7 Best Lightweight Spotting Scope for Bird Watching

Looking for the best lightweight spotting scope for bird watching? You have stumbled upon the right place. This article will help you track down the best spotting scope for your bird watching needs and help you find one at the best available price.

A quality spotting scope is a necessity for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy watching birds. The high zoom power in spotting scopes gets you closer to the action better than binoculars would. It also reveals more detail of these flying creatures even when they are a distance away or flying.

Just like binoculars, there are so many models of spotting scopes available in the market. They come in different designs with varying magnification power, objective lens size, weight and other features. So, which are the best lightweight options for birdwatching?

In this post, we set out to provide an answer to this question by taking you through the best-performing models available on the market. But before we have a look at these scopes in details, let’s start by look at the attributes that make a great spotting scope for bird watching.

What Makes a Great Spotting Scope for Bird Watching?

There are a wide range of features that make a great spotting scope for bird watching and the first one is quality optics. A spotting scope made with ED, HD or fluorite glass is the best for birdwatching. It yields sight pictures that are rich in color accuracy, brightness and clarity in any lighting condition.

Furthermore, a great spotting scope for bird watching should have a wide zoom range coupled with a field of view that is large enough to let you cover more area at once.

The other features that the best lightweight spotting scope for bird watching should have include:

  • Large objective lens to take in more light and provide bright and clear image views
  • Rugged construction to endure the rough outdoor handling
  • An eye relief that is accommodating to ensure comfortable glassing
  • Waterproof and fog proof construction for added protection from elements

7 Best Lightweight Spotting Scopes for Bird Watching

1) Nikon Prostaff 5 Spotting 60-A with Zoom

best lightweight spotting scope for bird watching



The Nikon Prostaff 5 Fieldscope is an easy to use and easy to pack spotting scope ideal for a number of outdoor expeditions. It harbors a ton of impressive and quality features that make it hands down the best lightweight spotting scope for bird watching.

Built with a 60mm objective lens, the scope provides a wide field of view and incredible viewing in all lighting conditions. Its lenses are multi-coated to minimize glare and internal reflection that causes light loss. This together with premium prisms prove great image quality with superb brightness.

Furthermore, the eyepiece of this spotting scope is Digiscoping-ready so you can use it to capture the birds you view and share the pictures with your family and friends. Other than that, the scope has an enhanced eye relief for use with eyeglasses and a turn-and-slide eyecup that adds on glassing comfort.

For all-weather reliability, the scope is fully waterproof, dust proof and fog free. Construction-wise, it has a rugged construction to take in any abuse and maximize durability. Also included is a sliding sunshade that is built in the eyepiece to eliminate glare and keep dirt, rain and snow from the objective lens.


  • Multi-coated optics
  • Angled eyepiece design
  • Porro prism optical path
  • Waterproof and nitrogen filled
  • Built-in sunshade
  • 16-48x zoom eyepiece
  • Internal surface texturing


  • Easy to pack and use
  • Quality construction
  • Wide field of view
  • Versatile


  • Not very sharp

2) Celestron – Ultima 80 Angled Spotting Scope

best lightweight spotting scope for bird watching



The Ultima 80 Angled Spotting Scope from Celestron is the best budget spotting for birdwatching. While the scope is available at a low cost, it doesn’t compromise on its quality or durability. It is a great all-round spotting scope that is compact, portable and very easy to use.

The eyepiece design on the scope is angled to add on comfort during lengthy glassing sessions and to be Digiscoping ready. The exterior is armored with a rubber coating for added protection against hard use in the field. Furthermore, the scope’s optical tube is sealed and filled with dry nitrogen gas to be usable in all weather conditions.

Another highlight of this spotting scope is the large focus dial the makes image focusing quick and easy. On top of that, the scope has fully multi-coated lenses which provide high levels of light transmission to generate bright and crisp image views of the birds even when the ambient light conditions are dim.

Above all, the spotting scope comes with a T-mount adapter that you can use to mount your DSLR camera with an optional T-ring.


  • Multi-coated optics
  • T-adapter for Digiscoping
  • Waterproof and fog proof construction
  • Rubber armored exterior
  • 45-degree angled eyepiece
  • 80mm objective lens


  • Lightweight, compact and portable
  • Easy to use
  • Bright and clear optics
  • Budget-friendly


  • Good for close and medium range observations only

3) Vortex Optics Diamondback 20-60x80mm Spotting Scope

Vortex Optics Diamondback



Vortex prides itself in making quality optics and the Diamondback 20-60×80 Angled Spotting Scope is not any different. Born in the bloodline of Vortex most popular Diamondback family, this spotter yields outstanding performance in all conditions.

This heavyweight performer spotting scope is packed in a light and compact body that is not just portable, but also very easy to use. It has a vast 20-60x zoom power for use across different ranges and a close focus distance of 20 feet to help you get much more detail of your subjects at close ranges.

Optically, the spotting scope features a large 60mm objective lens that delivers quality image views at every magnification setting. It also comes with a built-in sunshade to prevent glare, and fully multi-coated lenses that increase the amount of light transmission to provide bright and clear image views.

Above all, this compact spotting scope has a rubber armored body that is O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged to deliver a lifetime of water, dust and fog proof performance.


  • Twist-and-lock collar
  • XR fully multi-coated lenses
  • Waterproof and fog proof
  • Rubber armored body
  • Built-in retractable sunshade
  • Angled eyepiece design
  • 20-60x magnification


  • Large and easy to use focus wheel
  • Sturdy construction
  • Comfortable eye relief
  • Clear and bright images even at the highest zoom power


  • Cheap quality outer case

4) Gosky Updated 20-60×80 Spotting Scope

Gosky Updated


Next on our list of the best lightweight spotting scope for bird watching is the Gosky Updated 20-60×80 Spotting Scope. This budget spotting scope comes with an array of accessories that make it more functional and ready to use out of the box.

The spotter is built with an adjustable 20-60x zoom eyepiece for observing targets of different sizes at different distances. At each zoom power, the scope yields bright and detail-rich image views. This is thanks to the large 80mm aperture that draws in more light in less ideal lighting conditions and the multi-coatings on the aperture that enhance transmission of the light collected.

To reduce stray light and enhance contrast, this spotting scope comes with an adjustable eyecup that also make it eyeglass-friendly. Furthermore, both the magnification and focus knobs are easy to adjust and use for added convenience.

The other essential features included are a multi-functional sunshade that shields the objective lens from rain and snow, and a large field of view that lets you find your targets effortlessly.


  • Waterproof and fog proof construction
  • Multi-coated objective lens
  • Adjustable eyecup
  • Angled eyepiece design
  • 20-60x zoom eyepiece
  • Built-in multi-function sunshade


  • Digiscoping ready
  • Easy to use
  • Inexpensive
  • Tons of accessories included


  • Poor optical clarity towards the outer edges
  • Not durable

5) Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope

Bushnell Trophy Xtreme



The Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope is the ultimate spotting scope for the birding enthusiast who are always on the go. It is not just lightweight, but also ultra-compact and portable so you can carry it with you wherever you go.

The compact form of this spotting scope is attributed to the Porro prism optical design that makes it powerful and durable. Additionally, the scope features a sturdy chassis that is rubber armored to be shockproof and slip-resistant. It is also 100% waterproof and fog proof for use in virtually any weather condition.

Thanks to the multi-coated optics, this spotting scope is ideal for bird watching even in the low light environments. The coatings ensure high levels of light transmission so that the high magnification views maintain brightness and clarity all through. This spotting scope also comes with a compact tripod for steady and comfortable viewing during long glassing sessions.


  • Multi-coated optics
  • 100% waterproof and fog proof
  • Porro prism optical path
  • Variable zoom eyepiece
  • Compact tripod w/window mount
  • Rubber armored construction
  • 50mm objective lens


  • Rugged and reliable construction
  • Great glass quality
  • Compact, lightweight and portable
  • Ease of adjustments


  • Poor eye relief

6) Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A Angled Eyepiece Spotting Scope

Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A



Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A is another budget spotting scope ideal for a wide range of outdoor adventure activities among them bird watching. Getting this angled eyepiece spotting scope will get you closer to nature and make your bird watching moments more enjoyable.

The spotting scope is built to last. It has a rubber armored magnesium chassis that is not just lightweight, but also more rugged compared to the counterparts made from aluminum. Furthermore, it is protected from elements by solid O-rings that lock out dirt, moisture and dust. The optical tube is also charged with nitrogen to prevent internal fog build up.

Another thing that makes this product the best lightweight spotting scope for bird watching is the premium ED glass that significantly reduces chromatic aberrations to provide clear, sharp and color rich sight pictures. In addition, the lenses are coated with multiple layers of anti-reflective compounds to ensure optimal light transmission.

All Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A spotting scopes are also built with coarse and fine focusing wheels for speedy and precision fine tuning adjustments.


  • Rubber armored magnesium body
  • Detachable angled eyepiece
  • Coarse and fine focusing wheels
  • Fully waterproof and fog proof
  • Extra-low dispersion glass
  • Built-in sunshield
  • Multi-layer lens coatings


  • Easy to use even for beginners
  • Bright and clear optics
  • Value for money


  • Poor image quality at highest zoom levels

7) Vortex Razor HD 11-33×50 Angled Spotting Scope

Vortex Razor HD


Last but not least, we have the Vortex Razor HD 11-33×50 Angled Spotting Scope. This compact and ultra-light spotter has a smaller magnification power that spans from 11x to 33x. This and the close focus distance of 6.6feet make it ideal for watching birds at close to long distances.

The entire zoom power of this spotting scope is usable. This is thanks to the 50mm aperture that maximizes light collection in all lighting environments. Besides, the spotting scope utilizes high-density, extra-low dispersion glass and fully multi-coated optics that yield bright and clear image views even in low light settings.

Complementing the quality optics is a rugged framework that withstands whatever abuse you the subject the scope to. Additionally, the scope is built with a non-slip rubber armor that enhances durability and has scratch resistant coatings to provide additional protection in the field. It is also O-ring sealed and argon purged to withstand elements of weather.

The other essential features included are a zoom eyepiece for smooth magnification adjustment and an adjustable eyecup that folds up and down for easy eye relief customization.


  • XR plus anti-reflective lens coatings
  • Zoom eyepiece
  • Smooth focus wheel
  • Waterproof and fog proof
  • Angled eyepiece design
  • Slip resistant rubber armor
  • Extra-low dispersion glass
  • Scratch resistant Armortek coatings


  • Compact and lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Quality construction
  • Generous eye relief


  • Fragile

Read Also

Why a Spotting Scope for Bird Watching?

A spotting scope is a great glassing tool for birdwatching. The higher zoom power spotting scopes provide give you an edge when watching birds at a distant or tracking the birds that are harder to spot with your naked eyes or with a pair of binoculars.

Moreover, spotting scopes tend to be more versatile than binoculars when it comes to bird watching. Besides having a higher magnification power, they have a close focus distance that is slightly better than that of binoculars. As such, you will have a tool that gives you the flexibility to watch the birds in different habitats either at a long distances or up close.

What to Look for in a Spotting Scope for Bird Watching


Magnification is an important feature of every spotting scope. It determines how far you will be able to observe targets during use. For bird watching expeditions, a spotting scope with a variable zoom power between 15x and 60x will be sufficient. With such a vast magnification range, you will be able to watch the birds in different ranges as well as in different habitats.

Objective Lens

An objective lens is the part that draws light inside the spotting scope. The larger its size is, the more light it collects and the brighter the sight pictures appear. However, a large objective lens has a drawback of making the scope big and bulky. To strike a balance between light collection and low weight, look for a product whose objective lens doesn’t exceed 80mm.

Image Quality

For a spotting scope to be good for bird watching, it must yield clear and color rich images in all lighting conditions. To achieve that, it has to have quality glass and solid lens coatings. Look for a product that is made with HD, fluorite, ED or any other high quality glass. The best lightweight spotting scope for bird watching should also have its lenses coated with multiple anti-reflective coatings to ensure excellent light transmission.

Field of View

A large field of view is very important for bird watching. Birds in different habits hardly stay at one point. When watching them, a spotting scope with a wide field of view will offer a panoramic view that gives you the best views of these creatures in all habitats. A large field of view is also important in helping you find the birds easily and tracking them as they fly or hop from one point to the other.


Since most bird watching activities takes place outdoors, the spotting scope will be predisposed to rough use, accidental falls and harsh elements during use. To combat the chances of your scope being damaged in the rough outdoor environments, look for a model that is sturdily built to take in the abuse.

Most spotting scope are covered with a shock-absorbing rubber armor to add on durability and provide a slip resistant grip. The best lightweight spotting scope for bird watching should also be fully waterproof, dustproof and  fog proof to withstand whatever Mother Nature throws at it.

Eye Relief

The other thing to take into account is the amount of eye relief the spotting scope has. The longer the eye relief, the more comfortable the scope will be to use. A generous eye relief also goes an extra mile to alleviate eye fatigue when you are engaged in lengthy glassing sessions.

Final Verdict

Hopefully, this post has given you some insight into the best lightweight spotting scope for bird watching. Spotting scopes vary widely in terms of features, designs and performance and its up to you to pick a model that works best for you. Look at the specs, build quality and features that each product brings to the table, then pick one with the most useful features for your bird watching needs.