Bushnell Binoculars Review

When you think of fast-food, you think of McDonald's. When you think about motorcycles, you might think of Harley.

Products become synonymous with the brands that sell them.

For binoculars, there are few other brands that have the same quality, name recognition, and customer loyalty as Bushnell.

Best Binoculars for Hunting

That is the name that picked up Binoculars of the Year honors every year from 2011 to 2014.

The company was founded and named after David Bushnell who graduated from USC with a degree in business and established an import/export company founded upon the concept of trading in low-priced manufactured goods from around the world.

It was while on his honeymoon that Bushnell became fascinated with a pair of binoculars shown him by a Japanese counterpart.

Bushnell Binoculars

Bushnell Binocular Models

Never mind the options available for specific models, just the choice of categories can be intimidating if you don't know exactly what type of product you are looking for.

Are you needs going to be covered by Bushnell's Elite line? Can you get by with an E, L or M series binocular from the Legend category or are you going to need to upgrade to something from the Legend Ultra HD option?

Don't run away in panic to the local Army/Navy store to snap up one of those heavy leftovers from the Vietnam War era.

Bushnell is to be commended for delineating in a succinct and precise manner the differences between not only their various binocular categories, but the specific models within those categories.

The categories listed below represent only about half the models manufactured by Bushnell:

Bushnell Elite Binoculars

Bushnell Elite Binoculars:

Perfect for outdoor use even when the lighting grows dim, the clouds grow dark and the fog gets thick.

Bushnell Excursion HD Binoculars:

Tough and resilient, yet lightweight enough for all that robust use when you need to stay focused on a wide field of vision no matter the weather conditions.

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Binoculars:

These binoculars have won various industry awards over multiple years. These binoculars have been voted the best binoculars for hunting by all the industry heavyweights.

Bushnell Legacy WP Binoculars

Bushnell Legacy WP Binoculars:

When your budget for outdoor thrills does not leave enough left over to invest in Bushnell's top of the line models, the rubber grip and waterproof lenses of the Legacy series will keep you outside until you feel you enjoyed every last dollar you spent getting there.

Bushnell H20 Binoculars

Bushnell H2O Binoculars: 

If most of your enjoyment of the great outdoors takes place on the water, choose from the appropriately named H2O models constructed expressly to remain firmly gripped in your hands and out of the water whether fishing from rowboat or sightseeing from a cruise ship.

Bushnell Marine 7x50 Waterproof Binocular

Bushnell Marine Binoculars:

These binoculars are hermetically sealed, nitrogen-purged and resistant to the corrosive effects of saltwater. The ideal binocular for seafaring vessels of any type.

Bushnell Off Trail Binoculars 

Bushnell's Off Trail models offer extremely lightweight binoculars while also providing you with a quality image free from the effects of rain and fog either on the way there or on the way back.

Bushnell Spectator Line

This line of wide field-of-view binoculars is specifically geared to spectators of sports and other large-scale events. They range from just over 9oz to just under two pounds.

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD

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Initial Impressions of Bushnell Legend and Legend Ultra HD Binoculars

The Bushnel Legend Series comes in 3 level, E, L, and M.

  • The E Series is the lowest of the 3 (but that doesn't mean it's not good!). 
  • The L Series takes the E series then takes it a step further by adding features such as ED Prime glass and a locking eyepiece diopter.
  • The M Series takes it another step further as they go for maximum brightness and clarity. In the M Series, you'll find a Dielectric coating which ensures high color reproducibility and 92 percent light transmission. 

They essentially took the Legend Ultra HD, and made lesser versions of it to make it more affordable to fit a wider variety of buyers.

The initial impression one gets looking at a pair of binoculars made by Bushnell, more than half a century later, is one based on the realization (or the reminder) that binoculars sure have come a long way since those heavy black utterly artless war surplus ones you borrowed from your dad when you were a kid.

But, you ever notice how the same type of product made today feels flimsier and--yes--more cheaply made than the exact same type of product manufactured in, say, the 1960s? Even though you know today's model can do so much more than those older versions, you still can't help but feel you're being cheated on the quality somehow, right?

That's another area where Bushnell's binoculars depart from the norm. Those military-style binoculars you used to lug around as a kid almost certainly weighed at least two pounds and may well have exceeded three pounds.

Despite the fact that few of Bushnell's binoculars get anywhere near the two pound mark, they don't feel cheaply manufactured.

Combined with their futuristic design, ergonomic comfort and streamlined casing for packing in the latest advancements in state of the art binocular technology, Bushnell has managed to avoid one of the most common pitfalls of gadgetry innovation.

There are obviously a lot of different variants between the E, L, and M lines in different sizes, but here are a few of the most popular.

Bushnell Legend E, L, and M Specifications

You'll notice that most of the specs are identical, since it's the same size binocular. The difference is in the features.

Bushnell Legend E-Series Bushnell Legend L-SeriesBushnell Legend M-Series

Size

8x42

Size

8x42

Size

8x42

Eye Relief

18 mm

Eye Relief

18 mm

Eye Relief

18 mm

Field of View

426 ft/1000 yds 142m/1000m

Field of View

426 ft/1000 yds 142m/1000m

Field of View

426 ft/1000 yds 142m/1000m

Close Focus

6.5 ft

Close Focus

6.5 ft

Close Focus

6.5 ft

Prism

BaK-4

Prism

BaK-4

Prism

BaK-4

Weight

23.5 oz / 666g

Weight

23.5 oz / 666g

Weight

23.5 oz / 666g

Size Class

Standard

Size Class

Standard

Size Class

Standard
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Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Specifications

The Ultra HD is going to have a bit better specs overall. Here are the three most popular Ultra HD Binoculars by Bushnell.

Bushnell Legend Ultra HDBushnell Legend L-SeriesBushnell Legend M-Series

Size

10x36

Size

10x25

Size

8x36

Eye Relief

14.4 mm

Eye Relief

15.5 mm

Eye Relief

15.4 mm

Field of View

341 ft/1000 yds 114m/1000m

Field of View

285 ft/1000 yds 95m/1000m

Field of View

426 ft/1000 yds 137m/1000m

Close Focus

6.2 ft

Close Focus

6 ft

Close Focus

6.2 ft

Prism

BaK-4

Prism

BaK-4

Prism

BaK-4

Weight

20.7 oz / 588g

Weight

8.1 oz / 230g

Weight

20.7 oz / 588g

Size Class

Mid-Size

Size Class

Compact

Size Class

Mid-Size
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Bushnell Excursion HD Video – Watch Below

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Bushnell Excursion HD Specifications

Bushnell Excursion HD 8x42Bushnell Excursion HD 10x42

Size

8x4210x42

Eye Relief

15.5 mm15.5 mm

Field of View

341 ft/1000 yds341 ft/1000 yds

Close Focus

6.5 ft6.5 ft

Lenses

Fully Multi-coated OpticsFully Multi-coated Optics

Weight

23.5 oz23.5 oz

Dimensions

7 x 6.1 x 3.47 x 6 x 3.4
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Bushnell Elite Binoculars Video – Watch Below

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Bushnell Elite Binocular Specifications

Bushnell Elite 8x42Bushnell Elite 10x42

Size

8x4210x42

Eye Relief

19.5 mm15.5 mm

Field of View

330 ft/1000 yds314 ft/1000 yds

Close Focus

8 ft8 ft

Lenses

Fully Multi-Coated & XTRFully Multi-Coated & XTR

Weight

25.7 oz26.1 oz

Dimensions

8 x 3.5 x 8.5 inches7.5 x 6.6 x 3.9 inches
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Eyepieces

Bushnell Binoculars EyepiecesFor some, the value of a pair of binoculars comes down to one thing: the eyepiece.

If the eyepiece doesn’t fit, you are much more likely to quit.

The specifics of Bushnell’s eyepieces vary not just from line to model but even from one model to next within that line.

Differentiation may be justified on the basis of the specific intended use or it may be a cost-effective decision.

For instance, half the models that make up the “birding binoculars” in the NatureView line feature a roof prism system in which the eyepiece lines up directly with the lenses.

The other half are constructed with lens offset from the eyepiece characterized by the porro prism system. That ratio roughly applies to the collective entirety of Bushnell’s selection of binoculars.

Less common are those models with eyepieces featuring a locking diopter.

This feature allows for the adjustment of either the right or left eyepiece.

If your vision is poorer in one eye than the other, the locking diopter can become be the difference between casual use of binoculars and becoming almost obsessive about never leaving home without them.

Bushnell Marine Binocular Video – Watch Below

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Bushnell Marine Specifications

Bushnell Marine 7x50Bushnell H20 7x50

Size

7x507x50

Optics System

Fully Multi-coated BaK-4Fully Multi-coated BaK-4

Field of View

367 ft.325 ft.

Close Focus

3529.5

Eye Relief

18 mm20 mm

Weight

37 oz.34.5 oz.

Dimensions

9.5 x 8.7 x 3.9 inches7.4 x 3.2 x 8.2 inches
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Focusing Capabilities

Bushnell Binoculars FocusThe locking diopter would certainly be a boon to the world of focusing binoculars were it make standard equipment, but even on those models lacking this feature, Bushnell offers a wealth of options when it comes to the job of bringing distant images into sharp relief.

For many of those who have struggled vainly to enjoy all the pleasures that viewing through binoculars can bring because they just can’t seem to perfect the art of manipulating the focus, the single most word to look for on the Bushnell site is Permafocus.

Any of Bushnell’s line of binoculars that take advantage of this trademarked innovation will remain in perfect focus without any need for adjustment on your part.

Never again experience the disappointment of not being able to see through your binoculars what all those around you see because you just can’t quite work that little focus wheel.

Visual Clarity

The high quality of Bushnell construction ensures a clarity of vision across the entirety of the company’ product line that can well be considered the industry standard.

Within that standard, however, are those models taking advantage of Bushnell’s exclusive XTR technology that improves clarity exponentially.

The secret to this high definition lies in the 60 layers of coatings applied to each of the model’s prisms.

The higher the quality of the coating on that prism, the more light successfully passes through.

The more light that gets through, the clearer the image. Bushnell models with XTR technology enjoy light transmission figures of 90%.

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Low Light Conditions

Your enjoyment of peering at the world through binoculars under less than ideal lighting conditions will be heavily dependent on the line and model you choose, but again Bushnell has positioned itself as a standard-bearer.

Which means if you pick the right model for the conditions you expect to face, you should be able to see things in low light that you wouldn’t see using another brand.

Or you could just look for any Bushnell model made with ED Prime Glass.

The ED stands for extra-low dispersion on glass manufactured specifically for the purpose of reducing the kind of fluctuations in color that as it passes through that can significantly inhibit image clarity under low light conditions.

Overall Viewing Experience

Just as your first impression of Bushnell’s state of the art binoculars can be colored by the level of your experience using binoculars, so can the overall viewing experience.

Bushnell Binoculars Hunter

 

Bluntly stated, picking up a pair of this company’s top of the line models is akin to never having used binoculars before in your life.

No matter what kind of binoculars you may have had as a kid in the 20th century, you cannot be prepared for the experience of looking through one of Bushnell’s binoculars available today.

From the streamlined and sometimes almost weightless tactile experience of holding them in your hands to the stunning clarity of what you see through the lenses to the potential to quite literally drop them into the middle of the ocean and still be able to use them to perfection again two minutes later, Bushnell is definitely the name that means quality.

Durability

You don’t have to plunge for the Marine line to be satisfied with the durability of Bushnell binoculars.

Just how ruggedly resistant to accidents and careless use the binoculars eventually turn out to be will depend on the model you choose, of course.

Don’t expect to enjoy the quite the same protection against either the elements or clumsiness from those models designed for leisurely birding as you would from the Trophy line geared to the more active pursuit of hunting prey for the kill.

One signal that you are dealing with a pair of binoculars Bushnell has marked for toughness: the protection offered by Dura-Grip rubber.

The Verdict

Bushnell Hunting BinocularsSometimes those brand names that become synonymous with a certain product are not exactly universally admired.

After all, even if a million people believe a wrong thing, it is still a wrong thing.

If you gave the issue some thought, you could probably name at least a couple of products that are intricately associated with a single company that you find to be thoroughly lacking in the quality one would expect from such an association.

Bushnell and its binoculars are not very likely to be one of those examples.

Here is a case the where the tie between brand recognition and the actual quality of the product being manufactured is justifiably strong.

If Bushnell only sold binoculars that looked good, felt comfortable and met the expectations required of certain conditions, that would be enough to remain loyal to the brand.

What really sets the company apart and truly justifies long-term loyalty is their commitment to constant innovation and technological advancement.

When a company is not satisfied to rest on its laurels and seeks to improve the consumer experience, that company deserves to be the industry standard by which others are judged.

Bushnell Binoculars Review Binocs
Bushnell Binoculars Review
5.0
Constant innovation and technological advancement!
Bird Watching
ratelima
Outdoor Sports
ratelima
Hunting
ratelima
Wildlife Observation
ratelima
Marine Use
ratelima
Bushnell have provided high quality optics across the entire range of binoculars for a long time.  Its due to this long term dedication for great innovation that we've given Bushnell our highest ever rating!

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