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

SaleBirdInformer 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.
SaleBirdInformer BESTSELLER # 2
IBQ Spotting Scope, 20-60x85MM Spotting scopes for Target Shooting, Spotting scopes for Hunting, BAK4 High Definition Waterproof Spotter Scopes for Bird Watching Hunting Wildlife Scenery, with Tripod
  • 【HD Magnification】Our spotting scopes has 20- 60X,and 85MM high magnification and dynamic lens focusing system, field of view is 1000M, also comes with a tripod, phone adapter, carrying bag.
  • 【BAK4 Roof Prism】We use high-quality BAK4 Paul prism optics to increase light transmission, and the lenses are multi-layer coated. This 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.Great for target shooting, hunting, bird watching wild Animals, moon viewing, travel, hiking, camping, etc.
  • 【Sturdy Tripod and Phone Holder】This soptting 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. Also equipped with a phone holder, the phone holder is compatible and easy to install with any type of smartphone, including but not limited to iPhone, Samsung, Google, etc.
  • 【Daily Life Waterproof】Exquisite leather exterior design can resist dust and water in daily life, while providing non-slip grip, shockproof, very durable. The retractable eyepiece can be used with or without glasses; the retractable visor is built into the main barrel to reduce glare.
  • 【Friendly Service】: Comes with a mobile phone adapter and tripod, carrying bag, eyepiece and lens protective cap, cleaning cloth, product instruction manual. It is very convenient for you to carry and use when going out. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
SaleBirdInformer BESTSELLER # 3
Wozel 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.
SaleBirdInformer BESTSELLER # 4
Celestron – Ultima 80 Angled Spotting Scope – 20-60x Zoom Eyepiece – Multi-Coated Optics for Bird Watching, Wildlife, Scenery and Hunting – Waterproof and Fogproof – Includes Soft Carrying Case
  • ULTIMA ANGLED ZOOM SPOTTING SCOPE: This versatile all-around spotting scope with an 80mm objective lens, 20-60x zoom, and a 45° viewing angle is the ideal choice for any outdoor enthusiast. It's perfect for observing nature and long-distance viewing.
  • INCLUDES ESSENTIALS FOR BETTER VIEWING: The Celestron Ultima 80 comes complete with a soft carrying case, an extended tripod mounting plate, a zoom eyepiece with an integrated T-adapter for digiscoping, an eyepiece pouch, a lens cloth, and more.
  • MULTI-COATED OPTICS: Every lens surface is coated multiple times with anti-reflective coatings to improve color and contrast and maximize brightness. You'll enjoy brighter and sharper images, even when ambient lighting conditions are dim.
  • SHARP ZOOM EYEPIECE FUNCTION: The large focus dial allows you to bring your subject into razor-sharp focus before it moves away. The powerful 20-60x zoom eyepiece helps you zero in for detailed views of distant subjects in seconds.
  • UNBEATABLE WARRANTY & CUSTOMER SUPPORT: Buy with confidence from Celestron, a leading optics brand in California since 1960. Your purchase includes a Celestron Limited Lifetime US Warranty & US-based expert tech support.
BirdInformer BESTSELLER # 5
SVBONY SV28 Spotting Scopes with Tripod,Hunting,25-75x70,Angled,Waterproof,Range Shooting Scope,with Phone Adapter,Compact, for Target Shooting,Birding,Wildlife Viewing
  • 25-75x zoom;SV28 spotting scope is easy to focus and change magnification;easily set up when looking at birds and scenery;A great spotting scope for beginner to novice
  • 70mm large object lens;More powerful light gathering ability;70mm tube allows plenty of light and decent view of the target once set;extendable sunshade built onto the main barrel to reduce glare
  • IP65 waterproof;Can avoid sudden environmental changes to damage the SV28 spotting scope;The finish is made of a seamless Non-Slip material so it doesn't feel like it would slip out of your hands if wet
  • Includes phone adapter and portable desktop tripod;the desktop tripod is perfect for range spotting;Phone adapter makes it easier to share videos and photos
  • Lightweight and portable weight;Very suitable for carrying when going out for observation; can also be easily put into the car for use in family camping

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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