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Spotting Scope Review: Bushnell Elite 15-45x60mm Military Version

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Old Wednesday 14th May 2008, 13:14   #1
photobiker07
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Join Date: May 2008
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Spotting Scope Review: Bushnell Elite 15-45x60mm Military Version

This scope has been around for a long, long time, but it's under the Bausch and Lomb name. I wonder why there are no reviews about for such a long-running and decent scope. I will have a crack to write the first detailed review of this scope online.

Anyone has more information or experience regarding this scope please add to it. I know good optics but I'm new to the spotting scope world.

Background information:
I got mine at opticsplanet.com for $259.95 (Free shipping) I ordered it Tuesday night and received it Friday about 2pm. Kudos to Opticsplanet.com.

http://www.opticsplanet.net/bushnell...e-781548p.html

(Realized the price is different, and I ordered it exactly a week ago! Whew!)

I appreciate good optics as an amateur photographer. However, I am short on cash as a young teacher so I try to go for the best bang for bucks. After a yearlong research, I have decided on this scope because this scope has been made for a very long time (old wisdom: only good things can withstood the test of time), and this scope has an excellent reputation. The sales at the time put it below my price range ($300 or less).

I used a Winchester 60mm spotting scope before. It was so bad I refunded it with only one use.

http://www.opticsplanet.net/vanguard...scope-kit.html

Moral of the lesson: never go cheap with EVEN spotting scope. It takes more resolution than I thought to spot little holes.

First impression:
I ordered the military version, which ships in a Styrofoam shell with bubble wrap and a clear plastic bag around the scope and nothing else. The scope itself doesn't have any Bushnell logo on it. At the aluminum block where the tripod thread located, it says "Made in Japan". That is good news..

The scope seems well made and feels tough. It is rubber-claded beside the eyepiece section. Fit and finish is impeccable.

Testing and Picture Posting:

Ergonomics and handling:

The scope has a rubbery hinge style objective lens cap on it. It takes a little practice to open the cover without the entire objective lens cap assembly falling out. There is a hard plastic "cup" that protects the eyepiece, focusing knob and zoom knob.


The control feels quite stiff at the beginning, but with some usage it lightens up in couple of days. It's somewhat difficult to focus well at the highest magnification. With a sturdier tripod and some practice, it does get easier.

There are no rubber eyecup for the eyepiece, which is a good thing for me as I wear eyeglasses and I would have folded them up anyway.

I am planning to add a UV filter on it to maybe enhance the picture quality and for protection, maybe even a sunshade.

It weights 1lb 11 oz. with both the objective and eyepiece caps on. So, it's lighter than my Nikon Action 10-22x50 binos. The straight tube design makes very easy to store in my range box or lug around in my backpack. Unfortunately, for those who wish to have an angled scope, this one is not for you.

Indoor usage:
I have a make-shift Airgun range (my dinning area) in my apartment which is about 22ft apart. Although the minimum focus distance for this scope is 30 ft. but it is still quite usable at 22ft. My apartment is quite well lit so it's not much of a challenge to see .177 holes at that range (for any scope).

Outdoor:
I did the "dollar bill at 100 yds" test similar to www.snipercountry.com. In fact, this scope is simiar in design with the Nikon Spotter XL spotting scope. The link for the result of that scope test is below:
http://www.snipercountry.com/InRevie...tingScopes.asp

I just look at various objects at various lighting condition. The optical clarity is good and the eye relieve is good even for eyeglasses wearer like myself. However, taking off the glass is still the best action in order to obtain the best quality at the highest magnification (45x). The optics does have a slight green hue to it which is especially pronounced at lower lighting. Fringing is minimal at all lighting condition and magnification.

I did some digiscoping with it. However, the optical clarity is much better than what it is in the pictures. I just hold the camera with my hands close to the eyepiece and use a very high shutter speed (usually in the neighbor of 1/200-1/1000) and use macro mode to get as much sharpness as possible.

Bird at 44yds (at 45x):
http://filebox.vt.edu/users/hyau/Bus...rd05142008.jpg

Electric Meter at 53yds (at 45x):
I can read the readings off the meters.
http://filebox.vt.edu/users/hyau/Bus..._53yds_exp.jpg

An orange catalog at 267yds (at 45x):
The catalog closeup:
http://filebox.vt.edu/users/hyau/Bus...loseup_exp.jpg

The catalog at 267 yds:
http://filebox.vt.edu/users/hyau/Bus...267yds_exp.jpg

Extra picture of a sign that is about 14-16 wide at the same distance:
http://filebox.vt.edu/users/hyau/Bus...7yds_2_exp.jpg

Tree at about 406yds (at 15x, 30x, and 45x): It was quite windy that day and the tree was swaying.

http://filebox.vt.edu/users/hyau/Bus...ds_15x_exp.jpg

http://filebox.vt.edu/users/hyau/Bus...ds_30x_exp.jpg

http://filebox.vt.edu/users/hyau/Bus...ds_45x_exp.jpg

The moon (at 15x, 30x, and 45x): It is fun to take the moon pictures, and it is the most satisfying of them all for some reason.

http://filebox.vt.edu/users/hyau/Bus...08_15x_exp.jpg

http://filebox.vt.edu/users/hyau/Bus...08_30x_exp.jpg

http://filebox.vt.edu/users/hyau/Bus...08_45x_exp.jpg

Target at 100yds (at 45x):

Target closeup:
http://filebox.vt.edu/users/hyau/Bus...132008_exp.jpg

Target at 100yds:
http://filebox.vt.edu/users/hyau/Bus...2holes_exp.jpg

Same picture, but cropped to just the target only at full resolution of the camera:
http://filebox.vt.edu/users/hyau/Bus...s_ZoomCrop.jpg


Range Use
The scope is easy to setup and use. I can spot .22 holes very well when the holes are in the white, and spot holes in the black with some effort.

Conclusion:
At the price I got it, it is very hard to beat. Only areas of weakness I can think of is lack of a detachable eyepiece for serious digiscoping. Also, for those who needs extremely close focus (20ft or less) will not find it useful. Finally, it is a straight

Last edited by photobiker07 : Wednesday 14th May 2008 at 13:17.
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Old Thursday 15th May 2008, 21:53   #2
Fernando np
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"Made in Japan" only inform you than the quality control has been made there. Whitout any experience with that spotting scope. The design looks as rational than I think is underused. US Optics has a model I'd considered as a light alternative for travelling. I haven't find any comparative yet.
The B&L usually rates over the alike Nikon in the online forums.
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Old Thursday 15th May 2008, 22:05   #3
photobiker07
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fernando np View Post
"Made in Japan" only inform you than the quality control has been made there. Whitout any experience with that spotting scope. The design looks as rational than I think is underused. US Optics has a model I'd considered as a light alternative for travelling. I haven't find any comparative yet.
The B&L usually rates over the alike Nikon in the online forums.
En Espanol por favor. Lo siento, no complando tus Ingles. Hablo poco Espanol.
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Old Thursday 15th May 2008, 22:55   #4
lucznik
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Your Spanish isn't any better than his English.

I think the point Fernando np was trying to make is that simply being labeled "made in Japan" is not really a difinitive mark of high quality. So too, a "made in China" label is not inherently an indication of poor quality - after all, the Nikon ED50 is made in China and it, by all accounts, is supposed to be the best thing to come along in spotting scopes for a very long time. It's all a matter of quality control, not geography.
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Old Thursday 15th May 2008, 23:35   #5
photobiker07
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My mere effort of trying to be understanding. By no means I was trying insult anyone. I'm an ESL person myself and last I had Spanish was 10 yrs ago in High School... When I don't understand I believe I have the right to ask for clarification. If I can't understand it myself, I have a few Spanish friends that can help me. There are still good intentions in this crazy world.

I understand geography was not the definitive indicator of quality, but Japanese products DOES have a reputation of good quality.

The QC things only part of what Fernando was trying to say, I think he has more content other than that. I value others' opinion and that's why I ask questions.

Last edited by photobiker07 : Thursday 15th May 2008 at 23:57.
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