Telescope vs Spyglass Comparison

Telescopes and spyglasses are optical devices used for viewing distant objects. While telescopes are used for astronomy, monoculars are typically used for viewing terrestrial objects. While you can use spyglasses for basic astronomy, the magnification is much weaker than that of a telescope.

How Strong is the Magnification of Telescopes vs Spyglasses?

Because telescopes are used for viewing celestial bodies, they have a much stronger magnification. This can range anywhere from 30x to over 90x. Spyglasses are used to view closer objects, so their magnification typically ranges from 5x to 20x.

Which is Easier to Use, a Telescope or a Spyglass?

Telescopes require much more time to set up and maintain but make viewing astronomical events much easier. Spyglasses are easier to carry and operate because they are designed for outdoor activities. This includes hiking, boating and wildlife watching. To use a spyglass, you simply locate an object and zoom in. 

Structure of Telescopes and Spyglasses

A spyglass is basically a smaller version of a telescope, but it is used for terrestrial investigation, not astronomical. Both optical tools allow you to magnify objects using a series of mirrors, yet spyglasses have much weaker magnification. This is because they have weaker convex lenses and shorter focal lengths. Spyglasses are also significantly smaller and can be held in one hand. Telescopes are typically very large and require tripods to use.

Telescopes vs Spyglasses: Which is right for you?

The right decision ultimately comes down to your intended use. If you plan on viewing only celestial bodies from a single location, a telescope will better suit your needs. Because of their portability and magnification, spyglasses are much more convenient for outdoor activities including hiking, boating and wildlife watching.