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Old Wednesday 5th November 2008, 23:38   #1
Tero
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Bushnell Excursion EX series

It comes in assorted sizes
8x36
10x36
8x42 etc.

I have the 8x36. First of all, it is very cute! Pretend high end open frame, small size. It is maybe a quarter inch longer than my Eagle Optics 8x32.

Sharpness about the same as the 8x32, maybe just a touch less, but very good for 140 dollars and phase coated.

Focus is smooth, the knob actually can lock on focus.

Very slight yellow cast compared to EO 8x32. Field is flatter than the EO, pleasant view overall.

More outdoor testing tomorrow. I just got it before the sun went down. Was OK in dim light, but not brighter than the 8x32 EO, at least not noticeably.

FOV is over 400ft, so that is the main advantage here. It does feel small in the hand, so if you do not like small, go for the 8x42. Both have over 400ft fov.

Competition for the Diamondback, plus more sizes.

http://www.eagleoptics.com/index.asp?pid=5211

[I got into this after returning the cheap Audubon porros. They were really poor in optics though very solidly made]
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Old Wednesday 5th November 2008, 23:58   #2
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Interesting. Do tell us more as you bird with it.

How do you find the grip of such a small open-frame/bridge/hinge bin?

One thing I noted when doing specification comparisions is that 8x42 is only 1oz heavier than than the 8x36. Which seems a little odd but perhaps the extra glass doesn't weight that much.

In for a penny in for 21oz!
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Old Thursday 6th November 2008, 00:12   #3
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You are right, in this size the open frame is a gimmick, but one handed it is easy to hold. The closer one looks a little bigger, but the barrels of these two are essentially the same size.
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Old Thursday 6th November 2008, 00:17   #4
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Do you prefer the open-bridge grip or the older "closed-bridge" grip in this size? I find the tripod adaptor nut tends to get in the way and I can't imagine there is a lot of room for many fingers in the "open" part.

Also the focusing knob is the same knob as in on the new Orion EDs (all made in the same place or from the same parts!).
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Old Thursday 6th November 2008, 00:20   #5
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I find the excursions (I have the 8x42) very acceptable birding bins. Certainly the optical quality is well beyond the price asked. Biggest grip? The build quality.. in particular the really stupid clips for the neck strap. I think I've gone through 8 of those clippy things.
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Old Thursday 6th November 2008, 00:23   #6
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This is one area where I pretty much do not care much, I can hold nearly all roofs. Some porros seem a little less comfortable to hold, but I can get used to those too.

Very comfortable overall, eye cups are fine. Some people will definitely get these in hand and say they are too small. Many 36mm pairs approach the 42mm in external size. My first Nikon Sporter 36mm was a heavy monster.
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Old Thursday 6th November 2008, 00:33   #7
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I spent some time in a Sportmans Warehouse recently looking at a lot of binoculars. Actually just because they had them on display, I took a look at the 8x36 EX. I had looked the original Excursions over and really was not that impressed, thought there was too much sample variation and they were a little dim. So I really did not expect too much from this EX.

It seems I was guilty of a misjudgement. I was frankly quite impressed with these. They had both a camo and a regular black unit and they were both good. I thought there was a just slight warm cast, but in both of these, the sweet spot was agreeably large, yes there was a bit of edge distortion, but not at all bad. The image was apparently as good as the 8x32 Alpen Apex, Brunton Eterna 8x32 and only a slight bit behind the Minox BD 8x32 and the Vortex Fury 8x32. Actually the image reminded me a lot of the discontinued Legend 8x32. For the price these will be a tough act to follow. I thought some about posting this to the cost/perfprmance post on the others thread. I really liked them better than the 8x42 Nikon Monarch I have.

FWIW, the SW price is $220 vs Eagle Optics $148. Maybe this portends a price hike?
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Old Thursday 6th November 2008, 00:40   #8
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Yes, considerably better than 8x36 Monarch overall. Not sure if the 8x42 case holds. I only have the 10x42 Monarch, not a fair comparison.
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Old Friday 7th November 2008, 00:09   #9
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The open bridge did lead to some confusion. I stuck my ring finger and pinkie in the hole. The knob was worked with the other two fingers. But if you want an 8x36, this is the choice. The Regular excursion only has the 8x32
http://www.eagleoptics.com/index.asp?pid=4488

If you really hate the open bridge, I would go to the 8x42 regular style.

I did get out with this 8x36 for about 15 min. Enough to decide it was a keeper. It may be my most popular model for a while, though I have an 8x32 that is slightly superior, the Legend. But if I had this quality of glass 5 years ago for this money, I would have been ecstatic. Plus this is really good for travel, I can carry this on all trips and not worry too much about the loss or the value. Packs really small. It does come with the standard Excursion case and even a cloth bag to put it in. I will never use it.

I get a free backpack as well form Bushnell. Wel, 10 dollars shipping. I never ordered the jacket, this I will use.
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Old Saturday 8th November 2008, 11:37   #10
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These binoculars have the usuala amount of CA, that is the same or less than Monachs. Stray light issues I never really make note of. I think the same as others in the price category. Overall, very pleasant. They are not as sharp as alpha glass but certainly as good as a 300 dollar binocular. Not sure of birding opportunities this weekend.
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Old Saturday 8th November 2008, 22:55   #11
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Tero,

Interesting to note that you think the Legend is better than the EX. I loked at two of each again today, and using the Brunton resolution chart in the Sportsman's Warehouse, I thought both Excursion EX 8x36 were just a tad sharper than both of the 8x32 Legends. Took one of each outside and could see no difference outside of different ergonomics to seperate the two. It is a cloudy, rainy, gray day.

With the Excursion EX on the shelves, it seems no mystery why the 8x32 Legend is discontinued. Anyway, both are pretty decent glass in their class. So, if anyone is looking for an 8x32 Legend, the Sportsman's Warehouse in Kennewick, Washington has at least two for $260 each.
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Old Saturday 8th November 2008, 23:24   #12
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I might go for the 8x42 EX if I had both in hand. I was out on a cloudy day, and I would say my pretty good 10x42 Pentax SP was brighter than the 8x36.

You could be right that the resolution on all these 8x32 and 8x36 models is similar. I mostly compare to the 8x42 Legend porro which is the best 8x I have. The 8x32 Legend roofs I have are very similar in resolution.
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Old Sunday 9th November 2008, 01:49   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve C View Post
Interesting to note that you think the Legend is better than the EX. I loked at two of each again today, and using the Brunton resolution chart in the Sportsman's Warehouse, I thought both Excursion EX 8x36 were just a tad sharper than both of the 8x32 Legends. Took one of each outside and could see no difference outside of different ergonomics to seperate the two. It is a cloudy, rainy, gray day.
Steve do you happen to know if they were both Chinese Legends?

I believe the 8x32 Legend was made both in Japan and then in China (though I could be wrong). An earlier Chinese Legend might not be quite as good as the Japanese Legend.

Anyway that might account for the difference (though individual sample differences might also be important in both models).

It sounds like the Chinese OEM (the same one as Hawke/Promaster/Vortex/Bushnell) is really starting to make good optics (at a low cost).
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Old Sunday 9th November 2008, 02:45   #14
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My 8x32 Legend roofs are from China and so are the 8x42s still listed at many sites.

What I like here with 8x36 is the small external size but I get everything you get in a 8x32 normally plus maybe a little brightness.
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Old Sunday 9th November 2008, 02:49   #15
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I looked for "made in" labels. I think they were Chinese. That's because the label was a little bit of a thing with indistinct lettering placed just where you couldn't read it. Seems to be the case when the label says "made in China". However, I couldn't see the label and that is a guess.

I am of the opinion that the individual sample variation is probably at work. I also think that Bushnell quit making the 8x32 Legend because of the 8x36 EX. For $80 or so less, the EX would have killed the Legend anyway. The 42mm Excursions do not seem to be quite as good as the 36m to my eye. Interesting to see whether some improvement is in line for the bigger EX.

For whatever reason, the 36mm EX feels a lot better in my hand than the 32mm Legend.

I'd really like to see the 36mm EX format improved to the Promaster/Hawke with ED glass and proper coatings.
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Old Sunday 9th November 2008, 03:14   #16
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Quote:
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I'd really like to see the 36mm EX format improved to the Promaster/Hawke with ED glass and proper coatings.
I was thinking the same thing ...
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Old Sunday 9th November 2008, 15:27   #17
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In good daylight, checking a bird feeder three houses down..juncos and chickadees..the Legend Roofer 8x32 beats the 8x36 a tiny bit in resolution. But still, a great beginner glass at 8x anyway. I would hesitate with the 10x42 EX Excursions. I am a lot fussier with 10x. Got rid of two pair so far. Third going.

Sorry if I am not so serious with the 8x. I seem to pick out a few pairs to have fun with. Some I continue to use, some collect dust. The ones I had the most trouble with were the 8x40 Action Extremes. Had one repair, eventually sold them.
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Old Sunday 9th November 2008, 23:27   #18
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Huston, we have a problem. I do not know if the problem was there to start with, but my relationship with this pair has come to an end. It may be a design problem [slipping from zero setting], so I think I will get another Excursion, not EX, to replace.

The diopter setting for me is all the way at one end. I had my kids try it, and they, with better eyes are also not at "0" but half way to the same end. There may be slippage as I did not know it was that close to the end as I checked them a few days ago.

Back they go. Someone else test some more models.

Otherwise the pair and I had a fun a few days together. I liked the general concept here. Engineers, get to work, and quality control too.
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Old Monday 10th November 2008, 16:37   #19
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It's beginning to look like the Chinese manufacturers are having some problems making a properly functioning locking diopter that is integral with the focus wheel. That design derailed the initial production of the otherwise very good Vortex Fury. That same design certainly seems not to be worth anything in the recent Vanguard EDT series either. Now we see it on the Excursion EX and it looks like the EX is having its problems with this as well. What Tero describes sounds just like the problems I had with the first two x32 Furys I had.
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Old Monday 10th November 2008, 18:12   #20
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The diopter on these is just the regular right barrel ring. It does not lock and does not seem to slip, so most likely it was off center to start with. It should not be that hard to make. I imagine it could be calibrated to zero for each pair if assembled by hand.

Strangeley, the focus knob locks, if you wish.
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Old Tuesday 11th November 2008, 23:47   #21
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Read the Bushnell web site in amongst the marketing blurb I noticed something interesting:

http://www.bushnell.com/general/bino...=General%20Use

Quote:
Under 25 oz., and here to crush everything in its class. Not just wicked looking, our new Excursion EX has the magnum-powered brightness and clarity to blow the eyecups off any competitor in its price range. Fully multi-coated optics and high-performance Bak-4 prisms with a PC-3 phase coating stretch available light and produce viewing system is contained in a lightweight, double-bridge housing that's nitrogen-purged and fully sealed against all forms of moisture, then wrapped in rubber armor. Its sleek lines and balanced feel are enhanced by a rugged, yet lightweight composite chassis.
It's that last bit "lightweight composite chassis". I think this is the first non-metal open-bridge/open-hinge enclosure I've seen. The others (Bushnell Elite, Hawke Frontier ED, Promaster ELX ED, Swaro EL, ...) are all magnesium.

Tero: were the hinge components (the bits that connect the two barrels) made of metal? I would presume so and the barrels are probably plastic (like the Diamondback).
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Old Tuesday 11th November 2008, 23:51   #22
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I could see a little metal in the hinges. Box is gone today, so I can't check.

It was mainly the 8x36 format and compactness that attracted me. The open frame was pretty useless in the small size.
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Old Wednesday 12th November 2008, 07:06   #23
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I could see a little metal in the hinges. Box is gone today, so I can't check.
Thanks Tero. That makes sense. I think only metal (of some sort ... Al or Mg) is stiff enough for the hinges but the barrels are probably plastic. Rather like the Diamondback (under all that rubber armor!).
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Old Thursday 13th November 2008, 18:03   #24
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The store looked at it and decided the diopter was a manufacturing error. Still, I am getting the regular 8x42 Excursion to replace it.
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Old Thursday 13th November 2008, 20:06   #25
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Ah, the Bushnell Diamondback 8x42

BTW, I checked my Bushnell Excursion 10x42 and the diopter setting is offset on that has an offset. It doesn't slip or move on it's down and has solid endstops but the zero point (by my corrected eyesight) is not at the fiducual.

The Diamondback 8x42 (made at the same ODM) has a smaller offset to the positive.

I think I prefer the ergonomics of the Diamondback to the Excursion. Especially the lugs for mounting the straps. The Diamondback has them nicely rounded with armour but the quick disconnect (which I never disconnect!) dig into my hands. I have a similar issue with the Elite. Lugs would be much nicer!

Why not another EX 8x36?

You do like the compact but in #9 you say "If you really hate the open bridge, I would go to the 8x42 regular style."

You don't like the open-bridge?
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