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The Binocular Advisor

The Scopes Advisor

by Michael and Diane Porter

Diane PorterMichael PorterBelow are our personal choices for the best spotting scopes for different categories.

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


$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  -  $699.99

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 6.6 feet. Wide field of view. Works great even with glasses. Our favorite tiny scope.
More details and our review

$899  -  $639!

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.


$732  -  $479.95

Alpen 788 Scope

Alpen 788 Scope
80mm, 20-60 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  -  $899.99

Vortex Viper HD Scope

Vortex Viper HD Scope
80mm, 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

$2000  -  $1599.99

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


$3666.66  -  $3299.99

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 focusing system provides speed and precision in a single knob.

Also comes in a 20-60x zoom.

More details and our review

$4775  -  $4428

Swarovski ATX Scope

Swarovski ATX
95mm, 30-70 power (the big version)

Q What's the scope you personally chose and use?

A Swarovski has re-invented the spotting scope with its completely new ATX design.

The objective lenses are interchangeable. You can switch out a 65mm, 85mm, or 95mm lens, using the same eyepiece module.

Once we looked through the 95mm ATX, we had to buy one for ourselves.

More details and our review

All Scopes

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