The topic of Straight vs. Angled Spotting Scope is a discussion that has been and will be disputed for a long time. It is hard enough just choosing which brand of scope you will buy, then you have to decide the body style: Angled or Straight Spotting Scope. Here we will discuss which scope body style is best for you by looking at what is best for certain situations.
If you ask around or read forums on the topic of straight vs. angled spotting scope body styles, you will find that people have strong opinions on which is best. I would be willing to bet that the one they think is best will usually be the body style they got used to first. If their first scope was angled, then that is probably the body style they will prefer and vice versa. That being said, it is advised that you get used to the body style that fits most of your activities best.
Angled body scopes are best in several different situations. Here are the pros and cons of an angled scope over a straight scope.
1. Good option if there are going to be several people using it as it is easier to accommodate people of different heights, as you just lower your eye to the eyepiece.
2. Best for situations when standing as it requires less height of a tripod
3. Some say angled spotters are more comfortable for long hours of glassing.
1. Not good for spotting while sitting in a vehicle using a window mount.
2. Angled scopes are harder for beginners to find game due to the angle.
3. Does not pack into a backpack as well as a straight body style
4. Due to the angle, the eyepiece is very exposed to the elements, mainly rain, snow, dust.
Straight body spotters are best in several different situations. Here are the pros and cons of a straight scope over an angled scope.
1. A straight body is easier for finding the intended object making it especially better for beginners
2. A straight body is the best choice for using a window mount from the seat of a vehicle.
3. Takes up less room in a backpack due to its streamlined shape.
4. Straight body spotting scopes are slightly less expensive than angled body spotting scopes.
5. The eyepiece is 100% vertical making harder for dirt, dust, rain, snow, etc…
1. Taller tripod needed for viewing in a standing position
2. More height adjustment needed when several viewers are using a straight spotter.
3. Less comfortable than angled body spotting scope for long glassing sessions due to neck positioning.
Authors Preference: Straight or Angled Spotting Scope
Like I said at the beginning of this article as to straight vs. angled spotting scopes, most people will prefer what they learn and become comfortable on first. Due to the fact that I do a lot of backcountry glassing, packing my spotter in my backpack, as well as a lot of glassing from the comfort of my vehicle, the decision for me was simple to buy a straight body over an angled scope.
Although I believe a straight body scope is best for my situation, I do know the value of an angled scope. My father has a Swarovski 20-60X80mm Angled Spotting Scope that stays in the house or on the porch for viewing wildlife from the house. There are several users a lot of the time and it gets a lot of use, so the angled is the best bet for this situation. I have since become comfortable using angled or straight spotting scope body styles.
Decide and Go Glassing
I hope this has helped you to determine which scope style is best for your situation, a straight or angled scope. For the most part, whichever option you go with you should be able to get used to it. The best thing you can do is figure out what points above best pertain to you, buy whichever will be best for your style of use, and go give it a try. Be very careful with your new scope in case you decide you would like the other body style more; most places will let you return the scope if you are unhappy with it.
If you are in the market for a spotting scope, you should consider taking a look at the best spotting scopes for each price range here: https://ballachy.com/blogs/reviews/best-spotting-scope .