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The Binocular Advisor

The Scopes Advisor

by Michael and Diane Porter

Diane PorterMichael PorterHere are our choices for the best spotting scopes for their individual categories.

Feel free to give us a call at 800-779-7256. You can also order online at the Birdwatching Dot Com Store.

SMALL, LIGHTWEIGHT TRAVEL SCOPES

$276  -  $175

Alpen 728 Scope

Alpen 728 Scope
60mm, 15-45 power

Q What's a very inexpensive small scope?

A The Alpen 728 is a lightweight scope that almost anyone can afford. It's a great starter scope. What a wonderful gift to nourish the interest of a kid who is serious about birding. Includes tabletop tripod.

$999  -  $699

Vortex Razor HD  Scope

Vortex Razor HD Scope
50mm, 11-33 power

Q What's the best small scope for travel?

A The 50mm Vortex Razor HD is a 25-ounce marvel. Superb optics. Focuses down to 7.9 feet. Wide field of view. Works great even with glasses. Our favorite tiny scope.

$829  -  $788.45

Nikon Fieldscope  Scope

Nikon ED Fieldscope
50mm, 13-30 power

Q What's a the very smallest high-quality spotting scope ?

A The 50mm Nikon ED Fieldscope. Only 20.1 ounces. You could backpack with it. It's almost pocketable. In fact, it would slip into a cargo pocket. Excellent optics.

MODERATELY-PRICED, BEST-BUY SCOPES

$732  -  $407

Alpen 788 Scope

Alpen 788 Scope
60mm, 15-45 power

Q What's the best buy under $500?

A The Alpen 788! We tested it against other mid-priced scopes in 2009 for a Bird Watcher's Digest review, and we still haven't found anything that beats it for anywhere near its price.
More details and our review

$1099  -  $759

Vortex Viper HD Scope

Vortex Viper HD Scope
85mm, 20-60 power

Q What's the best buy under $1000?

A This nice scope has an unusual feature — an attachment point for a red-dot sight! Makes such a difference for getting on your bird fast.
More details and our review

$2000  -  $1599

Vortex Razor HD Scope

Vortex Razor HD
85mm, 20-60 power

Q What's the best buy under $2000?

A This excellent scope is close to the quality of the Leica, Zeiss, and Swarovski scopes, but at less than half the cost.
More details and our review

FULL-SIZED SCOPES OF HIGHEST OPTICAL QUALITY

$4395  -  $3899

Leica Televid APO Scope

Leica Televid APO
82mm, 25-50 power

Q I'm looking for a spotting scope that is extremely bright and has great resolution.

A The Leica Televid APO is famous for brightness and clarity. We also love the focus knobs, which are recessed into the body of the scope, where they are easily accessible but receive maximum protection.
More details and our review

$3499.99  -  $3149.99

Zeiss DiaScope FL

Zeiss DiaScope FL
85mm, 20-75 power

Q What's the spotting scope with the highest magnification?

A The Zeiss DiaScope FL. Its amazing 20-75x zoom eyepiece gives an image that remains supremely sharp even at highest magnification. An innovative focus knob provides speed and precision in a single knob. Also comes in a 20-60x zoom.
More details and our review

$4531  -  $4078

Swarovski ATX Scope

Swarovski ATX
95mm, 30-70 power

Q What's the most innovative full-sized scope?

A Swarovski has re-invented the spotting scope. In the completely new ATX design, the objective lenses are interchangeable. You can switch out a 65mm, 85mm, or 95mm lens. It may be the greatest scope system ever made.
More details and our review

All Scopes

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