Re: Best all around spotting scope?
The way I see it, there are some considerations that will dictate the scope you should get.
Mobility - are you using them from one position, near a vehicle, or for hiking and climbing. My impression of big-eyes is that they are for situations that don't involve a lot of hiking, climbing etc. vs a rugged, smaller packable scope that will go into a backpack.
Optical quality - there are junkers, good spotters and superb spotters - your pocketbook will have to decide that one. If you are going to use it a lot the best optics are much easier on the eyes and really do offer performance that the others cannot.
Last might be versatility - not sure that I would use big-eyes at the range, prefer a smaller scope beside me on the bench.
Don't get me wrong, big-eyes serve a purpose, particularly for extended-use type hunting and shot-spotting. My 78 ED is a big scope, but I figure it is worth the bother to pack along on hunts. Wouldn't want anything bigger tho.
ED or non-ED - definitely worth it in my opinion. I have seen my ED Fieldscope blow away all of the current big name non-ED models - the owners admitted that their scope was not as sharp and bright under field condidtions. On several hunts the guides flat-out took over the ED scope, left theirs at camp.
I guess marketing dictates that Swarovski, Nikon etc. offer both non-ED and ED versions - under optimum light conditions the difference is not always as apparent as when the light is poor or when looking at a dark object against a dark background for instance.
Not sure that this will help with your decision, good luck.