Best Birding Scope Reviews 2017 – Comprehensive Guide

birdIt can be truly fascinating to watch birds, especially when they go about with their normal activities. As birds tend to easily sense it when they are being watched and approaching them and the seasoned bird watchers can tell you how unlikely it is to be up close and personal with birds. This is where a birding spotting scope comes in handy. There is certainly nothing in this world that can replace an extreme close up view of rare birds in the wild.
While binoculars can help you get close, a spotting scope will let you look at the bird right in the eye. The best birding spotting scopes are packed with incredible magnification within a generally lightweight and simple package durable enough for your field work while it boasts of amazing optical quality perfect for birding.

Many people who buy a spotting scope usually do so with the purpose of observing nature and it is surely safe to say that majority of this population always have birding in mind when they get one. For you to get the most memorable bird watching experience, it is a must to know the best spotting scopes for birding.

Top 5 Best Birding Scope Reviews

A good birding scope comparison can help you come up with a decision that is primarily based on the features and specifications that you are looking for in a scope.

1. Celestron 52306 Regal M2 100ED


Read any birding scope reviews and you will surely find out that the top choice of many bird watchers is none other than the Celestron 52306 Regal M2 100ED. Perfect for both night and day use, this spotting scope has been manufactured to provide the sharpest images that you cannot expect from other scopes out in the market right now. Aside from bird watching, this is also ideal for nature observing, long distance viewing and those casual astronomical viewing. Boasting of the wonderful features that other M2 scopes have, Regal M2 changes the way of the game with the additional lens diameter that provides improved abilities on light gathering as compared to the earlier versions. With this particular scope, you can expect only for the clearest images of those wild birds so you can fully enjoy your activity. Celestron also makes it a point that they do not lose their touch with Regal M2 as this is also made affordable while still showcasing a quality construction like no other. If you want the best spotting scope that you can take with you on your next bird watching, the Celestron 52306 Regal M2 100ED Spotting Scope deserves to be your number one choice.

2. Vanguard Endeavor HD Angled Eyepiece


As Vanguard’s most advance piece of optical equipment, birding enthusiasts will definitely not want to miss out on the amazing features and one of a kind performance that this particular scope has to offer. The optical system of this particular scope gets the best out of the extra low dispersion glass to ensure precise rendition of colors while getting rid of color fringing. This has multi-coated lenses to guarantee you with optimum light transmission and this also comes with a phase-coated BAK4 roof prism. Rubber is also used for covering its extendable eye cup and its eye relief is truly impressive even if you use it in the highest of zoom settings. The field of view of this scope is also outstanding and its built-in sunshield eliminates any glare which is very common when you are watching the bird under direct light of the sun. Complete with a padded raincoat and sling for easy carrying and protection, Vanguard Endeavor HD Angled Eyepiece Spotting Scope can also be directly mounted not just on the Vanguard tripod heads but even on others that come with universal mounting plate. This way, a quick shoe will not be needed so you can get started with your birding right away.

3. Vanguard High Plains 580


Another name commonly mentioned in our best birding spotting scope reviews is none other than the Vanguard High Plains 580. If you want to take your bird watching to a higher level, you will surely fall in love with this scope’s razor sharp images. The High Plains 580 perfectly combines the newest optical technology with the improved user features in order to facilitate easier handling and quicker adjustment. This scope comes with completely multi-coated lenses, the BaK4 prisms as well as the 60/80mm diameter objective lenses that provide superior quality of images, impressive transmission of light and clearer viewing. High Plains makes it clear that easy handling is the key and a proof of this is its large center focus wheel, the long eye relief and the fold-down eyecup that can be used without or with glasses. The models that belong to the 500 series come with a tripod with extendable legs that create a bigger base in order to guarantee an added stability. The two-way pan head offers a smooth movement while the quick fasten plate allows easy removal and setup. Its hard case comes with steel reinforced corners and interior with pre-cut and high density foam and flexible hook and loop straps for the highest level of protection.

4. BARSKA Colorado Waterproof


If the best budget birding scope is what you are looking for, the BARSKA Colorado Waterproof Spotting Scope is exactly what you need. Designed for a high power observation both in the field and even at home, this spotting scoping sets the bar high as far as optical standard is concerned. The scope comes with fully coated optics as well as a large objective lens of 60mm that delivers a clear and crisp view with improved light transmission. Its adjustable zoom magnification also lets you find and watch that rare bird and its quick access focus lets you lock on your subject and use a high powered zoom for catching details in high definition contrast. Despite being budget-friendly, the strongest point of Colorado is the fact that this has been specifically built to withstand tough conditions as this is 100% fog proof and waterproof. The nitrogen purged construction and rubber armoring is of high quality so you can be sure that you can still use the spotter even when the weather turns harsh during your activity. With a weight of only 2.8 pounds, you can easily transport it even to remote areas while the included tripod ensures stability in difficult terrain.

5. Celestron 52322 Landscout 12-36×60


This birding scope comparison will not be complete without mentioning the LandScout 60mm Spotting Scope. Very easy to use, this spotting scope is ideal for all forms of outdoor activities, with bird watching included. Its lightweight and compact design is also ideal for you to carry it with you during your hiking excursion or backpacking trip. Landscout is also undoubtedly a great spotting scope that you can bring during your outdoor or indoor shooting range. One of the likable things about this scope is its easy set up and you can also use its 12-36x zoom for you get closer to the action of those birds that are the subject of your fascination. Despite the fact that this is an entry level and affordable spotting scope, the Landscout takes great pride in its multi-coated optics and the fact that this can effortlessly provide sharp and bright images. This can also be a wonderful backup scope if you do not want to carry your bigger and heavier scope. It comes with a rotation tripod mount and a large focus wheel complete with a rubber grip. It is truly a birding spotting scope that can meet or even exceed your expectations at a fraction of a cost.

What to Look for When Buying A Birding Scope

Binoculars are incredible for close-up birding and can be useful for giving you a glimpse of the wildest and farthest birds. But when it comes to distant birds, the best spotting scopes for birding can truly make a big difference. You’ll have the capacity to discover more birds, and you’ll recognize field marks on far off waterfowl, shorebirds, and birds of prey that may be difficult to see with binoculars alone. At closer ranges, you’ll love the amazing plumage subtle elements you never saw in the past. Furthermore, when you have a digital camera or a smartphone, you’ll have everything you need to make the most out of digiscoping.

Similarly as with binoculars, there are various optical and configuration attributes to remember when you’re considering purchasing a spotting scope. Some imperative ones are covered here to offer you some assistance with making the best decision.

Magnification Power

Spotting scopes are medium-extent telescopes, more often than not with magnification power somewhere around 15x and 60x. To alter the magnification power, they have either single zoom eyepiece or interchangeable eyepieces with fixed-length.

When you are scanning a place with a spotting scope, it’s best to begin with a low power eyepiece or the least setting on a zoom eyepiece (such as 20x to 30x territory). Once you’ve found the birds you need to observe closely, you can change to higher power.

Zoom Lenses

Zoom lenses alter the magnification power from 20x to as high as 60x with a single, straightforward conformity. They offer an unmistakable benefit for bird watching, permitting helpful examining at low power and quick change to higher power for examining the details. But as with camera lenses, zoom lenses don’t accumulate light and even the fixed lenses. Likewise, when the magnification goes higher, any scope (or binocular) will experience the ill effects of less light, smaller field of view, and increased vibration. High powers likewise amplify the impacts of dimness and shimmering heat distortion that can be seen over water and other types of flat expanses.

Several years ago, a great zoom lens was elusive, and the expenses (both optically and dollar-wise) were substantial. These days, numerous mid-priced scopes have amazing zoom lenses. At high power, top quality zooms give picture sharpness and clarity very nearly in the same class as at lower magnification, so purchase the best quality scope that your pocket can afford.

Light-gathering Ability

Like binoculars, the light-gathering ability of a spotting scope is demonstrated by the span of its objective lens (the one farthest from the eye). Contingent upon the model, this quality is regularly between around 50 mm and 100 mm. Bigger objective lenses give brighter pictures as a rule, yet they can make scopes heavier and harder to pack in baggage.

Glass Quality

Top spotting scope lenses are made with fluorite-covered, high density or extra low dispersion or ED glass. The difference in picture clarity and brightness between these great scopes and those made by the same makers utilizing standard glass is especially detectable in low-light viewing conditions, (like in late night) and at high power. You ought to base your choice whether to go for a high quality and expensive glass on the type of birding you plan to do.

Eyepiece Position

Another factor to consider while choosing a spotting scope is the eyepiece position. Some scope models have eyepieces that are configured for a straight-through viewing, making it simple to quickly find and follow the subject. This appears like a characteristic configuration, yet numerous birding enthusiasts lean choose an alternate approach, the 45-degree angled eyepiece. This style can make viewing on top of the horizon less demanding, works with shorter tripods (which are characteristically steadier), and makes birding substantially more advantageous when you’re part of a group of individuals with different heights.

Eye Relief

Eyeglass wearers ought to consider the measure of eye relief offered by the scope. With longer eye alleviation, the optics will direct focal point back behind the eyepiece so the eyeglass wearer can see a complete viewing field. Eye relief is given in millimeters in the technical specifications of the model. So far, 12–15 mm of eye relief is sufficient for most eyeglass wearers. Similarly as with binoculars, some scope designs come with moveable or folding rubber eyecups to accommodate those who are non-eyeglass wearers.


Focusing Mechanism

In spotting scopes, focusing is usually done in one of two ways. With a focusing collar, the entire barrel of the scope is rubberized or knurled and you simply twist the entire barrel to make the picture sharper. The other design utilizes a smaller focus knob normally mounted above the scope close to the eyepiece. These are slower to utilize yet they allow more exact focusing. The dexterity and size of your hand may be an issue here, so try all styles to know what suits you best.