The Vortex Nomad Spotting Scope has been around for a long time and continues to be a hot commodity. Vortex has effectively brought the world of high grade optics to the average person, which has made me a big fan. To this day I have not tried a product of theirs that did not over deliver when compared to the price tag.
The Vortex Nomad 20-60X60mm Spotting Scope is the least expensive, full sized spotting scope that Vortex offers. I decided to give it a try to see if it is worthy of my website reader’s attention.
Chris testing out the optics of the Vortex Nomad Spotting Scope
The Vortex Nomad Spotting Scope impressed me before I ever laid hands on it. The size, weight, and shape are all very good and just what I look for in a spotting scope. When I pulled it out of the box, I reconfirmed my earlier impressions and determined it felt like a quality piece of equipment.
When I had the opportunity to try out the optics ability for the first time in the field with natural conditions, I saw what I was expecting out of a Vortex spotting scope costing slightly over $300: decent clarity, good for the price.
You can’t expect a whole lot out of a cheap spotting scope as far as quality optics, but the Vortex Nomad holds its own. I peered through the eye piece as the day began to lighten up and discovered average light gathering capabilities for a cheap spotting scope. The image was a little soft around the edges, but that can be expected in this price range. Even still, I could make out the antlers and count the points of a 4×4 Whitetail Buck about 400 yards away that I could just barely see with the naked eye.
As the day light increased, I continued glassing and the optics got a little better. Still the edges were soft, but not any more than I was expecting. I was able to find a small mule deer buck and decided to test out the Digiscoping capabilities of the Vortex Nomad Spotting Scope. I slipped my camera on to the eye piece and was able to get the video shown below.
A little quality is lost on the internet versus my computer, but I think you will agree that the video is quite good coming out of an inexpensive spotting scope and digital camera. I also took a few still photos, but did not get quite the quality as the video, but not bad none the less.
Long Distance Glassing
I was able to find some deer at well over 1000 yards away and was able to count points on an average 4 point mule deer. Again the Spotter lived up to expectations. As the sun rose well above the horizon, the heat waves came out in full force, thus deteriorating my viewing conditions for a while. The Vortex Nomad did nothing but magnify the waves and deer at long range appeared to be no more than bugs on a wind shield, but any spotting scope would have produced these results.
The Vortex Nomad did not escape all the downfalls of inexpensive spotting scopes with its tight zoom piece and need for much focus adjustment.
The look and feel of the Vortex Nomad 20-60X60 mm Spotting Scope is probably the best thing of the entire scope. It could be a very expensive and no one would question it. It is a good size and weight if you plan to pack it, or just leave it in the car or at home. The overall design is attractive and feels to be solid.
Zoom Eye Piece
This is an area I am not a huge fan about. The Zoom is quite stiff and not very easy to turn. This is a pretty standard issue in low priced spotting scope and is definitely a down fall. I experienced difficulty keeping an animal in view while turning the zoom up or down on both my tripod and window mount. Hopefully, the zoom will loosen up with time and continued use. This is a common trait for inexpensive spotting scope.
While the wheel turns easily, the Vortex Nomad Nomad does not have the most response focus. It takes a while to get from one end of the focus to the other, and it also takes some time to get it to focus (comparatively speaking). Once you do find the right spot, then it is not hard to get the object to focus. Overall focusing performance is what you can expect out of a sub $500 spotting scope.
View through Case
The View Through Case is nothing special. I would leave it at home as it was annoying and got in the way.
It is nice to be able to protect your investment, but not if the protection gets in the way. The Vortex Nomad Spotting Scope comes with a view through case that enables you to look through the spotting scope without taking the case all the way off. It is made of decent quality fabric, and opens with zippers.
Overall, the case gets in the way. You can see in the pictures that it zips open and just kind of folds to the sides. This would cause more movement in the wind, as well as added noise when you are trying not to scare away wildlife. I think it would be much more useful to have included a tight fitting case that leaves the lenses and focus exposed so you do not have to open it up all the time. If I were to keep this spotter and use it on a regular basis, I would most likely leave the case at home as the scope does come with eye piece caps to protect the lenses; the body would have to take the abuse.
The Vortex Nomad Spotting Scope is better than most spotters in its price range. The problem is that you cannot expect much out of any spotting scope in this price range. Given this fact, the Vortex Nomad is well worth the $330 you will spend on it as long as you remember that you get what you pay for.
Fore more information, customer reviews, or to buy the Vortex Nomad Spotting Scope, click here:
The Nikon ProStaff costs a little bit more, but is well worth the extra cash for better optics and mechanics.
The day I tested the Vortex Nomad, I compared it to my Nikon ProStaff 16-48X62mm Spotting Scope. Although it appears to be larger (about the same according to the specs) and does not look quite as good, the quality of optics and mechanics are definitely better. If you can afford less than $100 more, you will not regret going with the Nikon ProStaff Spotting Scope.