Spotting scope for everything
I have a good pair of Nikon 10x40 binos, and now it's time for a good spotting scope. I have it narrowed down to either the 15-30x50 Leupold Compact and the 12-40x60 Leupold, both are of the Golden Ring variety, however, the compact is almost half the weight and about half the price. I'm wondering in what situations would I need that extra 10x magnification or the increased field of view, and is it worth the extra $500? Anyone have any experience with either of these two models? I originally posted this in the optics forum but got no hits so I'm going to try here. Thanks for the help.
I have used the larger of the two for 11 years. I use it for all my personal as well as professional hunts. Great scope. Frankly, I seldom use the highest power ranges due to wind wiggle and heat mirage. Sitting side by side on a mountainside with the finest, most expensive scopes, other than stuff used by NASA, I see everything they see.
If I were going to purchase a scope primarily or exclusively for backpack sheep and goat hunts I would get the smaller, lighter, of the two. Great light gathering capability is not necessary for these backpack style hunts.
...my 1 cent worth of guidance...
I use a Bausch and Lomb Elite 15-45. I've had it about 15 years and it still works as good as it did when I bought it. It's seen a lot of year round use. There are better scopes out there, but it is relatively light weight, smallish, durable, and didn't break the bank. It takes the perfect day and weather to be able to crank it all the way to forty five, but i've looked at a lot of sheep (as well as everything else) through it and it works well for my needs.
I have a Pentax PF 65 ED II myself but If I was to buy another mid level spotter it would be the Nikon Spotter XL II. No matter what you can afford for glass the spotter XL has to be about the most packable designs out there. I keep coming back to it and it seems like the best balance of weight/size and quaility