Are you an adventurous guy who loves to do photography, hunting, or bird watching? Then you must need a spotting scope as your helping hand for a detailed observation of distant objects. However, a spotting scope will be hefty on your pocket because it will cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.
But do not worry, some spotting scopes cost under $500 only. A spotting scope comes with loads of features that make it challenging to choose the best one. So that is why we have come up with this guide to help you choose the best spotting scope under $500. In this guide, we will talk about:
- What you will get in a spotting scope under $500
- 10 Best spotting scopes under $500 with pros and cons
- What you should before buying a spotting scope under $500- Buyers guide
Let’s get started
What do you mean by a spotting scope?
A spotting scope is a lightweight and compact telescope mounted on a tripod. However, you can use a spotting scope for outdoor activities such as bird watching, hunting, sky gazing, and other wildlife activities.
We can say that a spotting scope is for activities that require a high magnification power than an ordinary binocular.
However, it is typically between 50-80 mm. And if the objective lens is more prominent, the spotting scope will be expensive and more extensive.
Spotting scope number 20-60*80 means
If you are familiar with a spotting scope, you must relate with these numbers 20-60*80. These numbers will tell you the magnification and light-gathering power of your spotting scope.
Let us explain you these numbers more briefly.
- The number 80 will determine the diameter of the lens or aperture. However, the aperture is a small hole in a spotting scope through which the light enters. If the diameter of the lens is less, the image will be sharper.
- The number 20-60 shows the magnification power of your spotting scope. It means that the scope has a magnification of 20 times, and you can adjust it up to 60 times.
However, the spotting scope number will differ for every activity like;
- Bird watching: For birding, you need 15-33×50 mm or 80mm of a spotting scope.
- Photography: For photography, you need 20-60x80mm or 100mm
- Hunting: For hunting, you need 15-40x60mm of spotting scope.
- Range shooting: For range shooting, you need 20-60x80mm or upwards.
What will you get in a spotting scope under $500?
If you are looking for a spotting scope under $500, you can’t expect too much from it. You will typically found an 80-100mm objective lens, a carrying case, adaptor, and a tripod stand.
In terms of optics, you mostly will get that what you are paying for. If you purchase an expensive spotting scope, you will get features that will satisfy your wildlife photography cravings.
However, the features of the mid-low spotting scope are the same as a costlier spotting scope. But the low spotting scope will go out of focus and lose steadiness after a few weeks.
Moreover, these low spotting scopes are not durable because the optics’ coating may be less refined. We mean to say that it will have a lower resolution power, show blurry images, and have a shorter lifespan.
What should you look for in a $500 spotting scope?
Here are some things you should look at in a spotting scope under $500.
1. Weather proof
Your spotting scope must stay strong even in harsh weather conditions. So it would be best to look for a waterproof spotting scope.
There are two things, internal and external strength, that determine the durability of your spotting scope.
Moreover, your spotting scope must have a chemically treated optic lens that lasts for longer.
3. BAK-4 prism
Look for a spotting scope that contains a BAK-4 prism. It is a type of prism that mostly used in telescopes. However, this prism is helpful to produce sharper and brighter images.
A spotting scope with BAK-4 prism will be in your budget and give a better performance as well.
4. Prime optics
Apart from a BAK-4 prism, you also have to check the diameter of the lens. You need to check that it is comfortable for your eyes.
Get a spotting scope that has a smaller aperture. However, a smaller aperture is known for brighter and sharper images.
6. Lens coating
Find a spotting scope that has a lens coated with special chemicals. This chemical will protect your lens from harmful UV rays and scratches and fogging.
We hope that you got familiar with the spotting scope and its features till now.
8 Best Selling Spotting Scopes
Now we will serve you some best spotting scopes under $500. Moreover, every spotting scope has pros and cons to get the whole idea of a particular product.
8 Best Spotting Scope Under $500
1. Celestron- Ultima 100 angled spotting scope
|Field of view:||1.8 degrees to 1.0 degree|
|Close focus distance:||33.0 feet|
- ULTIMA ANGLED SPOTTING SCOPE: The outdoor enthusiast’s choice is our great all-around spotting...
Celestron is one of the best spotting scopes under $500. It comes with a 100mm objective lens and 45-degree viewing angle that makes it a better choice for outdoor activities.
Celestron Ultima spotting scope comes with an extending tripod mounting plate that makes it stand straight. Moreover, it has a zoom eyepiece with an integrated T-adapter to view objects at a distance.
However, the lens of this spotting scope multi-coated with anti-reflective chemicals to enjoy brighter and sharper images. This spotting scope also comes with a large focus dial for detailed views of distant objects in seconds.
So now purchase a Celestron Ultima spotting scope to get a better spotting experience.
2. Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A angled spotting scope
|Field of view:||1000yards|
Are you looking for a spotting scope with a high zoom range? If yes, opt for Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A angled spotting scope. However, the Vanguard spotting scope comes with an extra-low dispersion glass that can eliminate colour fringing.
Moreover, the lens of this spotting scope has an advanced coating that improves the light transmission rate. So, you can enjoy a brighter and sharper image with this spotting scope having a progressive coating lens.
Moreover, it is a lightweight spotting scope that is 100% waterproof and fog proof. Vanguard spotting scope has an in-built sunshade that will give excellent eye relief.
However, it has the highest FOV range varying from 1.0 degree to 2.0 degree. It comes with a tight skin case and detachable strap so you can carry it very efficiently.
3. Celestron Regal M2 65 ED spotting scope
|Field of view:||131-68 feet|
|Close focus distance:||16.4 feet|
- QUALITY ED OBJECTIVE LENS: Extra-low dispersion optical glass with special dispersion properties to...
If you are a real adventurous guy, Celestron Regal’s spotting scope will be your entire helping hand. This spotting scope comes with an extra-low dispersion optical glass that will reduce chromatic aberration.
Moreover, you can enjoy a razor-sharp image with its colour correction feature. The lens of Celestron Regal spotting scope has a multi-coating of Celestron’s preparatory XLT.
However, it will increase the light transmission rate. Moreover, it also comes with a tripod stand to position your eyepiece at the comfortable viewing angle.
Celestron Regal M2 ED spotting scope comes with a case, eyepiece cover, and objective cover to give full protection to your spotting scope. Moreover, you can use this spotting scope as a digiscoping.
Lastly, we can only say that you can buy this excellent spotting scope confidentially for a better spotting experience.
4. USCAMEL 20-60x80mm Waterproof spotting scope
|Magnification:||20x to 60x|
If you love to do bird watching and other outdoor wildlife activities, USCAMEL waterproof spotting scope is a better option. However, it comes with a BAK4 prism glass that will give you a brighter image experience.
Moreover, USCAMEL has an adjustable eyepiece that will allow you to adjust the magnification range from 20x to 60x. This spotting scope’s optical lens has a multi-coating of Green film that will give you a clearer view.
There is a rectangle covering on the objective lens that makes it waterproof and fog proof. So now get a USCAMEL spotting scope for you to take some beautiful pictures.
5. Bushnell Trophy Xtreme spotting scope
|Magnification:||18 to 48x|
|Close focus distance:||25 feet|
|Field of view:||140 feet|
- Porro-prism design featuring premium fully multi-coated optics
Yes, you heard it right, this Bushnell Trophy Xtreme is extremely a fantastic spotting scope. Bushnell Trophy Xtreme spotting scope comes with a Porro-prism design. Moreover, it features premium fully multi-coated optics.
This lightweight spotting scope is 100% waterproof. It also comes with a compact tripod so you can get a comfortable viewing angle. Bushnell comes with a premium waterproof hard-side case and a compact soft-side case giving it full protection.
So opt for a Bushnell Trophy Xtreme spotting scope to satisfy your cravings for wildlife photography.
6. BARSKA 20-60×65 WP level Straight spotting scope
|Eye relief:||0.67 at 20x and 0.59 at 60x.|
|Field of view:||72.45/22 at 20x and 30.45/9.28 at 60x.|
|Close focus distance:||29.52 feet.|
If you are looking for a tough and durable spotting scope, opt for BARSKA 20-60×65 WP level straight spotting scope. BARSKA spotting scope comes with 100% waterproof property.
However, it comes with a rubber body that will give you an excellent grip. Moreover, the lens has fully multi-coated optics that will increase the light transmission rate.
So we can say that the BARSKA spotting scope will provide you with superior performance and reliability. Therefore, get one for you to get a close-up view of wildlife.
7. Celestron 52332 Trailseeker 80-45 degree spotting scope
|Field of view:||2.0 degree to 1.0 degree|
|Close focus distance:||24.6 feet|
- Celestron’s proprietary XLT fully multi-coated optics increase light transmission through the...
Another best spotting scope under $500 in this list. Celestron 52332 Trailseeker spotting scope will provide you with high contrast images with fully multi-coated optics.
However, this coating will increase its light transmission rate so that you can enjoy brighter and sharper images. Moreover, it comes with a dual focus mechanism and slight adjustments to focus on an object in seconds.
It also comes with a compact tripod stand to get a comfortable viewing angle. Celestron Trailseeker will give you a wide magnification angle up to 6o times and a field of view of up to 20 times.
So purchase this Celestron Trailseeker spotting scope to get excellent performance with an easy-to-carry package.
8. SVBONY SV46 HD dual focus spotting scope
|Field of view:||105-51 feet|
SVBONY SV46 spotting scope is one of the best spotting scopes with a high-quality optical design. It comes with a BAK4 prism material that will ensure high-quality images at high magnification.
However, this 100% waterproof spotting scope can shorten the focus time for faster image capture. Moreover, its waterproof quality is fantastic because it works best in harsh environments also.
Moreover, the SVBONY spotting scope comes with an adjustable locking mechanism and 180-degree rotatable angle to get a comfortable viewing angle.
It comes with a premium quality portable soft case that will offer excellent protection to your spotting scope.
Therefore, now get an SVBONY spotting scope to satisfy your cravings for outdoor wildlife activities.
How to choose a spotting scope- Buyer’s Guide
We hope that this list of best spotting scope under $500 with pros and cons is helpful for you. With this list, you will get an idea how a spotting scope with great value looks like.
So if you are making your mind to buy a spotting scope, you must check out this best buyers guide. This guide is a full package of information about spotting scope that will help you choose the better one.
So let’s get started.
1. Spotting scope number
The spotting scope number gets determined by the eyepiece you are choosing. If the spotting scope number is more, it means that the diameter of the lens is more.
However, If you want to use a spotting scope for bird watching, its objective lens must be 50-80mm. The larger lens will allow more light to enter, but it will increase the weight of your spotting scope.
2. Cases and lens caps
Most of the spotting scopes come with high-quality cases to store your spotting scope with full protection. However, these high-quality cases will protect your spotting scope against dust and random accidents.
Moreover, it comes with a lens cap that will offer firm protection.
3. Eyepieces Fixed vs Zoom
If you are going to purchase a spotting scope, you will see that two types of a spotting scope, one with a permanent eyepiece and the other with a detachable eyepiece. If you are buying a spotting scope having a permanent eyepiece, do not assume that it will have the highest magnification power.
An eyepiece of 20x and 30x is a better option for bird watching. Moreover, you can opt for a zoom eyepiece. These eyepieces are a better option for bird watching.
4. Glass quality
It would be best if you chose a spotting scope that consists of a high-quality glass material. A high-quality glass material will deliver the high-quality image to your eyes.
If you are using a spotting scope with a modern lens coating, it will increase the light transmission rate. Further, it will result in a brighter image experience for your eyes.
Moreover, you can choose a multi-coated optics spotting scope to get more precision. A high glass quality will produce lens dispersion that will eliminate colour fringing.
You can also choose a spotting scope with ED glass quality that means Extra-low dispersion to give a sharper image. Remember that good quality glass material will add some extra cost to your pocket.
So now, choose a spotting scope with a higher quality glass material to have the sharpest and clearest image experience.
5. Straight vs angeled
A spotting scope comes in straight and angled configurations. If you are going for bird watching, you must go for a tall and sturdy tripod to get a straight viewing angle.
So get a spotting scope that will reach straight to your eyes. On the other hand, if you are going for bird watching with some of your friends, you must opt for an angled spotting scope.
This angled spotting scope will be a better option for people of all heights, from taller to shorter. Moreover, a spotting scope with an angled eyepiece is a better option for aiming up birds over your head.
If you want to use a spotting scope for sketching birds, you must opt for an angled eyepiece.
6. Focussing and the close focussing
Have you seen a knob or ring on your spotting scope? This knob is for moving the internal elements to provide you with a sharper image. Some spotting scopes have one knob with two-step focusing.
One knob focusing will allow you to make fine-tuned focus in a smaller adjustment. However, some people will love this, and some will not. So you can try it and decide if this focussing mechanism is comfortable for you or not.
On the other hand, sometimes you need a spotting scope focussing on close-objects. This spotting scope will give you a fine detailing to objects that are not far from you.
If you want to see some critical marks on a bird, you must go for a spotting scope having a close-focusing mechanism.
7. Do not skimp on support
If you decide to buy a spotting scope, you do not forget about a good quality tripod. You have to choose a spotting scope that comes with a sturdy tripod to give you a straight and steady view.
Make sure to choose a spotting scope with a high-quality tripod that will last for longer.
8. Try before purchasing
Do not get into the hype of websites showing features of some best spotting scope. We will recommend you to use that particular product first to get an idea if you want to purchase it or not.
So start trying different spotting scope models to get a chance to find the best option for satisfying your wildlife activities.
Do not feel shy about comparing different models and taking time because you are making a significant investment. Therefore, take your time and find the best spotting scope that is durable and lasts for longer.
So here is an extensive guide for the best spotting scope under $500. However, we showed a buyer`s guide to help you to choose a better spotting scope. Therefore, select a scope that has a good lens quality, durable, and comes with a high-quality tripod to enjoy a long-lasting spotting experience.