A Comprehensive Guide to Buying the Best Spotting Scope

By Kevin Arnold | Hunting

Jan 14
Best Spotting Scope

Are you a naturalist looking to observe nature in the finest? If you fall into this category, then you will need a spotting scope which is easy to find yet difficult to pick. With so many options in the market, customers seem to have a hard time in picking out the best spotting scope that helps them utilize it for their desired purpose.

There are many products on the market that fall into this category,but some offer a few essential features only or some lack of quality and durability. This article is compiled with a number of the best products so that you can take a look at each of them and find out what the market has to offer. The buying guide is further written to help you with the focal points while purchasing. If by the end of it, you are still confused then take a look at the answered customer queries.

Types

Spotting Scopes

There are many different types of spotting scopes available in the market; each seems to trump the other. Hence, when you go to the market, you need to be sure that you know all the types so that you can pick the one that is the best for you.

Aside from the additional features that are offered, there are three main types of spotting scopes that are available. The following are the three discussed in brief detail

The first style is the Straight-through type scope. In this type, the whole contraption is made straight,and the eye level is on the same axis as the lens so that users can see on the straight path on which the light travels. These are the most basic in all of the commonly categorized and unless there are special features, there typically the cheapest too.

The second one of them is the angles type scope. In this type, the eyepieces are angled to about a 45-degree angle to the path of where the light travels. These are highly suitable for spotting birds or looking at elevations from the ground with convenience. 

The last one out of these three is the shoulder spotting scopes. They are not different is their eyepiece structure or otherwise. In fact,they have a brace that can fit onto the shoulder for ease. They are highly stable and can be angles or straight. Users like to use them as a tripod since they do provide the stability of the stand.

​Product

Type of Product

​Angular Vs. Straight

Rating

​Price

Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope

Best Spotting Scope

​Hunting

Angular

Vortex Razor Optics RZR-50A1

​Hunting

Angular

Excalibur Tact-Zone Illuminated Scope -best spotting scopes for target shooting

​Crossbow

​Straight

​Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope -Best Spotting Scope for Hunting

Hunting

​Straight

Gosky 20-60X 80 Porro Prism Spotting Scope

​Bird watching

Angular

Gosky Titan 12X50 High Power Prism Monocular - Best Spotting Scope for Photography and Observing

​Nature Photography

​Straight

​Celestron 52250 - Best Spotting Scope

​Sightseeing

​Straight

Product Reviews

Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope 

Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope

The Bushnell trophy spotting scope is an angles design which is equipped with many features to make it useful for your naturalist activities. The high-quality design comes in a relatively reasonable amount perfect to go with the features that it has to offer.

With over 10 to 60 times magnification and a focus of over 30 feet, you can enjoy using this at a distance to avoid this being a hindrance during the or other purposes.

Main Features

The Bushnell Trophy spotting scope has many features which make it easy to rely on it. The eyepiece is angled at 45 degrees which makes it easy to use for spotting elevated objects from a lower level like birds.

The rubber of this contraption is made with 100% waterproof technology which increases its durability and allows you to be less conscious of the conditions you use it in​.

With over 10 to 60 times magnification and a focus of over 30 feet, you can enjoy using this at a distance to avoid this being a hindrance during the observations for hunting or other purposes.

Amazon customer reviews

 The product is very helpful for me while I go sightseeing. The scope works perfectly for me,and its design is fine for its use. My money went to the right place with this product.

Product Review​​​​

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    G​ood ​​S​cope F​or T​he M​o​ney
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    ​Works perfectly
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    Blurry and very bad field of view almost like a white haziness in the lenses
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    It's good product

Things We Liked

  • ​The waterproof cover which makes it more durable
  • The angled lens makes it perfect for us to see heights
  • A tripod is included with the product
  • It comes with its own hard and soft waterproof case to carry it with convenience
  • The zoom and focus helps in getting a clearer image

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​The lens fogs up very easily
  • It does not have a shoulder suspension for carrying
  • The direction cannot be adjusted in this spotting scope

Verdict 

It works great for many purposes,but the fact that the lens gets easily hazed is not something very ideal about the product. On the other hand, the waterproof rubber and cover ensure a very durable performance in most weather conditions. An additional tripod is a cherry on top for this product.

Vortex Razor Optics RZR-50A1

2.	Vortex Razor Optics RZR-50A1

A vortex optics spotting scope is an angled design scope which holds many features at a price that is higher than the regular expensive scopes. This product has a lifetime warranty by the manufacturer.

Main features 

The Vortex optics spotting scope is designedas an angled scope which is suitable for observing through this on different levels. This product uses high-density glass which is reduced in dispersion making color and resolution very friendly and extremely suitable for observational purposes.

A unique feature that it holds that suddenly seems a very important aspect of any spotting scope is the mounting in height. This product can increase in height, and to accommodate the feature, a stability factor is added so that the item is not affected by the wind and ensures stability during use of longer periods.

The magnification goes from 11 to 33 times. You will find an eyepiece cover, lens cover, and a handy bag in the box as additional material. 

Amazon Customer reviews

The product is lightweightwhich makes it easy to carry and it works well too. I love watching birds with it as its perfect for professional and amateur as well. Even though it is a little expensive, the image quality is exceptional and the price is worth it.

Product Review​​​​

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    ​Excellent scope for the price.
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    ​Good price, very lightweight
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    ​Superb Optics AND customer service!
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    ​Lightweight Packable Gem!!!

Things We Liked

  • ​The extra effort put to ensure that the lens is high density and the resolution is high quality
  • The additional stability put into the item while mounting it
  • The lightweight of the scope
  • An additional cover for eyepiece and lens
  • The magnification which reaches up to 33 times

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​The skin is not waterproof
  • External lenses cannot fit into it for a versatile experience
  • The price is too high for regular budgets

Verdict

 With exceptional qualities, this product still doesn’t seem to be worth the additional spending. You may find something equal to this at much lower price.

Excalibur Tact-Zone Illuminated Scope -Best Spotting Scopes for Target Shooting

Excalibur Tact-Zone Illuminated Scope

The Excalibur tact zone spotting scope is a straight style with a traditional design which offers many features that make it an excellent purchase. It is reasonable in price along with quality manufacturing which results in happy customers. It is also the best budget spotting scope.

Main features

The Excalibur Tact zone is a straight scope which is helpful for outdoor activities like sightseeing and even camping. With the crossbow design, it is made perfect for people that a want to use it for their crossbow experience.

The sleek design of the scope allows an easy to carry feeling and convenient to use. A multicoated lens is made with this scope to ensure image clarity and a red and green illumination helps users see a fine image even in low light.

The product is made with special care to be waterproof so that you can enjoy using it in any weather along with being dustproof; to help you in any conditions. The shockproof features allow theuser to enjoy a sense of durability while carrying it in luggage.

The 30mm tube diameter is perfect for long distance crossbow shots and hunting observations. It can easily be adjusted according to the right focus without any hindrance. Overall, this is one of the best spotting scopes for target shooting.

Amazon customer reviews 

I highly recommend this scope because I love the quality and the price that it has to demand. The clarity of the lens makes it a further attractive purchase and the mechanism is easy to use for me. It works exactly as it should for outdoor activities.

Product Reviews 

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    ​Clarity and precision
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    ​​Great crossbow scope
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    ​Would recommend, great
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    ​​Very nice scope. It was easy to sight in

Things We Liked

  • ​The crossbow shape makes it perfect for crossbow shots
  • Red and green illuminated lens makes it perfect in every light
  • The water and dust-proof makes it less sensitive
  • Shockproof features makes it easy to carry
  • The lens produces clarity in images in every light

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​This model does not attach to a smartphone or camera
  • It is strictly for one purpose only and is not versatile
  • It does not come with a protective case

Verdict

This product gets 4 out of 5 stars from us. It is not a bad one, but its uniqueness reduces the chances for many people involved in it besides for one purpose.

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope Best Spotting Scope for Hunting

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope

The Bushnell banner dusk is a very traditional design, straight in style spotting scope. It comes with traditional features that most people look for while using the product for smaller purposes.  These make it the best spotting scope for hunting.

Main features

The imported Bushnell banner is a straight spotting scope with small features that make is one of a kind. It holds high-quality optics that has high definition clarity in the images that are viewed.

The scope works well in low light as well as high light with a 3-9 times magnification. Dawn and dusk brightness coatings are a technology that is used to help users use it on day and night both.

The whole contraption is made waterproof and dustproof so that you can use it any environment without fearing for its sensitivity. The strong body is shockproof so that it does not break easily and remains robust during your experience.

The adjustments are made to simply fit with one finger adjustment. Users can enjoy a fast focus in the eyepiece with one hand.           

The light weighted material of this product along with a sleek design makes it very easy for users to carry it anywhere that they like without nuisance.

Amazon customer reviews

This scope mounts perfectly and seems like a perfect fit for the price. The optics work very well along with providing a clear image and reduction in images and fog in the lens. It certainly meets all of my expectations with its fine design.

Product Reviews 

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    ​Excellent, clear and bright scope
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    Very pleased I could get this quality for under $70
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    ​Excellent, great quality for a 22 rifle
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    ​Best Buy for the Buck!

Things We Liked

  • ​The simple and sleek design helps you carry it anywhere
  • Easy to install on rifles for spotting
  • Design is waterproof, dustproof, and durable
  • Works excellent in dark and light conditions
  • Multicoated optics give a crisp image

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​The resolution is hard to get used to
  • Users do not have an option of digital scoping
  • It does not come with a carry sack or anything like that

Verdict

This spotting scope gets 4.1 out of 5 stars from us. It is a great option for someone that wants a small purpose, but without digital scoping, it seems unappealing. However, the price is great for what it offers in return.

Gosky 20-60X 80 Porro Prism Spotting Scope

Gosky 20-60X 80 Porro Prism Spotting Scope

The Gosky spotting scope is a high functioning scope which is very reasonable in price. It comes with many different features that make it useful and attractive at the same time.

Main features

The Gosky spotting scope is a unique scope with an angular design that has many additional features. Each one of them makes it better keeping in mind the price and the quality.

A multi coated 80 mm green film lens is attached to this scope which helps in providing clear and crisp images for an enhanced spotting experience. The lens provides a 20 to 60 times magnification with a crisp focus making it highly suitable for elevated focuses like on birds and planes.

A Magnalium framework supports the whole structure making it more durable than ever. The rubber on it is waterproof and ensures maximum durability in the harshest weather. The rubber is also shockproof to save it from easy breakage.

Users can enjoy digital scoping with the options provided on this spotting scope. The product also comes with its own tripod for a better experience.

Amazon customer reviews

This spotting scope is really nice as it is heavy duty. It provides clear optics along with a clear view to me. The high definition scope is very easy to use. I love taking pictures and shooting distance views with this scope since it produces great clarity. The quality is almost unbelievable.

Product Reviews 

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    ​Excellent spotting scope and phone adapter
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    ​Excellent view and magnification
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    ​Works very well with the cell phone and easy to take clear pictures

Things We Liked

  • ​Magnalium framework makes the structure piece together with durability
  • The rubber makes it waterproof along with being shock absorbent
  • The settings for a digital scoping experience is available
  • 80 mm green film allows clear images
  • The magnification is 20 to 60 times

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​The digital set up is not user-friendly
  • The lens seems to fog very easily

Verdict

This spotting scope comes at a reasonable price and is high quality, but a few cons may bring it down a notch.

Gosky Titan 12X50 High Power Prism Monocular - Best Spotting Scope for Photography and Observing

Gosky Titan 12X50 High Power Prism Monocular and Quick Smartphone Adapter

The Gosky Titan spotting scope is a straight styled scope which is a simple enough design to let anyone use with convenience for camping or observing. It supports many phones with its inbuilt system without a hassle.

Main features

The Gosky Titan monocular is perfect for camping trips along with for hunting and watching. The straight design helps users equip their phones with ease. and this can be one of the best for Photography

The lens supports a 12 – 50 times high power magnification. The large BAK-4 prism is attached inside along with a colored lens to help you see more clearly and efficiently. Light transmission is made sharper which allows users to enjoy a clear view even in low lighting.

The rubber armor is shock absorbing which makes it more durable. Paired with a hard framework, this makes for a tightly fitted protection case on the outside which can additionally sustain harsh weather. The stripes on the armor further help in gripping and reducing the chances of slipping.

The package comes with an eyepiece cover, lens cover, smartphone adapter, cleaning cloth, straps, and a carrying bag to carry it all conveniently.

Amazon customer reviews

The product works great for outdoor activities. It seems to be the right size and very easy to use. I like to take pictures with it as well since it is well built and gives a great zoom for sightseeing and for taking pictures. I am very happy to have purchased this product.

Product Reviews 

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    ​Great product - Excellent customer service
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    I will be in the total solar eclipse and don't want to pay for a crazy good camera (my s8 is a great shot)
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    ​High-quality Built Product

Things We Liked

  • ​It is a small and simple design which holds no complications
  • Colored lens help enhance the image quality
  • Can easily be attached to a tripod or any smartphone
  • Rubber armor is shock absorbent and provides a good grip
  • The whole system is water and dustproof

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​Not versatile enough for sightseeing cannot attach an external lens
  • The light reflects on the lens since there is no antireflection quality

Verdict 

 This product deserves 4.5 out of 5 stars from us. Undoubtedly it is a reasonable and simple product; however, the lack of antireflection makes it very unappealing for a few customers.

Celestron 52250 - Best Spotting Scope

Celestron 52250 80mm Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope

The Celestron spotting scope is a straight design which has the ultimate capability of a powerful zoom to make the use better. A lifetime warranty and the features that come with the product help it to be a very satisfactory purchase at a very reasonable price.

Main features:

The Celestron 52250 is a straight style spotting scope which can be used by hunters or for nature activities with many conveniences. It has a multi-coating in optics which ensures durability and better image quality.

This scope may be straight,but users can bend it up to 45 degrees to use as an angles scope.

The lens is not left behind in this best spotting scope, it has an optics zoom from 20 to 60 times. Antireflection coatings are present so that light does not harm the lens and ensures its durability.

A unique feature is that users can remove the rubber from the eye cap and replace it with the camera for high-quality pictures of the spotting.         

Amazon customer reviews

The glass is very clear and it makes it easy to spot targets. The focus feature is very simple and makes the experience enhancing. The wide field view works well in all kinds of light which is one feature I cannot believe I found at such a reasonable price. I love everything it has to offer and I highly recommend it.

Product Reviews 

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     Good Bang for Your Buck with This Scope.
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    ​I really like this scope
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    ​This scope is amazing.
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    Beyond my expectations

Things We Liked

  • ​It can work straight and at an angular view of up to 45 degrees
  • Antireflection make the images better
  • The product is highly durable with the waterproof experience
  • The lens can come off and an external camera can be fit
  • Multi-coating optics help in making the image clear

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​The lens gives a bluish color in the image
  • It is not suitable for people that wear glasses
  • External lenses cannot be attached

Verdict

This spotting scope is great for spotting; and one of the best in the list. We think it is the go to spotting scope.

Buying guide

We understand that the market is filled with the s by several brands. Each one of them is designed to be better than others seemingly, but finding the one that is truly the best needs time and judgment.

Looking at our product reviews, you may have had an idea of how base features are the same while some excel in certain qualities of the scope and some do not do so well.We have compiled this buying guide which is going to help you in determining the focal points of the spotting scopes.

These guidelines will help you in making your experience better and will reduce chances of getting bad quality products from the market.

Choose the body style of the product

Earlier in the article, we have discussed the different types of spotting scopes available for you to choose. Hence, this becomes the first and foremost factor to consider. Out of the three main styles, you need to choose the one that suits the nature of your job or use. Usually,there is no restriction in choosing the body style of the scope, but it will help you ease observing.

For example, if you are planning to spot elevated things like birds and planes, you will not find it very comfortable to be using your straight scope all the time. An angled one will help you in being comfortable as well as fulfilling the purpose.

Check the durability of the product

Even if you spend a penny, you will need to ensure that the product you buy is of the best quality and will last as long as possible. Hence, a focal point shall be the durability of the product. Of course, you will not try to smash it and see how easily it breaks; you will need to look at other factors.

First of all, check if the company has claimed the item to be waterproof. Waterproof is a very typical feature that is offered since even a little moisture can ruin the scope. Also, you may sometimes want to use it during rain.

The second factor is to make sure the product is dustproof. Dust particles ruin the lens and the vision and cause the scope to die earlier than it is supposedly should. This factor will increase the years of your scope.

The final factor to consider is the shock absorbent factor. A rubber or a shock absorbent body will help you in reducing the risk of easy breakage or displacement of thelens if there is anexternal force given a small drop.

All these factors combine to make it durable and robust for a greater life and use.

Check for warranty

Once you have found out the crucial features that make it long lasting, you will need to look at the warranty. Sometimes companies sell fraud claims; however, warranties give much better satisfaction to customers of their purchasing experience.

Make sure to select the right lens

For thebestspotting scope, you will need to look at the lens type which will give the best resolution to you along with providing the highest definition image. The objective lens is seemed to be perfect for the spotting scope.

Objective lenses are a little more expensive than the regulars, but they are worth each penny at the end of the day. They work perfectly in high and low light and provide crisp quality to makes sure that you spotting experience is enhanced.

The great thing is that even if you buy a small lens of good quality, it will be better than buying a huge lens of average quality.

Choose the suitable magnification

Magnification is one of the important factors that you will have to consider. If you are spot scoping, thenyou will need to zoom in and out. Scopes work where binoculars fail to function, which is why you need to take care of this feature. The best option for spotting is the magnifying of 30 times to 40 times. Under these ranges, you will have the finest image quality that is available for your lens.

As the magnificationincreases, the image quality will decrease. So, if you are looking for a lens with more zooming capabilities, so make sure you buy one very high quality and high definition lens which can take the responsibility of not distorting the image at as much zoom as possible. Additional zoom on a cheap lens can ruin the whole thing completely as well.

Take notice of the lens coating 

Lens coating is comparatively a new term in the scoping department since it is made to enhance the lens of your best spotting scope. If you think you will view everything at a much zoomed in position, then you need to go for a coated lens. Your lens can be fully coated, fully multi-coated, or multi-coated in style.

The different coating helps in transmitting the light through the lens at various levels which allows users to make their viewing experience better no matter what magnification and light are used. The finest and most expensive scopes use fully multi-coatings for the best image resolution and a crisp view.

Select eye relief distance

The distance that users can stay away from the eyepiece to continue to have a perfect image is the eye relief. This feature is necessary for users that wear spectacles or for people that like to wear sunglasses.

An eye relief needs to be of ample length which will help users of every single spectacle thickness see clearly. A recommended distance is 14mm which makes everybody happy with the undisrupted resolution in the spotting scope.

Ensure a close focus

Since the purpose of best spotting scopes is to spot things from afar, themost scope will not have a close focus of fewer than 20 feet. If you think you need something with a closer focus, then you can opt for it since the standard distance remains the same in most brands and most styles.

Frequently Asked Questions

We have mentioned earlier that there are so many brands presenting different features and claiming each of their products to be the best spotting scope available in the market. Hence, there is bound to have doubts in mind before opting for the one that is the perfect for your necessity.

Our buying guide may have helped you in understanding the main features that you have to look at, but for prevailing confusions, we have answered the most asked customer questions. These answers are written to the best of our knowledge and help in clearing misconceptions and confusions that come with the scopes.

  • How do I choose which body style of the spotting scope is the best for me?

The body style of the spotting scopeis made for several spotting purposes. Of course, they are different and you may not have a clear idea of which one is for what purpose. The straight ones are best for spotting during hunting or observing far about objects that are still on the same horizon level as you are.

Meanwhile, the angular one is used so that you can easily sit and without tilting your head for a long time, you can spot elevated objects that you want to see without being uncomfortable.

  • Why is waterproof and dustproof so important?

They are not a feature that scope will not work without, but they are still considered significant. The reason behind is simply that you want the product to last long and remain perfect without any malfunctions. Furthermore, you can use the scope in the harshest conditions with even the minutest safety features.

  • Is there any feature that will help me attach a camera or my phone to the scope?

Yes, some scopes come with an additional feature that is especially there to help you in digital scoping. Digital scoping helps you connect your simple scope to your smartphone or your camera and let you take pictures of the vision that you can see through it.

Surprisingly, it is not a very expensive feature so most scopes nowadays will have a little section to attach your digital appliance to it. The result of the pictures will depend on how your camera captures it. If your lens is good in theimage then it is all up to your camera to shoot it better.

  • What angle do the shoulder spotting scopes have?

Shoulder spotting scopes are another type of spotting scopes which holds an additional feature to make them comfortable during your use. These do not have a particular angle as they can be in both styles.

The unique thing about them is that they have shoulder straps which help in making them more convenient for carrying and using during long purpose hours. For instance; if you want to observe an animal for a whole day you will need the shoulder one for convenience.

  • What lens size is ideal?

The lens sizeis determined according to the usage. If you are up for a more professional approach and need a high-quality image, then you will go for a larger lens which can take in more light. These lenses work best in every kind of light and provide crisper images.

Obviously, the field view will also be larger with the bigger lens. The size of larger lenses is usually between 60 mm and 100 mm

Meanwhile, if you are going for leisure like camping or if you are planning to use it in broad daylight, then a much smaller lens will do the trick. It will give a small field with a precise and good view. 50 mm to 60 mm will be the diameter which will also be lightweight and easy to carry anywhere you like.

  • Will a tripod change the spotting experience?

As surprising as it may sound, it will change the experience a lot. When you are using your arms for a long time in one position, the muscles will automatically start shaking,and it will also give you discomfort. Atripod will ensure that the image shakiness is reduced by a large ratio.

Tripods are also essential when you are planning to attach your camera and take a picture. They are used for the same purpose in this case as well. However, before you opt for a tripod, make sure your scope allows you to attach it. They usually have brackets, but some of them lack in those too.

  • How will I be able to use a spotting scope if I wear spectacles?

Another feature that you will find in most spotting scopes is a distance of the eye relief. This feature is specially designed for people that wear spectacles since it can be highly difficult for them to put their eyes on the eyepiece. An ideal distance with theperfect view that you will find at areasonable price is about 14 mm.

  • Are the two-in-one styles a good option?

A few brands produce spotting scopes that are straight but they can be bent to an angle to make it that way. These are a great option if your purpose includes the use of both the styles.

However, make sure that you do not compromise on the quality since they tend to be weaker than the regular kind and can be broken easily. Furthermore, you do not want to spend money on the bendable quality only and divert your focus on the main things which are the lens.

  • What feature will help me with a good grip on the scope?

The handle from where you hold the scope needs to have a good grip so that you can remain comfortable and safe while you are spotting. Usually, a rubber is on that handle, but some of the great brands will have the option for a contoured design for a better grip.

Remember that the grip is equally important than the other features since it will help you hold your contraption better.

Conclusion

After reading this piece, you may have a detailed idea of which spotting scope to buy for the purpose that you are going to use it for. If you are still confused, then read on to know the clear winner for us and why we chose it.

For us, the winner and best spotting scope are the Celestron 52250 which is a highly expensive scope,but we will narrow down its features to tell you why it is still the best. The first and foremost reason is that every feature that they have to offer is secured with the lifetime warranty they give you.

The lens helps you get a much better experience by taking in ample amount of light to provide bright and high-resolution images even in the night. The close focus that this product offers is up to 6.6 feet which makes it one of the most outstanding scopes.

For a unique quality, the brand has made this stable during wind and arm shaking. This stability helps users in gaining the perfect image without being shaky.

Additional security products in the box help in making the product much more attractive even after its very high price.