Angled spotting scopes and straight spotting scopes are MORE SIMILAR than they are DIFFERENT.
If I’m going to be strict about it, they really only DO differ in their style: the angled spotting scope has an angled eyepiece.
Not quite the surprise you were expecting for an angled scope, right?
This one simple difference makes ALL the difference when it comes to usability and comfort.
I’ll walk you through the essentials of each spotting scope.
- Spotting Scopes Overview
- Angled vs. Straight Spotting Scope: Comparing the Features
- Angled vs Straight Spotting Scope: Which One Is Right for You?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
Spotting Scopes Overview
Let’s start this review by going over ALL the important features that set both spotting scopes apart from one another.
Spoiler alert: they’re a LOT more similar than you think!
What Is an Angled Spotting Scope?
The ANGLED spotting scope promotes maneuverability.
It’s quite straightforward to imagine where this angled scope gets its name: the angled spotting scope curves up towards the adjustable eyepiece.
The scope’s angled eyepiece will seemingly cushion your eye as you look down on it to view your target!
Now… Why does MANEUVERABILITY make this angle important?
Simply, the curve allows you to adjust your viewing angle. What’s more appealing is that you have COMPLETE CONTROL over the adjustments you can make:
- Turn the angled scope freely to accommodate your sight.
- Position your head comfortably around the eyepiece
This kind of flexibility made my hunts INFINITELY better because of the enhanced user experience.
Others prefer to use the angled spotter scope during a sit-down viewing up the mountains…. I reckon that you will too!
Who Should Use an Angled Spotting Scope?
Any hunter can use an angled spotting scope for several uses, even astronomy!
I would recommend angled spotting scopes to hunters with more experience with spotting scopes in general, but with a little practice and supervision, a beginner can use one too!
Angled spotting scopes are best for finding higher-located targets, like birds or those up in trees.
- More comfortable to look through in most positions
- Lower tripod height
- Easier to look up
- Prone body position
- Have to adjust the tripod and its height to switch to binoculars
- Not as comfortable when lying down
What Is a Straight Spotting Scope?
The straight spotting scope is just that: STRAIGHT.
No angles or fancy positions are needed for a straight scope! It’s a straight tube resembling most telescopes that you see in the market and media.
Its straight spotting scope design requires EYE LEVEL positioning. You either have to:
- Raise the straight scope with a tripod, or
- Stoop down to the level of its straight eyepiece (even then, you might have to position it somewhere stable to easier achieve a straight line more)
You can find the BEST VIEWING ANGLE for your straight spotter scopes after repositioning your head a couple of times.
It’s best for casual viewing: a fixed target for long periods of time that won’t require others to constantly look through the scope’s straight eyepiece.
Who Should Use a Straight Spotting Scope?
Like with angled spotting scopes, any hunter of any level can use a straight spotting scope.
If you prefer to hunt animals running on land, a straight spotting scope will be easier to use because of its faster target acquisition and tracking.
- Retain tripod position when switching to binoculars
- Faster target acquisition
- Taller height for the tripod makes the straight spotting scope unstable
- The taller tripod makes you more visible
- Not as comfortable for viewing when standing
Angled vs. Straight Spotting Scope: Comparing the Features
I’ll tell you right now: the two spotting scopes DO NOT HAVE ANY FUNCTIONAL DIFFERENCES.
Some people would be right in saying that their ONLY difference is their structure.
Deciding which of them is BETTER is simply a choice and preference on design.
As such, you’ll find out that where they DO differ is in their applications.
Allow me to show you the ADVANTAGES of each rifle scope based on certain criteria through this review.
REMEMBER: One is NOT better than the other… it all depends on what you NEED.
Both angled and straight scopes have the SAME objective lens resolution, magnification, and field of view.
No spotting scope has an advantage over the other!
- OBJECTIVE LENS – Both have objective lens diameters with the same range of 50 mm – 80 mm.
- MAGNIFICATION – Lens magnification ranges from 10x to 60x, depending on the scope. Either way, there is no difference between the two types.
- FIELD OF VIEW – A contested feature, but I would like to stand by my rating with a tie. Both scopes still maximize the same sight picture.
Just remember the rule of thumb: the HIGHER the magnification, the SMALLER the field of view. This does not change between spotting scope types.
Now, do you see why the optic quality doesn’t do much for the straight vs. angled spotting scope debate?
Let’s go back to discussing the field of view a bit more…
Field of View
This is a contested feature because of the maneuverability advantage attributed to angled scopes.
Only this time, it serves to be one of its disadvantages under this feature.
Straight scopes have a slight advantage because you can customize your spotting devices.
You may simply leave the straight scope on a tripod and easily SWITCH the spotting scope for a set of binoculars!
In my experience, it only took me a few seconds to make the switch!
You wouldn’t need to search the field for the subject all over again because of how stationery a straight scope is.
This is something you CANNOT ACHIEVE WITH THE ANGLED SCOPE.
Why? Because they’re designed to be maneuvered.
Move them around as much as you would like! Just don’t switch them out for another device… they’re meant to be your primary spotting scope.
This increased mobility allowed me to comfortably see targets from multiple distances, especially when I’m out in a large hill.
That being said, I’d simply have to call it a TIE.
The field of view is still under the optic quality criteria, and both still boast the same features. So yes, it is a tie for now.
WINNER: Both, depending on what you need them for.
Again, no actual winner. Quite simply, THIS is where I’ll find their actual differences!
To systematically approach this, I’ll describe some of the applications for which the two scopes are best suited.
1. Hunting and Target Shooting
Let’s start with the ANGLED spotting scope.
I’ve had more luck hunting fast, free-moving targets and those in UPWARD positions, like in trees, such as birds or squirrels.
This is where the maneuverability in angled scopes comes into play. It makes the hunt experience more comfortable, too!
Meanwhile, I’ve had similar luck with a STRAIGHT spotting scope, but with different targets this time.
Level targets, such as land animals running and those positioned at a DOWNWARD angle, were easier to spot and hunt.
A straight scope is also easier to maneuver during a hunt!
The LATERAL movements of land-based movers are easily detectable by the movement of a straight scope.
Likewise, a downward-angled view would be EASIER with a straight spotter scope TO AVOID the upward eyepiece in an angled one.
Both of them can easily track moving targets if that’s what you’re curious about.
2. Car Window Mount
This is a simple choice: if you have a BIG CAR and ENOUGH SPACE to move around, go for a straight spotting scope.
The ease with which I can move the straight scope around my car and still have it at eye level is an advantage.
Just make sure that you have the actual car space for it, or the straight scope won’t really work.
But if you’re after EFFICIENCY and ABILITY TO BE MOUNTED, go for an angled spotting scope.
I was able to see more angles because of the eyepiece’s adjustability!
The angle is also advantageous if you plan to view anything from ABOVE the car, such as the sky.
3. For Practice and Shooting
Choose an angled spotting scope if you plan to SPOT FOR YOURSELF and not for other people.
You can easily switch from rifle to spotting scope this way!
Angled spotting scopes are also useful if you plan to:
- Arrange your setup on the subject for oversight
- Cover up while birding (and for bird feeders as well)
- Be comfortable while in a prone position
- Assign target acquisition for longer periods of time
However, feel free to target practice using a straight scope if you want to have a MORE DYNAMIC feel of the hunt.
Angled vs Straight Spotting Scope: Which One Is Right for You?
Again, not one type of spotting scope is better than the other.
It all depends on HOW you plan to use your spotting scope. Each rifle scope has the same pros and cons:
- Type of lens
- Optic quality
- Scope body look
It’s all now based on YOUR style!
Choose Straight Spotting Scopes If:
- You use binoculars and plan to quickly change between it AND your scope
- You want to reacquire the target within the same level viewing field
- You want faster target acquisition
- You want an intuitive spotting scope
- You are expecting to look downwards
Straight spotting scopes are great for dynamic hunting, target shooting, and targeting from a tree stand!
The consensus is that a straight scope needs to be positioned HIGHER than an angled scope.
An angled scope can REACH YOUR EYE (thanks to its upward eyepiece), but the straight scope DOES NOT.
You have to make sure that your tripod height is raised higher.
When this happens, your straight-scope tripod setup becomes LESS STABLE, making you a more visible target.
But if this sort of thing doesn’t pose a problem to you as a person, spotter, hunter, or shooter, then by ALL MEANS, go for it!
There’s no harm in going for straight spotting scopes if they’re your personal preference.
Choose an Angled Spotting Scopes If:
- You do NOT plan to switch with binoculars
- You want to be comfortable
- You do your viewing while sitting, standing, or in a prone position
- You are after a lower mount (for stealth purposes… shhh)
- You are expecting to view the sky or anything upward
Angled spotting scopes are generally just great for ALL-AROUND USE. Count hunting, birding, and casual astronomy watching in too!
Remember, the CURVE in an angled spotting scope makes it more comfortable and easier to use than with straight scopes.
The view on the spotting scope is easily endured through longer periods of time, as well.
Some birder professionals and hunters alike claim that a spotting scope works MUCH BETTER with a tripod than freely hunting.
Just position it lower because of the angled spotting scope’s upward eyepiece.
Don’t worry because this is one of its advantages: you’re able to position yourself lower!
In my case, it was easier to spot wild animals, thanks to this.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is More Expensive, an Angled or Straight Spotting Scope?
It’s difficult to tell which is more expensive.
The price of both scopes depends on many factors, like brand, quality, lenses, glass, and so on.
Both of them come at varying prices, with some higher-end ones reaching up to a thousand dollars.
Can Both Angled and Straight Spotting Scopes Be Used for the Same Activities?
Both can be used for hunting and birding; it just depends on the user’s personal preference, specific needs, and what kind of hunting they’ll be doing.
Can an Angled Spotting Scope Be Used for Straight-Ahead Viewing?
Yes, you can use an angled spotting scope for straight viewing, but it may be quite uncomfortable.
A straight spotting scope would be better; it’s in the name, after all!
It all boils down to what type of spotting scope makes you more COMFORTABLE during a specific HUNT.
I can easily end this debate about angled or straight spotting scopes by saying that they both have advantages.
But this lot of advantages isn’t what you’re used to expecting!
Straight and angled scopes have MORE similarities than differences, after all.