Bushnell Trophy XLT 15-45x 50mm Spotting Scope

Bushnell Trophy XLT 15-45x 50mm spotting scope - consider this low price scope if you're on a tight budget

Bushnell Trophy XLT 15-45x 50mm spotting scope – consider this low price scope if you’re on a tight budget

I’ve always been fascinated with optics.  There’s nothing like a great pair of binoculars or a fine telephoto lens for photography to pull in that herd of buffalo grazing some half kilometre or more from the road.

By good fortune, my friend Rick gave me this Bushnell Trophy XLT spotting scope he no longer wanted.  The Bushnell Trophy XLT is among the most modestly-priced spotting scopes you can buy.  Canadian street prices for this unit run around $259.00, and for the price, they perform admirably.

The Bushnell Trophy comes with a 15-45x zoom eyepiece and a relatively small 50mm objective lens.  (That’s the front or large end of the scope.)  This is a relatively small optic,  but the advantage is lower price and lighter weight.  (‘Big’ scopes have objective lenses in the 85-90mm range, and for top of the line German brands, one can easily spend $3,000 dollars.)

Small spotting scopes are easy to pack, so hunters and birdwatchers who intend to carry their observation gear (usually a scope and a tripod) want light weight units like this one, which weighs a feathery 32 oz.

We mounted the Bushnell scope on a tripod in our kitchen, and at the minimum magnification (15x power), one can easily read a “House for Sale” sign on a lawn some 600m down the street!  Zoom up to the maximum 45x power and the image becomes slightly darker (that typically happens on all scopes when zoomed to max magnification.)

The Bushnell’s zoom control is a circular ring around the eyepiece, and it’s stiff.  You’ll need to have your tripod adjustments cinched down firmly so you don’t accidentally move the scope off target when zooming up or down.    There’s a focusing knob that’s most easily adjusting using your right index finger, but it too is quite stiff.  Again, the tripod’s adjustments need to be very secure or else changing focus will move the scope off the subject under observation.  I found I need to wrap both hands around the scope to steady it while adjusting focus.

Overall, the Bushnell Trophy XLT scope performs surprisingly well given its low price, especially at its lowest 15x magnification.  On bright days, zooming to 45x pulls in the view, and on that “House for Sale” sign some two blocks away, we can even make out the seller’s phone number with a little concentration.

Trophy XLT scope comes with lockable box, compact tripod, and car window mount

Trophy XLT scope comes with lockable box, compact tripod, and car window mount

The Bushnell Trophy XLT 15-45x 50mm spotting scope comes in a lockable hard carrying case, nylon carrying bag, car window mount, lens cleaning cloth and table top mini-tripod.  It is advertised as being waterproof and fog proof.  Bushnell spotting scopes are widely available at outdoors retailers such as Cabela’s.

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