A spotting scope is basically a portable telescope that is used for magnification of terrestrial objects. A spotting scope is designed to give the vertical view of the object when observed through it and also offers higher magnification compared to a pair of binoculars. This allows you to see long distance with the better quality image.
Due to the advancement in manufacturing technology, today spotting scope is lighter, cheaper, durable and also have better optics, it is now a favorite device for any birdwatcher, target shooters, hunters and also stargazers.
With a number of options present in the market, it gets difficult to choose the best spotting scope for the money. A scope which is rugged, a scope which is durable, a scope that features the best optics in its price and a scope which will not fail you under the pressure.
Fortunately, on telescopefever.com we handled that research for you and on the basis of ownership and reviews we come up with top three full value for money spotting scope.
We have divided the Spotting scope into three different categories based on their price.
- Best Spotting for the money below 250$.
- Best value for money scope between 250-500$.
- Best of the best spotting scope below 1000$.
Let’s get started:-
Celestron 80mm Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope (Below 250$)
Thanks to the great performance, Celestron 80mm Ultima Zoom is the best entry-level spotting scope that maintains a great balance between portability and light gathering ability. With excellent multicoated optics, a bigger 80mm objective lens and a Bak-4 prism, scope gathers enough light to provide a high-quality image with better clarity and sharpness.
In addition to better optics Celestron 80mm Ultima also features a variable 20-60x zoom eyepiece which helps bird watchers or nature enthusiast to easily spot an exotic birds from at least 500yds without intruding in their area. Even target shooter appreciate the quality of eyepiece of the scope. They report that they were clearly able to spot 17 caliber holes from a distance of 100yds.
With all these positives there is one common complaint we found with a scope. Reviewers report the quality degrades quickly as you zoom on the target. Up to 40x quality is good but beyond that magnification, user detected chromatic aberration in the image. But the best part is, optics is so powerful user may not need to go beyond 40x or so.
That said, here is one satisfied owner take on this scope,
“Super clear lens, excellent field of view … nice, simple controls … as you would expect from Celestron. Solid value product”
Nitrogen purged inside the tube for fog proof and water proof performance. Blue fringing can be detected in image beyond 40x. Still the sharpness and clarity not compromised by this.
Rubber armored body for extra protection also light weight (3lbs). Excellent Eye relief of 18mm helps in comfortable viewing to eyeglass wearer. Smooth focus knob. Camera Adaptable-with built in T-thread user an easily attach their camera. Decent Optics which otherwise impossible to get below 200$. Overall, full value for money. Lifetime warranty.
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 20-60 x80 Spotting Scope (250-500$)
The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 20-60 x80 Spotting Scope is an efficient scope that performs well in a variety of different conditions to give its user a unique and satisfying experience. Credit goes to its optics, scope features an 80mm objective lens which gathers a large amount of light to give a bright image in low light condition. In addition to the decent aperture, the scope also features an ED prime Extra-low Dispersion glass which increases the light transmission and therefore reduces that helps to reduce chromatic aberration.
To further enhance the optics quality, Optics are fully multi-coated (FMC) where the chemical coating is done on all air to the glass surface to maximize light transmission and to minimize glare. This allows the scope to provide the image with great clarity and high contrast even in low light condition.
Zoom eyepiece gives the variable magnification from 20 to 60x and dual focus control system allows users to quickly focus on the object by simply turning two knobs for rapid and fine adjustment. In fact, the eyepiece and dual focus control are so efficient that users report they were able to clearly spot .30 bullet holes from a distance of 300 yds.
That said, here is one satisfied owner take on this scope’s performance,
“At the range, 45F, 5300 ft, direct sun from 7:00, 500 yards, I am able to clearly see 30 cal. holes in the black”
|ED prime Extra low Dispersion Glass.||Heavy- Weighing about 5 pounds it is quite a heave scope. Difficult for handled use, a Tripod is necessary.|
|Fully Multicoated Optics|
|Rainguard HD water-repellant coating on lenses that diminishes the large drop of water and provide clearest possible view at any rough weather condition.|
|No chromatic aberration at full magnification.|
|Dual Focus control for faster focusing.|
|No Questions Asked Lifetime Warranty|
Celestron Regal M2 100ED Spotting Scope (Below 1000$)
Regal M2 is very similar to the Bushnell Legend. The only noticeable difference is the bigger size of the objective lens which is 100mm in Regal M2 instead of 80mm you get in Bushnell Legend.
Theoretically, the large objective lens allows 30% more light into the tube which eventually results in an extra brighter image in low light conditions compared to Bushnell Legend. Other than that rest of the optics is same.
As already mentioned in my detailed review, Regal M2 features a 22-67x adjustable magnification zoom eyepiece and also accepts 1.25” astronomical eyepieces for a variety of magnification.
That said, here is one satisfied owner take on this scope’s performance,
“Have not seen a better set of Optics on the range since. Sharp and clear with a great micro focus. This seems to be as good as the $4000 unit. Right in the sweet spot.”
|Bigger Aperture (100mm).||Nothing yet, we are still searching.|
|Magnesium alloy body reduces overall weight while still give extra solidity to the scope (4.5lbs).|
|Sliding Sunshade to reduce sun’s glare.|
|Compatible with telescope Eyepieces.|
Here is a quick comparison table between Ultima, Legend & Regal M2.
*Price regularly change on Amazon, click on the image to view current pricing.
As you can see from the quick comparison table, there isn’t much difference between this three spotting scope. That is the reason these are the most popular among users nowadays.
Field of view is little higher in Bushnell Legend, i.e. 110ft@20x/ 51ft@60x still not drastically higher than other two that it can influence buying decision. You can easily spot your target with any of these three.
Minimum eye relief of 15mm is always recommended for eyeglass wearer. Here all three scope has eye relief greater than 18mm, bigger eye relief allow users to wear eyeglasses while observing through the scope.
Weighing about 1616g Ultima 80mm is the lightest among these three but still, we recommend a sturdy tripod (affiliate link) no matter what one you choose. It gets quite difficult for a user to hold the scope steady after some time.
Only noticeable difference between these three is, Ultima has a multi-coated optics while other two Bushnell & Regal M2 has more expensive fully multi-coated optics but we should also not forget Ultima is cheaper among these three. you get what you pay for, right?
Other features are virtually same among these three.
It’s really hard to pick the one winner among these, that is the reason why I have divided this three scope on the basis of price.
They all are very good spotting scope for the money in their price category.
Now, it depends on you how much you are willing to spend. Whichever you choose you are guaranteed to get the best product.
A quick link to all three spotting scope.
🙂 Some more useful links 🙂