Are you looking for one of the best spotting scopes for your outdoor activities?
If so, I would like to show you what’s most important when selecting this product – you’ll see my top picks for 2017 too.
How To Pick The Perfect Spotting Scope
Selecting the right product is essential and there’s a few things to look for. They are:
- Understand the magnification and lens diameter
- What coating does the lens have
- Consider your own personal needs and budget
First off, you need to understand magnification settings and lens diameter. When you go to pick out a scope you’ll see either one of these two:
- 18-36 x 50mm
- 36 x 65mm
The first number(s) before the x represent the magnification of the product. If the magnification can be adjusted there’s a range of numbers, like in the first example – these are known as variable power scopes. If the magnification is fixed you’ll only get one number, like in the second example – these are known as fixed power scopes.
Of the two, variable power is definitely more appealing. It allows you to decrease magnification when scanning an area and increase when you want to study an object or animal more closely. Some like fixed power for its simplicity, though.
The number after the “x” is the lens diameter and represents how wide the lens facing the target is; a wider lens means a larger field of vision and more brightness.
Next, you need to look at the coating of the lens. Coating is a chemical process applied to the lens which improves seeing conditions. It increases brightness on low light days and makes things clearer. There’s a few different coating options and they are:
- Coated: One lens surface receives the chemical processing
- Fully Coated: All lens receive coating
- Multi-Coated: One lens receives multiple coatings
- Fully Multi-Coated: All lens receive multiple coatings
More coatings mean a better product and better products are more expensive.
Lastly, you need to consider your own personal needs. Spotting scopes have a wide range when it comes to price. You can find lower quality ones for around $100 and higher ends ones for over $2,000. Consider what you’re using the scope for and your budget and pick a product based off that.
Now that you know what to look for, let’s take a look at my top picks.
Vortex Diamondback Spotting Scope
The Vortex Diamondback is one of my favorite spotting scopes for many reasons. First off, it’s not cheap or overly expensive. It’ll cost around $399 – not bad when you consider other high quality scopes can cost over $2,000. This is a variable scope, so you can change magnification settings and it features:
- Waterproofing and fogproofing so you get optimal vision at all times
- Multi layer coating that brightens and clears your view
- Rugged and durable design will absorb drops and resist scratches
- Angled design best for low mounts which adds extra stability
This scope is compact and lightweight too. The Diamondback is one of the best values on this list and one you’ll be happy to use.
Vanguard Endeavor Spotting Scopes
The Vanguard Endeavor does an excellent job balancing performance and price. It’s not cheap ($449 to $515) but it won’t completely break the bank either. It comes in a few different sizes and offers one of the largest fields of vision possible (82mm). If you purchase this product I know you’ll love:
- The Multiguard Coatings that enhance your vision for an ultra clear view
- It’s completely waterproof and fogproof
- Adjustable magnification so you get the exact closeness you desire
It’s also well built and durable – it won’t break or scratch from a drop. This is definitely one of my favorite scopes.
BSA Spectre Spotting Scope With Tripod
Company: BSA Optics
The BSA Spectre is a very affordable product (especially if you consider it comes with a tripod) and will only cost around $95. If hunting, or bird-watching or any other outdoor activity is your life, and you want a top of the line spotting scope, this isn’t the product for you. This is geared towards hobbyists and people that aren’t too serious. The latter group will like that it comes with:
- Adjustable magnification which allows for custom views
- Large field of view
- Multi coated lens will keep things clear and bright
Definitely manage expectations if you purchase the Spectre. In the right situation it has value but it won’t knock your socks off.
Swarovski HD Spotting Scope
You were told to manage expectations with the last product – there’s no need to do that with the Swarovski HD. This is hands down one of the best scopes on the market and one any serious outdoor enthusiast will love. Quality comes at a price, however, and in this case a very hefty one. The HD will cost over $2,000. Most won’t consider paying this much but for those who value high quality optics you’ll like the:
- Rubber armoring that protects this scope from damage and dings
- Special coating shows a bright picture even at dusk
- Gives the absolute clearest and most crisp optics possible
The HD is perfect for all kinds of people, especially photographers. Additionally, this product comes with a lifetime warranty. It’s expensive but you’ll never need another one in your life.
Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope
Bushnell is extremely well known in the optics world (they make great rangefinders, rifle scopes and binoculars) and their Trohpy Extreme is a pretty affordable product – it’ll only cost around $210. This spotting scope has a few choices in terms of magnification (you can get 16-48 x 50mm or 20-60 x 65mm) so everyone’s needs will be met. Other nice features include:
- Very portable and won’t unnecessarily weigh you down
- Waterproof and will stand up to all conditions
- Multi coated lens ensures brightness and vivid colors
The trophy Extreme comes with a tripod and a lifetime warranty too – not bad for such a low price!
Vortex Viper HD Spotting Scope
Here we have another Vortex scope and the Viper HD is very, very high quality. This product delivers one of the most crisp views possible and has special coatings to maximize brightness. You’ll also like that it comes with:
- Armortek technology protects the lens from dirt, scratches and oil
- Completely waterproof and fogproof
- VIP Warranty ensures Vortex will replace or repair any damages to this product, for life with no questions asked
The Viper HD gets excellent reviews on Amazon and if you’d like to see what others are saying about it, click below:
Emarth Waterproof Spotting Scope
This Emarth scope isn’t as high quality as some of the other products on this list and shouldn’t be purchased by anyone looking for top of the line performance. This is geared towards people trying out sports that require optics and for people less serious. The price is very, very cheap at around $68 and it comes with:
- A tripod and carrying case
- Mutlicoated lens enhances your field of vision
- 1 year warranty
When you pay so little for a spotting scope you can’t expect too much. However, if you just want something to gaze into the woods with or into your backyard with, this Emarth product will work for you.
Leupold Kenai HD Spotting Scope
Leupold is another well known name in the optics world and their Kenai HD is a pricey (around $1,500) and quality product. If you’re serious about hunting, birdwatching, shooting or photography, the Kenai HD may be what you’re looking for. Those people will love the:
- Crystal Clear views so you get from the coated lens
- Adjustable magnification ensures you get exactly what you need at all times
- Comes with a hardshell carrying case
I know a few people that swear up and down about this product. There’s a lot to like, that’s for sure.
Nikon Prostaff 5 Spotting Scope
The Nikon Prostaff 5 is an excellent product that’s not cheap or overly expensive – it costs a little over $400, which is very fair for Nikon quality. I really like that this scope is so light weight and compact; this makes it easy to carry around and to transport. Some other features I like are the:
- Tactile rubber grip that makes this product slip proof in your hands
- Will deliver a clear picture no matter the weather or fog
- Very durable and will absorb drops without breaking or scratching
The field of vision is very large too. All things considered, the Prostaff is one of the best values on this list and worth every penny.
Zeiss Conquest Gavia 85 Spotting Scope
The Zeiss Conquest Gavia 85 is one of the top 3 scopes on this list. It delivers an unbelievably clear view and magnifies up to 60x. Like all top of the line products, the Gavia 85 is expensive and will cost around $1999. If you can afford this you won’t regret it – especially when you consider the:
- HD lens system let’s you see the fine details on animals and objects very far away
- The compact and lightweight design makes this scope extremely transportable
- The durable design and lens that won’t break, crack or scratch
Obviously if you’re looking for optics to use in your backyard you won’t need this spotting scope. It’s made for people that love the outdoors and spend all their free time out there.
Celestron Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope
The Celestron Ultima Zoom is perfect for anyone on a tight budget – it’ll only cost around $169. In my mind this is one of the best spotting scopes for under $200. It has some really nice features too, which include:
- 80mm lens gives you one of the widest field of visions possible
- Variable magnification between 20 and 60 let’s you control what you see
- Delivers bright views and comes with a lifetime warranty
This product gets excellent reviews on Amazon and almost all are positive. If you want to see what real customers are saying about the Ultima Zoom, click below:
Redfield Rampage Spotting Scope
Price: $$ Rating: 4.8/5
The Redfield Rampage is another good spotting scope for under $200. It has variable magnification so you can switch up between 20x and 60x and has a large field of vision. Also, it comes with:
- Polycarbonate materials which make the Rampage lightweight and easy to carry
- Multicoated lens gives you very bright and clear views
- Anti-glare technology
Everyone I know that uses this product is very happy with it. If you’re not looking to break the bank and still want quality, this is a scope you should consider.
Vortex Razor HD Spotting Scope
The Vortex Razor HD is one of the best spotting scopes on the market and one all serious hunters and outdoor enthusiasts should consider – if you can afford it (it’ll cost around $1,500). Again, you get what you pay for and in this case you’re getting quality. Some top features include:
- High resolution views and Armortek protection prevents scratches
- Anti-fogging technology and is resistant to water
- Easy to focus and use
I personally can’t name a single person that’s been let down by a Vortex product; they really are phenomenal and this is one of their best scopes.
Simmon ProSport Spotting Scope With Tripod
The Simmon ProSport is another product that’s quite cheap and shouldn’t be used by people expecting optimal performance. This is more for people that want to goof around a little in the woods or leisurely scope from their porch – basically people that are less serious. If you’re one of those people you’ll like that the ProSport comes with a:
- Soft case to transport the item and tripod
- Anti-glare protection and is waterproof
- Durable and can absorb falls and drops
This piece of equipment won’t give you the clearest view but at $83, it does its job.
Meopta MeoPro Spotting Scope
Last on the list is an awesome spotting scope and the Meopta MeoPro is a product all outdoor enthusiasts will absolutely love. The MeoPro has one of the largest field of visions and the lens is 80mm! You won’t miss a thing with this piece of equipment. Also, it features:
- Anti-glare technology delivers a crisp and clear view
- CentricDrive design makes it easy to hold and operate
- Extremely durable and will survive in all weather conditions
This spotting scope meets military standards too. You know you’re getting a quality product if the military deems it useful.
Don’t Make Life Hard With Low Quality Optics!
When you’re outdoors it’s suppose to be relaxing – it’s a time to get away from things. Having a quality spotting scope is a great way to ensure you have the best day possible. No matter your needs or budget there’s a product on this list that’s perfect for you.
If you have any questions about what you’ve read, comment below and I’ll make sure to respond as fast as possible. You can let friends and family see by sharing on social media.
Are you ready to fully enjoy your time outdoors this year?