Spotting scopes are nothing but a tiny telescope that comes with a mini focal length. The design helps to do terrestrial observation that is beyond the typical binoculars ranges.
Hunters or shooter can easily target and evaluate games even from a huge distance. Also, it helps to figure out if the animal in observation is worthy of pursuit.
Most shooters or hunters have a specific budget determined in his or her mind. Keeping all the possibilities in mind, I wanted to help folks who want to have an ideal scope in their budget.
So here I’ll be talking about the best spotting scope under 500 dollars options with their virtues and shortcomings.
I’ll point out scopes under $100 to $500 and divide them into four sections for easy accessing. I’m sure you’ll get at least one option to think about. Let’s begin!
Our Top Pick
- Brand: Vortex
- Color: Green
- Material: Composite
- Brand: Vanguard
- Color: Black
- Weight: 66.7 ounces
- Brand: Bushnell
- Color: Green
- Weight: 1.96 Pounds
Best Spotting Scope Under $500
Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scopes – The Angled 20-60×80 Version!
Vortex is a top brand that gives priority to pro hunters, shooters and rifle users. We can see a very well implementation of all latest technology showing up in their line up for scopes.
The Diamondback 20-60×8 is an excellent choice for performers who like to use heavyweight guns.
It is a light and compact package that includes a good lens, effective sun sunshade, twist eyecups and all the essentials a hunter might need.
The XR lenses are well fitted with multiple layers of complete coatings. It gets the perfect protection with a rectangularly shaped sunshade built-in within.
Also for the manufacturing process and high-quality parts, the scope does quite well to gather enough light and do optimum transmission.
The collar within the scope helps a user to easily move the scope. This helps to get different glassing positions. Twist eyecup is another convenient feature that supports viewing either with or without glasses.
The manufacturer mentions to never use facial tissue, flannels fabric and cloth like that to rub the surface. To clean the surface, it is better to use lens cleaning liquid and optical fabrics that are easily available in the market.
- The scope serves pretty well for a long time.
- It comes with a larger objective lens.
- The light transmission ratio is more than enough.
- It is quite affordable as a heavy usage scope.
- The max power is also really helpful.
- If you have eye problems then maybe the range is not enough.
Vanguard Endeavor Spotting Scope, 20-60 x 82 – With HD 82A Angled Eyepiece!
The 20-60 x 82 scope from Vanguard is an HD scope that provides all flexible features for clear viewing. There is a US product warranty that gives enough security for your money.
The scope comes with ED Glass, Waterproof-Fogproof protection, an accurate color rendition and many other good looking functions that are worth for your money.
The ED glass will make sure you get a correct color rendition. Also, it supports the minimum fringing. The full coatings on the lens ensure the optic deliver maximum light transmission.
The dual focus wheel is another great addition user gets to enjoy with this superscope. It helps to get fine and sharp adjustments to get the optimum viewing angle.
With a hundred percent water and fog protection, you can easily take the scope at raining or snowy situations.
Also, the detachable eyepiece is great for proper viewing. The comfortable rubber eyecup helps to minimize any stress or pain.
The eye relief works excellently overall. The magnification from 20 to 60 times give enough zooming for various activities.
- The brand is popular and reliable.
- This scope is well build up and also stable enough.
- The picture is clear and sharp for an eye-pleasing view.
- Its price is inexpensive and affordable.
- The eyepiece is removable.
- The factory cover isn’t that great for field usage.
Bushnell Trophy Spotting Scope – The Xtreme Level Scope for Entry Level Spotters!
The Trophy model from Bushnell is pure definition of a classic scope that provides all the essential features a beginner needs. That’s why I call it a perfect entry-level genius.
This green shade spotting scope is a valuable decision to make for all the beginner hunter, shooter or wildlife viewer out there.
The zooming, clarity, and usability do a decent job to offer quality performance.
The 2.x to 60x magnification level is an optimum zooming range for distance shooting. No matter what yard coverage you need, this brilliant scope has it for you. Also, the 65mm objective lens is huge and great for optimum light transmission.
The price isn’t a big amount if you consider the quality, durability, and functions. Any novice hunter or shooter will find the deal quite affordable. Not probably the perfect deal, but surely not the least also.
The quarter inch twenty tripod is a smart addition with this spotting scope. It supports window mounting which is nice.
It isn’t the sturdiest tripod out there, but I think as an entry level scope it does a fair amount of job. So no big complains!
- Bushnell always strikes for better scope quality.
- The zooming range is excellent.
- The picture seems clear and bright.
- Great scope for hundred yards shooting.
- It is a perfect entry-level spotting scope.
- The tiny tripod needs to be tougher.
Celestron 52250 Spotting Scope – With 80mm Ultima Zoom Technology!
Celestron isn’t a hyped name, but it surely offers some of the finest scope models. The Celestron 52250 is one of them, and it won’t disappoint the user’s viewing needs.
It features well capabilities to make sure different explorer with various spotting styles can find a place to rely on.
The scope is 80 mm refractor type that comes with multiple coatings on its lens. This optic system also enables a 45-degree viewing angle for easy spotting.
The 20x to 60x magnification provides a decent zooming experience. It’s eyepiece gives a stable performance while magnifying.
The scope is pretty good durable and also waterproof. The soft carrying case holds this scope with safety, and so you can carry it along easily. It comes with a good covering limited lifetime warranty.
Also, it does not allow for any type of filtering. The maximum magnification capability is up to 189x. Pretty much High!
Also with the scope, you get a twilight factor from 69.3 to 40. The relative brightness range is also quite convenient and user-friendly.
With optimum picture quality, nice eyepiece, better magnification there’s hardly any negative to point out.
- A worth scope for the money.
- The image quality is excellent for viewing.
- The magnification up to 40x is mesmerizing.
- This scope gives a very stable experience once you get a good tripod.
- There is a smartphone adaptor coming along with the scope.
- I feel that the eye relief is a bit small.
Redfield Rampage 20-60x60mm Spotting Scope – Get a Straight Eyepiece!
Rampage 20-60x60mm is a decent pick under three hundred price range and gives few valuable functions to look into.
With superior magnification capabilities starting from 20x to huge 60x, the zooming will provide a variety of application options on hand.
The lens shade is another good thing to count on for all the bright sunny days.
The Polycarbonate body is much durable and gives a solid performance fighting everyday tough situations for hunter or shooters.
The convenient accessories that come with the whole package are worth praising. A solid tripod, a view-through case for storage, two covers for lens and eyepiece and a soft storage case makes a solid accessory bundle.
The BAK4 prism a compact feature to ensure images are always clear and crisp for an eye-pleasing experience.
The Redfield Rampage scope does pretty well for most parts and also it is quite affordable. I feel “Brilliant” is the most suitable word to match this scopes performance. So don’t hesitate and get it for great features in this price range.
- The scope includes a good carry bag for portability.
- It consists of a nice sleeve.
- There’s a sheltering cap that comes for both lenses.
- It features a tripod that is pretty tough.
- The scope provides great clarity and brightness.
- At max zooming, the focus gets a bit dizzy.
Gosky 20-60 X 80 Porro Prism Spotting Scope – The Waterproof Bird Viewing Scope with Tripod & Digiscoping Adapter!
The Gosky 20-60 X 80 is a fully multiple-coating lens scope that allows for green film optimizations.
The key elements of this spotting scope like eyepiece and quality prism make room for optimum viewing.
You get a bright, crisp and clear image thanks to the perfect light transmission for the huge 80mm objective lens.
The Durable framework ensures top class durability and makes it a prominent nominee for the Best Spotting Scope 500 dollar section.
Also, an eyepiece shield covers your area to give superior protection. With a waterproof design, this scope can survive in light rains too.
The highlighting addition of this scope is an adapter for digiscoping along with other valuable accessories. Such as cleaning fabric, easy straps, and lens protection covers.
The Gosky 20-60 X 80 is great prism scope in most aspects. However, a few problems are noticeable in this scope. The dialing needs a bit time to work.
Also while zooming in a picture, you cannot avoid a circular image. But that’s quite normal because the spotting scope itself is round.
If the rectangular image isn’t a must want for you then undoubtedly this scope will work well for most purposes.
- The cost is relatively low then top tier scopes.
- The pictures are clear cut and crisp.
- Image quality and resolution are high.
- Low light performance is okay.
- The digiscope attachments are very helpful.
- The image isn’t rectangular that some people might expect.
Barska 30-90×90 Waterproof Colorado Spotter Scope – With Excellent TripodField of View!
The Barska 30-90×90 is a waterproof beast that will make bird watching and wildlife affairs a pleasing experience.
With valuable assets and features, the scope stands out in the price range.
So almost without no major issues, it will remain a must recommended scope for optimum spotting.
The exit pupil is placed to make viewing more comfortable. The eye relief is also convenient enough to avoid awkward leaning or viewing positions to get a perfect angle.
Its complete body has a very durable finish that can overcome rough usage.
Moreover, the lens is a 90mm ocular type. It does a pretty fine job to gather maximum light for better transition ratio. So the image quality is always high with better clarity, brightness, and sharpness.
You won’t have to worry about low light conditions also. No matter if you decide to practice during the night or enjoy the thrill of nighttime hunting. You can without hesitation rely on this superior spotting scope.
- The build-quality of its tripod is excellent.
- The optic stabilizations are pretty solid.
- This scope is a worth reasonable deal to pay for.
- It’s light in weight and so easily portable.
- The image is pretty clear, and focusing is simple.
- You don’t get any case to carry it.
BARSKA Benchmark 25-125×88 Spotting Scope – Dynamic Focus System!
The Benchmark 25-125×88 from BARSKA offers a wide zooming capability to ensure the user can enjoy a variety of applications.
No matter how much wide angle you need, this scope is capable of delivering effortlessly.
The 25 to 125x magnification range is pretty large. Close-up wildlife viewing will hardly be any better when you have such magnifications to work with.
Also, the dynamic lens focusing will give you a better thrill by rotating the objective while keeping the continuous focus on your target.
With all these rare specifications the scope also remembers to care about clarity. The manufacturer ensured the image comes up with maximum clear and crisp aspects for a proper looking of an object.
The tough design covers waterproof facilities. So no matter if it’s sunny or rainy you are all covered to get the scope out and adventure freely.
The Benchmark 25-125×88 is an optimum model from BARSKA to provide enough magnification and durability. It does a brilliant job to give convenience and superb focusing. The clarity is on point to provide a great bird watching feel.
- The quality is brilliant.
- The case that comes along is solidly built.
- Its range is up to the mark.
- The eyepiece is quite nice.
- Its image is clear and crisp.
- Lens cap hardly stays on place.
Bushnell 783618 Scope – The Safe Sentry!
The Bushnell 783618 is another quality plus reliability product that I must talk about.
It’s the first inexpensive scope that caught my eye because of its feature-rich appearance.
The 783618 model from Bushnell is a clear win when it comes to long-range shooting, bird watching or just appreciating the scenery.
The lightweight, quick set up and easy to control spotting scope will do a great job to give up to the mark performance.
Make sure to have a good maintenance habit, and this will last longer.
The scope is available under a hundred dollars but still manages to give 18 to 36 magnification facility. I loved the fact, maybe because of the price point particularly.
Also, it is a quite durable built-in scope that fights water and fog effortlessly. So users are safe with rains and snow usage.
Another pretty feature is the premium glass quality that supports optics with full coatings. This is the reason behind crisp and clear images the scope usually provides.
The rubber grip soaks up any chances of shock and also provides a strong grip when damp.
With three useful accessories, I don’t find any huge reason for not recommending such a good deal to my readers.
- A pleased purchase at a price.
- The quality is up to the mark.
- Does a great job for long range shooting.
- Fine clarity level even in low light conditions.
- The scope can combat water, fog and shock brilliantly.
- It won’t be a perfect match for short ranges.
Roxant Authentic Blackbird High Definition Spotting Scope – Complete Package with Tripod, Case & Lifetime Support!
The Roxane HD scope is a full accessory package that contains everything that a user may require. The construction quality is superior and durable for rough usages.
There’s a non-slip grip for comfort and sunshade coming along to avoid too sunny situations. The premium accessory bundle consists of a top class tripod.
You also get a carrying case that does an average job to carry though I’m not very impressed with its material.
However, the lens caps, eyepiece, objective lens, HD military grade glass and all other standard features make it one of the best choices in this price range undoubtedly. With a limited lifetime warranty, you get added security for a great purchase.
If shopping for a range scope is your case then just pick this. The function and form are stunning, especially for the price.
You can easily hold and carry it for hiking and other adventures as well. This scope will give optimum functionality and win your heart.
- A highly recommended scope of customers.
- A very reasonable and affordable price rate.
- Comes with detailed instruction that makes usability super easy.
- Needs five minutes to disassemble from the box.
- Looks premium and doesn’t give any cheap feel.
- The bag is a bit thin.
Emarth 20-60×60 – The 45-Degree Angled Eyepiece Genius!
The Emarth 20-60×60 is an excellent model from the manufacturer that possess powerful zooming capabilities with other effective features.
The adjustable 20x to 60x magnification under a hundred dollar price range is a big highlight.
The eyepiece is angled at 45 degrees, and so this handy design makes sure you get a comfortable viewing experience. The wide field of view will give a clear close-up observing of nature.
The lens within this scope uses multiple full coatings to maximize light transmission. So the image quality always upsurges and provides bright, high-contrast results.
This durable scope has precious manufacturing and supports waterproofness to avoid any harm during rainy or drizzle climates.
It’s by far a great working scope for the money but with a few limitations. You would not be able to see further than 200 yards.
So if you are buying a scope particularly for long-distance viewing, avoid this! However, as an entry level scope, it will do a decent job to fulfill the basics.
- The shipping is fast and secure.
- The functionality is brilliant and optimum.
- Targeting within 200 yards is excellent.
- This scope is great for the money.
- Clear images and well-working optics.
- You can’t expect it to be doing long range shooting.
Celestron 52268 C90 Spotting scope – The Maksutov-Cassegrain Optics!
Celestron 52268 is a great choice for all shooter or hunter who wants to have a quality scope under budget requirements. The optic serves pretty well for wildlife adventuring.
The multiple coatings on the optic lens give a better light transmission ratio. So the image is always clear, crisp and completely sharp.
The Maksutov-Cassegrain design is its rare aspect that also consists of amazing compactness as well as portability.
The complete set includes a 32mm eyepiece and erect image diagonal. It also comprises a Finderscope.
There is also a nylon backpack to carry the scope while hiking or simply strolling over the woods. In short, this is one of the best budget deal for a spotting scope that comes under one hundred dollar.
This scope is a whole package that includes all basic functions a spotter needs. I hardly have anything major to complain. So if you want both budgets with quality, then you can surely opt for this excellent spotting scope.
- Does great even with splash targeting.
- Super clarity at two-hundred yards.
- The eyepiece works nice.
- Field of view is decent.
- Easy to use and clear instruction.
- You would need an adapter to fit the lens properly.
What Are You Planning To Do With The Scope!
You should think about the environment and landscape in which you would be using the scope. That will help you to go for the best option. The environment will depend on the activity you are likely to use a scope for.
For example, a hunter would want to get the best compact spotting scope for hunting that gives easy carrying and perfect accuracy.
On the other hand, if you are a shooter who likes to practice gunshots than getting the best spotting scope for target shooting will be your consideration.
For hunting, the design of a straight barreled scope will give easy viewing. The line being aligned with the sight helps to notice fast moving animals. It is a perfect scope type for folks who love to observe flying birds in the skyline.
Also, think about the elevation of your scope. Suppose you are prone to viewing sceneries from mountaintop or hill.
These elevated positions will work better if you get a straight scope because an angled version in these circumstances will give you an uncomfortable and awkward positioning.
However, if you prefer sightseeing from below then consider an angled one. Watching birds on the trees or simply looking at a scenery will need you an angled scope.
It is also a more decent choice for sharing because this type of scope is suitable for various heights of people.
Factors That Will Determine the Perfect Budget Scope!
Optics is a great treat that science has to offer. You cannot imagine what many purposes they can be used. Today’s adventurous generation has a soft side for these tools.
Especially for spotting scopes. They make bustles like hunting, shooting, chasing or simply admiring the nature in deep woods a blissful experience.
There are large options of spotting scope available in the market. But they differ for features and construction. However, there are some key characteristics that you must be looking for when buying a new spotting scope.
Below are a few of them and make sure you give close attention to each feature.
Huge Zooming Range = A Great Spotting Scope?
Most spotting scopes will offer a zooming range from 20x to 60x while some expensive scopes will offer more magnification, however, if you think that you can manage with less zooming than consider buying a binocular which is a cheaper option.
There might be some scope that is prone to give blurry images when magnified to the maximum. These might be because you are hand holding it. Getting a tripod will solve the problem.
Also, remember that the field of view will get narrowed with higher magnification. The brightness might get dim with huge magnification.
Also when working with high zooming level, scopes become vulnerable to climates and conditions. For example humidity, heat, dust or glare.
That’s the primary reason for most scopes stopping to work at x60 zooming: the more magnification, the more chances for these problems.
Make sure the objective lens is large enough to balance with the scopes zooming. Otherwise, it won’t be able to gather enough light and transmission will fall.
Remember a high magnification range scope is nothing but trash if it lacks a quality prism and lens.
Wide Field of View!
Field of view is the widest dimensional of the round viewing, the area that you would be observing through a spotting scope.
This is generally calculated in line feet within thousand yards. Also, you can measure it with angular degrees.
When you are using the scope in close ranges, this factor becomes very important. However, if you are looking for a scope to perform in medium to long range distance observation, then this feature can be tolerably less. Most of the time minimum rear focus distance is twenty to thirty feet.
The wider field of view will help you to follow a moving object with ease, especially for wildlife observation.
If the eye relief is long than scopes might narrow field of view option. It’s certainly a vital part of the optic design that needs to be wider for close range shooting.
Huge Aperture for Better Light Transmission!
The diameter of the objective lens which is usually measured in millimeters is known as aperture. For hunters having a scope with 50 to 90 mm, aperture size will do great.
The weight of the scope has a direct connection with aperture. It also has a relationship with two other significant factors that are optical design and focal length.
The better the size of aperture the more lighting will pass through an optical system. This will affect image clarity and detail to get better viewing.
The relationship of an aperture with the zooming will also affect the image brightness. Choosing a huge aperture size is a smart choice for most activities. The best long-range spotting scope must have a decent size objective.
What Focusing Mechanism!
There are various types of focusing that can be implemented on a scope. The most common types are a knob, pinion, rack and helical. Each type will have an impact on the adaptability of some particular applications.
The helical focusing will help viewers who need to observe moving targets. It will also help for near to far and fast observation. Rack and pinion provide smooth focusing with quick speed.
However, most elements are external. So the possible degradation from damp and grime cannot be avoided.
The last one is knob focusing. It is usually slower than the other options. However, it also gives a clear-cut and precious focusing.
Right Eyepiece Configuration!
One of the major considerations for the spotting scope is picking the right type of eyepiece configuration. It helps to zoom the picture of a target from some distance.
Then it simply offers this image behind the eyepiece at a particular distance. Eyepiece usually stays between the eye relief and eye pupil.
There are so many types of eyepieces. A few will be fixed in focal length. Others have the option of variable zooming.
While some go for either wide angle or long eye relief for spec wearing folks, a few spotting scopes will not give you the option of interchanging mostly when the scope has high-level magnification or waterproof features enabled.
The eyepiece might have different angles. It might be straight through, 90 degrees or 45 degrees. There are also different diameters available for some eyepiece.
Depending on your activity you need to determine the right configuration. It’s usually just about one’s preference.
The hunter society would want to have a straight-through design mostly. This is because the scope with straight-through configuration will make it easy to follow a moving object. This type is also a convenient choice for vehicle window mountings.
What Optical Design?
Most spotting scopes will have two types of optical design. One is the refractor that uses optical glass lens to twist lighting. The other one is catadioptric that will reflect the light with its mirror material. Both of these materials helps to focus on the image.
Refractors are easy to use and have a very simple design. They are reliable, durable and needs almost no maintenance.
Also, this optical design will provide high contrast images with perfect sharpness. Generally, refractors are popular for hunting and general outdoor adventures.
While catadioptrics has a bit complex design with a pair of mirrors and a corrector lens, these elements work to focus on an image.
This optic design is mostly available in some high magnification models. It isn’t an ideal hunter’s choice for that reason.
Superior ED Glass!
The ED glass or extra-low dispersion glass will help to offer sharper images with better color reliability. This glass system will give you an image quality that will produce true as nature effects. It virtually reduces any chromatic aberrations.
HD glass is another term that is more common within the public. HD denotes better light transmission, and it’s not a glass type. It simply refers that the glass has an image resolution that goes beyond what a normal eye can perceive.
Big Vs. Compact
Before you make the ultimate decision, choose the right length and weight for your scope. A high power scope will give you some serious ranging ability for big games.
However, this also means you are going to have added bulk and weight. When hiking in the backcountry, a huge spotting scope will feel like a burden to carry. So carefully think about the shape, weight, and size.
A compact scope might not have all serious features for big preys. But they would be an ideal choice for hiking and wild observations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a telescope or binocular instead of buying spotting scopes?
Spotting scopes are one type of telescope I agree. But still, any hunter or shooter will recommend you to get a spotting scope.
Well, the optics in scope are appropriately oriented. And so unlike a telescope, you’ll find it easy to track and find objects.
Also, a spotting scope will usually have a huge objective lens. You would not find that benefit in a pair of binoculars. So for better low light spotting and huge magnification one should get a spotting scope.
What is digiscoping?
There are some spotting scopes available that include the option to mount an external camera via an adapter. This is known as digiscoping or a hybrid connection between scope and digital camera.
You would be able to enjoy greater magnification with this option. It will even provide bigger zooming than the telephoto lens. Moreover, you would not have to carry those lenses in the field.
How do I calculate the exit pupil?
You would require to do some simple math. It’s damn easy! Figure out the objective lens size. Then you need to know what the magnification power is. Now divide the Objective size by the power. That’s it!
For example, imagine your spotting scope has a 60mm objective lens and 34x zooming option. Now the exit pupil will be 60/34 mm which is equal to 1.76mm.
Always get a scope that allows for a minimum of 1.33 mm exit pupil. This score will lead to better performance during low light situations.
What do the three figures on a scope determine?
Different from monocular, a spotting scope will usually have three figures on its label to describe the lens. These numbers usually determine the magnification and objective lens size of that scope.
Suppose you get a scope with a description of 24-65×60. Now that will mean the scope has a magnification that ranges from x24 to x60.
Moreover, its last figure says that the objective lens size is total 60mm. These specifications will usually determine the quality of viewing.
What is the difference between straight and angled scope?
A spotting scope can be either angled or straight. Both are expensive and come with certain benefits. The straight one would usually look like a monocular.
Also, they sometimes resemble a small telescope. These types have barrel and eyepiece in a straight aligning position.
On the other hand, an angled scope will have eyepiece equipoise with the barrel. The angle is generally 45 or 90 degrees.
It looks like we are at the end! I hope this article about the Best Spotting Scope 500 dollar options available right now in the market will help you enough to get a perfect scope for your activity. Before I finish, there’s one thing I want to say.
We already know, scopes come in various budget options. However, it is not important that an expensive option will serve the best. A much less priced choice might be the ideal one for your circumstances.
So, no matter what budget you have, there’s always something good available for you. All you need is to take some smart measurements under consideration.
Know what you need and look for those features. I’m sure that way you’ll be able to meet your perfect scope mate. Good Luck!