Gear Review: Leupold BX-5 Santiam HD 12x50mm

May 24, 2021
Tom Harrison

When it comes nearly all Midwestern hunting situations, the Leupold Santiam HD 12X50mm binoculars will fully satisfy. The 12X50s are perfect for the hunter who demands more magnification, but still require a semi-compact set of glasses. The 12-power magnification works wonders in farmland, Great Plains and mountain hunting scenarios, but they are not too much when a treestand or turkey blind is set inside the timber. They are lightweight, rugged and will stand up to the daily demands of all serious hunters. 

The 12X50mm come standard with a built-in 1/4-20 rotateable tripod adapter port that makes it easy to mount on a tripod, the phase-coated roof prisms significantly increase resolution for a sharp sight picture edge-to-edge of the visual field. The guard-ion is a hydrophobic lens coating that sheds dirt and water for a maintenance-free, clear and crisp image, and the high-definition, calcium-fluoride lenses ensure incredible clarity, even at magnified levels. 

The Professional-Grade Optical System offers impressive light transmission that’s designed to fully perform in the most challenging lighting conditions, and the technology reduces glare for clear images in harsh, direct sunlight and comforting application that eliminates eye fatigue. The open bridge, roof prism is lightweight and ergonomically friendly for all-day comfort. 

The glasses weigh 32.1 ounces and measure 6.8 inches.


Low-profile with a big field of view—that’s exactly what I need in a hunting binocular. There are times I rely upon Leupold’s BX-5 Santiam HD 15X56, a large pair of extended-range binoculars, but when I’m headed to the turkey blind or treestand, the 12X50s are my go-to. I love how there’s cutting-edge technology jammed into a smaller package that I can rely upon to gather details at substantial distances, yet still not become aggravated by having an optic strapped to my chest when it comes time to draw my bow or put my chin on my gun stock. 

They’re comfortable to use and wear.

Dependability and durability are factors I am happy to pay for and knowing these glasses, from the eye cups to the lens covers, will stand up to the abuse that I’m known for dishing out is a selling factor. After a season of use, I feel like Leupold went to great lengths to produce a set of glasses that are an essential piece of gear you can’t leave at the truck. If I were to only keep handy one pair of binoculars for scouting, hunting and/or shooting, this is the pair. They fill all needs in each situation, and I will turn back to get them if I’ve forgotten them in the truck.

Again, with most pairs of hunting binoculars, the extendable eye cups seem to be the first thing to break, but not these. I can count on years of use without concern knowing the Santiams improved on a regular aggravation other hunters just accepted as normal wear and tear. These are not cheap, but again, you get what you pay for with hunting and shooting optics. Spend the money and you’ll be a customer for life. 

Leupold knocked it out of the park with their Santiam series. 

The glasses are available in a subtle yet sharp gray finish.

MSRP: $1,199.99

Gun Talk Newsletter

Stay Informed!

Get the latest updates on new videos, articles, giveaways, deals and more.
Your privacy is important to us.

First Name:
Last Name:
Yes, I would like to receive communications from Gun Talk Media.