First of all, let’s focus on what is a spotting scope and why to buy one. A spotting scope is a single lens magnification tool that gives users the opportunity to closely observe an object from a distance.
When buying something, that’s most often than not on the pricier side, it’s important to take into consideration every aspect of it. Purchasing spotting scope under 100 dollars means that it won’t have all of the high-end features; but if you are on a budget it doesn’t mean you don’t deserve the best.
We are here not only to help you choose the best scope for you, but also explain what should you be on the lookout for. People often wonder why should they choose spotting scopes over binoculars, or even telescopes- and is it worth it? So let’s start with those questions first and see if a spotting scope is the right option for you.
Why A Spotting Scope?
Compared to telescopes, spotting scopes are more portable and they are usually used for terrestrial viewing, however, there are some scopes that can excel at celestial photography.
Except for hunters, they are mostly used by nature watchers and wildlife observers since they are known for their zoom magnification. Also, they are built to be waterproof as well as fog-proof which makes them a great addition to every nature enthusiast’s gear pack.
When it comes to binoculars, and the difference between those two; it mostly boils down to your own habits and preferences. If you are a hunter or a nature observer, who tends to be still most of the time- spotting scope is the way to go. On the other side, If you consider yourself to be quick on your feet and your style involves moving from place to place- than binoculars tend to be a better option. Generally speaking, spotting scopes have a higher magnification range, but are traditionally used with tripods. Which means that, unlike binoculars, you need to mount them on a tripod to maintain a sharp image.
Bear in mind that in whatever category you fall into, the differences are between scopes and binoculars are usually small- especially if you are not planning to use them professionally.
Things To Consider Choose Cheap Spotting Scope
As we mentioned above, the prices of spotting scopes can drive you crazy, but the good thing is- they vary depending on its properties. So choosing your scope carefully plays a great role in making the decision. Unfortunately, things can go wrong even if you pick the best one out there. The key here is proper care. You should always pack it cautiously and handle it gently.
However, if you are looking for a budget spotting scope, think about what is important for you; which features are a priority to you, and for what do you intend to use your scope.
On a positive note, some of the companies that produce high-end scopes also make mid-range spotting scopes- which means they should have more or less the same features!
Here is a list of things you should take into consideration:
- Objective Lens
- Lens Coatings
- Straight or Angled Scope
- Eye Relief
- Weather Protection
What it means?
So let’s start with the magnification. When you look at the properties of a scope you will come across a number like 20x60mm. If there is a single number before the x it means it’s a fixed power scope; and If there are two numbers before the x, for example, 18-46x60mm you are looking at a variable power scope. Generally speaking, the number before the x detonates what is the magnification power of the spotting scope; while the number after the x indicates the maximum power of the scope.
To keep things simple when you are looking for lens properties- if a scope has a larger lens it will be more useful in conditions where there is less light available. Except for making the image brighter, it also provides a larger field of view.
Furthermore, there are 4 types of lens coatings: Coated, Fully Coated, Multi Coated or Fully Multi Coated. You should pay attention to these, since the image quality differs immensely, with each one; It is usually better to have a high quality coated lens, than a cheap fully coated.
Spotting scopes come with two body types- angled or straight. If you plan on using a handheld scope a straight one should be a good pick. On the other hand, if you plan to use the scope for target shooting, both scope styles can be equally effective.
If you wear glasses, eye relief should be the first thing you look at when buying a scope. SInce this feature is the maximum distance you can hold eye away and still maintain the full field of view. For those who wear glasses, keep in mind that if you purchase a scope with less than 15mm of eye relief it can potentially be impossible for you to use.
We already mentioned how important it’s to care for your scope, and the weather is one of the reasons for it. Always look for waterproof, or fog-proof option; because it is important to get a scope that will not only perform well, but last too!
Fog-proof option can sometimes prove to be a necessity- since trying to focus on an object through a foggy lens can be a drag. Usually, every scope has this feature to some degree, so in case you find one that doesn’t it should be an immediate red flag!
Conclusion Of How To Choose Cheap Spotting Scope
Since we are fully aware of just how much can a search for a cheap spotting scope be tiresome, we provided you with a head start. It’s awfully hard to find your way around the market when you don’t know the first thing about spotting scopes- but don’t worry, now you do!
You shouldn’t rush when making a decision. So take your time until you find the perfect scope for you; nature won’t run away.