If, as a hobby or simply out of curiosity, you like to observe the world around you in detail, perhaps focusing on the vision of birds, animals, or the landscape, the recommended purchase is that of a spotting scope.

The Celestron spotting scope is a versatile tool, which allows us to observe nature, panoramas, concerts, and even matches. However, before purchasing this item, it would be important to understand what the main use that will be of it would be since each model is suitable for a different purpose.

To help you choose, and avoid doing the wrong shopping, we have written a small guide in which we will try to explain the most important features to consider.

SaleRANK NO. 1
Celestron – Ultima 80 Angled Spotting Scope – 20 to 60x80mm Zoom Eyepiece – Multi-Coated Optics for Bird Watching, Wildlife, Scenery and Hunting – Waterproof and Fogproof – Includes Soft Carrying Case
  • ULTIMA ANGLED SPOTTING SCOPE: The outdoor enthusiast’s choice is our great all-around spotting scope with an 80mm objective lens and a 45° viewing angle. Perfect for observing nature and long-distance viewing.
  • INCLUDES ESSENTIALS FOR BETTER VIEWING: Celestron Ultima 80 includes an extended tripod mounting plate, a zoom eyepiece with an integrated T-adapter for digiscoping, a carrying case, an eyepiece lens cap, an eyepiece port cover, a soft carrying case, an eyepiece pouch, a lens cloth, and an instruction manual.
  • MULTI-COATED OPTICS: Every lens surface is coated multiple times with anti-reflective coatings to improve the color and contrast of images and maximize brightness, so you can enjoy brighter and sharper images, even when ambient lighting conditions are dim.
  • SHARP ZOOM EYEPIECE FUNCTION: Our Ultima 80 Spotting Scope features a large focus dial, allowing you to bring your subject into razor-sharp focus before it moves away. The included zoom eyepiece helps you zero in for detailed views of distant subjects in seconds.
  • UNBEATABLE WARRANTY AND CUSTOMER SUPPORT: Buy with confidence from the world’s #1 telescope brand, based in California since 1960. You’ll also receive a two-year warranty and unlimited access to technical support from our team of US-based experts.
RANK NO. 2
Celestron Regal M2 80ED Spotting Scope – Fully Multi-Coated Optics – Hunting Gear – ED Objective Lens for Bird Watching, Hunting and Digiscoping – Dual Focus – 20-60x Zoom Eyepiece
  • QUALITY ED OBJECTIVE LENS: Extra-low dispersion optical glass with special dispersion properties to dramatically reduce chromatic aberration, rendering razor-sharp images with superb color correction. Enjoy true-to-life color with enhanced resolution and contrast.
  • XLT LENS COATINGS: Fully multi-coated with Celestron’s proprietary XLT optical coatings – the same coatings used on observatory-class telescopes. This coating maximizes light transmission through the optical path for brighter images. A great addition to your field gear!
  • PERFECT VIEWING ANGLES: Use your spotting scope with the included 20-60x zoom eyepiece or any 1.25” astronomical eyepiece. Regal M2 ED’s rotating tripod mount allows you to position the eyepiece at the most comfortable viewing angle.
  • INCLUDES ESSENTIALS FOR BETTER VIEWING: The Celestron Regal M2 80ED includes a padded view-through case, an objective cover, eyepiece cover, storage covers for the eyepiece and eyepiece port, a T-mount adapter for attaching your DSLR camera for digiscoping, a cleaning cloth, and an instruction manual.
  • UNBEATABLE WARRANTY AND CUSTOMER SUPPORT: Buy with confidence from a leader in sport optics and telescopes, based in California since 1960. You’ll also receive a Limited Lifetime warranty and unlimited access to technical support from our team of US-based experts.
RANK NO. 3
Celestron 52238 C70 Mini Mak Spotting Scope, 25-75x
  • Includes tabletop tripod w built-in slow motion controls, built-in zoom eyepiece capable of 25-75x magnification and soft carrying case.
  • Brings portability and versatility to a new level
  • Maksutov-Cassegrain optical design with multi-coated optics
  • Recognized for being compact and easy to use
  • Applicable for both terrestrial (land) and astronomical use
RANK NO. 4
Celestron 52332 TrailSeeker 80 - 45 Degree Spotting Scope(Black)
  • Celestron’s proprietary XLT fully multi-coated optics increase light transmission through the optical path to deliver crisp, high contrast images
  • Focus on a subject quickly, then fine tune the image using the dual focus mechanism with course and fine adjustments
  • Get the whole picture using the rotating tripod mount. This mount rotates a full 360° and allows the eyepiece to be set in any viewing position.
  • Get close to the action with a zoom up to 60x magnification or see the widest field of view at 20x
  • Perfect for those who want performance in an easy-to-carry package, the 80 mm objective design lets in plenty of light while keeping the overall size of the scope to a minimum
RANK NO. 5
Celestron LandScout 20-60x80mm Spotting Scope with Table-top Tripod and Smartphone Adapter
  • Zoom spotting scope with magnification from 20-60x
  • 45° viewing angle to observe comfortably for extended periods
  • Included smartphone adapter allows you to capture images and video through the scope instantly
  • Rotating tripod mount allows you to change the orientation of the eyepiece to get the best viewing angle
  • Fully coated optics for increased light transmission and bright, sharp images
SaleRANK NO. 6
Celestron 52322 Landscout 12-36x60 Spotting Scope (Army Green)
  • Fully Coated Optics: Increased light transmission for bright, sharp images
  • Compact, Lightweight: Portable and packable, so you can take it on any excursion out in the field or on the range
  • Rotating tripod mount: Place the orientation of the eyepiece in the best viewing position for application
  • 12-36x Zoom Eyepiece: Adjustable magnification - wide field of view for general viewing or detailed up-close viewing when needed. Rubber grip for easy magnification adjustment
  • Large focus wheel with rubber grip: Easily focus on the subject, even when wearing gloves
SaleRANK NO. 7
Celestron 52310 Hummingbird 9-27X56MM Micro Spotting Scope, Black
  • World’s first micro spotting scope—fits easily in your vest/coat pocket, cargo pants, or shoulder bag
  • 9-27x magnification range
  • Comfortable 45° viewing angle and close focus distance of 10 feet
  • Tripod adaptable for long-duration or long-distance viewing
  • Durable, fully waterproof construction withstands bumps and jolts, wet/humid weather, and other environmental challenges
RANK NO. 8
Celestron – Ultima 100 Angled Spotting Scope – 22 to 66x100mm Zoom Eyepiece – Multi-Coated Optics for Bird Watching, Wildlife, Scenery – Includes Soft Carrying Case & Heavy-Duty Altazimuth Tripod
  • Product 1: ULTIMA ANGLED SPOTTING SCOPE: The outdoor enthusiast’s choice is our great all-around spotting scope with an 100mm objective lens and a 45° viewing angle. Perfect for observing nature and long-distance viewing.
  • Product 1: INCLUDES ESSENTIALS FOR BETTER VIEWING: Includes an extended tripod mounting plate, zoom eyepiece with integrated T-adapter for digiscoping, carrying case, eyepiece lens cap, eyepiece port cover, eyepiece pouch, lens cloth, and instruction manual.
  • Product 1: MULTI-COATED OPTICS: Every lens surface is coated multiple times with anti-reflective coatings to improve color and contrast while maximizing brightness, so you can enjoy brighter and sharper images, even when ambient lighting conditions are dim.
  • Product 1: SHARP ZOOM EYEPIECE FUNCTION: Ultima's large focus dial allows you to bring your subject into razor-sharp focus before it moves away. The included zoom eyepiece helps you zero in for detailed views of distant subjects in seconds.
  • Product 2: Extendable aluminum tripod legs with heavy-duty mount head
RANK NO. 9
Celestron C5 Spotting Scope, 52291,black
  • 5" Schmidt-Cassegrain Optical Design
  • StarBright XLT Coatings
  • 25 mm (50x) Eyepiece
  • 45° Erect Image Diagonal
  • 6x30 Erect Image Finderscope
RANK NO. 10
Celestron 20-60x 60 MM 45 Degree UpClose Spotting Scope, 52223
  • Fully Coated Optics
  • Refractor Optical Design
  • Zooms up to 60x
  • Waterproof
  • Metal Tabletop Tripod

Things to Consider Before Buying Celestron Spotting Scope

Reversal System

The telescope models made by the best brands can be divided into two categories, based on the inversion system they use, that is, the mechanism that allows the eyes to view the straight image, since otherwise, for the structure of the device, would turn upside down.

This operation is allowed by prisms that deal, through the reflection of the image, to obtain also the enlargement of the vision. The traditional models are also called prismatic, while the more modern ones are equipped with roof prisms and typically have a more slender design.

The main difference between the two is that the former is cheaper because, with a less complex structure and, therefore, easier to make. At the same time, the latter are technologically advanced and consequently more expensive.

The sale price of the telescopes with roof prism, beyond the aspect linked to the processing necessary for their realization, guarantees a higher quality of vision as well as remarkable strength and compactness.

Another important aspect is to choose between a model with fixed optics or one with zoom optics. The latter ensures a much wider range of magnifications, starting from the wide-angle (which is equivalent to a 20x) up to the telephoto (60x). The passage between the various zoom levels occurs through the simple rotation of a ring.

Magnification

At the top of the list of aspects to consider before choosing the telescope that suits you is its ability to provide enlargements. Typically the value is indicated by the number on the left of the X sign and expresses how many times the framed object is enlarged.

The number on the right of the X, on the other hand, is expressed in millimeters and is that relating to the diameter, that is, the aperture of the objective.

Thinking that a large magnification factor is automatically a guarantee of product quality is not so obvious, because if on the one hand, it guarantees the observation of very small details, on the other, it penalizes the breadth of the visual field. To carry out prolonged visualizations with a particularly large field of view, therefore, it is better to use a telescope at low magnifications.

The Brightness

Another key element to consider when evaluating a device of this type is brightness, i.e., the ability to provide a high and sharp observation quality regardless of the light conditions.

It goes without saying that the bigger the target, the greater the light it can absorb and, therefore, the goodness of the vision provided. Being a precision instrument, the telescope requires some care in use and as regards cleaning the lens.

A final detail to evaluate is represented by weight, especially if your idea of ​​use is that of prolonged observation during the day, with continuous movements. A model that combines strength and lightness; therefore, it is absolute to be preferred, even if to buy it, it would be necessary to spend something more.

The telescope can also be pointed towards the sky, to begin to savor the pleasure of celestial observation, as well as terrestrial observation. If its power is not enough for you, the time has come to switch to a telescope that, in many cases, can also be used to observe nature.

How to Use the Spotting Scope

The magnification that Is: How Close?

If you have already seen some spotting scopes, you may have also noticed a numerical value accompanied by an “x.” This information tells us how many times the framed subject is enlarged, let’s take a quick example: a 20x value means that our subject will appear twenty times closer, so if we are observing something that is 40 meters away it will seem only 2 meters away, or 40 divided by 20.

This parameter, of course, is to be taken into consideration when choosing a quality telescope because, with a high magnification factor, we also have more details. However, there are negative aspects, such as a reduced field of view, i.e., the portion of the image that the device manages to frame.

A small field of view may be unpleasant when you want to look at a panorama, but it will be suitable, for example, for observing an animal or when we want to follow the players on the field during a football game.

The choice, as mentioned, should be based on the use that we will mainly make of it, or you can opt for models with variable magnifications, which therefore have a sort of zoom.

The Target

To have a clear, clean, and bright image, attention must also be paid to the lens. Also, this component is accompanied by a value, generally (but not always) located on the right of the X.

It must be thought that the greater its diameter, the more light will reach the telescope, with the advantage of a more accurate vision of the subjects located at a distance, even in those situations where there is poor lighting. The negative aspect is the greater size and the increase in the weight of the telescope.

The inversion system As we have seen, the telescopes differ in magnification, size of the objective, and, consequently, weight. Still, the main difference lies in the inversion system, which divides the models into two groups: prism and roof prism.

The inversion system allows us to see the image straight because otherwise, it would be reversed (due to the optical system): the prisms contained in the instrument allow us to view the subject appropriately and also have a wider vision.

The more traditional models are called “prism” or colorful; they are cheaper and easier to use because they are based on a simple system of mirrors placed inside the binoculars structure.

Roof prism luminaires, on the other hand, have a more complex structure and cutting-edge technology, but also a higher cost. Furthermore, it must be said that they are more compact and resistant.

Portability

If you are thinking of purchasing this type of item to carry it around with you, perhaps during an excursion in the mountains, also keep in mind the weight and bulk. Of course, a bigger lens is brighter, but if you need something simpler and faster to manage, aim for a model with small dimensions.

Do you think that the weight can vary from about 100 grams to over 2 kg, a big difference? The smaller ones are also more suitable for long observations because holding them in your hands for a long time will be more comfortable and less tiring.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Invented the Spotting Scope?

To answer this question, unfortunately, it is necessary to dispel the myth that attributes the invention of the telescope to the Italian physicist, astronomer, mathematician, philosopher, and academic Galileo Galilei.

Galileo, in fact, only rebuilt and empirically enhanced the original model of the telescope, which would have been invented by a German-born Dutch eyeglass: Hans Lippershey.

The conditional is a must also in the second case, however, as more in-depth studies have shown that the authorship of the invention is not to be attributed even to Hans Lippershey since the latter would have learned the secrets of building the telescope from a traveler arrived in his shop.

How to Build a Spotting Scope?

Building a telescope is relatively simple, since only a couple of tubes of different diameters are needed, which can be plastic or rigid cardboard, a sheet of plywood from which to obtain the coupling sleeve between the eyepiece tube and the main tube, screws, and rings for assembly, a diaphragm, and lenses for the eyepiece and objective.

Except for the lenses, therefore, which can be purchased easily online or in an optical shop, all the rest of the material can be easily recovered at a very low cost or by recycling.

As for the correct measurements and assembly, however, just rely on one of the numerous technical guides, also in the form of video tutorials, which can be easily found on the net.

How Does a Spotting Scope Work?

The principle of operation of a telescope is based on its optical scheme, that is, on the type and number of lenses that compose it. In a telescope, the scheme is composed of two lens systems: objective and ocular.

The objective is, in turn, composed of one or more converging lenses, which produce the real and inverted image of the observed object; the latter is formed in the posterior focal plane of the lens and is reduced by the convergence effect.

The eyepiece, on the other hand, in turn, composed of a diverging lens depending on the type of telescope, captures the real, shrunken and inverted image produced by the objective, and returns it as a virtual image, enlarged and straightened due to the effect of the divergence.

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