Seven years ago this month I reviewed the original Bushnell PowerView binoculars. For the most part, those Bushnell binoculars models are still available today, but you could argue that they’ve also been replaced by the PowerView 2 line. Maybe Bushnell is still trying to sell off the originals because they weren’t all that great, relatively speaking.
In any case, I’m not going to rehash anything about the original PowerView binoculars here. What I will do is give you an overview of all the other current lines (including PowerView 2) that Bushnell offers. Here, in a loose ranking from “worst” to “best” are those product lines. (I included the original PowerView in this list for completeness.)
- PowerView 2
- H2O (new)
- Spectator Sport
- Fusion (rangefinder)
For most lines, I’ll just show you a representative model, as opposed to every model available. Some lines only have two models, so you’re still getting 50% of the line there. I’ll also be skipping the Fusion rangefinder and ending with the Nitro and Forge tandem.
The H2O line deserves a little attention up front. Bushnell has blended an older H2O line with a newer one. They have similar models in each. For example, there’s an older 8×42 model and a newer 8×42 “waterproof” model. Both models are actually waterproof (hence the “H2O” name), but the newer models have better waterproofing as well as fully multi-coated lenses. I’ll be discussing only the newer models below.
- 1 Bushnell PowerView 2 Binoculars
- 2 Bushnell H2O Binoculars
- 3 Bushnell Spectator Sport Binoculars
- 4 Bushnell Prime Binoculars
- 5 Bushnell Legacy WP Binoculars
- 6 Bushnell Marine Binoculars
- 7 Bushnell Trophy Binoculars
- 8 Bushnell Engage Binoculars
- 9 Bushnell Legend Binoculars
- 10 Bushnell Binoculars – Nitro and Forge
Bushnell PowerView 2 Binoculars
I’ll be going into a little more detail here because this is one of the lines that has multiple styles that I think you’ll want to see.
The only differences from one model of Bushnell PowerView 2 binoculars to the next are the power, the lens size, the overall style, and the specifications related to those items. There are no real features (like coatings) to speak of because the PowerView 2 line doesn’t include them. But that’s all you should expect in a pair of tubes that costs about $60 at most.
Here is a list of all the PowerView 2 models and those differences (not the specs, like FOV, size, etc.).
|PowerView 2 Model||Chassis||Prisms|
All of these models have just multi-coated (not fully) BaK-7 lenses. None of them have special coatings or ED prime glass. If you want such features, you’ll have to move up to another (Bushnell) line.
Finally, here is what to various styles look like. The first three are all compact, roof models.
And here is the tiny folding roof pair and the a full-sized model.
As of this writing, all but the 8×42 binoculars are available at Amazon. Bushnell labels those as “new” yet, so I imagine in time vendors will post them for sale there too. For now, you can get them at the Bushnell site.
Bushnell H2O Binoculars
If you like the price point of the PowerView 2 models but want better prisms (BaK-4), waterproofing (IPX7) and fully multi-coated lenses, then you should take a look at the newer H2O models.
H2O binoculars come in these sizes.
Using the button below, you can get to a listing that includes both the 8×42 and 10×42 models.
And using the next button, you’ll find both the 8×25 and 10×25 models.
Bushnell Spectator Sport Binoculars
Bushnell Spectator Sport binoculars have one advantage over all others in this list. They have the Permafocus, which keeps objects in the distance permanently in focus. As these are intended for use as sporting events, you can perhaps see how this could be useful.
Unfortunately, that’s just about the only “bonus” feature they have going for them. They do have BaK-4 prisms, but they only have IPX4 waterproofing, and the lenses are not fully multi-coated.
They also come in (mostly) what I’d call non-standard sizes.
In addition to the 8x32s shown above, you can get 7×35, 4×30, 10×40, 10×50, and 12×50 models. At the link below, you can see all these sizes, plus an 8×25 that isn’t even shown on the Bushnell site! This is probably the last set of binos, as we move up the price line, for which you’ll find mainly sub-$100 models.
Bushnell Prime Binoculars
The Bushnell Prime binoculars line is a little harder to find for sale outside of the Bushnell site than are most models. Theoretically, 8×32, 8×42, 12×50, 10×42, 10×28, and 10×25 models should be available.
Feature-wise, these appear to be identical to the (new) H2O line with just one addition, EXO Barrier protection, which is supposed to repel water, oil, dust, and debris and prevent scratches. You’ll have to judge whether the increased price justifies this protection or not.
Bushnell Legacy WP Binoculars
The Bushnell Legacy WP line includes just a 10×50 model and a zoom 10-22×50 model. This is the first 10×50 model with fully multi-coated lenses. It’s also the first zoom binoculars in this list. I’m not 100% sure, but I think the “WP” just stands for “waterproof”.
Size and zoom capability are really the only benefits of these models. Other than BaK-4 lenses and waterproofing, they don’t have any of the other features mentioned earlier.
Bushnell Marine Binoculars
Much like the Spectator Sport line, the Marine 7×50 and 7×50 rangefinder are special-purpose binoculars. These are intended for use on the open sea, especially where salt water is found. They are resistant to corrosion and have lower magnification, at just 7x, that make them easier to use on the waves.
The rangefinder model also has a built-in, illuminated compass.
Bushnell Trophy Binoculars
Here we have a mixed bag, and there are only 2 models in the bag. The Trophy 10×42 has dielectric prism coating and ultra wide band coating. The monster 8×56 model has instead phase coating – maybe. On that last point, the Bushnell site disagrees with itself, and I have no other reference to confirm or deny it.
Bushnell Engage Binoculars
When looking at the Bushnell Engage line, you have to pay attention to whether it’s an X, DX, or EDX model. As you might suspect, DX is better than X, and EDX is best of all. An Engage X model, only found as a 10×42, has the EXO Barrier protection applied. DX models (10×42 and 12×50) have the addition of dielectric coatings. EDX models (the common 8×42, 10×42, 10×50, and 12×50) have all the above plus a locking diopter, phase coating, and ED glass!
For DX and EDX, you’ll find other sizes in the same Amazon listings.
Bushnell Legend Binoculars
I kinda hope the Bushnell site is just showing inconsistencies that are incorrect. If not, the binoculars in Bushnell Legend line shouldn’t all be in the same group. As it stands, the small 10×25 Ultra HD model is supposedly the only one with phase coating and ED glass. The 8×42 model is the only one with both dielectric coating and a locking diopter, and the other three sizes (10×42, 10×50, and 12×50) just have the locking diopter.
All the Legend binoculars have ultra wide band coating, Rainguard, fully multi-coated lenses, and good waterproofing.
Then again, the Legend series has always been a mess as you can see here. I think, with the exception of the Ultra HD 10×25, these are all newer models than the old E, L, and M types…but I’m not sure. I’m not even going to link you to Amazon for these because I think the vendors there aren’t too sure of what they’ve got either.
Bushnell Binoculars – Nitro and Forge
Finally, we come to the Nitro and Forge lines. The only differences I can see between the two lines are the color of the chassis (black for Nitro, tan for Forge) and the size. Nitro comes in 10×25 and 10×42 models, whereas Forge gives you a choice between 8×42 and 15×56.
As top-of-the-brand lines, these come with all the bells and whistles Bushnell could bestow upon them.
- BaK-4 prisms
- IPX7 waterproofing
- Locking diopter
- PC-3 Phase coating
- Dielectric coating
- Ultra wide band coating
- Fully multi-coated lenses
- ED Prime glass
- EXO Barrier protection
If, after all that, you still don’t think a pair of Bushnell binoculars is for you, then check out Vortex next.