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Leupold binoculars

Leupold Santiam 15x56

When I started hunting, my mentor told me that the only pair of binoculars you will ever need is a decent pair of 10x50s. However, after my first Coues deer hunt in Southern Arizona, I realized that ten power binos just weren’t going to get it done. Back then,the availability of bigger optics were limited, I believe only three companies made a 15-power option.
Fast forward ten years, and the 15 power bino is a staple in the optics community. However, being spoiled for choice can cause some difficulty in finding a pair that will fit your needs the best. I know most everyone reading this is looking for a comparison between the big glass offerings, and that will come with more time in the field behind this glass.
Leupold is the latest player in the optics community to introduce a pair of 15 power binoculars. The Santiam BX5 15x56 may be their first venture into the bigger optics field but they certainly are no stranger to building quality optics, and it truly shows with these binoculars. At $1,399.99 MAP the Santiams make a great option in the sub $2,000 price point.

My first impressions of the Santiams were that they are stout, well-made binoculars. At 3.2 pounds, they are a little heavier than both the Zeiss Conquest and Vortex Kaibab at 2.14 pounds, and the Swarovski SLCs at 2.11 pounds. Don’t let their weight scare you off though, the optical quality more than makes up for it.
The optical quality of Santiams are very impressive. Once mounted to our tripod, with our stud and bino adapter, the 231-foot field of view is very usable out to the edges of the binoculars.The depth of field and resolution ranks high in the big glass field. After glassing with them all day, I didn’t feel the effects of eye fatigue that I have experienced with other 15 power offerings on the market in this price range. Eye fatigue can make or break a day of hunting. It is hard to stalk an animal you have located feeling the effect of a headache caused by sub-par binoculars.
Even though my experience with the Santiams has been limited to one day in the field, I can say with confidence that Leupold’s venture in to the 15-power market is a true competitor in its class. So this season if you are ready to take the leap into big glass ownership, the Leupold Santiam should be on your short list of choices.

By Jake Rush

The Leupold Santiam

Purpose-built for picking out distant Coues deer and sheep on distant ridgelines

Get the Leupold BX-5 Santiam HD 15x56
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