Can You Use a Telescope as a Spotting Scope

Can You Use a Telescope as a Spotting Scope?

using telescope as spotting scopeA telescope has ushered in a new era in astronomy. When you see a photographer, you’ll notice that he’s constantly holding an excellent spotting scope. However, whether or not you can use your telescope for spotting has long been a point of contention.

Many people have wondered whether or not a telescope could be used as a spotting scope over the years. We’ve discovered the answer after much study.

Telescopes were designed primarily to see extraterrestrial objects. They employ interchangeable eyepieces and have a high magnification capacity. Telescopes must be fixed on a tripod and are only meant to be used by one eye.

Spotting scopes, on the other hand, have a high magnification and are meant for one eye alone. The magnification power, however, is not as great as that of a telescope. Spotting scope magnification is in between that of a telescope and that of a binocular.

What is Telescope?

Telescopes are optical instruments that have extremely high magnification and has adjustable eyepieces. They’re meant to be used with one eye and are placed on a tripod (monocular). Larger apertures are used in telescopes to let more light in and make low-light objects like stars more visible. There are two types of telescopes

  • Refracting Telescope: These telescopes use lenses to focus on light
  • Reflecting Telescope: This telescope uses a mirror that is used to reflect light.

Both of these telescopes are known for high magnification

Main Uses of Telescope

Telescopes are used to seeing things that are far away from us. They are often used for viewing stars and planets. Telescopes are used to see faraway objects and they are used to produce images that are bigger than what can be seen with the naked eye. Telescopes collect significantly lighter than the human eye, allowing for increased magnification and detail of faint things.

  • It’s used to see big and far away things.
  • The objective of a telescope has a focal length that is larger than the eyepiece.
  • The objective’s aperture is rather big.
  • The objective’s focal length should be long for increased magnification.

Pros and Cons of Telescope

  • It produces a lot of magnification.
  • Resolving power per inch of aperture is superior.
  • It has a large field of view.
  • Superior performance in poor lighting – the picture is more stable.
  • There are no aberrations, reflections, or light path interruptions in the image.
  • Focal lengths ratios may necessitate the use of simpler, longer-focus eyepieces.
  • When necessary, cross-wire and micrometer screws are employed.
  • There will always be some secondary spectrum chromatic aberration, even if the reflector is totally free of it.

  • Long focal ratios may make an instrument seem clumsy.

  • The instrument gets fairly huge due to the length of the main tube.

  • Because this equipment produces an inverted image, it cannot be used to see objects at a great distance in front of the earth’s surface.

Find Out More Review on Telescope for Beginners

What is Spotting Scope?

Now let’s talk about what spotting scope exactly is, it is believed that a spotting scope is the updated version of a telescope. However, it is very different from the stargazer telescope. The lenses in a spotting scope collect and concentrate light. While the mechanics are similar to those of a telescope, the diameter of the objective lens determines the image quality in a spotting scope. The picture quality of the image is then determined by the magnification strength of the eyepiece.

Second, in order to be more portable, a spotting scope is significantly smaller than a telescope. Third, a spotting scope has a lesser magnification than a telescope since the air during the day prohibits the use of high magnifications in astronomy.

Fourth, whereas a spotting scope may be put on a standard camera tripod, an astronomical telescope requires a highly specialized mount that is typically inappropriate for daylight usage. Finally, many spotting scopes, if not all, are waterproof and fog proof, which is an unusual quality in an astronomical telescope.

Main Uses for Spotting Scopes

When you require more magnification than a binocular can offer, a spotting scope is employed. Birding, monitoring, hunting, and seeing landscapes, wildlife, ships, and other distant objects are all common uses for spotting scopes.

Spotting scopes can also be used to score targets on rifle, pistol, and archery ranges, as well as for certain astronomy. Last but not least, spotting scopes are employed with a variety of cameras to shoot long-distance photographs.

The majority of spotting scopes have three numerals on the label. The magnification range is represented by the first two digits, while the front lens size is always shown by the final number. The 15-45×60 type is a spotting scope with a zoom magnification range of 15-45x and a front lens diameter of 60mm.

Pros and Cons for Spotting Scope

  • It has more zooming power and magnification power than a telescope

  • Object looks brighter when seen from far away

  • This equipment is more effective in the shooting ranges as it can easily see any bullets holes from very far.

  • It can be used for hunting purposes and for life photography from a long distance

  • It is very easy to set up and very simple to use.

  • The method to set up the equipment is time-consuming

  • Spotting scope is too heavy to carry anywhere especially while hunting

  • A quality spotting scope is more expensive as more cost is added when buying extra accessories

  • With spotting scopes, you will always need additional accessories

Spotting Scopes vs Telescopes

Spotting Scopes vs Telescopes

Consider the following and determine what you require. As you discover more about what these scopes have to offer, you may confirm your assumptions or find yourself on the opposing team.

Magnification Power

The telescope’s key feature is its magnification. Telescopes may even magnify up to 500 times. You may acquire different magnifications from the same telescope by changing the eyepiece. A tiny telescope may theoretically achieve a magnification of 500x.

A tiny telescope, on the other hand, has the difficulty of not receiving enough light. As a result, the target object becomes hazy and unsteady. That’s why, for better magnification, we need larger telescopes.

Whereas spotting scope may provide magnification up to 60x. Wind, dust particles, heatwaves, and other factors in the atmosphere can affect magnification higher than 60x.

As a consequence, the telescope will always be the BIG DADDY in terms of magnification power!

Image Stability

You’d think that spotting scopes would take the lead when it comes to visual steadiness. Spotting scopes give the finest image stability when used with a tripod, however, certain versions may also be used as a handheld optic. The idea is that the lower the magnification, the easier it is to keep an image steady. Spotters would have an edge over telescopes because they have a lower magnification.

Spotting scopes, like telescopes, suffer from visual instability. What’s the one thing that all of these things have in common? Whatever is utilized to secure the optic (tripod, base, etc.). Many tripods and mounts come standard with the purchase of a spotting scope or telescope, but they’re generally of poor quality, only useful at table/bench height, and extremely fragile when fully extended.

You’ll need to upgrade to a better tripod and potentially replace the mount at some time. It’s a tie since both types of lenses rely on these separate purchases for optimum picture stabilization.

Image Orientation

Whenever it comes to picture orientation, spotting scopes win out over telescopes. Reflector telescopes, refractor telescopes, and more types of telescopes are available.

When looking through a reflector telescope, the picture we perceive is inverted. Horizontally flipped pictures are seen using refractor telescopes. These events aren’t particularly notable in terms of astronomy.

In the case of bird viewing, though, these will undoubtedly be a deal-breaker.


Spotting scopes vary from telescopes in that they have variable zooming capabilities. You may utilize the variable zooming feature on spotting telescopes. This aids in the observation of a distant moving item such as a cheetah on the move or a soaring bird.

When it comes to telescopes, the magnification is almost always fixed. You’ll need to swap out the eyepiece to modify the magnification.

Spotting scopes, rather than telescopes, provide a greater zooming experience.


The minimal space between the optic and the item required for the optic to effectively concentrate on the target item is called the close focus. If an optic’s close focus is 10 feet, the item must be at least 10 feet away from the optic to get a clean image.

Spotting scopes typically have a narrow focus of 6 feet. It is, however, much greater in the case of telescopes. Telescopes are used to observe extraterrestrial things that are very far away. As a result, you won’t be able to use the telescope to see earthly objects.


Numerous spotting scopes come in two different viewing options: straight or angled. The angled view is perhaps the most common among birders and casual users. Because they are generally lying prone on the ground when using the scope, several hunters and shooters prefer the direct view. Straight seeing also makes it easier to detect your goal and monitor moving things, which is important for terrestrial applications. A right-angle viewing option may be available depending on the kind of telescope; however, some are built to allow viewing while the scope is aimed upwards rather than towards terrestrial subjects. The telescope cannot be used for terrestrial viewing, which emphasizes the contrast between the two types of scopes.

Portability And Weight

Spotting scopes are made to be portable and easy to transport. They are usually considerably lighter than a telescope. When you’re traveling light, spotting scopes are great.

Telescopes, on the other hand, are not as portable as spotting scopes. As I previously stated, telescopes require a significant quantity of light in order to observe things in the night sky. Telescopes with a bigger aperture size are required for this purpose.

This implies that telescopes are often bigger and heavier than spotting scopes.

Ease of Use

In its most basic versions, neither the telescope nor the spotting scope is difficult to operate. Spotting scopes offer the benefit of having zoom eyepieces, which allow you to zoom in on a faraway item once you’ve sighted the target. Most telescopes have various eyepieces that must be swapped out to vary magnification. This isn’t a tough process, but it does imply that you’ll be taking many items into the field with your telescope, whereas the spotting scope is just one piece of equipment. You’ll need a tripod for both sorts of scopes, by the way. With a spotting scope, camera tripods will suffice, but bigger telescopes will want specialist tripods.


The price of the telescope and the spotting scope should not be compared. It’ll be similar to comparing apples and bananas. Both have a price range that is determined by a variety of elements such as characteristics, durability, and so on.

An entry-level spotting scope, on the other hand, will almost certainly cost more than an entry-level telescope.

A spotting scope may be adequate for astronomy, and it will serve you well once your interest in the night sky has waned. Because that is what a telescope was designed to accomplish, it will always be the finest for seeing into the skies.

Can A Telescope Be Used as A Spotting Scope?

Is a telescope capable of serving as a spotting scope? It’s an alternative worth considering, but it’s not the most efficient. A telescope and a spotting scope are both designed to perform two different tasks. One cannot completely fulfill the objective of the other.

Furthermore, there are certain structural and functional differences between the two. As a result, none of them can fill the other’s cup. But first, let’s talk about what exactly is the telescope.

Final Thoughts

Long-range terrestrial objects, let alone DSOs, are beyond the capabilities of a low-powered, small spotting scope. In the same way that no single telescope is ideal for all sorts of astronomy, no single telescope is ideal for all types of astronomy.

There are numerous factors to consider, both internal and external, including how much you’re prepared to invest, what your goals are, and how committed you are to your passion are all factors to consider.

Don’t be shocked if avid stargazers have more than one sort of telescope, and a spotting scope is likely among them. However, a starting point is a starting point. We believe you now have a good understanding of the issue of whether or not a telescope may be used as a spotting scope. Technically, you can use the telescope as a spotting scope, but owing to the high magnification, it won’t give any useful results.

TRR - Jensen

Jensen C

Co-Founder & Chief Editor for Top Rate Reviews. Enjoys playing music and work out during my free time.

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