Long range shooting professionals and forest hunters always need to keep an eye on their target and in case if they don’t have the capability to figure out the distance between them and their target, it is likely that they will lose their target more often. In such circumstances, spotting scopes work at the best.
Despite the fact that rifle scopes and reticles on them are helpful enough to target the game, but having spotting scopes give more chances to develop a better understanding and studying the target more clearly while watching the best time to shoot the haunting target.
Best spotting scopes for hunting and shooting make it easier to target when you have to spot them from a far off place.
Since spotting scopes are different, with more advanced features and relatively different functionality, it is not considered as the same as the ones mounted as rifle scopes.
Spotting scopes come up with accurate distance measuring power, the wider, broader field of view and with increased accuracy and stability of the images obtained in it.
In the subsequent paragraphs, we are now going to discuss which ones work the best for spotting enthusiasts and hunters and which type of the best spotting scopes should rely on while hunting and targeting the desired point.
Further, we will also suggest some of the top-rated selected spotting scopes and a complete guide help you find the most useful features to give you the best experience while hunting and shooting in the field.
Our Top Choices
Top 8 best spotting scopes
#1- Vortex HD Optics Viper Spotting Scopes
The Vortex Viper HD spotting scopes are highly efficient and well-constructed spotting scopes which are never behind the latest standards. These are well-designed spotting scopes that cater to the basic and advanced needs of hunting and spotting process when it is not possible through the naked eye.
The Viper HD spotting scope has a high definition angled scope providing an easy and clear view that is helpful for the user.
The high-end crystal clear glass and lens and the correct high-quality adjustment techniques make sure to offer high-end results.
The crisp and vivid high-end imagery along with easy viewing capability make the spotting scope a must-have for hunting and watching endeavors.
It performs perfectly when there are low light conditions and other obstructions like mist or fog around. The optics and the correct positioning of the essential components within the scopes assure brighter images with greater details so that they can be viewed correctly regardless of the surrounding distractions and obstructive elements.
For sharp images and quick focusing, there is a smooth and easy to adjust dial for making sure you can obtain sharper image within a matter of seconds. For an anti-glare view, the sun-shade is provided in front so that you may not be affected by the extreme sunshine effects.
Eye relief is enough to offer an easier spotting experience with multiple eye cup positioning and angles.
The overall structure is sealed and the performance is enhanced by the argon-purged environment. That ensures fog-proof results and accurate details. The lens is multi-coated for better results.
Overall, it is a perfect solution for those who are looking for a durable, accurate and high-end spotting scopes for their use.
#2- Vanguard Endeavor Eyepiece XF Angled Spotting Scope
Vanguard Endeavor is one of the sophisticated spotting scopes that assures the quality of images under variable light conditions and keeps the process easy to use for the user.
For the specs, you don't need to worry about as it comes with a BAK 4 prism for the clear-most image without dispersion effects. And the multicoated lens makes sure to provide the brightest image even if you are observing your target under the lowest light.
The scopes come with 15 to 45 X zoom supported by 60mm diameter and offer a wider field of view with correct, clear and accurate close and long viewed targets.
It also has a rubberized strengthened overall exterior and a sun shield as well. The eyepiece is made to provide long eye relief of 19 to 20 mm so that it is far easier to focus and observe as compared to the other ones.
The spotting scope offers fog proof and waterproof design for better and lasting performance. The overall durability of the scope is supported by its high-end materials so that you get a long lasting gadget without having to worry about extra care tactics.
#3-Leupold SX-1 Ventana Spotting Scope
Leupold is a waterproof spotting scope with rugged and durable armor coated covering. The spotting scope has smooth focusing, which is great for both experienced and novice users. And its optical quality and industrial design put it among the best in the industry. Those looking for a spotting scope with good magnification will find this particular model quite impressive.
The fully multi-coated lens (the premium in the industry) will surely help you get clearer and brighter images. This makes the spotting scope an ideal choice for spotters looking to identify target ranges in low light conditions.
The Leupold model has a FOV of up to 1000 yards and an objective lens diameter of 80mm. That is enough for different ranging and hunting activities. The spotting scope is completely waterproof, making it a great choice in foggy or extreme weather conditions. It does not come with single built optics, but a synergy built one. It improves viewing quality and enhances quality. The design makes it convenient and comfortable to fix your tripod, giving you a proper balance.
This spotting scope is also very safe to use. It comes with an eye relief of 24mm, which is quite enough to prevent accidents from rifle recoil. With all these features, it is surprising that the spotting scope is also very affordable.
#4- Celestron Zoom Spotting Scope
Celestron is a multi-coated spotting scope with durable and waterproof construction. It’s an 80mm refractor scope that gets the job done with no fuss. There are some good features of this model that deserve recognition.
With a 45 degrees angled piece, you can conveniently view your target while supporting the spotting scope with a tripod. The waterproof design protects it from fog and rain.
Another interesting feature of this Celestron model is the ED glass on the lens. The top quality glass makes your view environment clearer and twice brighter. Its large objective lens complements the ED glass. This provides even better image quality. Celestron is also very affordable.
The spotting scope comes with other additional features too. In the package, you will get an instrument manual, lens cloth, eyepiece pouch, eyepiece carrying case, eyepiece cover, lens cape, integrated adapter, as well as an extended plate. All these features are included to give you the best viewing experience.
The multi-coated lens may not be the brightest, but it is clear enough for basic use. It is a cheaper model so you wouldn’t expect too much from the product. But overall, the unit has all the great features to give you an excellent viewing experience.
#5- Landove Prism Spotting Scope
Landove is an angled spotting scope that is great for different types of activities. It is ideal for marine observation, astronomy, hunting, targeting, and general observation. The unit is completely fog proof and waterproof. This improves its durability features too.
Landove is a fully multi-coated spotting scope with an 80mm objective lens. It provides from 20x to 60x magnification with crisp and clearer images. Its objective lens, in particular, improves the overall picture quality and lets you have a clear vision of long distant objects. That is why the spotting scope is great for targeting, bird watching, and marine watching.
This unit comes with a dynamic lens focusing. With the feature, it will be easier to zoom in on your targets and distant objects. Apart from the convenience, the 60x zooming feature allows you to see distant objects like they are very close to your unaided eyes.
With its digiscoping phone adapter, you will be able to take images and videos from a very far distance. And the phone adapter is not just made for the Landove scope. You could use it for microscope, telescope, monocular, as well as for binocular.
Other additional features of the spotting scope include handy straps, lens and eyepiece protection covers, and a carrying case for easy transportation.
#6- SVBONY SV13 Spotting Scope
Whether you want to go for bird watching or for hunting, you will need a top-quality spotting scope to enhance your experience. For sure, SVBONY comes across as one of such spotting scopes you need.
This model has different durability features to make it stand the test of time. It comes with rubber armored cover, O ring sealing feature and waterproof covering to keep it safe. This makes sure your spotting scope has no issues when using it during harsh weather conditions.
SVBONY spotting scope comes with good optical prism and high reflexive index that ensures high-quality images and sharp contrast.
It has 20-60x magnification, which gives you a clearer view of the target from a long distance. Also, it is equipped with a universal phone adapter which will be ideal for photographers.
For durability, the unit has a sturdy aluminum alloy body. This protects it from external scratch and accidental falls.
To give you better image focus, the unit is equipped with an adjustable viewing angle. This also allows you to adjust the viewing angle to the best position when viewing or targeting objects.
In addition, it has a broader objective lens for a brighter and clearer image. The spotting scope is perfect for target shooting, hunting, as well as bird hunting. Photographers can also take advantage of the phone adapter to take photos and create videos.
#7- BARSKA Straight Level Spotting Scope
Here is another properly designed spotting scope with simple construction but durable features. It has FOV that reaches up to 1000 yards.
Just like other top quality models, this spotting scope has 20-60x magnification. This is okay for both medium and long-range targeting. Also, the unit is completely fog proof and waterproof.
If you really want to enhance your viewing experience, you will need a spotting scope that makes your view brighter. Interestingly, BARSKA spotting scope has the right zooming magnification and a bigger objective lens that makes this possible.
In addition to the primary feature, the product comes with lens cover, pan head for a tripod, as well as carrying case.
It is equipped with straight eyepiece system, textured rubber design, BAK4 prism, fully multi-coated optics, as well as 65 mm objective lens. The fully multi-coated optics give you a brighter and clearer view of distant images.
You can have a clearer view of your targets even in low light conditions. The spotting scope also has a limited lifetime warranty. Other features include pan head tripod, glare-reducing sunshade, and tripod mounting socket. If you want to increase viewing clarity and improve light transmission, this unit will help you a great deal.
#8- Vortex Optics Razor HD Spotting Scopes
Vortex Optics Razor HD scopes prove to be one of the most wanted, feature loaded spotting scopes that offer razor sharp images, anti-glare performance and assure lasting quality that every hunter needs.
This is a compact, lightweight and easy to use spotting scope that comes with an achromatic lens for reducing chromatic aberrations and extremely low dispersion glass assure high-end, quality, crystal clear images for perfectly bright images even if you are observing in low light.
The focusing of the scopes is easier with the smooth focus wheel which allows minimum and maximum adjustments without having to go through a hard time.
For eye relief and easier focusing even with the glasses on your eyes, the eyepiece comes with a folding eyecup so that you may view even with your glasses on and when you don’t have one as well.
For waterproof and fog proof performance, the spotting scopes have O-ring secured design and are purged with argon so that you don’t have any obstruction while viewing under certain conditions.
The overall body is secured with the rubber coated exterior whereas the glass pieces and the lens is safe from possible scratches and marks as well.
Features To Consider When Buying Spotting Scopes
Unlike binoculars, a spotting scope is more compact and more powerful for viewing far distant objects. But just like all other types of optics, it comes in different prices, features, and styles.
The feature you need may be different from what someone else needs. That’s why it’s necessary to know the important features of a spotting scope before selecting the right one. If you are looking to buy the right spotting scope for bird watching, hunting, or for viewing the landscape, the following are the features you should consider.
This will depend on the size of the scope’s objective lens. Generally, most lenses in the market fall within 5mm and 10mm. Here, you need to consider objective lenses with a wide diameter. Wider objective lens diameters usually have better light gathering capacity. This is especially important if you are using the spotting scope in low light environment. If you want to use it in the evening or at dusk, visibility will be important for you.
But the disadvantage with wide lens diameter is the bulky nature. If you are going to station the scope at a particular position, this may not be a problem for you. However, if you will be moving around, you have to decide what is better in that situation – more visibility or less weight.
Zoom in and zoom out
The function of the zoom is to adjust the scope’s magnification power. This feature is particularly important if you are viewing objects from a long distance- like in bird watching. With a little adjustment of the lens using the zoom knob or wheel on the spotting scopes, you can change the magnification. Thankfully, you can get an averagedly priced scope with high-end lenses because of advancement in technology. The feature does not impact so much on price.
Of all types of optics, spotting scopes seem to have one of the highest magnification capability. But some scopes are better in this regard than others. Generally, a spotting scope with high magnification will help you clearly see distant objects.
But this is not the only thing that affects image quality. So if you are picking a spotting scope based on its high level of magnification, you need to put other things into consideration.
You need to find in things like heat waves, air current, glare, humidity, as well as dust. Premium quality spotting scopes can adjust for these conditions. They will offer better magnification and better image quality. These will not be seriously affected by the weather.
With a magnification of 60x – 70x (which is what you will get with most high-quality models), the image quality will be brighter and better. But if you are just starting out and want something basic, a spotting scope with 30 – 40x magnification should be fine as well.
Normally, the role of the objective lens is to help to improve the image quality. However, you can even improve the performance of the objective lens when you get specialized glass for it.
When choosing a spotting scope, select one made with fluorite glass. Alternatively, you can look for EPO, ED, or HD quality glass. These may be more expensive than the usual glass that comes with most spotting scopes. But if you are concerned about image quality, cost shouldn’t be much of a burden. They can even enhance the performance of your objective lens.
Indeed, a small to medium sized objective lens with specialized glass can yield almost the same image quality as the largest objective lens. That’s how important this feature is for image clarity.
Which Focus Mechanism is ideal?
Basically, there are two categories of focus mechanisms for spotting scopes. Some models have fine adjustments knobs usually placed at the top of the spotting scope. However, some other models come with focusing collar. These models operate by twisting the entire barrel for a good focus.
Here, there is no particular category that is better than the other. It depends on what you are doing with the scope and what suits you better. It will be better if you check the two options to find out which focus mechanism favors you more before making your purchase.
If the light transmission is important to you, then this feature will be as well. Generally, there are different models of spotting scopes with various types of lens coatings. The most basic scopes (which is usually less expensive) have fully coated lens. Then there is multi-coated too. At the upper end of the spectrum, there are fully multi-coated models.
Almost all superior quality scopes have fully multi-coated lens. These have the maximum transmission of light into the lens. Evidently, these models are more expensive than other lens coating options. If you want to enjoy the best light transmissions for your spotting scope, this is the type of lens coatings you should settle for.
A tripod is another very important feature you need to consider for your spotting scope. These may not be sold alongside the spotting scope. That is why you need to get a matching one for your scope. When choosing a tripod, consider how and where you want to use the spotting scope. Convenience is the key here.
Obviously, if you are going to stand most times with your scope, a full-length tripod will be better for you. But if you are using the scope in a windy and mountainous environment, your major concern should be stability.
The tripod should be sturdy and short. On the other hand, if you are going to do a lot of viewing from your car’s window, a good quality window mount will be great for you. Your choice depends largely on the use and the environment you are using the spotting scope.
The design of a spotting scope eyepiece can tell so much about its quality. When it comes to the eyepiece, removable models can allow you easily change magnification range. However, this feature is more expensive. Plus, they tend to have low waterproofing characteristic.
Also, you can pick either a straight eyepiece or an angled one. A straight eyepiece will be ideal when you are more focused on fast target acquisition. On the other hand, if you are opting for extended viewing sessions while sitting, an angled eyepiece will work better for you.
Spotting Scope FAQ
What is the main use of a spotting scope?
It is used viewing long distance objects clearly. The spotting scope can be used for spotting game during hunting, bird watching, or for reading target scores. They are also great for observing slowly moving objects.
What are the best magnification options for spotting scopes?
For zoom magnification, most spotting scopes will have a magnification of 15 to 60X. But for fixed magnification, you are probably going to see spotting scopes with 30X.
What does near focus mean?
Near focus simply refers to the least possible distance an object can be before it is brought into focus. This feature will come in handy if you intend doing photographic work or if there is a nearby bird feeder you want to watch.
What do the figures on the scope mean?
There are two numbers at the spotting scope. These numbers tell the magnification and diameter of the scope’s lens. For instance, a spotting scope with 40 x 60 means that the diameter of the lens is 60 millimeters while the 40x magnification allows you to see closely an object that is 40 meters far from you.
How much does a good quality spotting scope cost?
Generally, the cost of spotting scopes is closely related to quality. On average, a good quality spotting scope could cost between $200 and $500 or more depending on the features you need and the manufacturer. Their price difference lies on their magnification, coating level, and probably the exterior built.
What type of tripod should I get for my spotting scope?
Generally, video tripods will fare better than other types of tripods if you are using the scope as a spotter. However, the tripod should be strong enough to correctly hold your scope with little vibration. Again, a tripod can either be a tilt head mount or the more demanding ball head mount. Try to select the type that best works for you.
Which is a better – straight-through or angled body?
This has all to do with personal choice. An angled eyepiece will be more comfortable and adjustable if the spotting scope is used by different people with different heights. If you are buying it for the family, this will be a better option. However, straight-through eyepiece makes it easier to direct the spotter at the target.
Why is optical coating necessary?
An optical coating in a spotting scope is vital because it improves the level of light that passes through the instrument. It ensures more color resolution, better contrast, and better clarity.
Which lens coating is the best for a spotting scope?
Lens coatings for spotting scope come in various levels. The fully multicoated level has the best light transmission. However, different manufacturers have different levels of performance for various types of lens coatings.
How do I increase the brightness of the image?
If you want to increase the image’s brightness, you should settle for a larger objective lens. These models usually have diameters of between 60mm and 90mm. although they may be heavier, they provide brighter performance under poor light conditions.
Which spotting scope is better – catadioptric or refractor?
It depends on choice and your need for the scope. Refractor models are usually more portable, rugged, and more compact. They are more preferred for fieldwork. On the other hand, catadioptric spotting scopes have longer focal lengths and wider diameters. They are ideal for astronomy.
What is the benefit of having a zoom spotting scope?
With a zoom spotting scope, it will be easier to pin your target with low magnification. To observe them closely, you can use the higher magnification feature.
What type of accessory should I get for my spotting scope?
If you are buying a spotting scope, you are probably going to need a tripod to hold it down. This will allow you properly mount the spotting scope to help you move it in any direction you want.
What is the ideal weight for a spotting scope?
If you are going to use the spotting scope in a particular place, the weight may not be too important for you. But if you need to carry the spotter with your tripod for long distance, settle for a lightweight spotting scope. Generally, spotting scopes made with aluminum are usually lighter.
What do ED and HD mean in spotting scope?
These represent the type of glass used for the spotting scope. The best glasses are made with fluoride-filled material. These are more effective but it means you have to pay more for them.
What are the features that define a proper spotting scope?
Light transmission is one vital feature you need to consider in a spotting scope. To make sure you are able to use the scope in low light condition, opt for a spotter with at least 70mm objective lens diameter. Other important features include magnification, housing material, lens mountings, and surface coatings.
Here in this detailed round-up post, we have reviewed and briefly introduced 8 of the best spotting scopes from the top brands. These enlisted spotting scopes have proven their performance by providing high-quality results and people have admitted their level of quality and suitability according to the various conditions and requirements.
We also have discussed features that everyone should consider when buying a spotting scope. When you want to buy an ideal spotting scope, the major factors you need to consider are your needs, viewing environment, and convenience. Once you are sure of these, it will be easier to select the right scope that fulfills exactly what you want.
How To Choose A Spotting Scope?
Video Credit: OpticsPlanet
Hopefully, you are now ready to make your final choice with confidence as you have all the baseline knowledge that you ever needed about the best spotting scopes.