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Thread: Review: Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x42 (ED) Binocular

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    Default Review: Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x42 (ED) Binocular



    Review: Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x42 (ED) Binocular
    purchased from amazon.com (amazon.com seller)
    $299.95, $5.58 shipping, -$50 Bushnell rebate

    Notes:
    There are "Legend" series and "Legend Ultra HD" series. This is the "Legend Ultra HD" series which is the better of the two.

    Features:
    - 42mm Objective Lenses
    - Fully Multi Coated optics
    - Phase Coated prisms
    - ED glass for more definition
    - Ultra Wide Band Coating
    - RainGaurd HD lens coatings (like rainX for binoculars)
    - Lightweight Magnesium chassis
    - Waterproof/Fogproof
    - Locking diopter



    Included accessories:
    - Carrying Case w/ strap
    - Neck strap
    - Carry pouch with microfiber cleaning cloth
    - Binocular harness (aka uber-geeky body harness) :-P

    REVIEW:

    Packaging:
    Nice packaging. It is somewhat similar to a new iPod package. The box is a thick cardboard cover that slides over the base. Inside everything was well fitted with the binoculars in the semi-hard carrying case and the accessories in the long box.



    I would say this is capable of use as long term storage. I was actually disappointed that I had to cut out the barcode for the rebate. It's a nice box, but $50 back is nicer. ;-) Even still, the box is firm enough that the cutout doesn't really affect using it.

    Carrying Case:
    This is a very nice semi-hard nylon case. The space is well utilized. There is an elastic compartment for accessories, and a nice raised ridge inside to fit between the barrels of the binocular so they sit perfectly in place. The case is light, but the body has good stiffness for the weight. I would call it a hard semi-hard case .



    The strap for the carrying case is very well padded with foam ripples running along it's length. Even though carrying everything in the case isn't very heavy, the padding is a nice touch. It is possible to interchange the case strap with the binocular strap if you wish, however it doesn't allow size adjustment like the normal strap.
    Case zipper seems durable and smooth. There are also small velcro straps on the inner sides that allow you to keep the case from fully opening in a clam shell manner. Un-velcro straps to fully open the case.
    I would say it is a very good case design.
    There is also a small soft pouch included with a drawstring. This feels like a thick silky material. It works great for carrying the binoculars around when you don't need the full case. It will prevent the lens caps from getting pulled off in a bag or something.

    Lens Caps
    Very good lens caps. The eyepiece and objective lens caps all connect to the binocular or strap so they can be removed easily and dangle without the need for storage. It may not look optimal, but I personally don't mind dangling lens caps.



    They are a somewhat flexible rubber, and they hold onto the binocular well. They aren't so tight as to be difficult to remove, but they also aren't so loose that they fall off when jogging. Good average fit. They may come of if you rub the cap against something, however you wouldn't lose them since they're connected.
    Some may not like this 'style', but I personally find it a welcome convenience.

    Neck Strap:
    Surprisingly skimpy compared to the other accessories. Just a basic binocular strap. No real neck padding or anything. Fairly adjustable length and connect with plastic hooks onto the binocular well with no chance of easily coming off. I would prefer a bit of a wider padding on the neck portion, however the binoculars aren't very heavy, and even using them for most of the day at the zoo, I didn't find the strap at all uncomfortable or distracting. You could use the case strap for nice padding, but again it is not adjustable.
    Either way, there are plenty of other straps available for binoculars or cameras with better padding/comfort if desired.

    Harness:
    I tried wearing this only once. I have no real use for it myself. The straps are a little strange to adjust. It is essentially a back piece with nylon straps and adjustments around your shoulders, chest and stomach. I had it fitting reasonable enough to tell that the binoculars sit better and swing around less when moving. They hang from straps connected to the harness by loops that allow you to lift the binocular to your eyes without excess strap length dangling.
    This is perhaps more for the hunter or all day observer… I'll stick with the normal strap myself.
    I wouldn't call this super deluxe, but it seems well enough made with breathable back padding and such. Overall I'd say it is probably an average harness, but I'm not a harness expert.
    Finally, it looks ultra dorky. Hide it under your coat! :-) Or be a real man and walk around showing off the big "B" on the back so everyone knows how dedicated you are!

    Warranty:
    Excellent! Not only is it a lifetime warranty for defects, etc., but it also comes with a one year guarantee that you will love them or your full money back for any reason, period. Good piece of mind for me.

    Build Quality:
    The build of this series is very high quality. The body consists of a magnesium chassis covered in a hard rubber coating with a very nice feel to the outer rubber shell. This makes them very durable and gives them a nice fit in the hands. The body grooves give a good grip and the barrels feel ergonomic for holding.



    All moving parts are smooth and just the right amount of tightness (focusing, IPD barrel adjustment, diopter adjustment, etc.)
    The focus knob is very smooth and feels durable. The knob has rubber grips and is a good size as seen in some of the photos.
    They are rated as fully waterproof/fogproof and I would guess they could take a reasonable bang without too much trouble. Obviously, I wouldn't recommend that, as any binocular can be knocked out of collimation! :-) However, they definitely feel rugged enough to use outdoors without worrying too much about them.



    They also have a RainGaurd HD coating that acts like RainX does on your windshield to allow clearer use in harsh wet weather. I haven't tested this.
    They are a good weight. They feel solid and rugged and well balanced.
    Collimation in my pair is very good. I can focus each eye clearly with no problems and alignment of both barrels at 1000 yards is excellent.

    Lenses/Coatings:
    The coatings appear to be very evenly applied with a purplish greenish tint. They show very little reflection, so little in fact that I have had an extremely hard time getting any photo of a reflection to show the color of the coatings. The photos show a bit of the color of the coatings for reference, but this required very unusual lighting to capture and doesn't represent the actual reflectivity, etc.



    Here is a photo of one of the exit pupils. It's hard to capture with a small point-and-shoot camera, but the exit pupils are perfectly round with no sign of obstruction whatsoever in the barrel path.



    There is also a typical lens cleaning cloth included, although I recommend getting a lens cleaning brush as well so you don't wipe any debris around when trying to clean the lenses.

    Eyepieces:
    The eyepieces have three 'stop' positions. They click smoothly into place. They never move when using the binocular once they have been set. They don't rigidly lock into position, but they have a good amount of light tension when turning, so you easily feel them move into position. I'm actually able to rotate them half way between stops, and they stay put well enough to use gently without moving. I don't find that necessary though.
    The first and second stop work well for me and my wife is able to use them on the first stop with glasses. I would say that they are very good eyepieces. I have found them very comfortable and never had any problems with them.
    They also have a good range of IPD (inter-pupillary distance). They are rated at 56 or 57mm at the closest, but they defiantly merge closer than the Nikon AE which is also rated at 56mm minimum. So they should work for most eye spacing.

    Diopter Adjustment:
    This is nice. The diopter adjustment is of the standard right barrel focus ring. The ring rotates smoothly and finely. A great added feature is a diopter lock.



    Simply pull the diopter ring out and it will snap unlocked. Rotate to desired position and push it back in so it snaps locked. There is only one small detail I've noticed. With the eyepieces in the closest stop position, the lock ring can't pull out all the way, but this isn't really a design issue. You simply rotate the right eyepiece out one stop, pull out the locking ring, set the position and rotate the locking ring and eyepiece back down. Then you never have to adjust the diopter again.
    There is also a small setting line around the ring with a few +/- position markings in case you want to remember your settings and let someone else adjust the diopter to their vision. If you feel carefully, the ring locks in very minute clicks. They are close enough for very fine adjustments, but detectable enough to remember an exact setting with the markings.

    Overal Optical Quality:
    I have used these in a variety of conditions thus far including daylight outdoors, at the zoo, sunny, sunset, rainy and of course stargazing!
    The overall quality of the optics is excellent. The image is very bright with superb contrast and detail. The ED glass does indeed appear to provide enhanced definition. Colors are very vibrant and well (but not overly) saturated. Images in every condition are very good. I was even looking at cars in the parking lot at night. The reflections, detail and lighting contrast just looked great. I would compared it to the effect moire has on a compute monitor or hd t.v. for those of you who may be technical savvy. They would be like having a nice hd image with perfect moire and convergence. Lines always appear super clear with no distortion.

    Field tests:
    As this is an astronomy forum, I will focus mainly on the stargazing aspect. However, to summarize, daylight use is just incredible. Very bright and clear. Animals at the zoo look unreal sometimes up close with such detail as crisp hairs and glossy eyes. Very pleased.
    As for stargazing, it is a more complex situation.
    Overall, I'm extremely impressed and would highly recommend these for stargazing. However, there are a few subjective matters to discuss. The first being field of view and distortion of the edges. These have a very wide field of view. Wider than most comparable binoculars. As such, there are detectable aberrations towards the edges. However, this is normal and easily detected in almost all binoculars. So how do they rate? I would say very good. There may be aberrations farther out to the edge, and this may bother some, however the field of view is very wide so you are still getting a very wide image of usable, crisp detail.
    From what I've seen, I would say the "usable" field of view where images are crisp and undistorted is still more than most binoculars of the same size and magnification. I don't have any exacting measurements, but I would estimate the field of view (FOV) is sharp to roughly 80%. So in comparison to other 10x binoculars, this is a pretty typical percentage, however the FOV is wider resulting in an actual larger undistorted view. Nonetheless, if you are willing to sacrifice overall FOV, a binocular like the Pentax PCF WPII is superior without a doubt in field clarity to the edge. You see less, but all of what you see is very clear.
    In real usage, I personally (the subjective part) prefer the wider field of view of the Bushnell or Nikon. I found the Pentax to be the best field quality so far, and the Nikon AE the worst (that doesn't mean they are bad - they're pretty good). However, for less field of view than the Bushnell, the Nikon AE distort around 75%. I found that a bit more noticeable with aberration, but it's really a toss up between their larger FOV of the Nikon and the overall clarity of the Pentax. I would however prefer the Bushnell over them both by a small margin. You typically focus on some object and center the view, so unless you are examining the outer field of view with your eyes instead of looking through the barrels and moving the binoculars to center the view, the distortion is minimal.
    I would guess that an average viewer would not notice a significant difference between any of them. A more discerning viewer would probably be able to easily detect the aberrations in all, but it would come down to preference of clarity vs. FOV. In conclusion, being so wide, I find the Bushnells to be a good balance. Obviously, no distortion and wide FOV would be the perfect dream binocular, but they'd probably require you to sell your to make the binocular payments. The best I've seen so far in FOV quality has been the Carl Zeis series that cost about over $1000. I don't know which model, but I was able to use a pair once, and I was extremely impressed. Swarovski's also have very good FOV clarity from what I've tested (over $1000). Anything in the lower to mid price range however will be more noticeably aberrant.
    Well now, that was a lot of words for such a little thing as aberration! Onward…
    Focusing on stars reveals very crisp pinpoint light. Subtle colors become easy to detect. Star clusters look very impressive. My favorite feature however is the excellent contrast. The sky background remains a very dark grey/black while objects shine through nice and vivid. In comparison, the Nikon AE were a med-dark grey and the pentad slightly darker than the Nikon, but not as dark as the Bushnell. The good contrast gives things a very realistic appearance. I haven't noticed any time where I'm distracted by stars being distorted on the edges. I didn't notice this with the other models either, but I can see it when I look for it.

    Conclusion:
    I am very happy with my new binoculars. I find them extremely comfortable, portable and enjoyable. I'm always excited to grab my gear, stick my binoculars in my bag and head out to look at the stars, knowing I will thoroughly enjoy the views. They are very usable because of the size, weight and durability.
    Without having all three pairs discussed together and/or professional testing equipment, I have to rely on my eyes and my memory to compare them. But I would say they all have similar value. Despite the slightly higher price, I would choose the Bushnell for having comparable optical quality, yet being the most portable and comfortable and having the best accessories. I know that I can bring these hiking (I have) and not worry about the weight or size in my pack. They feel great in my hands and work well with my eyes. I think I'll have these for a long time. Don't be put of by any "low quality" reputation Bushnell may have. Although they make a lot of entry level, "cheaper" binoculars, these are their second best line of binoculars and fit very nicely in the $300 quality/price range.
    Last edited by luisdent; 09-11-2010 at 06:28 AM.
    zorro likes this.
    ~Sean
    Atlas Intrepid 10x42 (Roof Prism)

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    Sean that is an amazing review. Thanks for posting it!
    Name: Gus OTAs: ED 100 PRO refractor, Orion ST80 (not the CF), 8" Dob stuck in Canada Mounts:HEQ5PRO Synscan mount, Manfrotto Tripod CAMS: Guidecam Philips SPC900 webcams (4), Canon unmodded-450D DSLR

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    Quote Originally Posted by admin View Post
    Sean that is an amazing review. Thanks for posting it!
    Thanks. I was wondering if people would think it was too long. ha.
    ~Sean
    Atlas Intrepid 10x42 (Roof Prism)

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    Bought 'em today, they're awesome

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    I just received mine!
    I’m very impressed with the quality and optics. Perfect for hand held observing.
    Any larger (for me) I would need a tripod.
    Thanks for posting this review

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    Hello Sean,

    first of all, congratulations to your binoculars. This is an excellent review you have written on them, and nice to see a comparison to other binoculars.

    Looking forward to your reports

    JG
    Binoculars: Leica Ultravid 7x42, 8x42HD; Swarovski EL 8.5x42 Swarovision; Nikon 10x70 Astroluxe; Docter Nobilem 7x50 Porro; Jenoptem 7x50W, 10x50W; BA8: 10.5x70, 15x85; 25x100FB, AsahiPentax 8x40, Refractors: Sky-Watcher 150mm/750mm; Leica APO Televid 82mm (25x-50x WW ASPH); EPs:Baader Classic Orthos; Fujiyama ortho, Leica B WW, ultrawide zoom ASPH, Periplan GF, HC Plan S, L; DOCTER UWA; Wild UW mil; Tele Vue Delos, Nagler Zoom, Plssls; Swarovski SW; Pentax XW; ZEISS diascope B WW T*, Carl Zeiss E-Pl; Hensoldt mil; Filters: Astrodon, Astronomik, Baader (CCD), TS;
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    Glad to hear everyone likes them. They are a great deal. I have since upgraded, for various reasons (primarily my lazy eye requiring a very small IPD), but I wouldn't take back anything I said. They are very good for the price and I don't think anyone would be disappointed for such an all around god deal.
    ~Sean
    Atlas Intrepid 10x42 (Roof Prism)

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    I have to add that I actually miss these for a few reasons. The shell case is nice and they just felt so good in my hands. I now have better optics, but I think bushnell nailed the ergonomics for my hands anyway with the legend hd.
    ~Sean
    Atlas Intrepid 10x42 (Roof Prism)

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    nice review. These are $189 after rebate on B&H photo website here in the U.S. Sounds like a good deal.
    Just curious, what would be the noticable differences between the 42mm aperature and 50mm?
    Last edited by donvegas; 11-02-2011 at 06:27 PM.

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    The 50mm (assuming they are the same optical quality) would give you a bit more light gathering, so you could possibly see slightly fainter objects. You could also argue that you can see the same objects brighter (which is true), however, with the same magnification, a smaller objective lens (i.e. 40mm) will give you a darker space background. For me, I prefer the darker space background. It give the appearance of having better contrast. Again, assuming all other aspects are equal. But the bigger the brighter basically. These have very good coatings for the price, so they don't loose as much light as similarly priced binoculars. The added benefit of a 40mm is that they are more portable for every other type of use (birding, hiking, etc.)...
    ~Sean
    Atlas Intrepid 10x42 (Roof Prism)

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