Everyone wants to see things more clearly, whether they are looking up to the stars or gazing out at nature. Whatever the reason, it is important to find the best spotting scope under 500. Not only will you still be able to get a quality scope, but you will save a lot of money in your pocket as well. Spotting scopes can see things as if they are right next to you. They are that amazing!
When you do finally get your spotting scope, you will have wished you have bought one way sooner in your life. Also, you will never leave the house without them. They are a must-have for people who have sight issues or just want to see things a lot more clearly. Sure, you need to sift through all the products and buyer’s guide. But, when you have done all that, you will make an educated decision that you will be able to live with for the rest of your life.
So, without further ado, let us get into the review. You will be happy you did. When you are finished, you will be an expert on all things spotting scopes.
- Top 10 Best Spotting Scope Under $500 Reviews:
- #1 – Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scopes
- #2 – Celestron Regal M2 65ED Spotting Scope
- #3 – Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A Angled Eyepiece Spotting Scope
- #4 – Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 20-60×80 Spotting Scope
- #5 – Visionking Spotting Scope 30-90x100SS Large Ocular
- #6 – Celestron C5 Spotting Scope
- #7 – Redfield Rampage 20-60x80mm Angled Spotting Scope
- #8 – Leupold SX-1 Ventana Spotting Scope
- #9 – ALPEN Waterproof / Fog proof Spotting Scope
- #10 – CreativeXP HD Spotting Scope with Tripod
- Buying Guide
- FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
- #1 – How would you define what a spotting scope is?
- #2 – Why do I even need a spotting scope?
- #3 – What magnification is typical for most spotting scopes?
- #4 – What is one thing that most people miss when picking the right spotting scope for them?
- #5 – What accessories does my scope need?
- #6 – What is the meaning of close focus?
Top 10 Best Spotting Scope Under $500 Reviews:
For the product reviews section, we have been able to sift through the 10 best spotting scopes all under $500. This will give you options, but not too many, so you will be able to dive into the fun world of spotting scopes. What better way to spend your time than in this day and age.
#1 – Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scopes
One of the best spotting scope options on the market comes to us from Vortex. This Diamondback 20-60×80 scope is a great lightweight option for you and others to enjoy. With the help of multi-coated lenses, you will not deal with issues from the sun. The sunshade is that is completely built-in will give you the best light transmission around. You will like its compact nature as well.
If you are looking for the clearest of images, Vortex has you covered here. With a twistable collar, you will have a variety of positions that your glass lenses can move to. There are even adjustable, twistable eyecups that can go down and up with ease. This way, you will be very comfortable wherever you take your spotting scope.
The last thing you will like about this scope is the focusing ability. There is a smooth focus wheel that has a sensational zoom. With a nitrogen covered lens, your scope will be fog-proof and waterproof for as long as you own it. The O-ring seal will help enhance durability and the best grip around. Check out this quality option soon.
- Close Focus (feet): 22
- Eyepiece Position: Angled & Straight
- Eye Relief Range (mm): 16.5-20
- Field of View (degrees): 1.0
- Field of View (feet): 51-105
- Length (inches): 14.8 or 15.7
- Weight (ounces): 47.1
- You can attach a tripod to this spotting scope
- Uses 1/4 x 20 threadable screws
- No need for fatigue-free views here
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- Will receive a soft case with purchase
- The scope can be used when wearing glasses
- Focusing can be hard to get a handle on
- High power setting goes down in quality
#2 – Celestron Regal M2 65ED Spotting Scope
Another great scope, perfect for hunting and/or sightseeing, is from the brand Celestron. You will love the objective lens that has limited dispersion. This will allow you to deal less with chromatic aberrations. Instead, you will have sharp image quality. The color will wow you because it is true to form as you would see them normally. Even the contrast and resolution will impress you.
The lens coating is something else that you will be glad you got. This truly is the same coating that telescopes use to see the further stars in the galaxy. With the maximum transmission of light, you will have an optical path with super bright images.
Noticing the angles of the spotting scope is important for you as well. With a 16 to 48 times zoom, you will spot anything from a distance. Even the 1.25-inch eyepiece will make it easier to see. You will also be more comfortable when you use them. This all will help you have the best positioning scope around.
- Close Focus Distance (feet): 16.4
- Eye Relief (mm): 20
- Eyecup: Twist
- Field of View (degrees): 1.3 to 2.5
- Field of View (feet): 68-131
- The T-mount is a quality adaptor that can attach for digiscoping
- The instruction manual will help guide you to help with scoping
- Technical support comes from the United States of America
- Company has been around for over 60 years
- Spotting scope comes with a cover
- The cleaning cloth can be used to keep your spotting scope looking like new
- Extra eyepieces do not come standard
- Zoom can be finicky
#3 – Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A Angled Eyepiece Spotting Scope
With amazing dispersion glass that is extra-low (ED), you will get the right colors you have always dreamed of. There is limited fringing, along with a prism that is phase-coated to perfection. This fully functional coated lens is ready to take the cake in this competition.
Another thing you will like about it is the rubber body made of magnesium. The sun shield is also super epic. You will never have glare again with this best spotting scope for the money. Even the dual focus wheel is something that will astound you, as you make adjustments to perfect your vision.
The angled eyepiece will make your time with your scope very enjoyable as well. With the longest eye relief on the market, you will be able to view your scope over and over again without any trouble at all. As a perfect fog proof and waterproof option, most people will not look any other way for a spotting scope. Give this option a whirl, and see what it can do for you.
- Eye Relief (mm): 19-20
- Dimensions (inches): 15×7
- Field of View (feet): 52-110
- Minimum Focus Distance (feet): 14.7-18
- Near Focus (feet): 19.7-21.33
- Objective Lens Diameter (mm): 82
- View Angle (degrees): 1.0-2.1
- Warranty: Lifetime Warranty
- Weight (ounces); 66.7
- Zoom Magnification (times): 20-60
- Comes with a soft bag to protect your spotting scope
- Lens covers keep your scope scratch-free
- Can be paired with a tripod
- The eyepiece can rotate from the left to the right
- Comes under the F-class spotting scope category
- Smooth focusing and zooming power
- Adjustments are hard to pinpoint
- Middle power is not very crisp
#4 – Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 20-60×80 Spotting Scope
The Bushnell brand is another sweet option for the low dispersion glass you get. With a dual focus control that has 2 different speeds, you will be able to tune in on images that you like to see. The waterproof and rain guard design are top-notch with the best repellent coatings. By checking out the Bak-4 prisms as well, you will give the best colors around from the spotting scope.
The magnification power for this scope is unbelievable as well. With 20 to 60 times the magnification power, you will love the objective lens that gives you the best clarity on the market. You will appreciate the high resolution, color tuning, and much, much more. It is optics like these that will stay true even in rainy or snowy weather.
Fine-tuning should be important for you to get in a spotting scope as well. This will help with the angled zoom for 45-degrees. It is a scope like this that will help you rock the world of scoping.
- Eyepiece (inches): 16.5
- Field of View (feet): 51-110
- Product Dimensions (inches): 16.5 x 4.5 x 8.9
- Weight (ounces): 80.1
- The product has a mounting ring
- You can add an adaptor for this spotting scope
- Ideal for a variety of ranges
- A fun design that customers enjoy
- The light-gathering is very acceptable
- The construction is rugged and durable
- The scope does not have the mill dot reticle for the estimation of range
- 60-time focus is not very clear
#5 – Visionking Spotting Scope 30-90x100SS Large Ocular
Visionking is another spotting scope for sale that you should take advantage of. With RainGuard water technology, this 2-speed focus works quickly and effectively. The O-ring sealing construction control will keep water out and great clear images in.
The images will be amazing because of the prisms that give the best light transmission around. This makes the optics second to none and some sensational brightness. Another thing a lot of customers like is the large lens for eyes. The eyecups are twistable making them comfortable, yet workable.
- Close Focus Distance (feet): 32.80
- Exit Pupil (mm) 1.6-4.8
- Field of View (meters): 15.7-33.5
- Fog proof: Yes
- Lenses (mm): 100
- Waterproof: Yes
- Weight (ounces): 97
- Comes with a one-year warranty
- Shipping comes very quickly
- Lightweight design
- Comes with a padded divider case
- Works with an adaptor for added accessories
- Amazing for sightseeing, nature runs, and hunting
- Not used to look at the stars or planets
- Wind can affect the stability of the scope
#6 – Celestron C5 Spotting Scope
If you liked the other Celestron scope, then you will surely like this one as well. The optical design 5-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain is a quality option for the price you pay. There are great coatings on the lenses as well which are StarBright XLT technology.
A few other features you may be interested in involve the 50x eyepieces that are 25 millimeters (mm). There is even a 45-degree image erect diagonal that gives amazing perspectives. The finderscope is an erect image, as well, that is water-resistant to the elements.
When you are done using your scope, you can. put it in the soft-sided case. Trust the limited lifetime warranty as well that has you protected from all angles. This will allow you to travel all over the world using this scope to your benefit.
- Close Focus Distance (feet): 20
- Eye Relief (mm): 22
- Eyecup: Folding
- Field of View (degrees): 1.0
- Field of View (feet): 52
- Finderscope (mm): 6×30
- Product Dimensions (inches): 13x6x10
- Tripod Threaded Mount: 1/4-20
- Weight (pounds): 6
- The product comes with a dovetail
- Comes with a nice soft case
- Has great sharp focus for close distances
- Ideal for gun range viewing
- Works great in low light conditions
- Adaptors can be used with this product
- Not as good as a NASA scope
- Adjustments can be difficult to make
#7 – Redfield Rampage 20-60x80mm Angled Spotting Scope
Redfield is another brand you should look out for in the world of best spotting scopes under $500. Design is one of the best features of this option. With its rubber polycarbonate housing, this armored protection will hold up even in the rugged of conditions. As an imported model, the magnification features roams from 20 to 60 times of a normal view. That is quite astounding.
With a wide amount of applicational uses for this product, you will love the 80 mm objective viewpoint as well. The fully coated optics for this spotting scope is second to none because they allow great lighting transmission. This makes your scope one of the best on the market.
The last thing you should be aware of is the accessories. With this scope, you will receive a tripod, a soft case, an eyepiece cover, an objective lens cover, and so much more. With a professionally based prism of the BAK4 variety, you have everything you want in one spotting scope.
- Eye Relief (mm): 17-19
- Field of View (degrees): 1-2
- Length (inches): 15
- Objective View (degrees): 45
- Weight (ounces): 43
- The scope is fog proof and your waterproof
- Comes with a phenomenal warranty
- Can see easily between 500-1000 yards
- The exit dimension is 5 mm
- Made in the United States of America
- Can use an adaptor to add additional items
- The eyepiece cannot be rotated
- Focus can be difficult at longer distances
#8 – Leupold SX-1 Ventana Spotting Scope
This angled spotting scope is one of the best in the business. It is not only shockproof but waterproof and fog proof as well. With guard-ion technology, you will not have to worry about dirt, water, or fingerprints on your lens. This will also allow for great crisp images wherever you take this beast.
Additionally, if you are in low lighting situations, the twilight light management system is for you. This is a glass lighting that adds 10 additional minutes of lighting, so you can see extra well in any environment. When you are all finished with our great spotting scope, you can fold it down because of its compact design.
Lastly, enjoy the focusing system that can help you fine-tune adjustments. This way, you can have the very best view experience around. Pair that with the eye relief that is paramount to many, and you will have a comfortable experience wherever you travel to.
- Adaptor Port (inches): 1/4-20
- Eye Relief (mm): 20-21.5
- Field of View (feet): 63-121
- Length (inches): 13.50
- Magnification: 45x
- Manufacturing: Imported
- Weight (ounces): 30.60
- Comes with a fabric soft case
- Incredible sharp focus
- Generous eye relief
- You can wear glasses when using this scope
- Perfect as a budget scope
- Color renditions are above average
- Not ideal for high country viewing
- Tripod is not included
#9 – ALPEN Waterproof / Fog proof Spotting Scope
If you are looking for one of the best spotting scopes under $500, you have found it in this next model made by Alpen Optics. With magnification from 20 to 60 times as big, you will love the view power of this high-class scope. The objective lens is nothing to scoff at either with 80 mm power.
There is also the BAK4 prism that gives you the brightest and most vivid color around. Resolution and clarity around the edges is something you will love as well. It is a quality like this that will give you the best shots from the angled eyepiece of 45-degrees that has a completely shock-resistant housing.
With your purchase, you will receive a tabletop tripod, which few companies give out with a scope purchase, as well as a nylon case to keep your scope protected year after year. The lifetime warranty is something you will appreciate, too. Nothing can go wrong with this scope for you and your lifestyle.
- Field of View (feet): 400
- Length (inches): 17
- Light Management System
- Manufacturing: Imported
- Weight (ounces): 56
- Comes standard with an eyepiece scope
- The eye relief has a massive area for your face
- Customer service is there to help whenever you need
- The lens cap will help protect your device
- A color aberration has a very high rating
- The lens caps screw on very nicely
- Only comes with one focus knob
- The zipper for the bag is quite cheap
#10 – CreativeXP HD Spotting Scope with Tripod
With a design that is shipped and created in the United States of America, this CreativeXP scope is a great place to finish. Its 20-60 times view, as well as the 80 mm objective lens, makes this spotting scope a real winner. The family-owned make-up of CreativeXP, locally in New York City, creates high-end scopes that people all around the world enjoy.
Many scopes on the market today get more and more blurry when the zoom is initiated. This is not the case with CreativeXP. HD spotting technology makes for clear imagery wherever you go. Without any chromatic aberrations, you will not have issues with this scope at all.
When you are focusing this spotting scope, you will appreciate the 2 focus knobs that help create smooth transitions with the picture you are seeing. The eye relief is something you never want to live without because it is 12-17 mm, which is huge for your face. Some of the things you will be able to see with this spotting scope are Jupiter’s moons, Jupiter’s stripes, nature like momma and cub bears, or a Gull Billed Tern for example.
- Field of View (feet): 60-114
- Large Exit Pupil (mm): 1.3-4
- Prisms: BAK4
- Shipping Weight (pounds): 3.5
- Lenses are scratchproof
- The scope is purged in nitrogen to help against water, fog, shock, and much more
- Comes with an extendable sunshade
- Your purchase includes a tripod, a protective case, a cell phone adaptor, and a photo click to name a few
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- The United States customer service is available via email and/or phone
- Runs on battery power only
- Does not come with lens covers
Spotting scope reviews would be nothing without a buying guide to give you all the information you need to make a perfect decision. The next bit of information will focus on important pieces of a spotting scope that you need when purchasing one. So, let us talk about the most notable features of a spotting scope.
There are 4 types of coating options you should consider. The first is coated which means that you have a single layer of protection on one lens at least. On the other hand, the fully-coated layer is single covering on every glass-to-air surfaces.
Multi-coated layers cover not only surfaces and lenses at least once. Lastly, for the fully multi-coated varieties, all glass-to-air surfaces have multiple layers. These are the 4 top coatings you should know about to help you make the right decision.
When picking the right spotting scope for your lifestyle, you need to know all about what an exit pupil is. This is the column size that enters your spotting scope. The more light that enters the exit pupil, the more brightness you will get from your images without glare. You can determine the size of your image with the help of the exit pupil by dividing the objective lens to help with lighting power.
FOV (Field of View)
The FOV is a side measurement that determines the circular viewing from the eyepiece, which we will get to soon. FOV is determined by what is visible from 1,000 yards ahead in the distance. The wider the view, the best moving action you can see up ahead. But, the higher magnification usually gives a lower field of view, unfortunately.
Eye Relief & Eyepiece
When it comes to eye relief, this speaks to how far you can come off the eyepiece to see the full FOV. Better eye relief allows individuals longer opportunities using their spotting scope, instead of it hurting their eyes. This is an essential feature you need to have to work for you.
The Foldable Light Path
When combining the mirror and lenses of a spotting scope, you will have a shorter length giving you better picture quality and useability. This also helps with a compact design for the best performance around. Look into this if you are3 looking for a lightweight spotting scope.
With all scopes, you will see two numbers with an “x” before one more number. This shows you the power of magnification with the first number. The second number shows you the furthest magnification power this spotting scope can handle. To have the best viewing opportunities, make sure you use a tripod for the most consistent of image shots.
Sizes for Objective Lenses
The last number after the “x” speaks to the objective lens. The larger the size in mm, the best light that will enter your spotting scope. This means you will have great brighter images out in the wilderness or at the gun range. The best spotting scope under $500 is one that has amazing image quality, so do not sell yourself short here.
The Purpose of Prisms
Prism systems should not be overlooked here either. First, you will notice there are two types of prisms: barium crown (BAK4) and borosilicate (BK-7). Overall, BAK4 has a higher quality of glass because of its image sharpness and brightness for all its picture-perfect views.
Two types of prisms systems should also be taken into account. The two are the Porro prism system and the Roof prism system. When it comes to the Porro prism system, know that it comes standard with an objective lens, or what is called the “front lens,” to give a different option from the eyepiece itself. You will get great depth with the Porro and a FOV that is much wider than any of the alternatives.
On the other hand, you may be more interested in the Roof prism system. This is where the prisms overlap, so they line up right over the eyepiece. In turn, you will have a vision that goes into streamlined shapes. These kinds of prisms are great for high magnifications and vision that is straight as an arrow.
The last thing you should look for in a spotting scope involves ED Glass. ED glass stands for “extra-low dispersion glass.” This allows for the correction of color and sharp imagery wherever you take your spotting scope to. Ideal for bird watching, nature lovers, and planetary and lunar viewing. With great ED glass, you will not have issues with chromatic aberrations that can ruin your viewing power. There is even HD, or high-definition, glass that can help with faithful coloring and zero aberrations.
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
There are certainly a lot of questions out there when it comes to the spotting scope market. But, we have picked just a few that are the most relevant in these conversations to help you along. This way, you will be soon ready to make one of the best purchases of your entire life.
#1 – How would you define what a spotting scope is?
A spotting scope is essentially a magnification telescope. This tool is perfect for seeing at long distances and seeing even more detail at distances of medium length. A product like this is perfect for reading scores on targets, hunting, and when in nature.
#2 – Why do I even need a spotting scope?
There are many reasons for this, but let us start with magnification power. Most spotting scopes have magnification ranges from 20-80x, which gives you a much better perspective in whatever you do. This is great for nature-watching, observing bodies of water, and seeing birds like ducks, divers, gulls, waterfowls, and much, much more.
Are you a fan of eagles? With a spotting scope, you will be able to see the differences between eagle types. Also, you will be able to check into their nests and see if they have little ones around. The possibilities are truly endless.
You can certainly pinpoint a spot on a bird to give the specific measurement of how big that detail is. The color will be much more vibrant than the human eye, and you will be able to solve this problem all with the help of a coated lens.
#3 – What magnification is typical for most spotting scopes?
The standard magnification that is on most spotting scopes is 30x. This is usually a fixed magnification. The ranges also encompass 15-60x across the scope of each mechanism. This gives real flexibility and options wherever you need your spotting scope most.
#4 – What is one thing that most people miss when picking the right spotting scope for them?
Two words with a hyphen: light-gathering power. This is a major indicator of the lens diameter you certainly have. Remember that this is the number after the “x” magnification numbers. Most scopes should have 80mm, but the larger the better here. However, know you will pay out of your pocket for a bigger objective lens.
#5 – What accessories does my scope need?
Some of the best accessories for a scope include tripods and mounting capabilities. With a tripod, you will be able to have better stabilization, as well as comfort when you are out scoping. Mounting for your scope not only allows for the tripod to work well but also for added additions, like with the help of your phone.
#6 – What is the meaning of close focus?
The last question on the list has to do with close focus. What this involves the minimum distance you can see an object at. Now, of course, we would all like to get close to a moose to see its beauty. But, you could get hurt and even killed. So, with the help of a spotting scope, you can get a close focus that will keep you safe, while viewing creation in its natural habitat.
As we wrap up this write-up on spotting scopes, it is now time for you to choose for great too. You have everything here from products to the buyer’s guide, to questions to get you on track. Then, you can make an important purchase. With all that in mind, you will get to enjoy all scoping has to offer you. Have fun and stay safe wherever you roam.