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Old Saturday 1st April 2017, 10:13   #1
Troubador
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Troubador's Review of Bushnell Legend M 8x42 and Trophy 8x32

Way back in 1979 I imported a Bausch & Lomb Discoverer 15-60x60 spotting scope directly from Bushnell in the USA and kept it until 1983. This has been my only contact with Bushnell sports optics products until now. My interest was aroused by noting that Bushnell is one of the top volume brands in the States along with Nikon, Vortex and Leupold. Not to mention that when any binoculars appear in American TV shows, if they show any brand logos at all, chances are it is the capital B for Bushnell that you see.

So being curious about this brand I contacted Bushnell UK and they kindly agreed to supply two models for reviewing purposes: Legend M 8x42 and Trophy 8x32.

The Legend series is a family of bins all having phase coatings, while models E and M have extra-low dispersion glass and M gets dielectric prism coating. The Legend M is priced at around £400 in the UK (if you shop around you can find it for less), while in the States it is being offered as low as $280 if you shop around. This is a very busy part of the market with many other brands and models at similar prices.

The Trophy 8x32 has multi-coating and that’s all, but it comes in at a very accessible £140 or $110.

Taking a look at the Legend M first, unlike the E and L models it has an open-bridge and if your IPD is big enough you will be able to slide your fingers around the tubes. If you do that your first finger will not fall on the focus wheel however so you will need to shift your hand a little closer to your face. This is no different from many other models on the market and when you have got a decent grip you may notice that at 722g / 25.5 ozs it is a bit heavier than a Monarch 7, about the same as a Tract Toric and a bit lighter than Zeiss’s Conquest HD. The eyecups have 3 positions and the 22mm eye relief and both extremes of eyecup position worked fine for me. They feel adequate to the task and proved reliable in the raised positions.

The field of view is extremely competitive at 142m/426ft and for example easily beats Maven’s B1 (130m/388ft) and Tract’s Toric (126m/377ft).

The focus was very smooth but my goodness it was ultra-stiff to move making fast focusing impossible. The dioptre is adjusted by lifting the ring on the right-hand optical tube and turning it. While this worked OK on the first time I tried it, on subsequent attempts the ring was extremely reluctant to be lifted or pushed upwards and since it is not knurled in any way it was difficult to apply extra force. It shifted eventually but this ruined the whole adjustment process which needs to be easily accomplished while making judgements about the image sharpness. Checking other reviews of this model, none of them reported stiffness of focus or dioptre ring at all so I am content to regard this as confined to this unit. Stiffness aside it was geared for precision focusing needing just one turn from my usual target 4km / 2.5 miles away down to 2.0m / 6.56 ft which is exactly the same as Zeiss’s SF, and this brings us to the view which was actually very nice. It was as sharp as you need with really well balanced colours, reds as strong as blues, good blacks and whites and decent contrast too. This was quite good enough for me to see our resident female blackbird’s rictal bristles and every texture of her plumage. Visiting male Bullfinches looked stunning with sensational pink breast contrasting with jet-black glossy face-mask and cap, and even the local Dunnocks, which are not famous for their eye-catching plumage, looked lovely with their complex and subtle markings brought centre-stage through the Legends.

Our back-garden has been regularly visited by Siskins and Bramblings in recent weeks though these winter visitors will soon be heading north. Bramblings, like Chaffinches, achieve their summer colouration by the abrasion of their winter plumage and when a male showed up with what looked like a fully developed black hood, a look through the Legend revealed tiny lines of pale tips still remaining on the feathers of its head and nape. In addition, for the first time in several years we have a pair of Song Thrushes settling in and the Legend reproduced the gentle merging of pale belly into warm tan at the side of the breast perfectly, with the arrowhead-shaped ‘spots’ standing out as if they had been placed there with a rubber stamp and that black Indian Ink that many years ago only schools seemed to have. Very nice indeed.

The sweet spot extended to around 80% of the field of view with a gentle fall off. Very slight chromatic aberration showed up in edge of the field of view in difficult situations like black twigs against a white cloud, and the image lacked just a little in brightness, but I wouldn’t regard these as issues considering the price.

In my opinion this model is simply great value for money and anyone looking for decent optics under $350/£450 should have these on their short-list.

The Legend arrived with a small buddy: a Trophy 8x32. This model has appeared in different guises in recent times, but despite external differences it is, as far as I can tell, identical with the following:
Trophy XLT, Trophy Offtrail, and Natureview. Trophy 8x32 is compact and light being only 123mm/4.84in long and weighing 439g/15.5ozs, this latter figure making even Zeiss’s Terra ED 8x32 feel chunky at 510g/18ozs. Costing £140 and $110 it definitely falls within the definition of ‘economy’ binoculars and sure enough there is no phase coating, extra-low dispersion glass or dielectric coating just multi-coating. The eyecups and 16.5mm eye relief are effective and I had no blackouts with spectacles or without, and the action of the focus wheel is nice and smooth, turning counter-clockwise from near to far and having a close focus on the long side at 10ft/3m. The dioptre adjustment was straightforward and although the well-knurled ring was readily turned it never lost its setting.

Picking them up you find a grab-able little bino, with shallow indentations where the web between your thumb and hand can rest really comfortably. As you might expect from the modest specification the view is a little soft and the moderate contrast can slow down achieving the best focus, so it would not be your first choice for examining the fine markings or plumage texture of unfamiliar birds at a distance. Zeiss’s Terra comfortably beats it for optical quality but that is priced at £364/$320 so you would expect it to. However the view is plenty good enough to enjoy the birds you expect to see in your locality, as well as admire the view and check out the trail ahead. It is so light and compact I can imagine many hikers, campers, casual nature observers, tourists, kayakers, foresters and farmers would find it a pleasant and convenient companion while out and about, but for serious birding it has definite limitations
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Old Saturday 1st April 2017, 17:41   #2
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Allbinos also has a review. How unusual is the transmission curve?

http://www.allbinos.com/315-binocula...d_M_10x42.html
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Old Saturday 1st April 2017, 18:12   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The-Wanderer View Post
Allbinos also has a review. How unusual is the transmission curve?

http://www.allbinos.com/315-binocula...d_M_10x42.html
Thank you for the link. It is similar to Allbinos graph for Dialyt 8x56 from 400 to c740nm but the Dialyt achieves a higher peak transmission and doesn't fall away so quickly beyond 740nm. What do you think is unusual?

Lee
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Old Saturday 1st April 2017, 19:10   #4
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In my, admittedly limited experience, I don't think I have seen such a gentle curve which would indicate to me natural colours.

Allbinos states

"As a result the transmission graph and colour rendering are looking uncommonly good for a roof instrument costing around 300 USD"

I thought I found that the US warranty was all-singing-all-dancing. And requiring no proof of purchase. If the latter applied in the UK, eBay purchase would be good, but that seems not to be the case: 30 years though, and that would see me out!
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Old Saturday 1st April 2017, 22:10   #5
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Is the dioptre ring plastic? The original Legends / Legend HD's were terribly flawed by this weakness, along with an assortment of other QA / build quality problems.
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Old Sunday 2nd April 2017, 10:21   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james holdsworth View Post
Is the dioptre ring plastic? The original Legends / Legend HD's were terribly flawed by this weakness, along with an assortment of other QA / build quality problems.
Sorry James I can't answer this as I packed both bins up yesterday for return to the supplier. In any case it can be hard to distinguish metal from plastic unless you heat a needle to see if it will 'melt' its way in, and one wouldn't do this to a review unit. I had a look at my Conquest HD to check whether the ring is plastic but it is impossible to tell since it is covered with rubber to aid grip.

The only thing I can say about the Legend's dioptre ring is that it didn't feel at all flexible or flimsy when I was pushing it up to unlock it, so perhaps they have learned from previous mistakes and used different materials (plastics or metals) or a different design, or both.

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Old Monday 11th September 2017, 19:18   #7
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10X42 Legend M

Quote:
Originally Posted by james holdsworth View Post
Is the dioptre ring plastic? The original Legends / Legend HD's were terribly flawed by this weakness, along with an assortment of other QA / build quality problems.
When I first saw this model in a store shortly after it came out I thought the diopter ring could possibly be plastic. My faded memory is that it had somewhat of a shine to it and it had crooked alignment in relation to the barrel.

Now having recently acquired a Legend M 10X42 and examining it closely, the ring appears to be a cast metal with a non gloss roughed finish. It is not plastic. There are no alignment issues. I do not see it cracking like the plastic rings on the previous model. It looks like Bushnell addressed the issue with the new M series.

I am not sensitive to CA so I am not the best judge of this but it does appear to handle CA exceptionally well. Some of the lower priced models are not the best when it comes to CA so shoppers sensitive to CA should give this model consideration.

Build quality appears to be very good. There is no free play in the focus on my unit and the mechanism is smooth through the range. Tenison leans to the stiff side but I can easily turn the knob with one finger tip. Hinge tension is just right. The eye cups extend smoothly although there is only one intermediate position and the intermediate position is not a very firm lock. It is better at full extension and I do not anticipate it being an issue.

Overall it is a very good binocular. Most impressive is the near neutral color balance and good mechanics not normally found in this price class. It offers a very wide and bright FOV. Two things that may show the price level are a little more pin cushioning and a somewhat smaller center view than the much more expensive models. Pin cushion does not bother me out in the field and the center view is more than large enough for my primary area of vision. It is a model I can use all day and be satisfied. It is a an excellent choice for someone looking for a quality binocular at an entry price. It should be considered by anyone looking for the class made up of the Zeiss Terra, GPO ED, Vanguard Endeavor and some others. It should rate near or at the top if the larger size is not an issue.

Bushnell YouTube video of the 8X42 Legend M ......

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzufPuG2rWY

Amazon price as of the time of this posting is $269.18.
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Last edited by BruceH : Tuesday 12th September 2017 at 17:12. Reason: Added link and pricing; Added title for 10X42
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Old Tuesday 12th September 2017, 15:25   #8
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Thanks for this review Bruce. This bino is great value for money especially at the prices you keenly sniff out.

Lee
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Old Tuesday 12th September 2017, 20:03   #9
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Thanks Lee. Actually the price may turn out to be better than I thought when I bought it as the Deal of the Day from Amazon for $164.99 I subsequently came across a $35 rebate on the Legend M. What is interesting is Bushnell does not have it set up in their online system for promotions and it was a surprise to the rep when I had him look the form up online. Bushnell advised me to just mail it in so we shall see what happens. If anyone is interested in trying for the $35 rebate, the form can be found on the Legend M product pages at the B & H Photo and Optic Planet web pages. Purchase deadline is the end of Sept. 2017.

If the rebate comes through, my final cost will be $129.99. That probably has to score as my best value buy for performance to cost ratio. I think it is still an excellent buy at the current $270 Amazon price and there is still a possible $35 rebate. Optics Planet will probably match the Amazon price and not charge sales tax. They will probably also get it out the door faster if you are not a Prime customer.

I had concerns when it went on Amazon as a Deal of the Day that the model was being closed out but the Bushnell rep told be it has been a good seller and it is an active model with no indication to him that it is being discontinued.
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Old Thursday 14th September 2017, 17:50   #10
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Bruce and Lee, Thanks for posting your remarks on the Legend M series. I've been studying it a bit, by reading the different reviews, here and elsewhere, and one thing that has popped up is that the eye relief specs for the 8x42 and 10x42 don't seem to be what some have made them out to be. The 8x42, on the Bushnell website lists 18mm, and the 10x42 has 15mm, yet some have said (including allbinos for the 10 x 42) that the eye relief for both is 22mm!
Has anyone tried these while wearing glasses?
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Old Thursday 14th September 2017, 18:38   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdc View Post
Bruce and Lee, Thanks for posting your remarks on the Legend M series. I've been studying it a bit, by reading the different reviews, here and elsewhere, and one thing that has popped up is that the eye relief specs for the 8x42 and 10x42 don't seem to be what some have made them out to be. The 8x42, on the Bushnell website lists 18mm, and the 10x42 has 15mm, yet some have said (including allbinos for the 10 x 42) that the eye relief for both is 22mm!
Has anyone tried these while wearing glasses?
Hi WDC

I tested the M 8x42 wearing spectacles and found it just fine but faces and spectacles are so variable that this is something you need to check out for yourself. We all think brands should be able to come up with an eye relief and eyecup design that will be OK for every person on earth but this is impossible.

The ER specs question is interesting. I got the 22mm figure I quote in the review off the Bushnell website but I have now checked it and it states 18mm. Does this correct an earlier clerical error or have more recent units had revised optics? I don't know, but I am making enquiries to find out.

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Old Thursday 14th September 2017, 19:08   #12
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Thanks for the quick response Lee. I found a comment on the B&H website by someone who returned a pair (the 10 x 42) because the eye relief was not enough with glasses. They also complained about the 22 mm spec in the advertising. Its a good question whether there ever was 22mm eye relief with either one.

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Old Thursday 14th September 2017, 19:29   #13
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Thanks Lee. Actually the price may turn out to be better than I thought when I bought it as the Deal of the Day from Amazon for $164.99 I subsequently came across a $35 rebate on the Legend M.
Hi Bruce,
I went looking for that, and instead found a $50 mail in rebate on the Bushnell website that should apply. Here's a link.

http://bushnell.com/Bushnell/files/c...f36694c8ce.pdf


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Old Thursday 14th September 2017, 20:08   #14
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Thanks for the quick response Lee. I found a comment on the B&H website by someone who returned a pair (the 10 x 42) because the eye relief was not enough with glasses. They also complained about the 22 mm spec in the advertising. Its a good question whether there ever was 22mm eye relief with either one.

Bill
Don't forget Bill, its not a case of 18mm ER is not bad and 22mm of ER is better. The whole thing about ER is whether the eyecup delivers your eye to the right point or not. 22mm of ER ain't worth anything if the eyecup design doesn't put your eye in the right place.

Lee
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Old Thursday 14th September 2017, 20:41   #15
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Hello Bill,

I also saw the B & H review on the 15.2 vs the 22 mm eye relief. My take is Bushnell made an error in publishing the original specs so that put them right up there with Leica and makes my Legend M an alpha!

Bushnell now shows the 15 mm on the Legend M 10X42 web page and the specs printed on the box says 15.2. I believe the approximate 15 mm spec to be correct. I have briefly used them with glasses and I can see the whole field of view but there is not much extra room to play with. Some seller websites show the 22 mm figure but I suspect that is a carryover of the original error. An archived web page of the Zen-Ray 10X43 ED3 shows the same 15.2 mm eye relief.

On an unrelated side note, the Bushnell web site lists the Legend M under the hunting products tab but not under the Wildlife tab. How crazy is that. The Legend M has a large 340 ft FOV which is great for birding. I just can not help but wonder what takes place in some of these decisions.

I did see that rebate form, but unfortunately for me, it looks to only be good for purchases in Canada. Thanks for listing the link as it may help some of our Canda members if they buy one.
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Old Thursday 14th September 2017, 23:40   #16
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Originally Posted by Troubador View Post
Don't forget Bill, its not a case of 18mm ER is not bad and 22mm of ER is better. The whole thing about ER is whether the eyecup delivers your eye to the right point or not. 22mm of ER ain't worth anything if the eyecup design doesn't put your eye in the right place.

Lee
Yes, I agree.
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Old Friday 15th September 2017, 20:12   #17
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Checked with Bushnell and the 22mm was an error. The ER is 18mm.

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Old Saturday 16th September 2017, 05:31   #18
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Thanks Lee for looking into it.

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Old Thursday 16th November 2017, 19:00   #19
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Rogers Sporting Goods has been running an excellent special on the 8X42 Bushnell Legend M on their eBay site with a great price of approximately $160. Multiple members have jumped on the offer and so there is renewed discussion of this very good binocular. The sale is discussed in the Binocular Bargains thread.

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....24267&page=132

The reason for activating this thread again is to give us members a place to discuss the M in some detail and to still keep the Binocular Bargains thread on track.

Below are comments from C J in regards to the Legend M and the similar Zen Ray ED3. I figured it would be best for me to respond outside of the Bargains thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chosun Juan View Post
Bruce and guys n gals,

Just a bit of quick feedback -

The Bushie M's are a different (though similarly proportioned body) to the Zen ED3's. I prefer the ergonomics of the Zens better (larger knurled metal, faster focus wheel, better proportioned, smoother bridge, and final production version minimal projection eyecups [modified at our request to give greater ER to glasses wearers which is appreciated] - which I have screwed all the way down anyway). In fact they are better than everything.

My ED3's are the only units I have direct experience with, but I know from speaking to Charles that there is unit to unit variability regarding focus backlash, tension, other mechanics and even optics. My unit is a doosey with upper level backlash tolerance, though the focus tension is nice and light. I will get to doing a reasonably precise measurement over the holidays, but the play is in the order of millimeters. The Bushie's have similar variability, though maybe generally a bit less - sounds like Dennis got a real good one. The Bushie I tried at the BirdFair also had some backlash though less than my unit.

I have to say when I first got my unit that the backlash used to annoy the absolute sh*tt*r out of me - like reeeaaaalllyy annoy me. However given that I can rock and roll focus with two forefingers, and half a dozen years down the track, I do not notice it at ALL in use. Only discussions like this remind me to scrutinise and it's no worse than when I first got it. So much for Jerry's oft made assertions that only actual owners can give valid opinions - if anything I would say the opposite is true, and that a knowledgeable evaluator can pick up things straight away on a brief try that a long term owner glosses over ....

I'm now also numb to the outrageous pincushion outside of the central 3rd super sweet spot - I think it contributes to a 3-D-like view. A quick check of the Bushie showed identical distortion profiles, and CA cutting in at the same percentage of Fov. The Zen is truly excellent in the centre.

The colour balances seem the same - neutral (and bright) - I know the ED3 has 40 layer dielectric coating - not sure what the Bushie is packing ....

As far as reliability and longevity, my bins live in my car, and have become what GiGi coined as 'beater bins'. They have had several excursions under heavy braking where they went flying off the passenger seat and crashing into the footwell in heavy impacts

They are getting quite the patina on them now! Collimation (or conditional alignment) is as perfect now as the day I got them. Central hinge tension is perfect and with no slop. The rubber armour is harder and shinier than when new - perhaps they could do with a clean! :)

I note that they are gone from the Zen-Ray website now, so it looks like I have somewhat of a collectors item

I sure do hope Zen get the ED4's sorted, though they are listed at over $550USD. Out here at the BirdFair the Bushies were $800 AUD ($608USD), so those picking them up for ~$160-$200 USD are doing really well

Chosun
C J ...... Thanks for posting your comparisions of the two models. I was hoping to hear your thoughts on the M considering all of your experience with the ZR ED3. I consider the Legend M a clone of the ZR ED3 but with improved revisions.

I have looked at both internally with a flashlight and they sure look the same to me. Screws, part shapes, placement, etc are all the same. They look to both use the same frame and for the most part, differences are in the armoring. There are however a couple of noticeable changes made to the body.

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The first noticeable difference is the Bushnell has rings at the eye piece ends of both barrels whereas the ZR has the diopter ring on one side but no corresponding ring on the other barrel. I am not sure why that change was made. It could be for just aesthetic reasons.

The other noticeable change is the bridges, especially the focus knob bridge. The ZR is higher up. It looks like the focus was reworked. The front bridge on the Bushnell is also a little lower.

Speculation is not uncommon practice on the Forum so I will go there for a bit. Bushnell was owned by a couple of investment firms until a couple of years ago. It was then purchased by an outdoor products company and rather than being run by bankers sitting in some big city high rise, it now has some folks who actually use the products. I am thinking these folks who actually know something about outdoor products took a serious look at the base model and found areas that could be improved. It also looks like they are making a serious effort to get consistent quality.

I have both the 8X43 and the 10X43 in the ZR ED3 and also the 8X and 10X42 in the Bushnell M. Both of my original ZR units had to be exchanged due to issues out of the box. One may have been exchanged twice, but I do not remember for sure. That gave me first hand experience with at least 4 and maybe 5 ED3 units. All had free play in the focus when changing rotation. The two I have now are not bad and are much better than the first shipments but there is a noticeable difference compared to the Bushnell units with have near zero free movement. The Bushnell M at the Birdfair may have been an early demo and the assembly has improved with the current production. So far all the recent buyers have not found free play in the Bushnell. I think the focus mechanics it one area where Bushnell put some effort in improvement. I can see a change in the physical housing and in actual use.

C J is right about the Bushnell focus knob being a little smaller and the focus being faster. The diameter of the Bushnell focus knob is about 33mm and the ZR is about 35mm. Travel rotation from close to infinity is about 5/8 of a turn for the ZR and about 1 5/8 for the Bushnell. My ideal is about 1 1/4. I find it easier to lock onto focus at infinity with the Bushnell because of the slower focus and that lack of free play. The ZR would win out in close viewing.

I do pick up a difference in color balance. It is not great but my ZR models do lean a little to the warm side. I can see it on first look without having to switch back and forth multiple times. The Bushnell looks to be very close to neutral. They both work for me although I prefer the balance to be as close to neutral as possible.

Related is the color of the coatings. The Bushnell is magenta similar to the newer Zeiss products. The Zen Ray coating color is the blue green very similar to the Nikon Aculon.

I am not that particular about the handling and they both handle well for me. As C J pointed out, there are differences in the armor on the bride and the focus knob services. One other difference is the thumb cutouts on the bottom side. The ZR is for a specific grip and the Bushnell is more generic. My grip is not quite as ZR had in mind so the Bushnell design works a little better for me but it is not major.

The biggest difference for me is ease of eye placement when viewing without eye glasses. ZR products follow the design of a shorter extended eye cup in relationship to the eye relief. The end result is that for my facial structure, I have to brace the eye cups higher up than what is naturally comfortable for me. I do not have not that problem with the Bushnell Legend M. It looks like Bushnell eye cups are slightly longer so that may be part of the reason for the difference. I am also wondering if they tweaked the eye piece design to make it less susceptible to black outs. It seems I can wiggle the Bushnell around a little bit more before seeing blackouts.

When the eye cups are fully retracted, it looks like the edge off the eye cup may be a little bit farther from top surface of the eye piece lens. If so, then there is the possibly that the Bushnell may not work as well for a full view when viewing with glasses. Maybe C J, as an eye glass viewer, can comment on that and if she was able to get a full FOV with the Bushnell.

As C J noted, optical qualities of CA, glare, distortion, and center view appear the same. Both look to be optically the same other than a little difference in color balance and maybe some eye piece tweaking.

There was some discussion on the quality of the diopter ring of the Bushnell M when it first came out. That was a weak point of the previous model where it was made of plastic and frequently broke. I did look at an early version of the M a couple of years ago and had some concerns. I do not know if I had a bias because of what I knew about the previous version or if Bushnell has since made some changes. but I have no issues with the durability of the diopter ring on the two units I now have.

It looks like Bushnell did their homework and made a very good binocular even better. The improvements that work for me are a better focus mechanism, a small improvement in color balance to neutral and easier eye placement when viewing without glasses.

My choice between the two is the Bushnell and the primary reason is the eye placement. That is a personal preference item since different facial structures require different hold points. Some folks may get along better with the ZR approach. Both are very good and the Bushnell is a great buy at the current sales price.
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Old Saturday 18th November 2017, 13:09   #20
Chosun Juan
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Bruce,

I had a quick check of the Zens and they have magenta coloured coatings on the objectives, greeny on the prisms, and a bit of a combination on the oculars. I have probably photographed them way back when and posted them on the ED3 thread.

The colour representation seems pretty neutral to me, if anything the transmission peak seems to be in the very bright green region. I have noticed that the blue colour (as on a Superb Fairy Wren etc) seems a little weaker than on other bins I have seen - such as a Zeiss HT or Swarovski SV for instance. I wouldn't call the Zen colour rendition warm by any stretch.

The ED3's use 2nd generation Vividbrite dielectric prism coatings of 40 layers. It is interesting that the 3rd Gen coatings used on the new ED4 are still 40 layer.

I didn't notice any significant differences between the Bushie and the Zen, but the day was quite dull. I know that of a late sunny afternoon my two eyes have very different colour casts anyway - one blue/green, the other golden/orange - this is very distinct and kinda cool

The Bushie tested on Allbino's certainly has a pretty nice transmission curve that bins 10x the price struggle to better, and as to my knowledge no-one has actually seen a transmission curve for the Zen ED3, I would say they would be identical. Can anyone confirm for sure the number of layers used in the Bushie M's dielectric prism coating ??

I much prefer the ergos and particularly the focus speed of the Zen - they are pretty much perfect. I use the thumb indents to brace my thumbs crossed over from the opposite hand (I comfortably hold a 50mm SV), and also find this a super stable hold. I also like the smoother contoured (and unarmoured) bridge of the Zen which I rest my middle fingers on - this gives me absolutely zero gap between focusing forefingers and gripping middle fingers (puts the Zeiss SF to dog-legged shame! :) - the next two I have wrapped around the barrels.

The Bushie is definitely a different (though derivative chassis). The focus wheel I tried had a small amount of backlash of a mil or two. From conversations with Zen-Ray it seems that those that exhibit more tension (stiffer focusers) correspond to less backlash, and vice versa. At least my unit has a nice light smooth focus! :)

I didn't pay great attention to the standoff of the eye cup rim from the ocular lens on the Bushie, but that of the Zens is absolutely minimal - any less and the surface of my glasses might risk contacting the ocular lens. When checking the distortion of the Bushie I could pretty much see all the field, so the difference is not great (I didn't pay great attention to that either as I was marking time until I could get my hands on the 10x SF.

Overall, I wouldn't necessarily say the Bushie is an 'upgrade' to the Zen. The different body and smaller slower (jeez, that would really annoy me) focuser may be more conducive to better backlash tolerances. As you and I have both noted, unit to unit variability is going to play a part in both brands. The eye cups of the Bushie may also suit non-spectacle wearers better, but that's as far as I would hang my hat on differences going.

One thing is for sure, that even if the Bushie's ergos run 2nd to the Zens (for me), if you can get them at half the price ~$200 you are getting a great buy !


Chosun

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Old Saturday 18th November 2017, 20:07   #21
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Rogers Sporting Goods has been running an excellent special on the 8X42 Bushnell Legend M on their eBay site with a great price of approximately $160. Multiple members have jumped on the offer and so there is renewed discussion of this very good binocular. The sale is discussed in the Binocular Bargains thread.

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....24267&page=132

The reason for activating this thread again is to give us members a place to discuss the M in some detail and to still keep the Binocular Bargains thread on track.

Below are comments from C J in regards to the Legend M and the similar Zen Ray ED3. I figured it would be best for me to respond outside of the Bargains thread.



C J ...... Thanks for posting your comparisions of the two models. I was hoping to hear your thoughts on the M considering all of your experience with the ZR ED3. I consider the Legend M a clone of the ZR ED3 but with improved revisions.

I have looked at both internally with a flashlight and they sure look the same to me. Screws, part shapes, placement, etc are all the same. They look to both use the same frame and for the most part, differences are in the armoring. There are however a couple of noticeable changes made to the body.

Attachment 646506

The first noticeable difference is the Bushnell has rings at the eye piece ends of both barrels whereas the ZR has the diopter ring on one side but no corresponding ring on the other barrel. I am not sure why that change was made. It could be for just aesthetic reasons.

The other noticeable change is the bridges, especially the focus knob bridge. The ZR is higher up. It looks like the focus was reworked. The front bridge on the Bushnell is also a little lower.

Speculation is not uncommon practice on the Forum so I will go there for a bit. Bushnell was owned by a couple of investment firms until a couple of years ago. It was then purchased by an outdoor products company and rather than being run by bankers sitting in some big city high rise, it now has some folks who actually use the products. I am thinking these folks who actually know something about outdoor products took a serious look at the base model and found areas that could be improved. It also looks like they are making a serious effort to get consistent quality.

I have both the 8X43 and the 10X43 in the ZR ED3 and also the 8X and 10X42 in the Bushnell M. Both of my original ZR units had to be exchanged due to issues out of the box. One may have been exchanged twice, but I do not remember for sure. That gave me first hand experience with at least 4 and maybe 5 ED3 units. All had free play in the focus when changing rotation. The two I have now are not bad and are much better than the first shipments but there is a noticeable difference compared to the Bushnell units with have near zero free movement. The Bushnell M at the Birdfair may have been an early demo and the assembly has improved with the current production. So far all the recent buyers have not found free play in the Bushnell. I think the focus mechanics it one area where Bushnell put some effort in improvement. I can see a change in the physical housing and in actual use.

C J is right about the Bushnell focus knob being a little smaller and the focus being faster. The diameter of the Bushnell focus knob is about 33mm and the ZR is about 35mm. Travel rotation from close to infinity is about 5/8 of a turn for the ZR and about 1 5/8 for the Bushnell. My ideal is about 1 1/4. I find it easier to lock onto focus at infinity with the Bushnell because of the slower focus and that lack of free play. The ZR would win out in close viewing.

I do pick up a difference in color balance. It is not great but my ZR models do lean a little to the warm side. I can see it on first look without having to switch back and forth multiple times. The Bushnell looks to be very close to neutral. They both work for me although I prefer the balance to be as close to neutral as possible.

Related is the color of the coatings. The Bushnell is magenta similar to the newer Zeiss products. The Zen Ray coating color is the blue green very similar to the Nikon Aculon.

I am not that particular about the handling and they both handle well for me. As C J pointed out, there are differences in the armor on the bride and the focus knob services. One other difference is the thumb cutouts on the bottom side. The ZR is for a specific grip and the Bushnell is more generic. My grip is not quite as ZR had in mind so the Bushnell design works a little better for me but it is not major.

The biggest difference for me is ease of eye placement when viewing without eye glasses. ZR products follow the design of a shorter extended eye cup in relationship to the eye relief. The end result is that for my facial structure, I have to brace the eye cups higher up than what is naturally comfortable for me. I do not have not that problem with the Bushnell Legend M. It looks like Bushnell eye cups are slightly longer so that may be part of the reason for the difference. I am also wondering if they tweaked the eye piece design to make it less susceptible to black outs. It seems I can wiggle the Bushnell around a little bit more before seeing blackouts.

When the eye cups are fully retracted, it looks like the edge off the eye cup may be a little bit farther from top surface of the eye piece lens. If so, then there is the possibly that the Bushnell may not work as well for a full view when viewing with glasses. Maybe C J, as an eye glass viewer, can comment on that and if she was able to get a full FOV with the Bushnell.

As C J noted, optical qualities of CA, glare, distortion, and center view appear the same. Both look to be optically the same other than a little difference in color balance and maybe some eye piece tweaking.

There was some discussion on the quality of the diopter ring of the Bushnell M when it first came out. That was a weak point of the previous model where it was made of plastic and frequently broke. I did look at an early version of the M a couple of years ago and had some concerns. I do not know if I had a bias because of what I knew about the previous version or if Bushnell has since made some changes. but I have no issues with the durability of the diopter ring on the two units I now have.

It looks like Bushnell did their homework and made a very good binocular even better. The improvements that work for me are a better focus mechanism, a small improvement in color balance to neutral and easier eye placement when viewing without glasses.

My choice between the two is the Bushnell and the primary reason is the eye placement. That is a personal preference item since different facial structures require different hold points. Some folks may get along better with the ZR approach. Both are very good and the Bushnell is a great buy at the current sales price.
Thought I would repost my post from the Binocular Bargain thread, since it might be easier to find here is someone is interested in the Bushnells, as was Bruce's intention to move the discussion about these here where it is more appropriate to discuss them at length. So here is my post for what it is very subjectively worth:

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluespiderweb View Post
Just wanted to back this endorsement up having received my 8x42 Bushnell Legend M's today, all I can say is if you don't get them now, you will kick yourself later for being so slow and unaware!

They are even better than the Aculons for value, even though I love my 10x42 Aculons still-they deliver the Porro view so well, that they will be my go to bins (edited to add: in the house) for a long time to come, I imagine. But these Bushnell Legend M 8x42' s are really special too, and at the Roger's price on Ebay, they certainly are a bargain, in anyone's book, if you only try them before they are gone (you may agree). If I was younger, I would have bought 2 pair, had I known how good they really are beforehand just to have a spare. Unfortunately, I already have the spares, though they aren't as good as these, I'm sure.

But, that is my take on them, and I am not a reviewer, just a fan of good optics that work for me. These do that and more. I had an image with them before the sun set today after using them for about a half hour, that really showed how special the optics are. A backlit Willow tree when the sun was going down, looked like it had mini lights strung on it, and it was beautiful to see. I tried two other bins I was using in comparison, and neither delivered such a delightful image as these did. Scientific? Not at all, I am kind of pleased to say-it's very subjective, but that's how I see most things, and how I like to compare bins for myself.

All I know is that these are a screaming deal, and hope you can take advantage of it to find out for yourself how nice these are before they sell out. I can't fault them at all at this price ($160USD)-they are a pleasure to use and view through-they are very good at regular price, but this discounted price is something else for this quality in a binocular.

If they had the 10x42's available too, I would jump in on them too, but sadly not. Though when comparing these to my 10's, they did not actually seem that far off in resolving differnce from 8 to 10x, which surprised me as well how these compared. I feel that I am not missing any details that the higher powers should provide if the optics are the same quality.

But these are for real, and deliver beyond what you would think you would get for the money. The larger size is still comfortable, probably for the ergonomics and great balance they have. They are like an old friend-not hard to spend time with, and very comfortable besides.
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Old Sunday 19th November 2017, 13:59   #22
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I just noticed the speculation on this thread about the Zen-Ray ED3 and the Bushnell Legend M being the same binocular. I tested the 10x43 ED3 about six years ago.

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=212971

I'm curious to know if any of my findings then apply to more recent ED3s or Bushnell Ms, particularly the eyecup asymmetry, which should be easy to see.
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Old Sunday 19th November 2017, 19:37   #23
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Originally Posted by Chosun Juan View Post
Bruce,

I had a quick check of the Zens and they have magenta coloured coatings on the objectives, greeny on the prisms, and a bit of a combination on the oculars. I have probably photographed them way back when and posted them on the ED3 thread.
................Chosun
C J,

Looks like some of our different conclusions come down to personal preference. Lucky for me that the changes made by Bushnell favor my preferences.

The color of the objectives is interesting. If I understand your comments correctly on your Zen Ray having magenta coloured objective coatings, it makes me wonder if Zen Ray made some mid stream changes.

Here are some photos I took yesterday of the Bushnell Legend M 10X42 and the Zen Ray ED3 10X42. The Bushnell is on the left and the Zen Ray is on the right. The Bushnell looks to lean toward magenta but not my Zen Ray.

Here is a Wiki sample of magenta which leans toward the reds that I see in the Legend M.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magenta

Here is a Wiki sample of cyan that seems to lean more toward what I see in my Zen Ray.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyan

How do the objective colors of my Zen Ray compare to what you have?
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Old Sunday 19th November 2017, 20:12   #24
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Originally Posted by bluespiderweb View Post
Thought I would repost my post from the Binocular Bargain thread, since it might be easier to find here is someone is interested in the Bushnells, as was Bruce's intention to move the discussion about these here where it is more appropriate to discuss them at length. So here is my post for what it is very subjectively worth:
Barry ..... Thanks for posting your review. Nice job. Sounds like one of your first views is of a rememberable scene.

Keep an eye on Amazon in a few days during their Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. There is always a chance they will have a discount on the 10X42 version of the Legend M. They did promote it once as a one day sale item.
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Old Sunday 19th November 2017, 20:56   #25
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Originally Posted by henry link View Post
I just noticed the speculation on this thread about the Zen-Ray ED3 and the Bushnell Legend M being the same binocular. I tested the 10x43 ED3 about six years ago.

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=212971

I'm curious to know if any of my findings then apply to more recent ED3s or Bushnell Ms, particularly the eyecup asymmetry, which should be easy to see.
The eyecups on my Zen Ray look good. Setting the diopter retracts the eye piece when setting to the negative side and raises it when setting to the positive side. Below are photos showing my Zen Ray ED3 10X43 at the different position settings.

At max negative diopter setting ........

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At zero diopter setting .........

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At max positive diopter setting .......

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Here are the eye cups extended, they look about equal to me.

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Here is the Bushnell Legend M, diopter set at zero ....

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