Whether you are bird watching, hunting, or wildlife surveilling, a spotter goes a long way. Just because you are on a budget, it doesn’t mean you can’t find a good quality model – you can find the 7 best spotting scope under $500. Thanks to their large magnification range, spotting scopes allow you to track your target with more precision and detail.
Furthermore, spotting scopes integrate larger lens sizes so you can enjoy better image clarity, sharpness, and brightness. So, to help you find the perfect choice; go through the list below of our top 7 picks for the best spotting scope under 500 – to make the most of your viewing or hunting adventures the next time you are in the outdoors.
The Emarth 20-60×60 AE Waterproof Angled spotting scope features an ultra versatile design thanks to its generous magnification and field of view. The scope features a magnification of 20X-60X and a field of view of 39-19m/1000; allowing you to comfortably bird watch, hunt, hike, spot the moon, and enjoy a host of other outdoor pursuits. Its 45-degree angles eyepiece is ergonomically designed to make it comfortable to use for longer.
Furthermore, the scope integrates fully multi-coated lenses with BAK4 roof prism for increased light transmission. This lens design accentuates image clarity, brightness, and sharpness. If you want to use it long range applications, this scope has you covered. Thanks to its dual focus wheel system, you can quickly fine-tune focus adjustment so you can lock on to your target with more precision and accuracy.
- Rubber armor for non-slip and shockproof performance
- Built-in retractable sunshade reduces glare from the sun
- Comes with a tripod for convenient eyepiece rotation to a sideways position for varying viewing angles
- Sealed with O-rings and nitrogen-filled for fogproof and waterproof finish
- The eyepiece is not very comfortable to use
If you are looking for a budget-friendly scope – the Roxant Authentic Blackbird is worth considering. Whilst this spotting scope comes with an affordable price tag, it still boasts unbeatable features. The scope features a military-grade and multi-coated all-glass lens with superior BAK4 prism to enhance its functionality. Using the lens, you will enjoy brighter, clearer, and sharper images, no matter the weather or lighting conditions.
In fact, this same lens design is used for law enforcement applications. Furthermore, the scope comes with a tripod for extra support; this tripod uses a metal mounting screw rather than a plastic one, to ensure your scope is safe and doesn’t accidentally snap off during usage. On the exterior, the scope features a rugged non-slip surface with a smooth glide focus ring for easy adjustment. The rubber surface offers a comfortable grip when using the scope.
- 45 degree angled eyepiece for comfortable and practical viewing
- Smooth gliding focus ring for convenient adjustability
- High grip weatherproof rubber armor enhances the scope’s shockproof performance
- Extendable/retractable eyepiece for use with or without glasses
- The shorter tripod may not be ideal for wildlife use
A powerful zoom range of 15-40X makes the BARSKA Colorado spotter ideal for a wide range of viewing applications. The 15X zoom range allows general viewing whilst the zoom range of up to 40X gives you a more detailed look. To give you an even more precise performance, the spotter integrates a precision focus system. The focus system features an adjustable objective lens, which allows for fine adjustments to the spotter’s focus setting without losing the target position.
A tabletop tripod comes with the spotting scope to guarantee steady viewing. Integrated tripod mount screws offer stable support to the spotter. Their tripod’s quick mount and dismount mechanism allows you to conveniently use the spotter with or without it. To keep your spotting scope and accessories protected at all times, you will receive a soft yet highly protective carry case with each purchase.
- The 50mm objective encourages more light transmission for clear, brighter, and sharper images
- Wide zooming range accommodates a cross section of viewing applications
- The adjustable objective lens allows you to easily make fine-tune adjustments to the focus settings without losing target position
- Easy to mount and dismount mechanism allows you to use the spotter with or without the tripodt
- The target doesn’t work well for low light conditions
A smartphone digiscoping adapter comes with the Gosky spotting scope; allowing you to take photos and videos of what you are observing in the outdoors. To make this process easier, a tripod is included to give the spotter a stable hold. The spotting scope features a 20X to 60X magnification range; as well as a field of view at 82.9-48ft/1000 yards to cater to a wide selection of applications.
To complement these parameters, a high quality BAK4 Porro prism lens is fitted to the scope for increased light transmission, better brightness, and accentuated clarity. In fact, the multi-coated lens on this spotter measures 80mm. This larger-sized lens helps to focus your target in the frame whilst eliminating the unwanted background detail. Plus, nitrogen filled and built with high grip rubber armor, the spotter offers a waterproof and shockproof performance.
- Stretchable eyepiece shield to protect the eye shield
- Large 80mm multi-coated green film lens for a better target focus
- Smartphone digiscoping adapter allows you to take photos and videos during your viewing applications
- Comes with a carry case as well as eyepiece and lens protection
- The lens a little which makes it unsuitable for heavy use
Designed with two fine focus knobs, the CREATIVE XP spotting scope makes fine tune adjustments easy and quick so you can enjoy the finest image quality. Additionally, the scope features a 17-12mm eye relief that allows for comfortable usage. With a magnification range of up to 60X, the spotter allows you to enjoy a wide selection of viewing activities without the need for any chromatic aberrations.
In addition to the incredible zooming and quality view lens, the spotter features a rugged construction to withstand the harshest conditions. IPX7 rated, the spotting scope can withstand complete immersion into water but still remain dry inside. Its anti-fog technology allows the interior optical surfaces to never fog due to rapid temperature changes or humidity. Furthermore, the spotting scope is nitrogen filled and O-ring sealed for extra waterproof and fogproof protection.
- 2 fine focus knobs for smooth and accurate focus
- Allows you to see bullet holes from 300 yards away
- Multi-coated lenses for scratch-free and non-reflective performance
- Anti-fog technology prevents interior optic surfaces from fogging due to rapid temperature changes
- The focus knobs are not very accurate
Featuring an all rounded spotter design, the Celestron Ultima boasts a large 80mm objective lens for a clear and better image resolution. Its 45 degrees viewing angle makes viewing comfortable; whilst accommodating for both long distance surveys, and nature sightseeing. Furthermore, the 80mm scope features a large focus dial – allowing you to razor sharpen your target focus so you don’t miss any details.
An included zoom eyepiece aids in zeroing in for more detailed views during long range applications. An extended tripod mount plate makes viewing even more comfortable and convenient for longer periods. The zoom eyepiece on the other end comes with an integrated T-adapter for easy smartphone digiscoping so you can document your views – via camera and video recorder.
- Integrated zooming eyepiece for long range viewing
- Large 80mm lens for better image resolution and clarity
- Ergonomic and large focus knob for easy adjustability
- Zooming eyepiece with integrated T-adapter for digiscoping so you can digitally document your views
- Not as functional at high magnification range
A rubber armor exterior of the BARSKA Benchmark spotting scope gives it a waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof performance. The waterproof scope comes with a tabletop tripod and ACCU grip handle, which allows for steady viewing even in unfavorable conditions. When not in use, an included soft protective case allows you to safely store the scope and its accessories.
But, these are not the only perks that come with the spotter. Thanks to the bright 88mm objective lens, you will enjoy a brighter and crystal clear viewing experience – with more detailed images. It’s incredibly versatile zooming range of between 25X and 125X offers an even better viewing versatility at close, medium, and long range.
- Tabletop tripod with ACCU grip handle for steady viewing
- Versatile zooming range of between 25X and 125X for short, mid, and long range applications
- Ultra large 88mm lens for increased image clarity and brightness
- Adjustable lens fine tunes image focus without distorting positioning
- Not very efficient at high magnification ranges
Why Do I Need a Spotting Scope?
The best spotting scope comes in handy when you want to observe your target at large distances or when you are nature watching in large open areas. These monocular telescopes are normally built with magnifications of between 20X and 80X so you can have better image clarity and detail. However, due to the relatively high zooming ability, they normally offer a small visual field.
How Far Can I See with the Best Spotting Scope under 500?
Typically, spotting scopes are divided between 5 viewing categories. The lowest offers a range of 100 whilst the highest goes up to 500 yards. With a mid-range model such as those you will find for the best spotting scope under 500, you will get a range of anywhere between 100 and 300 yards.
What Do Numbers on My Spotting Scope Mean?
A spotting scope is market with two sets of numbers. For example, 15-40×50, the first two, i.e. 15-40, represent its magnification – variable zoom of the scope. The second number, i.e. 50, represents the diameter of the lens.
Which Is Better – 80mm or 50mm Objective Lens?
Both lens sizes offer excellent image clarity, sharpness, and brightness. However, an 80mm one does an even better job – allowing you to even focus more on your target and view details with more precision.
Is a Spotting Scope or Binoculars Better?
It depends on your needs. If you want a larger magnification range so you can pick up every detail, a spotting scope is definitely what you need. However, binoculars are more forgiving than spotting scopes when it comes to eye fatigue.
If you’re looking for something a bit more affordable, we have another spotting scope guide that covers products under 200.