to exit your vehicle, should the need ever arise.
Comes in two size
As I said, the features are almost identical between models, so if you want to opt for the larger aperture, you will still have the same benefits listed below.The Endeavor HD is an angled spotting scope with an eyepiece directed up at a 45-degree angle. This eyepiece is also detachable, allowing you to swap the piece if necessary, and for better storage.
The eyepiece has a long eye relief and a soft rubber cup, meaning you can easily see everything even if you are wearing glasses. This scope can magnify from 20 to 60 times, with an aperture of 65mm to let in ample light. The 82mm version has the same magnification but lets in significantly more light.
XR Anti-reflective coating
The lens is multi-coated and comes with an XR Anti-reflective coating to help reduce glare while projecting high-definition images. The body of this unit is fully waterproof, fog proof, and comes with an ArmorTek exterior to protect the internal components in the event of a fall or accidental bumps.The Diamondback does not come with a tripod or carrying case, which is the only significant downside.
Angled Spotting scope
The Kenai is an angled spotting scope with a viewing eyepiece directed upwards at a 45-degree angle. The soft cup and long eye relief of this piece make the Kenai ideal for long viewing sessions, even if you are wearing glasses.
The lens itself is multi-coated, which helps to reduce glare and deliver crisp, clean images. They are also fog proof and waterproof, making the Kenai durable enough to withstand a variety of environments and weather. A retractable shade is also included which, further reduces glare in extra-bright conditions.
Another reason why you would prefer a spotting scope to a binocular is the eyepieces. Normally a binocular has two eyepieces so that both of your eyes are involved in viewing clearer images. However, the scopes have only one eyepiece that can be used with either eye. This will eliminate any uneven images that may result due to poor adjustment between the two eyepieces.
As previously mentioned, the most advanced binocular that may have close features resembling those found in a spotting scope may be heavier and larger than a scope. Although you need a tripod for effective use, the results are far much better than when using binoculars.
Objective lens size
So if you are looking for a good scope that will deliver good quality image even at higher power ensure that you go for scopes that have objective lenses made from high-quality glass such as APO glass, ED glass or their equivalent.
The eyepiece of your scope is one of the most important parts of your device, thus, it is very important to select a good one. A high-quality eyepiece will not only deliver a quality image but also provide excellent eye relief.
Ensure that you select an eyepiece with zoom in it since it will help you to change the magnification faster. This kind of eyepiece will also work well in rough weathers.
Waterproofing and fog proofing
Although these features are not present in all spotting scopes, they are essential requirements if you are looking for a quality scope. The waterproofing seal will not only protect the scope from water but also from dust and dirt. This will increase the longevity of the scope.
In addition, the fog proof feature enables you to use the scope where there is fog. If a scope does not have this feature, it is completely unusable in fog-prone areas.
Prisms type prisms type is another important consideration that you must take into consideration. Most scopes come with prisms that are made from BAK or BK-prism. Remember the prisms together with their constituent as well as their arrangement will determine the quality of the image you will get.
For instance, a roof prism system will have all the prisms arranged in a single line behind the objective lenses resulting in a narrow streamlined effect. The Porro prism system is more advanced and has the prisms little displaced from the objective lens, offering a bigger field of view as well as more depth of perception.
It goes without saying, brands that have even in the production of the spotting scopes have more experience and a likely to offer quality scopes that those brands that have started manufacturing the scopes. However this is not always the case, make sure that you do proper research on the quality of the materials used to make the scope, as well as the features, installed.
Set your budget
When deciding on which type of scope to purchase, it is very important to make sure that you set a price range. Some of the scopes are quite expensive and offer features that are almost the same with the inexpensive ones. Scopes especially those manufactured by reputable companies tend to be expensive and are not different from those manufactured by upcoming companies. Do proper research before purchasing the scope.
Here are some other features
What Other Shooters Are Saying About It “Nearly everything is made and designed well. This is a good scope at a reasonable price. Nearly everything is well made and well designed. The stand looks a little flimsy but is actually QUITE STURDY. All in all the scope’s ability to bring the world right in front of you makes it quite an impressive instrument.
You can find scopes similar to this, but you will not find a scope crafted to this quality at a price this great. For distances anywhere between 100 and 500 yards use this. At the 90x zoom the picture does dim and you will have difficulties seeing in great definition, but it is flawless anywhere below.
Objective Lens: When deciding on a particular scope, go for quality over quantity: avoid using lens size as criteria whenever possible.
Magnification: Choose a spotting scope that is capable of viewing targets at a distance you plan to be shooting. Scopes with a higher quality lens, rather than larger size, will produce a higher-quality image. This translates into a target you can clearly see and identify, as opposed to a zoomed in target that is blurry and potentially harder to ID.
Celestron Ultima Straight Spotting Scope
CelestronUltima is a perfect spotting scope for viewing nature or outdoor sporting activities. The scope was designed for users who want to take views on a broad range of situations. Compared to other spotting scopes, CelestronUltima is a great all-around telescopic instrument with a great value.
I have used this scope for watching birds in my neighborhood and I have not experienced any embarrassment with it. The scope features an eyepiece and a 6mm multi-coated lens and a Sight tube for quick targeting. At a closer zoom, the view is wide, clear and sharp. The closer you zoom, the pictures deteriorates regarding color and clarity.
Authentic ROXANT Grip Scope
Authentic ROXANT Grip Scope is a highly rated spotting scope that is ideal for travel, bird watching, concerts, outdoor activities, climbing, archery, hunting, hiking, boating, camping, target shooting, and water sports. This scope really gets magnification into your hands in a compact, lightweight, rugged design—not to mention an excellent price.
It features a retractable eyepiece, fully multi-coated optical glass lens and all glass optics. These features guarantee superior light transmission and brightness for optimal viewing and imaging.
The scope is also designed with a no-slip molded grip, which makes it easier to hold the scope in one hand without shaking. In fact, there are users who have reported holding the scope in one hand, and a camera—or mobile phone—in another hand to take pictures, which is pretty impressive, for such a cost-effective piece of gear.
It is sold together with a cleaning cloth, case, and neck strap—which makes a neat little bundle that is well worth the price if you’re looking to get a closer look at your targets without the extra effort required to lug a bulkier spotting scope into the field.
BARSKA Waterproof Straight Spotting Scopes
The Colorado series is stuffed full of features, and doesn’t have a hefty price tag, making it a good value.
It has a smooth focusing knob that makes adjustments a breeze. You will also like the scope’s fully coated optics that allows maximum light transmission for clear viewing and maximum brightness. Another feature that you may like is the porro prism that produces excellent image contrast and clarity, there’s nothing like being able to confidently identify the number tines on a whitetail before pulling the trigger.
The device features rubber armor, and flip lens covers that are perfectly designed to withstand subpar weather conditions. It also features a waterproof body that is designed for durability, and plenty of use in a variety of weather conditions.
Diameter of the Lens
Different spotting scopes for hunting are designed with varying sizes for the objective lens. The larger the objective lens, the more you will find it easy to see through your scope.
Again, the lens diameter also affects the brightness of the image by allowing more light to pass through hence improving the quality of the image.
Essential Factors to Consider
In order to make it easier for you to differentiate one option from the other, make sure to take a look at the factors that will be mentioned below.
Construction: Generally speaking, this would refer to how well–made the spotting scope is. You should choose one that is made from high-quality materials, which will be indicative of its long-term-functionality and durability. You might also want to choose one with waterproof construction, which will make it more ideal for the outdoors.
Eye Relief: Simply put, this would refer to the distance by which your eye can be away from the scope without having a negative impact on the way that you see the subject. This is a feature that is especially important for people who are wearing glasses. This is often expressed in millimeters. Generally, a longer eye relief will prove to be the better choice if you wear thick glasses. Focus: This is another technical consideration that should be looked at. Generally speaking, you will have three choices. The first one is helical focuser, which can be the perfect choice for the observation of moving objects. Rack and pinion designs, on the other hand, is perfect for the scopes hat can be used for astronomical viewing. Lastly, knob focusers are known for their slower action, but they are often hard to match when it comes to precision. Objective Lens: As a rule of thumb, the better choice is a spotting scope that is designed with a larger objective lens. This means that you will be able to see a more detailed and clearer image of the subject.
Magnification: If there is one thing that separates binoculars from spotting scopes, it would be the fact that the latter has better magnification power. Look for excellent magnification so that the spotting scope can be useful in more applications.
Barska Colorado Waterproof Spotting Scope
If you are on the lookout for an all-weather spotting scope, this should be on the top of your list. One thing that makes it perfect for the great outdoors is that it comes with waterproof and fog-proof construction. This makes it the ultimate hunting companion as it can withstand extreme weather conditions.
Celestron 5225100mm Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope
If there is one thing that would convince you to choose this model above others, it would be its Limited Lifetime Warranty. With the latter, if you experience any problem with the spotting scope, the manufacturer will take care of its repair or replacement.
This model is designed with the needs of users in mind. Meaning, it is designed to provide the highest level of comfort. One thing that makes this possible is its lightweight construction. In addition, it also has a smooth focus knob, which can be easily controlled with just one finger.
Celestron 52320 Landscout 10-30×50 Spotting Scope
One of the features of this spotting scope is its fully-coated optics. With the latter, you can expect unrivalled clarity in seeing the subject. It also has the ability to naturally improve light transmission to make the images sharper and clearer.
It is also a good thing that it comes with an ergonomic design, which will allow you to handle it easily. You will also not have to suffer from discomfort even with prolonged use. This is made possible by features like rubber grip and its large focus wheel.
If you are looking for a lightweight spotting scope, this is going to be an ideal pick as well. If you love backpacking and hiking, this can be carried with ease. Forget the idea of bringing bulky and heavy scopes as this one will surely prove to be an excellent alternative.
Barska Blackhawk Spotting Scope
Technically, this can also prove to be a commendable option. This is because of the various innovations that allow the product to stand out from all others. It has Porro prism and multi-coating. It also has magnification that ranges from 20 – 60x.
Most scope manufactures will offer the same model scope, but with two different angles options—angled or straight eyepieces. Although these two eyepiece types may look completely different, they are pretty much the same. Scopes with angled eyepieces are designed so the user looks straight down, while the straight eyepiece option forces the user to look through the barrel of the scope, much like a looking down a rifle scope. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types. An angled scope is a great option when more than one person will be using the scope because the user simply has to look straight down therefore avoiding timely adjustments to fit each user. One disadvantage is the angled scope has a tendency to collect more dust, debris and of course, raindrops due to its upward facing eyepiece. On the other hand, one obvious advantage to the straight scopes is they are easier to use if you are shooting in the prone position or if your scope is mounted on a window.
Another consideration is the exterior of the scope. Some models offer an armor type of rubber coating. Will you be exposing the scope to varying weather conditions? Or will it stay protected from the elements on a covered shooting range? Regardless of how careful you are with your gear, optics tend to take a beating and the rubberized coatings are worth the few extra dollars.
Field Care Tips
Quality optics are not cheap, so protecting your investment is a smart thing to do. Keeping your scope free of dirt and debris can be a tough task. Many brands offer lens caps and scope coats for extra protection. Carry a micro-fiber lens cloth for those quick smudges and for a more thorough cleaning try using a Lens Pen cleaning system.
Picking the right scope can be a bit intimating—not to mention time-consuming. Just remember that optics tend to last for many years, so be sure and get as much bang for your buck when you shop for your new spotting scope. Chances are it will be some time before you have to purchase a new model.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your spotting scope wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of spotting scope
- №1 — Feyachi Spotting Scope with Tripod
- №2 — ENKEEO Waterproof Spotting Scope 20-60X60AE with Tripod Review
- №3 — Gosky 20-60X 80 Porro Prism Spotting Scope- Waterproof Scope for Bird watching Target Shooting Archery Range Outdoor Activities -with Tripod & Digiscoping Adapter