The Elite e2 8×42 is the flagship, top-of-the-range binocular by Bushnell and one can understand quite clearly why this is the case. They have really gone overboard and packed in all their latest patent technology into this instrument, including ED Prime Glass and “Advanced Fusion Hybrid Lens system”, XTR Technology (prism coating), PC-3 Phase Coating and “Ultra Wide Band Coating”.
Quality wise this is as good as it gets as far as Bushnell is concerned.
Lenses: Bushnell used ED Prime glass for the lenses and applied their “Advanced Fusion Hybrid Lens system”, which contributed substantially to an incredible 99.7% light transmission per lens. The result is an unmatched (according to Bushnell) edge-to-edge clarity, contrast and color-true imagery.
Prisms coatings: The BaK-4 optical glass used for the prisms is standard, but it’s the layers of coating on these prisms which sets the Elite e2 apart from the rest: They applied their revolutionary XTR® Technology, which is 60 layers of coatings on each prism!!
So, the combination of the ED Prime glass used for the lenses, the “Advanced Fusion Hybrid Lens system” and the XTR® Technology applied to the prisms results in an incredible 99.73% light transmission through the optical system, which is, according to Bushnell, hands-down the best available.
Other coatings: On top of all this, Bushnell has also applied some coatings to enhance brightness and clearness of the images delivered to the eyes, as well as color fidelity. PC-3® Phase Coating is applied to the prisms to enhance resolution and contrast for the brightest and clearest images possible. Ultra Wide Band Coating is applied to all the lenses. This is an anti-reflection coating process that is customized for every lens element in the optical path, in order to allow the best possible light from the front glass all the way back to the eyepiece.
Weatherproofing: In addition to be fully waterproof and fogproof (which is standard for all good binoculars), the Elite e2 8×42 also boasts the new Bushnell Rainguard HD (like the new Legend Ultra HD 8×42). The Rainguard HD is a hydrophobic (water-repellent) coating on which condensation from rain, fog or snow forms in much smaller droplets than on standard coatings. Smaller droplets scatter less light, which results in increased light transmission and a clearer image. Makes the binocular useful even when looking directly into the driving rain.
Compared to the Legend Ultra HD 8×42:
Apart from the better optics, the Elite e2 8×42 is better than the Legend Ultra HD 8×42 in only one aspect: Eye relief: It has an eye relief of 19.5 mm. as compared to the 17.2 mm. of the Legend Ultra HD 8×42.
Comparing these two and finally choosing between them should not be so difficult. The price difference is too big to be ignored; the listed price of the Elite is $286 higher than that of the Ultra HD and the difference in street price is about $180. That’s quite a lot of money extra to spend. The Legend Ultra HD 8×42 is an excellent instrument in itself and it’s selling at a huge discount at the moment at Amazon.
The Elite e2 8×42, is really the best Bushnell can bring to the table. Will you be willing to pay that extra $180 for those very special features discussed above?
At 8×42-binoculars-400 the Elite e2 8×42 is compared to four other binoculars in the same price range.