Often when we are out there enjoying some cool spotting experiences, we want to capture them. This makes the digital spotting scope the need of the day.
At a Glance:
While Digital Spotting Scopes are not separate products from the regular spotting scopes, they can be converted into one. For that, it needs to have mounting space for a smartphone.
While Digital Spotting ScoIn this article, we have reviewed the 5 best digital spotting scopes that come with necessary accessories including a smartphone mount, tripod stand, and carrying cases.
Moreover, the reviews have both low and high-priced digital scope options enabling both seasoned professionals and beginners hunting for these products.
5 Best Digital Spotting Scopes
The following are the best digital spotting scopes with their features discussed in detail, pros, and cons:
Athlon Optics Argos HD 20-60×85
There are two things this brand Athlon is known for; ease of use and good optical quality. To achieve that, they have brought such innovation and excellence in design that is evident in our first pick for the best digital spotting scope; Athlon Optics Argos HD 20-60×85 Spotting Scope. This scope has a wide range of use starting from hunting and shooting to light uses like birdwatching and stargazing.
Argon Argos Spotting Scopes improves everything for users including long-distance viewing with improved magnification and wide field of view. For hunting and shooting, you can use this scope up to distances as long as 1000 yards which is incredible. Also, you have got a zooming range between 20x and 60x without the images going blurry.
The ease of use is the next big thing Athlon focuses on. For that, they designed its body to have rubber armor adding to the durability of the scope. The next convenient thing in the design is a rotating ring, allowing you to adjust the scope at an angle of observation of your choice. Moreover, it is made to be waterproof, fog-proof, and thermally stable adding to the sturdy experience.
The brilliance in the design also features Argon Purging technology. This technology is used to purge water out of the tube in case you drop it in accidentally. Thus, it becomes a spotting scope made to withstand the harshest of weather conditions. Also, the nitrogen gas ensures that the moisture stays purged and there is almost nill internal fogging afterward.
Why should you buy Athlon Optics Argos HD 20-60×85 Spotting Scope?
- The Athlon Argos Spotting Scope’s durability is top-notch with high-grade materials.
- The image clarity and brightness achieved with Porro Prism are also next-level.
- You can magnify it up to 1000 yards and still get a clearer image with its HD scope.
- Get tons of free accessories including a carrying case and tripod to mount it on.
- Great field of view
- Can view up to 1000 yards
- Lightweight yet durable
- HD image quality
- Huge magnification capacity
- A bit expensive
BARSKA Benchmark Waterproof Straight
BARSKA Scopes are quite powerful when it comes to their magnification capacity, brighter image quality with a large objective lens, and easy adjustments make for an ideal focus experience. Moreover, they are in a much better price pool as compared to the previous product making our next pick for the list of best digital spotting scopes with BARSKA Benchmark Waterproof Straight Spotting Scope.
The magnification range of this BARSKA Benchmark Spotting Scope is between 25x and 125x. This is because of the large 88mm objective lens with a large dial to adjust the magnification. Moreover, the optics are fully coated to ensure the quality that is promised while housing more light for brighter and clear images. This is an all-purpose spotting scope with many uses including hunting and astronomy.
The magnification of this scope at its lowest 25x can be used for general observations around the terrain. Now, that you have spotted your target, you can zoom up to 125x for a more detailed look and then keep zooming in and out to keep track. Meanwhile, the precision focus keeps assisting the users to maintain a detailed focus on the target.
As for the design, our second-best digital spotting scope has a compact and portable one with a protective rubber coating, allowing maximum protection from adverse weather conditions. You are also provided with the necessary accessories including a tripod stand for an easy viewing experience. Uses its quality carrying case to store and carry the product around.
BARSKA Benchmark Waterproof Straight Spotting Scope is ideal for hunting, shooting, bird watching, and stargazing. It provides a wider field of view of 54ft/18m for 25x zoom and 24ft/8m for the max magnification setting. Moreover, it ensures a more precise and accurate viewing experience when mounted on the quality tripod stand designed for stability and durability.
Why should you buy BARSKA Benchmark Waterproof Straight Spotting Scope?
- The magnification range is between 25x and 125x; it doesn’t get better than this.
- An affordable price range, especially when compared to others on this list.
- Steady and high-precision viewing experience with a quality tripod stand.
- Better FOV which is different for minimum and max magnification ranges.
- Soft and hard cases are available
- A reasonable price
- Wide magnification range
- 88mm objective lens
- Brighter and clearer images
- Feels a bit blurry on 125x
- Not a very sturdy body design
Bushnell Trophy Xtreme
Promising to bring unrealistic magnification range, especially when it would get blurry when maxed out is not something every brand does. To fix the blurry images at their max magnifications, we have brought Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope as an alternative. Being our next best digital spotting scope, Bushnell brings a Porro-prism design and waterproof rubber armor construction.
Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope is another scope with multiple uses. It has been made perfect for hunters and birding; however, not ideal for astronomical purposes with limited zoom. With its premium-quality multiple-coated lenses, you are allowed to magnify up to 60x and have a detailed look at the target. This brand ensures zero blurs even at its highest magnification setting.
Our experience with previous Bushnell Spotting Scopes had us in relief about the image’s brightness and clarity. Fortunately, this Bushnell Xtreme does maintain that quality with its 50mm lens featuring a Porro-prism design so that maximum light can enter and form brighter and clearer images. Whether you are using it at dawn or dusk, the image quality will not fade unless you are dealing with very low light conditions.
We have tested Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope to have a 100% waterproof rubber armor construction bringing sturdiness and durability. Now, it doesn’t feature anything advanced like nitrogen gas for moisture purging or other weather conditions. However, those features are only required in a few special conditions so most users wouldn’t be bothered by them.
Bushnell brings both soft and hard carrying case options with a little variation in the prices. Now, for long-distance viewing, we recommend using its tripod stand that can be used on open terrain and even from a car window. What’s even better is that if something goes wrong, you get a limited lifetime warranty from the brand covering accidental damage and manufacturing defects.
Why should you buy Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope?
- An ideal magnification range between 12x and 36x; ideal for hunters and birding.
- Fog and waterproof construction and a design housed inside a rubber armor.
- A sturdy shock-absorbing armor made to withstand bad weather conditions.
- A durable yet compact design that easily fits within any carrying case.
- No image blur problems
- Fog and waterproof design
- Protective rubber armor housing
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Low magnification for a $250 scope
- Expensive price range
BARSKA 30-90×100 WP Gladiator
BARSKA does bring a few high-priced options as well that brings a 100mm objective lens which ensures the best image quality, 30x to 90x magnification range, and easy user experience that will make your life easier. All of these features are packed inside our 4th best digital spotting scope BARSKA 30-90×100 WP Gladiator Spotting Scope that does support smartphone mounting on its back for better monitoring.
Whether we consider the optics, design, or construction among all BARSKA scopes, the WP Gladiator Spotting is our favorite. For instance, it features the most versatile and powerful magnification range between 30x and 90x. Now, it only promises an optimal experience if you know how to utilize these zooming features for your good.
Being someone who stays in touch with these products, you must be aware of the quality that BAK-4 prism brings. Well, BARSKA cleverly utilizes this prism inside its large 100mm objective lens bringing the top-notch image quality. When a smartphone is mounted, especially the latest ones, you can capture the best of the BARSKA 30-90×100 WP Gladiator Spotting Scope experience for yourself.
BARSKA also solves some of the durability concerns that we have seen in the past. Now it brings a foolproof design with solid construction featuring protective rubber armor. Furthermore, the design is made fog proof, waterproof, and shock-absorbing to bear any demanding condition in the field. Moreover, it is compact and portable for easy usage and transport.
Being someone who is okay with the price range, you wouldn’t have a lot of doubts while buying this BARSKA Gladiator Spotting Scope. Only its 100mm objective lens is enough to ensure brighter and high-clarity images even in low-light conditions to secure a spot on the list. However, we only recommend spending on a scope like this if you have long-range uses for it.
Why should you buy BARSKA 30-90×100 WP Gladiator Spotting Scope?
- Large 100mm objective lens for contrast-rich and brighter images than ever.
- Huge magnification range between 30x and 90x for a versatile experience.
- Multiple uses including hunting, birding, shooting, and stargazing.
- Made to withstand any unwanted weather conditions in the field.
- Sunshade to optimize the experience
- Enables straight viewing
- BAK-4 Prisms for high-quality images
- Large FOV than others on this list
- Tough and rugged housing
- Can’t perform optimally above 500 yards
- Relatively poor optical quality
Vortex Optics Diamondback HD
Our fifth best digital spotting scope Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Spotting Scope is less heard of. Nonetheless, it brings a much better combo of astronomical and terrestrial use with a highly versatile optical design, ergonomics for an easy user experience, and multiple uses with a special one for DSLR cameras. Also, with a simple 90mm objective lens, Vortex has the power to magnify up to 65x zoom.
Vortex Optics Diamondback is compact, portable, and lightweight, allowing better handling of the scope in the field. Moreover, the reputed brings a special feature for DSLR and SLR cameras that comprises of built-in T-adapter threads so that it can adapt easily to these devices. Furthermore, these threads can help in creating a 1250mm lens when used with a DSLR.
The zooming capacity of Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Spotting Scope while maintaining the high image quality is enabled by the powerful yet compact 90mm objective lens. This large objective lens enables you to achieve super clarity even when we are zooming this up to 65x. The idea of clearly watching the birds or natural sceneries without the fear of going blur is amazing.
It has a got a compact design allowing you to fit the scope easily inside the provided carrying case to prevent any inconvenience. You get a handful of cleaning cloths as well to keep your gear tidy for a long-lasting user experience. Even the backpack is made of nylon ensuring that no extra or unnecessary weight is being added to your luggage while making the carrying job easier than ever.
Vortex Optics Diamondback HD is the best spotting scope for birding and astronomy could offer a wide range of uses depending on the type of tripod it is mounted on. The compatible ones are cameras and astronomical tripods, however, if you can get more creative, the product has enough flexibility to adapt according to your needs.
The verdict for this Vortex scope doesn’t differ a lot from the previous products, however, paying a few extra bucks could bring you a spotting scope that brings much more options. That would include more mounting options, a lightweight spotting scope, and more zooming capacity.
Why should you buy Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Spotting Scope?
- Portable design for birding, astronomical, and terrestrial use.
- High-quality nylon backpack with plenty of free necessary accessories.
- The perfect price range, especially for a scope with multiple uses.
- T-adapter threads allowing it to adjust to SLR and DSLR cameras.
- Lightweight and sturdy design
- Brighter images with minimal color fringing
- Offers maximum portability for bird watching
- Easy to carry around on your shoulders
- The adjustable sunshade
- Blurry images at high resolutions
- Poor quality and nasty shoulder straps
Spending more money on a digital scope should only be a priority when you have special spotting needs. To conclude, our highly recommended picks are Bushnell and BARSKA Gladiator Spotting Scopes which have performed consistently both in terms of prices and features.
Nonetheless, these products have multiple uses and even if you are focused on specific use, you could try other options as well. There are separate smartphone mounts available for spotting scopes these days that can convert them for a digital experience.
If we have left any unanswered questions about these products, don’t forget to ask those in the comments. Keep visiting Tactical 1 Equipment for more informative spotting scopes and tactical equipment guides.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use a telescope as a spotting scope?
Yes, in fact, a telescope is a much better spotting scope option when you are only concerned with astronomical uses for a spotting scope. They have a better magnification power, however, buying it for other spotting purposes wouldn’t do any good.
What is the point of digital spotting scopes?
Digital Spotting Scopes are not something separate from regular spotting scopes. However, we consider those spotting scopes digital who provide mounting support for a smartphone for a smarter experience.
What is the optimal magnification range for a spotting scope?
Spotting Scopes have proven to work with maximum effect at a maximum magnification range between 60x and 70x. They do offer magnification beyond that as well, however, most experiences in that realm are blurry and less optimal.