Spotting Scope Vs Binoculars

Choosing between a spotting scope vs binoculars is a daunting adventure as they both have similar functions. Therefore, making the decision on which device will best suit your needs takes more than what meets the eye.

However, although the two devices function the same, they each excel in specific areas. Therefore, there is a higher chance that you can get one that will perfectly meet your needs for optics. You will, therefore, require to evaluate your needs for optics and only go for one that excels in that field.

In this blog, we’ll tackle specific features that make each device exceptional and also show where they each excel. This will allow you to make the best decision based on what you expect your optics to do. However, before that, it is essential to define each device separately and show unique differences that you will notice at a glance.

A Review on Spotting Scope Vs Binoculars

Spotting Scopes

These are high magnification monocular. They are slightly bigger than binoculars and are convenient for viewing at long distances. Sometimes, their eyepieces are angled while there are others with a straight design. Usually, spotting scopes have higher magnification compared to binoculars, but they are slightly below telescopes. The spotting scopes are mostly helped on a tripod for quality viewing.


On the other hand, binoculars are the most popular optics around the globe. They are designed to be hand-held, and they are used with both eyes. The double lens design makes the device convenient for a variety of adventures hence making it a great addition to your outdoor pack. Binoculars are lightweight and highly portable. They are slightly shorter than spotters, and they have an array of features.

Comparing between the two when it comes to magnification, binoculars are classified in the lower end of the spectrum. In other words, the highest binoculars in magnification are often compared to the low-end spotting scopes. However, that is not a guarantee that spotters are best and will perform better than binoculars.

Now that you have a general difference between the two, it’s time to choose a device that will work for your needs. Here are a few pros and cons of each device on specific outdoor adventures.

What suits you best?

For Hunters

If you are a vivid hunter, then you understand the importance of reliable optics. It guarantees that you can spot your target from a distance before the target spots you. Therefore, it ensures to enhance your hunting skills and give you exceptional results whenever you are outdoor.

However, choosing between spotters and binoculars for hunting depends on your hunting techniques. For instance, if you are a hunter on the move, working with a spotter can be quite challenging. For this technique, binoculars come in handy.

It is super light and allows you to move effectively. With binoculars, you are guaranteed to see animals at any distance range hence making it easy for you to hit your target.

However, if you hunt while seated or standing at one spot, then you will need a spotting scope. With a spotter, you can get a wide range of view without necessarily moving. Additionally, when you put the spotter on a tripod, it also helps in enhancing your shot.

Unlike using binoculars, hunting from a single spot all day with a spotter gives you the ability to see animals from a far distance. Therefore, it makes it easy for you to make appropriate decisions on where to direct your shot.

However, if you choose to use a spotting scope for hunting, it is essential to back yourself with a good rifle. A spotter gives you confidence in shooting even at a distance. Therefore, you should ensure to do thorough training to ensure you don’t miss whenever you push the trigger.

Therefore, either the spotting scope or binoculars will be ideal for hunting. However, you must start by evaluating your options and identify the type of hunting you expect to do.

Terrestrial Photography

If you are a terrestrial enthusiast photographer, then you need to invest in a zoom lens to enhance your performance. However, these lenses are costly and will require proper financial planning. But, you don’t have to wait until you make enough money to invest in zoom lenses to satisfy your terrestrial photography needs.

Binoculars and spotting scopes are inexpensive, and they can both give you better performance on camera.

However, binoculars might not be as convenient for this task. The fact that you will require to use them on both eyes, it becomes difficult for the camera and the binoculars at the same time. It also makes it difficult for you to capture a great shot from a single lens.

On the other hand, spotting scopes make an excellent addition for a terrestrial photographer. The angled design makes it possible for you to place your camera and capture your shots. Additionally, some brands manufacture spotters with conversion kits to keep it ready for camera use.

Therefore, you will easily mount your camera on the scope and start to take your pictures. The fact that the devices use a single lens, you are guaranteed that the quality of your images will not be compromised.

Unlike binoculars, spotters with mounting mechanism are also comfortable and ensure to hold your camera. Therefore, when you are outdoor, you will not be worried about breaking the camera while on the move. It ensures you can take effective shots as well as keep your gadgets secure.

Watching Nature

Watching nature is an activity that most people consider doing while they are off usual duty. The best thing with nature watching is that you can do it from wherever you are most comfortable provided you have suitable magnifying devices.

If this is your best activity, then investing in a convenient device that will allow you to experience exceptional performances. In this case, you need to evaluate your options of where you intend to use the equipment.

For instance, if you consider using the device to watch nature while at the comfort of your porch, a spotting scope makes a great addition. Setting up the tripod is not a hassle, and it can be positioned at any place perfectly.

However, if you love watching nature while enjoying nature, then investing in a good pair of binoculars will do the trick. It ensures that you can effectively magnify your objects for an up-close look for an exclusive viewing.

Additionally, although each device is convenient, your location and type of watch vary when choosing the most appropriate. Therefore, before choosing one over the other, it is essential to put your priorities in order. This will enable you to invest in the right device and experience nature in a better way.

However, you can also buy the two and use them interchangeably. Since nature moves quickly, binoculars will make a great view, while if you are watching things from a steady position, using a spotter will do the magic. It is therefore good to know how to choose binoculars.


When you are out hiking, you need magnifying devices that will not slow you down nor bring in a lot of extra weight. However, at the same time, you need to ensure that the device you use allows you to view objects for what they are regardless of the distance.

For this activity, the most versatile device for you should be binoculars. It allows you to move around flexibly while it hangs around your neck. When you spot something, with binoculars on your shoulder, viewing is quite easy. Therefore, nothing will stop you from getting everything that passes by as you still move.

Additionally, with binoculars, it will not take more time to view even moving objects like animals within your range. This ensures to make your hike memorable (bring binoculars like these!) and will not slow you down from covering a wider area.

However, although using spotting scopes will also enhance your hiking, it might not be as effective while on the move. For better performance on a spotter, you will require to mount it on a tripod. Therefore, when you are hiking, you might not have sufficient time to mount the scope on a particular place.

In other words, scopes will slow you from covering a wider area hence minimize your ability to experience memorable hiking.

However, if in your hiking adventure, you like watching animals or sceneries from a distance, then a spotting scope could be your ideal option. Binoculars only cover a limited range and will not provide you with the perfect view.

With a spotting scope, you are guaranteed of covering a wider area hence making it convenient for distant watching. Additionally, with a scope, you get a more natural view as you will watch with the other eye open for subjective experiences.

Therefore, if you are into covering a wider area, binoculars could be the best deal. However, if you expect to watch things from a distance, then investing in a spotting scope will work for you.

Specific Features for the Two Devices

When it comes to choosing between the two, considering specific features makes it easy for you to make your decision. Since all the devices can work on almost any arena, then your choice could be made based on features. Here is a few features comparison between the two and which out outshines the other.

Image Stability

Image stability should not be optional regardless of what you are using. However, this is subject to change based on the magnification power of your device. Therefore, if you are using a pair of binoculars to view, then you should ensure to put your magnification to approximately 10x. The more you magnify your images, the more you are likely to get shaky images due to hands instability.

With a spotting scope, you can achieve the same stability at 100x magnification while it’s resting on a tripod. Therefore, the stability of images from both devices is dictated by how steady you hold it in a single position.

Objective Lens Size

When buying, considering a device with a bigger objective lens guarantees, you will get better images. However, not all the time that bigger objective lenses provide better images. Therefore, you should also consider the quality and other features for better viewing.

If you are unsure which size to go for, then looking at quality might help you break the tie. The size of the objective lens is both binoculars and spotting is the second number after the “x”. For instance, if your binocular is labeled 20-60x70mm, the lens size is 70 millimeters.

Binoculars have an objective lens ranging from 25mm to 42mm. However, on rare occasions, you can still find those with bigger lenses than 42mm. On the other hand, spotting scopes have objective lenses ranging from 42-100mm.

In other words, typical binoculars have a lesser objective lens compared to aa typical spotter. Therefore, if you are making the decision based on the size, then a spotting scope is your option.


Although the price is not often classified as a feature to consider for both spotting scopes and binoculars, it shouldn’t go unnoticed. Although the two are completely different devices, the difference in their prices is something to consider. If you are working on a budget, investing in binoculars could give you satisfaction. However, it’s still possible to get quality optic without spending exceptionally much.

Final Word

Choosing between the two solidly depends on whether you will be moving or standing. Therefore, when you are making your decision, it is essential to consider your array of usage for better decision making.

Additionally, binoculars are highly portable and super lightweight, making them convenient for easy and flexible movements. While spotting scopes make great additions in situations where you need long-distance viewing or standing on a single spot.

Therefore, you should ensure to evaluate your needs and only go for the device that feels convenient for you. You should also consider magnification of your device of choice to ensure you get quality imaging. It is also essential to consider your field of view among other features while getting your ideal optics. With the above information, it’s easy to base your choice on the device that feels most convenient to your expectations and will not stress your budget.

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