Verdict is in: Best Spotting Scope for Birding under $500

Best Spotting Scope under $500?   Here is our opinion:

    Testing out spotting scopes against each other is quite a challenge!  If you are used to using binoculars most of the time, getting adjusted to using a single eyepiece takes a little practice.  So, we are basing our opinion here on the length of time it took for us to get accustomed to it, and the image quality while do so.

Smaller objectives (like 65mm scopes) are smaller and lighter, but what we found is the sweet spot seems to be 80mm.  Mainly because of how much brighter the image is, but also the magnification range is greater on the larger aperture.  (For example, a 65mm Ultima has a range of 15-45x, where the 80mm Ultima has a range of 20-60x).  

Set up with a tripod, the light weight and easy to use 45 degree 80mm Celestron TrailSeeker ($490 plus tax) has won our opinion here.  It comes in just above the Celestron Ultima 80mm (a close second place).  ($361 plus tax).

                                      TrailSeeker 20-60x80mm Angled Zoom Spotting Scope

What we really liked about the Celestron TrailSeeker 80mm:   

The physical features. The rubber armour, dual speed focus, long eye relief eyepiece and it is light weight (under 3.5 lbs).  It felt good to spot moving targets, easily zoom in and out, and comfortable focusing in and out (as is required frequently when bird watching).  The 45 degree angle offers the most comfortable view for practical reasons.  But if you like a straight through, we see no reason why that wouldn't be just as great.

It is fun to use.  What we mean by that is, you can tell it was designed for birders.  It is a simple tool that provides you with images of birds that you can really use to identify species, see true colours, and even see what tiny little bugs they are snacking on if you try.  Very little chromatic aberration is visible. (It certainly doesn't bother us, the little bit that is there.)  

The price.  With a lifetime warranty included, $490 plus tax for a solid and useful optical tool is a very good value!

When it comes to spotting birds, we believe that the TrailSeeker 80mm will leave you satisfied time after time.  Therefore, we do not hesitate to recommend this model!

See link below for more info:

TrailSeeker 80 - 45 Degree - KW Telescope

2024 May 29th

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