We’ve used 12x binoculars almost exclusively for over a year, having switched from the excellent Swarovski SLC 15×56 binoculars. It’s not that the 15s are wrong, as the thousands of hunters that rely on them to find Western game animals will attest. It’s just that the 12s offer a few advantages over the 15s, making the switch very much worth it.
When animals are moving in the early and late hours, the easiest way to find them is by noticing motion. The extra field of view through 12x optics gives you more area to find moving animals than 15s. And still enough magnification to determine whether you’re looking at a male or a female. 12x optics also won’t weigh you down as much as the 15s. And finally, though you need a tripod to use 15s, you can (in limited amounts) hand-hold 12s.
So, a little over a year ago, we swapped our SLCs for 12x50s… and we honestly haven’t looked back.