Did you ever own a pair of Bausch and Lomb binoculars? The Elite models they used to make aren’t the same as those in the Bushnell binoculars Elite series, but there is a relationship between the two companies.
Bushnell acquired the rights to producing Bausch and Lomb binoculars decades ago. They continued to make them until the early 1990s. Now Bushnell binoculars makes its own Elite models which are what we’ll look at here.
There are three Elite models.
- Compact 7×26 (#620726)
- Standard 8×42 (#628043ED)
- Standard 10×42 (#620142ED)
Just in case you are unaware, I’ll explain those numbers with the “x” in the middle.
The number before the “x” actually goes together with the “x”. It is the magnification power of the binoculars. So the Compact set magnifies objects 7x (that is, 7 times the actual size).
The smaller Standard pair magnifies 8x, and the larger magnifies 10x.
The last number in the string is the size of the objective lens in millimeters. The objective lens in the larger one farther from your eyes.
The larger this lens, the more light can enter the binoculars. That is important for the quality of the image you will see.
The Compact Elite binoculars has a 26mm objective lens, and both of the Standard models have 42mm objective lenses.
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You can click a heading in the table below to jump to that section of interest. Otherwise, you can keep scrolling down to read all the details.
What Are the Significant Features of the Compact Bushnell Binoculars?
Since the Bushnell 7×26 model is classified as compact, I’m sure you’re wondering how light they are. They weigh just 12 ounces!
You shouldn’t get a sore neck or tired shoulders, even if you wear them for several hours. When you hang them around your neck using the strap that’s included, you’ll barely know they’re there.
These binoculars are not waterproof or fog proof, but the accompanying case is waterproof. Keep the case handy if you are walking near any significant amount of water.
The Porro system prism BaK-4 glass is fully multi-coated which is just about the best you can get. Though not waterproof, the lenses do have RainGuard® HD which is water-repellent.
You’ll be able to hold on to your compact binoculars more easily than some because the surface is textured, not smooth. They should feel nice and comfortable in your hands. Being so lightweight, you probably can master them with just one hand quite often.
You can’t mount these binoculars on a tripod, but since they are so light, why would you want to? Compact binoculars just aren’t meant to be mounted that way.
The center focus mechanism lets you see targets as close as 7 feet. The left-to-right field of view is an impressive 363 feet at the standard distance of 1000 yards. So if you’re using these to spot objects far away, you should quite easily be able to find them. They just won’t be magnified quite as much as when viewed through a standard pair of binoculars.
At the eyepiece end, you will find twist-up eyecups, eye relief of 16mm, and an exit pupil of 3.7mm. All of this should be suitable for most people who prefer to wear eyeglasses when looking through binoculars.
This Bushnell Elite Compact 7×26 binoculars are an excellent choice if you want a lightweight set and don’t need high-powered magnification.
What Are the Differences Between the Bushnell 8×42 and 10×42 Binoculars?
Now let’s take a look at the Bushnell Elite Standard 8×42 and its bigger brother the Bushnell Elite Standard 10×42 models.
These two models are virtually the same except for their magnification factor, overall size, and the few features that are affected by those things. We’ll also take a quick look at the similar features here, so you have a complete picture of what you’re getting with the Elite standard models.
The most important difference is the 8x magnification in model #628042ED and the 10x magnification in model #620142ED.
For many uses, 8x is strong enough. A model that is 10x can sometimes weigh significantly more, which is why users may avoid them.
The weight difference here is just half an ounce or so. The 8x weighs 25.7 ounces; the 10x weighs 26.1 ounces. That’s a difference of just 0.4 ounces – less than half an ounce.
The field of view is a little wider at 330 feet with the 8×42 model compared to just 314 feet with the 10×42. Those 16 feet are probably not going be the deciding factor between the models though. At a distance of 1000 yards, 16 feet doesn’t seem like much. You’ll notice the 2x magnification difference much more.
The last two features that are different between these two Elite Standard binoculars are eye relief and exit pupil. For the 8×42, eye relief is quite long at 19.5mm, but 10×42 also has a respectable 15.5mm relief.
The exit pupil of the 8×42 is 5.25mm, whereas the 10×42 gives you 4.2mm. Again, this is not likely going to be a deal breaker for one or the other pair. I won’t go into the significance of an exit pupil here. If you really need to know more about it, you can check Eagle Optics description here.
One additional point to note, even though it’s not a feature as such, is that the Bushnell Elite 10×42 binoculars did win Optics Planet’s Brilliance Award back in 2015. If that makes you tilt more toward the larger pair, that’s great.
How Do The Standard Models Compare to the Compact Model?
These standard size binoculars do have a few advanced features not found on the 7×26 compact model described above.
Besides making the glass fully multi-coated, they have Bushnell’s XTR coating which is their version of dielectric coating – a feature that brightens your view. In addition, they have Bushnell’s own PC-3 which is phase coating that enhances resolution and contrast.
You can tell that Bushnell has done everything in their power to make the glass in these binoculars the best it can be.
Bushnell (Legend review) says these binoculars have an “Advanced Fusion Hybrid Lens System”. I’m not sure what, if anything, that really means, but they claim over 99% of the light that enters the objective lens will pass all the way through the system.
They also have ED Prime glass, as suggested in their model numbers. ED Prime is extra-low dispersion glass which, again, improves your view. It gives more concentrated direction to the light as opposed to letting the light disperse in multiple directions.
These models are waterproof, fog proof, and dust proof, thanks to the O-ring seal on each tube. No matter what type of weather you carry these through or what type of terrain you pass over, these binoculars should still be able to serve you well.
The tubes themselves are parallel due to the roof prism system inside. With fewer pieces inside (as there would be with a Porro prism system), these binoculars can weigh less than comparable Porro prism binoculars.
Since these binoculars are a little more substantial than the compact Elite, Bushnell does provide tripod mounting capabilities. This is always handy for those long sessions where your arms would otherwise simply become too tired or cramped to continue viewing.
The close focus of the standard Elites is just a foot further out, at 8 feet, compared to the compact model. For most purposes, that is still an acceptable distance.
Those of you who have different vision strength from one eye to the other will appreciate the locking diopter on these standard models. You can adjust the focus length one tube differently from the other initially and then focus both, as usual, using the center focus mechanism.
Finally, with both the 8×42 and 10×42, you get a rubber-armored chassis made of magnesium. This outer surface is scratch-resistant. Not that you should be careless with a high-quality piece of optical equipment, but should someone bring a sharp object in contact with them, they will probably be none the worse for the encounter.
You also get a soft carrying case, a microfiber carrying bag, and a neck strap. These storage components are really useful because – let’s face it – you’re probably going to be setting them aside for more hours than you’re going to be using them.
The neck strap may be satisfactory for your usage. Some users elect to get an even nicer strap or a harness because they spend many hours at a time toting them around and simply need something more comfortable to wear.
Who Are the Bushnell Elite Binoculars For?
Bushnell’s website lists all three of these Elite models under the Hunting, Tactical, Wildlife, and Spectator categories. That suggests they think anyone and everyone can use these binoculars.
You may find this is the case in your particular situation, but it seems to me that these are especially suited for the wildlife area, in particular, bird watching.
You could make a valid argument for any of the other areas as well, and I’m sure that’s what the folks at Bushnell did that before they put them in all four of those categories.
If you’re heavily into hunting, tactical situations, or spectator sports, though, you probably have found a different and better solution for your viewing.
The name Elite suggests that these binoculars are either near or at the top of the line. However, based on the price point alone, you can see that this likely is not the case. All three of these binoculars, 7×26, 8×42, and 10×42, are actually at the lower end of that spectrum.
That is not to say that these are cheap binoculars of the throwaway type. These are still quality models, just not high enough that they should be considered the cream of the crop.
That might be just what you are looking for! You might want a really good pair of binoculars that isn’t going to set you back too much.