TopTenREVIEWS - Bronze Award - Awarded for excellence in design, usability and feature set

David Bushnell is the man that started Bushnell Optical, which is one of the leading binocular providers in the United States. When the company first started, it was known for selling affordable binoculars. They still have cheap ones but they also offer more advanced and expensive ones as well. One of their top of the line binoculars is the Bushnell Elite 8x42, the winner of our TopTenREVIEWS Bronze Award.

This great pair of binoculars has several extra features that set it apart from the others. Unfortunately, they were neglected in other areas and therefore didn't rank as well as it should. Although price wasn't factored in to our ratings we did notice that it is quite a bit more expensive than most of the other comparable products. Even with that though, many will find it worth it for what they have to offer. This is the strongest area for these binoculars.

Optics/Viewing
Compare
7.3/10
PENTAX DCF CS 8x42
Leupold Northfork 8.5x45mm
Bushnell Elite 8x42
Bushnell Excursion EX 8x42
Nikon Monarch ATB 8x42
Leupold Acadia 8x42
Steiner 8x42 Merlin
Nikon Trailblazer ATB 8x42
7.9
7.3
7.3
6.9
6.5
6.4
6.4
4.8

To just look at the basic information on the optics, the Bushnell Elites aren't really amazing. There are a few necessary things that they have in order to be "elite." BAK-4 prisms for example which aren’t uncommon but are always important. Another one is the fairly short close focusing distance of 2.4 meters. That isn't as close as the Celestron Outland LX, which can focus on something that is about a meter closer than that but it's still pretty good.

One of the best things that these binoculars have going for them are their coatings. The lenses are fully multi-coated which helps optimize light transmission for a brighter image, as well as enhance contrast and clarity. Bushnell's own XTR Technology utilizes 60 layers of coatings on each prism get the most out of coatings. The best part about that is that they claim 99.73% light transmission per lens. This is exactly what you want from the lenses in your binoculars. The more light that can get through the lenses, the brighter and clearer you'll see through them.

Features
Compare
9.5/10
PENTAX DCF CS 8x42
Leupold Northfork 8.5x45mm
Bushnell Elite 8x42
Bushnell Excursion EX 8x42
Nikon Monarch ATB 8x42
Leupold Acadia 8x42
Steiner 8x42 Merlin
Nikon Trailblazer ATB 8x42
9
9.5
9.5
9
9
9
9.4
8.8

Another Bushnell special feature is their ED Prime Glass, which is included into the Elite 8x42. This fluorite glass has a very low light dispersion. Like lens coatings, this type of glass helps you to get better color resolution and contrast. It also almost completely gets rid of aberrations that take away from the detail needed in low-light circumstances. This along with the XTR Technology makes for a powerful combination that will deliver a superior viewing experience.

These are the things that truly set these apart from others, but the rest is still important. With both sides, you'd have truly amazing binoculars but it would probably cost even more. As it is, they are pricey but you get great optics, which is the most important thing. The only real drawback to the optics is the narrower field of view. It is the same as the Eagle Optics Ranger SRT, which is about 10 to 30 meters less than most others.

Portability
Compare
7.3/10
PENTAX DCF CS 8x42
Leupold Northfork 8.5x45mm
Bushnell Elite 8x42
Bushnell Excursion EX 8x42
Nikon Monarch ATB 8x42
Leupold Acadia 8x42
Steiner 8x42 Merlin
Nikon Trailblazer ATB 8x42
8.4
6.5
7.3
7.8
8.8
8.3
7.3
8.1

Like we said, magnesium is fairly light but didn't stop the Elite 8x42 from being somewhat heavy comparatively. The 2 to 4 ounces more may make a difference on a long hike or something but really shouldn't make a huge deal. That is the one portability drawback to these binoculars. Everything else is pretty good. They're small and come with a carrying strap. That makes it nice for packing around as well as carrying it on your person.

Help/Support
Compare
6/10
PENTAX DCF CS 8x42
Leupold Northfork 8.5x45mm
Bushnell Elite 8x42
Bushnell Excursion EX 8x42
Nikon Monarch ATB 8x42
Leupold Acadia 8x42
Steiner 8x42 Merlin
Nikon Trailblazer ATB 8x42
7.8
8.5
6
6
7
8.5
7.3
7

Bushnell took a little bit of a hit on this one because they don't have email support yet. They assured me that it is something in the works. It'll be nice once that is going though because email is usually more convenient unless you need questions answered "right this very second." Even then, you still end up being on hold which is no fun. It was pretty quick and painless with Bushnell which made up for the lack of email somewhat but it's still an issue.

Bushnell Elite 8x42 Summary:
7.8/10

If you're willing to spend a little more, the Bushnell Elite 8x42 binoculars are good way to go. They have almost all the necessary base stats. On top of that, they have included their own extra technologies to help enhance your visual experience. Bushnell is a good company that has been around for a while now. There is a good reason for them being one of the leading manufactures and they are bound to satisfy with your binocular hobbies and activities.

 
 
 

Bushnell Elite 8x42

Pros
There are 60 layers of coatings on each prism.

Cons
There is no email support.

The Verdict
: 7.75/10

It is a typical flashy product that is good but not amazing.