Best Spotting Scopes in 2018 Reviewed
Hobbies such as hunting, bird watching, or astronomy seem like something easy to do, but they require enhanced vision. If you are into one of these hobbies, you probably already considered investing some money in a spotting scope. This article will “clear things up” on the important aspects of a spotting scope, allowing you to make a sensible choice. Not only will it tell you what to look for in a high-quality scope, but it will also give you a couple of product suggestions. This way, every “spotting trip” will be a success.
- A Quick Look at Best Spotting Scopes
- How to Choose the Right Spotting Scope
- The Best Spotting Scopes Reviewed
A Quick Look at Best Spotting Scopes
Celestron Ultima 100
Celestron TrailSeeker 80
How to Choose the Right Spotting Scope
“It says spotting scope and it’s cheap. Let’s buy it!” – If you are an amateur with this kind of thinking, this is the perfect recipe for disaster. Only one out of ten spotting scopes is cheap and has all the features that you need – which is why you have to be extra careful how you pick them.
Understanding the Spotting Scope Specifications
When picking out the best spotting scope, you need to ensure that it’s tailored to your needs. And to get to that point, you also need to understand its specifications – as well as how they might help you.
Magnification – The magnification of a scope is made for viewing at a greater distance, where the conventional binoculars no longer do you any justice. Most of the time, people do their observation with a 30x-40x spotting scope, which produces more than adequate images. However, to get a high-quality image at a higher magnification, you might want to invest in a set of high-quality lenses as well.
Objective Lens Size – The size of the objective lens always matters. The larger the objective lens, the more the light enters in. So, the image is brighter & better in low light conditions. Bear in mind that lenses are usually fairly pricey, so expect to pay a larger amount of money to get a clear quality.
Straight or Angled – When it comes to choosing the body type of a spotting scope, you can go two ways around it: either straight or angled. An angled spotting scope is preferred for looking up at the target or at a point across a straight field. A straight spotting scope, on the other hand, is perfect for getting a clear view of what’s below from a high point.
Eye Relief – The eye relief is the possible distance between the eyepiece and the viewer’s eye that will not cause any loss of the field of view. This option is mainly for those wearing glasses. For example, if the eye relief is strong enough, even those with thicker glasses can get a clear image through the spotting scope.
Close Focus – The close focus is the nearest point from the field of view that your spotting scope can see. Most spotting scopes don’t offer a close focus option if the object is less than 20 feet away, so be sure to make some calculations. This feature is great for birdwatching or viewing objects that require close detailing (such as looking at their feathers).
Focus Mechanism – You can basically go for three focus mechanism designs: single knobs, double knobs, and helical. Single knobs are the simplest: slow, but showing a precise image. The double knob offers both quick coarse focus and precision focus while the helical works better with quickly changing objects.
Field of View – The field-of-view is the side to side measurement of the field that you are viewing. If you are planning to scan for wildlife or want to view some quick-moving action, then you might want to go for a larger F.O.V. On the other hand, if your target is static, then a narrower field of view is more appropriate. Keep in mind that the wider the field-of-view, the lower the magnification.
Weather Proofing – This is not exactly a necessity, but it will protect or improve the performance of your spotting scope in case of bad weather. This feature involves extra seals that will keep the moisture out – therefore increasing the longevity of your scope. It’s particularly useful if you tend to use the spotting scope in the rain or fog.
Understanding Your Own Requirements
When you are buying a spotting scope, you get it for a particular reason. These may vary – but each of these activities will request a specific kind of spotting scope.
Hunting – When you go hunting, the chances are that you might not want to go right next to the prey you want to hunt. Things could go bad both ways: you could either scare them away, or they could come attack you.
Binoculars can be a good option for hunting – but there’s only so much that you can see with them. If your target is at a greater distance, it would be much easier to get a clear image with a scope. For this, you will need a scope with both wide and narrow fields of view, to get a close capture of your target. Plus, it’s much easier to attach a spotting scope to a weapon – giving you a much closer view as you are aiming.
Birdwatching – Once more, a binocular can get you really close – but the thing about birds is that they love going really high. Sadly, no matter how good a binocular might be, you will not be able to see much of them so high above – which is why a much more focused binocular is such a great investment.
Many spotting scopes can go as high as 60x (or even higher), which makes them perfect if you want to see fine details such as feathers. This feature, on the other hand, cannot be achieved with a simple pair of binoculars.
Astronomy – When it comes to spotting scopes, you may go two ways: terrestrial or celestial. If you are planning to use the scope to view the stars, the moon, or anything else in the sky, then you will need something with a very high magnification power.
While spotting scopes may not offer such a clear image as a celestial scope, it will still allow you to get a good view of the celestial palace – much better than any pair of binoculars would. They are a much better choice if you do not have the necessary money to invest in a full-sized telescope.
The Best Spotting Scopes Reviewed
At this point, you may know what to look for in a spotting scope; however, some extra tips and ideas should always be welcome. Each brand comes with its own perks and drawbacks, but here are some models that seem to have been successful among hunters, birdwatchers, and astronomers. Let’s review them!
Those looking for a versatile spotting scope might find great use in the Celestron device. Featuring multi-coated optics, the Ultima 100 will offer you clear, enhanced results in all types of lighting conditions.
It features an objective lens with a diameter of 100mm/4”, so this scope is a great option if you are a fan of birding and target shooting. You may adjust it for both straight and angled viewing, and the wheel allows you to get a clear image in a relatively quick manner.
- It is water resistant
- It is fog proof
- It is lightweight
- The device works with different body styles
- It features a long-lasting design
- The focus control can be coarse
- Color halos around object may make it inappropriate for astronomy
Having a magnification of 20-60x along with the 80mm objective lens, this spotting scope offers a pretty clear image of the objects found at a great distance. The lens has been multicoated for extra brightness and resolution, which means that you may use it even in low-light condition.
This spotting scope has a field of view of 113 feet at 1,000 yards with the 20x setting and 55 feet at 1,000 yards when viewing through the 60x setting. Plus, it provides eye relief of 19 mm to 18 mm, making it perfect if you wear glasses.
- It is waterproof &fogproof
- It has a solid construction
- Rotating tripod ring
- Affordable price
- It is easy to dial
- The stability of the tripod is poor
- Some might consider it heavy and huge
This spotting scope with a fully-coated 80 mm objective lens was made for those who want a clearer, better view of your target. With the ability to adjust it between 20x and 80x magnification, you can use it for both wide and narrow fields of view. It is perfect for birdwatching, hunting, and watching the scenery.
- It is sturdily built
- It features great image quality
- It is water and fog proof
- The item includes a phone adapter
- Images might be less satisfying for astronomy viewing
- The tripod is weak
If you are looking for an angled scope, then you might want to give the Kowa a try. With its pure fluorite and 88 mm green film lens, this tool will offer a clear image of items found even at great distances. Plus, since it’s made from polycarbonate materials and weighs only 53 ounces, this lightweight device is very easy to carry around.
- Lightweight construction
- It is waterproof
- It features a rigid, solid construction
- The double knob mechanism allows for quick focus
- It is slightly expensive
Celestron strikes again with another scope, this time called the “Trailseeker.” This angled scope can be adjusted from 80 to 45 degrees, with its dual focus that is able to fine tune the image in a quick manner. Plus, the 60x magnification enables you to see pretty far away – with the closest being a 20x magnification. Last but not least, the 80 mm objective lens allows plenty of light in, and therefore you can use it even in fairly low-light conditions
- Waterproof and fogproof
- It features superior optics
- It has an affordable price
- The focus can be difficult
Choosing the best spotting scope for your trip may not be something very easy to do for some, especially since you have so many features to keep in mind. You need to carefully consider the reason for your purchase, as well as the features it brings.
For instance, while either of the Celestron scopes might work great with astronomy purposes, the Gosky one might not. The greater the magnification, the more useful it will be at greater distances. Hopefully, this article offered you some insight as to how you should pick your lens – as well as where to find a good set. Happy spotting, and may the targets be forever in your favor!