The Best Spotting Scope Under $300

For the extreme close up views of birds and animals in the wild, there is no substitute for a good spotting scope. These units are built-in light and compact packages and offer incredible magnification ideal for fieldwork. They are also well constructed to handle rough use and travel with ease. Apart from shooters, the popularity of the spotting scope is growing for birders who are serious about getting closer to identifying the species. They also deliver higher magnification than binoculars, making them a very popular choice for a wide range of uses. Keep in mind that spotting scopes are designed to be a terrestrial viewing instrument. So if you want to view stars and planets, the image quality will not be that good.

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If you are looking for an affordable spotting scope, you are in the right place as in this article we bring to you some of the best spotting scopes that come within the price of $300. We will start by outlining some of the features related to practicality and the light-gathering technology that will help you in making the right choice.

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Table of Contents

Buying guide for the spotting scope

The following points are to be noted while buying a spotting scope.

The design

Most of the spotting scope that comes within budget ranges use the prismatic refractor technology. These scopes come in two general forms, angled and straight. Most of the angles scope comes with a 45-degree angle. Each model has its own set of advantages and disadvantages and you need to make the choice depending on your requirements. A straight scope allows you to locate the subject easily and makes it easier to view a subject from a hidden position. They also offer less strain on the neck and easy aiming. The angled scopes offer the advantage of sharing the scope with a group without having to constantly change the eye-level.

Magnification levels

The magnification levels can vary between 15x and 250x. This factor represents how many times the image will appear larger or closer through the scope than when seen with the naked eye. The eyepieces in a scope can be either removable or non-removable and fixed or zoom. The zoom lenses are the most popular choices as they offer good versatility. Eye-relief refers to the distance between the eye and the point at which the pupil is positioned to obtain a full field of view through the scope. If you use spectacles, make sure that the scope has sufficient eye relief for ease of use.

Lens quality

The quality of glass that is used to build the scope is always important to get the best image. Various advanced chemical coatings are often applied to the surface of lenses to reduce the amount of glare and maximize the image brightness. The coatings can be of varies types including coated, fully coated, multi-coated and fully multi-coated. The more the number of layers used the higher will be the price of the scope.

Support

With higher levels of zoom, handholding the device becomes almost impossible and hence you need a good quality tripod to support the scope. The tripods used for spotting lenses are not very heavy but they need setting up. While being durable and providing the required stability to the scope a tripod should also reach to the necessary height to offer prolonged comfortable viewing. When you are planning the budget for your scope, make sure that you keep the cost of the tripod in mind.

Bushnell Trophy XLT Tripod Spotting Scope

This is an ultimate portable, all-weather spotting scope that offers excellent durability along with HD clarity with its top-quality optics.

Bushnell Trophy XLT 20-60x 65mm Waterproof Compact Tripod Spotting Scope with Hard and Soft Cases

Overview

The unit offers fully multi-coated optics and compact dimensions based on a Porro prism design. Whether it is used for spotting wildlife or sighting in a gun, the image is of exceptionally great quality. His is a versatile and durable scope that offers great value.

Features and Benefits:

Great optics

All the air-to-glass surfaces feature multiple layers of anti-reflective coating to offer stunning optical clarity. The quantity of light lost in the scope is very small making the images crystal clear.

Effective zoom

The unit offers magnification up to 60x and the images are free from chromatic aberration. The zoom range makes the unit well-suited for a wide range of purposes.

Rugged built

The unit is O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged for total waterproof and fog proof protection. No matter the weather, you can use this scope with full confidence.

Additional features

The scope is very easy to use and comes with a tripod as an added advantage. It also comes with hard-side and compact soft-side carrying cases for effective handling.

Key Specifications:

  • Weight:42.3 ounces
  • Length: 13.4 inches
  • Magnification: 20x to 60x
  • Eye relief: 18.3 mm
  • Objective diameter: 65 mm

Pros and Cons:

Pros
  • Excellent image clarity
  • Fully weatherproof construction
  • Rubber armour construction
  • Very good eye relief
  • Includes hard and soft cases
.
Cons
  • The tripod quality could have been better.
  • At 32.8 feet close focus distance is larger

Conclusion

This is a fantastic piece of optical equipment that is built to last long and is a great companion in outdoor trips that need superior optical support.

Redfield Rampage Angled Spotting Scope

This scope comes with a top-class performance along with the whole range of accessories that provides a comfortable viewing experience at all times.

Redfield Rampage Angled Spotting Scope

Overview

The scope is both lightweight and ready to endure the elements. It comes with attractive and user-friendly features that make it an effective unit at a reasonable price. In addition, the scope is very easy to use, and the controls are all perfectly placed for user convenience.

Features and Benefits:

Great optics

The scope is equipped with BAK4 prism glass which delivers unmatched image resolution. It also delivers precise colour reproduction along with sharp clarity.

Effective magnification

The unit offers a magnification range from 20X to 60X and the image resolution is fantastic across all magnifications. The generous eye relief also makes viewing through the unit a comfortable experience.

Rugged built

The glass is shatterproof and the polycarbonate frame is very light, yet remarkably durable. An additional armored rubber housing enhances durability effectively.

Easy to use

The scope is very easy to use and the controls are all perfectly placed. The focus knob is very nicely knurled and is easy to grip even when you’re hands are sweaty or gloved.

Key Specifications:

  • Weight:6.1 pounds
  • Design: 45 degrees angled
  • Magnification: 20x to 60x
  • Eye relief: 19-17 mm
  • Objective diameter: 80 mm

Pros and Cons:

Pros
  • Excellent image clarity
  • Fully weatherproof construction
  • Durable but light in weight
  • Includes view-through carrying case
  • A lifetime warranty.
.
Cons
  •  Not ideal for distances below 250 yards
  • The tripod quality is not satisfactory.

Conclusion

This unit delivers a rugged build, great optical performance and the whole range of accessories to make sure that it delivers complete value for money.

 

Barska 30-90×90 Waterproof Colorado Spotter Scope

 This set includes everything to enjoy long-distance observations and that includes the superior grade scope that offers excellent image quality at all levels.

Barska 30-90x90 Waterproof Colorado Spotter Scope

Overview

The unit uses superior grade glass along with excellent construction to deliver the right image quality. The wide zoom range makes this optical device ideal for hunting and bird watching, as well as spotting at the rifle range. For anyone long for a quality spotting scope, this is a good investment.

Features and Benefits:

Great optics

The scope offers excellent optics that deliver clear and crisp resolution all through the zoom range. The image clarity is maintained even when the light conditions are low.

Glare protection

The unit comes with an extendable and collapsible sunshade that prevents sunlight from deteriorating the image quality while maintaining the right level of clarity.

Superior focussing

The side-focusing knob is conveniently located to ensure that the focus can be fine-tuned with ease, even while keeping an eye pointed at the subject.

Weatherproof

The scope is dry nitrogen-purged and O-ring sealed that makes it fog- and water-proof. This makes it ideal for long-distance observation and shooting in adverse weather conditions.

Key Specifications:

  • Weight: 3 pounds
  • Length: 21 inches
  • Magnification: 30x to 90x
  • Eye relief: 1.78- 14.8 mm
  • Objective diameter: 90 mm

Pros and Cons:

Pros
  • Excellent image clarity
  • Waterproof and fog proof
  • A compact and portable design
  • Includes table-top tripod, Accu-grip and soft case
  • A wider magnification range
.
Cons
  • Some users found the eyepiece to be too small
  • The tripod quality is not satisfactory.

Conclusion

The superior optics, the sturdy construction and the performance makes this scope a very good versatile choice for first-time enthusiasts.

Celestron 52250 80mm Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope

This rugged and well-designed lens has been designed for outdoor enthusiasts and being compact and portable, it offers great support for fieldwork.

Celestron 52250 80mm Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope

Overview

This light and sleek scope will not take up much space in your travel bag. The unit is ideal for fieldwork and is durable enough to handle rough conditions. It is also very well priced and offers great value for any first-time buyer who is seeking an affordable model.

Features and Benefits:

Clear image

The scope offers an objective lens made from quality materials with multiple layered anti-reflection coatings. The prisms are also coated with the same material to prevent any loss of light.

Easy to use

The unit is very easy to use, with a comfortable 45 degree angled eyepiece. The zoom and focus knobs move smoothly and comfortably making handling an easy affair.

Durable construction

The scope comes with a rubber-coated housing that protects it from drops and falls. The unit is waterproof and is also nitrogen purged to make it fog proof.

Suitable for multiple tripods

The scope is a very flexible device and contains a tripod fitting suitable for a variety of tripod stands in the market. The advantage of buying a tripod separately is that you can choose one according to your needs.

Key Specifications:

  • Weight:3.56 pounds
  • Prism material: BaK4
  • Magnification: 20x to 60x
  • Eye relief: 18 mm
  • Close focus distance: 26.2 feet

Pros and Cons:

Pros
  • A very durable scope
  • Multi-layered anti-reflection optics
  • Easy to use
  • Suitable for wet conditions.
  • Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
.
Cons
  • The image quality deteriorates at higher magnification levels

Conclusion

This scope comes with some very good features along with some unique features that will keep the users looking for a rugged and efficient scope perfectly satisfied.

 

Emarth 20-60x60AE Waterproof Angled Spotting Scope

With a superb level of clarity and enhanced picture quality, this spotting scope is a great choice for outdoor enthusiasts and bird watchers as well.

Emarth 20-60x60AE Waterproof Angled Spotting Scope

Overview

With high-quality construction and an excellent focusing system, this lens offers a good choice for the seekers of a high-grade spotting scope. The unit is easy to use, versatile and is rugged enough to be used in a varied range of weather conditions.

Features and Benefits:

Superior glass

The BAK-4 prism brings the brighter edges of the field of view along with a higher refractive index rate. The unit delivers bright, clear, high-contrast images even in low-light conditions.

Easy to use

The unit is built to make the user look down at a 45-degree angle that makes observation comfortable. The dials for adjusting the focus are right within your reach,

Durable construction

The chassis of the scope is rugged but lightweight, offering you plenty of impact resistance with the rubberized coating. It is also waterproof as an added advantage.

Light in weight

The scope is one of the lightest in the market and it is easy to carry it in your backpack and head outdoors. The tripod is also made from aluminum elements that make it lighter in weight.

Key Specifications:

  • Weight: 3.43 pounds
  • Prism mat erial: BaK4
  • Magnification: 20x to 60x
  • Eye relief: 17 mm
  • Objective lens diameter: 60mm

Pros and Cons:

Pros
  • A very durable scope
  • Easy to use features.
  • Anti-reflective coatings for better clarity
  • Suitable for wet conditions and foggy weather.
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
.
Cons
  • The image quality deteriorates at higher magnification levels.

Conclusion

This is a scope that offers an affordably priced entry-level scope that comes with some premium features that will appeal to even the pro-level user.

 

Roxant Authentic Blackbird High Definition Spotting Scope

With the right levels of magnification as well as clarity, this scope is designed to serve the outdoors with its premium military-grade optics and compact features.

Roxant Authentic Blackbird High Definition Spotting Scope

Overview

This high-quality portable scope offers a 45 degree angled eyepiece for a practical and comfortable viewing experience. For a budget spotting scope, it has some impressive features along with providing the users with a crystal-clear viewing experience.

Features and Benefits:

Superior glass

The scope offers great color definition along with crystal clear images because of the fully multi-coated glass lens that guarantees superior light transmission.

Easy to use

The unit comes with a “Smooth Glide” focus ring that is heavily textured for a positive grip and offers great ease of use. It is also compact and portable for outdoor use.

Full range of accessories

The scope comes with a portable, foldable, handled tabletop tripod that is effective for use. It also comes with a carry case, lens cap, and lens cleaning cloth.

Durable construction

The scope comes with rugged non-slip rubber armor that makes it sufficiently durable. In addition, it is also a weatherproof scope allowing you to use it in adverse weather.

Key Specifications:

  • Weight: 2.15 pounds
  • Closest focus distance: 26 feet
  • Magnification: 12x to 36x
  • Field of View: 170-85 feet/1093 yards
  • Objective lens diameter: 50mm

Pros and Cons:

Pros
  • A compact and lightweight scope.
  • Fully armored body with no-slip grips
  • Anti-reflective coatings for better clarity
  • Extendable sunshade and twist-up eyecups
  • Very good image clarity
.
Cons
  • The eye relief could have been better

Conclusion

This is a scope that offers a range of impressive features at a low cost and effectively balances magnifying power with the vivid clarity of images.

Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 Spotting Scope

This is Leupold’s entry-level spotting scope that delivers true-to-life color and outstanding image brightness along with a streamlined design.

Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 Spotting Scope

Overview

This Ventana series features some great mid-tier spotting scopes and is affordable for those who don’t want to spend extra bucks but seek quality. It combines good features like decent features like smooth focusing, twist-up eyecups, and generous eye relief into a good package.

Features and Benefits:

Superior clarity

Apart from superior resolution, depth, and color fidelity, the lens also offers incredible clarity. It also performs extremely well in low light conditions.

Superior build quality

The lightweight polycarbonate housing is rugged in nature and provides very durable built quality and the rubber armor coating delivers an effective grip.

Weatherproof

The scope comes with a superior waterproofing technology that makes it waterproof and fog proof for use in harsh weather conditions without any issues.

Advanced features

The scope offers good eye relief and a smooth focusing system that is easy to use. The special Folded light path technology helps in developing a compact, lightweight design.

Key Specifications:

  • Weight:30.6 oz
  • Magnification: 15x to 45x
  • Objective lens: 60 mm
  • Eye relief: 20 to 21.5 mm

Pros and Cons:

Pros
  • A compact and lightweight scope.
  • Offers edge to edge clarity.
  • Very good optical performance.
  • Comes with a retractable lens shade
  • Offers good value for money
.
Cons
  • The image quality deteriorates at high magnification levels.

Conclusion

This is an affordable spotting scope that is a pretty capable performer and offers great value to anyone seeking the right balance between price and performance.

SVBONY SV46 Spotting Scope

Designed for a variety of activities, this is a scope that allows you to capture the beauty of nature in great detail with its great optical performance and superior features.

SVBONY SV46 Spotting Scope

Overview

This is a very good all-round lens that offers plenty of edge clarity and good overall resolution that will serve outdoor enthusiasts. The overall build quality is good and in terms of features, the scope ticks all the right boxes. This is definitely a model that offers bang for your buck.

Features and Benefits:

Superior clarity

The glass comes with multiple layers of anti-reflection coatings that provide superior brightness, edge clarity, and an excellent resolution.

Superior build quality

The unit is O-ring-sealed and nitrogen-filled which allows for optimal performance even in harsh conditions. The extendable shade protects the lens from raindrops, scratch, and damage.

Large objective lens

The scope comes with an 80mm objective lens to ensure the light-gathering power and resolution, as well as a large view range for more ease of use.

Additional features

The scope can be rotated through 180 degrees quite easily. There is coaxial dual-speed focusing dials for achieving a fast level of image clarity.

Key Specifications:

  • Weight:30.6 oz
  • Magnification: 20x to 60x
  • Objective lens: 80 mm
  • Field of view: 64-43 feet/1000 yards

Pros and Cons:

Pros
  • Crisp and clear image quality
  • 23 mm big eyepiece
  • A dynamic lens focusing system
  • Comes with a standard tripod and a mobile device mount.
  • IPX7 waterproof rating
.
Cons
  • The tripod quality is poor.

Conclusion

This is a scope that is a real pleasure to use and offers a great choice for users who are looking for a budget-friendly option that offers good quality.

 

Celestron Hummingbird Micro Spotter Birder-Friendly Spotting Scope

This small but powerful scope combines premium-grade optics at an affordable price and the angled eyepiece is very well suited for wildlife observation.

Celestron Hummingbird Micro Spotter Birder-Friendly Spotting Scope

Overview

This is a versatile lens that will fit comfortably in your hand and will deliver clear and crisp images through the high-quality glass. It also comes with multiple accessories and a well-designed padded case, to make it a perfectly travel-friendly companion.

Features and Benefits:

Superior clarity

The objective lenses are made from extra-low dispersion glass and the fully multi-coated optics provide bright, sharp, and true-to-life images.

Easy to use

When you want to reach the precision focus level quickly and easily, the centrally-located helical focus dial will help you to do so with little effort.

Versatile mounting

The scope is tripod, monopod, and window mount adaptable, making it very easy to use in a variety of scenarios. It can even work while mounted on trekking poles.

Weatherproof

The scope is protected against wet weather, humid conditions and other environmental challenges as it is waterproof and nitrogen filled.

Key Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.43 pounds
  • Magnification: 9x to 27x
  • Objective lens: 56 mm
  • Field of view: 216 – 98 feet
  • Eye relief: 15 mm

Pros and Cons:

Pros
  • A small and compact scope
  • Durable build quality
  • Ideally suited for travel
  • Versatile mounting options.
  • A weather-sealed scope
.
Cons
  • Image quality deteriorates at high magnification levels.

Conclusion

This is a lightweight lens that can survive good levels of travel and fieldwork and provides a good choice for anyone looking for a value for money product.

BARSKA Barskahawk Spotting Scope

 Whether you are planning to hit the trails of going on a hunt, this scope has all the right features to bring the distant objects distinct and clear in your eyes.

BARSKA Barskahawk Spotting Scope

Overview

The scope comes with a good level of magnification and you’ll enjoy plenty of contrast and resolution throughout the entire range. The good light transmission makes the scope good for bright sunlight and even at night, making it a versatile choice.

Features and Benefits:

Superior optics

The optics are impressive and offer very good clarity and there is hardly any chromatic aberration. The good field of view also makes this lens a good choice for wildlife.

Superior glass

The lens comes with a BK–7 prism glass that is enhanced by phase correction coatings. The coatings provide great color reproduction, resolution, contrast, and clarity.

Versatile mounting

The scope is tripod, monopod, and window mount adaptable, making it very easy to use in a variety of scenarios. It can even work while mounted on trekking poles.

Weatherproof

The scope is protected against wet weather as it is waterproof and fog proof. The body is covered by a textured rubber armor for added durability.

Key Specifications:

  • Weight:2.86 pounds
  • Magnification: 20x to 60x
  • Objective lens: 60 mm
  • Field of view: 216 -98 feet
  • Eye relief: 15 mm

Pros and Cons:

Pros
  • Offers very good image clarity.
  • Durable build quality
  • Effective light transmission
  • Easy to use controls.
  • A limited lifetime warranty
.
Cons
  • The eye relief is less.
  • The included tripod is no of good quality

Conclusion

Barska has a good reputation and this scope matches that in terms of quality and performance and it also offers a whole range of accessories to make the deal even better.

 

Conclusion

So these are some of the best spotting scopes at $300 from the current markets. Compact, lightweight and easy to use, these units are very well suited for travel and outdoor adventures. Being budget-range scopes does not mean that these units lag behind in terms of performance. The quality of optics and image clarity that they deliver is extremely good at the price range. In addition, they are also very durable and weatherproof for long term use. Though it is difficult to choose the best model from these units, the Bushnell Trophy XLT spotting scope is a great choice when it comes to an effective and durable scope.

This model from Bushnell offers excellent image clarity along with an effective magnification range. The optics are fully multicoated for better clarity and the rugged, rubber-armored housing is completely waterproof. You can count on this unit to deliver the brightest and highest contrast images with the least amount of eye strain as the light transmission is very good. It is a versatile device and is well-suited for nature study, hunting, fishing, birding and even stargazing.

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