Binoculars review: Bushnell Trophy Xtreme 8 x 56

These large bins feel stable, aiding clear viewing

These large bins feel stable, aiding clear viewing - Credit: Archant

Some big new glass from America catches Phill Price’s eye

The rubber eye cups are adjustable for those of us who wear glasses

The rubber eye cups are adjustable for those of us who wear glasses - Credit: Archant

I’m a believer that using binoculars will make you a more successful hunter. I have a pair of fold-up pocket 8 x 20s, and I always make sure I’m carrying my 7 x 40s for the simple reason that they’re just better. Full-size bins offer stability and image quality that compacts cannot match.

In low light conditions, we want the lenses to gather as much light as possible and funnel that into our pupil, which, in theory at least, can dilate to 7mm in diameter. We can learn the exit pupil (the beam of light exiting the bins) by dividing the object lens size in millimetres by the magnification.

The designers of the Bushnell Trophy Xtreme clearly understand this well. 56/8 = 7. Voila! The perfect size to fill our eyes.

The 8 x 56 has been the classic stalker’s binocular on the continent for decades, famed for having the ultimate last-light performance, exactly the time when our quarry tends to be most active.

It’s clear that Bushnell has built the Trophy Xtreme to take the hard, outdoor life, guaranteeing them to be fully waterproof, even if immersed, and by giving them a tough rubber coating to add grip and absorb the knocks.

They’ve moulded the contact points to be very ergonomic, which is important in a binocular that will be used for extended periods. To aid this, the large, centrally-mounted focus wheel moves freely and is large enough to be used with gloved hands, something that matters during the colder months. It’s geared to be fast, so you don’t need much movement to focus from near to far.

The price you pay for using big lenses is big weight, and at 2.4lbs you soon know you have these around your neck. However, they’re about on par for the course for bins in this category.

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The most important test for me was image quality, and with all the effort Bushnell has put into the lenses and coatings I was hoping for something special. During daylight, the image was bright and crisp, even on dull, overcast days, but to be honest, any binocular at this price should deliver that without question.

The acid test is in low light conditions. Only the best glass and coatings can deliver those precious extra minutes as the sun sets. Searching darkening areas of the shady woodland floor for squirrels, I was happy with the performance and spotting woodies coming in to roost at last light showed just what these big lenses can do.

Overall, they’re a serious contender for anybody looking for some high-quality bins in this price range.


8 x 56: £463.99

12 x 50: £370.99

10 x 50: £335.99


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