Best Spotting Scope Under 500 – Top 10 in 2020 [Guide & Top Picks]


Finding the right spotting scope for the right price quite hard. All of us don’t have that high of a budget to work with. Spotting scopes are a necessity for hunters and birders. Even digiscopers are leaning towards spotting scopes more and more over binoculars. 

A spotting scope from a reputable brand can set you back for as much as $2000. But today we are not discussing those giants. Today I am going to show you guys some of the best spotting scope under $500. Without further ado let’s jump straight into it. 

Best Spotting Scope Under 500

1. Vortex Diamondback 20-60x80mm Spotting Scope

Magnification 20-60x
Objective Lens 80mm
Eye Relief 20-16.5 mm
Close Focus 22 ft
Linear FOV @1000yds 105-51 ft
Exit Pupil 4-1.3 mm
Length 15.7 inches

Diamondback is a very well-known series of products from Vortex. From the Diamondback banner, they have released riflescopes, spotting scopes, binoculars, etc. All of them are budget-friendly too. 

Diamondback 20-60×80 straight spotting scope starts from $499. The entire scope is built on a single tube design. The tube is made out of high-grade aluminum. On top of the body, there is a rubber armor coating all over it. 

The lenses are XR fully multi-coated. The clarity on this is unmatched. The inside of the scope is also nitrogen purged. The scope lenses are sealed with O-ring sealing. You won’t find any water inside the scope ever.

The lens clarity is just awesome. No matter what you do, this scope won’t fail you at all. Wide field of view for hunters, excellent zoom for birders, and excellent lens clarity for everybody.

The 360 rotatable tripod mount is an excellent feature to have too. As the scope is a straight version, you can digiscope with this too. It will be a bit of hassle but you can do it with the correct mount. Diamondback is definitely one of the best spotting scope under 500 in the market. 

2. Redfield Rampage 20-60x80mm Angled Spotting Scope

Magnification 20-60x
Objective Lens 80mm
Eye Relief 16.5 - 20 mm
Twilight Factor 40 - 69.3
Linear FOV @1000yds 51 - 105 ft
Color Green
Weight 47.1 oz

No, this is not the Redfield family from Resident Evil. Redfield Rampage spotting scope is made out of polycarbonate. It’s a stronger and more durable and regular plastic material. There is a rubber armor coating all over the scope. That increases the durability and scratch-resistance of the scope.

The entire housing is also waterproof. There aren’t any fancy O-ring sealing to make it submergible. But for the price you are paying, I am ready to give that up. 

The inside is nitrogen purged. There won’t be any fogging issue that’s for sure. Even if there is (due to some quality control issue) then you can always ask for a replacement unit.

The scope uses a BaK4 prism and all of the glasses involved in the scope are fully multi-coated. The fully multi-coated lens is scratch proof and quite clear. The clarity on them is far better than non-coated or single-coated lenses.

Redfield generously provides a decent tripod for free inside the box. The tripod is decent, not good, not terrible. Will get the job done but won’t recommend to use it always.

It’s a good spotting scope and an affordable one too. If you don’t drop your scopes quite often then it’s a solid purchase for you. 

3. Gosky 20-60x80 Dual Focusing ED Spotting Scope

Magnification 20-60x
Objective Lens 80mm
Prism Bak-4
Smartphone Adapter Yes
Linear FOV @1000yds 105-52ft
Shock/Waterproof Yes
Best For All-Rounder

Gosky 20-60×80 features ED glasses on their scope. ED stands for extra-low dispersion. ED glasses were made to perform well low-lights. Gosky 20-60×80 also features fully multi-coated lenses.

The huge 80mm objective lens provides a wide field of view. This is an angled scope. It’s good for sightseeing and digiscoping.  Gosky will give you a smartphone adapter for the digiscopers out there. A good smartphone adapter will cost you at least $50. Consider it as a gift from Gosky for purchasing their product.

The eyepiece is not interchangeable. You don’t need to change it either. The variable 20-60x magnification is more than any task you do. As long as you are not zooming in to see Mars you are good to go. The tripod mount is rotatable and you can fixate it at any angle. 

It provides a great value for the money as a spotting scope alone. The dual focus knobs are quite a nice feature to have. Thanks to them you can focus on the smallest of the object. With 60x massive magnification no animals shall escape your sight. 

As the lenses use ED glasses, even at maximum zoom the distortion is almost non-existent. The details are quite clear and vivid. The color accuracy is nearly 100% accurate. If the light is too low, some color might start to fade. But that’s nothing major at all.

For $350 it offers an insane value. I can assure you that this is a best spotting scope under 500. Especially the folks that are planning to hop on the digiscoping train.

4. Visionking 30-90x100SS Large Ocular Spotting Scope

Magnification 30-90x
Objective Lens 100ss
Eye Relief 19.1-18 mm
Close Focus 32.80 ft
Linear FOV @1000m 33.5-15.7m
Exit Pupil 4.8-1.6 mm
Weight 2750G

So far, Visionking Spotting Scope features the largest objective lens on today’s list. A massive 100mm objective lens is no joke. The lenses are coated with RainGuard HD anti-water-repellant coating. The lenses are also fully multi-coated. 

The most impressive part of this scope for me is the massive objective lens. It’s a huge 100mm! With that huge of an objective lens, you can see the whole world through the spotter. 

To complement this huge objective lens Visionking has paired up an excellent 90x magnification eyepiece. The inside of the scope is nitrogen purged. Making it immune to moisture. The scope is also anti-fog. 

The eye relief of this scope is also insane. The eyepiece is not a regular size either. That’s why it’s not interchangeable. Honestly, why would you want to change it, to begin with?

The tripod mount is universal. You can fit this scope on any tripod you desire. The scope also features dual-tone focus. You have a dedicated knob to adjust the focus according to your wish.

It’s an excellent scope for anyone looking for a huge field of view. It will be a great choice for birders, digiscoper, and hunters.

5. Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A Spotting Scope

Magnification 20-60x
Objective Lens 82mm
Close Focus 19.7 ft
Linear FOV @1000m 17.4 - 36.7 m
Prism Bak-4
Length 380 mm
Weight 63.8 oz

Vanguard Endeavor is an angled scope with an HD lens. This spotting scope also features extra-low dispersion HD glasses. Meaning it will give you some of the best-looking pictures you have ever seen through a spotting scope.

ED glass costs quite a bit, that’s why budget scopes tend to pass on them. ED glasses are excellent for color accuracy and clear pictures. Making this an ideal choice for digiscopers.

The scope is 100% water and fog proof. Even if you decide to change the eyepiece in the middle of the rain (for some reason), water won’t get inside the spotter. Moisture won’t go through the scope either as it’s nitrogen purged.

The angled eyepiece is detachable, you can change to any magnification eyepiece you want. The included eyepiece is a variable 20-60x magnification. 60x is more than enough for most of us. If that’s not enough for you, you can go for a 90x one. Don’t worry the lens won’t even show a glimpse of distortion. Just make sure the eyepiece you are getting supports the Endeavor. 

Vanguard also provides a premium lifetime warranty. Some of the best you will get in this price range. If you want to save some money you can dip down to the 15-45x mode. You will save around $70. If you ask me, I will say take the 45x and bank the extra cash.

6. Celestron TrailSeeker 80 - 45 Degree Spotting Scope

Magnification 20-60x
Objective Lens 80mm
Eye Relief 18 - 15mm
Close Focus 24.6 ft
Linear FOV @1000yds 105 – 52 ft
Exit Pupil 4 - 1.3mm
Weight 54.6 oz

Celestron TrailSeeker 80 comes in 6 different versions to choose from. The one in our review is the 80-45 degree angled version. Celestron has been making spotting scopes for decades. They have supplied their astronomy scopes to NASA. When it comes down to Celestron, I can recommend their products without even reviewing it. 

But don’t worry, I have reviewed a fair share of their products in the past. With that experience, I can say that if you are hovering on the $350 budget, the TrailSeeker 80 might be your next go to.

The optics of the scope has a premium coating that Celestron loves to use on their spotters. The lenses are fully multi-coated with XLT lens coating. The prism uses BaK4 glasses. One of the most trusted prisms in the spotting scope industry.

The objective lens is huge 80mm. It’s enough to provide a good amount of field of view. There are options available to include a smartphone mountain the packaging. But that will cost you a tad more. But if you are into digiscoping then I recommend you to go for that package.

Now, choosing the angle of the eyepiece and the version of the scope is entirely up to you. If you are hunting and want an angled piece then go for the one we had. If you love digiscoping you can go for the same version. For sightseeing, you can go with any of them and all of them will satisfy your need.

7. Pentax PF-65ED II Spotting Scope

Magnification 20-60x
Objective Lens 65mm
Viewing Angle Straight
Close Focus 16.4 ft
Prism Type Porro (BAK4)
Fog/Waterproff Yes
Weight 37.0 oz

Pentax PF-65ed ii is another spotting scope with ED glasses. I have already mentioned what ED glass is and why they are good in the upper portion of the review. Make sure to read the whole thing. 

The body of Pentax PF-65 is made out of plastic. The scope has a matte black color coating all over its body. Pentax PF-65 scope doesn’t feature any rubber armor coating for extra protection. 

The Pentax PF-65 has a compact and lightweight design. You can carry this anywhere without feeling any extra burden of any sort. 

One thing that you need to keep in mind is the eyepiece. This scope does not come with any eyepiece. That’s right you have to purchase a 1.25″ eyepiece separately. This makes the scope good and bad. Bad for budget customers, good for customers that want their own freedom. 

If you own an eyepiece already this is an excellent choice. Otherwise, you need to have a separate budget for the eyepiece.

8. BARSKA Blackhawk 25-75x100mm Spotting Scope

Magnification 25-75x
Objective Lens 100 mm
Eye Relief 17.5-16.5 mm
Exit Pupil 4.2-1.4 mm
Linear FOV @100 yds 88-44 ft
Close Focus 32ft
Weight 4.85 lbs

It wouldn’t be the best spotting scope under $500 post if we didn’t feature anything from Barska. Barska is a lot like Vortex, the Robin Hoods for consumers. The difference is they don’t rob anyone. 

Anyway, besides the corny jokes, Barska Blackhawk 25-75×100 is an excellent spotting scope. The optics are multi-coated. The scope uses a BaK4 prism. 

The tripod mount is 360° rotatable. It’s a great feature to have in my opinion. Most of the spotting scope nowadays feature this. 

The build quality is also quite good. It got a rubber shock-absorbing armor protecting it from accidents. The scope is also waterproof. The inside is nitrogen purged to keep away the nasty moisture and fogs. 

The extendable sunshade is also an excellent feature that most manufacturers tend to overlook. The 100m objective lens will give you a field of view for days. If you have no problem with the bulk, then this is an excellent buy. 

9. SVBONY SV46 20-60x80mm Spotting Scope

Magnification 20-60x
Objective Lens 80mm
Eye Relief 19.2-18mm
Eyepiece Diameter 23mm
Linear FOV @1000yds 105-51 ft
Exit Pupil 4-1.3mm
Prism Type Bak-4

Svbony SV46 spotting scope features an HD lens with a dual focus. The scope is also IPX7 waterproof rated.  The HD lens offers the clarity that most budget spotting scopes fail to do. 

The angled eyepiece is a 20-60x magnification with an 80mm objective lens. The scope is priced a bit over the $300 mark. All the lenses in this scope are fully multi-coated. 

The huge 80mm objective lens offers more light to go through. Which results in better image clarity and sharpness. If you are a birder or digiscoper, you will absolutely love this. 

In case you didn’t know this scope is also capable of doing light astronomy. I say light because you can’t see Mars but you can stargaze during the summer that’s for sure. SV46 will come with a conventional multi-purpose tripod for free. 

SV46 has a dual focus controlling knob. You can focus on the exact object you want to. You need to do that manually. The price for this scope is not that much either. I can recommend this as a multi-purpose spotting scope.

10. Hawke Endurance 12-36x50 Compact Spotting Scope

Magnification 12-36x
Objective Lens 50mm
Eye Relief 15mm
Lens Coating Fully Multi-Coated
Linear FOV @1000yds 174 - 90 ft
Close Focus 8.2 ft
Weight 25.2oz

Last but not least, we have the Hawke Endurance spotting scope to close things off. It’s also the cheapest scope on our list. Coming at $280 this scope immediately enters the list of many new buyers.

This is a compact spotting scope. The eyepiece offers a magnification of 12-36x. That eyepiece captures footage through a 50mm objective lens. It’s not the largest objective lens we ever had. But it’s enough to gather a good amount of lights.

The scope is made out of plastic and features a thin layer of color coating on top. Like all the other scopes on the list, this is also a waterproof scope. 

This scope may not feature fancy ED glass but it does feature dual focus mode. With the help of a knob placed right above the mounting bolt, it’s easy to control and quite easy to reach. You can change the focus on the fly without taking your eyes off from the target.

It’s not a long-range spotting scope by any means. For close-range birding/digiscoping/hunting this is a good choice.

Best Spotting Scope Under 500: Conclusion

Honestly, I would have featured a lot more than these. But that wouldn’t make it the best post would it? All of the scopes featured in the list are quite good. Worthy competitors. No matter which one you go for you won’t be wrong to choose that one.

If you still have further questions left, you already know we always welcome a healthy discussion. Make sure to shoot them down the comments. Sadly, we have to part ways here. But I hope to see you again soon.

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