An Expert Buying Guide on Spotting Scopes
No self-respecting bird or nature watcher will dare to step out and indulge in their favorite hobby without ever (EVER!) consulting the best spotting scope reviews to get a great-performing terrestrial observation device. Yep, if you love birds, looking at them through the most powerful spotting scope available in your price range will surely bring you tons of satisfaction.
Objective Lenses and Eyepieces
Products featured in the best spotting scope reviews can have objective lenses of two sizes. Large scopes come with big objective lenses between 77 and 88 mm. 50 to 65 mm measurements are for small scopes with small objective lenses. Better resolution and relatively brighter image are provided by big scopes, which also come with a larger exit pupil that enables easy line up with a camera when digiscoping (photography with a field spotting scope and a digital camera).
Scopes with angled eyepieces have users peering down, while models with straight eyepieces have the user peering straight ahead. Angled eyepieces enable a more restful viewing for extended periods, as the free eye stays directed toward the ground. They also allow overhead subject study and for a pair of individuals with different heights to use a single device without having to adjust the tripod’s height. Most North American birdwatchers choose the top rated spotting scopes 2019 with angled eyepieces.
Scopes with straight eyepieces can be easier to aim at initial use. They do not necessitate raising the head higher than the horizon, which can alert game.
Optical Glass Grade
Two grades of glass are provided by high performance optical lines. High-density, fluorite, Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) or APO glass grades are able to deliver slightly sharper, more color-accurate and brighter image. However, a product in this category can manage to be the best spotting scope 2019 even if it just uses a basic grade of glass when it is integrated with a more powerful eyepiece. However, some people still go for units with high-density glass, as the slight difference between the image quality of the two grades may become significant when spotting the field marks you want to see.
Fixed-Power or Variable Eyepiece?
Many models and makes are outfitted with fixed magnification eyepieces. This is aside from an eyepiece with low- and high-power adjustability, called a zoom eyepiece. The zoom eyepiece is what makes units land easily in the top spot in the best spotting scope reviews, as it allows magnification increase that enables delivery of larger images. Fixed eyepieces, on the other hand, deliver no change in the depth of field, size of the image and the field of view.
Nowadays, fixed and zoom lenses are considered equals. Fixed or wide-angle lenses are user-friendly, as they offer a larger field of view at the same magnification as zoom eyepieces. Zoom eyepieces are versatile and show their strength when the subject is positioned against harsh sunlight.
Top Rated Spotting Scopes in 2019
It can be a huge task to have to read tons of the best spotting scope reviews when all you’d rather do is just spot some birds with a superior product that is easily available on the market. Let us make things easier for you by describing three different units considered top sellers in the industry.
The Ultima 80 3.1″/80mm Spotting Scope Kit from Celestron is a terrific prismatic device outfitted with an 80mm objective. Like all the other models in the Ultima line, this unit is paired with an eyepiece. It delivers views that are laterally correct and right side up. This means good celestial and terrestrial viewing. The Ultima 80 is the best spotting scope 2019 due to its waterproof capability that endows it with reliable durability.
The angled viewing is simple to use for observing birds perched high above you. It also enables easy sharing among users with different heights. The spotting scope features built-in T-mount threading on the barrel of the eyepiece, which enables you to use the device as an ultra-telephoto lens to pair with your digital or film SLR camera through the simple integration of a T-mount adapter designed for cameras.
The objective lens has multi-layer anti-reflection coatings that ensure outstanding light transmission, which is also brought about in combination with the BAK-4 prisms and the zoom eyepiece. The peep sight allows effortless initial sighting of the subject. The sleek spotting scope is housed in a rubber-armored and padded soft case with zippers, which protects the device even while it is mounted on a tripod.
Lightweight at 1.9 pounds, the Tasco World Class 20-60×60 Zoom Spotting Scope offers value for money with the supplied versatile tabletop Tripod. You won’t have to worry about how to position the device so you can do hands-free viewing of birds and prey. The mid-sized angled spotting scope has a large 60mm objective lens diameter that collects light efficiently to enable better viewing even in low light conditions. This makes the device perfect for casual stargazing, birdwatching and hunting.
The 45-degree viewing angle is a comfortable feature for most people, as it offers hassle-free observing even for long periods. That makes the Tasco World Class 20-60×60 Zoom Spotting Scope perfect for birding. It also enables easy sharing of the scope between people who are not as tall as each other, as they need not adjust the height of the tripod too much. The spotting scope features fully coated optics, which signifies that all air to glass surfaces have anti-reflection coating that assists in light transmission.
The device offers convenient focusing and zoom adjustments so fine-tuning the view is effortless and problem-free. The tripod also mounts on your vehicle, so you can stay safe–and ready to quickly drive away, when necessary– while still being able to observe the wildlife.
The Barska 20-60×60 WP Colorado Spotting Scope is outfitted with multicoated optics in a robust and made-for-the-wilds weather-sealed housing. The straight body design lets you enjoy views while looking straight ahead and not spooking the prey with any unnecessary movement. This optical device is designed for bird watching and hunting, as it has a wide zoom range that also enables easy spotting at the rifle range. You can even use it to do lunar observations!
The 20x magnification allows you to have an expansive view of the entire landscape, and then zoom to higher magnification to enjoy focusing on the fine details. The spotting scope utilizes multicoated lenses that enable excellent light transmission. The BK-7 Porro prisms are able to transmit bright and perfect contrast images in sharp detail even when light conditions are particularly poor. The weather-sealed body ensures all-weather use. The zoom dial has grooves to ensure delivery of comfortable extended viewing many years down the road.
The flip-down lens cover ensures easy on and off to protect the lens. The included pan-head tripod enables easy fixing and adjustments to let you expand your viewing width from side to side and up and down so you can find the field marks you need.