9+ Best Spotting Scopes of 2024

Review of The Best Spotting Scopes

Spotting scopes are a significant investment for hunters, shooters, and wildlife enthusiasts. Extensive research into various brands, models, and specifications is common practice before settling on a purchase.

We explored the emerging category of compact scopes—ideal for backcountry and travel—with objective lenses between 50-56mm and magnification of 13-39x and 15-30x.

These lightweight, backpack-friendly models are becoming increasingly important in the world of sports optics.

Our Picks of The Best Spotting Scopes on The Market

Nikon Monarch FIELDSCOPE 82ED-A W/MEP-20-60 ,…
  • 20x to 60x Magnification range
  • Advanced Apochromat Optical System with ED (Extra-low Dispersion) Glass Minimizes Color Fringing to the Furthest Limit of the Visible Light Range
Vortex Optics Viper HD Spotting Scope 20-60×85…
  • The Viper HD 20-60×85 Angled spotter is packed with features for incredible glassing and high end optical performance. A multi-position eyecup provides proper eye relief while a locking collar allows the scope to rotate into different viewing positions.
  • The HD optical system comprised of premium components generates vivid high-definition images. XR anti-reflective coatings on exterior surfaces help obtain brighter views in low-light situations.
Sale
Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope, Green,…
  • Item Package Dimension: 19.72L x 12.8W x 7.4H inches
  • Item Package Weight – 8.7 Pounds
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Gosky Newest 20-60X80 HD Dual Focusing Spotting…
  • 【Dual speed focus system】New design coaxial two-speed focusing wheels allow for SMOOTH & ACCURATE focusing. The upgraded high configuration lens provides better, brighter and clearer optics
  • 【High Magnification】The spotting scope offers powerful variable zoom magnification 20X-60X, 45 degree angled eyepiece ergonomic design allows more comfortable viewing. Field-of-view is 100.5-52.5ft/1000yds, help you see targets from long range. Perfect for target shooting, hunting, bird watching wildlife, spotting moon, traveling, hiking, camping, archery etc
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Wozel 25-75X80 Spotting Scopes for Target Shooting…
  • 【Variable 25x to 75x Powerful Magnification】: Our spotting scopes has adjustable powerful 25-75x zoom magnification allows you to lock onto your target and zoom in for more detail. It’s the best choice spotting scopes for hunting, bird watching, wildlife watching, hiking, archery, scenery, outdoor sporting, astronomical observation etc.
  • 【80mm Large Object Lens】:Fully multi-coated 80mm green film objective lens provides a field of view at 82.9-48ft/1000yards. The quality BAK4 Porro prism optics increases light transmission and makes your field of view brighter and clearer, even at a distance, you can quickly adjust the focus, then quickly lock on to the target and zoom in.
Gosky Updated 20-60×85 Dual Focusing Spotting…
  • Variable 20x to 60x magnification and dynamic lens focusing system – makes it easy to zoom in. Perfect for archery, bird watching, wildlife watching, hiking, camping, scenery, outdoor sporting, astronomical observation etc.
  • Fully multi-coated 80mm green film objective lens provides a field of view at 96.9-52.5ft/1000yards. The quality BAK4 Porro prism optics increases light transmission and make your view brighter, clearer and delivers crisp images
Bushnell unisex adult Bushnell 887520B Trophy…
  • Trophy Xtreme 20-60×65 is built on the same great platform as our previous model but now comes in black rubber armor and it provides a cheaper option for those not needing a tabletop tripod. Best-in-class brightness makes it an easy choice as well as a top-performer
  • Fully Multi Coated – Multiple layers of anti-reflective coating on all air-to-glass surfaces deliver bright, high-contrast images.
IBQ Spotting Scope, 20-60x85MM Spotting scopes for…
  • 【HD Magnification】Our spotting scopes has 20- 60X,and 85MM high magnification and dynamic lens focusing system, field of view is 1000M, also comes with a tripod, phone adapter, carrying bag.
  • 【BAK4 Roof Prism】Our Spotting scopes for target shooting use high-quality BAK4 Paul prism optics to increase light transmission, and the lenses are multi-layer coated. This makes your field of view brighter and clearer, even at a distance, you can quickly adjust the focus, then quickly lock on to the target and zoom in.Great for target shooting, hunting, bird watching wild Animals, moon viewing, travel, hiking, camping, etc.

Best Overall: Meopta MeoStar

Meopta Optics 575710 MeoStar R2 2.5-15 x 56 BDC-3…
  • ILLUMINATED – Hunting R2 Scope goes with a brand-new advanced illumination system, featuring eight levels of reticle brightness; Offering the versatility for shooting over snow covered fields in the pre-dawn hours or on a clear new-moon evening
  • WATERPROOF AND FOGPROOF – MeoStar R2 Gun Scope is waterproof, submersible, and fully protected against humidity, rain, and snow; Also it is purged and sealed with inert Nitrogen gas to provide fogproof performance

The Meopta MeoStar S2 82 is not just another spotting scope; it’s a top-tier option with a real-world price significantly lower than its European counterparts, offering exceptional value. Here’s a breakdown of its performance:

  • Optical Performance: Excellent
  • Mechanical Performance: Very Good
  • Design: Very Good
  • Price/Value: Good

Key Features

  • 82mm objective lens
  • Angled eyepiece
  • Interchangeable 20-70x eyepiece; optional 30-60x wide-angle
  • Central focus wheel
  • Retractable sunshade
  • High-quality extra-low-dispersion glass
  • Magnesium alloy body
  • Lifetime warranty

Pros

  • Superior optical clarity and resolution
  • Precise focus and zoom controls
  • Exceptional coating quality
  • Consistent edge-to-edge sharpness
  • Vivid colors and contrast
  • Significantly cheaper than similar high-end models

Cons

  • Separate purchase for body and eyepieces
  • Relatively heavy at nearly 4 pounds with eyepiece
  • Less robust tripod foot
  • Inconsistent warranty service

The MeoStar stood out during our testing, especially in low light conditions and high resolution tasks. Despite its high magnification, the scope maintains a clear and broad image.

It particularly excelled in a field test viewing grizzly bears from 1,300 yards, where it outperformed other models by maintaining brightness and detail even at higher magnifications.

Great Buy: Athlon Cronus G2 20-60×86

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Athlon Optics 311004: Cronus G2 20-60X86 Spotting…
  • Apochromatic lens system Helps in converging refracting colors into one focus point, producing greater contrast, sharpness, and color definition
  • UHD glass Gives you an advantage with an image that has little or no chromatic fringe for the clearest and sharpest image

The Athlon Cronus G2 represents incredible value with solid performance across the board, making it an outstanding budget-friendly choice.

  • Optical Performance: Good
  • Mechanical Performance: Very Good
  • Design: Good
  • Price/Value: Very Good

Key Features

  • 86mm objective lens
  • Fixed angled eyepiece
  • Center focus mechanism
  • Magnesium alloy construction
  • Retractable sunshade
  • Pebble-textured exterior

Pros

  • Includes a nylon carrying case
  • Reasonably high-quality optics
  • Affordable price
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • Minor looseness in adjustment controls
  • Noticeable distortion at the edges at high zoom levels
  • Unclear benefits of UHD glass designation
  • Average performance at higher magnifications

Despite some optical limitations at higher powers, the Athlon Cronus G2 offers a robust and tactile experience, recommended for those seeking a durable full-sized scope without the high-end price tag.

Maven S.1A 25-50×80 Spotting Scope

Maven S.1A 25-50 X 80mm FL Spotting Scope…
  • 80mm fluorite (FL) objective lens for superior low light performance.
  • 25x-50x zoom keeps your image in the sweet spot of performance and brightness.

Key Specifications

  • Objective Lens: 80mm
  • Eyepiece Style: Angled
  • Focus Mechanism: Center-barrel
  • Exterior: Orange, black, and gray
  • Eyepiece: Fixed, non-removable
  • Features: Retractable sunshade, magnesium/polymer body

Performance Overview

  • Optical Quality: Good
  • Mechanical Build: Very Good
  • Design Aesthetics: Excellent
  • Cost Efficiency: Very Good

Advantages

  • Equipped with high-definition fluorite glass
  • Features responsive and tactile controls
  • Boasts a rugged exterior with diamond-cut texturing
  • Offers a lifetime warranty
  • Provides great value for its price

Drawbacks

  • Performs poorly in low-light conditions
  • Image quality decreases at higher magnifications
  • The eyepiece cannot be changed

The Maven S.1A stands out with its striking design, winning the informal “eye-candy” award for its aesthetic appeal. Despite its mid-range optical performance, it offers excellent mechanical and design qualities at a competitive price.

Vortex Razor HD 13-39×56 Compact Spotting Scope

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Vortex Optics Razor HD Spotting Scope 13-39×56…
  • The Razor HD 13-39×56 Angled spotting scope is a compact, lightweight, high performance spotting scope for hunters looking to keep weight and space taken up in the pack to a minimum.
  • Using an HD optical system optimized with select glass elements and XR Plus lens coatings, it delivers exceptional resolution, cuts chromatic aberration, and provides outstanding color fidelity, edge-to-edge sharpness, and light transmission.
  • A smooth helical focus dials in razor sharp resolution and keeps the scope trim for easy packing. The removable eyepiece features a twist up and down eyecup for ideal eye relief.

Overview

Optical Performance: Excellent
Mechanical Performance: Good
Design Quality: Very Good
Value for Money: Good

Key Specifications

  • Objective Lens: 56mm
  • Eyepiece Orientation: Angled
  • Focus Type: Center-barrel
  • Chassis Material: Magnesium
  • Tripod Compatibility: Arca-Swiss mount
  • Eyepiece: Removable

Strengths

  • Features high-quality glass
  • Newest addition to the Razor HD series
  • Includes a protective neoprene field cover
  • Superior control mechanisms
  • Effortless tripod mounting

Weaknesses

  • Challenges with the eyepiece attachment
  • Non-rotating barrel
  • The integrated Arca-Swiss mount simplifies setups

Detailed Review

The Vortex Razor HD 13-39×56 is an innovative addition to the esteemed Razor HD lineup, offering exceptional imaging capabilities in a compact form. Its superior optical glass effectively minimizes color distortion and other visual anomalies, pushing this model to the forefront of compact spotting scopes in low-light performance, second only to the renowned Swarovski in terms of resolution.

However, the scope’s mechanical aspects could use some refinement. The attachment mechanism for the eyepiece can be troublesome, prone to cross-threading without clear feedback on whether it is correctly attached. Additionally, a protective metal collet can become loose, risking exposure of the internal components to dust and moisture. The stiffness of the focus and magnification controls also detracts from the user experience.

Despite these mechanical setbacks, the Vortex Razor HD 13-39×56 has many redeeming qualities. Its compatibility with Arca-Swiss tripod heads enhances its usability by allowing direct, hassle-free mounting. The robust, textured exterior ensures a secure grip while resisting wear and tear. This model’s balance and ergonomics are exemplary within its class.

Leupold Gold Ring Compact 15-30×50 Spotting Scope

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Leupold GR 15-30x50mm Gold Ring Compact Spotting…
  • Model #120375 – GR 15-30x50mm Gold Ring Compact Spotting Scope with a Shadow Gray finish
  • 100% Waterproof and fogproof

Overview

The Leupold Gold Ring Compact 15-30×50 stands out for its ultra-light, highly portable design. This model, which continues the legacy of Leupold’s renowned Gold Ring and Mark 4 series, aims to combine compact efficiency with robust functionality.

Specifications

  • Objective Lens: 50mm
  • Design: Angled, dog-leg configuration
  • Focus: Side focus mechanism
  • Body: Magnesium chassis
  • Eyepiece: Fixed, non-removable
  • Size: Extremely compact

Performance Metrics

  • Optical Quality: Good
  • Mechanical Durability: Below Average
  • Design Practicality: Average
  • Cost Efficiency: Good

Key Benefits

  • Weight: Only 21.5 ounces, making it the lightest in its category
  • Length: Just 11 inches, enhancing portability
  • Color: Unique shadow-gray finish
  • Accessories: Includes a custom-fit neoprene field cover
  • Tripod Use: Can be used effectively without a tripod

Limitations

  • Tripod Stability: Challenges with tripod mount stability
  • Focus Control: Stiff power ring, problematic for quick adjustments
  • User-Friendliness: Right-side focus can be inconvenient for left-handed users

Despite its heritage, the Leupold Gold Ring Compact faced some hurdles in testing. The primary issue was the instability of its tripod mount due to a less durable plastic-on-plastic connection. After some adjustments, including shimming the adapter, the scope’s performance improved significantly.

The scope’s optical quality is competent, though it doesn’t match up to the higher standards set by larger objective lens models in the test, especially in low-light conditions. Moreover, its reverse porro-prism system, referred to as the “Folded Light Path” by Leupold, presents some challenges in targeting due to its unconventional aiming requirements.

Revic Acura S80a 27-55×80 Spotting Scope

Revic Acura S80a Spotting Scope
  • Fixed magnification 22X reticle eyepiece
  • Included variable magnification 27-55X eyepiece
  • Included carry/travel case, neoprene cope cover and eyepiece cap covers

Key Specifications

  • Objective Lens: 80mm
  • Eyepiece Style: Angled with options
  • Focus: Center-barrel
  • Features: Retractable sunshade, composite and aluminum body
  • Included: 22-power eyepiece with reticle

Performance Overview

  • Optical Quality: Good
  • Mechanical Build: Very Good
  • Design: Good
  • Value: Very Good

Advantages

  • Provides long-range spotting capabilities
  • Includes reticle eyepiece with both MOA and MIL references
  • Offers precise control settings
  • Compatible with digiscoping adapters

Drawbacks

  • Slight optical aberrations noted
  • Performance declines in bright lighting
  • Limited performance in dim lighting conditions

The Revic Acura S80a, a newcomer in the spotting scope market, brings utility and precision, especially useful for long-range shooters.

Nikon Monarch Fieldscope 82ED-A 20-60×82

Nikon Monarch FIELDSCOPE 82ED-A W/MEP-20-60 ,…
  • 20x to 60x Magnification range
  • Advanced Apochromat Optical System with ED (Extra-low Dispersion) Glass Minimizes Color Fringing to the Furthest Limit of the Visible Light Range
  • Field Flattener Lens System Delivers Sharp Images all the Way to the Periphery

Key Specifications

  • Objective Lens: 82mm
  • Eyepiece: Angled
  • Focus: Fast center-barrel wheel
  • Chassis: Aluminum-alloy
  • Features: Field-flattener lens system, extra-low-dispersion glass

Performance Overview

  • Optical Quality: Very Good
  • Mechanical Build: Good
  • Design: Very Good
  • Value: Good

Advantages

  • Exceptional color fidelity and clarity
  • Features a balanced reverse tripod foot
  • Comes with a durable field case

Drawbacks

  • Offset eyepiece design may be challenging for some users
  • Lacks magnification indicators
  • Shallow depth of field at high zoom levels

The Nikon Monarch Fieldscope, known for its advanced optical system, offers premium performance, making it a top choice for serious birders and naturalists.

Conclusion: Choosing Your Ideal Spotting Scope

When selecting a spotting scope, consider the type of viewing you’ll be doing, the environments you’ll be in, and the ease of use. Full-size scopes are better for stationary observation, while compact models offer portability for field activities. Evaluate the glass quality, focusing mechanism, and design features that match your specific needs.

Ultimately, the best spotting scope for you depends on balancing performance features with price, ensuring that you get the most out of your outdoor observations.

FAQs About Spotting Scopes

What is a spotting scope?

A spotting scope is a small, portable telescope optimized for observing terrestrial objects. It is more powerful than typical binoculars and is commonly used for bird watching, wildlife viewing, hunting, and long-distance photography.

How does a spotting scope differ from a telescope?

Spotting scopes are designed for daytime use and feature a lower magnification range compared to astronomical telescopes. They usually include practical features like waterproofing, fog proofing, and a rugged design suitable for outdoor use. Spotting scopes also provide an upright image, unlike many telescopes which produce an inverted image.

What are the key features to look for in a spotting scope?

Key features to consider include:

  • Objective Lens Diameter: Larger lenses allow more light, improving visibility in low light conditions.
  • Glass Quality: Look for high-density or extra-low-dispersion glass for clearer and sharper images.
  • Magnification: Typically ranges from 15x to 60x, suitable for various distances.
  • Focus Mechanism: Should be smooth and easy to adjust.
  • Eyepiece Type: Decide between a fixed or zoom eyepiece based on your needs.
  • Body Style: Choose between straight or angled based on your typical viewing setup.

What is the best magnification for a spotting scope?

The best magnification for a spotting scope depends on your specific use. For general purposes, a magnification range of 20x to 40x is versatile enough for clear views without excessive hand shake or the need for a very stable tripod.

Can I use a spotting scope for astronomy?

Yes, spotting scopes can be used for basic astronomy, such as viewing the moon or brighter planets. However, they are not ideal for deep-sky viewing due to their limited magnification and smaller objective lenses compared to astronomical telescopes.

Are spotting scopes suitable for photography?

Spotting scopes can be excellent for digiscoping, which involves attaching a camera to the eyepiece of the scope. This setup is particularly useful for wildlife photography where the subject is at a considerable distance.

What is the advantage of an angled spotting scope?

Angled spotting scopes are ideal for prolonged periods of observation as they require less bending of the neck, making them more comfortable for use when looking upward or when sharing with people of different heights.

How important is the tripod in using a spotting scope?

A sturdy tripod is crucial for using a spotting scope effectively, especially at higher magnifications where hand shake can significantly blur the image. The tripod ensures a stable viewing platform, essential for clear, detailed observations.

What should I know about the eyepieces of spotting scopes?

Eyepieces on spotting scopes can be either fixed or zoom. Fixed eyepieces offer a single magnification level, which is typically higher quality and lighter. Zoom eyepieces provide a range of magnifications, offering more flexibility in viewing different distances.

How do I care for my spotting scope?

Care for your spotting scope by:

  • Regularly cleaning the lens with a suitable optics cleaner and a microfiber cloth.
  • Storing the scope in a padded case when not in use to protect it from bumps and scratches.
  • Avoiding extreme temperatures and moisture to prevent damage to the optical elements.

What is ED glass in spotting scopes?

ED glass, or extra-low dispersion glass, reduces chromatic aberration, which results in a clearer and sharper image with better color fidelity. It is particularly valuable in high-end spotting scopes.

Can spotting scopes be used in rainy conditions?

Many spotting scopes are waterproof and fog proof, making them suitable for use in rainy or humid conditions. Always check the product specifications to ensure that the model you are considering offers these features.

What does a larger objective lens diameter mean for a spotting scope?

A larger objective lens diameter means that the scope can gather more light, which is beneficial for viewing in dim conditions. Larger lenses generally offer brighter images but can make the scope heavier and less portable.

How do I align a spotting scope with my camera for digiscoping?

Aligning a spotting scope with a camera for digiscoping typically involves using a special adapter that fits over the eyepiece of the scope and attaches to your camera. This setup requires careful alignment to ensure the camera’s lens is centered with the eyepiece for clear images.

What are the limitations of a compact spotting scope?

Compact spotting scopes are lighter and more portable but generally have smaller objective lenses and lower magnification ranges. This makes them less effective in low-light conditions and for very distant objects.

How can I test a spotting scope before buying?

To test a spotting scope before buying:

  • Check the scope in various lighting conditions.
  • Test the focus mechanism to ensure it is smooth and accurate.
  • Examine the clarity and detail at the edges of the view.
  • Try different magnifications to ensure clarity is maintained across the range.
  • Ensure the build quality feels robust and durable.

What warranty should I expect with a spotting scope?

Warranties on spotting scopes can vary widely by manufacturer. Many reputable brands offer limited lifetime warranties that cover defects in materials and workmanship but not accidental damage. Always read the warranty terms carefully before purchasing.

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Speaking Events Best Fit:

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  • Church Conferences
  • Military Veteran Events
  • At Risk Youth Programs
  • Business Growth Events
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  • Online Marketing Events

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