10 Best Spotting Scope for Birding in 2023
The Best Spotting Scope for Birding: A spotting scope is an ideal and necessary piece of equipment for the hunter, bird watcher, and target shooter. It is not only used for a better view, but you can also use it as an optical range finder. Though spotting scopes and binoculars are used for similar purposes, a spotting scope is more potent than a binocular.
They offer better optics and magnification, which ensure a better view of spotting animals from huge distances. Even you can use this device in daylight as well. But only the best spotting scope for birding will provide you such results. So, you need to make sure that you are using the best one.
Table of Contents
- Quick Answer – Top 10 Best Spotting Scope for Birding
- Review of the Best Spotting Scope for Birding
- 1. Vortex Razor HD Spotting Scope
- 2. Celestron 52250 80mm Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope
- 3. Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scopes
- 4. Vortex Optics Razor HD Spotting Scopes
- 5. Celestron 52305 Regal M2 80ED Spotting Scope
- 6. Nikon Prostaff 5 Proscope Angled Body
- 7. Kowa TSN-880 Series Angled Body Spotting Scope
- 8. Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A Spotting Scope
- 9. Celestron 52332 TrailSeeker Spotting Scope
- 10. Swarovski ATX Spotting Scope
- Frequently asked questions
- Final Thoughts
Quick Answer – Top 10 Best Spotting Scope for Birding
Review of the Best Spotting Scope for Birding
Spotting scopes are used for various purposes, but they are generally used for providing higher magnification than binoculars. Advanced spotting scopes come with a ton of features to deliver a bright, clear, and detailed view. But not all of them come with all features, and it varies from one to another.
So you need to have sound knowledge before purchasing a scope. To help you find the Best Spotting Scope for Birding, here are some reviews of the bird-watching scope in the market right now.
1. Vortex Razor HD Spotting Scope
Vortex Razor HD spotting scope has premium high-density extra-low dispersion glass, which delivers an ultimate resolution. It comes with ultra-hard coated armor, which protects lenses.
Its dielectric prism coatings give the clearest and brightest and most accurate images. It has proprietary XR anti-reflective coatings which increase light transmission for high brightness. It also has a long-distance spotting range from 100 yards to 1200 yards.
Its triplet apochromatic lens feature reduces chromatic aberration. This device also has Porro Prism that offers maximum image quality and performance. It features O-ring sealed optics that resist moisture, dust, and debris. Overall, it results in water-resistant performance.
Its dimension is 15.5 x 7.6 x 6.8 inches and weighs 4.1 pounds. This scope has auxiliary MIL reticle eyepiece, and they work considerably well. This device allows reading wind from mirage while seeing the target.
It also provides excellent clarity even when zoomed to maximum magnification. Vortex Razor HD scope is weather resistant. It works both in cold and hot environment. Overall, it is an excellent scope with versatile purposes. It is highly recommended for bird watching, hunting, and shooting practice.
- Ultra-hard-coated Armor Tek
- Premium extra-low dispersion glass
- Dielectric prism coatings
- Proprietary XR anti-reflective coatings
- Triplet apochromatic lens
- O-ring sealed optics
- The knobs are a loose fit
- Indigent eye-relief
2. Celestron 52250 80mm Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope
Celestron’s popular Ultima 80mm Zoom Spotting Scope offers noticeably brighter and sharper images. It has multi-layer anti-reflection coatings on the objective lenses, zoom eyepiece, and the BAK-4 prisms, which ensure excellent light transmission.
This objective lens delivers 77% brighter and actual views than a 60mm scope. It has a built-in zoom lens that produces sharp images from 20X-60X magnification. The Ultima 80 features a smooth and waterproof design.
The package includes a soft padded case to protect the scope while mounted on a tripod. Including the eyepiece, it is about 18 inches long and weighs 3.6 pounds. The eyepiece has a 45-degree viewing angle.
Its dimension is 20 x 7 x 6 inches. This product has rubber-coated housing. It protects against drops and falls. The spotting spot has a tripod socket, and it is camera adaptable.
It has a limited lifetime warranty and also durable. It has a good field of view and excellent zooming feature. Again, its eye relief is convenient. And so, users can use it with or without glasses.
- Multi-Coated optics
- 45° viewing angle
- 20-60x zoom eyepiece
- Soft carrying case
- Twilight factor is 69.2 to 40
- Relative brightness is 16 to 1.7
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
- Not perfect for nature watching at far distances
- Zooming eyepiece sometimes gets stuck
3. Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scopes
Vortex Optics Diamondback scope delivers outstanding performance. This item guarantees a bright image, and it has an exceptional magnification feature. It can be an excellent choice for those who need high-quality spotting scopes for bird watching.
This 80mm objective lens spotting scope is proper at close to medium range up to 100 yards. It offers variation in zoom from 20x-60x. Depending on zoom, the eye relief distance is 16.5mm-20mm.
The FOV at maximum magnification is 51 feet-1000 feet while the close focus range is 22 feet. This scope is easy to use. It has a central focus knob and a magnification wheel built into the eyepiece.
Besides, it has fully multicoated optics. It is compatible with both daylight and night, and it is made using a Porro prism model. Moreover, it has phase correction coatings to prevent phase shift.
It allows users to view sharp images at 20x-50x magnification. It has a rubberized body for protection. The glass is weather and waterproof, and this product comes with an unconditional lifetime warranty.
- A twist-and-lock collar
- The adjustable eyecup
- Easy to use
- O-ring sealed
- Powerful zoom eyepiece
- Waterproof and fog-proof performance
- Versatile zoom magnification
- Adjustment notches a bit sloppy
- The focus knob seem gritty
4. Vortex Optics Razor HD Spotting Scopes
The Vortex Razor HD is another noticeable bird spotting scope. It has originated a typical in high-end optical technologies, exactitude skill, and ultra-sleek practicality. It has a smooth helical focus that dials in sharp resolution and compact for packing.
The Razor HD scopes have a highly dense triple apochromatic lens. It also comes with an extra-low dispersion glass that lets you experience impressive resolution and color fidelity.
The lenses have XR Plus anti-reflective coating to produce maximum brightness for critical low-light glassing. The eye relief range is about 0.67 to 0.66 inches. It has a locking collar to rotate the scope to gain the best viewing angle.
It also features a built-in sunshade, which you need to pull out to reduce glare. As Vortex Optics Razor HD Spotting Scopes are O-ring sealed and argon purged, they are fog and water-resistant.
Armortek protects the lens and increases durability. This scope is small and lightweight, yet it provides the excellent output and sharp images. Also, it can be used even without a tripod and still offer great color and clarity.
Its unique features and exceptional resolution and image quality made it popular among users. Overall, it is considered as the best spotting scope for birding.
- High-end optical technology
- Eye Relief: 0.67 to 0.66 inches
- Multi-position eyecup
- locking collar
- Built-in sunshade
- O-ring sealed
- Close Focus: 16.4 feet
- A bit tight eye relief
- Optics in higher magnification lessen performance
5. Celestron 52305 Regal M2 80ED Spotting Scope
The Regal M2 is one of the most advanced and well-engineered spotting scopes. It is designed to deliver the sharpest images at any time. It can be an ideal option for bird watching, nature observing, long-distance viewing, etc.
Moreover, this scope offers all the advanced features yet considerably cheaper. Its body is comprised of magnesium alloy. As a result, it is pretty lightweight compared to other models.
Also, the spotting scope features an upgraded dual-focus mechanism. For that, it can bring the object into focus range quickly. The scope for bird watching comes with an ED objective lens that provides accurate color reproduction and increases resolution as well as contrast.
Besides that, it features multicoated optics. It also includes standard 1.25″ eyepiece and provides 20X-60X zooming output. At 20x zoom, its close focus range is 21.3 feet, while focal length is a 480mm/18.9 inch.
The scope also comes with a rotating tripod mount with detents. It has four holes to mount with, and it allows mounting the scope. Its dimension is 16.6 x 4.6 x 3.9 inches and weighs 4.5 pounds.
- ED Objective Lens
- Fully Multi-Coated Optics
- Zoom Eyepiece: 20-60x, Standard Eyepiece: 1.25.”
- Close Focus-21.3 ft, Focal Length-480 mm
- Magnesium Alloy Body
- Rotateable tripod mount with detents
- The eyepiece is not correctly mounting on the scope body
- The positioning of the focus knobs is not perfect
6. Nikon Prostaff 5 Proscope Angled Body
The Prostaff 5 Proscope is another top-quality bird spotting scope to notice. It is developed for precision and high magnification capability. It is built for highly passionate users and designed for a high-performance.
This spotting scope boasts advanced features at an affordable price. It is crafted with Nikon optical glass and features multi-coated optics that minimize chromatic aberration for superior image clarity.
Prostaff 5 Proscope gives bright, high contrast images with real color interpretation. It has an ideal 82mm objective lens that delivers high-quality images. It has an internal texturing which reduces reflective light loss inside of the scope.
This scope is ergonomic and lightweight, which made this model compact and packable. It can remove glare in bright conditions as it features a sliding sunshade. This scope is O-ring sealed and argon purged.
So, it is water and fog-resistant. It has a focus knob placed on top to adjust focus faster. Its eyepiece is a digiscope-ready design. It allows users to capture high magnification images by using a digital camera. Its dimension is 15.5 x 4 x 3.5 inches and weighs 4.1 pounds.
- A perfect balance of size and brightness
- Multicoated Optics
- Zoom adjustment
- Lightweight Porro Prism Design
- Built-in Sliding Sunshade
- 82mm Objective Lens
- Eyepiece seems not to lock in the perfect place
- Image quality lacks some sharpness
7. Kowa TSN-880 Series Angled Body Spotting Scope
The TSN-880 has a substantial 88mm objective lens diameter. This model is said to have the most superior optical performance among Kowa spotting scopes. The best components and latest optical techniques are used to gain its impressive compact design and optical performance.
It features an 88mm proseminar objective lens, which is made of pure fluorite crystal. It eliminates chromatic aberration. The TSN-880 has amazing light gathering capability and has high-end specifications.
Besides, it is made of durable, lightweight polycarbonate materials with a stiff structure. It has a new lens coating feature, which increases the light transmission ratio of the entire optical system.
It also includes an inner focus mechanism. This mechanism decreases image movement while moving. It has dual focus knobs for quick and accurate focusing. Moreover, its eyepiece locking system prevents the eyepiece from getting lost or damaged.
This scope is fully waterproof and filled with dry nitrogen gas to make it fog proof. It includes an angled eyepiece, although it is sold separately. The product dimension is 13.4 x 6.3 x 6.3 inches and weighs 3.35 pounds. A manufacturer’s lifetime product warranty backs the TSN-880.
- Made of lightweight polycarbonate materials
- Weigh: 53.6 ounces
- Length: 13.5 inches
- High-performance 88mm spotting
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
- Filled with dry nitrogen gas
- A bit heavy
- The price is high
8. Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A Spotting Scope
Vanguard Endeavor HD has an outstanding field of view and long-range visibility. It is perfect for bird watching or nature observation. This scope offers premium ED glass allowing users to experience the best quality of images.
Its premium ED glass and the BAK-4 prism significantly reduce chromatic aberrations. Thus, it provides clear and sharp viewing with high contrast. The multi-guard coating features offer multiple layers of anti-reflective compounds, which result in optical light transmission.
It gives a remarkably clear field of view. It includes a built-in sunshade to reduce glare in bright sunlight. Endeavor HD features a detachable angled eyepiece with soft, comfortable rubber eyecup.
It gives impressive eye relief even at the highest zoom settings. This product is O-ring sealed to prevent dust, moisture, and debris from entering the optics.
It is also nitrogen purged to avoid fog. The package includes a scope cover with a carrying strap, lens & eyepiece caps, and lens cloth. Besides, the Endeavor HD covers a premium lifetime warranty.
- Extra-low Dispersion glass
- Dual focus wheel
- 100% waterproof and fog proof
- Rubber armored magnesium body
- Zoom Magnification: 20-60x,
- Eye relief: 19 – 20 mm, Near focus: 19.7 – 21.33 feet
- Comfortable rubber eyecup
- The case doesn’t fit perfectly
- The not proper adjustment wheel
9. Celestron 52332 TrailSeeker Spotting Scope
The Celestron 52332 TrailSeeker spotting scope comes with high-quality features. It offers users the best viewing experience. For that, many users have rated it as the best spotting scope for birding.
The bird-watching scope has a rugged and durable rubber-armored housing, which is nitrogen-filled and waterproof. The scope has fully multi-coated optics system. As a result, it increases light transmission and delivers sharp and high contrast images.
The dual focus mechanism focuses on a subject quickly. It also features fine-tune the image with coarse and fine adjustments. It features a tripod mount, which allows you to take the whole picture.
You can rotate it at a full 360-degree angle. That means you can set the eyepiece in any viewing position. This series features incredible magnification from 20x to 60x zoom. It has a built-in sliding sunshade to reduce glare in bright light.
This 80 mm objective lens is exceptionally lightweight and easy to carry. Its dimension is 23 x 15 x 9.5 inches and weighs only 3 pounds. It is perfect for users with the need for performance in easy to carry package.
- Fully multi-coated optics
- Dual focus mechanism
- Zoom magnification up to 60x
- 80 mm objective design
- Rotateable at a full 360°
- A metal cap on the eyepiece
- Design is not extraordinary
10. Swarovski ATX Spotting Scope
The Modular ATX spotting scope system offers maximum functionality. The device is operable with one hand and can be disassembled and easily transported. The objective lens can be changed to forms of hunting.
The optical capacity of this model enables us to see clear images at long-range. The eyepiece module is specially engineered to provide angler views. It helps to seek out the target entirely. Its fully multi-coated anti-reflective lenses increase light transmission.
Again, it also makes long-range observations easier for users. Its body is magnesium alloy made, which made it lightweight, sturdy, and resistant to corrosion. Its eyepiece is compatible with Swarovski accessories.
The ATX design is very creative as the user can have different objectives and switch the eyepiece. It has a multi-position adjustable eyecup, which twists up and down for relaxed viewing.
The Modular ATX is weather-resistant, and it works great in any environment. Its rubber-coated body protects it from impact and secures a non-slip grip. This product comes with a 10-year warranty.
- Angled Body Design
- Fully Multi-coated Lenses
- Magnesium Body
- Rubber Armoring
- Multi-Position Adjustable Eyecup
- Comfortable viewing
- The price is a little bit high
Frequently asked questions
Q: What is a spotting scope?
A: A spotting scope is a specialized telescope used for birding, hunting, and observing wildlife or landscapes at a distance.
Q: What magnification is best for birding with a spotting scope?
A: For birding, a spotting scope with a magnification of 20-60x is best as it provides a wide range of magnification for different distances.
Q: What is the objective lens size of the best spotting scope for birding?
A: The objective lens size of the best spotting scope for birding should be between 60mm and 80mm to provide a bright, clear image.
Q: What is the difference between straight and angled spotting scopes?
A: Straight spotting scopes are more comfortable to use for birding and viewing wildlife at eye level, while angled spotting scopes are better for observing from a raised platform or for sharing with others.
Q: Can I use a spotting scope for stargazing?
A: Yes, some spotting scopes can be used for stargazing, but they may not have the same quality as telescopes designed specifically for astronomy.
Q: What is the best coating for a spotting scope lens?
A: Fully multi-coated lenses are the best for a spotting scope as they provide better light transmission and a clear, bright image.
Q: Is a spotting scope tripod necessary?
A: Yes, a spotting scope tripod is necessary to provide stability and reduce shaking, which can affect the image quality.
Q: Can I use a spotting scope for photography?
A: Yes, some spotting scopes can be used for photography by attaching a camera adapter, but they may not have the same image quality as a dedicated camera lens.
Before choosing the best spotting scope for birding, you have to gain a sound knowledge of them. If you select a versatile scope, it might be meet most of the demands you want. When planning to go for an adventure, you need to pick a scope that can be used in all situations.
In this article, we’ve tried to describe quality, features, budget of some best spotting scopes for birding. We hope this article helps you to pick a versatile one that can be used in all situations.