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Binoculars review

Bushnell Elite 8x42 ED

11 April 2013
Optyczne.pl 
The Bushnel Elite 10x42 pair of binoculars performed very well in our big 10x42 instruments test, done back in 2006. Since that time there have been a lot of changes introduced to this series. As a result the casing is completely new and the producer started to boast about using ED glass in the objectives which is supposed to improve the chromatic aberration correction.

The Elite series binoculars are Schmidt-Pechan roof prism devices. Their prisms, made of BaK-4 glass, are phase-coated and they feature one dielectric surface which is supposed to ensure the highest amount of reflected light.

All air-to-glass surfaces of the tested binoculars are covered by XTR multilayer coatings (in fact the producer boasts of as many as 60 layers of those) so the transmission amounts to 99.73% on one air-to-glass surface. What’s more, the outer elements are covered by hydrophobic RainGuard® HD layers which task is to prevent the dirt from sticking to optical elements. The casing of the lens is made of magnesium alloys and covered by high quality rubber. It is also nitrogen-filled, rain- and splash-proof and its body is submersible to a certain degree. Buyers get a hard case, a strap and caps for objectives and eyepieces in the product bundle.

Pictures
  • Lornetka Bushnell Elite 8x42 ED
  • Lornetka Bushnell Elite 8x42 ED
  • Lornetka Bushnell Elite 8x42 ED
  • Lornetka Bushnell Elite 8x42 ED
Manufacturer data

Manufacturer:

Bushnell
web site

Distribution / Sales:

Militaria
web site

Magnification Lens diameter Angular field of view Prisms Eye relief Weight Price
8 42 110/1000(6.3o) BaK-4/roof 19.5 mm 728 g 2449 PLN
Results of the review
Real front lens diameter Left:   42+/- 0.05 mm
Right:  42+/- 0.05 mm
8 / 8.0 pkt
Real magnification 8.08+/- 0.05x 3/3.0
Transmission 86+/- 1.5% 14/25.0
Chromatic aberration Slight in the centre, a bit lower than medium on the edge. 7.6/10.0
Astigmatism Slight. 7.2/10.0
Distortion The distance of the first curved line from the field centre compared to the field of vision radius: 46% +/- 3% 5/10.0
Coma Occurs in the distance of about 80% from the field centre and is medium at most on the very edge. 8.2/10.0
Blurring at the edge of the FOV The blur appears in the distance of 78% +/- 5% from the field of vision centre. 5/10.0
Darkening at the edge the FOV Imperceptible. 5/5.0
Whiteness of the image Good. Slight surplus of red light. 3.9/5.0
Collimation Perfect. 5/5.0
Internal reflections
Left: Right:
Bushnell Elite 8x42 ED - Internal reflections - Left Bushnell Elite 8x42 ED - Internal reflections - Right
Low.
4.2/5.0
Housing Shapely and handy but makes an impression of a solid instrument. Good quality rubber of the padding sticks well to your hands. There are thumb grooves. It is comfortable to look through. Rubberized eyecups with smooth regulation. The rubber next to the objectives sticks out visibly. Produced in Japan. 7.5/8.0
Focusing Big, corrugated central wheel, with the working range of 440 degrees. It moves a bit irregularly, a bit heavier near the minimum focus distance and looser by infinity. The joystick for individual focusing is situated next to the central wheel. Nothing moves outside. 4.8/5.0
Tripod There is a tripod exit but a bit difficult to reach. 2.5/3.0
Interpupilary distance from 58.4 to 74mm 5/6.0
Closest focusing distance 1.92 meters. 2/2.0
Eyepieces FOV Apparent field of view of 51.1 deg (according to simple formula) and 48.1 deg (according to tangent formula). 4/20.0
Field of view Measured by us amounted to 6.33 +/- 0.04 degrees and was a bit larger than stated in the specifications. A narrow field for such a class of equippment. 5/8.0
Quality of the interior of the barrels Inner tubes black but definitely too shiny. Gray bottom. Isolated particles of dust. 3.3/5.0
Vignetting
Left: Right:
Bushnell Elite 8x42 ED - Vignetting - Left Bushnell Elite 8x42 ED - Vignetting - Right
OL: 1.95%, OR: 5.98%
4/8.0
Prisms quality High quality BaK-4. 8/8.0
Antireflection coatings Greenish- blue on objectives, greenish-purple on eyepieces, green on prisms. Medium intensity. 4.5/5.0
Warranty [years] 30 5/6.0
Final result
69.3%
131.7 / 190 pkt
Econo result 0pkt.

Summary


Pros:
  • compact but solid casing,
  • good transmission,
  • well-corrected chromatic aberration,
  • slight astigmatism,
  • negligible coma,
  • moderate distortion,
  • unnoticeable brightness loss on the edge of the field of vision,
  • dark area around exit pupils,
  • correct whiteness rendering,
  • good quality of coatings and prisms, made of BaK-4 glass,
  • good warranty conditions.

Cons:
  • narrow field of view,
  • truncated exit pupils.


When it comes to the field of view and the price of the tested Bushnell Elite 8x42 ED, it is directly comparable to such pairs of binoculars as the Kowa 8x42 BD42-8, the Pentax DCF 8x43 ED or the Docter 8x42 ED. In the following chart you can find a comparison of the parameters of those instruments.

The shortest summary of our test could be like this: the Bushnell, being noticeably better, is only a bit more expensive than the Kowa. What’s more, it is significantly cheaper than the Pentax and the Docter and just a tad worse than those two. It seems it fits very well the medium and top price shelf of 8x42 class of binoculars. You must pay for it a bit more than for the Kowa but you are sure the optical properties will be better. If you cannot afford the most expensive Docter and the Pentax, the Bushnell is really an interesting option. All of it is true providing that two basic flaws of the tested binoculars don’t worry you.


Bushnell Elite 8x42 ED, Docter 8x42 ED and Nikon HG 8x42.

The first of them is the field of view which amounts to 6.3 degrees – in an instrument with the magnification ratio of 8 it doesn’t impress at all. However, if a producer decides to use such a field it should be corrected in a perfect way. Bushnell constructors didn’t manage to do that - for example the degree of distortion correction or the field curvature should be considered as just moderate. The second problem – truncated exit pupils – means that several percent of light, so diligently gathered, simply don’t reach your eyes. Pity, because those several percent are exactly the reason why different producers employ better and better anti-reflective coatings; by the way in the case of the tested Bushnell the coatings work perfectly well, providing quite sensible transmission and colour rendering.


In our 8x42 binoculars rankingthere was a small gap between 125 and 131.6 points. The Bushnell Elite 8x42 ED filled it very nicely - compared to more expensive and only slightly better instruments it is a good price/quality compromise; it can be also an interesting option if you want to save money providing you don’t care about a narrower field of view and you want to have a high quality pair of binoculars produced in Japan.