PROS / There are 60 layers of coatings on each prism.
CONS / It weighs more than some of its competitors at 25.6 ounces.
VERDICT / The Bushnell Elite enhances contrast and clarity with multi-coated lenses and fluorite glass, but its narrow field of vision ranks it right under the best binoculars.
Editor's Note: This review has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it no longer ranks as a top 10 product. The original review is below, but check out our current top 10 about binoculars here.
By just considering its optics, the Bushnell Elites binoculars aren't very impressive given their narrower field of view. However, one of the best features that these binoculars have are their 60 lens coatings and fluorite glass for better color and contrast.
The lenses are fully multi-coated which helps optimize light transmission for a brighter image, as well as enhance contrast and clarity, making them some of the best birding binoculars. Bushnell's XTR Technology uses 60 layers of coatings on each prism, which offers 99.73 percent light transmission per lens. This is exactly what you want from the lenses in your binoculars.
Another Bushnell special feature is its ED Prime Glass. This fluorite glass has a very low light dispersion. Like lens coatings, this type of glass helps you 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.
The lens coatings and fluorite glass truly set these apart from others as you research how to buy binoculars. As it is, they are pricey but you get superior optics, which is the most important aspect. The only real drawback to the optics is the narrower field of view.
The Elite 8x42 is made of magnesium, which is fairly light material but it's heavy when compared to other binoculars we reviewed, weighing in at 25.6 ounces. The 2 to 4 ounces more may make a difference on a long hike but you shouldn't notice it on short trips. They're small and come with a carrying strap so you don't have to carry it in your hand.
Bushnell has email support as well as a phone number to contact customer support. It was quick and painless to get answers to our questions. There is also a lifetime warranty, something you will want if you are a frequent adventurer and want to explore areas with rough weather conditions. The Bushnell website also has plenty of information and technical tips for how to use the binoculars.
If you're willing to spend a little more, the Bushnell Elite 8x42 have most of the features offered by the best binoculars. They have sturdy housing, prime glass, and great lens coatings. On top of that, there are extra technologies that create bright images and contrast.