Best Spotting Scopes

Review & Comparison, Last Update August 29, 2017
The spotting scopes are at least one step ahead of spyglasses. Whether you are an experienced hunter or a target shooter, or even a weekend bird-watcher, with the spotting scope, you'll see objects and places you'd never be able to see with a naked eye.  ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
TYPE
PRISM SYSTEM
OPTICS
OBJECTIVE LENS DIAMETER
MAGNIFICATION
EXIT PUPIL
FIELD OF VIEW AT 1000 YDS
FRAMEWORK PROTECTION
SET
WEIGHT
WARRANTY
 
PROS
It boasts a great combination of zoom and lens diameter. The scope features the largest aperture in the Celestron Ultima line.
CONS
The body of the scope is of an excessively large size.
OUR VERDICT
The bird-watchers and nature enthusiasts will definitely admire the Celestron scope. It will help discover amazing landscapes and make them immortal on photos.
detailed parameters
TYPE
Angled scope
PRISM SYSTEM
Porro Prism System
OPTICS
Multi-coated optical glass lens/BaK-4
OBJECTIVE LENS DIAMETER
100 mm
MAGNIFICATION
22 - 60x
EXIT PUPIL
4.5 mm - 1.5 mm
FIELD OF VIEW AT 1000 YDS
94 ft - 52 ft
FRAMEWORK PROTECTION
Waterproof, Fogproof
SET
Objective lens cap, Eyepiece cap, Soft carrying case
WEIGHT
72 oz
WARRANTY
Limited lifetime warranty
PROS
The durable construction is water-resistant and fogproof. You will always have a bright and clear view.
CONS
The tripod which comes in a set is not very comfortable in use.
OUR VERDICT
The Bushnell Trophy scope is a universal device that will come in handy to hunters, target shooters, nature admirers and all people fond of outdoor activities.
detailed parameters
TYPE
Angled scope
PRISM SYSTEM
Porro Prism System
OPTICS
Fully multi-coated glass lens/BaK-4
OBJECTIVE LENS DIAMETER
65 mm
MAGNIFICATION
20 - 60x
EXIT PUPIL
3.25 mm - 1.1 mm
FIELD OF VIEW AT 1000 YDS
110 ft - 55 ft
FRAMEWORK PROTECTION
Waterproof, Fogproof, Rubber-armored housing
SET
Compact tripod, Hard-side case, Compact soft-side case
WEIGHT
42.2 oz
WARRANTY
Lifetime warranty
PROS
It has an excellent magnifier and is very light. The scope comes with an extensive set of various accessories.
CONS
You might find the view blurring using the maximum magnification in dim conditions.
OUR VERDICT
This scope is peerless due to its versatile functions and additional accessories. The multi-coated optics and unbeatable magnification make it a great tool for wildlife observation.
detailed parameters
TYPE
Straight scope
PRISM SYSTEM
Porro Prism System
OPTICS
Fully coated optical glass lens/BaK-4
OBJECTIVE LENS DIAMETER
88 mm
MAGNIFICATION
25 - 125x
EXIT PUPIL
3.2 mm - 0.64 mm
FIELD OF VIEW AT 1000 YDS
54 ft - 24 ft
FRAMEWORK PROTECTION
Waterproof, Fogproof, Shock-absorbing rubber armor
SET
Hard and soft carrying case, Tabletop tripod, Accu-grip handheld mount, Lens cloth
WEIGHT
16 oz
WARRANTY
Limited lifetime warranty
PROS
This device features superior magnification and provides users with wide viewing angles.
CONS
It is not fogproof and the lenses can get misty during temperature drops.
OUR VERDICT
The Gosky product allows you not only to watch the flora and fauna but also make photos and videos with your smartphone. And owing to a digiscoping adapter, you can share these media files with friends.
detailed parameters
TYPE
Angled scope
PRISM SYSTEM
Porro Prism System
OPTICS
Fully multi-coated green film lens
OBJECTIVE LENS DIAMETER
80 mm
MAGNIFICATION
20 - 60x
EXIT PUPIL
3.2 mm - 1.1 mm
FIELD OF VIEW AT 1000 YDS
128 ft - 62 ft
FRAMEWORK PROTECTION
Waterproof, Shock-absorbing rubber armor
SET
Digiscoping adapter, Tripod, Carrying bag, Lens caps
WEIGHT
28 oz
WARRANTY
30-day Amazon's return policy
PROS
This scope has extremely resistant and durable framing and multicoated optics which ensure the great visibility.
CONS
This device is not convenient to use in a lying position.
OUR VERDICT
It is an affordable yet reliable option if you need a high-quality scope both for nature and shooting competition observation. It's also a great gift for kids!
detailed parameters
TYPE
Angled scope
PRISM SYSTEM
Porro Prism System
OPTICS
Fully multi-coated glass lens/BK-7
OBJECTIVE LENS DIAMETER
60 mm
MAGNIFICATION
20 - 60x
EXIT PUPIL
3.2 mm - 1.1 mm
FIELD OF VIEW AT 1000 YDS
128 ft - 62 ft
FRAMEWORK PROTECTION
Waterproof, Fogproof, Shock-absorbing rubber armor
SET
Tripod, Carrying bag, Lens cap, Lens cloth
WEIGHT
22 oz
WARRANTY
1-year warranty and lifetime support guarantee

What is a Spotting Scope?

If you are enthusiastic about seeing the world and discovering new beautiful places that you could not see with a naked eye, you should get a spotting scope. It is exactly what you need to take a close view of objects which are too far. All spotting scopes and monoculars have the same basic construction. Essentially, any scope represents a small refractor telescope that is slightly more complicated than a monocular. At the same time, a spotting scope is much more powerful in magnification and, as a result, you get a brighter high-quality picture. Its dimensions are relatively compact and you can carry it with you while traveling or hunting. Overall, this device can become your reliable assistant whatever you do: watch birds or wildlife, hunt a deer or take a panoramic picture of your neighborhood. You can always be sure that the world will be closer to you if you look at it through your spotting scope.

In case you want to purchase a smaller portable optics with lower magnification, you should give a chance to such a device as a monocular.

What Features to Compare

Optics’ Specifications

The most important feature of any spotting scope is its optics; it is a priority for the right choice. There are several features you should consider. First of all, you have to look at the objective diameter. It determines the rate of the light absorption. The diameter is marked on the body right after the magnification level. The bigger the diameter is, the more ambient light it absorbs and the clearer view you get. The magnification can be adjusted as you like. Though, you must remember that the high level of magnification might cause blurring of the picture if the objective diameter is too small. In order to estimate the best ratio of magnification and the lens diameter, you should assess the exit pupil diameter, it should not be less than 1.33 mm. Otherwise, the view will be substantially distorted, in particular when you look at far away objects. Another important feature of the scope is its field of view. It is measured in feet per 1,000 yards or meters. If you intend to track the fast moving objects, you should select a scope with a wide viewing field. One more fundamental criterion for the optics’ assessment is its coating and the type of lens glass. There are four grades of lens’ coating: Coated (C), Fully Coated (FC), Multicoated (МС) and Fully Multicoated (FМС). The glass type can be either BaK-4 or BK-7. The BaK-4 glass is more expensive, though it boasts better view quality. The other thing you may just as well want to check is whether the chosen spotting scope is angled or straight. There isn't a drastic difference between two, yet according to professional hunters and spectators, using a straight spotting scope is more convenient if one needs to track down moving objects or target things below the feet like for example when standing on a cliff. While an angled spotting scope allows for more comfortable prolonged usage and is better adjusted at distant objects without a tripod. 

Framework Durability

Definitely, every spotting scope should have a durable frame designed to resist any weather conditions. A good scope must be protected against various impacts. It should be water-resistant and shockproof since its body has to protect fragile lenses from damage if you accidentally drop it. The anti-fog protection is also important because, otherwise, you will not be able to watch objects through misty lenses.

Peculiarities and Usability

Your spotting scope can be shipped with a set of additional accessories. Many models are supplied with special tripods and adapters compatible with cameras or mobile phones allowing you to make pictures or shoot videos. The scope should also have reasonable dimensions and an appropriate weight to be portable. It's also a good bonus, if spotting scope comes with a carrying case for hassle-free transportation. 

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Celestron 52252

Clear Vision in Any Conditions

Evidently, Celestron has tried to satisfy the most demanding customers when designing its Ultima Zoom spotting scope. That is why the device features the whole range of magnificent functions including the top-notch optics. The high-quality BaK-4 lenses provide customers with the superior picture of objects free from any blurring or distortions. The large objective ensures clear vision even in the cloudy weather and low light conditions. The Ultima Zoom scope has the 100 mm objective ensuring the impressive light absorption rate. This spotter features the multi-coated optics. So, it's safe to say that there are not so many scopes that can provide you such an amazing view quality. It has the brightness exceeding the 80-mm models by 50%, even in the dimming light. Consequently, this universal spotting scope can be used both in the urban environment and for the wildlife watching or star gazing. 

Review of Celestron 52252 Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope

Usability and Reliability as a Quality Standard

The most fragile part of the scope, the lens system, is covered with the solid framework. It is ultimately waterproof and filled with the dry nitrogen making it also fog- and moisture-proof. The scope body is coated with the layer of rubber that increases the protection level and its usability. The rubber surface ensures a comfortable grip and prevents sliding of the device when in use. The tilting prism improves the quality of view in the mountains or when you watch the space objects. The zoom eyepiece allows you to adjust the magnification level accurately.

Celestron 52252 Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope in the use

Interesting Fact

The manuscripts of the Order of Franciscan Friars dated by 1268 include the first notes of an optical tool. Roger Bacon who was called the Wondrous Doctor mentioned optical devices in his works. These works have proved that he experimented with convex lenses and other optics combining them with mirrors. He has experimented with the direct and refracted vision and focused parallel beams into one point, between the central and the upper part of the mirror. His experiments allowed later scientists to design the combination of lenses and mirrors that became a basis for telescopes.

More Products to Consider

If you want to reach the ultimate comfort using your spotting scope, you should purchase a good tripod like the Celestron 82050 trailseeker tripod (black).

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
Celestron Spotting Scope
Celestron 52252
Celestron 52252
 

Bushnell Trophy XLT

Durable Scope Made by Reliable Manufacturer

Bushnell is one of the prominent producers of the ultimately reliable optics. And Trophy XLT spotting scope is a worthy successor of several generations of optical tools manufactured by this company. The manufacturer has provided it with the full-service support and lifetime warranty. In case you drop, break or damage the scope in any other way, the company will repair or replace it with no questions asked. It is not a standard approach since it demonstrates the top grade of the customer loyalty and confidence in their production quality. In our opinion, the sturdy construction of the Trophy XLT scope makes it really resistant to any damage. The framework of the device is waterproof, shockproof, and resistant to temperature drops.

Review of Bushnell Trophy XLT Waterproof Compact Spotting Scope

Trustworthy Hunting Companion

The optics’ design is one of the most important features since it can directly impact the quality of vision. This particular scope has the objective with the diameter of 65 mm. The picture can be zoomed by 20-60x. Though, the main reason for recommending the Bushnell spotting scope as a great buy is the superb quality of its lenses. The lenses are made of the high-grade BaK-4 glass. Each lens is fully multicoated and ensures the ultra-bright and crystal-clear vision at any distance and under any light conditions. It should be also mentioned that the viewing angle is substantially wide allowing you to follow the fast moving objects. This feature along with the ultimate damage protection makes the scope a perfect companion for every hunter. Just take a look at some details. The body of the scope has the camo-colored rubber covered body allowing the observation from a hidden position without revealing it. So you can be sure that you will not be spotted by the game. The scope is supplied with a hard-side carrying case for safe transportation of Bushnell scope wherever you need.

Bushnell Trophy XLT Waterproof Compact Spotting Scope in the use

More Products to Consider

If you want to collect the maximum number of trophies during hunting, you may use the spotting scope jointly with the Bushnell G-Force DX ARC 6x 21mm laser rangefinder. It will precisely measure the distance to the target.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Bushnell Trophy XLT
Bushnell Trophy XLT
 

BARSKA Benchmark

Convincing Advantages

The main advantages of the Barska Benchmark spotter are the superior extra-large objective and the ultimately powerful magnifier. You get the instant magnification to a distant object with one turn of the eyepiece control ring. As a result, the furthest objects appear in your arm’s length. The aperture absorbs sufficient light to ensure clear vision even under low-light conditions at dawn or when the weather is bad. All lenses of the Barska Benchmark spotter are fully coated and made of the quality BaK-4 glass. As a result, this spotting scope features the amazing quality and sharpness of view. But this Barska spotter can be useful not only for hunting and wildlife watching purposes. If you mount it on a tripod, you will get a wonderful panoramic view of the urban landscape in daytime and will be able to watch the stars at night.

Review of BARSKA Benchmark Waterproof Straight Spotting Scope

Is It Worth Your Money?

In addition to the impressive optics, the spotter is supplied with an extensive set of accessories. The scope comes with a hand grip that can be mounted on a supplied tripod. You can choose a preferred mode to use the device: either as a hand-held scope or a tabletop telescope. The set includes both a soft carrying bag and an aluminum hard case for transportation and storage. The scope itself is reliably protected from external impacts. It is necessary to emphasize its sturdy durable construction which guarantees the usability. The body is waterproof and fully sealed with O-rings. The interior is filled with dry nitrogen protecting it against fogging and moisture. All in all, we can state that these technical specifications ensure sufficient adaptability of the scope, allowing you to use it under any environmental conditions.

BARSKA Benchmark Waterproof Straight Spotting Scope in the use

Interesting Facts

In 1509 the genius of the Renaissance Leonardo da Vinci designed a spyglass with 2 lenses. His sketch illustrated the spyglass design and vectors of light inside of it. He has also designed technical drawings of a polishing mechanism for the fine polishing of lenses to be installed in a spyglass. However, this invention attracted no interest at that time. 

More Products to Consider

If you want to save the seen images in photos or videos, you can attach your smartphone to the spotter using this adapter: Gosky smartphone capturer for iPhone Android and Windows smartphones - compatible with binoculars monocular spotting scopes telescopes - diameter from 38mm-50mm.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
25-125x88 Benchmark Spotting Scope by Barska
BARSKA Benchmark
BARSKA Benchmark
 

Gosky Porro Prism Spotting Scope

Share Your Discoveries

Probably, everybody has at least once regretted to be unable to save some views by making a photo which could be later shared with friends. That is why Gosky has designed a unique solution featuring the spotting scope equipped with a smartphone adapter. This scope allows you to get fully immersed into nature, make new amazing discoveries and keep them as photos stored in your phone memory. Evidently, to get a good picture you should feel sure of your spotting scope optics. And the Gosky 20-60 x 80 device сomplies with the most strict requirements. We would like to mention that all lenses of this scope are fully multi-coated. It has the high-quality prism inside ensuring the clearest and brightest view and delivering ultimately crisp images. 

Review of Gosky Porro Prism Spotting Scope

Ultimately Convenient

The manufacturer has developed several outstanding technical solutions allowing you to use this tool under the harshest conditions. The scope is very user-friendly and convenient - it has a rugged durable framework, which is a mandatory feature for a truly reliable outdoors’ device. The framework is securely protected from external impacts. It is fully sealed and waterproof. It is also shockproof and can survive hardest hits and blows. You can take the scope with you for hunting, hiking and mountain climbing, or for a routine forest walk. That is why it will be an ideal choice for any outdoor activity. And a protective carrying case supplied with this scope will add comfort to its transportation. It is also equipped with a tripod for mounting on any horizontal surface. This will help you make a perfect photo at any distance.

Gosky Porro Prism Spotting Scope in the use

Interesting Fact

Galileo Galilei was among the first scientists who attempted to design a telescopic tool. He did not just make technical drawings but tried to make a specimen. He has made his first telescope with 3x magnification in 1609. He used it to observe objects on the land and in the sea. Later, with a 30x magnification model, he switched to studying stars and planets. His equipment allowed him to make the greatest discoveries that are the immortal contribution to the science. He has discovered satellites of Jupiter, some new stars of the Milky Way and also spots on the Sun. Many people still believe that Galilei has actually discovered the telescope, though he used the telescope drafts made by Hans Lippershey earlier. The undisputable fact is that many theories and ideas developed by Galilei are still used in the production of optical devices with great magnification rates.

More Products to Consider

In order to use your scope with comfort, you should purchase a special tripod like this: BARSKA deluxe tripod extendable to 63.4" w/carrying case.

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


Gosky Porro Prism Spotting Scope
Gosky Porro Prism Spotting Scope
 

Emarth Waterproof Angled Spotting Scope

Affordable Doesn't Mean Bad

If you plan to buy your first spotting scope and know nothing about these devices, the Emarth product is a great choice. It is good and affordable. Judge it yourself. For a modest price, you get a scope featuring a sufficiently quality view and a relatively powerful zoom. Well, let’s take a closer look at the technical specifications of the optics to make the proper assessment. It has an average zoom making 128 feet with the lowest level of magnification and 62 feet with the highest magnification. The image remains clear due to the use of dynamic optics and multicoated lenses. The objective diameter is 60 mm. In a sum, the aperture is maximally effective considering all the technical features.

Review of Emarth Waterproof Angled Spotting Scope

Useful Present for a Newbie

The service life of any scope depends on the quality of its construction and the protection it features. The water-resistant and shockproof framework is no wonder today. However, until now these features were usually met in more expensive models. The Emarth scope breaks through the stereotypes. It promotes the affordability and has the same level of protection as more expensive and prestigious brands. It does not require any special treatment, though can resist any impact. This combination of the durability and modest price makes the Emarth scope a perfect gift to an inquisitive kid. The optical device will stimulate the desire for learning and discovering. Opening new horizons with the spotting scope, your kid will see much more wonders! The one year warranty of the manufacturer might be an extra advantage if you really decide to make such a present to your child.

Emarth Waterproof Angled Spotting Scope in the use

Interesting Facts

One of the most successful researchers of optical lenses in the XVI century was Antonie van Leeuwenhoek from the Netherlands. He had succeeded to make the lenses featuring the 150x – 300x magnification. Initially, these lenses were intended to be used in microscopes. Van Leeuwenhoek discovered the whole world of microbiology with them. His discoveries include the infusoria in 1674 and the bacteria in 1683. The modern electronic microscopes with their incredible magnification rates could not be made without the contribution of this prominent scientist.

 

More Products to Consider

You can make vivid photos using this scope and your smartphone if you buy Gosky universal smartphone adapter mount for spotting scope telescope microscope binocular monocular.


Emarth Waterproof Angled Spotting Scope
Emarth Waterproof Angled Spotting Scope
 

Sources:

1. How to Buy a Spotting Scope, wikiHow. 2015.

2. Todd Vorenkamp A Guide to Birding with Spotting Scopes, B&H. 2015.

3. How To Choose A Spotting ScopeOrion Telescopes & Binoculars.

4. Steven L How to Select a Spotting Scope, Optics Planet. November 26, 2013.

5. Don Sangster How to Pick a Spotting Scope Buyer's Guide, Bass Pro Shops. August 25, 2013.

6. Andrew Pedry How to Use Sniper Spotting Scopes, eHow.

9.  Melissa Mainz What Is a Spotting Scope? About.

10. David Wilson How to Choose Best Spotting Scope for Birding- Beginner Should Know, Clapway. September 5, 2016.

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