Bushnell AW 12x42 Binoculars Review

Bushnell 12 x 42 AW Binoculars
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These Binoculars are On Sale Discount Binocular: These Binoculars are currently offered at a substantial discount at Jessops.co.uk >> Check Prices
Price Range: (2/6) Low Cost Binoculars       

Ideal Uses:

General Use Rating for General Use Binoculars
Birdwatching Rating as Birdwatching Binoculars
Outdoor Sports Rating asOutdoor Sports Binoculars
Safari & Travel Rating as Safari Binoculars
Hunting Rating as Hunting Binoculars
Marine Use Rating as Marine Binoculars

When I first spotted the Bushnell 12x42 AW (All Weather) Binoculars on the Jessops.co.uk website, I thought that Bushnell had possibly brought out a new series as I had never heard of them before. I was intrigued.

After some research I discovered that they are a Jessops exclusive and are only available in the UK, but what really interested me was that not only did they have a rather unusual and powerful 12x magnification, but are currently on offer at �45, when they were originally been sold at �139.99!

Many people advise that for general use, a 10x magnification is about as large as you should go and anything larger than that just makes it too hard to keep image still due to higher magnification and can be almost unusable in shakey hands. Other than the excellent Steiner 12x30 Wildlife Pro binoculars (which I find easily stable enough in my hands) and the Canon 12x36 IS II Image Stabilized binoculars which uses electronics to stabilise the image, I had never reviewed a 12x42 binocular before and at this price, I decided to buy them and try for myself.

Main Features

  • 12x Magnification
  • Waterproof & Fogproof
  • Rubber Armoured
  • Twist up Eyecups
  • Fully Coated Optics

Exterior Body & Design

After taking the binoculars out the box, first impressions were good. The binoculars are the roof prism design and they have a nice solid feel to them and at 28.7 ounces (813.6g) they are on the heavier side of average for full size binoculars. The rubber armour is 'grippy' as well as comfortable to hold in the hands and overall these Bushnell 12x42 AW Binoculars are well balanced, which should help with any image shake issues.

Adjusting the binoculars to my eyes was simple enough using the diopter adjuster, which is nice and tight so shouldn't accidentally move once you have it set, which is really annoying on some binoculars. These optics use twist up eyecups that give you a good 12mm of eye relief, which is not what I would call Long, but should be enough for most people. Focusing the binoculars is via the large centre focussing wheel and works well.

Interior & Optics

The AW in the name stands for 'All Weather' and these Bushnell 12x42 AW Binoculars use the latest waterproof and fogproof technology: They are O-ring sealed for complete protection against rainwater and the fogproof protection is achieved using dry nitrogen purging that removes all internal moisture. As far as I could find out as there is no information on the Bushnell website, but Jessops state that the lenses are fully coated, meaning that all air to glass surfaces are coated which is good. Better would have been 'Fully Multi-Coated' means that all air to glass surfaces have received multiple layers of antireflection coatings. Still at this price, these are excellent quality for the money. There is no mention anywhere of which prisms these binoculars use and so am unable to report on this.


It would be unfair to compare a pair of binoculars that costs less then �100 against High-End optics costing over �1000 and so for this review, I compared these to a fairly standard pair of 10x42 Sanju binoculars as well as and old favourite of mine, the compact Steiner 10x26 Wildlife binoculars that also cost less than �100. A few things I was looking for is if the stronger 12x magnification would make the image much less stable, how bright the image produced was, the depth of vision and what it's field of view was.

Whilst the extra magnification is noticeable, I must be honest in saying that for me the image shake was no problem at all and was no different to either of the 10x binoculars I was comparing these against.

Field of View
Usually the greater the magnification, the narrower the field of view as you get a more telescopic view. The stated field of view of the Bushnell 12 x 42 AW Binoculars is 252ft at 1000 yards (84m @1000m), which is understandably better than the compact Steiner 12x30 Wildlife Pro binoculars and only slightly less than the hugely more expensive Canon 12x36 IS II Image Stabilized binoculars that I have previously reviewed. It is also understandably less than most 10x full size binoculars reviewed and compared to the 10x models I was testing against, you could notice the slightly narrower image and for me this would be a bigger drawback than image shake especially if you plan to use the binoculars for mostly birdwatching in woods and fields. If however you mostly view birds or animals in wide open areas (like sea birds) I feel that the extra magnification could be an advantage.

Brightness & Quality of Image
As mentioned earlier, I could not find any information on the quality of the prisms used or other than that they are fully coated, any more information on the lenses. My test was conducted on a typical UK day - dull and overcast (I seem to write that often!) and the brightness of the image produced is what I would call average, not as good as the 10x42 Sanju binoculars, but atleast as good as the Steiner Compact wildlife binoculars, which only have 26mm objective lenses to take in light. They will be fine for most but the very poorest light conditions. Focus on any object (I currently looking at a Magpie hopping about in my garden) and the image produced is crisp and clear with no discernible chromatic aberration.

What is Included

In the box you get a Bushnell soft carry case, a cleaning cloth, a Bushnell neck strap for the binoculars and there are covers for the eyepiece and the objective lenses. The objective lens covers are attached to the binoculars, which will help you from dropping them in the field when removing them from the lenses. These can be Un-attached from the binoculars if you wish.


At the offer price that I got them (�45) these Bushnell 12x42 AW Binoculars are excellent value for money and would still be at any price under �100. Overall I actually like the 12x magnification and for me there is no problem with an unstable and shaky image. I wouldn't recommend them if your main intended use is fast moving birds in dark woodlands, but take them out in the open and the 12x magnification comes into it's own.

Compare Prices & Where to Buy the Bushnell Binoculars

Main Specifications & Features:

  • Size: Full Size Binoculars
  • [explain prism types]Prism Type: Roof Prism Binoculars
  • Magnification: 12x
  • [explain objective lens]Objective Lens Diameter: 42mm
  • [explain waterproofing]Waterproof: Yes

  • [explain exit pupil]Exit Pupil: 3.5
  • [explain twilight factor]Twilight Factor: 22.45
  • [explain eye relief]Eye Relief: 12mm

  • Weight: 28.7ozs (814g)

  • [explain field of view]Field of View: 252ft at 1,000 yards

  • Image Stabilization: No
  • [about ED Glass]Extra Low Dispersion Glass: No
  • Auto Focus: No

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These Binoculars are On SaleDiscount Binoculars: These Binoculars are currently offered at a substantial discount at Jessops.co.uk
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