I tested the H2O 8x25 Compact Foldable Binocular from Bushnell, a binocular product designed for on-the-water viewing. For police and military work, it is a high-quality, rugged optic for rugged environments.
The Bushnell H2O 8x25 Compact Foldable Binocular is 10.5cm long and folds down to fewer than 7.1cm wide. The model I tested weighed less than 290 gms (10.2 oz). It fits into a cargo pocket and is unnoticeable around the neck, especially with the included strap.
The field of view is 114 m at 1000 m (360 feet at 1000 yards). This is fairly large compared to larger optics and it is fine for tracking something in motion.
Several Models to Choose From
Bushnell has several H2O models in this series, from 7x50 to the 8x25, which is the smallest folding version. They all feature nitrogen purged bodies, which make them completely waterproof and impervious to internal fogging. They have BAK4 roof prisms, which allow for compact, folded optics and maximum light transmission.
Don’t confuse the H2O 8x25 Compact Foldable Binocular with cheaper products. These are correctly aligned, rendering a true three-dimensional image and reduced viewing fatigue. They have smooth focusing wheels and diopter adjustment.
Dunk Testing the Binos
The coatings on this model do a very good job preventing water spots. To test this, I did the very thing that would make lesser models fail quickly. On a warm day, I dunked the binos into ½ m of near freezing mountain stream water.
I allowed the water to flow over the binocular for over one half hour. When we describe items as waterproof, followed by a particular rating depth, the rating usually means that the product can handle water in a static environment. That is, the water pressure mimics a certain atmosphere in a tank. The water is never moving, because that induces variations in water pressure. Dunking it in a moving stream (notice that I said “dunking”, cause I’m not getting in there) upped the ante. They didn’t fog either.
The rubber exterior did a good job providing a tacky grip and protecting the optics. It was unaffected by sunscreen and other things that burst in my pack after I drove to a higher altitude and forgot to compensate for changes in pressure. It’s a good thing one can wash these binos off.
The Bushnell H2O binocular did a fine job viewing over water. The lenses resolved colors well with moderate edge clarity with a touch of chromatic aberration, which was generally unnoticeable for most viewing tasks. The image quality would generally be in the class of optics three or four times the price of this product.
The coatings are consistent and some effort was taken to reduce internal reflection. This is not a low light viewing product by any means and few would purchase a product with an exit pupil of less than four for twilight viewing. I have had a chance to play with Bushnell’s 10x42 Elite model and I recommend them for reduced light. The 8X25 models here do an excellent job at maximizing light transmission for their size.
I don’t usually look at the price of a product when I test it. I did this time. It is easily worth twice the price.