Say goodbye to binoculars, the spotting scopes can be a new mate to expand your hunting or birdwatching game. With better features, bigger magnification power, and smaller size, they allow you to comprehend every single detail of a landscape. Equipped with best in the line optics, quality coating, and superior construction, the device is now considered as must-have equipment for every hunter, birdwatcher, or landscape explorer.
While shopping for a spotting scope, you may feel overwhelmed with the hundreds of available variations from different manufacturers. However, don’t worry. Today will present you to some of the best spotting scope under 500 available in the market currently. If you have a low budget then you can go for the best spotting scope under $200 We will also cover what to look for to determine the suitable one for you.
Best spotting scope under $500 – At a glance
- 1. Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scopes
- 2. Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 20-60 x80 (45 Degree) Spotting Scope
- 3. Celestron Regal M2 65ED Spotting Scope
- 4. Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A Angled Eyepiece Spotting Scope
- 5. Celestron C5 Spotting Scope
- 6. Athlon Optics, Ares, Spotting Scope
- 7. Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 20-60x80mm Spotting Scope
- 8. BARSKA Blackhawk Spotter with Hard Case
- 9. Celestron 52257 Ultima 100 Straight Spotting Scope
Best Spotting Scope under 500 Dollars Reviews
|Vortex Optics Diamondback||20-60X||2.12 pounds|
|Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 20-60 x80 (45 Degree)||20-60X||7.11 pounds|
|Celestron Regal M2 65ED||16-48x||4.5 pounds|
|Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A Angled||20-60X||3.99 pounds|
|Celestron C5||50x||5.98 pounds|
|Athlon Optics, Ares||15-45x||2.71 pounds|
|Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2||60x||1 pounds|
|BARSKA Blackhawk Spotter||20-75x||4.85 pounds|
|Celestron 52257 Ultima||20-60X||Unspecified|
The below-mentioned spotting scopes have been chosen based on our in-depth research considering various aspects of the product. We thoroughly checked the magnification capability, construction, optics quality, and previous customer’s impression while selecting the products. Check out detailed information on the scopes below.
1. Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scopes
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The Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scope comes from another market-dominating and reliable manufacturer, Vortex. It is one of the most popular long-range spotting scopes from the DiamondBack series of the manufacturer. The scope arrives with a 20x to 60x magnification range with an 80mm long objective lens diameter. Such a combination of magnification range and objective diameter lets you detect the target from 1000 yards away accurately. You can also adjust the magnification range and viewing angle easily with the built-in knobs.
One of the most impressive features of the spotting scope is its fully multi-coated XR optics. It significantly increases light transmission, especially in the low lights like dusk and dawns. The scope also features multiple layers of dielectric prism coating, which ensures vivid, sharp, and bright sights. It’s one of the best spotting scopes under 500, at this price range, we didn’t notice a lot of spotting scopes that offer such a decent view of the target.
The Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scope arrives with rugged construction to let you use it in any weather condition. It is O-ring sealed and nitrogen-purged to prevent dust, debris, moisture, water, and fog to ensure a decent performance over a long time. With such amazing heavy-weight features and construction, the scope weighs only 2.94 pounds, letting you carry comfortably. The DiamondBack spotting scope can be a great companion for those who prefer hunting/shooting practices at low lights.
Key Features Of Vortex Optics Diamondback
- O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged construction for long-term performance.
- 20-60x magnification range with an 80mm objective lens.
- Fully-multicoated lenses with retractable, built-in sunshade.
- Dielectric prism coating offers vivid, sharp, and bright sights.
- Easy to adjust magnification range, viewing angle, and eyecup.
2. Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 20-60 x80 (45 Degree) Spotting Scope
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Bushnell is one of the top-notch manufacturers of superior quality sport optics and outdoor goods. The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 20-60 x80 is one of the best spotting scope under $500 from the manufacturer. It arrives with a massive 20 to 60x magnification range, which makes it a perfect pick for the long-range sighting. The 80mm objective lens of the scope gathers enough light into the scope to show you a bright prospect of the target.
The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Spotting Scope is equipped with fully multi-coated lenses that ensure the bright and clear image at any range. More so, it has ED Prime extra-low dispersion glass, a high-end advanced technology, which you will only find in the high-end scopes. Such technology reduces the light dispersion to the minimum and offers you HD like images. The scope also arrives with a large 4-1.3 mm exit pupil to ensure proper image quality at low light conditions.
The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Spotting Scope also has an external water-repellent lens coating known as “RainGuard Technology.” It lets you use the scope at the rain and sprinkle without any interference at image quality. Another great benefit of the coating enables you to clean off any fingerprint, oil, smudges, etc. with ease. If you are searching for a decent long-range spotting scope for hunting or birdwatching, then the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Scope can be the perfect pick for you.
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 20-60 x80 Key Features
- 20-60X magnification range with an 80mm objective lens.
- Fully multi-coated lenses with external “RainGuard Technology” coating.
- ED prime extra-low dispersion glass for high-tuned and high-resolution views.
- BAK-4 prisms with 2-speed dual focus control.
- Water-repellent, fog-proof, and fully weather-resistant construction.
3. Celestron Regal M2 65ED Spotting Scope
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The Celestron Regal M2 65ED Spotting Scope is a decent product that arrives in an extremely budget-friendly price. Though available at an affordable price, the scope includes superior quality features and adequate optimizations to ensure a smooth performance. The scope has a 16 to 48x magnification range along with a 65mm objective diameter. Such properties make it a perfect pick for mid-range sightings. It also features fully multi-coated lenses to ensure proper light transmission and clarity of the sight.
The Celestron Regal M2 65ED Spotting Scope has high-end components like extra-low dispersion glass. Such glasses ensure the highest possible light transmission as well as remove the chromatic aberrations and other related optical issues. As a result, you will get high-definition, color-rich, and high-contrast full angle views with the product. Another impressive feature of the scope is its dual focus capability. It lets you focus two times faster than the typical focusing systems.
The Celestron Regal M2 scope is crafted from rugged and lightweight magnesium alloy chassis. The body of the scope is properly optimized for quick aiming and target acquisition. More so, the scope is fully waterproof and fog-proof, ensuring the right level of performance in the harsh weather conditions. This is one of the best hunting spotting scope under $500, as the scope is backed by a limited lifetime warranty from the manufacturer, you can stay tension-free about the performance of the product. It also includes some necessary accessories like an eyepiece, eyepiece mount cover, carrying case, etc.
Highlighted Features Of Celestron Regal M2 65ED
- 16x to 48x magnification range with 65mm objective lens diameter.
- Extra low dispersion glass to ensure bright, clear, and sharp views.
- Dual focus system for easy and quick focusing and target acquisition.
- Lightweight, rugged, and water and fog proof construction for longevity.
- Made of magnesium alloy chassis, includes a limited lifetime warranty.
4. Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A Angled Eyepiece Spotting Scope
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The optics manufacturer Vanguard has been in the market for many decades. As the company advertises, the Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A Angled Eyepiece Spotting Scope is the finest piece of optical equipment that they ever produced. The scope has a 20x to 60x magnification range with a large 82mm objective lens. The objective lens is accommodated by extra-low dispersion glass elements to produce a bright, sharp, and clear sight of the target throughout the ranges.
The Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A Angled Spotting Scope features fully multi-coated lens. The anti-reflective coatings on the lens reduce glare and maximize light transmission. It has Bak4 glass prism to correct the inverted images. Such a combination of the features ensures a proper sight of the target even in the low light conditions. The scope includes a 20x-60x zoom eyepiece, which is removable and also works with other scopes with the same objective lens diameter.
The spotting scope features a dual focus mechanism to let you acquire the target within the shortest time. More so, it has a significant focus of view, which is around 110ft wide in 1000 yards distance. That means you will be able to detect multiple targets at the same time. The spotting scope is made from rubber-armored magnesium, which makes it very comfortable to hold as well as superiorly durable for long-term performance.
Core Features Of Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A
- 20 to 60x magnification range with an 82mm objective lens.
- Angled and detachable eyepiece with soft rubber eyecup and long eye relief.
- Rubber armored magnesium body with built-in sun-shield and dual focus knob.
- 100% waterproof and fog-proof construction to perform in harsh weather.
- ED glass for minimal fringing and accurate color rendition with BAK4 prism.
5. Celestron C5 Spotting Scope
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Searching for a decent scope for bird-viewing? Then say hello to our favorite Celestron C5 Spotting Scope, as specially designed scope for birdwatching and other outdoor adventures. The earliest thing you will notice about the scope is its unique appearance. It arrives with a lightweight optical design sealed by two hard plastic cells. Such an exterior makes the scope different from the others. The spotting scope can offer you up to 50x magnification, which is adequate for detecting and viewing birds at various ranges.
The most impressive thing about the Celestron C5 Spotting Scope is its huge 127mm objective lens diameter. We didn’t find a lot of scope with such a big objective lens in this price range. Moreover, it equips Celestron’s premium StarBright XLT coating technology. With such amazing properties, the scope can ensure the highest light transmission by outperforming any other scopes available at this price. You can also turn the scope into a high-performance telephoto lens by integrating the DSLR camera with the T-mount thread.
If you are into birdwatching, then you may already know that it is not that easy to detect the bird with a high-magnification eyepiece. The scope equips a FinderScope to help you with this issue. It has 6×30 erect images FinderScope which lets you identify birds quickly. Apart from this, you will also receive a load of accessories with it, including the soft fitted case, cleaning cloth, objective lens cover, and some other accessories. The Celestron C5 can be the best spotting scope for 500 yards and up.
Celestron C5 Spotting Scope Features
- 5” Schmidt-Cassegrain optical design spotting scope/hybrid telescope.
- Include 25mm eyepiece and 127mm objective lens with a 50x magnification range.
- StarBright XLT coating on the glasses to produce vivid, bright, and sharp photos.
- Include 6×30 Erect Image FinderScope to detect the target easily.
- Accept a wide range of 1.25” mount eyepieces for further magnification.
6. Athlon Optics, Ares, Spotting Scope
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The next product to earn a place in our list is the Athlon Optics, Ares, Spotting scope. The spotting scope some of the advanced features that we didn’t find in most of the scopes in this price range. It has a magnification range of 15x to 45x with a 65mm objective lens diameter. Such properties make it a perfect choice both for usual viewing and hunting. The scope arrives in a tiny shape and lightweight design, which makes it an ideal pick for those who move a lot while viewing.
The Athlon Ares Spotting Scope included ED glasses, which reduce chromatic aberration to ensure the proper clarity of the images. More so, the lenses of the scope are fully multi-coated to offer you colorful and sharp target views at any range. The lenses also include XPL coating on the exterior to maximize the light transmission. It also helps to protect the glass from scratches, dirt, and debris. The scope equips BAK4 prisms, which also includes multi-layered coating known as ESP Dielectric coating.
As the manufacturer advertised, the scope can pass up to 99% of lights through your eyes with such properties. The spotting scope is O-ring sealed and the inside chamber is argon purged. The Argon purging provides better thermal stability than the nitrogen and prevents moisture from entering the scope. The water and fog proof properties with aluminum construction can be an excellent long-term companion for anyone on at this mid-budget.
Athlon Optics Prime Features
- 15-45 magnification range with 65mm objective lens and Bak 4 prisms glass.
- Apochromatic lenses system produces high contrast, sharp, and colorful images.
- Include ER glass to reduce the chromatic effect for further color and sharpness.
- ESP Dielectric multi-layer coating for optimum brightness.
- O-ring sealed, argon purged, and XPL exterior coating for long-term durability.
7. Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 20-60x80mm Spotting Scope
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Leupold is a famous and reliable manufacturer of decent outdoor equipment at a reasonable price. It arrives with a 15 to 45x magnification range with an objective lens of 6mm diameter. One thing we noticed about the scope is it offers excellent resolution and clarity at different intervals. More so, it has a large field of view, letting you look around a large area to detect your target easily. The closest focus distance for the scope is only 13.8 feet, which means you can use it both short and long-distance.
The Leupold Ventana 2 Spotting Scope equips fully multi-coated lenses to ensure image clarity, sharpness, and brightness. As per our research, the scope performs flawlessly in different light conditions. There is a rightly placed focus knob to fine-tune the correct focus smoothly. It has a sunshade to reduce glare and protect the lenses in harsh weather. There is a built-in tripod adapter in the scope which lets you instantly secure it on the tripod.
The Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 Spotting Scope has a rugged aluminum housing to ensure long-term durability. It has a rubber armor coating on the exterior to offer the right grasp to the user. More so, the scope is filled with nitrogen to guarantee waterproof and fog proof properties. The glasses include Guard-ion coating, which prevents water, dirt, and fingerprint from affecting the scope performance. The superior quality features and construction makes Leupold Ventana 2 one of the best spotting scope under $500 for multifunctional activities.
Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 Highlighted Features
- 20 to 60x magnification range with an 80mm objective lens.
- Fully multi-coated lenses with Twilight Light Management System.
- Guard-ion exterior lens coating to ensure a clear and crisp image.
- Smooth focusing knob, generous eye-relief for comfortable viewing.
- Rugged aluminum construction and nitrogen purged for extended durability.
8. BARSKA Blackhawk Spotter with Hard Case
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The BARSKA Blackhawk Spotter is a compact and portable scope, but still, it offers you a decent range of magnification. The scope arrives with a vast 25x to 75x magnification range along with a 100m objective lens. However, it also available at 20-60x variations with an 80mm objective lens. For those who are searching for a hunting spotting scope with a bigger magnification range, the BARSKA scope will be a perfect suit. It also has a generous 68.25 feet field of view, letting you detect the targets with ease.
Though the BARSKA Blackhawk Spotter comes at a low price, it includes excellent quality optics. With the large objective lens and fully multi-coated optics, it can offer you crisp, clear, sharp, and chromatic abbreviation free views. It also includes a BAK4 prism, which helps in further enhancement of the view. It has a built-in sunshade, which reduces the glare from the Sun. The focus adjustment is also smooth and easy to use. However, it can be tricky to use during the first time as it is not well-positioned.
The BARSKA Blackhawk Spotter arrives with quality construction with a rubber coating on the exterior. Such a construction lets it stay upright on impactful falls or knocks. More so, the rubberized housing also makes it easy to hold and grip the scope. As it is nitrogen purged and O-ring sealed, the scope is waterproof and fog-resistant. You can use it throughout the years at different weather conditions without any issues. You will get two carrying cases (hard and soft) with the scope.
BARSKA Blackhawk Spotter Base Features
- 25 to 75x magnification range with a large 100m objective lens.
- Multi-coated optics with BAK4 prism produces quality sights.
- Built-in and extendable sunshades reduce the glare from the SunSun.
- Rubber housing with O-ring seal to resist damage.
- Includes hard and soft carrying case, tabletop tripod, and lens cover.
9. Celestron 52257 Ultima 100 Straight Spotting Scope
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The Celestron 52257 Ultima 100 Straight Spotting Scope is one of the best-selling straight spotting scopes currently. It has a 20x to 60x magnification range with a massive 100mm objective lens. Such a big objective lens lets the scope gather 50% more lights than the typical 80mm objective lens. Such capabilities ensure that the scope provides you the brightest view possible even when zoomed to the max. With a large field of view and such light transmission, you will be able to identify multiple targets at once quickly.
The Celestron 52257 Ultima 100 Straight Spotting Scope features multi-coated lenses. That means lens surfaces are coated multiple times with anti-reflective coating to enhance the color and contrast of the sight. Such properties also ensure sharper image quality while maximizing the brightness, even in the low light conditions. The scope has a zoom eyepiece with a large focus dial to quickly bring the target to focus before it moves away.
One of the impressive things about the Celestron 52257 Ultima 100 Straight Spotting Scope is its universal smartphone adapter. It allows you to connect a smartphone to the spotting scope for capturing views through the eyepiece. The adapters support a wide range of mobile phone models including all the latest devices from Apple, Samsung, and Google. It also includes other accessories like carrying case, eyepiece lens cap, eyepiece port cover, lens cover, etc. The Celestron 52257 Ultima is an excellent combination of powerful features that makes it one of the best spotting scope under 500 dollars.
Features Of Celestron 52257 Ultima 100
- 20x to 60x magnification range with 100mm objective lens.
- Multi-coated lens to maximize brightness, sharpness, and vividness.
- Zoom eyepiece with large focus dial for quick focusing.
- Includes universal smartphone adapters for capturing images.
- Arrives with a variety of necessary accessories for better viewing.
Things to Consider While Choosing the Best Spotting Scopes Under 500
The spotting scope combines many features to perform its works effectively. Picking the suitable spotting scope can be a little bit tricky if you don’t have any further knowledge about it. Below we will describe some of the top considerations that you should make while choosing a spotting scope.
The spotting scope is basically a mid-range telescope. Most of them arrive with a magnification range around 15x to 80x. The range can be changed with the integrated eyepiece. While choosing a spotting scope, you need to decide how much magnification power you will require. If you are a beginner, you should pick a spotting scope with low magnification power for ease of use. Scopes with higher magnification range require experienced hand for unobstructed performance.
Objective Lens Diameter
The objective lens is the primary lens of your scope. The light transmission capability of the scope mostly depends on the objective lens. Usually, a bigger objective lens can transmit better light through the glass. It’s crucial to choose a spotting scope with a larger lens diameter for a brighter view of the target. Try to go for a spotting scope that arrives with at least 60mm objective lens. Else, the views through the scope will not be satisfactory.
Depending on the price, the spotting scope mostly arrives with three different types of glasses. They are HD (High Density), Fluorite coated, or ED (Extra-low Dispersion). Amongst them, the ED or Extra-low Dispersion glasses are considered as a better choice as they can reduce chromatic aberrations to ensure a color-rich, vivid, and sharp view of the target. So, try to go for a spotting scope that arrives with ED glasses.
Spotting scope lenses are coated with chemical properties to reduce glare and maximize light visibility. The terms used to define the lens coating may confuse if you have no prior knowledge about it. Check out the below list to know about different variations of lens coating:
- Coated: It means at least one lens of the scope is coated with a single layer of coating.
- Fully-coated: Fully coated means all the lenses of the scope are coated with at least a single layer of coating.
- Multi-coated: Multi-coated means multiple layers of coating been applied on at least one lens of the scope.
- Fully Multi-coated: Fully multi-coated means all the lenses of the scope are coated with multiple layers of coating.
We recommend you to go for a scope that arrives with multi-coated or fully multi-coated lens to enjoy a top-notch view through it.
While purchasing a spotting scope, make sure that it arrives with quality construction to ensure long-term performance. The scope should be nitrogen or argon purged, and it should be water, fog, and shockproof. If you are considering to use the scope on harsh weather, then make sure that it arrives with an exterior coating for ensuring a weatherproof performance. Choose a lightweight scope that will be easy to carry if you are going to move a lot while using it.
When sighting a view on a large distant, you will need to adjust the focus frequently to make the sight clearer. Different spotting scopes have different methods of focusing. Most of the scope lets you adjust the focus smoothly with a focusing collar by twisting the barrel of the scope. Besides, some of them include focusing knob for the adjustment. The focusing knob is a little bit tricky to use, but it offers you precise adjustments.
Frequently Asked Question about the Spotting Scope Under $500
While choosing a spotting scope, some questions may arrive in your mind. Below, we tried to answer some such common questions about these scopes.
What do the numbers mean in a spotting scope?
The number on the spotting scope describes its magnification range and objective lens diameter. Such as, if a spotting scope arrives with 20-80×100 numbers, then it means the scope can offer you 20x to 80x variable zoom. The 100 mean the measurement diameter of the scope’s objective lens on the millimeter scale.
What is the difference between a spotting scope and a telescope?
The telescopes arrive with a bulky body and offer you a bigger magnification range. Besides, the spotting scopes are smaller in size, when compared with the telescope. Telescopes show you a reflection of the sight when the spotting scope produces the original static image of the sight. The spotting scope is the right choice for mid-range viewing like hunting, birding, wildlife, etc. when the telescope is mainly designed for the astronomical purpose.
Are spotting scopes better than binoculars?
The binoculars are not capable of offering you such a massive magnification range, like the spotting scopes. Moreover, the view through the binoculars is not that enhanced and optimized. The spotting scope will be a better choice in every way if you want high and smooth performance.
What magnification is best for bird watching?
If you want to view a flock of birds, then you will get the best view at 8x to 10x magnification range. Besides, if you’re going to track a single bird from a flock, then you will need to use a broader magnification range depending on the field of view of the spotting scope.
Angled Spotting Scope Vs. Straight Spotting Scope: Which one is better?
Both the straight and angled scopes have their own advantages and disadvantages. Below, we will breakdown the benefits and drawbacks of both types of scope.
Angled Spotting Scope
- Perfect for multiple or a group of users.
- They are more stable in winds as mounted on short tripods.
- The angled scope can be turned into a digiscope for photography.
- You can comfortably view anything above.
- They are also suitable for using from seating or prone position.
- Angled scopes tend to be more expensive than straight scopes.
- Includes many features, which makes it a little bit complex for the newcomers.
- The eyepiece can be easily affected by rain and snow.
- Requires much space for storage than the straight scopes.
- Not perform for viewing things in extreme downhill.
Straight Spotting Scope
- Straight scope offers faster target acquisition.
- They are perfect for extreme weather conditions.
- It can be mounted on your car’s window mount.
- Let you comfortably view at extreme downhill.
- Easy to transport as require a smaller space for storage.
- They are not comfortable for viewing things at upwards.
- May cause neck pain if you require continuous crouching.
- It requires a taller tripod for viewing things effectively.
- Not convenient for multiple users.
The spotting scopes are one of the finest optics available in the market currently that can help you to extend your range for hunting, birdwatching, and photography. With superior features and optimization, these devices can assist you in acquiring the desired results. More so, they are well-built to offer you accurate performance for a long time in different weather conditions.
Above, we discussed some of the best spotting scope under 500 available in the market, as well as an in-depth buying guide. Now it should be easier for you to choose a suitable scope for your game. Depending on your preference and suitability, you can go for any of the scopes without any further thoughts. We assure you that it will offer you a satisfactory performance.
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