The Bushnell Powerview 2 20×50 are the largest binoculars in their series. The 20 magnification is perfect for practicing astronomy or observing a target with a very high level of detail.
Even if the Powerview have a rather affordable price, they benefit from some innovations: the lightened aluminum chassis and the application of a multilayer treatment to the lenses.
For less than $70, you get binoculars with high power and a large lens diameter that captures a lot of light. But are the performances there?
Here is our detailed opinion on this model.
Bushnell Powerview 2 20×50 Binoculars Review
- Magnification: 20
- Lens diameter (mm): 50
- Perceived linear field at 1000 meters (m): 50
- Exit pupil (mm): 2.5
- Eye relief (mm): 10
- Brightness index: 6.25
- Minimum focusing distance (m): 9.5
- Dimensions (mm): 169 x 190 x 66
- Weight (g): 805
- Interpupillary distance (mm): 56 – 72
- Water resistance: None
- Few Comas
- Good performance for astronomy
- Moderate field curvature
- Limited distortion and astigmatism
- Aluminum frame which reduces the weight
- Easy to handle and good ergonomics
- Extended field of vision
- Image was a bit difficult to stabilize at first
- Presence of chromatic aberrations
- Color rendition is not quite neutral
- No waterproofing or anti-fog treatment
- Doesn’t comes with adapter
High image sharpness despite some chromatic aberrations
The image quality is generally good on the Bushnell Powerview 2 20×50. High magnification allows for greater detail. The lenses have a small curvature of the field which corresponds to a decrease in sharpness away from the center.
However, it does not significantly penalize the resolution of the image. Distortion is well controlled. It only appears on the periphery of the visual field, which limits the curvature effect of straight lines.
An advantageous characteristic of astronomy: the comas are not too intense. They are only seen moderately on the outer quarter of the image. The astigmatism of the lenses is low, which makes it possible to have an almost homogeneous focus in all directions.
These two elements make it possible to obtain a visual of the stars more faithful to reality. Some chromatic aberrations are however visible, especially during the day. They appear in the form of color fringes on the contours of different objects. They are seen more on the edges of the image than in the center.
Correct brightness but could have been better
The high magnification of the Bushnell Powerview 20×50 makes it possible to observe many details, but it has the disadvantage of reducing the brightness of the image. This is partly compensated by the lens diameter of 50 millimeters, which captures a greater share of light.
The lenses use a multi-layer coating that limits light loss between each lens. Bushnell does not specify the exact composition, but it is very likely that only the eyepieces and objectives are treated.
The light transmission reaches a maximum of 79%. It’s not a very high score, but it’s very correct compared to the Powerview price. The color rendering is not completely neutral, the orange/yellow shades stand out a little more than the others.
Porro prisms use only BK-7 glasses, which are more economical and less efficient than their BaK-4 variant. Therefore, the exit pupil is square instead of completely circular.
Focusing is fast but a bit more difficult
20 magnification often makes focusing more difficult than with less zoom. The focus is a bit longer to reach, and it takes some getting used to. This development is done with a classic wheel positioned in the center on the top of the binoculars. Its large size and notched surface make it easily accessible with the tip of the index finger.
The adjustment range is about one and a half turns, which is ideal for having enough precision and speed at the same time.
The diopter correction is integrated under the right eyepiece with a ring. It is useful to compensate for the difference in visual acuity between the two eyes. It has a fairly heavy inertia, which is an advantage so as not to disturb it inadvertently.
The eyecups are expandable when they rotate. They thus adapt to wearing glasses. The eye relief could have been a little bigger, but it should normally be sufficient for the majority of people.
Excellent ergonomics and lightweight
The Bushnell Powerview 2 20×50 has a weight of 805 grams. It’s extremely light for binoculars of this caliber. This is made possible with a reduced number of optical components and the aluminum structure of the chassis. The dimensions make this pair relatively compact whose width does not exceed 20 centimeters.
The tubes benefit from a substantial spacing between them, which leaves all the necessary room to position your fingers, even for large hands. The rubber coating of the tubes has a non-slip surface. By adding the firm grip, there is little chance of bringing down the Bushnell Powerview 2 20×50.
For the practice of astronomy, it is essential to be able to stabilize the image. Bushnell has incorporated a mount into the front of its binoculars that allows an adapter to be screwed into it for mounting on a tripod. This adapter is however not included in the package.
If you travel during the day with the Bushnell Powerview 2 20×50, the strap provided in the packaging will be very useful for resting your arms. It is very comfortable and doesn’t cause any chafing on the neck.
Have a neat build quality
The manufacture of the Bushnell Powerview 2 20×50 is of good quality. The assembly of the components is almost perfect. We feel a slight play in the assembly of the eyecups.
Aluminum replaces the polycarbonate usually used in frame construction. The binoculars become less sensitive to temperature variations and therefore to tube deformations that may occur over time.
The rubber coating provides better protection against shocks and falls. It looks rough without being sticky, which is a sign of good quality. Although expected, the Powerview 2 20×50 is not waterproof. This won’t be a problem if you practice astronomy since clear weather is necessary.
Otherwise, we will try to limit splashing and heavy rain. With a minimum of maintenance, the service life will extend over several years.
Among the accessories supplied with the binoculars are a nylon storage case, a microfiber cloth for cleaning the lenses, a neoprene strap, and protective covers for the lenses.
Powerview 2 20x50s are backed by Bushnell’s “Ironclad” Lifetime Warranty. A warranty card is attached to the manual for this purpose.
The minimum focusing distance is quite good
The minimum focus distance is the distance below which focus can no longer be achieved. This is not a very relevant criterion for binoculars with a magnification of 20, since they will be used on long ranges.
However, it should be noted that this distance is only 9.5 meters. This is a good score compared to the power of the Bushnell Powerview 2 10×50.
Excellent visual field view
The visual field of the Powerview 2 20×50 extends over 50 meters wide at a distance of 1000 meters. This is a value that relative to the magnification of 20 is excellent. It partially compensates for the field curvature that appears at the periphery of the image, thanks to a larger viewing angle.
What use for the Bushnell Powerview 2 20×50?
The magnification of 20 is naturally ideal for astronomy. It will make Bushnell Powerview 2 an ideal instrument in addition to a telescope. For hiking, the power will make image stabilization too difficult and the lens diameter will make the pair cumbersome.
Birdwatching is fully compatible with these binoculars, as is animal watching.
To enjoy maximum comfort, we recommend purchasing a tripod and the Bushnell adapter. The high power of the Powerview strongly accentuates the effects of tremors and tremors. As such, we advise against their use for navigation at sea.
The Bushnell Powerview 2 20×50 are good quality binoculars. We recommend them if you are looking for a powerful and affordable pair of binoculars. You will get good resolution stargazing with it, and you will perceive a high level of detail.
Some optical defects are visible in the image, in particular chromatic aberrations. The luminosity achieved with the BK-7 prisms and the treatment of the lenses.
However, they offer good contrast. Bushnell has managed to optimize the ergonomics of its binoculars (although it takes some practice to achieve focus). With the high magnification, we only regret that no tripod adapter is supplied as standard.