Bushnell Elite 20-60X80 ED Spotting Scope (45° Angled)

elite-20-60x80-45Viewing Configuration: Angled
Magnification: 20-60X
Power Variability: Variable
Adjustable Eyepieces: Yes
Eyepiece included: Yes
Objective Diameter: 80 mm
Close Focus Distance: 15 feet
Length: 17 inches
Weight: 53 ounces
Field of View: 98-50 feet/1000 yards
Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: 18 mm/ 4.1-1.4 mm
Optics Coatings: Fully Multi-Coated
Glass: BaK-4
Focus System: Focus Knob/Single Focus
Waterproof/Fog-proof: Yes/Yes
Digiscope adaptable: Yes

Best Uses: Hunting, For the Range, Birdwatching, Wildlife Photography

Our Rating:

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Bushnell Elite Spotting Scope Review

This Elite 20-60X80 45 is Bushnell’s finest spotter with ED Prime glass, fully multi-coated optics, and RainGuard HD. It’s also SLR Camera adaptable, is fully armored, and fully weatherproof.

And, an impressive thing about this spotting scope is its rating. It has a small reviewer base but so far all have given it a perfect score. It seems that this is going to be a trend with the Elite.

I reckon featuring the flagship line in our spotting scope reviews is a righteous obligation, since most of you will want to know about the best that Bushnell has to offer. And, it seems like the Elite is off to a strong start.

But, does buying an Elite spotting scope make you an elitist? Let’s see if you’re good enough to join the special club by reading the Q&A.

PROs:
  • Fully weatherproof
  • Extreme close focus
  • Interchangeable eyepiece configuration
  • Digiscope adaptable
  • High quality optics
CONs:
  • Price

 

Elite 20-60X80 45 Q&A:

Is the Bushnell Elite 20-60X80 camera adaptable?

It is! When you buy the Elite, you know you can use an SLR camera with it to instantly turn it from a hunting tool to a photography masterpiece.

I’ve heard rumors that the adapter used to be included when you bought this Elite model, but I know now that it no longer is. In fact, Bushnell no longer seems to be manufacturing any other sort of accessories such as eyepieces and adapters. Hmm…

 

Does it come with a sunshade?

Not separately. If you’re wondering if one comes in the box, don’t expect to see it.

But, this is supposed to be a high-end spotting scope and it wouldn’t be complete without a sunshade. So, take a look at the objective bell and you’ll see its very streamlined design hides the fact that it has a retractable sunshade.

 

What is its distance ranging capabilities?

Glassing with it will be well beyond 1000 yards. The 20-60X magnification with excellent glass and coatings give it its capabilities of getting that extra long reach that’s needed.

If you’re shooting long distance at the range, you’ll be able to clearly see bullet holes 300 yards plus. Of course, you need to consider atmospheric conditions and mirage that can distort the image, not only the Elite, but in all spotting scopes.

But typically, if you’re a hunter that needs detail for those extremely long distances, the 20-60X will do it for you.

 

What is the Elite’s image quality like?

After about 42X power, your image might start to become a little harder to focus. This is usually typical of a high powered spotting scope, save for the expensive ones from brands that would cost you two to three times more.

Maxing out at the high power range, you’ll start to see some edge “softening” or distortion on the outer 25 percent of the field of view. But, for a spotter that’s under $1000 and that’s all the aberration you’re getting, it’s not a bad deal.

 

Which Elite spotting scope is best for hunting?

While I want to say that this 20-60X is, I’d have to be throwing the more compact Elite 15-45X60 under the bus.

The 20-60X is more field-friendly than the featured 80 ounce Legend Ultra, but it still 53 ounces and is 17 inches long. The compact 15-45X is only 26.5 ounces and 12.2 inches long. It’s definitely more of an on-the-go optic than this 20-60X.

But, the compromise would be the less distance reach due to the lower magnification and the inability to change out the eyepiece. So, you’d really need to evaluate your style of hunting and what your specific scope and yardage needs are.

 

What is the eye relief of the smaller 15-45X60 Elite spotting scope?

It’s a very short 15 mm. This would be okay at lower magnifications, but the whole point is to get more reach than a set of binoculars.

So, if you’re nearing max magnification with this spotting scope, you’re going to have very unforgiving eye relief which results in eye strain/exhaustion, less glassing time, and that notorious red ring around your socket.

This 20-60X80 Elite has long eye relief of 18 mm with twist up eyecups.

 

Is this an eyepiece adjustable scope?

It is! But, there’s a catch. The Elite models come with the 20-60X eyepiece, but there are no other available eyepieces that Bushnell offers.

So, why would they make an interchangeable eyepiece scope if they don’t offer other eyepieces? It beats me. Apparently, Bushnell used to sell this Elite with a fixed 30X eyepiece and the 20-60X eyepiece was also sent in the box. The 30X fixed had better optical quality, but Bushnell has now discontinued manufacturing them.

So, if you’re wanting to try out other brands’ eyepieces such as Alpen Optics that does fit the Bushnell Elite, you do have that option.

 

Is this a high-end Bushnell spotting scope?

It’s supposed to be Bushnell’s pride and joy spotting scope line, and on paper, it has all the right features. But, when it finally arrives, it might be another story for some hunters.

It’s actually mostly made out of plastic with some metal components to it. I guess that’s what makes it lightweight. Although this might not be a big deal to most, it does give off a very cheap, out-of-the-box feel to it.

It also lacks the 2-Speed Dual Focus feature that the Legend Ultra sports!

 

How much does the spotting scope cost?

Well this is actually an interesting answer. It started of in the market a couple years ago at full price of around $1500. Wow.

Today? It’s only about $900 online. Its price has practically been slashed in half. The other Elite model, the 15-45X60, will cost you only about $300 online.

 

Noteworthy Features:

  • Fully multi-coated optics for highest rate of light transmission
  • Porro Prism design for ultimate optical performance
  • ED Prime Extra-Low Dispersion glass to correct for color fringing
  • Sold with protective carry case
  • Fully weatherproof
  • Backed by Bushnell’s No Questions Asked Lifetime Warranty Promise

 

Our Verdict

The scoop on the scope is, we really wanted to love the Bushnell Elite 20-60×80 spotting scope. While it does sport some excellent distance ranging, it has more than a few disappointments as the flagship series. For the price, you might want to think twice.

Thinking twice won’t take you long. You only have to brainstorm as far as the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 20-60 x80. Oh, this is a mouth-drooler, and it’s our favorite! It has everything you could want from a spotting scope, including the ideal price for a quality unit. Check it out if it sounds too good to be true!

Another American favorite optics brand is Vortex. Their Diamondback Spotting Scope 20-60×60 Angled is an entry level unit with expert quality to boot. It’s approximately half the cost of the Elite. For more on why we are rattlin’ about the Diamondback, you need to slither your way over here!

Bushnell has been in optics for eons. If you love their binoculars, riflescopes, and laser rangefinders, then you might just love their spotting scopes too. It makes for a perfect match!

 

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