Originally, I was going to make this category “under $1500”, but decided to stretch it out by another hundred bucks because of one scope:
Vortex Razor HD 20-60×85. This spotter is available for $1600 street price and I dare you to look at it side-by-side with Leica/Swaro/Zeiss and tell me if they are better. The optical quality of this spotter is astounding. I suspect that 88mm Kowa may be marginally better in terms of resolution. I also suspect that the new Leica Televid HD might have a touch better contrast. However, those scopes cost about twice more and I am not sure that I would be able to see the difference even side-by-side.
There are a few other spotters in the in the $900 to $1600 range that are worthwhile and I will list them mometarily, but if you are looking for ultimate image quality, save up for the Razor HD.
If you are not quite ready to shell out that much money, I suggest you take a look at Pentax PF80 ED with either one of XW eyepieces or with SMC Zoom. That will cost just under $1200 and you will be rewarded with superb image quality.
Before I get lynched by people who like Nikon’s 82mm Fieldscope: I detest the eyepiece on that otherwise excellent spotter.
Also, in the $1200 range, Zen-Ray ED2 20-60×82 is absolutely superb for the money. This is probably the best bang for the buck among full-size spotters at any price. It lacks the eyepiece variety of the Pentax, but if a zoom 20-60x works for you, give it a look.
If you do not care too much about water-resistance, but do care about low light performance in a compact package, Optolyth’s collapsible 15-45×80 scope is worth a look. At 15-20x, this is a superb low light spotter.