A good spotting scope can make all the difference in your nature expeditions. And whether you’re looking for a spotting scope for birding, hunting or just general outdoor orientation, then it’s worth doing some research and getting the right spotting scope for you.
As opposed to other types of scope, a spotting scope is designed specifically for that mid range level of viewing. Whilst it isn’t as magnified as a telescope, it’s optimized deliberately for using on land. Depending on the spotting scope that you purchase, they all have different power and abilities. So, it’s important that you get the right spotting scope for your needs.
However, there are a lot of different spotting scopes on the market. So, which one is going to be best for your needs? Well, we’ll take a look at some of the top options that are currently available.
Best Spotting Scope
If you’re looking for the best spotting scope for the money, that doesn’t necessarily mean to say that it’s cheap. Although I will talk about some cheaper options that are available, I’ll also look at some of the better scopes that are available too, but only the ones that I think are really worth the cash.
Landove Spotting Scope – Best Budget Spotting Scope
- Dynamic lens focusing system makes it easy to zoom in on target and variable 20x to 60x magnification
- Fully coated optics; Fully multi-coated 80mm green film objective lens, eyepiece and quality prism inside and make your view brighter, clearer and delivers crisp images.
- Great for targeting, hunting, astronomy, marine and general observation. Sets the standard for portability, optical performance and value
If we’re talking about the best spotting scope for the money, then it’s undoubtedly the Landove in my opinion. In comparison to other relatively cheap models like the GoSky and other Celestron spotting scopes, it produces the clearest image at the same price. So on this basis, it’s difficult to argue against it being the best available within it’s price range.
It will give you magnification of anywhere between 20-60x and it uses a 80mm objective lens. This will give you a crisp image over a good distance, which is exactly what we want from a spotting scope. It’s made out of long lasting, high quality materials that hold up well in any weather, and won’t struggle dealing with heavy amounts of fog. It comes with an easy to use tabletop tripod, which can be extremely effective if you’re trying to keep the scope steady.
It also comes include with a phone adaptor so that you can easily take photographs and videos if you want to. If you want the best value for your cash, then the Landove Spotting Scope is undoubtedly the way forward in my opinion.
GoSky Spotting Scope
- Fully multi-coated 80mm green film objective lens, eyepiece and quality prism inside - guarentee the key elements of a spotting scope, and make your view brighter, clearer and delivers crisp images.
- Variable 20x to 60x magnification and dynamic lens focusing system -- makes it easy to zoom in on target. Designed for birdwatching, watching wildlife and scenery.
- Durable Magnalium Framework and Rubber Armor - Its tight fitting protection makes it usable to withstand the toughest weather conditions. The shock-absorbing rubber armor for maximum protection. And the eyepiece shield can be stretched out to protect the eyepiece.
If you want something cheap to use, then it’s worth looking at this model from GoSky. Although it doesn’t have the prestigious name of some of the other brands, it’s also quite a bit cheaper too. So for those on a budget, it makes sense to opt for an option like this.
One of the reasons that I’d recommend this model in particular is that it comes with a tripod. This is common amongst cheaper spotting scopes, but when you start to look at more expensive ones, often you will have to buy the tripod separately, which can be extremely expensive. Like with telescopes, spotting scope tripods range in price quite a lot, and when you get to higher quality levels, they become particularly expensive.
It has an 80mm objective lens and you can vary magnification between 20x and 60x. This means that it’s actually good for relatively short distances too, and it can be easily used in close quarters. The rubber exterior also makes this a good choice for those that are looking for a cheap spotting scope that isn’t going to break the first time you drop it. So, if you’re trying to save some cash, this might make a good choice.
- Multi Coated Optics
- Maksutov-Cassegrain Optical Design
- NexYZ connects your smartphone to your telescope, spotting scope, binocular, monocular, and microscope so you can capture images and video through the eyepiece.
If you’re looking for a spotting scope to use with your iPhone or other smartphone, then it might be worth looking at the C90. You can buy it alone, but you can also purchase it with an easy iPhone adaptor too, which will allow you to get some awesome pictures.
It has a 39x magnification, which is more than enough for the majority of people. It makes an ideal addition for anyone that’s looking for a spotting scope that’s particularly lightweight, as it’s quite compact and easy to carry around with you. For the cost, this is one of the better options currently available.
Another thing to consider with this model is that it’s made by Celestron, who claim that they honour their warranty with a lifetime guarantee. As someone who’s owned Celestron products in the past, they do tend to honour these guarantees without much of an issue – if you have an issue, you can easily send it back and get it fixed. So, this might make a difference for those looking for peace of mind with their purchase, as if you purchase it new, you’ll get a solid warranty to go along with it.
VisionKing Spotting Scope
- RainGuard HD water-repellent lens coating 2-speed dual focus controls O-ring sealed,100%waterproof Bak-4 prisms that maximizes light transmission fullly multi-coated optics for superior brightness
- Large eye lens for comfortable viewing Twist-up eyecups 30x-90x Zoom eyepiece.large 100mm lens Retractable sunshade
- Weight:97(Ounce); Waterproof:Yes;Fofproof:Yes; Coating Fully Multi-Coated
If you’re looking for something that’s the level up from the others I’ve listed here, then you might want to consider the Vision King. Of course, along with an increase in quality, there’s an increase in price too. The Vision King generally runs around double or even treble the price of some of the better value spotting scopes out there, but does it provide a better experience?
Well, there are a few things that make the VisionKing stand out in comparison to cheaper models. Firstly, instead of the 20-60x magnification that most of the cheaper spotting scopes have that I’ve listed, the VisionKing has an increased magnification. It can get up to 90x ranges, which makes it ideal if you’re looking to use it over long distances.
This completely waterproof and fog proof scope is a step up on the other models. Whilst it might not be the best option for beginners, if you’re looking for something that’s a step up on the rest, then this VisionKing would be a good choice.
Bushnell Trophy XLT
- Quality optics with stunning HD clarity
- 100% quality materials used and tested extensively
- Beautiful design and durability built to last
The Bushnell Trophy XLT is another awesome option for those looking for a durable spotting scope. It is worth the extra cost in comparison to the GoSky and the Landove? Probably not, in my opinion. But, that doesn’t mean to say that you should overlook it completely.
It has a 65mm objective lens and will give you 20-60x magnification – in a lot of ways, it’s very similar to the Landove spotting scope (except almost double the price in most circumstances). It’s also another lightweight scope, and it will give you good clear images.
Negatives about the XLT? Well, like I said it’s not much better than the Landove scope, but it’s quite a bit more expensive. The tripod with this model also isn’t the best either, so you might want to consider investing in a tripod too if you want to ensure that you’re getting a good solid base for this spotting scope.
What to look for in a Spotting Scope
When you’re looking to purchase a spotting scope, there are some things that you’re going to want to consider beforehand. This way, you can ensure that you get the right scope for your needs.
One of the things you’ll need to consider when purchasing a spotting scope is the design of the scope itself. For example, you’ll need to decide between an angled or a straight spotting scope – both of which have their advantages and disadvantages. The majority of cheaper spotting scopes are angled, so this is what I’d usually recommend for beginners.
Spotting scopes all vary in the amount of magnification they have – this is represented by the AxB numbers you’ll see, for example 20×60. The majority of spotting scopes going between 15 and 60 times in magnification, but as you can see from the Vision King model, you can get scopes that magnify more than this. For most people, 60x will be more than enough – it’s really down to you to find out what magnification is best for your needs.
You’ll also want to consider the lens size – most of the spotting scopes that I’ve mentioned here have a lens size of 80mm, but scopes come in both higher and lesser amounts than this. You’ll want to consider this before you purchase a spotting scope, too.
Of course, you’ll also want to consider the price of your spotting scope. For a first time buyer, I don’t personally think that you’ll need to spend any more than $150. This is about average for an entry level spotting scope that will do a good job, so there’s no need to spend more than this unless you want to upgrade.
All in all, if you’re looking for the best spotting scope for the money then there are two options to consider – the Landove and the GoSky. Though there isn’t a lot between them, the Landove is my preferred option because of the clear image that you’ll get with it. But, any of the spotting scopes on this list would may a great choice if you’re trying to find value for money.
Last update on 2019-03-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API