Interested in buying a spotting scope to help you spot wildlife? Here are a few things to look for that may help you choose the right one.
There are a number of important factors to consider when choosing a spotter scope for watching wildlife. Before you rush into buying the most expensive spotting scope, think about your purchase and how it can serve your needs.
After considering more than two dozen different spotting scopes, I decided to buy the Gosky 20-60×80 Porro Prism spotting scope for watching wildlife (which you can find on Amazon here). For me, it’s the perfect balance of price and quality. It has many of the features of the high-end scopes with a 45-degree angled eyepiece, variable 20x to 60x zoom, retractable sunshade and it allows you to take photos on your phone. I’ve been really happy with it, and I bought two more for my friends.
The most important takeaway from this article, I believe, is that I strongly encourage you not to purchase a sub $100 spotting scope. I tested multiple cheap scopes trying to save a buck, and they aren’t very good. I bought a cheap one to start, and it didn’t have enough magnification to view wildlife. Also, cheaper spotting scopes aren’t as well built and shock-proof.
These Are The Top 3 Spotting Scopes for 2021:
Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scopes (click to check current price on Amazon) – Vortex is a great brand name, and nobody will be disappointed if you choose the Vortex brand.
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Gosky 20-60×80 Porro Prism Spotting Scope (click to check current price on Amazon) – The best all-rounder, great quality, crisp images, and great magnification. It’s the best spotting scope you can buy.
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Emarth High Power 10-20X50 (click to check current price on Amazon) – This is your budget option. It has lower magnification, but the quality is fantastic for the price. For a scope that you can take out without worrying too much if you damage it, this is a great scope.
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Why I Picked the Gosky 20-60×80 Spotting Scope
When you sit down and compare the Gosky spotting scope to the Vortex spotting scope, the difference is surprising.
- The Gosky offers greater magnifications than the Vortex offers. The Vortex do offer a model with the same magnification, but the price difference is even higher.
- The Gosky has a digiscoping adapter that comes with it allowing you to take great wildlife photos with your mobile phone.
- The Gosky comes with the high-end features of the Vortex with sun-shade and fully multi-coated lenses
- The Gosky is made in Asia, as is the Vortex, at a fraction of the price of the more expensive scope.
- The Gosky comes in a straight and angled version
- The Gosky is currently less than $150 with tripod, bag and digiscoping adapter.
Features to look for in a quality spotting scope:
- Tough, durable and shock proof casing and mounts – these things can put up with a lot of hiking and trail walking.
- The eyepiece has to provide clear vision, letting plenty of light through to deliver a crisp image.
- Look for fully multi-coated optics.
- Look for a higher magnification system to help bring the wildlife closer to you.
- Simple to set up and operate
- Included digiscoping adapter to take photos at distance through your mobile.
- Look to see if it includes a sun-shade.
- Check it has good quality glass.
- Check the dimensions and weight of the spotting scope.
- Look to see if the scope is fully weatherproof and fogproof?
“I’ve always thought about buying a spotting scope. Now I’m definitely going to get one! Cheers for the good advice.” – David
A spotting scope is ideal if you love looking at wildlife and want to take great close-up photos from a distance.
Mobile phones, along with larger DSLRs, point and shoot cameras and bridge cameras can use an attachment to allow them to take photos with the extra zoom of the scope. This will give the camera the magnification of the spotting scope.
An iPhone X, for instance has 2 x optical zoom whereas the Gosky, in comparison has 80 x optical zoom. The addition of the digiscoping adapter is essential for easy and quick mounting to turn the spotting scope into a camera that can adapt to photos or even video.
About Spotting Scopes
A spotting scope is a telescope perfect for watching wildlife. Spotting scopes are lightweight telescopes that can help you see great distances. The view they produce provides a fantastic view of the animal up close, and the great thing is the spotting scope doesn’t have to be large or heavy anymore.
Another useful thing about them is you can use them to improve your wildlife spotting skills. Whether out with the kids, or sitting in a hide somewhere, they provide a way of finding and identifying wildlife you may not normally be able to see.
Due to the advances in technology, the amount of people having access to a smartphone, along with lower costs, spotting scopes are becoming a must-have item, not only light-weight and affordable, but also providing an excellent quality to the photos and video.