I bought my Bushnell 8x42's near the start of my round the world trip in Tasmania, a land full of weird and wonderful creatures of every description, and I found the compact 7x25 pair I took with me, very lacking (tried to pack light!), plus I had to take my glasses off to use them (very anoying!), so I went into Hobart to a photographic shop I noticed a few weeks earlier, and checked out the range they had!
I had dealt with a variety of optics before, telescopes, rifle scopes, camera lenses and bino's, and I know that you usually get what you pay for, a pair of Lieca or Swarovski's at £1000 would have been lovely, but for two things, one, I couldn't afford them, and two, I would be too worried about carrying them around on my trip and loosing them!
Here are my Bushnell's, with a very large Goliath Bird Eating Spider (Theraphosa Blondi), from my trip to the Amazon Jungle. Apparently, the bite from the 1 inch fangs on this female is only like a wasp sting for us humans, but is deadly to it's preferred diet of mice! (still wouldn't want to get
tagged by one though!)
I knew roughly what I was looking for, a compact waterproof pair of 8x42's, an ideal range of magnification and light gathering, too much magnification and you have trouble holding them steady, not enough objective lens (the big end!) and they will struggle to allow enough light in for a clearer picture, 42mm gives a good field of view without being too bulky, and lets the maximum amount of light through to the exit pupil when combined with the 8x!
The kind lady in the shop allowed me to take each outside to try (I must have an honest face!), I started at the lower end of the market, which weren't much better the 7x25's that I already had, then I came to a pair of Bushnell Natureview binoculars, I took one look through them........and I was sold!, it was quite simply the clearest edge to edge picture I have ever seen other than through Lieca or Swarovski's, and although they were slightly larger than I wished for, the picture clarity more than made up for it. I looked at more expensive ones as well, some over the £300 mark, but none even came close to the Bushnell's.
The cost of the Bushnell Natureview binoculars was about £150, far below their performance rating, the difference between these and a pair costing 6 times as much, is of course the quality of glass, which in turn produces better low light capabilities, and to be honest, the differences for the likes of you and I, are negligible and more than adequate, mine having paid for themselves many times over! They are covered with thick rubber armouring, have a central quick focus wheel, and a very handy close minimum focus distance, the eyepieces are comfortable for prolonged use plus they quickly twist out for non glass wearer's, and come with the usual strap and case.
Two of my good friends have looked through these Bushnell's, and gone out and bought a pair, one of them already owns a pair of Lieca's and a pair of Zeiss, and wanted a good cheaper pair to keep in his truck, both were very impressed with the picture quality for the price!
I must tell you how much enjoyment these Bushnell's have given me and others on my trip, countless times I showed fellow travellers all manner of amazing things through them, whales, dolphins, sharks, rays, wombats, platypus, paddymellons, quolls, snakes, lizards, insects, birds, the moon and of course, some awesome landscapes. Some had never even looked through a pair of binoculars before, so you can imagine their amazement when I showed them things through the Bushnell's, the only trouble was............... getting them back again, Lol!!
One sighting just above Queenstown in New Zealand was very special, I knew instantly what it was when glassed through the Bushnell's, as I had just spent 3 months in Tasmania where I saw lots of them, a Sea Eagle catching some thermals way above our heads, then I suddenly realised that New Zealand only has two native birds of prey, the NZ Falcon and a Harrier, so quite excitedly I took some not so good photos and later reported it to the local Department of Conservation, I was put in touch with a ranger who dealt with these sorts of things and it turns out that it might be the very first such sighting of a Sea Eagle in NZ!........how cool is that? (and yes, I did have witnesses!)
New Zealand Falcon
Bushnell 8 x 42 Natureview binoculars available here