How to Choose the Best Spotting Scope Buying Guide

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Spotting Scope Buying Guide
A spotting scope is a portable optical instrument. This compact telescope is used to view objects on land and see from a long distance. A spotting scope provides you with more scope with more power or magnification to view any particular purpose. These telescopes are commonly used for hunting birds or keeping the lunch and boat in observation in the sea.

Spotting scopes can be of four types based on its coating characteristics. They also vary depending on its design and optical capacity. So, picking the best spotting scope will not easy for you unless you abide by some particular instructions. Here, I analyzed all the necessary information to help you to Choose the Best Spotting Scope Buying Guide.

Magnification Power

Spotting scope users some lenses with medium range magnification power. The magnification power of a spotting scope starts from 15X which reaches up to 150X. Choosing the scope of the right magnification power is very important to see the desired object. To see any purpose clearly from a long distance, the objective lens of a spotting scope should be at least 60 mm in the diameter. However, you should start with a low magnification power say 20X to 30X to locate the object. When you successfully captured your target, you can then go for the higher capacity.

Choosing Zoom Lenses

The quality of an image depends on the lenses of the spotting scope. Larger lenses provide the better quality images than, the smaller ones. So, if you wish to have a clear and bright image, you need to be careful about choosing lenses for your spotting scope. For capturing any image from a short distance, only 50mm lenses are adequate to use. But, for a medium range distance, you need to use 60mm to 80mm lenses. For capturing a clean image from a very long distance, you must use 80mm to 100mm or upper range lenses.

Glass Quality

The lenses of a Spotting scope are always unique in quality and design. Usually, some HD (High Density) or ER (Extra-low Dispersion) lenses are used in a spotting scope. These lenses are coated with fluoride to enhance its quality and functionality. Both ER and HD lenses are safe to use. So, you may get confused which one you should choose to buy. In that case, you have to decide based on the lighting condition. Such as you may need to use a particular type of lens in the late evening where you need to chose another one in the morning or sunlight.

Light Gathering Capacity

The performance of a spotting scope mostly depends on its light gathering capacity. A different model of scope has different angle gathering capacity. But it typically depends upon the lenses width and scope operating experience. However, for collecting a spotting scope with the best light gathering ability, you have to buy one with 80mm to 100mm lenses. The larger sized lenses provide, the brighter images.

Eyepiece Placement

Eyepiece placement is an important consideration while buying a spotting scope. Some scope has straight eyepiece arrangement where other scopes come with a 45 degree angled ones. So, you may fall in confusion about which type of scope you should buy. Each of scope is important at the different perspective view. If you want to see the sea view, it is better to use a vertical eyepiece placement while a 45 degree angled eyepiece arrangement performs best in visualizing something in the sky like birds, etc.

Eye Relief

An important fact you should be careful enough while buying a spotting scope is the length of eye relief. Eye relief is the measurement between the pupil and the lenses. Eye relief helps the viewer see the full-length image. So, if you wear any speckles, you need to choose the convenient length eye relief to see the picture correctly. Typically, eye relief between 12 to 15 mm suits best with the viewer who wears glasses. However, you may need a customized one to see your desired object.

Focusing Mechanism

Before buying a spotting scope, you should have enough trial on focusing an object. There are two ways to focus on any on an object. First one is rubberizing the barrel, and the rest one is using a knob near the eyepiece. You should carefully check which one you feel comfortable to use. Check if the barrel is easy on your hand. If you find it hard to focus on an object with the existing barrel, you may need to choose another customized one.

Exit Pupil

Exit pupil is an important criterion you should be careful about while buying a spotting scope. Exit pupil is the measurement of the light column that exists a spotting scope. The brightness of an image depends on the length of an exit pupil. So, you should choose a spotting scope with a larger exit pupil. You can easily measure the size of an exit pupil from the power of the scope. For example, the exit pupil of a scope is 3mm if the lens diameter is measured 15X45.

Prism Glass

One of the most important parts of a spotting scope is its crystal glass. Prism glasses are commonly made from or barium crown (BAK-4) glass or borosilicate (BK-7) glass. Among them, barium crown (BAK-4) glass ensures its quality better than the rest one. Images through barium crown (BAK-4) glass look brighter and sharper. So, you should choose the prism made from barium crown (BAK-4) glass.


A tripod is an essential part of a scope. It holds the scope static while capturing any scene from a long distance. Some scopes are heavier in weight for which a tripod is a must. If you want the best you of your spotting scope, you should buy a tripod with the scope. Nowadays, some manufacturers provide the tripod with the spotting scope for free.


Different manufacturers have brought spotting scope in various sizes and designs. You should buy a scope with the best size and design according to your taste.


There are many categories in spotting scope depending on price. The price of the scope is determined based on its quality and functionality. Choose a spotting scope to buy according to your budget. But, you should know that the best quality scopes are a bit expensive than the casual ones.


Durability is an important thing you should consider while buying a spotting scope. You should compare your chosen scope with the rest to understand its strength. If possible, you should consult any expert about the durability of the scope.

Picking the best spotting scope is a tough task. However, if you go the above article, it will no longer be harder for you to find your desired scope.

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