Getting the right spotting scope is not a universal affair, I am sure you have your own preferences and choices when it comes to what you intend to gain by acquiring the best spotting scope. Two things are likely to limit your choices, one is the budget, and the other one is the value for the money spent. You may have heard of the general perception that the more features in a scope, the more you will spend, and you are likely to get the best value for money. Today I will be more sincere by telling you to go for the best spotting scope within your budget and you will still get its value. The bottom line is to look for something within your budget bearing in mind that some manufacturers are well versed in the art of creating a balance between affordability and quality.
Our Recommendation – The Vortex Optics Viper HD Spotting Scopes
The price tag of the Vortex Optics Viper HD Spotting Scopes does not describe its high-end quality. For less than $1,000, you can pick either the straight or the angled model and stand out with arguably one of the best scopes in its class. Both the hunter and the shooter will appreciate how close far-flung objects are brought closer. This is done without compromising quality, clarity, resolution, and color. The focus gives a smooth and sharp viewing through its trademark Viper HD viewing technology.
The optical features an HD lens that is optimized for the best resolution with the ability to cut chromatic aberration with an edge-to-edge sharpness. This scope has special coatings designed to increase light transmission when focusing on non-reflective surfaces. A rotating tripod collar enables adjustable viewing positions.
- The viewing glass is bright and distortion free
- The scope works in virtually all conditions with good performance in bad weather
- Easy to focus when using the vortex for a clean crisp viewing
- Comes with a custom-fitted case
- May produce chromatic aberrations at higher magnifications
- The eyepiece does not have a tight fit
What to Look for When Buying a Spotting Scope under $1000
A spotting scope will offer the perfect solution for astronomers, hunters, birdwatchers, and people who love the outdoor adventures. Selecting the best spotting scope means enjoying your viewing without compromising on image clarity. In this article, I have offered different views on some of the best spotting scopes you will purchase below 1000 dollars. I have given some essential tips on what to look for when making your selection.
Lenses used in scopes have different types of coatings. They may be found in single coats, fully coated, and multi-coated. You can rely on your preference to choose the best type of coating.
Eye relief is the distance you can use the scope away from the eye and be able to get a better view. The relief distance should not strain you when using a spotting scope. Always look for one with an extended eye relief to reduce strain, especially if you are using eyeglasses.
Lenses are designed in different diameters. The lens size determines the amount of light allowed and determines image size. The power of a lens will differ at 45,80, and 100 mm. Anything above 70 mm has the ability to capture even more light in low light environments when using high magnification. A 60 mm lens or below weighs less and is less powerful
A good spotting scope should be able to give the best and consistent performance throughout its lifetime. Durability also means a scope that can work in all weather conditions. Other salient features such as waterproof, fog proof, and shock resistance are factors to consider when talking about durability. The warranty may not be directly related to durability, but I am sure it gives you some lifeline when buying a spotting scope for long-term use.
The magnification makes may be the defining factor when buying a spotting scope because of the difference in image clarity. The higher the magnification value may bring the image closer, but with poor quality while the lower magnification gives bright and sharp images. Some manufacturers will provide a lens coating and glasses to enhance image brightness and sharpness.
When buying a spotting optic, make a consideration for other accessories such as the tripod stand. Tripod stand is to give stability when viewing as opposed to a handheld one. Making use of a durable stand that is lightweight could be the best choice for long-distance travelers.
Angle or Straight Viewing
The position of viewing will determine whether to pick a straight or an angled spotting scope. Most hunters because of their viewing position (lying on the ground) may see the adjustable angled scope to be a comfortable choice. The angle simply determines your comfort not the viewing capability of a particular scope.
Other convenient features
- Adjustable eye cap, which twists to a precise, customized setting and can be used with or without glasses
- Adjustable focus that accommodates both fast and fine adjustments
- A purpose built sunshade to keep off glare and protect the lens from raindrops
- A rotating tripod collar that gives all possible viewing angles
Top Six Products
Looking at the above factors, I choose to review these six spotting scopes so that you can see how each of them performs. The common factor in my selection is the less than 1000 dollars price tag. It is important to note that the order of this review does not indicate in any way the value or suitability of the product.
1. Celestron 52306 Regal M2 100ED Spotting Scope
The Celestron 52306 Regal M2 features an ED objective lens that manufacturer claim to reduce aberration and does not compromise color quality. It has a trademark XLT multicasting that enhances sharpness in viewing. The product also comes with wide range of eyepieces that can be mounted for increased magnification. Its focusing unit has a dual coarse and fine focus dial used for refining the view. The eyepiece can be positioned at any possible angle when using a tripod stand.
The Celestron 52306 Regal M2 comes loaded with several accessories such as a view through the case, eyepiece cover, storage for eye covers, mount adapter ring etc.
- ED objective lens increases resolution and contrast
- Comes with 1.25” mountable eyepieces
- A T-Mount adapter used to connect DSLR cameras
- The rotating tripod stand provides for comfortable viewing angles
- An instruction manual is included
- Due to its weight the knobs around the scope have to be tightened
- Image degradation is notable beyond 28x
- Some may find the position of the adjusting knobs on the right side cumbersome to use
2. Kowa 82mm Angled Spotting Scope TSN-82SV – Body Only
The Kowa 82 mm Angled Spotting Scope is built to gather as much light as possible. The wide lens angle provides a large field of view. The lenses are made of prisms and have a dust-proof glass that is multi-coated giving it a sharp image with a better visual range. It is said to be ideal for the experienced and new scope users. This spotting scope is an improvement over the previous 821 Model. Anyone looking for good optics may have an opportunity of testing this product. The manufacturer boasts of using the most advanced optical technology and materials in the industry. The 82 mm lens gives a near natural view, which could a good choice for astronomers.
- The optics are fully multicoated
- The unique Porro Prism Design is designed to collect more light for enhanced viewing
- Has a 360-degree rotating angle base for use in elevated positions
- Comes with a sliding sunshade
- Light and durable
- Does not come with an eyepiece
- Have to order extra eyepiece to keep as accessories
3. Pentax PF-80ED Spotting Scope with Field Case
The Pentax PF-80ED Spotting Scope has a 45 –degree angled barrel that is supposed to be comfortable in any viewing angle. It is light in weight as it is housed in a magnesium alloy casing. Its glass elements support low dispersion. Its 80 mm objective lens is supposed to offer the best image quality in all weather and all light conditions. For those working in foggy conditions, the Pentax PF-80ED has a receptacle assembly that can be filled with nitrogen to make it fog proof.
- Has an objective lens cap case
- Light in weight for portability
- Gives one of the best resolutions because of its ED glass properties
- Can be used in all light conditions
- Classified as a JIS class 6 waterproof product
- Eyepieces are sold separately
- Not appropriate for planetary viewing because of the color fringe on the planet edges.
4. Nikon ProStaff 5 82mm Spotting Scope Outfit Package
The Nikon ProStaff 5 82mm combines balance in image clarity and size in all levels of magnification. It is arguably one of the leading Spotting Scopes under 1000 dollars. Its objective lens size promises maximum light collection enhancing the sharpness and brightness of an image. The Nikon ProStaff 5 82mm has a zooming feature that manipulates images to your desired size within its range of magnification. The sealed waterproofing gives one an opportunity of using the scope in any weather condition. The multicolored optics will give high contrast and true color definition of any view. It is light in weight and its internal texture is built to minimize reflective light.
- Waterproof and fog proof because of the O-ring sealing
- Image clarity guaranteed because of its large objective lens
- The zoom feature increases image size at any level
- The angled scope adds comfort when changing the body and viewing positions
- Has a sunshade that eliminates glare and protection from rain and heat
- The visibility may not be clear at 900 yards and beyond
5. Sightron 20-60x85HD-S SII Spotting Scope
The Sightron 20-60x85HD series is a multi-coated and waterproof spotting scope. It has roof prism with an 85 mm objective lens. The outer housing is made of rubber that offers a lifetime warranty. The Spotting scope comes with a fitting case and an HD low dispersion glass that guarantees edge-to-edge viewing and high resolution. The Sightron 20-60x85HD has the capacity to view minor details in longer distances. This series is available in both angled and straight body.
- Image clarity with no distortion
- The rubber finish protects the optics from bumping when in using
- The nitrogen filled body is waterproof, fog proof and can be used in adverse weather conditions
- Comes with accessories like lens and coversil and a soft carrying case
- May have difficulties viewing objects in the shade
6. Athlon Optics, Ares, Spotting Scope, 15-45 x 65 ED
The Athlon Optics, Ares, Spotting Scope has an objective lens of 65 mm with a dielectric coating. The manufacturer’s website indicates that this scope was designed for optical quality and ease of use. The imagery is razor sharp. The outer design is rugged and weatherproof making it one of the durable choices. Its durability relies on the Argon gas filled chamber making it also fog proof and added stability in a hot environment. The lens has an XPL coating that makes it dustproof and resistant to grime and oil.
- The ED glass eliminate the color fringe on objects
- The casing is durable and light due to its aluminum central chassis
- The dielectric coating reflects light back to your eyes for improved image clarity
- Argon gas filled chamber improves water and thermal resistance
- The rotating ring can be used to place the scope in any comfortable position
- No tripod included
- Slightly bulky
Finally, I hope that we have been able to give you all the information needed to get the best spotting scope under 1000 dollars. When going through this guide look out for those features that will blend your taste and the intended use. Are you shopping for hunting, shooting, stargazing, or bird watching? What you need to have in mind is that all the scopes are made from quality materials and can be used for the best outdoor experience. Good luck with your purchase.