Spotting scopes are often used for scouting, hunting, hiking, and birding, especially if you’re attempting to sight birds of prey, which are harder to spot and fly at a higher elevation. If you’re a serious birder, while binoculars are a must, a good spotting scope can offer a whole new level of image clarity.
If you’re searching for the best budget spotting scopes for your next great outdoor adventure, then take a closer look at the Roxant Authentic Blackbird high definition spotting scope. This model comes equipped with a high-grade prism and multi-coated lenses that offer better light transmission, allowing you to sight even the most elusive birds.
Our Verdict: The latest spotting scope by Roxant is designed specifically with the birder in mind. It comes loaded with some great features including top of the line optics, a nitrogen-purged barrel that makes it both fog-proof and waterproof, and an ergonomic design that promotes user comfort. The better than average magnification range is perfect for the birder in search of a model that can handle sighting the most elusive birds, such as birds of prey, including falcons and owls.
The image quality also allows you to bird during dusk and dawn, so you can check off those hard to sight birds that are the most active in low light conditions. The free included tripod is a great extra and one that will help to stabilize your viewing experience while freeing up your hands. It also comes with a quick-release plate so you can easily attach or detach the scope if you’re trying to track a fast-moving bird on the ground or in flight. Overall, this is a great package for birders of all skill levels, but the beginner-friendly design makes it perfect for the newbie in search of a scope that’s easy to use, highly adjustable, and equipped with top of the line optics.
Overview and Features
When you’re shopping around for a scope, optics quality is everything. In most cases, you can expect to fork over hundreds of dollars for the type of optics you need for hunting and birding. However, Roxant has done an excellent job of designing a scope that’s both affordable and equipped with the type of optics you need for your next birding adventure.
The Blackbird is actually the first birding spotting scope produced by Roxant, which is impressive considering they check every box in terms of a model that can handle capturing even the finest details when sighting birds on the ground, in trees, or in flight.
The lightweight design makes it easier to hold the spotting scope for a longer period of time, however, if your arms do get tired you can take advantage of the free included tripod. Keep in mind, the included tripod is a tabletop model, so it may not work in the backcountry, especially for those birders who set up on difficult terrain, in which case, they would be better off with a full-sized tripod.
Dusk and Dawn Viewing
Typically, lower-priced spotting scopes can’t handle low light conditions very well, which is why it’s surprising that this particular model works so well at dawn and dusk, allowing you to easily track a bird in flight or resting in a tree. The high optical performance is just one of the reasons this model is a best-seller. To learn more about birding in low light conditions and what species you can find, be sure to stop by and read my article on when do birds go to sleep?
This is a scope that has it all. It comes equipped with military-grade optical glass, complete with a multi-coated lens and a BAK4 prism. It offers a high definition, crystal clear viewing experience thanks to the impressive optics quality and the magnification power that ranges from 12x to 36x. The unique optic design is also meant to improve clarity while minimizing color distortion.
The durable, rubberized armor, provides the perfect non-slip surface, complete with a texturized molded grip that’s designed to promote user comfort. The scope is also equipped with a smooth glide texture focus ring located on the barrel. This is used in place of a traditional focus knob, which you’ll normally find located on top of the spotting scope.
This may be a deal-breaker for the seasoned birder, since this type of design change can take some getting used to. However, in terms of ease of use, the smooth glide focus ring is effective and easy to use.
The eyepiece is angled at forty-five degrees, which is perfect for most viewing and sighting experiences. It allows you to adjust the scope up and down to the perfect angle.
This model comes with a small tabletop tripod, which will stabilize the scope, giving you a hands-free viewing experience while preventing the scope from moving or shaking during use. This is a great extra that you won’t commonly find with other models in this price range.
Setting up the tripod is simple. It features a lightweight design, so it won’t add much weight to your pack or take up much space. It folds down to a nice compact package and comes with a fast-folding mechanism and a quick release plate. The quick-release plate will allow you to quickly attach or detach the spotting scope from the tripod in case you want to track a bird in flight, quickly. This style of tripod must be used on a waist-high, flat surface, for optimal performance. While some birders may be disappointed that the scope didn’t come with a full-sized tripod, the addition of this tabletop model will definitely come in handy at some point and it’s a great free extra accessory.
Glare-Free Viewing Experience
This model comes equipped with an extendable sunshade located inside the main barrel. This feature is designed to minimize glare from the sun, for a more comfortable and clearer sighting experience.
Considering this is a low-priced spotting scope it definitely lives up to the manufacturer’s claim that it offers the type of image clarity that the experienced birder will appreciate. It’s easy to use, beginner-friendly and features a durable, lightweight design that won’t add too much weight to your pack.
The scope’s powerful magnification range adds plenty of versatility, allowing for unparalleled image clarity. Overall, this is a great buy for a wide range of applications, however, considering optical equipment for birding must offer top of the line clarity, this model is best-suited for birdwatching.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- BAK4 prism
- Free tripod
- Excellent image clarity
- Reasonable price
- Not waterproof or fog-proof
- Does not come with a focus knob
Roxant Versus BEBANG 20-60×60 Spotting Scope for Bird Watching
The competing spotting scope is by Bebang and it comes loaded with a BAK7 roof prism lens, and a wider magnification range of 20x to 60x. Just like this model, it provides a crystal clear viewing experience and comes with a free tripod for image stabilization. The spotting scope is waterproof and fog-proof, featuring a nitrogen-purged barrel that will prevent the lens from fogging up due to wet or humid weather conditions.
Unlike this model by Roxant, the competition also comes with a camera photography adapter and a smartphone adapter, adding to its usability and versatility. It’s also available at a comparable price, but it doesn’t quite offer the same type of beginner-friendly design that you’ll get with the Blackbird. While in terms of magnification range, it definitely excels, but for birding, you’ll find that the magnification range offered by the Blackbird is more than sufficient. However, if you’re looking for a versatile scope and accessories package that’s also directed toward photography, then the competing package is a great buy.
Conclusion and Rating
If you’re new to birding, then you need a model that features intuitive controls, a simple design, and top of the line optics that will allow you to sight birds in low light conditions. Usually, finding a model that’s affordable and equipped with the type of image quality you need would cost you hundreds of dollars. But the Blackbird has changed all of that. While it’s not as flashy or as well-equipped as higher-priced models, it does offer a better than average viewing experience and the type of versatility and adjustability that birders of all skill levels need.
This model comes equipped with impressive magnification power, clarity, and a reliable, stable performance. The included tripod is a nice extra, although it’s a tabletop model, so you may want to upgrade and buy the best tripod for spotting scopes, if you’re searching for a full-sized model. Overall, the higher than average magnification range, durable build, and image clarity will give the birder every reason to buy. I gave this model a rating of four and a half out of five stars.