How to choose a spotting scope?

Jun 21, 2023

For a wildlife and nature enthusiastic, a spotting scope is a valuable tool for birdwatching, hunting, and other outdoor activities that require long-range observation. However, with so many options available on the market, choosing the right one can be a challenge. In this article, we will discuss some key factors to consider when choosing a spotting scope.

Magnification and objective lens sizes

Like a rifle scope, a spotting scope is usually named as “magnification range x objective lens diameter”. Take Continental 12-40×60 ED Spotting Scope as an example, it means that this spotting scope has a magnification range between 12x and 40x the image of the naked eye. And it has an objective lens diameter of 60mm.

The higher the magnification, the more detail you can see, but at the cost of a narrower field of view and reduced brightness. Also, a large objective lens allows more light to enter the target. However, larger lenses also mean a heavier and bulkier scope, which can be cumbersome to carry indoors.

So, if you want to see more details at long range, a quality spotting scope with a higher magnification range and a larger objective lens is better. Also, make sure that the weight of the scope you are considering purchasing is acceptable to you.

For most outdoor activities, a spotting scope with a magnification range of 20x to 60x is sufficient, and a good objective lens size between 60mm and 80mm is most welcomed.

Glass Quality

The quality of the glass used in the lenses of a spotting scope can greatly affect the clarity and brightness of the image. Look for scopes with high-quality, low-dispersion (ED) glass, which can minimize color fringing and produce sharper images.

Below are the real image of Continental 12-40×60 ED Spotting Scope at 12x and 40x (Taken at 600 meters from the target).

Vicoptics spotting scope Taken at 600 meters from the target
how to choose a spotting scope1
ED glass spotting scope

Lens Coating

Check the product page to see if the lens is FMC or not. The lenses of a spotting scope should be coated to reduce glare and improve image clarity. Look for scopes with fully multi-coated lenses, which provide the highest level of light transmission and clarity.

Eye Relief

Eye relief is the distance between the eyepiece and your eye when the scope is properly focused. A longer eye relief is essential for those who wear glasses or have trouble keeping their eyes close to the eyepiece. Look for a spotting scope with an eye relief of at least 14mm.


A spotting scope should be built to withstand rough handling and extreme weather conditions. Look for scopes with waterproof and fogproof features, as well as durable construction materials such as rubber armor (which protects the scope from drops and scratches).


Spotting scopes can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Consider your budget and how often you plan to use the scope when making your selection.


Some spotting scope has a tripod come with the package, it is also a plus to enchance the purchase. Since a tripod will provide a stable and secure platform for the spotting scope, allowing for comfortable and precise viewing. The tripod can be adjusted to the appropriate height and angle, and the spotting scope can be attached to the tripod head using a mounting plate or adapter. This allows the user to easily pan and tilt the scope to track moving objects or adjust the viewing angle.

Something to expect

As an optical brand focusing on low-cost optical scopes, Victoptics will soon launch budget and quality spotting scopes, one is 15-45×50 spotting scope, another is 20-60×70. Here are some highlights:

  • BAK7 Prism
  • Fully-Multi Coated
  • Center Foucs
  • 7Pcs 4 Groups Lenses
  • Rubber Cover
  • IPX4 Rain Proof
  • Come with Tripod

Coming soon!!!

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