Almost two years ago, I heard the term “glassing” and began to understand the importance of reliable binoculars and range finders. In my usual manner, I tried just about everyone’s binos. However, my first of binos now lives in my pistol range bag. They were perfect for viewing stationary targets 50 yards out, but were not great for hunting at 100 yards or farther. During my first season of successful whitetail hunting, someone gave me a pair of binos with a clarity so clear it was like viewing nature in high definition. I invested in a range finder to pair with them. It was mainly to entertain myself, but also to aid in training my confidence at visually gauging distance, because as a beginner outdoors-woman, that was not yet a strong talent for me.
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While window shopping the Bushnell website, I noticed they had a rangefinder that had an attention-grabbing picture of whitetail buck and an ombre digital display in a mixture of black and red. I had to investigate. That is when I discovered binoculars with built-in rangefinders! My window shopping led me to Bushnell’s Fusion X 10×42 Rangefinding Binoculars. I had no idea such an item existed!
At the time I was checking these binos out, they had not been released to the public and did not have a price point listed. Trying to gauge an idea of what a price point may potentially be, I checked out other brands and saw price points ranging from $,1200 to $3,700 – placing this piece of gear above my price point as a beginning hunter. My curious nature would not allow me to end my random search there, however. I wanted to at least understand why some brands retailed for as much as they do and what, at the time, set the Fusion X apart from most of them.
Let’s start with the picture and technology that immediately captured my attention, ActivSync.
ActivSync is a new technology that boasts the ability to switch effortlessly from a black readout (on bright backgrounds) to a red display (on dark backgrounds). That translated to me in laymen terms, like an ombre digital display that can detect light and dark background setting, and automatically adjust so that you can accurately read your display at any given time. I first thought the feature sounded pretty on paper, but might actually be highly questionable.
I love the Bushnell binos that I currently own, the Engage EDC 10×42, because they have the perfect clarity and function for my use. I also own a nice rangefinder, the Bushnell Prime 1700, that calculates both archery angles (specifically referred to as ARC or Angle of Range Compensation) and rifle ballistic, but the idea of combining multiple tools into one, lessening my bulk and giving clear visibility at dusk, dawn or a hybrid lighting gave me a panic attack of joy. The joy of knowing it exists, but also the stomach pit dropping feeling I would not be able to afford these anytime soon. Once learning of them, they made my wish list and I checked every day for a price. Then, the Fusion X finally released for an MSRP of $699.99 – significantly below the cost of other major brands. It just so happens I was at my friend’s house (either annoying her or drinking all her coffee) when I looked up and saw that her husband has “THE BOX” sitting on their kitchen counter taunting me. I looked over at him and growled, “Really??” He laughed at me and said, “Yep, I was wondering how long before you noticed them.” Before I could blurt out my next question, he graciously told me I could play around with them, but added that I must give them back at a specified time. He is a more established hunter and gets to go on my version of exotic hunts for work.
I compared the Fusion X’s more advanced features with my bino and separate rangefinder as a visual comparison expectation point for me. Bushnell lists the Fusion X’s selling features below:
I may have repeatedly borrowed my friend’s Fusion X. I had to try them out in several situations, right? Its first test occured on a very cold mentored hunt, with a crisp 9 degrees, and brisk wind. Naturally I forced the mentee and my mentoring buddy to try them out, and we were all impressed with them. The digital display gradient was phenomenally impressive. In my opinion, it was exactly as the picture example Bushnell provided. I took them to my local archery trail for a little amateur ranging to check close ranging accuracy, a little bird watching and “glassing” in misting rain. They are a little larger than my pair of binos, but the tradeoff is one piece of equipment to pack and carry; you will not need to worry about missing your opportunity when switching between spotting, ranging, and hunting tool of preference.
I do not personally own at pair yet, and I don’t want to wear out my welcome with my friend’s pair. I do plan to purchase a pair in the near future, and it will be the Fusion X. The price point, warranty and ease of use would be perfect for me once I burn down some more of my gear wish list.
Learn more about these dynamic rangefinder binos.
Sharenda Birts is the Director of Community Affairs and one of the 4 founding members of wildHERness, a diverse group of outdoorswomen passionate about providing females with a connection to the outdoors through workshops, events, mentoring and community service. Her passion for the outdoors began when she began to learn how to safely handle a firearm and clean it. She does not come from a family background of firearms or outdoorsman and did not have any exposure to the outdoors until she joined a sporting clays league that persuaded her to attend a pheasant hunt. Although Sharenda is a new hunter, she is passionate about sharing her adventures to inspire other city born-and-raised minority women – with the message that they, too, can learn how to explore the outdoors, no matter what their ages. Sharenda is an NRA certified pistol, shotgun, and metallic cartridge reloading instructor who comes from a background with 25 years in the banking and equity investment industry. She also admits to being addicted to clay sports, along with upland and waterfowl hunting. Sharenda’s gearing up for angling and fly-tying in the near future. View all posts by Sharenda Birts
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