The best way to answer this question depends on why it is being asked. Are you looking for the most long-range spotting scope that you can find? Or do you want top-quality images even at long range? Really the answer to how far you can see with a spotting scope will vary depending on how important the quality of the image is.
There are multiple factors to consider first of all. We will get an overview of these considerations, then look at some specific measurements and magnifications.
What affects the distance a spotting scope can see?
Spotting scopes are available in a wide variety of magnifications. So without specifying a magnification it is difficult to say exactly how far the range of a spotting scope would stretch.
And just as the power of spotting scopes vary, so too does our natural vision. One person will be able to see further or more clearly into the distance than another.
How far you can see with a spotting scope also depends on the quality of the scope itself. With top-notch glass, the spotting scope will maintain its clarity and sharpness over great distances.
This distinction in high-quality glass makes all the difference in being able to enjoy a clear view rather than struggling to see the details and accurate color representation. So to cope with extra long-range distances, it is crucial to upgrade the glass components.
All spotting scopes are aimed at providing an excellent long-range view, but how far they can see depends on atmospheric conditions. The further away into the distance that view extends, the more the image is affected by what is going on in the atmosphere, such as air currents and heat.
Another factor when considering how far you can see with a spotting scope is the terrain. Variables such as elevation and angle of view can affect the actual distance that one might be able to see clearly when looking through a spotting scope.
All these variables above should be taken into consideration when asking how far it is possible to see with a spotting scope. As a general rule, though, we can still get an idea of which magnifications of spotting scope are best suited to various distances.
What is the best spotting scope for less than 100 yards?
For distances less than 100 yards, a spotting scope is probably not the most suitable optical instrument. Optimally, they come into their own at distances in excess of 100 yards. A pair of binoculars might be a better option for this distance.
But if you prefer to look for a scope that can be suitable for use at distances up to 100 yards, then the kind of range to consider are fixed magnifications of 8x, 10x and 12x.
If you are considering a spotting scope with variable power, then this would include magnifications such as 8-20x, 10-25x or 12-30x.
For these powers, you would generally be getting a close focus distance of around 25 feet. This means that 25 feet is the minimum distance that the spotting scope would be able to focus. Any closer than 25 feet, it would not be able to focus clearly.
What is the best spotting scope for 100 yards?
For distances of between 100 yards and 200 yards, spotting scopes with fixed magnification between 10x and 18x are suitable. This increase in power means the spotting scopes will have specifications like 10x, 15x, 16x, 18x.
For zoom eyepieces, the types of power that you would be looking at here might include 10-30x, 15-45x, 18-36x, 20-60x.
From this magnification upwards, tripod use is recommended. And with this greater power, investing more in the quality of the glass used is important.
What is the best spotting scope for 200 yards?
For distances of between 200 yards and 300 yards, spotting scopes with magnification between 20x and 60x are suitable. This would include 20x, 24x, 40x.
For spotting scopes with variable power, magnifications to consider would be something like 20-40x or 20-60x.
What is the best spotting scope for 300 yards?
For distances of between 300 yards and 500 yards, spotting scopes with magnification between 20x and 80x are suitable.
For zoom eyepieces, this means 20-60x or 20-80x, for instance.
At this long-range distance, you are very dependent on having the best optical glass (BAK4) and multi coatings possible to minimize loss of light and maintain sharpness and clarity.
To allow enough light to be gathered, it’s advised to have an objective lens of at least 60 mm, or even 80 mm.
What is the best spotting scope for 500 yards?
For distances of 500 yards up to 1000 yards, spotting scopes with magnification between 20x and 85 are suitable.
At a variable power, this includes 20-60x or or 20-80x.
In this long-distance range, it would be best for the objective lens to be 60 mm or 80 mm. For this distance, consider premium products. Though expensive, these will ensure clarity and resolution is at its optimum.
What is the best spotting scope for 1000 yards?
For distances of 1000 yards, spotting scopes with magnification between 20x and 95 are suitable.
At a variable power, this might include magnifications like 20-60x, 27-60x or or 20-80x.
To get a clear and bright image, the objective lens would be best in excess of 80 mm. Some scopes will feature dual-focus controls that enable you to fine-tune the focus, which will help at this distance.
Top quality glass and coatings are advised. Features to look out for include fully multi coated glass, extra-low dispersion (ED) glass, and BAK-4 glass.
Final thoughts on how far you can see with a spotting scope
As it is now apparent, there are so many variables to take into account, it is very difficult to give one definite answer to the distance that a spotting scope can see.
It depends on the person looking through the scope, the magnification of the scope, the quality of the glass components within it, the landscape around the viewer and even the weather and the time of day when the viewing is taking place.
If you would like to learn more about magnification in spotting scopes, we have a good overview of the area in this article about how to choose a spotting scope.
- 1 What is the best spotting scope for less than 100 yards?
- 2 What is the best spotting scope for 100 yards?
- 3 What is the best spotting scope for 200 yards?
- 4 What is the best spotting scope for 300 yards?
- 5 What is the best spotting scope for 500 yards?
- 6 What is the best spotting scope for 1000 yards?
- 7 Final thoughts on how far you can see with a spotting scope