The hunters need a clear image of the target located at a long distance. Usually, standard scopes don’t provide adequate clarity for the hunters to easily detect their target. Therefore, a spotting scope is suitable to obtain crisp, sharp, and color-corrected images. They are chiefly used to observe distant objects or sceneries. The built-in lenses add adequate magnification to the equipment.

These devices are inevitable for hunters facing vision-related problems. They help you to spot birds and wildlife without troubling them. They are smaller than telescopes and found to be more transportation friendly. To eliminate your confusion on how to pick up the best spotting scope under $500, we have highlighted the best ones along with a section on how to choose them.

List of The Best Spotting Scope Under $500

Check out the thorough reviews of the best spotting scope under $500 below.

1. Gosky Updated 20-60×80 Spotting Scopes with Tripod

Gosky Updated 20-60x80 Spotting Scopes with Tripod

In terms of versatility and image clarity, this Gosky spotting scope can be the best spotting scope under $500 on this list. It is perfect for wildlife watching, bird watching, archery, scenery, camping, outdoor sporting, astronomical observation, etc. The dynamic lens focusing system and adjustable magnification (20x to 60x) allows you to easily zoom in.

The included smartphone digiscoping adapter (which works as a power source) allows you to capture photos and videos of what you observed. You can closely explore the distant scenes through the phone screen. The included tabletop metal tripod and tripod mount provide steady observations from any angle. The included accessories are an eyepiece, a carry case, a cleaning cloth, and lens protection covers. They help you to easily carry and maintain this spotting scope.

Key Features

  • The diameter of the objective lens is 80 mm.
  • The focal length is 20 mm, and the focus type is manual.
  • The finderscope type is reflex.
  • The fully multi-coated green film objective lens (80 mm)offers a field of view at 82.9-48 feet/1000 yards.
  • The BAK4 Porro prism optics enhances light transmission. They make your view clear and bright. Also, they deliver crisp images.
  • Nitrogen-filled fog-proof and waterproof design allow the scope to withstand the toughest environments.
  • The rubber armor and durable structure offer a non-slip and shock-proof grip. They also provide robust protection against external elements.
  • The eyepiece shield can be extended to protect the eyepiece.
  • Dimensions and weight: 3.15 x 0.79 x 2.36 inches; 4.4 pounds.

Pros And Cons

  • Can withstand the toughest environments
  • Convenient to carry and maintain
  • Bright and clear view with 955 light transmission
  • High contrast to easily distinguish the target
  • Smooth zoom and focus adjustments
  • Mobile phone adapter looks cheap

2. Emarth 20-60x60AE 45 Degree Angled Spotting Scope

Emarth 20-60x60AE Spotting Scope with Tripod

This Emarth angled spotting scope comes with a 45° angled eyepiece and broad zoom magnification range (adjustable from 20x to 60x). It is perfect for hunting, target shooting, bird and wildlife watching, spotting astronomical objects, hiking, archery, traveling, camping, traveling, etc.

The adjustable sunshade decreases glare. And the included tripod allows you to rotate the eyepiece to a sideways position. Hence, you benefit from adjustable viewing angles. Moreover, the tripod offers steady support to make sure you can see things comfortably.

Key Features

  • The field-of-view of 39-19 m/1000 m brings the outdoor view closer to you.
  • The fully multi-coated lens contains a BAK4 roof prism to boost light transmission and provide clear, bright, high-contrast images even in dim-light conditions.
  • To enjoy long-range viewing, you can use a dual-focus wheel system. It allows quick and smooth focus adjustment. Hence, you can perfectly lock your target and zoom in for more details.
  • It can work well even in the most rugged conditions because its body is waterproof and fog-proof.
  • The optics are wrapped with O-rings to avoid penetration of dust, debris, and moisture into the spotting scope.
  • The durable construction and rubber armor offer a non-slip and shock-proof grip. They also provide robust protection against external elements.
  • Dimensions and weight: 13.39 x 5.91 x 3.15 inches; 3.45 pounds.

Pros And Cons

  • Retractable sunshade decreases glare.
  • Clear, bright, high-contrast images even in low-light conditions.
  • Quickly adjusts focus, no halo effects, or blurring when in focus.
  • Ergonomic design for comfortable viewing.
  • This scope is a fraction of the cost of the other big name brands.
  • It doesn’t come with a “quick” mount, but the screw mount stays tight, just take a bit longer to set up.

3. Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Spotting Scopes

Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Spotting Scopes

Vortex HD spotting scope packs in enough optical power that the contemporary hunter requires. Its sleek design, smooth adjustments, excellent performance even in low light, and durable construction suggests that it can be the best spotting scope under $500 from the brand.

The HD-quality optics offer an outstanding resolution, low chromatic aberration, excellent edge-to-edge color fidelity, and smooth light transmission. You can easily and quickly adjust the focus with the included helical focus wheel. Being tripod adaptable, you can use this Vortex spotting scope on a car window mount or a tripod. With the Arca-Swiss compatibility, you can mount this spotting scope on Arca-Swiss tripod heads, no need to use additional plates.

Key Features

  • The diameter of the objective lens is 65 mm, with 16x to 48x adjustable magnification.
  • There are multiple anti-reflective coatings over all air-to-glass surfaces. They boost light transmission efficiency.The adjustable eyecups can be rotated vertically for comfortable viewing (with or without eyeglasses).
  • The built-in sunshade decreases glare and protects the objective lens from snow and raindrops.
  • The fog-proof and waterproof performance is excellent with the o-ring sealed structure.
  • Armortek coatings defend the lenses against dirt, scratches, and oil.
  • The rubber armor improves grip and durability.
  • You can increase and decrease the magnification by rotating the adjustment ring clockwise and counterclockwise respectively.
  • Dimensions and weight: 16 x 8.25 x 5.5 inches; 2.47 kg.

Pros And Cons

  • Works well even in cold weather
  • Durable construction and ergonomic design
  • Sharp and clear optics
  • Presents detailed images
  • Excellent warranty from Vortex
  • At full power, it’s a little fuzzy around the perimeter of the objective

4. Celestron Ultima 80 Angled Spotting Scope

Celestron Ultima 80 Angled Spotting Scope

If you are looking for an all-around spotting scope then this Celestron 20-60×80 spotting scope is one of the best spotting scopes under $500 for you. It is an ideal choice for long-distance viewing and observing nature. Two of its prime aspects are the quality objective lens and a 45° viewing angle.

Myriad accessories are included in the pack. They are a long tripod mounting plate, a zoom eyepiece with a built-in T-adapter for digiscoping, an eyepiece lens cap, a carrying case, an eyepiece port cover, an eyepiece pouch, a lens cloth, a soft carrying case, an instruction manual.

Key Features

  • The diameter of the objective lens is 80 mm, with 20x to 60x adjustable magnification.
  • All lens surfaces are multi-coated with anti-reflective coatings. These coatings enhance the contrast and color of the images and also maximize brightness. Hence, you enjoy sharp and bright images even in dim light conditions.
  • The built-in big focus dial brings your subject into razor-sharp focus. Moreover, the included zoom eyepiece presents detailed views of far subjects in seconds.
  • The focus type is manual.
  • The finder scope is reflex.
  • Dimensions and weight: 3.5 x 7.5 x 19.3 inches; 3.56 pounds.

Pros And Cons

  • Inexpensive, decent build quality
  • Ability to swap out ocular lens
  • Packed in a durable and portable housing
  • Sleek and waterproof design
  • No sun shade on objective lens
  • Forward weighted (tippy) design

5. Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope

Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope

This Bushnell spotting scope is an extremely portable spotting scope for birding and trophy hunting. It works reliably in all weather conditions. It presents images with excellent clarity and brightness. The fully multi-coated optics efficiently controls the output irrespective of the light conditions. The pack contains a compact tripod with a window mount, a quality waterproof hard-side case, a compact soft-side case, and an instruction manual.

Key Features

  • The diameter of the objective lens is 65 mm, with 20x to 60x adjustable zoom magnification.
  • The mounting type is a tripod mount.
  • The prism type is the Porro prism.
  • Waterproof rubber armor construction.
  • The distance of close focus is 12 feet.
  • The field of view at 12x is 46 meters at 1000 meters.
  • The field of view at 36x is 21 meters at 1000 meters
  • The length of eye relief is 14 mm.
  • The exit pupil is 3.1 mm at 12x and 1.5 mm at 36x.
  • Dimensions and weight: 18.25 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches; 2.28 pounds.

Pros And Cons

  • Excellent optical clarity
  • Great range and solid build
  • Works pretty well for the price
  • The case & tripod are an awesome bonus
  • Warrantied for life
  • There is no eye relief, if you wear glasses, this is a problem

6. ROXANT 12-36×50 Blackbird Spotting Scope

ROXANT 12-36x50 Blackbird Spotting Scope

ROXANT blackbird spotting scope is equipped with HD-quality optics and military-grade features. The optical glass with a BAK4 prism and the fully multi-coated all-glass lens facilitates efficient light transmission and excellent brightness for crystal-clear viewing.

The design shows a non-slip armored assembly and a textured focus ring over the main barrel. Due to the molded grip, this spotting scope is the most useful tool for wildlife viewing, hunting, and watching sports. You can safely mount the ROXANT spotting scope on a tripod. The scope’s handle folds neatly and you can pack it compactly.

Key Features

  • The magnification range is 12x to 36x. This range doesn’t compromise image clarity.
  • The diameter of the objective lens is 50 mm.
  • The extendable scope barrel decrease glare.
  • The 45° angled eyepiece improves viewing comfort. It can smoothly extend and retract.
  • The huge objective lens transmits light for a bright and wide view.
  • ‎ Dimensions and weight: 13.1 x 6.1 x 3.5 inches; 0.95 kg.

Pros And Cons

  • Compact and attractive design
  • Well made and finish feels good in the hand
  • Eye relief is comfortable and more than adequate
  • Easy to operate the zoom and focus rings
  • Tabletop tripod and carry bag included
  • The mount where the tripod screws into the scope appears to be plastic with plastic threads

7. SVBONY SV28 Spotting Scopes with Tripod

SVBONY SV28 Spotting Scopes with Tripod

You can easily focus and adjust magnification in this SV28 spotting scope. You can quickly and easily install it when looking at scenery and birds. For beginners to experienced users, it is one the best spotting scopes for the price.

Being portable and lightweight, you can conveniently carry it outdoors for observation. Moreover, you can easily place it in a car for use during camping. The included desktop tripod is suitable for range spotting. You can easily share photos and videos through the universal phone adapter. Other included accessories are a carrying case, a lens cover, an eyepiece cover, a lens cleaning cloth, and a user manual.

Key Features

  • The diameter of the objective lens is 70 mm.
  • The magnification range is 25x to 75x.
  • The maximum focal length is 1000 mm.
  • The diameter of the eyepiece is 15 mm.
  • The prism type is Porro.
  • The lens coating type is fully multi-coating.
  • The field of view is  64-43 feet/1000 yards.
  • The eye relief’s length is 14-16 mm.
  • The close focusing distance is 8 m.
  • The eye cup design is folded down.
  • The IP65-rated waterproof and fog-proof protects the scope from unexpected environmental changes and other damaging factors.
  • Dimensions and weight: 15.35 x 7.48 x 4.72 inches; 2.01 pounds.

Pros And Cons

  • The most affordable mid range spotting scope
  • The large objective lens provides bright field of view
  • Comfortable viewing experience with or without glasses
  • The retractable sunshade offers excellent protection
  • Tripod has a natural angle for improved comfort
  • Phone mount is terrible, where it needs to mount will not allow change zoom

How To Pick The Best Spotting Scope Under $500?

Incorporating the following aspects in your buying decision will help you easily choose the most suitable spotting scope under $500 for your needs.

1. Field of view

The field of view represents the scene that the hunter can observe when they see through the eyepiece. Most spotting scopes present a clear field of view at least half a mile, however, there are exceptions. Some of the best spotting scopes including the ones discussed above support field of view in a range of 65 feet to 140 feet/ 1000 yards.

The field of view suggests the applications for which you can use the spotting scope. The shots’ accuracy is directly proportional to the width of the field of view. With increased magnification, the field of view will decrease. However, it can offer details of the target that is suitable for long-range viewing. On the other hand, a large field of view is suitable for watching moving targets when bird watching or hunting.

2. Lens and mirror coatings

The simple lens distorts colors and doesn’t achieve the correct focal point. They also show reduced brightness in the output which leads to a blurry, dark image. On the other hand, those best spotting scopes under $500 are installed with special ED lenses, and coatings are applied on the mirrors. Hence, their visual output significantly improves.

In “fully-coated” spotting scopes, each glass-to-air surface is coated once. In “multi-coated” spotting scopes, the coating encompasses the lenses and all other surfaces more than once. In “fully multi-coated” spotting scopes, all the glass-to-air surfaces are coated multiple times.

3. Eye relief

This parameter indicates the distance between your eye and the eye lenses of your spotting scope. The choice of eye relief depends on the purpose of the spotting scope and your individual preferences. A spotting scope with large eye relief decreases the odds of straining your eyes. It protects your eyes against injuries. Moreover, large eye relief allows you to extend it as per your preference.

The value of eye relief determines how comfortable the eyepiece would be and whether you can wear your glasses or not. If you wear glasses, 15 mm is the minimum acceptable value of eye relief. However, it’s better to choose a spotting scope with at least 19-20 mm eye relief because it would not decrease at maximum power.

4. Prisms

The traditional scopes use a series of the lens but spotting scopes use prisms to focus on an image. The spotting scopes are equipped with any one of these two types of prisms: borosilicate (BK-7) and barium crown (BAK4).

BAK4 is a renowned prism in the market since it provides very bright and sharp images. Also, they are affordable and equipped with circular exit holes to make your eyes feel more comfortable. Optical glass equipped with a fully multi-coated all-glass lens and a BAK4 prism provides enough brightness and efficient light transmission for crystal-clear viewing.

The BAK4 prisms are further categorized into Roof and Porro systems. The Roof prism system promises a streamlined vision with large magnification. The Porro prism system provides a comparatively wider perspective and a greater depth.

FAQs When Picking The Spotting Scope Under $500

1. How does a spotting scope work?

A spotting scope contains a prism system and a series of lenses. The lenses magnify the image i.e. they magnify distant objects like wildlife and landscape. The prisms rotate the image, hence, we don’t observe it rotated upside down. The high magnification allows you to view those distant objects outside the range of your naked eyes.

2. What is a foldable light path in spotting scopes?

With the help of lenses and mirrors, the optical path of a spotting scope is made shorter. Consequently, the target appears clear and huge in the mage. Hence, a shorter foldable light path is beneficial to provide a decent-quality image. It is easy to carry a lightweight spotting scope with a short length. Moreover, a spotting scope with a short light path offers decent optical performance on the move.

3. What is the exit pupil in spotting scopes?

Exit pupil refers to the size of the column arriving in the spotting scope. Based on the purpose of your spotting scope, the exit pupil is unique. The bigger exit pupil allows more light to penetrate the spotting scope and thus provides better images free from glares.

4. What are the differences between an angled and straight spotting scope?

In a straight spotting scope, the barrel of the spotting scope and your eye will be nearly at the same level as the eyepiece. Contrastingly, in an angled spotting scope, you can view the objects from above or below because the eyepiece will be located at a definite angle.

Final Thoughts

Including a spotting scope in your arsenal can make outdoor shooting more entertaining and successful. There are various options available for you to choose the best spotting scope under $500 with all essential features. They are the perfect equipment for open-area hunters that settle down in one spot and slay their prey from a long distance. A large magnification range, a bright and clear view in any light conditions, easy focus adjustment, ergonomic design, and a rugged exterior are some of the traits of the best spotting scopes.

Enjoyed this article on the best spotting scope under $500? Then be sure to check out our other guides.