A spotting scope serves helps you to view subjects without needing to get close. Binoculars do the same, however they will only provide a relatively small amount of magnification, which likely won’t meet your needs. The same applies to rifle scopes. You should consider getting a spotting scope if you want something that’s more fitting.
There are many different spotting scopes in today’s market. Choosing a specific scope can be quite tricky, considering that they vary in specifications. You’ll find that some models have better specifications than others. Below are our top 5 shooting spotting scope reviews with buying guide to help make sure that you get the best scope for your needs.
Best Shooting Spotting Scope Comparison Table
|Our review||Authentic ROXANT Grip Scop||6x||5.5x2x2in||$|
|Our review||Gosky 20-60X 80 Porro Prism Spotting Scope||20x-60x||17.7x6.7x4.3in||$$|
|Our review||Emarth 20-60x60AE Waterproof Angled Spotting Scope||20x-60x||13.8x3.9x2.9in||$|
|Our review||Polaris Optics Explorer High Powered 12X50 Monocular||12x50||3.1x1.9x6.4in||$|
|Our review||Celestron 52550 80mm Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope||20x-60x||20x7x6in||$$|
|Our review||Alpen Waterproof Fogproof Spotting Scope||20x-60x and more||20x12x8in||$$$|
|Our review||Redfield Rampage 20-60x60mm Spotting Scope||20x-60x||16x7.5x5.8in||$$$|
Top Shooting Spotting Scope Reviews
There are lots of features that can be found in a spotting scope. These are crucial elements, each having a purpose, and they differentiate some models from others and place them in different categories. Your primary goal ought to be determining the type of scope that fits your needs, enabling you to choose which model is perfect for you. The shooting spotting scope reviews below feature the top 5 spotting scopes, compiled based on what they have to offer. The guide below takes into consideration the price and user reviews.
If you are looking for a spotting scope that is capable of producing very clear and quality images without distortion, then you should consider the Authentic ROXANT Grip Scope. This spotting scope comes with a x30 WIDE VIEW lens and a 6X magnification power which allows you to see objects six times closer. Unlike many scopes out there that don’t give eyeglasses wearers the opportunity to comfortably use them, the ROXANT comes with a retractable eyecup that allows both eyeglasses and non-eyeglasses wearers to comfortably use it without encountering any problems.
The scope’s multi coated optics, coupled with its high definition optical glass, provides you with optimal clarity regardless of the weather condition. In addition to this, the scope also features a beaded focus ring that allows you to easily focus the scope for a better viewing experience.
You don’t need to worry about the scope accidentally slipping out of your hands and falling thanks to the no-slip comfort molded grip that the manufacturers incorporated into it. The scope’s waterproof and fogproof construction also saves you from worrying about the scope coming into contact with water or moisture. You can therefore safely use the scope in any weather condition and for all manners of outdoor activities, including water sports.
What accessories come with the Authentic ROXANT Grip Scope? We hear you ask. When you purchase this scope, besides the scope itself, the package comes with following items: a case, a cleaning cloth and a neck strap.
In addition to being an excellent scope for hunting, the ROXANT is also very good for numerous other outdoor activities such as hiking, shooting, bird watching, etc.
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Features at a Glance
- No Slip Comfort Molded Grip.
- Focus Ring.
- HD Optical Glass with Multi Coated Optics.
- High Quality.
- Wide Vision Scope.
- Very easy to use.
- High quality optics.
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If you love engaging in activities such as hunting or bird watching, then you need a powerful spotting scope that has the ability to give you clear, bright and crisp views. And a good example of such a powerful scope is the Gosky 20-60X 80 Prism Spotting Scope from Gosky Optics. With a quality prism, a dynamic focusing system, a 45-degree angled eyepiece and a fully multicoated 20x-60x magnification eyepiece, the Gosky 20-60X 80 Prism scope is renowned for providing one of the brightest and clearest views and images in the industry.
Other notable features of the scope include a weatherproof construction (waterproof and fogproof) that allows you to use it in any weather condition. It also has a very effective shock-absorbing rubber armor and a magnalium framework which combine forces to give the scope its renowned durability.
This scope also has a digiscoping cell phone adapter that allows you to take images and videos of distant objects with the camera of your smartphone through the scope’s eyepiece. With a measurement of 450 x 170 x 110mm and a weight of 800g, the scope is a pretty portable one. Talking about portability, this scope comes with a durable metal tablet tripod which is as portable as the scope itself. The main function of this tripod is to steady the scope so you can get an excellent viewing experience. In addition to the tripod that you get with the purchase of this scope, you also get the following items: a phone clamp, two lens caps, a carrying bag and a manual that gives you guidance on how to use the device.
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Features at a Glance
- 100% waterproof and fogproof.
- Portable metal tripod.
- Eyepiece shield.
- 45-Degree Comfortable Angled Eyepiece.
- Durable and portable.
- Durable magnalium framework.
- Shock-absorbing rubber armor.
- It is easy to use.
- Digiscoping cell phone adapter.
- Fully multi-coated 80mm objective lens.
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The Emarth 20-60x60AE Waterproof Angled Spotting Scope from Emarth is widely considered as one of the best rated spotting scopes for hunters and wildlife observers thanks to the fact that it comes equipped with numerous useful technological features such as a variable 20x to 60x magnification, 60mm objective lenses that are angled at 45 degrees, multicoated optics, BK-7 prism, a dynamic lens focusing system and a field of view of 39-19m/1000m. All these features allow the Emarth spotting scope provide you with very clear, bright and crisp viewing when engaging in activities such as hunting, viewing nature, etc. under a wide range of conditions.
Other notable features of the scope include its shock-absorbing rubber armor that offers it protection from damage, an ergonomic design that makes handling it very convenient and an excellent waterproof and fogproof construction that makes it possible for the scope to be used in the rain or in foggy conditions without any problems.
The scope comes with a carrying case that not only protects it but makes traveling with it from one place to another very safe and convenient. In addition to the carrying case, other items that you receive when you purchase this scope include a portable tripod, a lens cap and a manual.
With a weight of 640g mm and a measurement of 350 x 100 x 75mm, the scope is pretty light and easy to carry around.
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Features at a Glance
- Multicoated lenses.ens.
- 20X to 60X magnification.
- 60mm objective lens.
- Dynamic lens focusing system.
- BK-7 glass.
- Waterproof and fogproof construction.
- 45-degree angled eyepiece.
- Ergonomic design for easy handling.
- Shock-absorbing rubber armor that enhances grip.
- 12-month warranty.
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One of the best monoculars on the market that has the ability to give you a powerful magnification as well as a clear and bright field of view is the Polaris Optics Explorer High Powered 12X50 Monocular from Polaris Optics. With a 12X50 magnification power, this monocular gives you the opportunity to view things up to 12 times their real sizes in a bright and very clear field of view. The Polaris Explorer comes with a number of features that sets it apart from many other monoculars on the market, and one of such features is its powerful 50mm lens that gives you the ability to see images in a crystal clear and crisp manner even in low light conditions.
Another big advantage of the Polaris Explorer in comparison to similar monoculars is its waterproof and fogproof construction which not only locks out moisture and dirt but also prevents internal fogging.
When it comes to durability, this monocular is one of the few out there that set the bar. The Polaris Explorer’s renowned durability comes from a number of features, most notably its sturdy external armor which not only allows it to withstand extreme use but also protects it from being damaged by unexpected impacts and other things. In addition to this, the monocular comes with a non-slip grip which makes it extremely difficult for it to accidentally slip from your wet palms.
Despite having a dimension of 3.1(L)x1.9(W)x6.4(H) inches and a weight of just 14 oz, the Polaris Explorer gives you images that are of higher quality than much larger units can offer.
As if all this isn’t enough, when you purchase the Polaris Explorer, you get the following items: a portable tripod that helps in steadying the monocular for a hands-free viewing, a microfiber cleaning cloth for lens cleaning, a carrying case that allows the monocular to be safely and comfortably transported, and lens and eyepiece covers.
If you are a hunter or a person who loves to watch birds or nature, then it is very likely that the Polaris Explorer would fit the bill.
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Features at a Glance
- 12X50 magnification.
- 246 ft/1000yds field of view.
- Waterproof and fogproof construction.
- Non-slip grip.
- Highly durable yet light.
- Fully multi-coated.
- External armor for protection.
- Tripod for a steady hands-free viewing experience.
- 50mm lens.
- Lifetime warranty.
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This is a high-performance scope bearing outstanding optical qualities. It is reasonably lightweight at just 57 ounces and measures 20 x 7 x 6 inches, making it easily portable. It’s slightly heavier than other scopes, thus allowing for good control and solid grip. It’s gray and white exterior gives it a professional, appealing look while its sleek cylindrical body allows it to fit in almost everywhere.
The Celestron 52250 80mm Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope’s optical quality is much better than most other scopes found in the market today. This scope provides an 80 mm objective size, thus effectively making images 50% brighter. The device is conveniently waterproof, so it can be used even in extreme, rough conditions.
This shooting spotting scope design has been specially thought out to make it quite comfortable, regardless of whether you’re a first-time user or experienced. This hunting scope is a popular model among most hunters and wildlife fanatics. It’s a great bargain, having a reasonable price and promising top notch optical quality and durability.
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Features at a Glance
- Multi-coated lens.
- Zoom eyepiece.
- Sight tube for quick targeting.
- Soft carrying case.
- Conveniently waterproof.
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This is a nitrogen-filled, dustproof, waterproof and shock-resistant scope. It provides top quality optics, performing flawlessly in all kinds of weather conditions.
Included is an Alpen aluminum case that has internal molded foam protection. With its fully multi-coated lenses, it delivers a high degree of light right to your eye at any time of day. There is also an included micro-adjustable metal table-top tripod. This can be adjusted both horizontally and vertically.
The Alpen Waterproof Fogproof Spotting Scope will give you an incredible experience, and the lifetime warranty improves the deal. The Alpen 788 spotting scope provides super detailed views enhanced by its powerful optics. This spotting scope produces bright images thanks to the massive 80mm objective lens.
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Features at a Glance
- 20-60x zoom magnification.
- Multi-coated optics.
- Shock-resistant, waterproof & fogproof; Nitrogen filled body design.
- Included micro adjustable metal table top tripod.
- Lifetime warranty.
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This is a very affordable scope, offering extreme magnification along with the practical benefit of the angled eyepiece. Its 20-60x range suitably allows for an optimum balance of the linear field of view and magnification. The fully multi-coated lenses incorporated with a premium BAK4 prism provide for outstanding image brightness.
The Redfield Rampage 20-60x60mm Spotting Scope features a retractable lens shade that helps reduce glare. The sturdy polycarbonate body reduces its weight to 43 ounces and it is nitrogen-filled, making this scope fogproof and waterproof in almost all field conditions.
The Rampage Spotting Scope comes in a kit featuring a view-through soft case, compact tripod, a soft storage case, eyepiece and objective lens covers, and a neoprene neck strap. Being angled at 45 degrees, the eyepiece provides enhanced comfort as well as ease of use. This scope gives you all the features you’ll need while out in the field as an outdoors enthusiast or hunter.
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Features at a Glance
- Exclusive image resolution & clarity.
- Fully multi-coated lenses.
- Waterproof & fogproof.
- A premium BAK4 prism.
- Body is lightweight and sturdy.
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Things to Consider Before Buying a Shooting Spotting Scope
There are many design and optical standards you’ll have to keep in mind if you’re considering purchasing a spotting scope. These scopes are ideally suited for activities such as bird watching, hunting, nature study, scenic observation and telephotography. You’ll find that some scopes have capabilities others don’t have. Before venturing into the market to buy a spotting scope, there are certain very important things that you must take into consideration, which if you do not do might end up causing you some regrets in future. Some of these important things you need to take into consideration before getting that scope you have set your eyes on include the following:
Objective Lens Size (Light-gathering Capacity)
One of the most important things to look out for in a monocular before purchasing it is its objective lens. But what really is the objective lens of a monocular? An objective lens is simply the lens that is the closest to the object you are using the scope to view. The primary function of an objective lens is to gather light in order to provide an image that is bright and clear. These lenses come in different sizes. The larger an objective lens of a scope is, the more light that will be transmitted through the scope, and vice versa. Since a larger objective lens gathers more light, it automatically results in brighter and clearer images. However, larger objective lenses do come with a number of disadvantages, most notably they make the scope heavier. Another down side of large objective lenses is the fact that they tend to be quite pricier than smaller lenses.
Don’t forget to consider the glass quality of the scope before purchasing it. Why is the quality of the glass important? It is important for so many reasons. For example, you cannot get a very good viewing experience through your scope if the quality of your glass is poor. The best spotting scope lenses are usually made of high density or extra-low dispersion, fluorite-coated glass. You can quickly notice differences in image clarity and brightness when comparing those made with high-quality glass and those made with standard glass. It is important to note that despite a larger objective lens having the ability to give you clearer and brighter images than a smaller lens, if the quality of the smaller lens is higher than that of the larger lens, the smaller lens will likely give you clearer images than the larger lens. This is why it is advisable to go for quality over size whenever you find yourself confused choosing between size and quality.
NOTE: Top quality scopes have lenses that are with HD (High Density), ED (Extra-low Dispersion), or FL (Fluorite) glass. Scopes with these high quality glasses provide brighter and clearer images than scopes made of standard glass.
Different spotting scopes make use of various focusing methods. The most common of these methods are knob focusing and helical focusing. With the knob method of focusing, a small knob located at either the scope’s top or rear is turned in order to focus on objects. While this method is often slow, it tends to be very accurate. On the other hand, the helical focusing method involves the turning of a collar or band around the scope’s eyepiece or barrel in order to focus. While this method allows for swift focusing, it is not often as accurate as the knob method. Because of their slowness, knob focusing scopes are often best suited for viewing or photographing slow-moving or sedentary objects whereas the faster helical method is preferred when viewing or photographing objects that are moving fast.
If you are an eye-glasses wearer, then the amount of eye relief that a scope offers should be something that you take very seriously. But what is eye relief? And why is it very important to eye-glasses wearers? The eyes relief of a scope is basically the distance between your eye and the scope’s eyepiece at which you can comfortably obtain a complete field of view. The reason eye-glasses wearers need scopes with longer eye reliefs is simply because their eye-glasses push their eyes far away from the eyepiece of the spotting scopes, thereby preventing them from enjoying a full field of view. Therefore if you wear eye-glasses or spectacles, the only way you can obtain a full field view with your scope is if the scope comes with a generous or long eye relief. Most eye-glasses wearers are generally able to obtain a comfortable and complete field of view with scopes whose eye reliefs are between 12mm and 15mm in length. In the absence of eye reliefs, some scopes also feature retractable eyecups that allow both eye-glasses wearers and non eyeglasses wearers to get the best viewing experience.
Straight Spotting Scope or Angled Spotting Scope
The straight-through design and the angled design are the two main designs that refractor spotting scopes come in. Choosing between these two designs is another very important decision to make when purchasing your spotting scope. What is the difference between a straight spotting scope and an angled scope? A straight-through spotting scope is one that usually has both its eyepiece and barrel in the same horizontal plane. An angled scope, on the other hand, is a scope whose eyepiece is angled at 45 degrees from the barrel. Some angled scopes can also have their eyepieces angled at 90 degrees from their barrels.
Below are the advantages and disadvantages of both designs of scopes:
Advantages of the Straight Spotting Scopes
- They make finding and tracking moving objects easier, which is why they tend to be more suitable for beginners than the angled scopes.
- As a result of their purely straight nature, they don’t consume much space in your pack.
- They tend to be less expensive than the angled scopes.
- The purely vertical nature of their eyepieces makes it more difficult for things like rain drops and dirt to make their way onto the lenses of their eyepieces.
- These scopes make it easier for one to view targets that are below one’s own level. For example, these scopes are good for glassing from a tree stand.
- They work better than angled scopes when using them with window mounts or clamps.
Disadvantages of Straight Spotting Scopes
- Many find straight body scopes to be not as comfortable as angled scopes when using them for extended periods of time to look at high targets such as flying birds in the sky since they can put a lot of strain on the neck.
- They tend to be a little bit more challenging using them for digiscoping than angled scopes.
Advantages of Angled Spotting Scopes
- Angled scopes allow you to easily share your views with others. For example, after you have sighted in and focused on an object like a bird, people of varying heights can share that view with you without the need to adjust the height for each person.
- Many find it more comfortable using these scopes – especially for prolonged periods.
- Unlike the straight spotting scopes, the angled scopes are easier and more comfortable to be used to observe high targets such as birds in the sky.
- Angled scopes do not require the use of very tall tripods, which is very important when it comes to keeping them stable.
- Since they don’t require much tripod height and are easier to be kept stable, many find them to be more suitable for digiscoping than the straight scopes.
Disadvantages of the Angled Spotting Scope
- As a result of their angles, many beginners tend to struggle with them when it comes to using them to spot game.
- They are not as good as straight scopes when it comes to spotting with a window mount in a vehicle.
- As a result of the angle of these scopes, it is easier for things such as dust, rain drops, dirt, etc to collect on their eyepieces.
- Because of their design, these scopes tend to take up more room in a backpack than straight body scopes.
The lens coating of a spotting scope plays a very significant role in improving the scope’s image quality by maximizing the amount of light transmitted into the lens and reducing reflection. There are several types of lens coatings, most notably fully coated, multi-coated and fully multi-coated. A scope with multi-coated lens gives brighter and higher quality images than one with a fully coated lens. So also does a scope with fully multi-coated lens produce clearer, brighter and more quality images than one that is multi-coated. The best performing spotting scopes on the market often come with lenses that are fully multi-coated. You should note that scopes with fully multi-coated lenses tend to cost more than scopes with other types of coatings.
Fixed Power Eyepieces or Zoom (Variable) Eyepieces
Choosing between fixed eyepieces and zoom (variable) eyepieces is also another very important decision you have to make when purchasing a spotting scope. So what is the difference between fixed power eyepieces and zoom eyepieces? A scope that has fixed eyepiece basically comes with a fixed magnification. Such a scope has depth of field, field of view and image sizes that never change. A scope with a zoom (variable) eyepiece, on the other hand, has a magnification that can be increased, thereby making the size of the image larger while diminishing both the field of view as well as the depth of field. Both types of scopes have their merits and demerits. For example, many find scopes with fixed lenses to be easier to use since they provide the user with a larger field of view, thereby making it easier for the user to spot his or her target.
Waterproof and Fogproof Construction (Weatherproof Scopes)
Except you are going to be using your scope solely indoors, then getting a scope that has a waterproof and fogproof construction is a wise thing to do. Luckily, today, a number of spotting scopes come with hundred percent waterproof constructions or fogproof constructions to prepare the scope for bad weather. Others also feature both waterproof and fogproof constructions. The average waterproof spotting scope is often sealed with an O-ring which not only has the ability to lock out water and moisture but can also prevent dust and dirt from going inside the unit and ruining your view. The average fogproof scope, on the other hand, usually has its barrel filled with a gas such as nitrogen or argon so that it does not fog from the inside. But do you really need a weatherproof scope? Absolutely! A scope with a waterproof and fogproof construction is very important in the sense that it not only protects the scope from being damaged by water and dirt, but also improves the overall performance of the scope. You can use weatherproof scopes in any environment or weather condition – even in wet conditions without worrying much about water ruining the scope.
So does it mean that I should not buy a scope that isn’t weatherproof regardless of the fact that I like the specs that it comes with? You can go ahead and buy a scope that isn’t waterproof providing you do the following things:
- Reduce the amount of risk you expose the scope to and be mindful of the types of environments and weather conditions that you use the scope in.
- Get a waterproof cover that can protect the scope from water.
If you cannot do the things above, then it is advisable that you purchase a weatherproof spotting scope. While weatherproof scopes tend to be more expensive than non-weatherproof scopes, they are definitely worth it and will give you some peace of mind whenever you are out with your scope.
You should also make sure that you check the durability of your scope before buying it. This is very important in the sense that oftentimes scopes are used in rugged terrain – especially if you are a hunter. Investing in a very durable spotting scope is one of the best things you can do since this will ensure that your scope lasts for a very long time.
It is worth noting that scopes that are weatherproofed tend to be more durable than those that are not weatherproofed.
Also, in addition to a weatherproof construction, scopes with the following features tend to be among the most durable on the market:
- Rubber armoring: A scope that comes with an external rubber armoring or a rubber-armored coating has more protection than one that comes without this feature. The rubber-armoring protects the scope from being damaged by things such as corrosion, rough handling and sudden falls.
- Ergonomic design: A scope with an ergonomic design enhances grip. This not only makes it comfortable holding the scope but also reduces the likelihood of the scope accidentally falling from your grips.
- Non-slip grip: As the name implies, a scope that comes with a non-slip grip is slip resistant. This slip resistant body makes the scope more secure in your hands since it provides you with a solid hold even in wet conditions. A scope with a non-slip grip is not very likely to accidentally slip out of your hands as compared to one that is devoid of this feature.
Oftentimes people don’t think much about tripods when buying scopes. But tripods can also play very important roles in enhancing the performance of your scope and improving your overall viewing experience. While it is not absolutely necessary that you use your spotting scope with a tripod, you should know that tripods have the ability to significantly enhance your viewing experience by keeping the scope steady for excellent hands-free viewing. A number of scopes come with free tripods when you purchase them. Sometimes the scopes might be extremely good and powerful but the tripods that they come with might be flimsy and not very good. In such cases, regardless of how powerful the scope is, you might not get the best viewing experience thanks to the flimsy tripod. It is therefore advisable that you buy a good tripod to replace that flimsy one so you can get the best out of the scope.
NOTE: Not all scopes can be mounted on tripods. For example, handheld scopes often don’t come with the ability to be mounted on tripods since they don’t require them in the first place.
Digiscoping is basically the process of using your digital camera or the camera of your smartphone to take images or videos through your spotting scope’s eyepiece. Some spotting scopes come with digiscoping cell phone adapters that provide users the unique ability to take images and videos of distant objects by simply placing a digital camera or a smartphone’s camera on the eyepiece of the spotting scope. This feature is extremely useful in the sense that it gives the user a cheaper way to take bright and clear videos and photos of the distant world without the use of a telephoto lens. So if you are interested in digiscoping, then all you need to do is get yourself a spotting scope that features a digiscoping cell phone adapter.
If you are going to be using your scope both during the daytime and at nighttime, then you need to purchase a scope that comes with night vision. A night vision scope gives you the unique opportunity to see objects clearly in very low light conditions or in total darkness. These scopes often come with infrared illuminators, which make it possible for you to see in the dark. While not too many scopes come with night visions, it is not difficult finding a good night vision spotting scope from some of the most prominent brands in the optics manufacturing world.
The last but not least thing to take into consideration before purchasing a spotting scope is the issue of warranty. Beware of spotting scopes that do not come with warranties. As a matter of fact, we recommend staying away from scopes that are not backed by warranties. Regardless of how beautiful and durable a scope might look like, if it does not come with a warranty from its manufacturers, then you would be taking a huge risk using your hard earned money in buying it. Today, almost all good spotting scopes come with all manners of warranties, including lifetime warranties. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s warranty for the scope you are interested in before making the final decision to buy it.
Features of a good Spotting Scope at a Glance
Good spotting scopes often have certain features in common. Some of these features include the following:
- Produce bright, crystal clear and quality images.
- Come with reasonably large objective lens that will increase the scopes’ light gathering ability in order to produce brighter and clearer images even under low light conditions.
- Are weatherproof (i.e. they come with waterproof or fogproof constructions or both).
- Have durable and rigid constructions.
- Have rubber armors that protect them from any shock or sudden impact.
- Come with ergonomic design for comfortable handling.
- Are lightweight and portable.
- Have long eye reliefs or retractable eyecups that allow both eyeglasses and non-eyeglasses wearers to use them comfortably.
- Have multi-coated lenses.
- Are backed by manufacturers’ warranty.
You should always ensure that you purchase what you can afford, keeping in mind that the scope should give you good value for the money. The task of buying a top quality scope that fits your needs involves more than just knowing its specifications.
The performance of spotting scopes in the field tends to vary, however the guide above is an excellent point to start from. By following this guide, you can be sure to obtain good value for your money. You’ll also be sure to have the right model that best suits your preferences.