Are you a bird watcher or a hunter, investing in the best spotting scope is definitely a prudent step to take.
But you may ask, ‘Why do I need one?’ Well, by owning one,
You’ll have a piece of equipment that boasts better clarity and magnification compared to any optic equipment.
The combination makes it an ideal tool to spot animals even from a long distance.
What To Look For When Choosing a Spotting Scope?
When in the market for the spotting scope, the most important thing to consider is your needs. Prior to settling on one, it is crucial to consider several tips. This is because figuring out the best brand to settle for might be challenging. Use these factors to help you land the perfect spotting scope:
Have a Budget
Exactly how much do you intend to spend on a scope? Setting a budget and sticking is wise. After having a price, the next thing you need to do is narrow down to the different models available.
If your budget is tight, you need to aim for an inexpensive brand tailored for basic features. When it comes to spotting scopes, the higher the cost, the better the quality you stand to enjoy.
Two types of spotting scopes exist – straight body scope and an angled body scope. Both of these work excellently in different situations. Nonetheless, in particular viewing circumstances, one might be preferred over another.
For instance, the angled body scope is ideal for looking targets across a flat ground or up. It’s also the preferred choice when viewing from your car’s window. On the other hand, a straight body scope is ideal for viewing targets when you’re in a higher position.
Lens coating is handy when it comes to viewing images at extremely high magnifications. Your scope’s lens can be fully multi-coated, multi-coated or fully coated.
Every lens coating improves light transmitting through the lens. The quality received is based on the coating you choose for your specific scope.
Some companies don’t include the price of an eyepiece in the total cost. For those that include it, the eyepiece might be unremovable.
The high-end spotting scopes feature removable eyepieces that aren’t included in the scope’s price. Make an informed choice in terms of the eyepiece feature when making a purchase.
Top-notch spotting scope lenses are usually made with ED (extra-low dispersion), HD (high density), or fluorite-coated glass.
The difference in image clarity and brightness between the high quality scopes is particularly noticeable in the low-light viewing conditions like late evening or even in high power.
Base your decision on whether to settle for high quality and high priced glass depending on the type of birding you intend to do.
Light Gathering Capacity
Just like with binoculars, a spotting scope’s light gathering capacity is usually indicated by the size of its objective lens. Depending on the model you choose, the value is normally between 50-100mm.
The larger objective lenses normally offer brighter images generally. Nonetheless, they make your scope heavier or difficult to pack in your luggage.
People who wear eyeglasses must pay attention to the eye relief amounts offered by their scope. With a longer eye relief, the optics usually direct the focal point further and further back behind the eyepiece.
This makes sure that you can view the complete field of view. Typically, eye relief is provided in millimeters within a model’s technical specifications. In general, 12-15 mm of an eye relief is usually adequate for a good number of eyeglass wearers.
Just like with binoculars, several scope designs bring with them movable and folding rubber eye-cups in order to accommodate the non-glass eye wearers.
When it comes to spotting scopes, focusing is usually done in several ways. With your focusing collar, the entire scope’s barrel is rubberized or knurled as you twist the entire barrel in order to ensure the image is sharper.
Another design utilizes a smaller focus knob that’s typically mounted at the scope’s top near the eyepiece. As much as such designs are slower in terms of their usage, they usually permit a more precise focusing. Your dexterity and hand size might be an issue.
Therefore, you need to try every style in order to settle for the one that meets your needs.
With zoom lenses, you can change the magnification power from as low as 20x to as high as 60x just with a simple, single adjustment. They usually provide a definite advantage especially for those into bird watching.
They enable convenient scanning at a quick shift and low power in order to enjoy the higher power to look at details. However, just like with camera lenses, zoom lenses normally do not gather light. Additionally, as you increase the magnification, any binocular or scope suffers from less light.
It also suffers from more vibration and narrower field of view. What is more is the fact that high powers magnify the effects of haze as well as shimmering heat distortion that’s seen over water or any other flat expanses.
Aperture is simply an objective lenses’ diameter. Normally, it’s measured in millimeters. When it comes to hunting application, the size ranges between 50-90mm.
As much as the aperture size is related directly to an instrument’s weight and size,focal length and optical design also play a huge role. An objective lenses’ size determines the light amount that enters an optical system.
Increased aperture size brings with it a potential increased clarity and detail. Several factors determine the actual observed image brightness. Some of these factors include:
- Focus length of your scope’s objective lens
- The relationship of an aperture to the eye pupil size with the magnification (exit pupil)
- The transmittance of coatings or optical system
You can use three types of focusing mechanisms in your spotting scope. These are knob focuses, rack and pinion as well as helical. The characteristics of every type make a huge difference in how brilliantly or otherwise it adapts to your precise application.
The helical focusers are rubberized or knurled collars around your scope barrel where you change the focus fairly rapidly whenever you turn the focus ring. They are perfect for those that want to observe moving objects.
Rack and pinion designs are found commonly on astronomical telescopes. They boast of providing smooth and fast focusing. Nonetheless, most components are external.Knob focusers allow for accurate and precise focusing.
- Close focus – Close focus makes it easier to view minuscule details or targets.
- Rubber coating – This feature is handy for those that intend to go hunting in rough terrain.
- Tripods – Choose a spotting scope with tripods to offer support.
- Portability – If you plan to settle for a heavy equipment, consider one that’s compact. Vice-versa is also true.
5 Best Spotting Scope For Target Shooting
#1: Vortex Optics Viper HD Angled Spotting Scope
The Vortex Optics Viper HD Angled Spotting Scope brings with it HD Lens Elements. This feature ensures you enjoy nothing short of top-notch image quality as well as performance.
The spotting scope also brings with it an increase in light transmission to guarantee maximum brightness.
Many experts value this scope because of its ability to allow an overall lower mounting height that maximizes stability even in windy conditions.
Others like it because of its comfort especially when glassing for extended periods. It’s also able to allow the use of a lighter and smaller tripod that’s waterproof.
The Vortex Optics Viper HD Angled Spotting Scope has optics, which are sealed with o-rings in order to prevent debris, dust, and moisture from finding their way to the spotting scope.
- O-ring seals
- Multi-coated air-to-glass surfaces
- Adjustable Eyecup
- Objective lens cover, custom fitted case and in-built Picatinny accessory rail
#2: Vanguard Endeavor HD Spotting Scope
The Vanguard Endeavor HD Spotting Scope helps you experience nature up close. It boasts an outstanding field of view as well a long-range visibility that’s ideal for nature enthusiasts and master birders.
The spotting scope provides high-quality ED glass to enable you to view things in detail. With the scope’s multiguard coatings, you’ll be able to enjoy an array of layers of anti-reflective compounds that result in optimal light transmission thus producing an incredibly clear field of view.
The scope is also fog proof and waterproof. It features an O-ring seal that completely prevents debris, dust, and moisture from gaining entry to the optics. Furthermore, it has nitrogen purging to prevent fogging even in extreme weather conditions.
- Premium ED glass for brilliant colors and exceptional detail
- Advanced multiguard coatings for a higher light transmittance
- Detachable angled eyepiece
- In-built sunshield that eliminates glare in direct sunlight
#3: Vortex Optics Straight Spotting Scope
What is for sure is the fact that the Vortex Optics Straight Spotting Scope was born perfectly in to the bloodline of the popular Diamondback family. The spotter delivers nothing short of an outstanding performance.
For sure, it’s a superb choice whenever you need a heavyweight performer when it comes to a light and compact package. The spotting scope guarantees such a bright image throughout the magnification range.
True to every other Diamondback optics, the rugged construction of the scope stands up to the rough use whenever in the field.
- Dielectric coating
- XR anti-reflective coating
#4: BARSKA Waterproof Spotting Scope
The BARSKA Waterproof Spotting Scope features a zoom capability that enables viewers in fixed locations to scan wide field areas.
Bring distant objects to the eyepiece through high magnification in order to catch all details at high definition contrast.
The combination of a 90mm and 90x multi-coated camera lenses, you’re surely guaranteed of enjoying a detailed high contrast view. There is no doubt that this scope will add a brand new dimension to your viewing pleasure.
The fact that it fog proof and waterproof ensures it’s an incredible performer in any kind of weather/terrain and climatic conditions.
- Max magnification 90x
- Min magnification 30x
- 90mm objective lens
- Fully coated high-density glass optics
- 100% waterproof as well as fog proof protection
- Dry nitrogen-purged
- High-quality optics
#5: Redfield Rampage Spotting Scope
Redfield’s Rampage Spotting Scope kit consists of a compact tripod, a carrying case with strap together with a view-thru case with a fold-down objective & eyepiece access that enables you to use your scope without getting rid of the scope.
The scope also brings with it a completely multicoated optical path, which utilizes a BaK-4 prism glass in order to maximize clarity and image brightness.
Its combination of a 20-foot and 20-60x zoom range close focus distance makes the configuration perfectly suited for immediate to long-range observations.
- 20-60 magnification
- Straight view eyepiece configuration
- Fully multicoated optics
- Twist-up rubber eyecup
- Tripod mounting foot, ¼’’-20 socket
- Rubber armored polycarbonate housing
- Bak-4 prism glass
Even though some of the spotting scopes highlighted above might not be within the financial reach of some people, I can authoritatively say that the five above are definitely the best the market has to offer.
It is also my hope that this primer has given you an idea of what the perfect spotting scope should look and feel like. If you’re in the market for a scope, feel free to choose from any of the above.
As for the best one, in my humble opinion, the Vanguard Endeavor HD Spotting Scope emerges tops. It is all around. it features an array of top-notch attributes that will certainly address all your hunting needs. Use it today and discover its magic.