A spotting scope is one of the tools which is required to heighten your effectiveness in hunting. As compared to binoculars, spotting scopes are actually designed to be used with a tripod while being less portable. Spotting scopes still do offer the best magnification and clarity compared to any other kind of sporting optic which makes them really useful because you are able to spot that deer clearly from a far distance!
To give a simple analogy, every single plane has its own unique function. For a passenger plane, all of its specification are designed to carry more passengers in the most comfortable way possible. As for cargo planes, they would be made very spacious to fit more things.
While in the optics world, a binocular would be suitable for a wider field of view but if you want to spot at the kind of range such as 100 yards or even 500 yards, you definitely need to get a spotting scope. Basically a spotting scope is necessary for you to see a hole the size of a dime at about even 500 yards away.
Moreover, a spotting scope would be suitable for you to keep your eye on the target while your hands are shooting. You can take a good look at the target before shooting it.
Since a spotting scope would be a once in a lifetime decision, I would urge you to gather all the information first before making this investment. As for this review, it is designed to give you the most relevant information regarding the spotting scope, helping you get the best spotting scope be it birdwatching and especially hunting.
Note: You can read this post about the survival rule of 3 here, keeping yourself informed about how to stay alive. If you are still not convinced whether you should get a binoculars or a spotting scope, you can read the article here.
Top 5 spotting scope for hunting comparison table
For the readers who are interested in a skim through the specifications, here is a table provided comparing the spotting scope side by side.
|Product||Length||Weight||Magnification||Objective lens diamete||eyepiece system||Type of Prism||Price|
|Redfield Rampage scope||14.4"||37.2 ounces||20x to 60x||60mm||angled||Bak-4 prism||$|
|Vortex Razor HD scope||15.3"||65.7 ounces||20x to 60x||85mm||angled||Porro prism||$$$$|
|Bushnell Legend Ultra HD||16.5"||80.1 oz.||20x to 60x||80mm||angled||Bak-4 prism||$$|
|BARSKA Benchmark straight scope||13.2"||1.78 lbs.||25x to 125x||88mm||striaght||Porro prism||$|
|ALPEN Spotting scope||17"||64 oz||20x to 60x||80mm||angled or striaght||Porro prism||$$|
Criteria to look for in a spotting scope
Eyepiece magnification range (usable magnification)
You should be aware that magnification is one of the important criteria, and not the most important criteria. Basically, a person should avoid using more magnification than necessary while you are spotting a particular object. There are four reasons. When you increase magnification, it can decrease the amount of brightness available. Furthermore, the field of view will be reduced giving you a harder time to find your target. Also, it introduces more degrading vibrations on the image. Finally, increasing magnification will accentuate atmospheric disturbances which will causes performance to decrease.
With this, the magnification of the scopes we provide can be adjusted to a suitable amount of length balancing the amount of magnification providing optimal experience.
Objective diameter (resolution)
This is also known as the aperture which is measured in millimeters of the main lens of the spotting scope. Since one square inch of objective lens can gather more light in comparison to nine eyes, with a 60mm scope you can get the gathering power of 41 eyes. You will be surprise how capable the spotting scope will function in low light situation.
But there is a catch, certain object will only give a limited amount of light to reflect. Hence, the spotting scope cannot see clearly in poorly lighter areas. With higher aperture which is the objective lens diameter, the brighter the image will be at a certain level of magnification.
Basically, this can be said to be the bright circle you can see in the eyepiece when you hold a spotting scope pointing a light source. A larger exit pupil will have a brighter image. As a rule of thumb, the greater the power of the spotting scope will need a smaller exit pupil which will cause the image formed in the spotting scope to be dimmer.
You need to match the exit pupil to the light conditions in certain environment. You can easily change its power with a zoom eyepiece until the image looks very good. If the image is dim, it means the exit pupil is too small. If you lower the power of the spotting scope, you can get a brighter image because your exit pupil will be larger but the image size will be smaller.
If you get a fixed single magnification eyepiece, you need to decide on the lighting condition you want to use the spotting scope at because the exit pupil cannot be manipulated.
This is basically how much space is given between the spotting scope and your eyes so that you can look into the spotting scope and still see clearly.
It is advisable that a person with glasses uses a spotting scope with great eye relief to look into the scope better. It would be much more comfortable for you while your performance of spotting may even be better with greater eye relief.
It would be advisable for you to get a good anti-reflection coating which is very crucial for performance of any optics. Without the anti reflection coating, most of the light that goes to the spotting scope will be absorbed into the glass or scattered in the system which is very inefficient.
With the anti reflection coating, the light transmission can be increased to an amazing amount of eighty five percent. If it is coated with magnesium fluoride, it has an increase of light transmission of 89 percent and with multi-coated lenses, the light can be transmitted is 98 percent.
This is one of the popular spotting scopes manufactured by Redfield. Basically, Redfield is one of the leading brands of hunting optics which is popularly known for the durability and accuracy of their products. This is an imported product.
The Redfield Rampage will provide extreme performance at a very reasonable price. This spotting scope has a lot of magnification which varies from 20 to 60 x 60mm. Using this 20x to 60x magnification, the Redfield Rampage will allow for the perfect blend of magnification and field of view in any kind of situation. With this sophisticated scope, you can resolve things better and faster in long-distance. The objective lens has an aperture of 60mm.
As for the linear field of view, you can get 114~51 at 1000 yards away or it can be stated as 125~25 at 1000 meter away. The angular field of view for the Redfield Rampage is 2.2~1.0. Want to shoot at 200 yards? No problem. You can definitely perform well with this spotting scope which will make you able to see your target and shoot it. It will be reasonably clear too at 300 yards. After 300 yards, your focus may start to get a little bit softer but you can still see the holes in splatter in your targets which is suitable for you to sight with your weapon. You will be amazed by the amount of detail this spotting scope can capture at far distance.
For the physical aspect of this spotting scope, it weighs 37.2 ounces or 1055 grams. The length of this spotting scope in inches is 14.4 or 365 mm.
To shed more light on the optics, it has a 60mm objective aperture and a twilight factor of 34.6~60. As for the exit pupil, it is 3.0mm~1.0mm. As for the eye relieve, it will vary from 14 to 17. This level of eye relief is very good for someone wearing glasses while spotting. The clear focus distance of this spotting scope is said to be 19.8 feet or 6 meter. With this, you will be amazed at the clarity and sharpness of the image produced. The light gathering ability is amazing too! One of the clearer scope which is the easiest to focus too.
The Redfield Rampage spotting scope kit comes with a standard tripod adapter where you will be capable of mounting the camera onto most of the standard tripods or even window mounts. It has a ¼ -20 thread tripod adapter port which allows really easy installation.
Furthermore, the Rampage spotting scope has all the fancy features which you will use in the hunting field. This is a really great considering the relatively cheap price you use to pay. With this, the Redfield Rampage spotting scope will provide a diverse array of optical, mechanical and functional features that you usually have to pay a fortune for.
To make sure that this spotting scope can perform at optimal level at all kinds of conditions, the scopes are then filled with nitrogen to make them water proof, fog proof and even shock proof.
Moreover, the Redfield Rampage Spotting scope has a polycarbonate body which significantly reduces the overall weight of the scope. The spotting scope has fully multicoated lenses which protects the lenses from all kinds of scratches in rough terrains.
In addition, the Redfield Rampage spotting scope is equipped with the premium BAK4 prism which is known to produce superior and clear image. You will be amazed at what the BAK 4 can do by delivering great clarity to the image and high resolution. Not only that, the spotting scope comes with a retractable lens shade which will reduce the glare of the hot sun.
Also, the spotting scope has a twist up or twist down eyecup which makes you able to equip the scope with or without any eyeglasses. This spotting scope is also equipped with the renowned waterproof and fog proof technology which is by Redfield which makes it almost one hundred percent water proof and fog proof.
As for the accessories, I would like to add that this spotting scope comes with a great case and a wonderful scope coat that will open up for better utilization. The scope cover will work well and it has a great design. Depending on individual, the tripod is actually okay and the carrying case is comfortable to carry. This spotting scope also comes with excellent lens cap where the rear cap can screw on securely while the front cap has a solid clip. As for the case, it is a soft nylon view-thru case which comes with a carry case.
One thing to note is that when the focus is at maximum setting which is 60x, there will be a small amount of image shift when you turn the focus knob. Also, be careful of the straps because they may come loose after a while and you may not get a crisp click after you snap it in place.
To conclude, this is a budget spotting scope kit which provides a magnificent array of magnification. If you are interested to purchase the Redfield Rampage Spotting kit, you will get a compact tripod, a view-thru soft case, a neoprene neck strap, and lens covers (for the eye piece and the objective lens). As a bonus, this spotting scope kit is also covered by the Redfield Limited Lifetime Warranty. You do not want to miss out this opportunity because with this is definitely a bang for the buck!
The Vortex Razor HD Spotting scope is filled with the premium high density and extra-low dispersion glass which will definitely give you the ultimate resolution for every image by providing rich color and contract.
Moreover, the ultra-hard-coated Armor Tek will efficiently protect the exterior of the lenses from any particular scratches, prevents staining from oil and dirt too.
As for the linear field of view, you can get 117 -60 feet per 1000 yards. The angular field of view for this spotting scope is 2.2-1.1 degrees. As for the close focus, it can come to an amazing 16.4 feet. This spotting scope would be perfect for getting really close and personal during your hunting surveillance.
The eye relief for the Vortex Razor HD spotting scope ranges from 18 mm to 20 mm. For this eye relief, it will be very comfortable to scope even with glasses on. The exit pupil can be adjusted from 1.42mm to 4.25mm. Being able to focus with this spotting scope is extremely easy too. Amazing detail too if you want to sight further, even into outer space!
To touch on the physical aspect of this spotting scope, it is generally large in size. The spotting scope has an 85 mm objective lens and an eyepiece which has a magnification that can be adjusted from 20x to 60x. The objective lens will provide you with image of great clarity which is made by Vortex.
Not only that, this spotting scope has Dual Focus Knob which is necessary for ultra-precise focusing while making it much easier for you to manipulate the focus of this scope. There is a course knob and a fine knob to provide for maximum manipulation during focus. The length of this spotting scope is 15.3 inches while of this scope is 65.7 ounces. Although it does feel a little heavy, this scope is extremely sturdy!
To extend more about the objective lens, it can significantly reduce the amount of glare while being immune to raindrops and even snow since the Vortex Razor HD spotting scope is waterproof, rugged and even fog proof.
Also, there is a helpful finder on the side of the spotting scope. The balance is extremely good too even on or off the tripod.
Furthermore, the Vortex Razor HD Spotting Scope has a Dielectric prism coating which will provide the clearest and brightest images you will ever see with a spotting scope. It is also known for the great color accuracy for every single images. All and all, beautiful to look through and extremely pleasant to look at.
The Vortex Razor HD Spotting scope also comes with a proprietary XR anti-reflective coating which will significantly augment the light transmission for maximum brightness while you are spotting with this premium scope. Basically, the XR lens coatings will increase light transmission by providing multiple coatings on every single air-to-glass surfaces which are present in the spotting scope.
As for the design, the Vortex Razor HD spotting scope has an angled body design which is greatly sought for because it will allow a lower mounting height making it much more stable in the wind while giving more comfort when you are looking through the spotting scope with glasses for a long period of time.
In addition, the spotting scope comes with a triplet apochromatic lens which greatly reduces chromatic aberration. Also, the Vortex Razor HD has a built-in sunshade which can be equipped on a sunny day. The XT optical design also helps in the reduction of aberration while aiding in making distortion-free images which is needed for accurate image.
The Vortex Razor HD spotting scope uses Porro Prism which is popularly known to offer maximum image quality and excellent performance.
You can use this spotting scope in most harsh environment too. It is built with an O-ring sealed to the optics which is to prevent moisture, dust and even debris to stick onto the optic. The O-ring seal will also result in waterproof performance
Not like any other spotting scope, this scope is filled with argon gas to inhibit internal fogging effectively as you bring it out to different terrain.
To discuss a bit about the accessories, the Vortex Razor HD spotting scope can be equipped even with smaller tripods. You should also be careful with the strap because you can easily lose your grip on the scope allowing it to slip off.
If you are planning to participate in any serious event such as an Olympic tournament in archery, this would be the perfect spotting scope for you!
To conclude, this is one of the best spotting scope that will deliver a level of optical quality and even resolution unmatched by many of its peers. Not the mention the great color fidelity. As for this HD spotting scope, you can definitely hope for distortion-free images, augmented light transmission, increased resolutions with outstanding accuracy and color contrast which makes this spotting scope almost irresistible.
As a bonus, the Vortex Optics also provide VIP Unconditional Lifetime Warranty! No need to worry about spoiling the scope. This “Very Important Promise” to you will make sure that you are taken care of with unlimited lifetime warranty which is fully transferable. You will not have any warranty card to fill out while no receipts are required to change the product, all you have to do is just to contact Vortex Optics. Even so, it is important to note that the VIP warranty will not cover the loss of product, theft, deliberate damage or even cosmetic damage. All of these damages will not reduce the performance of this product.
Generally, this is one of the best spotting scope created by Bushnell. It is said that the new Bushnell Legend Ultra HD is built based on the principle of the new ultra HD binoculars. Basically, Bushnell is the industry leader in the optic industry for definitely more than 50 years. The company actually even has a principle to make quality, highly reliable and even affordable optics to be used by many consumers.
The magnification for the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD spotting scope can be adjusted from 20 to 60. Also, it come with an 80mm objective lens. With this, you can even see bullet holes without problem at 500 yards away. Especially if the magnification is at 60x, it will be focused very well.
Although this spotting scope is heavier and bulkier, the performance of focusing and seeing through this spotting scope is extremely good. There are also chromatic aberrations for the image. The image is also much better in quality and sharper.
Furthermore, this spotting scope has an end prime low dispersion glass.
Moreover, it comes with a new technology which is the 2-Speed dual focus control. They are stacked and dual-focus controls which are needed to make rapid and fine tuning adjustments for better and clearer pictures.
The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD is coated with waterproof and rain guard HD water repellant coatings. With the spotting scope equipped with RainGuard HD coating, you can protect your view during any weather by reducing droplets of water which will greatly increase the amount of light transfer and produces a really clear image even in a humid condition. The RainGuard HD coating is 35 feet. It does not matter whether you’re dealing with rain, snow, sleet, or condensation, you’ll enjoy a clear, bright view when other optics would be almost useless due to the wrath of Mother Nature.
In addition, this spotting scope is also equipped with the Bak-4 prisms. Just to add on, there is an eye relief of 18mm. The exit pupil would be 4mm at magnification of 20x and 1.3mm at magnification of 60x.
Touching on the physical aspect of the spotting scope, is has a length of 16.5 inches and weighs around 80.1 ounces.
Meanwhile, other eyepieces are no available for the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD spotting scope. The spotting scope has a field of view of 110 feet at 1000 yards which is at 20x magnification and 51 feet at 1000 yards which is at 60x magnification.
This spotting scope is also made with 45-degreee angled zoom eyepiece which measures about 16.5 inches in legth and weighs nearly 80.1 ounces.
Not only that, the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD spotting scope has an ED prime extra-low dispersion glass for tuning the color and providing high resolution pictures.
Also, the spotting scope is made with fully multicoated optics. With it comes with the rain guard HD coating which helps you spot far away target with clarity in wet weather. With the new ultra-effective rain guard, you will definitely have a very clear view of the object of interest even in really bad weather. Besides, it will significantly reduce light loss and glare due to reflection which will engender image to be brighter and greater in contrast.
As a short conclusion, the Legend Ultra HD Spotting scope will deliver really good field performance at a really cheap price most people can afford. You can be sure that all of the specifications of the spotting scope is designed for providing vivid clarity and contrast for the image formed even in lower lighting conditions. Other than that, the spotting scope also comes with a soft carrying case. This spotting scope is also covered by Bushnell’s No Question Asked Lifetime Warranty where they will make sure that their customer are really satisfied with their spotting scope, making sure they will repair and replace your spotting scope at no cost incurred.
This is a spotting scope made by one of the biggest optics manufacturer in the world which is BARSKA. They are the world leaders when it comes to quality optics. The Barska 25-125×88 mm Waterproof Spotting Scope Kit is one of their best-sellers.
First and foremost, the spotting scope has a magnification of 25x to 125x which is highly flexible while the objective lens is 88mm. The objective lens is really smooth and it is really easy to rotate it. With this dynamic lens focusing system, it will make it much easier to zoom in on the target with a much clearer picture. With this, the spotting scope can bring far away objects to your eyes, much closer than you have ever experienced. It does not matter if you are spotting an animal to hunt or just looking at a landscape, this spotting scope will get you close enough to obtain relevant information.
The length of this spotting scope is 13.2 inches while the weight is 1.72 lbs. This is a top quality spotting scope and it is really lightweight. You can take it to anywhere with ease and have it perform almost without flaws.
Let is shed some light on the performance of the BARSKA Benchmark spotting scope. The field of vision (F.O.V) of this spotting scope at 1000 yards is 54’ at 25 x magnification. It would be 24’ at a magnification of 125x. A thing to take note is that when he lens is magnified at a high power, the field of view will automatically become narrow and this is very natural among spotting scopes. You will be surprised at the sharpness and clarity of each picture at any magnification. There is also no loss of brightness when you focus on an object.
In addition, the BARSKA Benchmark spotting scope comes in a straight design. As for the exit pupil, the spotting scope has 25 x magnification at 3.2 mm and 125 x magnification at 0.64mm. To give a general idea of the power of this spotting scope, it can see about one hundred yards with an image with power of 75 on a sunny day.
Furthermore, the BARSKA Benchmark spotting scope has fully coated optics. It will provide you with the best scoping ability even in a bad environment. Basically, the fully coated lenses can actually shrug off all the scratches made in the terrain and the scuffs. Even if you were to drop it, this scope will still hold up really well.
As a bonus, it has shock-absorbing rubber armor which is made to sustain rough conditions. Besides being rugged, the handheld spotting scope is made with waterproof construction which can basically be used in many different environments. Even if you are in really difficult conditions, you still can use this spotting scope with ease without any worry.
This spotting scope also has twist-up eyecups which are adjustable for maximum eye relief. The prism type that is used for this spotting scope is Porro.
Moreover, the BARSKA Benchmark Spotting Scope is great to bring into the hunting terrain because it is 100 percent waterproof and fogproof which makes you see clearly within any conditions. Basically, there are O-ring seals which give the spotting scope waterproof protection. Additionally, the guard is filled up with nitrogen to protect the scope against fogging and moisture which can damage the optics.
To add on, there is also a tabletop tripod with a handheld mount. The handheld tripod is really stable because it comes with Accu-Grip. It is a standard tripod which can be used for most cameras too. The included accessories also comes with a cloth. With this, you will be amazed by how well you can spot a target from far away.
One thing to take note is that this spotting scope cannot really see in the dark which means some light is needed for better vision. Since the further the object of interest is, your view will be much narrower. You will have to lower the magnification so that you can get a clear picture of that far away object. You will need to lower the magnification if you want to see your targets in long distance. All you need to do is to learn how to focus the scope and it will perform flawlessly.
If you were to buy the BARSKA Benchmark Spotting Scope, you can get a hard case and a soft carrying case. A word of advice is to read the User Manual before operation the spotting scope! The case is really compact and it is made of aluminum. There will be also a soft-side carrying case to go accordingly to your convenience. The cases are tough and really well-built too. Trust me, you will be amazed at the optical clarity this scope provides, it may even be better than the more expensive scopes which cost a thousand dollars. This spotting scope also comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Definitely one of the best optics and you cannot beat the price!
Update: Alpen Rainier scope features the ED HD technology that uses extra low dispersion HD optics for excellent optical performance. Equipped with the UBX fully multi-coated optics, the additional features include a large objective lens, fully waterproof construction and adjustable body collar for optimal positioning.
This is a spotting scope manufactured by the popular optics company named Alpen. You can actually choose whether you want angled or straight in the sales page as well.
Firstly, the angled ALPEN spotting scope has a magnification of 20x to 60x. The objective lens has a diameter of 80 mm. This Alpen 788 20-60×80 45-degree eyepiece spotting scope is covered with waterproof rubber too. The Alpen 45-degree spotting scope actually uses powerful lenses with an optical resolution of 1.8 seconds of angle. This basically means that this spotting scope can reveal any target details which is as minute as 1/32 of an inch with an amazing distance of one hundred yards.
Also, the 80mm objective lens has very good light-gathering ability making it perform really well in low light environments. With this, the angled eyepiece is really suitable for viewing astronomical things in outerspace or even anything which is placed at a steeply upward angle.
Interestingly, the focus system for this spotting scope is center. The field of view at 1000 yards is 113 while it is low power and 55 when it is high power.
Touching on the more technical stuff, the prism type used is Porro prism while the prism material is BAK-4. The exit pupil can be manipulated from 1.33mm to 4.0 mm. The eye relief that is present is 18mm to 19mm. The spotting scope also weigh about 64 oz. With this, the scope can focus easily and clearly.
Moreover, the ALPEN angled spotting scope is equipped with the BAK-4 and it is fully multicoated. With it being fully multicoated, it can then provide superior brightness, resolution and even edge clarity.
Furthermore, this is a 45-degree angled eyepiece which is really rugged because it is waterproof, fogproof and even shock-resistant. It is because the spotting scope is filled with nitrogen, so it is waterproof, dustproof and even shock resistant.
In addition, the ALPEN spotting scope includes micro-adjustable tabletop tripod where you can manipulate the tripod movement efficiently. Comes with it, is a padded nylon carrying case for keeping the scope and the case is really durable too. It is a portable 12 inches Swivel-head tripod which delivers top quality performance. And because the tripod mount can rotate so well, the Alpen spotting scope would be extremely suitable to be used for shooting on shooting benches. This spotting scope is definitely tripod adaptable.
The length of the ALPEN 45-degree spotting scope is 17 inches long while it weighs about 56 ounces.
There is a word of warning where the images produced by the Alpen spotting scope may get a little bit hazy in high temperature environment. Also, the eye relief is a bit little comparing to other peers but it is still fairly good.
Just to conclude, do not worry if you buy this product because you can get the ALPEN’s lifetime warranty. This is definitely the spotting scope for you if you want something that can perform greatly under all weather conditions that Mother Nature can hit you with. Definitely something to invest in if you want to see whether your bullet hit your target at about 100 yards. You may even get a scope at this level with a price twice at much!
These are the best five spotting scopes which I feel are the best in the market by taking account into its performance in several weather conditions and the price of the spotting scope. What do you think is the best spotting scope in the market? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.