What are the Best Budget Spotting Scopes on the Market in 2018?

Are you fan of nature? You love starring at those magical landscapes and you hate missing the smallest details about them? Then you should, absolutely, have your own spotting scope to chase the best sights the nature can give you and to catch them forever. With this article, I will help you find the best spotting scopes which fit your needs and satisfy your expectations. No matter what your needs are: to watch a wondrous tiny bird from 1 mile away, to enjoy seeing the full moon closely from your window, or to check your shooting targets… This article is made for you and it will give you all the pieces of information you need.

Useful Recommendation

After consulting many experts in the field of photography and optics, we settled on this particular efficient product – Gosky 20-60X 80 Porro Prism – which presents the best characteristics of a spotting scope, I will tell you what makes this product the best budget spotting scope then I will compare many products with variable prices.

Gosky 20-60X 80 Porro Prism

This spotting scope tops the market because it combines a variety of parameters which make it amazingly simple and efficient.

Actually, it gives you the ability to zoom in on target with its 20x to 60x magnification system and its dynamic lens focusing mechanism. The images you receive on the eyepiece of this scope are top quality, completely bright and clear. This product is also best known for its magnificent focus settings; it can closely focus on things which are only 20 feet away (6 meters). Besides, the field of view of the GoSky 20-60X 80 Porro Prism is top-notch: 115.2-57.6 feet at 1000 yards. In other terms, you can spot a bird from 2 miles away and catch a high definition image of it using your phone which can be attached to the spotted scope via a digiscoping adapter (it comes with the product and fits most types of phones).

Another important feature is the strict sealing characteristic of this scope making it fully waterproof and rainproof as well.

This product is delivered with a tripod but it seems to be not very useful as it only raises the scope off the surface by one foot and is only meant for table use. However, the pivot is very solid and it provides great stability so you can catch the best picture if that’s what you’re looking for.

This model is absolutely not expensive but also not the cheapest, it provides a satisfying quality/price ratio and is, personally, one of the best budget spotting scopes available in the market.

Why would one want a spotting scope?

When it comes to nature, many individuals are extremely fond of the beauty of various landscapes around the world and look for the most useful ways to keep a memory of every marking moment in their trip. For this purpose, a spotting scope is the most useful way, it provides a breath-taking magnification to the tiny things which are miles away from you or are inaccessible due to the roughness of place.

Besides, many photographers use it to catch high definition pictures. In fact, it has become necessary in every wildlife photographer’s assets thanks to the quality magnification it gives.

In addition to all of that, the spotting scope can be used at home, many of us are interested in astronomy and like to situate stars and planets. In order to do that, you need a material with a powerful magnification system such as a spotting scope which can easily give you a perfect view of the moon.

Different types

Spotting scopes are different and there is a wide range of shapes and characteristics you need to know before choosing one. I will try to simply write about the main differences between spotting scope types.

Straight vs angled

The question here is not which is best? But which best fits your needs because both straight and angled spotting scopes are useful and provide the same quality views, but each of them has its own use. The straight scope is best used with a high tripod while a short one is enough for an angled scope, The straight scope is easily packed into a backpack as it doesn’t take as much space as the angled one which makes it hard to be packed with other gears in the same pack, in extreme weather, it is better to use a straight spotting scope as the angled one’s eyepiece can collect rain, snow and dust… and finally, it is important to mention that straight spotting scopes fit amateur use because they are simpler than angled scopes that require a good enough experience using spotting scope to know how to set the collar for the best use.

Budget vs mid-range vs high-end

Price is the most important feature you look for before you buy any product, that’s why I will provide you with this simple comparison between budget, mid-range and high-end spotting scopes.

First of all, high-end spotting scopes are limited to a professional use; it needs a huge experience to know how to use a high-end professional spotting scope because it contains many complicated features and systems.

Second, Budget and mid-range spotting scopes are reserved to the beginners and intermediate users who have none or less experience. Budget scopes are simple, and they can help beginners start their way up with some great magnified pictures while mid-range scopes are more complicated and deliver a better quality, in addition they are served with additional features such as digiscoping adapters and tripods…

Specific applications where one would want a spotting scope

  • Wildlife photography
  • Birds watching
  • Hunting
  • Target shooting
  • Astronomy (stars and planets locating)
  • archery

As well as a wide range of other useful activities.

What features to look for?

Magnification power

Before buying a spotting scope, the most interesting thing you must ask about is magnification power, it means the material’s ability to zoom in. on the description of a spotting scope, you will find 3 numbers: the first two are separated with a ‘-‘ and the second two are separated with a ‘X’ (20-60X 80 spotting scope has a magnification range from 20 to 60 times).

A good product will have a variable magnification power going up to 80X but as long as it is a very powerful magnification then it is almost impossible to hold it steady even with a tripod, therefore, it is highly recommended to use a 60x spotting scope since it gives the best quality with simple tripod adjustment.

Objective lens diameter

This parameter is represented by the last number; it means that a 20-60X 80 spotting scope has an 80 mm wide objective lens. It determines the diameter of the lens in the front of the scope and is considered an important parameter because it is responsible for the quantity of light that enters the spotting scope and make the image brighter and clearer.

The more the objective lens diameter is big, the better the image so it is recommended to go for a spotting scope of a 70 to 80 mm wide objective lens.

Other considerations

Size and weight – finding a spotting scope that fits our expectations of the quality it delivers is as important as our expectation of the shape since it is mandatory to choose a relatively light and compact spotting scope if you will be using it in rough and long walks in the woods or you will be holding it all day long, therefore it must be portable.

Tripod necessity – a tripod is always necessary for a spotting scope since it is the only material that helps make the scope steady and obtain the best image. Some products come with a tripod and some don’t therefore you must check your product description before buying.

Now, since you know a lot about spotting scopes, let’s move forward to reviewing some of the best products available in the market and highlighting their pros and cons.

Visionking 25-75x70 Maksutov

This budget spotting scope is also a great product for wildlife watching with 25X to 75X magnification and 70 mm wide objective lens.


  • it is light and comfortable to carry (net weight = 800 grams)
  • its long eye relief fits eyeglasses wearers
  • water and fog proof
  • very fair price


  • Highest magnification is not very useful.
  • Less brightness during sunset or sunrise.

Gosky 15-45X 60 Porro Prism

It belongs to the same manufacturer as our top product but it is of lower quality since it provides lower magnification range (15X to 45X) and only 60 mm wide objective lens.


  • Very light and portable (only 650 grams)
  • Comes with a digiscoping adapter
  • Comes with a tripod


  • Not very useful collar (straight type is better)

SVBONY 20-60x65mm/20-60x80


This one here is available in two different configurations: the 20-60X65 and the 20-60X80, both are useful since they provide a magnification range of 20 to 60 times and they differ in the objective lens diameter.


  • Comes with universal phone adapter
  • Comes with a pan hear tripod
  • Comes with a cleaning cloth


  • Cheaply built, doesn’t last for too long

Emarth 20-60x60

This budget spotting scope is another useful scope for wildlife and nature tours, it comes with a 20 to 60 magnification power and has an objective lens which is 60mm wide.


  • Water and fog proof
  • Extendable sunshade
  • Good portability (only 640 grams)
  • Shock-absorbing material


  • Blue fringing happens when you zoom in
  • Eye relief is not very useful.

BARSKA 20-60x60

This one is much similar to the one above with the same configuration (20 to 60 magnification power and 60 mm wide objective lens) but it is a straight one.


  • Water and fog proof
  • Smooth focusing wheel
  • Comes with a pan head tripod


  • Lack of clarity beyond 150 yards
  • Eye relief is very short

Celestron 52250 80mm Ultima Zoom

This spotting scope is a mid-range, relatively expensive but it also delivers a good quality with crisp images thanks to its 80 mm wide objective lens. It comes with many useful features which are absolutely worth it.


  • Good for use in sunset and sunrise
  • Durable and well-armoured
  • Eyeglass friendly


  • Doesn’t come with a tripod
  • Decrease in quality with increase in magnification
  • Goes out of focus as you increase in magnification

To sum up, I want to say that choosing a spotting scope needs a lot of attention to details, since you are now aware of the necessary equipment for a good spotting scope and have an idea about what the best spotting scope looks like then it is time for you to go get yours.

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