Bushnell's best compact will amaze you as soon as you see the brilliant, crisp images the Elite 7x26 delivers. Take the Elite Custom Compact to the theater or on vacation; the more you use it, the more you will appreciate its excellent performance. Bushnell covers the Elite binocular with a limited lifetime warranty.
Fully Multi-coated Lenses
Increase light transmission with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces.
Optimize light transmission.
Reverse Porro Prisms
Generally offer a rich depth of field, compact design, and three-dimensional image.
Is sturdy and resistant to corrosion.
Provides a secure, non-slip grip.
Twist up and down for comfortable viewing with or without eyeglasses.
Center Focus Wheel
Adjusts both binocular barrels at the same time.
Right Eye Diopter
Adjusts for differences in a user's eyes. Located by the right eyepiece.
Wanted easy-to-transport & lightweight compacts with good optics for travel (when not really serious birding--have upscale bins for dedicated birding excursions.) These can never deliver the same results--but believe I'll enjoy the convenience. Only negative I can discern is that they tilt outward from my body, which makes me nervous. Also, the included strap was impossible for me to attach--I'm a small mature person--had to use an old strap after trying for a couple of hours to open the tiny ring to insert strap.
Best by Far
Brad from Cary Illinois
Recieved my Bushnell Elite Custom Compact 7x26 binos 2 weeks ago from Eagle Optics.I am thrilled at the quality and user friendliness. I am a stickler for quality and these are far and away the best in class! I have a developing cataract in my right eye and the diopter on these actually adjusts for it whereas others do not. I also have the 1970's model which I thought could not be improved upon, but these are definitely a step up! Well worth the $$ and a joy to use!
THE 50+ YEAR GOLD STANDARD FOR COMPACT BINOCULARS
Andy from Centre Hall, PA
Bausch & Lomb's Bushnell Division, back in the 1960's got it right, when the first Elite 7x26 Compact was introduced. NASA was so impressed that the 7x26 Elite Custom was on every Gemini space mission. As a testament to that original single-coated model, little has changed except for the fully multi-coated lens w/ Rainguard HD. The reverse Porro prism optics allows for jaw-dropping clarity, as was evidenced the first time I put them up to my eyes. They weigh a light 12 oz. and with the perfectly placed thumb indentations, they fit into one's hands as if they are an extension of them. Outstanding 16 mm eye relief & an over-sized 363' FOV sum up the features that make these binoculars a perfect traveling companion for nature observation and sporting optics. Bushnell's Elite Lifetime Limited Warranty on materials/workmanship are for the life of the binocular. And Bushnell's 110% Bulletproof Money Back Guarantee promises complete satisfaction or a full refund of purchase price. What's not to like?
DAVE from Canada
Not cheap these pocket size reverse porros have been regarded as the standard to judge the others by for a long long time, nicely made in Japan these pocket wonders get as much as is possible view wise in a small glass,over the decades they have remained pretty well the same other than the usual small upgrade every few years, and for good reason, the designers got these pretty well right the first time, the old saying fits well, "If it aint broke, don,t fix it" a great small binocular that still sets the bar,Dave.
An Improved Classic
Randall M. from Cedar Falls, IA
I purchased the first version of this binocular for my late wife in the spring of 1971. The older version was called "Custom Compact" and had a gutta-percha finish instead of the modern non-slip coating. This reverse Porro-prism design binocular is still my favorite of all the compacts I have tried, including a beautiful Swarovski. The exit pupils are large enough to keep the view from blacking out, and the eye relief is great enough for comfortable viewing through my no-line bifocals. The rendering of images is bright and sharp, and seems to give more of a three-dimensional sensation than my favorite compact roof-prism binocular. This is the binocular that seems the most favored when I take my female friends and relatives hiking or biking. It is comfortable for small hands, yet is substantial enough in size and weight for most men with large hands like mine. I often carry this optic as my first choice when I am lugging camera gear in the field. The only ways I could think to improve this model is to make it immersion proof and reduce the minimum focusing distance.
Still the King of Compacts
Michael from Brooklyn, NY
I bought my first binoculars in the early 1970's, while still in my teens. I saved up and bought the Bushnell 7x26 Custom Compacts. They were the best compacts available then, used by NASA, and I paid $129 at the time while working after school (a lot in 1973!!) They are still great! Since then, I added the final classic metal and leather Bausch & Lomb labeled ones in 1994. These have green coatings. Then I got the polycarbonate housing version, still labeled Bausch & Lomb. Both of these look to have similar coatings and both are a lot brighter than my old 1970's pair with blue coatings, but the old one is still just as sharp! Recently I got this new Bushnell Elite version from Eagle Optics. It has the same outstanding optics of my B&L marked ones. The new housing is reported to be magnesium under a much better rubber armor than the polycarbonate bodied set. Best improvement for me is the twist down eye cups. I normally wear contacts, but when wearing glasses, I really hated the rubber fold down eye cups as I was afraid they would tear eventually, so I never used them. As a result, they still look like new, but the twist down ones on the new edition are superior and usable. I wish true water proofing had been added. They would then be perfection. I have a pair of Swarovski 8x20 mini compact roofs, and while sharp, they are just too fussy to use. The Custom Compacts will bury them, both image and usability wise, at one third of the price. The Bushnell Custom Compacts are still the King of Compacts, just as Better View Desired wrote them up a decade ago.
A nice surprise
Bard from Dryden, NY
My wife has been asking for a really lightweight, easy to use, binoculars with top quality optics for a couple of years now and this year I decided to seriously try to find her some. She has been using Swarowski 8X30s which are optically very good but she finds them both hard to use and too heavy. I regularly carry Zeiss 7x42 victorys which she loves but are also much too heavy for her. She has, clearly, experienced top quality optics and I knew she would be unhappy with less.
I started my search on the web but soon realized I needed to get experience with actual contemporary instruments if I was to make a satisfactory choice, I first tried compact offerings by Zeiss, Leica, Nikon, and Swarowski. Although they were all very light weight and optically excellent I found each of them to be decidedly awkward to hold and to focus in typical birding situations. I then tried a number of offerings by other makers but I could not find a single unit I felt would fill the bill. Then I remembered that both of us had owned and worn out Bushnell 7x26 custom compacts in the distant past. I knew they pleased her at the time and wondered if they were still worth considering. They were light enough and I knew them to be very user friendly. I could not, however, find an example to check out locally and my fear was that they had not kept up optically with recent offerings. Finally, after several unsuccessful attempts at finding anything I thought would do, I decided to order a pair of updated Bushnell 7x26 custom compacts.
What a nice surprise! Though not as sharp or bright as my 7x42 Victorys they are surprisingly close and the ergonomics leave the competition in the dust. The coatings have been upgraded and the resolution, clarity and brightness are many times better than our older iterations of the same model.
If you are looking for a top quality compact, that won't leave you wishing you had gotten something better, you owe it to your self to check out the Bushnell 7x26 custom compact. It has, for many years, been considered the only compact binocular suitable for serious birding and in my opinion it still is. Oh, by the way, my wife loves them.
Elite Compact E2 - A Real Sleeper
Paul from Great Basin, USA
When I was recently shopping for a new pair of compacts with better eye relief than the ones I have used for many years, I tested several different models in person, by visiting local optics dealers (tested on resolution charts, out windows, on shadowed and bright targets, etc). The new Custom Compacts were my favorites. For clarity, resolution and brightness, they beat everything I tried up to the $600 mark (although a couple of Pentax came close -- great resolution but noticeable narrower FOV). The real surprise was comparing them to the "pocket" 8x20 binoculars from Zeiss (Victory), Leica (Ultravid BCR), Swarovski (Pocket) and Nikon (LX). I liked the Bushnells as much or more than these, for 1/3-1/4 the price. Eye relief is perfect for me, the image is clear and bright, and they have a bit of the "porro prism" effect, perhaps best described as a more "expansive" feeling image than roof prism binoculars. True, they are not waterproof (immersible), but I have some nice small (but larger than the Bushnells) Vortex for really rough weather. Also, these aren't truly shirt-pocketable like the 20mm objective models, but they ride easily in cargo pants or a jacket pocket (measured dimensions are 3.5"H x 4.25"W). The 7x mag. is great for birding, and combined with a 10x full-sized pair, all your bases will be covered. For weight, size, price and overall image and build quality, I would highly recommend the E2 Custom Compacts to anyone (get the current ones, as the build is a little tougher than the previous plastic model and the coatings seem improved).
Alan Birnbaum from Fresno CA
I have the original version of this binocular, purchased more than thirty years ago. Suffice it to say that this is a classic design, the optics not likely changed over the years save for upgraded multi-coatings, the current version also updated with a smoother and more protective exterior, plus a better position for the neckstrap. While of somewhat lower power than most binoculars sold these days, 7X works very well for much general usage. These are small enough to take to the theater, large enough for basic urban birding, and compact enough for any sort of travel. They make a good scouting binocular for a nature photographer.
Great compacts with good eye relief
Vince from Oregon
I also have the Nikon 8x20 LX which is also nice but these are a different compromise. These Elites have more eye relief but are larger. Weight is about the same. These are quite a bit cheaper but less waterproof. I think these are as sharp as the Nikon LX though and the focus is very smooth with no slop.
I like these for when I am wearing sunglasses over my regular glasses and need max eye relief in a compact.
One thing I notice with these is that I can go straight to the focus without any hunting. This is usually the sign of a compact with good sharpness and contrast with no "funny stuff" going on.
Optically I rate these about equal to the Nikon 8x20 LX so it's all a matter of size, cost, etc. These are more comfortable with glasses but larger so take your pick. I like both.