The Bushnell Trophy XLT Spotting Scope can be used for nature watching and sports photography when a clear image at high magnifications is required.
The scope comes in a 15-45x magnification model with a 50 mm objective lens or a 20-60x with 65 mm. It weighs 32 to 42 ounces and is slightly more than 13 inches long.
We tested the more powerful 20-60x magnification model with the 65 mm objective lens. It came with an adjustable shoulder strap, both hard and soft carry cases and a small metal tripod. A flip cover protects the objective lens while a removable cup safeguards the eyepiece.
At the shooting range, we found the glass clarity perfectly suitable to clearly see even the fine details of .3 inch bullet holes at 200 yards. A dial in the middle of the housing controlled the focus of the objective lens with ease, while the focus of the eyepiece could also be adjusted with a ring.
Adjusting the magnification was a matter of turning the entire eyepiece to the appropriate setting, which was easily determined with clear markings on the housing.
The scope’s clarity and functions were tremendously beneficial when zeroing our centre fire hunting rifles. Less expensive spotting scopes were blurry by comparison when set to certain magnifications and made finding impact holes more difficult.
The large objective lens produced a bright image during heavy cloud cover and even twilight. Image warp at high magnification is common in lesser quality optics, but our test model provided relatively undistorted images all the way up to 60x.
One common flaw in spotting scopes is the tripod included in the kit. They are often weak and easily vibrate.
The tripod that came with our Bushnell Trophy XLT Spotting Scope displayed some of vibration, but it was minimal and the unit was easy to adjust when moving from target to target. Fortunately, the spotting scope uses a screw hole of a size that is common to most commercial and professional optic mounts and tripods, which makes it easy to use alternative mounts and upgraded tripods.
The glass clarity and magnification were excellent for observing nature from remote distances. Once set up, it was easy to get a good image of birds and animals during our time outdoors.
We found the tripod provided in the kit to be too shaky and small to be effective in this kind of application, especially when attempting to watch birds moving from fence post to post, so we switched to a higher quality and taller alternative unit. In these conditions, it is good to know the spotting scope is waterproof and its glass coated to protect from varying weather conditions.
This scope is definitely worth the money at around $260. The brightness and clarity through all its magnifications make it a good purchase.
Kim Quintin is a Saskatoon outdoor enthusiast and knife maker. He can be reached for column suggestions at email@example.com or 306-665-9687.