First, how do you plan to hunt? The field of view comes big into play with the thermals. If you plan to only sit in a deer stand and cover one feeder, then the FOV is not as big a deal. But if you spot and stalk or plan to set up calling on multiple spots, having a large field of view is very important. During the off season, we drive around scanning in a Polaris or on top of the cab of a truck for pigs, yotes, rabbits, you name it. When scanning like this, having a large FOV is very important. And when you want to zoom in, you can and your FOV decreases for a close up of your target, if you want.
I run a Pulsar XP38 Trail (Link HERE)
1.2x-9.6x, which is amazing. It has a very wide field of view of 16.3 degrees, which is decently wide. And 1.2x to 9.6x magnification is PLENTY!!! I scan on 1.2x, and engage on 1.2x most of the time. If I have time, I'll zoom in to 2.4x, and engage. But most of the time I'm on 1.2x. When you zoom in, the image quality does degrade some, and I like the larger FOV to see more once the shooting starts and animals start to run all directions.
The Apex XQ50 (Link HERE)
is a great scope. But it only has a 7.5 degree FOV, which is less than half of the XP38. Both thermal scopes have amazing high def quality image. When night hunting, you find yourself scanning around looking all the time. The larger field of view allows you to see much more area and not get tunnel vision in the scope.
I night hunt a lot, and I hunt with guys who night hunt 10x more than I do. Most of us run the XP38 Trail, and some run a $8K-$10K thermal. For the money, the Pulsar XP38 Trail is the way to go. I have had several of the FLIR models, and they don't compare the the Pulsar units.
Just FYI, I have a brand new Pulsar XP38
for sale in the classifieds. It is a very good scope for the money, no doubt.