Best Bird Watching Spotting Scope Under $300

August 22, 2020 // 7 minute read

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Man birdwatching with a spotting scope

Prior to taking my birdwatching to the next level, I didn’t even know what a bird spotting scope was. Only after I starting researching how to see birds more clearly, did I come across the need to find a spotting scope, and I set my eye (pun intended) on the best bird watching spotting scope under $300.

Why a spotting scope?

I found it to be a fantastic option over binoculars.

This is mainly due to a scope’s clear magnification capabilities as well as the improved field of vision.

Also…

the right scope has picture taking functionality, allowing you to capture those precious images in a digital format!

Below, I put together a listing of the best bird-watching spotting scope under $300, a list consisting of the best selling scopes on Amazon selling for under $300.

Top 5 Best Selling Bird Watching Spotting Scope Under $300

BirdInformer BESTSELLER # 1
Gosky Updated 20-60x80 Spotting Scopes with Tripod, Carrying Bag and Quick Phone Holder - BAK4 High Definition Waterproof Spotter Scope for Bird Watching Wildlife Scenery1
  • Variable 20x to 60x magnification and dynamic lens focusing system - makes it easy to zoom in. Perfect for archery, bird watching, wildlife watching, hiking, camping, scenery, outdoor sporting, astronomical observation etc.
  • Fully multi-coated 80mm green film objective lens provides a field of view at 82.9-48ft/1000yards. The quality BAK4 Porro prism optics increases light transmission and make your view brighter, clearer and delivers crisp images
  • Nitrogen filled waterproof and fog-proof design enables the scope to withstand the toughest environments. Durable Framework and Rubber Armor provide non-slip grip, shock-proof grip and durable external lasting protection. The eyepiece shield can be stretched out to protect the eyepiece
  • A smartphone digiscoping adapter included enables you to take photos and videos of what you have observed. Bring the nature closer to you and you can explore the distant world easily through the phone screen. A tripod provides you a more stable observation from any angles. A carry case, eyepiece and lens protection covers, cleaning cloth make you more convenient to carry and maintain
  • Includes tabletop full metal tripod and tripod mount for steady observations. The carry case, eyepiece and lens protection covers, cleaning cloth make you more convenient to carry and maintain.
BirdInformer BESTSELLER # 2
USCAMEL Spotting Scopes for Bird Watching, 20-60X80 Zoom, FMC Lens, Perfectly for Observing Birds, Animals and Hunting - with Phone and Camera Adapter (Black)
  • 🌼【Powerful Magnification】The spotting scope is variable 20x to 60x magnification.
  • 🌴【Fully Multi-coated Lens】 Fully multi-coated 80mm big objective lens provides a field of view at 105-52ft/1000yard. The quality BAK4 prism optics increases light transmission and make your view brighter, clearer.
  • 🐦【Durable Framework】Waterproof and fogproof and shock-absorbing armor.
  • 🐰【Steady Viewing】The spotting scope included tabletop tripod ensure steady viewing in any situation. Also comes with hard and soft carrying cases.
  • 🌿【Dual Focus System】Fast focusing wheel helps you lock the target quickly, fine focusing wheel zooms in on the target and gets more detail.
SaleBirdInformer BESTSELLER # 3
Omano Bird Watching Spotting Scope with Tripod for Adults by Smithsonian – 20-60x60 Spotting Scope for Bird Watching, Hiking, Travel – Spotting Scope Phone Adapter and Bird-Watching Guide Included.
  • While many birding spotting scopes are difficult to align properly, our Smithsonian Great Outdoors Spotting Scope Set features Omano 20-60x60mm Spotter Scope, which give you a crystal clear view with no strain. Together, this 20x,40x, and 60x magnification and 60mm lens diameter achieve a clear visual.
  • Unlike other spotting scopes 20-60x60 that never achieve sharp focus, our set allows you to easily focus the birding spotting scope lens to your vision. With a 2.1-1 degree field of view, these high powered spotting scope for adults let you view a 131-68ft span of space, 1,000 yards away. Our porro prism set features a multi-coated lens which produces a bright, defined image.
  • Waterproof, fog-proof and lightweight – Weighing only 900 grams, our lightweight long distance spotting scope is a breeze to bring along on hikes and easy to hold during bird-watching. This straight spotting scope waterproof is nitrogen-filled and o-ring sealed, with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces. This set also includes a spotting scope case, detachable shoulder strap, rainguard and objective lens covers.
  • Smithsonian bird-watching guide included. We’ve partnered with Smithsonian to create this state-of-the-art spotting scope bird watching set, filled with facts about common U.S. species and tips for birding and tracking migration patterns. Our compact spotting scope for adults make ideal bird watching gifts for husband, birthday gift for mom, fathers day gift for dad, or from grandpa and grandma.
  • At Omano, we’re committed to engineering the highest quality, most durable long range spotting scopes for our customers – at an affordable price. We’re proud to partner with Smithsonian to bring you this premium birding spotting scope for adults set, equipped with everything you need for the ultimate bird-watching experience. If you aren’t satisfied with your hiking spotting scope set, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We pride ourselves on our excellent customer service.
BirdInformer BESTSELLER # 4
Emarth 20-60x60AE 45 Degree Angled Spotting Scope with Tripod, Phone Adapter, Carry Bag, Scope for Target Shooting Bird Watching Hunting Wildlife
  • ✅【High Magnification】This spotting scope features a powerful zoom magnification range that adjustable 20x to 60x magnification,45 degree angled eyepiece ergonomic design allows more comfortable viewing. Field-of-view is 39-19m/1000m, brings nature closer to you than ever. Perfect for target shooting, hunting, bird watching wildlife, spotting moon, traveling, hiking, camping, archery, astronomy etc
  • ✅【Fully Multi-coated Lens】The lens are all fully multi-coated and features BAK4 roof prism to increases light transmission and delivers bright, clear, high-contrast images even in low-light conditions. For long range viewing, a dual focus wheel system enables fast and fine-tuning focus adjustment,allows you to lock onto your target and zoom in for more detail clearly
  • ✅【Durable Construction】High-quality rubber armor provides non-slip grip, shock-proof grip and durable external protection. Built-in retractable sunshade reduces glare, come with tripod allows rotation of the eyepiece to a sideways position, providing adjustable viewing angles
  • ✅【Waterproof Fogproof 】The waterproof spotting scope provides exceptional performance in the most rugged conditions. the spotter scope optics are sealed with O-rings to prevent moisture, dust, and debris from getting inside the spotting scope, fogproof barrel is filled with nitrogen gas to inhibit internal fogging, completely protection for all weather conditions
  • ✅【Emarth VIP Customer Service】 - Emarth offers lifetime VIP customer service for our customers, you are welcome to contact us if any problem with our optics products, our special line service will work hard to put a smile back on your face

Though binoculars are a fine tool for bird watching, a number of serious bird watchers prefer to invest in spotting scopes, finding that the range and precise focus of a scope is more ideal for spotting birds than a standard pair of binoculars.

Best Bird Watching Scopes

The best bird watching spotting scope under $300 comes in a variety of styles and prices. Some scopes are smaller and weigh less making them ideal for hiking, while others are heavy-duty and better for a stationary day of bird watching. These factors are important to consider when choosing your spotting scope

The wide variety of scopes available make finding the right fit easy enough, regardless of your preference. The real challenge when choosing the perfect scope, however, is finding a scope that has all of the features you desire while staying within your price range.

Scopes are generally more expensive than binoculars, even the scopes on the less expensive end of the scale, but there are options that won’t break the bank. If the price is not a concern for you, then you may take your pick from the wide variety of top-rated spotting scopes on the market, but if you are looking to invest in a quality scope for a reasonable price then consider the best bird watching spotting scope under $300 listed above.

Before we dive into which bird watching spotting scopes are best on a budget, let’s break down some of the key differences between binoculars and scopes along with the differences between different styles of scopes on the market.

Differences between scopes and binoculars

Two of the key reasons a bird watcher may choose to invest in a spotting scope over binoculars are distance and field of vision (FOV). If you want to compare pricing, check out our post featuring the best binoculars for birdwatching under $100 here.

Longer distances

Spotting scopes can magnify at a much longer distance, bringing images at extreme distances into crystal clear focus. This capability broadens the potential for spotting and identifying birds at greater distances.

Field of view

Another difference between scopes and binoculars is the field of view (FOV). Scopes have a more precise field of view makes narrowing in one specific target much easier, eliminating the distractions of the surrounding objects that would otherwise have been inside the field of view through binoculars.

Primary Features Found In Spotting Scopes

Now that we have addressed the primary differences between spotting scopes and binoculars, let’s address the features that define different brands and styles of spotting scopes. All spotting scopes are made with the same general features, a strong housing with an adjustable lens for magnifying the desired image. Within this standard framework, there are key differences to note.

Fixed Lens or Zoom

When shopping for your scope be sure to decide ahead of time whether you want your scope to zoom or remain fixed. In most cases, bird watchers prefer a scope that can zoom. This allows the watcher to locate the bird from a wider field of view, then zoom in for a closer look.

Close Focusing

Some scopes have the ability to close focus on an item, enhancing the clarity and overall image. This feature is often sought after by us bird watchers because we are after the details. While close focusing is not necessary, the peace of mind that comes from knowing you won’t miss any of the action makes close focusing worth considering.

Tripods

Due to the intense magnification of scopes, the slightest tremor of a hand can dizzy the image which is why having a tripod is highly recommended for stability when searching for birds with a scope. Tripods come in a number of sizes, and deciding which tripod is best for you is important to consider as you are deciding on a scope.

When searching for the right tripod, consider the type of bird watcher you are, are you more active or stationary? For bird watchers who prefer to sit in one spot, a short sturdy tripod will do fine. For bird watchers who are always on their feet and prefer to chase down their target from a standing position, a long lightweight tripod will be much more ideal.

Stationary vs. Active

Recognizing the type of bird watcher you are is essential when choosing a scope because hiking all day with a heavy scope on your back can make or break the experience. Some scopes are large and heavy, making them difficult to carry for long distances and more ideal for a day spent in one spot scanning for birds. A lighter scope is more ideal for bird watchers who enjoy walking through the wilderness and spying birds on the move.

How To Choose A Spotting Scope

The below video contains good advice on what to look for in choosing a spotting scope and is a good resource for you to consider when buying the best bird watching spotting scope under $300.

Bird Watching Spotting Scope FAQs

Will these scopes fit any tripod?

Generally, yes. Most tripods have a universal mount that matches the mount on most scopes. Always good to double-check before purchasing to make sure that the thread on your tripod will align with your scopes mount.

How do I connect my camera to a birdwatching spotting scope?

Some scopes will come with an adapter but most require you to purchase one separately. Research the different kinds of adapters and make sure you pick one that matches your scope and your camera.

Can I find the best bird watching spotting scope under $300?

Yes, above we list 5 options on Amazon for good quality spotting scopes under $300.

How should I store my scope?

Most scope providers will also provide lenses and coverings for unique scopes. It is always best practice to keep your scope in its case with the lense one whenever it is not in use to protect it from dust and scratching.

What is the best level of zoom for bird watching?

There are a number of zooms that work well for bird watching but 20-40X and 20-60X are consistently effective for quality bird watching.

Which birding scope is better, angled or straight?

This is a matter of preference, but the general answer is that an angled scope will be more comfortable for extended use. The benefit to an angled scope is that you don’t have to crane your neck when looking through the scope.

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