High power binos vs spotting scope

Perrin713

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Sep 1, 2019
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Looking to either buy a high power set of binos or a spotting scope. Currently run 10x42 Vortex Binos on my chest but would like to add a higher power bino or spotting scope for glassing. Looking to carry the optics in my pack and use 10x42 on my chest.
With my most recent trip to Montana I glassed a lot of animals at a far range 1800yrds but obviously couldn’t get a very clear view of the bulls.
Would adding a higher power of binos on a tripod be best or a spotting scope?
Thanks!
 

cattleman99

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At 1800 yards, a spotting scope may be your best bet. Binos are nice and the field of view is fantastic, but if you are identifying animals at longer distances you may want that extra magnification.
 

Wapiti1

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Doug makes a solid suggestion. You'll need a tripod for either of your options anyway, so start there.

Typically, you see 8 or 10X binos paired with a scope. Binos to locate, scope to make a detailed assessment. I have used 15's and they were nice, but I still needed a scope at 30-50X to really make a call. Binocs just can't match a good spotter on the long end.

Jeremy
 

mxgsfmdpx

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Northern California
At the yardage you mentioned, spotting scope all the way. Get your 10x42s on a nice tripod for scouting, and then switch to the spotter for identifying potential shooter bulls.
 

rodney482

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The little 50 mm Razor w a summit tripod
You can also run your binocs on same tripod.
 

RaggedHunter

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Grand Junction CO
Sorry in advance for the long winded answer.

I was having this same dilemma this past year. I've made a lot of changes to my optics this year and learned a lot. I think a lot of it depends on where, what, and how you're hunting... There is not 1 best optics setup for every situation and every kind of terrain.

I have a buddy that uses 18s almost exclusively on his OTC elk in Colorado where he is just looking for pretty much a legal bull. This is primarily because the country he hunts lends itself very well to this kind of glassing. This last season he said he packed his swaro spotter the first day then left it at home, he can usually tell if they are a bull or not with just the 18s.

However, there are other places out there (like where I elk hunt) that high power binos would be nearly useless, flat country with no good vantage points with thick oak brush... 18s would probably get left in the truck on this hunt..

Almost all of my time is spent behind my 8x42s and a tripod, I only pull out the spotter if I need to check something. Maybe that would change if I had 15s or 18s.. But I think I would still need the spotter for sizing stuff up once I spot it.

My suggestion to you in order of importance is:

1: as suggested above, if you don't already have one, get a tripod and start glassing off of that, (slik tripod with a benro S2 head is a good setup that doesn't break the bank). You'll need it to run high power binos or a spotter, but I use it more with my 8s than anything.

2: Sell your vortex binos and upgrade to the absolute best set of 8s or 10s you can afford. (Watch the classifieds, I scored on a used set of alpha glass this last year, they BLOW my old vortex vipers out of the water.. its night and day glassing behind them compared to my vipers). I 100% believe that this is where you should invest your money first, you will easily spend >90% of your time behind these. Wish I had got into high end glass sooner.

3: Then at this point I would probably buy a spotting scope.. do your research. I recently sold my vortex Razor hd 85mm and bought a Kowa 66mm spotter. I really only use the spotter once I've spotted something to check it out, and the kowa weighs about half of what the vortex did so lugging it around all day isn't as much of a burden. This spotter does everything I need it to do, although without question my buddies swaro is hands down nicer, the kowa is fairly light and gets the job done.

4: At this point I would suggest you demo a set of high power mavens and use them on a hunt or scouting trip and see for yourself if you like them enough to justify dropping the extra money.. I did this recently on a 3rd season mule deer hunt. Maven made it super easy and painless, Just floated the money on a credit card, used the binos for 2 weeks then returned and got refunded all but the shipping.

They didn't have any of their new 15s or 18s available when I did this, so I demoed a set of the B4 12x56s, they were pretty nice, but they didn't offer much advantage for me over my Leica 8x42s. I went back and fourth a lot, and for me 12s do not justify spending the extra money, In fact I preferred glassing behind the 8's. I will likely do the same thing next year with a set of their 15s or 18s (or maybe both) and see if those offer me enough that I can justify dropping the $$..

I will say that packing 8s or 10s on your chest, plus heavy high power binos, a spotter, and a tripod all in your pack adds up fast, and is a pain in the a$$.. I think that the high power binos are the most likely to get left at home, unless the particular terrain or circumstances lend themselves very well to the high power binos like the example I gave earlier about my buddy.

I guess this was a very long winded way to say this.. Good 8s or 10s on a tripod and a spotter is a pretty deadly setup, you can spot A LOT of game with this setup. I think the this should be your starting point, then maybe save up and expand on this with a set of high power binos after, I think of high power binos as supplemental or circumstantial depending on the hunt.
 

Napperm4

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Calgary, AB, Canada
Which vortex Binos and what are you looking for?

Counting inches and trying to asses trophy potential from 1800 yards? Further?

Personally I’ve always been a binocs for scanning / spotter for detail work guy.

I tried a few hunts to lighten my pack without the spotter and was always left needing more. 20x binos were a waste of weight to me because the field of view was terrible, they were dim and useless during the crucial hours.

Went to 15x and while I still use them for flat country prairie hunts, they’re just for scanning from the window mount then I pull up the spotter.

Again they’re heavy, bulky and not near as versatile as a quality spotter.

The choice is easy for me now but I have the practice and might just be stuck in my own ways hahaha.

I’ve found the absolute best combo to me to be 10’s mounted on a tripod or window mount paired with a good spotter capable of up to 40x.

Binos on a tripod changed the way I glass more than anything else. It’s easy to confirm point count and frame size at 1800 yards after some practice and using really good glass.
 

Block

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Nov 13, 2018
Messages
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There’s ALOT of types of hunts where the SwarO 15x56 can’t be beat,,, like mentioned above,,, get a good tripod and head first,.

Eventually you’ll want everything.. a set of 8 or 10s,,, 15s,,, small 50/60mm spotter,,, and a big 80+ spotter/bigeyes ...
 

JustJustin

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Aug 22, 2019
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I have a benro slim carbon fiber tripod with the s2 head. Vortex 12x50 vipers. On my last hunt, I watched coyotes from 700 yards out to well over 1 mile as well as I could guess using line distance on Onx because my rangefinder couldn't range them after 1500 yards. I was able to tell which way their heads were turned near the 1 mile point even though my setup is low-mid price and quality.
Personally, I don't like looking through spotting scopes or even rangfinders because it takes my eyes some time to adjust when I go back to using both eyes. The disclaimer is that I've never looked through alpha glass spotters, but I don't think good glass would solve my dislike for one-eyed gassing.
12x50 binos, rangefinder and tripod is ALL I ever take for glassing.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
 

idahohikker

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Do you want to spot or judge animals over 2 miles away? If so, I'd get a spotting scope. Caveat: if you are really sensitive to one-eyed glassing, go with the big binos.

Earlier this week I spotted nearly 200 animals with my Athlon Ares 65mm spotting scope on a mountain and surrounding ridges in the 1.5-3.5 range. Judged some bigger bucks and bulls as well. It was good reinforcement of the power of spotting scopes under the right circumstances.

If you're in dense timber, just use smaller power binos. If you're not worried about sizing, you could go with the bigger binos in open country. The versatility of the spotting scope is really, really nice though. I use it in areas where I'm more commonly on 15-20 power and other places I need the 45 power. Just turn the dial.
 

Dd61999

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Nov 2, 2018
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Long Island, ny
I find 15/16x perfect for 1800 yards. But everyone is different

Buy various optics and experiment yourself

After all that’s how I found which systems works best for ME.
 

Jorge400

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Cumming, GA
Doug makes a solid suggestion. You'll need a tripod for either of your options anyway, so start there.

Typically, you see 8 or 10X binos paired with a scope. Binos to locate, scope to make a detailed assessment. I have used 15's and they were nice, but I still needed a scope at 30-50X to really make a call. Binocs just can't match a good spotter on the long end.

Jeremy
What they are saying. Your binos on a quality tripod will make a world of difference. I now use my binos predominantly from my tripod and only pull the scope out to really judge an animal if needed.
 

Jalenweyker

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Apr 4, 2019
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Sorry to but in, but I’m in the dilemma of a new optics purchase also now. I got maven B-2’s and a tripod. What would you guys recommend for picking mule deer bedded in the shade with at a mile or so? 15’s-18’s, compact spotted or a full size spotter? Not overtly concerned with weight just want to see if it’s an ok buck not counting inches? In kind of open terrain with draws full of pines that you can see into a little bit
 
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gfreidy

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There’s ALOT of types of hunts where the SwarO 15x56 can’t be beat,,, like mentioned above,,, get a good tripod and head first,.

Eventually you’ll want everything.. a set of 8 or 10s,,, 15s,,, small 50/60mm spotter,,, and a big 80+ spotter/bigeyes ...
I think you nailed this with your answer. The only question would be the priority of each glass and the order to acquire.
 

Jimss

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Mar 6, 2015
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I would pick your binos for spotting and a spotter for field judging. I sheep hunted all summer and it was nearly impossible to field judge bighorn rams at 1/2 mile away with my 20 x camera lens. When I set up my spotting scope and zoomed it to 40 to 60 x I could practically count rings! It would be the same for field judging antelope, muledeer, elk, etc. The only time I would want high power binos is if I have gobs of similar country that I'm trying to pick apart and find critters. Even in that situation I would want a spotter to field judge them once found! You'll have to hike a heck of a lot closer to accurately judge game with 15x binos!

High power binos are easier on the eyes when on a tripod and nice for glassing vast areas. I've been tempted to buy 15 x binos just for those situations but it would mean one extra set of binos to lug around.....as well as a spotter plus my 10x binos when stalking game!

There is no comparison between a high quality 20-60x scope and 15x/20x binos for field judging! A scope wins every time!
 

McCoppin

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Spotting scope + your 10x42 binos for closer range

I wouldn't get another set of binos

Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
 

bwhntMT

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Feb 3, 2018
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SLC Area Utah
For what it is worth, I did a lot of comparing between my Maven 12x50s and a Nikon ED50 13-30x spotter. The binos offered a much larger image than the spotter and I found that 12x binos were basically equivalent to the 50mm spotter at 30x. For me, the spotter has to be 60mm or greater with more than a 30x zoom (while maintaining a good image) to beat out the 12's.
 
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Jorge400

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Nov 15, 2019
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Cumming, GA
Sorry to but in, but I’m in the dilemma of a new optics purchase also now. I got maven B-2’s and a tripod. What would you guys recommend for picking mule deer bedded in the shade with at a mile or so? 15’s-18’s, compact spotted or a full size spotter? Not overtly concerned with weight just want to see if it’s an ok buck not counting inches? In kind of open terrain with draws full of pines that you can see into a little bit
If you are not concerned about weight or cost, get a quality full sized spotter.
 

Block

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For what it is worth, I did a lot of comparing between my Maven 12x50s and a Nikon ED50 13-30x spotter. The binos offered a much larger image than the spotter and I found that 12x binos were basically equivalent to the 50mm spotter at 30x. For me, the spotter has the be 60mm or greater with more than a 30x zoom (while maintaining a good image) to beat out the 12's.
That more speaks to how weak the Nikon is... ^ 15x SwarOs will eat ur Mavens alive and my 50mm KOWA still will show a much better picture at long distances on 30+ zoom than my SwarOs
 
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