Binoculars vs. Spotting Scope7 min read

With regards to seeing things far away in lush and vivid detail, you have some choices to select from a selection. Two of the most common popular products are spotting scopes and binoculars. A wide array of hobbies needs the use of some magnification to see what you’re searching for in this gadget. Each hobby has its own needs and demands, its requirements and has the wrong equipment can hinder the overall fun and excitement of the activity.

Before knowing the difference between binoculars and spotting scopes, first, ensure that you know what each optic is.


Binoculars vs. Spotting Scope

Binocular is an ideal compromise in the field of magnified optics. They can give a long distance view as well as make the world come alive in clear detail. This is also super lightweight, and the magnification is often limited. Therefore it is easy to utilize in an offhand way or without using a tripod or a bipod.

A binocular is lighter and smaller, making it easy or simple to carry. It is ideal for casual scanning and viewing. What is more, it often comes with a fixed magnification. On the other hand, the variable model is also relatively common.

Binoculars range considerably in quality and price. Rest easy you can find one at most budgets made for most tasks.

Spotting Scopes

Binoculars vs. Spotting Scope

A spotting scope is an absolute beast. It something is far, and you want to see it, then using this equipment is the most reliable way to go. This is immensely a powerful tool with vast amounts of magnification. It is also likely to be bigger and heavier than binoculars.

Since it is a powerful tool, it needs the use of stable platforms like a tripod. Sporting variable magnification 60-power and beyond mean a bit movement or tick looks a lot bigger.

A spotting scope is available in various sizes and levels of magnification. This is made by an extensive array of optics companies. This is an expensive option. However, that is understandable if power is factored in.

  • Tasks

Which one is better? That is a hard choice to make. However, each one has a different use or purpose. Let us look at some daily tasks and discuss the pros and cons.

About hunting, both can be useful. A spotting scope is ideal for scouting ridge, observing environments as well as zooming in on a subject. This tool is better suited for hunters in hills as well as prairies.

A spotting scope allows the user to spot and stalk a subject until he gets at the right range to fire. Users need time to set up as well as take down. So, meaning the spotting scope is only able to use at a decent distance. On the other hand, are ideal for the brush as well as short field hunting. This tool rules the Southeastern portion of the US where their full field of view and low power comes in helpful. In these `   cases, the lower power feature allows the user to scan what is in front of him.  Because of the terrain, users don’t require a wide-open as well as long-range kind of view.

In logging trails, swamp and brush, a binocular make it simple to spot a subject or animals which are naturally camouflaged. In this case, the high power feature of spotting scopes isn’t required. It’s often too strong to use.

  • Shooting

With regards to long range shooting, no other tools can beat a spotting scope. The wide objective lens and the increased magnification helps in stress-free zooming. You can see hits in a target as well. Usually, bullet holes are relatively small. To see them, you want a high-powered optic even at a range of 100 yards only.

What is more, spotting scopes are utilized to explore or survey the area at very long ranges. At five hundred yards, a lot of spotting scopes are not able to show bullet holes in targets. But, they help in distinguishing your target from the neighbor ’s.

What is more, you can look in the scope and make wind calls with correctness. What is more, you can make good range estimations at unfamiliar ranges.

Binoculars, on the other hand, can be utilized for archery and short range shooting. This too is simply too underpowered as well as not stable for the long-range application.

  • Tactical Use

There’s no clear winner when it comes to tactical use. It depends on special situations. A sniper is much better suited to a spotting scope than a binocular. It can see the target and differentiate between civilian, foe and a friend. At the same time, you will never see snipers without binoculars.

A spotting scope is also best to use when scouting an area. Law enforcers on a stakeout are best served with a tripod mounted spotting scope.

A binocular is simple to scan with, user-friendly on the move, and usually ideal for close range observation. This device is most likely to be in the hands of the ordinary grunt on patrol. It is lightweight and compact. These are the best feature of the normal grunt.

Both a binocular and a spotting scope have tactical uses, and it is impossible to say which one stands out. It depends on the range and each case.

  • Birding

The bird watching community is divided about spotting scopes and binoculars. Those that want a spotting scope likes to concentrate on the intrinsic beauty of the bird. Team binocular seems to love the beauty of how bird flies and moves.

A spotting scope is ideal for bird watchers who are interested in small and color as well as intricate details. Both are easier to see with the high level of magnification of spotting scopes. Once you utilize a tripod, you can sit back and see the prettiness of nature.

A binocular makes it simpler to track the actions of a bird. The offhand appeal and lighter nature make it so easy to track a bird in their actions and movements. You can see how these creatures interact with the world.  In general, neither team is right or ring, about bird watching, it just about what you like to be your focus.

Other Factors that Differentiate Binoculars and Spotting Scopes

  1. Image stability

Image stability is a vital feature a lot of clients consider when buying optic. Since a binocular is hand-held, the more you expand the image, the more you expand the movement. Therefore, you better have the steadiest hands once you plan to utilize binocular with 10 by 12 magnification power. Since a binocular is made to be portable, mostly you will find them ranging at 10 by 12.

A spotting scope, however, is tripod help. So, it will give you stable images than a binocular. However, there are users out there who still hold this device in hand. Doing this, you’ll still have wobbly images. A tripod-held binocular and a spotting scope gives the same image stability. So concerning image stability, both are effective.

  1. Weight and Portability

When it comes to weight, it’s not clear which optic weighs more than the other. This is simply because different brands produce products with various weights. But, about portability, a binocular is relatively portable since it can be worn on your neck. Therefore, a binocular stands out about portability.

  1. Magnification Power

As stated above, spotting scopes magnification power is on another level. There are those who go up to sixty times magnification. But, it becomes a huge challenge to utilize this equipment in different weather conditions. It’s essential to know that this device is made to be utilized in the daytime. And even if it can view far away objects nearing and beyond 60x, the condition in the atmosphere can affect the image. Conditions like heat waves, dust particles, and air current can make pictures blurry with a powerful spotting scope.

On the other hand, a binocular has a magnification power which ranges from 1x by 1x. However, there are types of binoculars which can hit 15x by 100x magnification power. These powerful binoculars are tripod mounted. However, even with such excellent magnification power, a usual spotting scope will be more powerful than usual binoculars. Therefore, spotting scopes stand out when it comes to magnification power.

  1. Close Focus

The minimum distance far from your eye and the animal or the subject is what is called close focus. Both binoculars and spotting scopes are made to see objects or animals at a distance. On the other hand, there are diverse uses such as birding or bird-watching which will make a viewer pick either of the two.

However, there are instances when you need to concentrate on an object that is six feet away. So as the stage of accessible magnification goes up, the closest accessible focal point does, too. Given that general-purpose binocular has a lower magnification number that a spotting scope,  it has nearer close focus point that makes it win in this aspect.

  1. Field of view

The number of objects you can see in the optic is what is called the field of view. This feature is essential for viewers who are looking for a device which will help them see more. The power of magnification affects the field of view. Therefore, there is a tendency the field of view is smaller if the lens is powerful.

Pros of Spotting Scopes

  • Zооm Power
  • Hіghеr level of mаgnіfісаtіоn
  • Far distance viewing
  • Helps in knowing the best condition
  • Setup for a long-distance shot
  • Observe wildlife and prey from undetected and safe distances
  • Spot more effectively at the shooting range
  • See bullet holes clearly at far distance
  • Compact, as well as a free-hand spotting scope, doesn’t need setting-up
  • Spotting scopes adapting camera allows for digiscoping as well as telephotography on the fly
  • High-end features get rid of time-consuming set-up

Cons of Spotting Scopes

  • High quality brands are costly
  • You will need to pay more for extra accessories
  • Additional accessories can be mandatory, like a tripod
  • Heavy and stress-free to carry in hunting
  • Tedious and takes time to set up
  • A lot of spotting scopes available need set-up

Pros of Binocular Vision

  • Improved Depth Perception
  • Flexible
  • Allows 3D Vision
  • Visibility Beyond an Obstacle

Cons of Binocular Vision

  • Decreased Visual Field
  • Limited Focus
  • Prone to Disorders

Binoculars vs. Spotting Scopes: Which is the Best?

Spotting scopes and binoculars are useful tools, and one isn’t intrinsically better than the other.  Once you stay in specific hobbies or leisure long enough, you will likely develop a preferred. You will own at least both of these tools at one point. The trick here is to know your needs and know which one meets your needs and requirements.

Having high-quality optics changes your capability to hunt as well as observe wildlife. Both of these tools provide advantages on their own. Preferably, you would carry both. However, that is not always.

There are essential criteria which dictate which one is better than others. Yes, spotting scopes on regular sport more powerful and longer reaching lenses. But, most power does not equate to the most excellent experience.

To get the best one, you need to ask yourself some questions to make an informed decision such as:

  • What is the topography like?
  • What will be the weather condition like?
  • What time of day will you be out there and how long?
  • Are the animals or objects you wish to see well reclusive or camouflaged?

A spotting scope will provide you with a better magnification level and range. However, make sure to bring a stable tripod for an unforgettable experience. A binocular provide portability as well as fast access, therefore, this is the best choice in most cases. You will see the differences in these aspects. However, some vital things are to have super glass as well as the best specification for your condition.