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Bushnell Elite 20-60x80 ED Spotter

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/12/2009 at 10:19
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Optics Master
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Has anyone seen/looked through this spotter?  I'm wanting top end performance at a non-top end price tag (don't we all).  Anyone have an opinion on this, or what would be the absolute best spotter available for $1000 or less?  Thanks.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/12/2009 at 11:39
lucytuma View Drop Down
Optics Jedi Knight
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We do have a member with that scope, he'll be along to answer your questions shortly.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/12/2009 at 13:16
lucznik View Drop Down
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I've posted this before so; I'll just quote myself rather than retype everything...

 
[quote=lucznik]I want to first emphasize that I believe the Elite is a highly underappreciated spotting scope.  Is it "as good" as a Swarovski STS 80, a Leica Televid, or a Zeiss Diascope?  No.  But, the differences are so very slight that, in my opinion, they don't make any real, practical difference. It wasn't that long ago that the 80mm Bausch & Lomb Elite spotting scope was referred to by the "experts" as one of the "super spotters."  Even then it was made by Bushnell and just branded with and marketed under the B&L name. Then, around 2005 or so, B&L got out of the sporting optic’s market and so; Bushnell had to re-brand everything with their own name.  It is still the same scope, made in the same factory, by the same people, with the same components, and with the same quality standards as before. The only difference now is that the badge just says Bushnell (well, that and the fact that the scope has been upgraded to include Bushnell's RainGaurd coatings). But somehow, in the minds of many, that Bushnell badge causes the scope to lose some of its quality.  I say "hogwash" to that.  This year I was able to do some "head to head" comparisons of my Elite against a hunting buddy's STS 80.  I didn't walk away from that with any sense that I "needed" to upgrade to the Swarovski. In fact, I found the Swarovski to be rather disappointing.

 

So, here is my basic take on it:

 

Bushnell 20-60x80 ED Elite (Mine is the straight model.)

 

Pros

  • Excellent image quality (helped greatly by inclusion of ED glass.)  Image is bright, flat, and optical abberations are very, very well controlled.  Color fidelity is excellent.
  • Lightweight (relatively speaking) The 80mm Elite is only 4 ounces heavier than the 65mm Swarovski (once you attach an eyepiece - which most people find necessary).
  • Inexpensive (again, relatively speaking).  I spent $650 on mine with the zoom eyepiece included. Current retail price for this same scope is $670.
  • Excellent accessories.  Stay on case and objective lens cap are both very nice. The eyepiece cap is just a plastic cup but, it fits tightly, stays on until you intentionally remove it, and does its job of protecting the glass from scratches.  What more can you ask for? 
  • Optional camera adapter (+ appropriate T-ring) allows the spotting scope to connect directly to a DSLR making digiscoping that much easier.  Cost ~ $80. Digiscoping with a point-and-shoot camera is also possible and made much easier with the use of one of several brands of "universal adapters."  These can be found at many shops, including SWFA; sometimes for as low as $50.
  • The retractable sunshade is very useful.

Cons (Of course there are some - you do have to give up something for the price difference.)

 

  • Fields of View (both real and apparent) are fairly narrow (real FoV = 98 ft @ 20x and 50ft @ 60x).  At the higher magnifications (> 49x) this is even a bit narrower than the oft-maligned Nikon Fieldscope 82. In real-world, actual-use applications however, this doesn't bother me and so I was happy to make the trade in favor of the more-than-$1500 in savings I received as compared to other so-called "Alpha" scopes.  Optional fixed magnification eyepieces (of 22x and 30x) are available and offer improved Fields of View. I have yet to buy one of these so; I can't comment on their quality. (30x ~ $100.00 & 118 ft. FoV, 22x ~ $160.00 & 131 ft. FoV)
  • It may be relatively lightweight but, it's still too big and too heavy to pack around very far.  To “fix” this weakness I ended up buying another spotting scope, this time a 15-30x50mm Leupold Golden Ring for use when traveling, hiking, hunting in the backcountry, etc. 

"Niether Here nor There" (Some things are different, even if they aren't "better" or "worse.")

  • Eye Relief is adequate.  I am able to see the full FoV while wearing my glasses and throughout the magnification range but, I do have to get right in close, especially at high magnifications. To be completely fair however, I have had to do this with pretty much every scope I've ever tried, including most high-dollar scopes.  The only exceptions have been the 12-40x6
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/12/2009 at 16:30
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Optics Master
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Lucznik, thank you very much for the excellent review.  Yeah, the Kowa Prominar makes my mouth water, but I just don't want to turn loose of the coin right now.  Your experiences/comments from actual use are much appreciated. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/15/2009 at 21:46
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I also have this same scope.  I love it for the price.  I agree on everything lucznic said about this scope.  If you are looking to hike around with a scope this isn't going to be the scope you want as it takes up a lot of room in your pack.  All in all I love this spotter and don't see myself upgrading for a long time.  Definitely recommend this scope to anyone.  Good luck.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/17/2009 at 13:44
stickbow46 View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
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Same as above,can't say enough good things about it.A terrific review,Thanks  Lucznik.You will need a hefty stand with this scope,try checking out Jim Owens' jarheadtop.com.I have no affiliation with this co,but I am X military & this guy knows what he's talking about...Good Luck
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