Best compact spotting scopes in 2018 – comparison & reviews

Best compact spotting scopes in 2018 – comparison & reviews

Last Updated: 19.10.18

Top Compact Spotting Scopes This Year - Guide & Comparative Analysis

Do you want the best compact spotting scope, but you don’t have enough time to read our entire buying guide? Here is the only information you need to get the model that is really worth spending money on. Our research involving customer reviews, sales figures, and social media activity, revealed that you should set your mind on the Visionking Maksutov first and foremost. The waterproof construction is ensured by an O-ring design, and you will be able to use this compact model in all weather conditions. It must also be said that it is nitrogen-purged and it combats the effects of fog just as well. The BAK4 prism optics will let you observe nature in vivid colors, even in dim light conditions. In case the Visionking Maksutov is no longer available, our second recommendation is the ROXANT Blackbird, a model with almost the same advantages.

Comparison table

Finding the best portable spotting scope may not be the easiest job, but we are here to assist you in your quest. Many people prefer the convenience offered by a portable model as they don’t have enough room for a full-fledged model, but they still want to enjoy the same excellent performance. Here are the most crucial features you should find on your ideal portable spotting scope.

Never give up on lens quality

Some people may be convinced that some accessories like a clamp assembly mount for scopes can compensate for a lack of optics performance, but here we are, begging to differ. The lens quality is the first thing that you should never overlook when you are shopping for a spotting scope, even a compact one.

Optics quality depends on several factors. One of them is the quality of the glass used and the prism design. While there are plenty of various models available, and not all have the same features, it is easy to tell which ones have good optics and which ones don’t. Search for products that clearly state that they come with fully multi-coated optics.

What does this mean? When looking through a spotting scope, your image can become distorted, the colors might not be presented accurately, and overall you can be misled in regards to what you see. To combat this kind of mishap, all the manufacturers worth their salt offer superior optics performance.

You might find decent optics even in a cheap compact spotting scope, but do not count on many extra features or a choice of materials that are known to be expensive. Still, try to make a good compromise between optics quality and price. You will appreciate the effort invested the first time you will take a look through the spotting scope once you are out in the field.

Should you pick an angled scope or a straight one?

While there may be more to talk about optics, as the topic is vast, we want to move forward a little and present you with another aspect that you should focus on. As you shop around, you will notice that there are angled models available, as well as units equipped with a straight tube. Which one is best for your needs? Depending on what you want to do, the answer may be one or the other.

If you are passionate about bird watching, or you want to use your spotting scope for astronomical observation, an angled model would be a good option. You can mount it on a tripod and look through it for hours without experiencing any fatigue. Plus, you can always share it with a friend, by taking turns at watching the surroundings.

If, however, you need a spotting scope for terrestrial observations, you will do better with a straight tube scope. For hunters who need to observe their prey when fallen to the ground, as well as for watching from a vantage point, this design is a much better choice than the angled one.

Features you should not live without

A compact monocular should have certain features, even if it comes in a small size, and the same rule applies to spotting scopes. You should always opt for a model that is waterproof and also has anti-fog capabilities, because this way, you can rest assured that you will be able to use your scope in all possible weather conditions.

Don’t neglect the importance of a long eye relief. Many people wear glasses and they should not find their spotting scope difficult to use due to a poor eye relief on the unit of their choice. Another advantage of such a feature is the ability to wear sunglasses while using the scope.

Our 2018 list: Find the right compact spotting scope for your needs

It can be quite a daunting task to choose only one of the many compact models for sale, which is why we want to help you out by showing you the following list of compact spotting scopes that are presently appreciated the most by buyers.

Visionking Maksutov

If you want a compact model, you cannot go wrong with the Visionking Maksutov. Besides its superlight construction and compact design, this model comes with superior optics. The lens is fully coated and it provides the user with outstanding performance in terms of image quality.

But, as you may already know, a good compact spotting scope needs more than just good optics. The waterproof construction of this spotting scope will convince you right away that your choice is ideal for any weather. The unit is nitrogen purged, and it does a great job in fog conditions, too, as it doesn’t let water droplets create condensation on the lens.

Excellent light transmission is ensured by the BAK-4 prism optics, which means that even in low light conditions, you will still be able to spot details in the surrounding environment. You might not expect a large objective lens in a compact model like this one, but the 70mm diameter used will tell you a different story.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($129.99)

ROXANT Blackbird

This angled model will allow you to use it together with your friends when you go bird watching, or you want to examine wildlife from a decent distance. A rugged construction will convince you right away that this model is worthy of your consideration, as the rubber exterior provides you with excellent protection for the delicate mechanisms inside.

All the spotting scopes reviews include this model in their selections, because of the many excellent accessories that are offered with your purchase. You will get more than a compact spotting scope, easy to carry around. The manufacturer supplies a foldable tripod, as well as a carrying case.

You will surely appreciate the lens caps provided, that will protect the objective against damage while the scope is not in use. The focus ring is a handy feature, helping you re-focus with ease on a moving target. Versatile and equipped with high-quality optics, this model is a must-have.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($99.95)

Firefield Scope Kit

Don’t expect compact models to be equipped with fewer features than full-size spotting scopes. This particular product just proves why you should think like this. With an IPX6 waterproof rating, this model will be your loyal companion in all sorts of weather, and you will appreciate its many other, more than standard features.

The rugged construction is a guarantee that this unit is a sound investment. The fully multi-coated optics and the easy to focus mechanism are part of what makes this particular unit stand out from the crowd. The nitrogen-purged design keeps humidity away, while the sun shades will not allow glare to affect your experience.

Plus, if you’re looking for a budget monocular, this just might be the better choice compared to other models on the market. For its decent pricing, the Firefield Scope Kit even comes with a tripod, something that you do not usually see even in more expensive alternatives.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($56.99)

Celestron 52268

The Celestron 52268 stands out through its impressive objective lens. You might not expect a compact model like this one to come equipped with a 90mm lens, but this one delivers, and its broad field of view recommends it for many applications. The optics are multi-coated, and they offer a high-quality image performance that will never let you down.

There are some other interesting advantages of this Celestron spotting scope that you should learn about. For starters, the compact design makes it highly portable, so you will be able to take it anywhere with you. You can use this one for observing the sky, just as well as you would perform terrestrial observations.

Its versatility has so far managed to make many people fall in love with it. The sharp crisp image delivered by the optics contributes to its value, and you might just not want to leave on any trip to the great outdoors without it.

Click to see the price on Amazon!

Bushnell Trophy Xtreme

This manufacturer is well known for the excellent products it creates and the Bushnell spotting scope we review here is no exception to the rule. The high-quality lens delivers outstanding clarity, so you will be able to spot the tiniest details as you are observing your surroundings through the spotting scope.

As it is well known, this company uses top notch materials and employs superior craftsmanship on their products. You can rest assured that this is a model that will withstand the test of time, and you will get an excellent deal for the money.

It must be said that this model comes with an impressive range of accessories. You will get a tripod, along with a car window mount, as easy use. Two cases, one that is hard sided, and a soft model, serve for carrying the spotting scope around without risking any damage. A glove is also provided.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($184.99)
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