Difference Between a Telescope and a Spotting Scope Leave a comment

If you’re looking to take your viewing to the next level, whether you’re a birdwatcher or a stargazer, you may be wondering which choice is best for you between a spotting scope and telescope. The essential difference between a spotting scope and telescope lies in what it was designed to be used for.

Spotting Scopes

Spotting scopes are used for viewing things on land. They usually have fewer features than telescopes do, making them simpler to use, but not as adjustable. If you’re planning to purchase a viewing product to look at wildlife, or watch boats from your beachside house, for example, you’ll probably prefer using a spotting scope. If the majority of your viewing is going to be land based, the spotting scope is definitely the way to go.

However, that’s not to say that it won’t work at all for viewing the nighttime skies. If you do want to catch the occasional meteor shower with your spotting scope, you’ll find that it is good for looking at nighttime skies. It will not give you the nighttime viewing that you could get from a telescope, but if you aren’t planning to do that very often anyway, then you’ll enjoy the enhanced occasional nighttime view you get from your spotting scope. Another advantage to spotting scopes is that they are more portable than telescopes, so if you plan to carry them around outdoors, you’ll have an easier time doing this with a spotting scope.


Telescopes aren’t really designed for viewing things on land. The myriad of adjustment choices makes it more difficult to use but stargazers love these capabilities once they learn how to use them. If you do use a telescope for land viewing, you may get a lot of distorted, sometimes upside down images, but you can purchase accessories that can fix this for you.

Because telescopes do come with a wider range of features, if you’re looking for a lot of flexibility in range and adjustments for nighttime viewing, a telescope is definitely the way to go. If you’re looking to buy a long-distance viewer to look very deeply into the nighttime sky, a telescope is going to suit your needs much better than a spotting scope. On top of being more difficult to transport, telescopes are also more easily broken, so they’re best for viewing from the backyard or another location that doesn’t require much rugged travelling.


Why Procular?

If you love the outdoors and always keen for a closer look then you’re in the right place! Featuring a huge selection of binoculars, telescopes, spotting scopes, monoculars and night vision – Procular’s got you covered! Be sure to checkout our expert buyer guides to see which product is right for you:


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