Best Bird Watching Spotting Scope Under $300

August 22, 2020 // 7 minutes read // 1 Shares

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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,Green
  • 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.This phone adapter is compatible with phones having a width of 2.13"" to 3.54"" (54-90 mm). Thickness does not exceed 14mm
BirdInformer BESTSELLER # 2
Nexiview 25-75x80 HD Spotting Scope with 64in Tripod and Upgraded Phone Adapter, Clear Image with BAK4 Prism Spotting Scopes for Target Shooting, Bird Watching, Hunting, Wildlife Viewing, Photography
  • 【𝘼𝙙𝙟𝙪𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙗𝙡𝙚 𝟮𝟱-𝟳𝟱𝙭 𝙃𝙞𝙜𝙝 𝙈𝙖𝙜𝙣𝙞𝙛𝙞𝙘𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣: 𝘿𝙚𝙩𝙖𝙞𝙡𝙨 𝙖𝙩 𝙔𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙁𝙞𝙣𝙜𝙚𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙥𝙨】Our spotting scope features adjustable and powerful 25-75x zoom magnification, making it easier to focus on your target and capture more details. Unlike the Spotting Scope with 20-60x zoom, it has a higher quality of performance, seeing further and clearer! It is the perfect spotting scope for target shooting, bird watching, hunting, wildlife viewing and photography.
  • 【𝟴𝟬𝙢𝙢 𝙀𝙭𝙩𝙧𝙖 𝙇𝙖𝙧𝙜𝙚 𝙊𝙗𝙟𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝙇𝙚𝙣𝙨: 𝙒𝙞𝙙𝙚𝙧 𝙑𝙞𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣, 𝘾𝙡𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙧 𝙄𝙢𝙖𝙜𝙚】Unlike 60 and 70 mm objective lens spotting scopes, our Nexiview spotting scope captures more light, even at a distance, with the help of the 80 mm objective lens, making it possible to get a wider and clearer field of view.
  • 【𝘽𝘼𝙆𝟰 𝙋𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙢:𝟵𝟵.𝟵% 𝙇𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙏𝙧𝙖𝙣𝙨𝙢𝙞𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣,𝘽𝙚𝙩𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙏𝙖𝙧𝙜𝙚𝙩 𝙎𝙝𝙤𝙤𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜】Our spotting scope is equipped with BAK4 prisms. BAK4 prisms offer high light transmission efficiency and less internal scattering, providing clear, bright, high-contrast images even at the edges of the field of view. Compared to BK7 prisms, BAK4 prisms are more expensive to manufacture and offer better image quality.
  • 【𝙐𝙥𝙜𝙧𝙖𝙙𝙚𝙙 𝙏𝙧𝙞𝙥𝙤𝙙 & 𝙋𝙝𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝘼𝙙𝙖𝙥𝙩𝙚𝙧: 𝘽𝙞𝙧𝙙𝙬𝙖𝙩𝙘𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙈𝙖𝙙𝙚 𝙀𝙖𝙨𝙮】Upgrade tripod and phone adapter included in our accessories. The phone adapter works with any model of mobile phone, allowing you to record your observations in real-time. Not only that, but we've also included a 360° rotating tripod that extends up to 64 inches, providing greater stability when using a spotting scope. You can choose to observe birds from different heights.
  • 【𝙁𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙙𝙡𝙮 𝙎𝙚𝙧𝙫𝙞𝙘𝙚: 𝙉𝙤 𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙨 𝘼𝙛𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙎𝙖𝙡𝙚】We will Provide 12 Months of Free Warranty, and Lifetime Professional Customer Service. Any questions, Feel Free to Contact our Customer Service Staff.
SaleBirdInformer BESTSELLER # 3
25-75X80 Spotting Scopes for Target Shooting - HD Spotter Scope with Tripod Carrying Bag & Smartphone Holder - BAK4 Waterproof Spotting Scope for Bird Watching Hunting Wildlife Viewing
  • 【Variable 25x to 75x Powerful Magnification】: Our spotting scopes has adjustable powerful 25-75x zoom magnification allows you to lock onto your target and zoom in for more detail. It’s the best choice spotting scopes for hunting, bird watching, wildlife watching, hiking, archery, scenery, outdoor sporting, astronomical observation etc.
  • 【80mm Large Object Lens】: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 makes your field of view brighter and clearer, even at a distance, you can quickly adjust the focus, then quickly lock on to the target and zoom in.
  • 【Sturdy Tripod and Portable】:This spotting scope is equipped with a solid tripod stand, which can be rotated 360 degrees for you, so that you can freely choose the scenery you want to see. Very suitable for carrying when going out for observation target shooting. The spotter scope can also be easily put into the car for use in family camping.
  • 【Waterproof, Fog-proof & Weatherproof Design】:Exquisite leather exterior design can resist dust and water in daily life, while providing non-slip grip, shockproof.O-ring seals prevent moisture, dust and debris from penetrating the scope for reliable performance in all environments. And the retractable visor is built into the main barrel to reduce glare.
  • 【Fully Accessories & Lifetime Customer Service】:Includes phone adapter and portable desktop tripod for steady observations.The carry case, eyepiece and lens protection covers, cleaning cloth make you more convenient to carry and maintain.Lifetime customer service allow you to use your products with no doubts.
BirdInformer BESTSELLER # 4
HUICOCY Spotting Scopes, 39-19m/1000m Spotting Scopes with Tripod, FMC Lens, BAK4 45 Degree Angled Eyepiece, Fogproof Scope with Phone Adapter, Carry Bag, Bird Watching Wildlife Scenery (20-60x60mm)
  • POWERFUL 20X-60X MAGNIFICATION - Our high-definition spotting scope provides an exceptional experience for any outdoor activity. The wide range (20X-60X) of magnification brings ease to your favorite hobbies. The 45-degree angled eyepiece adds the luxury of comfort to your experience for target shooting, hunting, bird watching, astronomy, etc
  • WIDE VIEW RANGE WITH FOGPROOF DESIGN – Our multicoated 60mm green film objective lens not only ensures a bright and crisp image but also provides a wide field of view (131-66ft/1000yards).
  • BAK4 HIGH TRANSMISSION PRIMS – Our spotting scopes are manufactured with the BAK4 prism which has a smoother texture and higher refractive index than the BAK7, creating a brighter crisper image.
  • ACCESSORIES INCLUDED - 12” Tripod, cell phone adapter, cleansing cloth, carrying/storage bag, eyepiece and objective lens protective cover. The spotting scope's screw base is a standard ¼-20 tapped hole which is the universal size of most floor length tripods. The cell phone adapter is expandable to fit most phone models.
  • ANTI-SKID RUBBER ARMORED STRUCTURE – The high-quality rubber armor structure provides an effective non-slip grip. The main barrel has a large “smooth glide” texture focusing ring in addition to the non-slip comfort molded grip; retractable eyepieces can be used with or without glasses; retractable sun visor built into the main lens barrel to reduce glare.

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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