If you’re new to the world of game hunting, you probably haven’t given much thought to the whole binoculars vs spotting scope debate yet. Chances are, you’ve assumed that since both help users magnify distant objects, they’re the same. However, this isn’t true.

The simple fact is, whether you’re a game hunter or an ornithologist, or an outdoor-activity enthusiast, you’re going to want to take a close look at far-away objects in the field at some point. And while you have a plethora of optics to choose from to do this. It really boils down to two main helpful choices. We’re talking about spotting scopes and binoculars.

Both these devices do the job of magnifying far-off subjects without you having to get close to them. They can be used with accessories, such as the binocular phone adapter and the spotting scope phone adapter, to achieve the desired results.

Still, there are several differences between the two, and you may be better off choosing one over the other depending on your situation. Let’s find out what factors separate these two devices.

1. Binoculars vs Spotting Scope: Magnification

Magnification is possibly the most important factor that differentiates a spotting scope from a binocular. Spotting scopes can start at magnification as low as 11x and 15x while going up to 60x, 80, and even 100x. You can use them with spotting scope phone adapters for the best image results.

Binoculars, on the other hand, come with magnification of between 4x and 25x. A binocular phone adapter can be used alongside to maximize the image outcome.

Apart from this, the ability to zoom matters. Spotting scopes come with adjustable power optics, and can easily zoom in or out to increase or decrease the magnification. However, binoculars don’t allow this as they’re fixed power optics. They can be magnified in one setting only.

2. Binoculars vs Spotting Scope: Compactness

Everyone knows that binoculars are versatile and lightweight optics. Thanks to their compact and easy-to-hold design, they’re high on portability and enable a good degree of image stability.

Spotting scopes are longer in design and need to be mounted on a tripod if you need stable images. So, when it comes to compactness and portability, binoculars have the upper hand.  

However, there are always exceptions to these rules. Bigger binoculars (15x, 18x, and 20x) weigh more than 2 lbs and need to be mounted on shooting sticks for optimal image stability. This means they come with the same challenges as spotting scopes.

Further, you may opt for compact spotting scopes that are smaller than big-sized binoculars and can be used with a spotting scope phone adapter. These can be used freehand in the field as well.

3. Binoculars vs Spotting Scope: Wearability

You can comfortably wear binoculars up to 12x with neck straps or in a chest harness or hunting/pouches. This way, you always have them on your person, making them readily available for use. Similarly, smaller spotting scopes may also offer a high level of wear ability.

However, (as mentioned) regular spotting scopes and bigger binoculars need tripods to work best. They’re also less compact and portable. Setting them up before every use can be time-consuming.

Not only will you have to carry the tripod around everywhere you go, but you’ll also have to keep removing and mounting these devices every time you want to use them. Of course, you’ll also have to put them back in the bag safely after use.

4. Binoculars vs Spotting Scope: Applications

Thanks to their high magnification, spotting scopes are widely used by hunters and birders as they allow them to see their subjects in great detail even from a great distance. The animals can, therefore, be easily observed without becoming alert to your presence.

Hunters also use spotting scopes to spot and track the animal from a distance without giving away their presence. Wildlife photographers may use a high-quality spotting scope phone adapter for detailed and clear pictures of animals and dangerous predators from far away.

Long-range shooters also commonly use spotting scopes to check if they hit their target. Without these, shooters would have to keep walking back and forth from the target after every shot.

When it comes to binocular applications, the list may look similar to that of spotting scopes. Hunters, bird watchers, and wildlife fans typically use binoculars to spot and track their subjects. However, binoculars cannot provide the kind of magnification range that a spotting scope will.

For example, target shooting involves shooting at non-living targets like cardboard or clay pigeons. You don’t need to move around for this, which means it’ll be best to use a tripod with a binocular phone adapter and a spotting scope phone adapter with binoculars and spotting scopes respectively.

Again, binoculars won’t offer high magnification, but at least they’ll spare you eye strain/fatigue. But if you need to see a detailed view of the target, you should opt for spotting scopes.

Let’s also consider the example of hunting. Spotting scopes are perfect when you need a clear visual at long distances and when you’re in a stationary position. That being said,

hunting is also about being as quiet, still, and stealthy as possible. In such a case, setting up a tripod may not always be feasible. However, a quality pair of binoculars with higher magnification and a binocular phone adapter can work here.

It Doesn’t Need to Be a Binoculars vs Spotting Scope Contest

Before you enter the binoculars vs spotting scope debate, know that both have a place in your hunting gear. When deciding which one to use, do consider how much magnification you need, how much you expect to move around, the weight of the device, and the requirements of your outdoor activity. These will help you pick the right device for the right job.

Remember, there’s no wrong answer here. Whether you’re a game hunter or a birder or a wildlife observer, the idea is to make your outdoor activity safe and memorable.

At SnakeLook, we look forward to helping you make the most of your outdoor trips. Our binocular adapters for smartphones and quick connect binocular phone adapters are designed to suit your optic requirements and make your hunting/outdoor sojourns unforgettable. To know more about our high-quality spotting scope phone adapters, bino phone adapters, and other accessories, call us at 801-228-0803 or fill out our online form.

March 09, 2023 — Mike Butler