Straight VS. Angled Spotting Scopes: Which to Choose?

straight or angled spotting scopes?

They come in many different shapes. But which one is best for your needs and why?

We highly recommend that you watch the video above as it explains in-depth whether you should choose an angled or a straight spotting scope depending on your needs.

Breaking down the differences

Each to their own. Each individual has his own gear preferences. Some like product A while others like product B. The best way to really find out what suits you is to take action and test the different models so that you end up using the one you prefer. However, buying countless of models is not always an option, and therefore we’ll help you decide whether an angled or a straight spotting scope is the right option for you.

Angled spotting scopes

Vortex Optics Diamondback angled

Angled version of the Vortex Optics Diamondback

Most models on the market are straight which makes good sense since it’s the most popular choice.

Pros

  • Good if scope is used by multiple people -> easier to accommodate people of different heights, simply lower eye to eye piece instead of bending knees
  • Allows for using a shorter & lighter tripod
  • Goes well with a digiscoping setup (camera connected to spotting scope)
  • Less strain on your neck -> comfortable for long hours of glassing
  • Best when standing up -> requires less height of tripod

Cons

  • Harder to fit into backpack, more clunky
  • Can be hard to glass at downhill angles
  • Doesn’t go as well with a window mount from the seat in a vehicle
  • The angled eyepiece is more exposed to elements such as rain, snow and dust

Straight Spotting Scopes

Vortex Optics Diamondback straight

Straight version of the Vortex Optics Diamondback

Most spotting scope models also come in a straight model. These are great in conjunction with a window mount from the seat in a vehicle, but they also come with some cons.

Pros

  • Best choice for beginners -> easier finding intended object
  • Goes well in conjunction with window mount from the seat of a vehicle
  • Takes up less room in a backpack
  • Not very exposed to rain, dust, snow, and so on
  • Usually less expensive (but not much)

Cons

  • Requires a taller tripod
  • Requires more time spent adjusting the scope when switching from person to person
  • Puts more strain on neck -> long glassing hours can get uncomfortable

Conclusion

As you see there are some slim differences between angled and straight spotting scopes, but it’s not as important as the magnification itself and other important factors. Usually, you’ll end up preferring the type of spotting scope that you started out with.

We recommend that you try both variations before buying, but if that’s not possible an angled spotting scope is always a safe bet. But if you’re planning on doing a lot of glassing from a vehicle then you should seriously consider a straight spotting scope.

If you’re looking to buy a spotting scope we highly recommend that you read our reviews found here. They’ll help you get an overview of the top models within different price ranges.