Top Birding Spotting Scopes Reviewed & Buying Guide
If you want the best birding spotting scope, but you’re too pressed for time to find the model that you really should spend money on, find here all the information you need. We compared the critically acclaimed models on the market, and read reviews, comments, and opinions from users and critics, and we concluded that the Orion 52205 should be the first on your list. This birding spotting scope offers excellent zooming power, that can be adjusted from 16x to 48x. Another advantage is its waterproof construction that will allow you to observe wildlife and your surroundings in any weather. A mount rail for an optional sight seeker device is also present. In case the Orion 52205 is out of stock, the next product in line we would recommend is the Celestron 52250, a model with almost the same features.
Our Top Choice
One thing you'll like about this scope is the fact that it is green, so you can seamlessly blend with your environment as you're bird watching. It is waterproof, and it has a wide zoom range. Additionally, the unit features a 65mm objective lens and fully multi-coated optics for an enhanced experience.
As a setback, one reviewer wanted more buying options, which is fair since this one comes in only one feature-packed model.
Ultimately, this machine is improved so the owner will enjoy using it. The images you see with its aid are stable and rich, and the design is ergonomic, so you can hold it whichever way you like without your arms hurting.
Speaking of premium options, this model will appeal to you on many levels. For starters, it rocks the sought-after multi-coated optics, a 45° viewing angle and its zoom can go as high as 60x, which is above average. Plus, its design is ideal for extended use, especially as you're outdoors because it is easy to handle.
Two buyers weren't pleased with the fact that it does not accept filters, which is a common theme with products in this category.
Besides being user-friendly, this model also comes with a waterproof carrying case for easy storage and transportation. It sports a handy T-mount adapter to help you connect DSLR cameras to it.
Another item that can impress you with its spotless, focused images is this one from Celestron. The special design makes it super easy to transport even in your pocket. This minimalistic design doesn't get in the way of its performances, as it has a close focus distance, and it is waterproof and nitrogen filled against bad weather.
This too has its flaws, like the fact that it doesn't have the same clarity at upper magnifications as it does when you use it in standard mode.
Finally, the optical system inside this piece provides sharp, clear images with vivid colors. It mounts easily on tripods, monopods, and even on window mounts, and its helical focus dial will be easy to use even in winter.
You cannot get a decent spotting scope for bird watching if you are not willing to invest a little time and effort into examining the models available on the market. Magnification power may not be as critical on such models than on those for marine use, for instance, but there may be other features that you should not overlook. Here is a short guide on those you should focus on.
Optics quality and coatings
A good birding spotting scope must be able to deliver the crispest image possible and that cannot be achieved with poor quality optics. There is a strong reason why so many people prefer spotting scopes that are made with fluorite-coated, high-density, or extra-low dispersion lenses. Standard glass simply doesn’t cut it for a decent quality spotting scope, as it dims the image, especially in low light.
There are quite a few things manufacturers do to ensure that the quality of their spotting scopes is on par with what customers desire. One is that they employ multi-coated optics on their products. Light transmission and the ability to eliminate chromatic aberrations are ensured by this particular feature, so make sure to read the specs carefully.
It can be a hard call to decide on whether you should get a model with all the needed features in place, and pay a higher price for it, or settle for average quality for the sake of the budget you have at your disposal.
The thing is that spotting scopes for bird watching, just like wildlife viewing binoculars, must be equipped with good quality optics, or, otherwise, their purpose is defeated. To see all the details when you are observing the nature around you, you must depend on a spotting scope with flawless optics, so a bit of investment is expected.
Excellent focusing is one of the essentials
When you go bird watching, you need a device that can do more than just bring the image in front of you closer to your eyes. It cannot be stressed enough, but you do need a model with excellent focusing features.
There are basically two options available, the barrel grip focusing system, and the knob system. Each of them has its ups and downs. The barrel grip system is fast, but fine tuning can be a real hassle, whereas using the knob on top of the scope will be slower, but more accurate. Our advice is to go for a model with dual focusing, as it will offer the most satisfaction.
Again, a cheap birding spotting scope may not be capable of offering you such extra advantages, so shop around carefully. Luckily, there are models on the market that provide the user with the possibility to focus fast and with great accuracy, for a decent price.
Why you need a model with a waterproof construction
Weather can be capricious, and you cannot tell in advance what sort of conditions you will have to face before embarking on an outdoor adventure. That is why one of the recommendations for people who want to use a spotting scope for bird watching would be to get a model that comes with a waterproof construction.
This way, you will make sure that water will not get inside, and that you can continue to observe the nature around you. A fog proof feature never hurts to have, either, and, in bright sun conditions, a shade would be nice, too. Regardless of the weather, your spotting scope should be able to help you identify targets of interest with great ease, on top of everything.
5 Best Birding Spotting Scopes (Reviews) in 2020
You will find many spotting scopes for sale, which is why your choice may be hindered by having way too many to pick from. To help you narrow down your selection, we are providing you here with a list of products that have already been tried and tested by buyers.
1. Orion Waterproof Monocular
You can count on this spotting scope to bring everything closer to your eyes, as its magnification power can be adjusted from 16x to 48x, which is a decent range for a model intended for bird watching. However, this is not, by far, the only advantage offered by this model, as you will see right away.
One thing that you will surely love about this model is its rugged construction. The housing is waterproof, so you will be able to examine wildlife leisurely, regardless of weather conditions. Another thing that must be said about this particular model is that it comes equipped with a large objective lens.
You might not expect a 65mm lens in such an affordable spotting scope, but this manufacturer goes all the way and offers excellent optics for a model in this price range. The broad field of view guaranteed by the large objective lens is just one of the many advantages offered by this model.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($59.99)
2. Celestron 52250 Ultima Spotting Scope 45 Degrees
The size of the objective lens on this model might be the first thing that will draw your attention when looking at its features. The 80mm lens is guaranteed to gather light from the surrounding environment, to ensure a crisp, bright image, even in low light conditions. And this is not the only thing you will like about this model.
You can always go for a monocular for bird watching, but this one is even a better choice for its high-quality optics. The multi-coated lens ensures that you will get excellent image quality for perfect viewing of your target.
The unit is waterproof, which is a great plus because it means you will be able to use it in all weather conditions. The manufacturer places great trust in its product, as it offers a limited lifetime warranty for this model, a solid proof of the high quality of craftsmanship employed in the making of the Celestron 52250.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($154.95)
3. Celestron 52308 Hummingbird ED Micro Spotter
There are many things you will like about this Celestron spotting scope. For starters, you can easily find a place for it in your pocket, or in a backpack, as it is compact and lightweight. Equipped with an ED lens, the unit is capable of rendering image quality that is as close to perfection as it is possible for a product in this category.
Many of the birding spotting scopes reviews that talk about this model say that one of its nicest features is the close focus feature. With a 10-foot close focus distance, you will find it easy to notice all the details of the subject you are observing through the lens of your spotting scope.
Don’t be afraid to use this unit in bad weather conditions. Its nitrogen-filled construction ensures that humidity will not be a problem, so wet environments will not be that big of a challenge. On the exterior, the durable armor ensures resistance to bumps and falls.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($307.99)
4. Tasco World Class All Purpose Spotting Scope
Another good spotting scope for birding that should be included on your list is the Tasco TASWC20606045-BRK. Equipped with fully coated lenses, it is an excellent alternative to other models on the market, in case you still haven’t found what you are looking for. Protected against humidity and fog, it is ideal for taking along on trips to the great outdoors.
One thing that might just convince you that this is a good choice for you is the included tripod. You will be able to mount it on your vehicle, so that you can still observe wildlife, while sitting inside your car, away from danger.
The maximum magnification on this model is 60x, enough to cover long distances, so that no wild animal can sense you. The broad field of view of 91/30 feet at 1000 yards contributes to the more than decent performance this model offers. The generous eye relief will allow you to use it even if you wear glasses.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($49.95)
5. Spotting Scope with Tripod Hawkeye Waterproof
This angled model offers convenience, while providing you with good quality image performance. In a nutshell, this is everything you could wish for in a spotting scope meant for bird watching, and it is safe to say that the Gskyer Bird Watching does its job.
The BK-7 prism optics will ensure proper image quality, without dimming or chromatic aberrations. Sporting fully multi-coated optics, this spotting scope will give you the ability to observe nature, as if you were right next to the subject you are examining with its help.
Some people might prefer birding binoculars, but a spotting scope like this one is simply more powerful. The magnification can be adjusted from 25x to 75x, and the objective lens is large enough, at 60mm, to offer a broad field of view. You will get a tripod with your purchase, so that you can spend hours watching the nature around you, without straining your hands.
Click to see the price on Amazon!