If you’ve ever shopped for or bought a spotting scope, you undoubtedly noticed just how expensive they can get. A good spotting scope can cost you over a thousand dollars. It makes you wonder, what is it about spotting scopes that make them so expensive?
Spotting scopes are often expensive because of all the additional features they have. A cheap spotting scope can still deliver a smooth, clear image, however, they may not have extra features like camera adapters, waterproofing, and better lenses.
If you’re still trying to decide if a spotting scope is worth the money for you, we’ve got you covered. Below, we will break down how much you can expect to pay for a high-quality spotting scope, as well as what features make them so expensive. Additionally, we’ll fill you in on what features are a must in case you want to try and save some money with a sturdy budget option.
Spotting scopes can range wildly in price. You’ve got everything from budget spotting scopes in the $40 range, all the way to high-end models that can clock in at over a thousand.
That said, you can get a really good spotting scope within the $400 to $500 dollar range. In that price range, you will get a scope that is highly functional and loaded with features.
At the same time, this isn’t to say that there are no good budget options out there. There are. However, when it comes to cheaper spotting scopes, you’ve really got to know what to look for and what to avoid so you get one that is at the very least, highly functional.
Spotting scopes get really expensive because of all the additional features they have as well as what kinds of materials they are made from.
To answer this question honestly, we really have to say it depends. Why buy a scope loaded with extra features if you’re never going to use them?
If you just want to use a spotting scope in the most basic of ways, it’s probably better to hold off and go with a budget option. If you’re really serious about what you’re using it for, an expensive spotting scope is an investment that will truly pay off.
This is a hard question to answer because the definition of a “good” spotting scope is quite flexible depending on what you need it for. However, there are some minimum standards you should look out for, regardless of how you’ll use your scope.
The following features make for a solid spotting scope:
- Quality glass: Good spotting scopes use some of the best materials for an overall better experience. You will get a brighter and more vivid image if you use a spotting scope that has glass made from fluorite-coated, high-density glass.
- Large objective lens: If you want to be able to see further, a larger objective lens is the way to go. Of course, the opposite is true if you’re looking at something a little closer. 60 to 80mm is preferable for far-off objects, especially in low lighting.
- Decent magnification: Find a spotting scope with a magnification of at least 20-60X for great results.
- Focus knob: It’s easier to focus with a spotting scope that has a focus knob than it is with one where you have to turn part of the body. It may take a little more time and skill, but it will really pay off in the end.
- Comfort: Lastly, you want a spotting scope that is comfortable for you to use. Try out different types with differently angled eyepieces and go with the one that makes the most sense for what you’re doing and feels the most comfortable to you.
While we can’t tell you exactly which spotting scope is best for what you’re doing, we can say that if yours has all of the elements above, it should function swimmingly.
So when it comes right down to it, spotting scopes can be really expensive because of a number of factors. It’s partially due to the materials the spotting scope is made from as well as the features that it has. Therefore, you can get a decent spotting scope on a budget, but you may have to sacrifice some extra features.
The best spotting scope for you, is the one that has the features most suited to what you are doing. That said, if your spotting scope utilizes high-quality glass, has a large objective lens (if you’re looking across a great distance), and has the right level of comfort, then it’s probably a winner. Now the only question left is, which spotting scope are you going to get?