What To Look For When Buying A Spotting Scope

What To Look For When Buying A Spotting Scope

A spotting scope is a large investment, and you should not buy one on a whim.

Spotting scopes are powerful magnifiers that are both smaller and more powerful than astronomical telescopes.

When it comes to optics, you usually get what you pay for, so invest in the best you can afford.

What are spotting scopes good for?

  • They magnify a great deal.
  • A spotting scope is designed for long-term use, so sit down, get comfortable, and dig in. Long-term observation is made much easier with a spotting scope thanks to standard features like tripod mounts, angled eyepieces, and zoom lenses.
  • Digiscoping attachments and accessories enable you to take crystal-clear photos with your smartphone.
  • Spotting scopes simplify the process of sighting in your rifle. Instead of walking down the range after each shot, set up the scope on your bench and safely zero in.

What To Look For When Buying A Spotting Scope( Buyer’s Guide)

Take into account the following factors:


Magnification ranges from 12 to 60 times or more in most cases. Although we prefer variable to fixed magnification, 25x is adequate for most hunting situations. When the conditions are ideal, magnifications of 35x to 45x are useful, but in all but the highest-quality glass, such extreme magnification is impractical.

The objective lens size determines the magnification of your prospective spotting scope; the larger the objective lens, the greater the magnification.

Objective Lenses

The glass at the scope’s far end is the objective lens. The size of the objective lens affects the scope’s ability to gather light—the larger the objective lens, the more light it can transmit, resulting in a larger exit pupil.

Larger lenses, on the other hand, are typically heavier and more expensive. Determine how you’ll use your scope realistically and base your decision on that.


Spotting scopes work best when they are steady. A full-length tripod that allows you to stand is ideal for the range; however, a short but sturdy tripod is ideal for a windy mountainside. If your scope will be used frequently in the vehicle, a window mount is the way to go.

Exit Pupil

The exit pupil is very similar to the objective lens and works in tandem with it. It’s the size of the circle of light that can be seen through the eyepiece. If these specifications aren’t available, divide the objective lens specifications by the magnification to get the exit pupil dimension.

Make sure your new spotting scope’s exit pupil isn’t smaller than 1.33mm; otherwise, the amount of light visible will be so low that seeing anything in any conditions will be nearly impossible.

Field of View

The field of view is defined as the width of the area visible from 1000 yards away. The magnification has an inverse relationship with the field of view: the larger the magnification, the narrower the field of view.

A fixed eyepiece will provide a wider field of view, while a variable eyepiece will provide both a wider field of view and increased magnification.

Eye Piece

Since no scope can perform better than its eyepiece, the eyepiece’s construction and finish are crucial, especially for interchangeable eyepieces. Removable eyepieces that allow you to change the magnification range are useful, but they compromise waterproofing and cost more.

Long viewing sessions, especially from a sitting position, are more comfortable with angled eyepieces. Straight eyepieces, on the other hand, are ideal for fast target acquisition.

Glass Quality

The highest-quality spotting scope lenses are made of fluorite-coated, HD (high density) or ED (extra-low dispersion) glass. The brightness and image clarity differences between these high-quality scopes and those made by the same manufacturers using standard glass are especially noticeable in low-light viewing conditions (such as in the late evening) and at high power.

Eye relief

When a spotting scope’s field of view is lost due to small eye movements, observations become more difficult.

Even at a distance from the eyepiece, people wearing glasses should be able to see a clear image through the device. The eyepiece should be at least 14mm away from the wearer’s eyes if they are wearing glasses.


While these factors aren’t important to every user, the weather can change depending on the application. Moisture, dust, and dirt are kept out of the spotting scope by special seals, ensuring a long service life and consistently high imaging.

See Also



A straight spotting scope is far more comfortable to use when seated in a truck or glassing downhill. It is significantly more packable than an angled eyepiece because it slides straight into your pack or scope sleeve.

It also aligns with your line of sight, making acquiring and tracking targets simple. If you shoot prone, it will be at the same angle as your riflescope, allowing you to switch between shooting, looking through your spotter, and shooting without moving.


An angled spotting scope, on the other hand, is far more comfortable to use when glassing for long periods of time. Its rotatable eyepiece provides you with a variety of viewing options and allows you to glass uphill without discomfort.

The ease with which an angled spotter can be shared is one of its most appealing features. By angling the eyepiece upwards and not adjusting the spotting scope or tripod, multiple people of different heights can view the same target.


While personal preference plays a role in deciding which spotting scope to buy, keep in mind that the more expensive the spotter is from each brand, the better the optic will perform. Improved optical prescriptions and more comprehensive lens coatings will be available at the top of each line, raising costs.