Spotting scopes have become an everyday tool for birding and wildlife observing, for this purpose, manufacturers in the field of optics compete to apply the most convenient technologies on spotting scopes so they can fulfil the needs of their clients and win the market.
Leupold is one of the giant spotting scopes manufacturers, with its widely known reputation, this company succeeded in creating some of the best spotting scopes you will ever have.
If you are willing to buy a new spotting scope or to change your old one, or even if you are curious over the evolution of these magical magnifiers, this article is absolutely for you as I am going to introduce you to a wide range of Leupold spotting scopes but first, let’s take a general look at the most important things you need to know before buying one.
What makes you need a spotting scope?
Spotting scopes are generally meant for these who love nature, including birders, campers, adventurers or hunters… But nowadays, it has expanded to cover a wider area of activities such as astronomy, target shooting, archery and more. In fact, I have a friend who works as a special investigator, when I gave him a spotting scope as a gift on his birthday he told me after a few months that this tiny machine has helped him with his job and improved his skills. Therefore, you should know that spotting scopes are not only a matter of nature; it’s actually used in every activity where you want a huge magnification.
Different types of spotting scopes
When you are in a store looking for a good spotting scope to buy, you will find a variety of them with different shapes and aspects which come from different companies and cost different amounts of money, you will find straight spotting scopes, angled, uniocular, binocular, budget products, mid-range, high-end… etc.
Don’t worry about it, I am here to explain how these products differ and it will be simple and brief.
Straight vs angled types
The difference here is easy; you will find straight spotting scopes with straight eyepiece which makes it all a long piece of material. In the other hand you will find angled ones, where the eyepiece makes an angle with the objective module of the spotting scopes, the angle varies from 10° to 50° but it is best to choose a 45° considering that it is simple to use and gives great quality.
When it comes to functionality, there is no big difference between these two, I mean both of them are convenient in the field but in specific use, they have a huge difference: Straight scopes are best for quick moving targets and wildlife observing while moving and Angled are reserved to the digiscoping and the huge magnification activities.
As I said above, spotting scopes can be useful in a variety of activities depending on what you need but I must state that there are specific applications where spotting scopes are a necessity such as: birding, hunting, wildlife observing, digiscoping (for professional photographers), target shooting, archery, astronomy…
Most important features
Every spotting scope must have a range of assets to make it useful and efficient; these features define the quality of the product and make a huge difference between budget and high-end spotting scopes.
An important asset of spotting scopes is the magnification power which is responsible for how much this thing can zoom in at a target. 10X might be tempting to you but with spotting scopes, expect to have a 60X magnification. And be ready to enjoy using is at tiny birds which are a couple of thousands of yards away from you.
Magnification in spotting scopes is represented by two numbers separated by ‘-‘ and you can find it on the description of the product. 20-60X80 spotting scope means you have a magnification which varied from 20 to 60 times.
Personally, I see that this is the most important parameter you must know before buying a spotting scope. The lens size consists of the wideness of the front lens; it is responsible of the brightness and clarity of the image you will receive on the exit pupil.
A wide lens will allow more light to come into the spotting scope while a narrow one will block light from passing in and provide less quality.
Lens size is always represented as a two-digit number in the right of magnification power, I mean 20-60X80 spotting scope will have 80mm wide front lens.
What things to be aware of
Size – this feature you might ignore is actually a key characteristic since you will be holding you spotting scope on long walks or you will be packing it with several other items in a backpack; therefore, you must choose a compact product with a comfortable weight which eases its portability.
Tripod necessity – I don’t think that you wouldn’t mind holding a spotting scope in your hand while birding and struggling with making it steady to help get the best quality. Just make sure to purchase a tripod with your spotting scope if this last one doesn’t have one included.
After discussing all these important details, don’t you think it’s time to start choosing? Yes it is time to move forward to Leupold spotting scope reviews – some of the best products on the market.
Leupold GR 15-30X50mm Compact Straight
The Gold Ring spotting scopes of Leupold are really top-notch products considering the astonishing optical performance they provide with their 15-30X50mm configuration. Actually, this item is considered as amazing for a quality versus price ratio since it is a budget scope and it has a magnification which ranges from 15 to 30 and a front lens measuring 50mm wide.
- Compact size (weighs only 610 grams and longs 279mm) which allows it to be comfortably portable.
- Durable and shock resistant
- Water and fog proof
- Comes with a whole Leupold kit including useful accessories such as a Leupold tripod, hand strap and protecting case.
- Lifetime warranty.
- The eye relief is not comfortable
- Decrease in quality when increasing magnification
Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 20-60x80mm Straight
Holding almost the same characteristics as high-end products where you can get the best result with the simplest ways, the SX-1 Ventana 2 20-60X80mm is one of the best spotting scopes out there and regarding its affordable price, it may be the best.
This straight scope pushes the limit further with its 20 to 60X magnification and 80mm wide front lens which will give you Goosebumps when you try it for the first time.
- Engineered with a smart retractable lens shade with reduces the glare in very bright conditions.
- Long eye relief and twist-up eyecup designed exclusively for eyeglass wearers
- Armor rubbing for protection and shock resistance
- Tripod included
- Water and fog proof
- Very smooth focusing wheel which will exactly feet your needs.
- Size is not comfortable (weighs around 1050 grams and is 432mm long)
- Low quality Close-range focusing (25ft)
- Focusing needs a lot of stability which makes getting the best focus quite impossible at very high magnification.
Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 15-45x60mm Angled
The other SX-1 Ventana 2 is also amazing but it comes with a different configuration: the 15-45X60mm and an angled body; it allows users to get sharper focus and better quality at relatively lower distances than the 20-60X80mm.
- Quality multi coated optics providing super clear performance
- Water and fog proof
- Very sharp focus
- Relatively heavy and uncomfortable for long walks (weighs 900 grams)
Leupold GR 12-40x60mm HD straight
This spotting scope is also a special item from Leupold products especially its High Definition characteristic which makes it compete with the best spotting scopes available.
Actually, the 12-40X magnification may look very modest to you, but believe me, this product has it all and it is my best recommended spotting scope for birding since it provides mesmerizing results.
- Digiscoping compatible for professional DSLR or phone cameras.
- Its magnesium housing and the strict sealing makes it the toughest and guarantees water and fog proof quality.
- Xtended Twilight Lens System responsible for the high definition optical performance and the outstanding contrast
- Very wide field of view (168ft at 1000 yards)
- Tripod included.
- Uncomfortable size (weighs 1050 grams and has 315mm long body)
Leupold Mark 4 12-40x60mm Tactical straight Spotting Scope
This brand new range of Leupold spotting scopes, the Mark 4 is the most interesting in all Leupold products since it allows the user to witness the best birding experience of his life; the 12-40X60mm feature gives outstanding optical performance in the field. This product, literally, zooms in at very specific details from very long distances and provides a very realistic and convenient result.
- Multi coated lenses that enhance the light transmission and blocks reflective light
- The Mil dot makes its tactical use very functional
- Rubber armoured for protection
- Water and fog proof
- Lifetime warranty
- Very long close-range focusing (36ft)
- Uncomfortable size (1050 grams of weight)
- Tripod not included
At the very end of this article, after reading the above Leupold spotting scope reviews, I hope you are now convinced that Leupold has also some great products to make wildlife observing, birding, hunting and any activity that includes magnification astonishing and lovely. If you appreciate the pieces of information on these reviews, go for a Leupold spotting scope and don’t forget what to look for and what to be aware of before purchasing one. Good luck with it!
- A Review of the Ventana Spotting Scope Series from Leupold How well does the Ventana series of spotting scopes from Leupold perform? Is it worth the money? In this review we have a good look at this mid-tier spotter from the world-renowned optics brand.
- Overview of the Leupold Gold Ring Spotting Scope SeriesWe review one of the most spectacular series of spotting scopes out there - the Gold Ring by Leupold - in detail, including the numerous models available under the series. Read to find out more.
- Leupold Mark 4 Spotting Scope Review for People Who Know What They're Doing, 2018A detailed review of the Mark 4 spotting scope line-up from Leupold. We look at the whole series, plus at the different variations they come in.