I have a leupold gold ring hd and I love it it is extreamly crystal clear and it is also small and compact and fits in a pack nicely.It is a 12 to 40X and I have no trouble looking at very long distances to judge animals and the clarity stays through the whole magnfication range. It has served me well over 3 years so far with no problems at all and if I had to get another spotting scope I would get one of these again anyday.
To what use will you put the spotting scope? If for hunting, IMHO an 80mm of any brand will be too heavy. Look for a light weight 45-50mm objective lens that will fit in a back pack.
My spotting scopes are used in long range competition. I have a Leica 77 Televid zoom lens 10-60 and a Leitz with same lens and 80mm objective. Both are around 25 ounces, and will resolve bullet holes at 600 yds., WHEN CONDITIONS ARE OPTIMUM.
There are many good spotting scopes out there and the price range is around $85 to $4,000. Obviously, cheaper scopes may not deliver when you need them. You need to select carefully. And, be careful of used foreign made scopes. Most do not extend the factory warranty to a subsequent buyer. My Leitz was purchased used, and is in Germany riight now for repair at a cost of $965.
I can't tell you what spotter is the best but I have a new Swaro 80 HD w/25-50 wide angle eye piece that is just ok. Had the non HD STS80 w/20-60 first, wasn't happy, sent it back upgraded to the HD with the 25-50 and I can see minimal difference. I've read the straight 30x eye piece gives the best clearity and I think I'm going to try that next.
Doug at Camera Land had some great buys on last year’s model of Leica spotting scopes... and I saw a 20-60x 77mm Televid at Bass Pro for a grand... What a buy! Buy once - cry once. NJS P.S. He may have some Swaro's too....
I use the Leupold HD 12x40 as well. This is a real nice scope with very clear optics. The overall weight isn't too bad for packing but there are days when the mileage adds up and I wish I had one a little lighter. I stay with this one though because I hate to compromise with the clarity of these optics.