The guys at Outdoorsmans get asked a variety of optics questions from week to week. Over the years, there are a few questions they get asked repeatedly. People are constantly asking if the 15X optics are worth the weight and investment. “15X optics aren’t for everybody, but they do have their place. Most of the people who buy a 15X binoculars are either guides or outfitters who really want an up close look at what they are watching in the field. That said, more hardcore hunters who don’t make a living guiding are purchasing 15X binoculars because many hunters are looking for that piece of equipment that can give them an edge in the field,” Cody Nelson from Outdoorsmans, explained.
One of the greatest reasons hunters purchase 15X binoculars is because it allows the hunter to cover more ground efficiently. “With a 15x50 or 15x56, a hunter can zoom in and take a good look at a mountain side and see a large area because of the large field of view most 15X optics provide. These binoculars weigh a bit more than a 10X binocular, but most hunters believe having them in a pack is worth the extra weight,” Nelson added.
Most of us are trying to save time whether we are at work or hunting. Using a 15X can save time. “With a 15X, whatever a hunter is looking at is 50% closer than if they were using 10X binoculars. When you think of it that way, most people have that ah-ha moment. Fifty percent is a lot. If a person is good at glassing, they will often find more game with 15X binocular than they will with a 10X. A person can see more detail with a 15X,” Nelson noted.
The first time Nelson shows a customer a pair of 15X binoculars, their response is often the same. “They always say wow, especially if they have spent their life looking through a 10x42 binocular. A 15X provides power and clarity that is amazing. Once a person experiences them, they buy them and never look back,” Nelson said.
A 15X provides power and clarity and are good in low light conditions, which makes them even more user friendly. “We all spend time glassing in low light conditions because that is when animals move the most. A 15X gathers a lot of light so when I am looking for a big bull at last light on a distant mountainside, I often grab my 15X binoculars,” Nelson explained.
A 15X brings objects up close and personal, so guides love them. “Many guides have customers who are looking for a certain size buck or bull. With a 15X, a hunter can look closely at an animal and spend some time scoring the animal from a distance. This can save time because the last thing a hunter wants to do is spend half a day trying to get close to an animal, only to discover it wasn’t exactly what they were looking for. With 15X binoculars, hunters can be fairly confident of what they are looking before even starting the stalk,” Nelson said.
A pair of 15X binoculars isn’t a spotting scope, but according to Nelson, some hunters leave the spotting scope at home when hunting. “A 15X doesn’t bring an animal up as close as a spotting scope, but the image is so bright and clear some hunters who spend countless hours glassing prefer 15X binoculars. Obviously one way a person can cut backpack weight is by leaving a spotter at home and packing the 15X binoculars. It is a great option in some cases.”
If 15X binoculars sound like something you might like, Nelson suggests purchasing a tripod. “Putting a 15X binocular on a tripod makes glassing more enjoyable. They can be hard to hold steady free hand and when a person is glassing for long periods, it is always best to use a tripod anyway. 15's mounted on a tripod will find more game, guaranteed!"
Christmas is coming. There are plenty of reasons in the above article to have a new pair of 15X binoculars on your list.