Best Spotting Scopes

Spotting scopes are small, compact, and usually lightweight high power telescopes that have been modified for daily use.

These devices contain added optics that allow you to see close-range and long-range objects with exceptional clarity and precision. They can be used for hunting, bird watching, range shooting, digiscoping and many other viewing purposes.

However, spotting scopes are not all made with the same quality optics and eyepiece configurations and thus selecting one that suits your needs can be a little confusing.

To make your selection process simple, we have carefully researched and picked the ten best spotting scopes available on the market. We have also included a comprehensive buyer’s guide that will help you with your selection.

So without further ado, here are our top 10 best picks.

Our Top 10 Picks

1. Bushnell Sentry Spotting Scope-18-36x 50mm

Bushnell Sentry Spotting Scope-18-36x 50mm

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Made by the Bushnell Corporation, an American firm that specialises in the manufacture of high quality and affordable outdoor and sporting optics, the Bushnell Sentry 18-36x 50mm is one of the most popular and reliable spotting scopes available in the market today.

Featuring a 50mm objective lens and fully multi-coated optics for increased light transmission, the Bushnell Sentry 18-36x 50mm delivers big scope performance in a compact and lightweight package.

The scope has a 20 feet minimum focus distance and its field of view at 1000 yards is between 115ft to 75ft, which makes it an excellent spotting scope for bird watching and target shooting.

Additionally, it has a waterproof and fog-proof design that makes it a perfect companion even when hunting on rainy days. Its housing is also made of shock-absorbing rubber, which protects the inside lens assemblies against sudden falls or accidents.

The scope also has a tripod stand for long-range viewing and includes a carrying case in the package for easy transportation and storage.

Pros

  • 100% waterproof and fog-proof design
  • Clear images at maximum magnification
  • Lightweight construction hence ideal for hiking and backpacking
  • Affordable and easy to use spotting scope
  • Comes with a tripod for long range viewing

Cons

  • Front lens cover is not very secure

2. Visionking Maksutov 25-75×70

Visionking Maksutov 25-75x70

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Sometimes all you want is a spotting scope that you can have on you all the time without facing the obstacles of size and weight.  And that’s where the Visionking 25-75×70 Maksutov comes in.

Featuring a compact design, this spotting scope sports a 70mm objective lens with fully coated optics that are combined with BAK4 prisms to ensure that you get clear and bright images with near perfect optical quality.

Apart from that, the lenses have a higher magnification power of between 25x and 75x and can achieve crystal clear viewing at a distance of 100 to 300 yards.

When it comes to design, the Visionking 25-75×70 Maksutov also does pretty well. It features a rugged outer look that’s carefully designed to be slim and fit in with an angled eyepiece.

Furthermore, the spotting scope is fitted with double O-rings to make it 100 percent waterproof and purged with nitrogen to make it fog-proof.

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight
  • 100 percent waterproof and fog-proof
  • Fully multi-coated optics and Bak-4 prisms ensure near perfect optical quality
  • High magnification potential
  • Comfortable eye relief

Cons

  • Weak and light tripod
  • Lacks digital scoping accessories

3. Redfield Rampage 20-60×60

Redfield Rampage 20-60×60

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The Redfield brand continues to be a number one brand in the US when it comes to the manufacture of affordable and high-quality optics. The Redfield Rampage 20-60×60 spotting scope is one of the many models in their catalogue that offers exemplary performance. But what does this spotting scope offer?

To begin with, this spotting scope comes with a 60mm lens with a magnification power of between X20 and 60X making it a suitable choice for both long and short-range observations.

Apart from that, the scope’s lenses are fully multicoated and use BAK 4 prism glass to allow sharp and clear images.  The scope also has a retractable lens with a lens cover and storage case to ensure that it serves for a lifetime.

What’s more, it has a waterproof polycarbonate casing with high-grade gripping that ensures that it does not slip even during wet or cold seasons. It is also lightweight and compact for flexibility and secure storage.

Pros

  • Has a storage case
  • Multi-coated prism glass
  • Refractable lens shade
  • Waterproof polycarbonate body
  • Lightweight design

Cons

  • Its magnification is slightly tough to adjust

4. RangeHAWK 20-60×60

RangeHAWK 20-60×60

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The RangeHAWK 20-60×60 is another top of the range spotting scope that’s highly coveted by hunters for its superb and technologically advanced features.

For starters, the spotting scope features a monocular telescope design (angled body) and comes with a 60mm objective lens that uses BAK4 porro-prism lenses to ensure that you get clear and sharp images.

Moreover, the scope is lightweight and compact in design and comes with adjustable magnifications of between 20X and 60X zoom, which makes it a perfect choice for target shooting, bird watching, and hiking.

What’s so unique about this scope is that it comes with a phone mount, which allows you to capture hunting images and videos through the scope while using your phone. It’s also water resistant and uses anti-fogging technology to ensure that the lenses are fog-free even in humid conditions.

Pros

  • High zooming for image quality
  • Clear optics hence ideal for hunting, rifle range and more
  • Angled body for easy viewing
  • Phone mount, tripod, and lens cover inclusive
  • All-weather friendly

Cons

  • Phone mount only supports specific phone models

5. Celestron 52250 Ultima Zoom 80mm

Celestron 52250 Ultima Zoom 80mm

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The Celestron 52250 is one of the best spotting scopes in the market with numerous positive customer ratings on Amazon such that it has earned itself the Amazon’s Choice badge.

Just like you’d expect to get from a highly rated product, the Celestron 52250 Ultima is compactly and sleekly designed and features a rugged and armoured exterior with shockproof capabilities to protect it against hard use in the field.

To ensure that you enjoy a better viewing experience, the scopes optics are fully multi-coated and use BAK-4 prisms to ensure maximum light transmission for better images even in low light settings.

Better still, the scope has a built-in zoom lens that has the capability of magnifying images from 20X through 60X magnification while maintaining a field of view of 105 to 53 feet at 1000 yards.

The scope is also waterproof and filled with dry nitrogen gas on the inside to ensure that you do not have to deal with the internal fogging of the lenses. It’s also easy to use thanks to the zoom eyepiece that lets you zero in on your target in seconds with razor sharp focus.

Pros

  • High-end zooming range
  • Multi-coated lenses with BK4-prisms
  • Waterproof and shock-proof design
  • Comes with a soft case for protection and storage
  • Reliable spotting scope

Cons

  • Blue fringing (false color) noticeable at higher magnifications above 20X

6. BARSKA 15-40×50 Colorado Spotting Scope

BARSKA 15-40x50 Colorado Spotting Scope

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The 15-40×50 Colorado spotting scope from Barska Optics is one of the most affordable spotting scope on this list that does a pretty decent job.

To begin with, the spotting scope is extremely light and is made with a durable thick rubber housing with excellent ribbing and texturing to ensure that it grips securely in your hands. Moreover, it’s fitted with O-ring seals for waterproofing purposes and filled with nitrogen to ensure that the lenses do not fog.

When it comes to performance and optics, this porro-prism spotting scope comes with a straight eyepiece system that’s ideal for bird watching and spotting at the target range. This straight eye system is fitted with a 50mm objective lens with an adjustable magnification of between 15X and 40X to ensure that you get clear and crisp images with excellent resolution.

With the lens fully coated, this spotting scope does a pretty decent job when it comes to light gathering and can pick out .22 and .30 calibre shots on high contrast paper. It also has an excellent field of view that ranges at 150 feet at a yardage of 1000 when using the 15X magnification.

Pros

  • High quality imagining
  • Shock-absorbing material
  • Wide viewing field
  • Excellent light gathering for clarity
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Images are not sharp beyond 150 yards

7. Vortex Optics Diamondback 20-60×80 Angled Viewing

Vortex Optics Diamondback 20-60x80 Angled Viewing

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Vortex Optics is another reputable optics brand that has made itself a name for making innovative products that perform exceedingly well. Their Diamondback series features some of the best spotting scopes in the market. Let’s see at what the Vortex Diamondback- Angled viewing has to offer?

Just as you’d expect from an angled viewing spotting scope, this scope comes with a large objective lens with specialized optical coatings to ensure that you get clear and bright images.

To start with, the lenses are XR fully multi-coated to minimize light loss and ArmorTek coated to prevent scratches on the lenses. What’s more, the porro prisms are also di-electric coated to ensure that you get accurate colors across the entire visible spectrum.

Away from the optics, the scope is made with a high-impact resistant fibreglass-reinforced polymer body that ensures that it’s totally shockproof. The body is also fitted with O-rings and filled with nitrogen to ensure that it’s both waterproof and fog-proof.

Other features that you’ll find convenient include a comfortable eye relief, a twist-and-lock collar for various glassing positions, and an easy to use focus wheel.

Pros

  • Easy installation and removal from riffle
  • High quality observation
  • High-quality optics
  • Comfortable eye relief
  • Waterproof and shockproof

Cons

  • Has a slightly higher price tag

8. Gosky Porro Prism Spotting Scope- 20-60 X 80

Gosky Porro Prism Spotting Scope- 20-60 X 80

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Gosky is a clean, simple, and easy to use spotting scope that offers pleasant features for streamlined outdoor experience.

Designed with a magnalium framework and rubber armour, this spotting scope is capable of withstanding the toughest weather conditions such as rain.

Additionally, the rubber armour is shock resistant, which helps keep the scope safe from outward damages as well as offer you a perfect grip even when your hands are wet.

Interestingly, this scope comes with an 80mm fully multi-coated green film objective lens that works together with a BK4 quality prism to ensure that you get brighter, clear, and high-resolution images.

The adjustable 20x to 60x magnification together with the dynamic lens focusing system ensure that you are able to easily zoom on your target easily especially when bird watching.

Better still, the scope comes with a digiscoping cell phone adapter that allows you to take pictures and videos using the smartphone but through the eyepiece.

Pros

  • Multi-coated lenses
  • Waterproof and shock-resistant material
  • Easy to operate and portable
  • Digiscoping capabilities
  • Great specs at an affordable price

Cons

  • Quality is questionable at higher magnification

9. Roxant Authentic Blackbird HD

Roxant Authentic Blackbird HD

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There are only few spotting scope models in the market that offer exceptional optics at an affordable price point. However, the Roxant Authentic Blackbird HD is a simple but perfect example of a spotting scope with superb optics at a budget friendly price range.

This scope is designed using a rugged non-slip material, which ensures that you can firmly hold on the scope even when your hands are wet. Additionally, the material is rubber armoured to ensure that it stays safe and protected from collisions or falls.

What’s more, the scope has a large 50mm objective lens that’s fully multicoated to ensure that there is superior light transmission and brightness for clearer and crisp looking images. It also uses superior BAK4 green film prism technology that guarantees that it will maintain high quality and image sharpness.

Most scopes with straight eyepiece systems can be inconvenient for most viewing situations. However, the Roxant Authentic Blackbird HD has a 45 degree angled eyepiece that makes viewing comfortable and is able to deliver a 12x to 36x zoom magnification.

Pros

  • Non-slip material with moulded grip
  • HD clarity and wide field viewing
  • Waterproof and shock-resistant design
  • Fully multi-coated lens and BAK4 prisms
  • Angled eyepiece

Cons

  • The Tripod is not of the best quality

10. LANDOVE 20-60X 80 Prism Spotting Scope

LANDOVE 20-60X 80 Prism Spotting Scope

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If you are an avid bird watcher, you’ll need a spotting scope with excellent optics and one that can integrate modern technology to make your viewing experience even more interesting. The LANDOVE spotting scope offers you all that and more.

Featuring a fully multi-coated 80mm green film objective lens, the spotting scope optimizes BAK4 prism optics to ensure that your viewing is brighter, clearer, and deliver crisp images. Additionally, this coated optics offer a field of view at the ranges of between 82.9 ft. and 48ft. per 1000 yards.

Still on optics, the scope comes with a dynamic lens focusing system with an adjustable 20X to 60X magnification, which makes it easy to zoom on target.

Better still the scope has digiscoping cell phone adapter that allows you to capture nature images and photos easily through your smartphone screen.

To ensure that it is not compromised by water when enjoying nature, the scope is designed to be 100% waterproof and filled with dry nitrogen to ensure that it’s fog-proof.

Pros

  • Wide view observation
  • High magnification lens
  • Ergonomic construction
  • Waterproof and fog-proof
  • Digiscoping capabilities

Cons

  • Loses focus on long-distance zooming

How to pick the best spotting scope

Here are some factors you must consider when looking for a spotting scope.

Magnification

One most essential features in any spotting scope is its magnification. Besides, the whole idea of having a spotting scope is to be able to spot objects that the naked eye cannot.

Therefore, when choosing a spotting scope consider getting one that has adjustable magnification so that you can increase and decrease the magnification depending on how favorable the conditions are.

Most spotting scopes have a varied magnification of 20X-60 or 15X-45X and it’s more unlikely that you’ll need anything more than 60X even with bad weather conditions.

Objective Lens

The objective lens is the bigger glass located at the far end of the scope away from the eyepiece lens. It is often referred to by its diameter, which is always in millimeters. It always has great impact on how well the scope can gather light.

Thus, the bigger it is, the higher its abilities to gather and transmit light. Also, the bigger the objective lens, the bigger the exit pupil is.

Prisms

Prisms enhance the image clarity and turn the image the right way. When buying a spotting scope, consider one with BAK, BAK5 or BK7 prism. Although prisms may drive up the cost, they are a necessity especially if you are considering to use your scope to spot targets over far distances.

Eye relief

The distance between your eye and the ocular lens where the full field of view is visible is what is referred to as eye relief. This distance is very important factor when it comes to spotting scopes because it enables you to get a comfortable view of the image at a comfortable distance. Also it makes it comfortable for people with glasses to view things without straining or by placing them directly on the glasses.

Eyepiece configuration

Spotting scopes come in either angled or straight eyepiece configurations. Spotting scopes with straight configurations are best for fast acquisition of moving targets and you can use them to spot downhill. Angled scopes on the other hand are more effective for using with tripods and are best used when spotting uphill. So the choice is all dependent on you.

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

What do the numbers mean?

You will see several sets of numbers that are used to describe your spotting scope. For instance, if you see 20-60X 45, know that the first two figure represents the magnification range, and the second (45) is the diameter of the objective lens in millimeters.

Do I need a zoom spotting scope?

A Zoom spotting scope is better because it allows you to view the object more clearly even in low magnification.

What accessories will I need for my spotting scope?

Well, other than a weatherproof bag to carry it, you will need a tripod. High magnification makes the images blur when you hold the scope in your hands.

What do ED and HD mean?

HD stands for high definition while ED is extra-low dispersion glass. Optics with both give you much better quality but are also expensive to purchase.

What is the typical magnification for a great spotting scope?

30X is the typical magnification for the fixed spotting scopes, although those with zoom magnification can range between 15X and 60X.

Wrapping up

Spotting scopes are great, especially if you find one with the best features for your needs. All the spotting scopes that we have listed above are the best and come with a decent price tag. However, you’ll need to do your own research and identify which scope suits you best.

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