Spectral vegetation indices (VIs) are a well-known and widely used method for crop state estimation. These technologies have great importance for plant state monitoring, especially for agriculture. The main aim is to assess the performance level of the selected VIs calculated from space-borne multispectral imagery and point-based field spectroscopy in application to crop state estimation. The results obtained indicate that space-borne VIs react on phenology. This feature makes it an appropriate data source for monitoring crop development, crop water needs and yield prediction. Field spectrometer VIs were sensitive for estimating pigment concentration and photosynthesis rate. Yet, a hypersensitivity of field spectral measures might lead to a very high variability of the calculated values. The results obtained in the second part of the presented study were reported on crop state estimated by 17 VIs known as sensitive to plant drought. An alternative approach for identification early stress by VIs proposed in this study is Principal Component Analysis (PCA). The results show that PCA has identified the degree of similarity of the different states and together with reference stress states from the control plot clearly estimated stress in the actual irrigated field, which was hard to detect by VIs values only.