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Old Wednesday 4th February 2009, 22:43   #1
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Anyone used the Elite e2 Custom Compact 7x26?

The previous model of this bin, with fold-down eyecups, got very good reviews from US posters, but was never really available here—unlike the new version. Does anyone have one or has anyone tried it out? Is it worth the high price? How does it compare with the old model?

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Old Thursday 5th February 2009, 00:59   #2
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I haven't tried it, but it has the same specifications as the older model which I own. The new eyecup design is intriguing; better, I would think, than the old folding rubber ones. The new exterior design IMO is rather more squat and homely than the old. The price is roughly the same. My big complaint with the older model is the relative looseness of the diopter ring. It moves too easily. I hope they made it a bit tighter. Other than that, I think it is tough to improve it much, unless one wants to go the water proofing route and pay the price it would cost. It is a really fine little binocular!
Bob.

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Old Friday 6th February 2009, 22:41   #3
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Thanks, Bob. The new one has, as well as the new eyecups, "Rainguard® water-repellent lens coating and XTR™ technology." It sells here for £180, which seems a lot. For £220 I could get the Nikon HGL 8x20, which is also nice. But I have an excellent Olympus PC I 8x25, which cost me somewhere around £30 or £35 new from eBay. The Olympus is on a par optically (in fact, in 2002, Birdwatching.com ranked it 9 and the Custom Compact 8 for optics) but I'm wondering if the Bushnell's better FOV (121m versus 105m) and Exit Pupil (3.7mm versus 3.1) would be worth that much extra?

I was about ready to buy when I started this thread, but I seem to be successfully talking myself out of it.

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Old Friday 20th February 2009, 23:33   #4
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A few days late, and hopefully yr still considering.....I've had 6 of the Custom compacts, starting with a 6x25, purch from a camera store closeout about 25 yrs ago. Since then, have had one 7x26 with the metal body, then 4 in the current configuration. Why so many of the same glass? Well, 2 were sold, 1 traded for a telephoto lens, 1 stolen, and 1 given as a gift. The current one I have is actually the Bushnell Custom (not the Elite). I consider the 7x26 the best of the compacts, regardless of price.

I have, however, had a few conversations with some folks in the Mkt Dept at Bushnell (which I think is now owned by some conglomerate called Ocean Partners) trying to convince them to consider a few changes to the model, to wit: make it 7x28 (should be able to use the same molding for the body), give it a full 8* fov, 16mm eye relief, and the popup eyecups from the Hemisphere compact. They weren't really bino people, I soon surmised, as they couldn't understand how such changes would help sales (and they thought the costs of redesign would be prohibitive. But later, I broached the same idea with one of the repair techs (who WAS a bino guy) and he thought that such a glass would make one heckuvan all-around, take-anywhere unit. The slight increase in obj diameter, coupled with the full 1.1* increase in fov, along with the convenience of the popups, would make it more versatile and still go virtually anywhere with no burden. I'm not sure the waterproofing or rainguard is really necessary in one like this. If you're gonna do serious birding in the woods, where you're likely to get caught in a sudden downpour, you'll have your main nitrogen-purged roof glass along anyway. Unless you're going on, say, a float trip or some other "water activity", and really plan to fall out of the canoe/raft, I don't see the need for the expense of sealing the little bino. (Altho' it will make it dustproof, a worthwhile feature).

But even in it's present form (or if u can find a good used B&L or Bushnell unit, either at closeout or on ebay), it's a good one to have. Compare if you can, and you'll be impressed.
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Old Sunday 7th June 2009, 17:15   #5
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Waterproofing ,as you said ,wouldnt be that critical..But a first line of weather/dust proofing..My last Custom 7x26,last incarnation Pre-elite,got some sand inside and fogged,after a weekend birding the Oregon Coast,In Windy conditions....That should haven prevented in a 250-275$ binocular..BUSHNELL makes the 50 dollars H2O,reverse porro,that are waterproof!!
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Old Monday 20th July 2009, 04:29   #6
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Well, the original ? here wuz, "Has anyone used the 7x26 Elite E2?" I am happy to report that I have, and here's how it came about....

About 2mo ago, I noticed my little Custom was slightly outa collimation (vertical, or step) and that the diopter on the right ep moved if breathed on. It had been in the Bushnell shop back in Oct for a similar problem, and the tech told me it probably would be more feasible for them to replace it. (I had sent my usual $10 in along with it each time for return shipping, but that's the only charge...one reason why I'm a big fan of that company). He said it'd be about 4-5 wks....I knew the Custom was out of production, repl by the Elite, but figured they still had some in the system.

Yesterday, went to the PO box to get the mail, and there wuz a parcel slip. The clerk got the box out of the back, and I was surprised at the weight. Got home, unpacked it, and there was a new Elite....much more than I expected. First the case...a substantial piece, semi-hardshell, but is fabric, with a zipper lid, that also has a magnetic fastener for quick access...much larger and more protective than the old small zippered vinyl pouch of the Custom.

Now the bino itself....a couple oz heavier and immediately noticable. Body feels more like metal than the poylcarb of the old one....also one-piece rubbery armor that feels really good (kind of like what my 6yr old Discoverer felt like when new....it's now worn smooth). The optical complenent is the same (very good....best of the compacts IMO), but a few real body improvements. First, pop-up eyecups...next the diopter, still on the right ep, now has a small tit to move it, rather than the necessary twisting of the Custom's...and the small strap mount eyes, fixed on the Custom, now rotate 360*, so the strap always can be in the right orientation without taking the bino from around the neck. Great little glass made even better....I'm very pleased.

Now, if I could just get Bushnell to chg eyepieces to give a full 8* fov....but I highly recommend the current model.
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Old Sunday 23rd August 2009, 03:04   #7
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Well...For What is Worth...
I ended ordering a pair of the Custom Elite....I have owned ALL the custom 7x26 Incarnations ...Older grey leatherette with bluish coatings,Old Black leatherette with greenish coatings,B&L newer body with multicoatings,Bushnell even Newer body with the Birding series logo and now the ELite Custom....To a degree I have liked them all,based in image quality and portability...the older body was a bit more classy and well made,With a more solid feeling.Optics were all the same,With a BIT of improvement in coatings every time it was an upgrade....The last pre-elite bushnell let me down in (very)bad weather last year,And i was very disappointed when I learn that the last upgrade WAS NOT Weatherproof..Specially because the first release of information out of Bushnell ,DID in fact state that this model was weatherproof..So,yes I was disappointed,And expressed this feeling calling the Upgraded model "loosers" in some thread out there..Bushnell told me that the optics were better( someone asked recently in which way could they be better)...one thing that I can tell today,is that THEy ARE better..!
These are very nice binoculars.The coatings have been improved,as traditionally Bushnell did with every model upgrade, And this time with a lot of efficacy against glare.Contrast is quite amazing now and the binocular is Amazingly bright for its aperture.They are also Sharper than ever...And the FOV is also narrower than ever..for only a minute amount,but narrower..363' ,just a hair short of 7˚..This on the other hand doesnt create much distortion AT ALL,and only in the 10% outer edge,So the image looks very sharp and crispy with no real apparent fallout.Eye relief is very Generous ,and I can see the Whole FOV ,while wearing glasses.Even with the Eyecups half Way expended(and Almost All the Way up) ..Depth of Field is also great and everything pops sharp in focus from infinity to 50 feet..CA has never been bad in any of the models,and the Elite still has very little of it in the periphery and none in the center of the image..They Focus from 7' to Infinity in a bit less that one turn of the precise ,smooth and perfectly damped focuser,and they have 1/3 more of a turn ,granting a generous 5/6 diopter,past infinity..
Now,the new Body design is COOL,japanese design AT ITS BEST...They are EVEN more compact than the last Customs body(Yes),but Two Oz. heavier(14.5 oz),So they feel VERY solid and amazing in the hand..Very tactile and a pleasure to look at!(they very good looking!).The front is All Clad in Rubber,with the nicest feeling,and a bit of the actual plastic body shows in the back.The material is very nice , warm gray in a satin finish and contrasts with the black rubber ...kind of a tactical looking ..The Eyepieces have screw-up eye cups,that stay up at the end of the motion,but have no intermediate positions or a very positive clicking action.They adjust to IPD ranging from 56mm to 77mm..The Diopter Adjustment is in the Right ocular ,and has no markings or stop positions,and is a bit TOO easy to move,(simple click-stop action would have been nice).It does adjust to 3.5 diopters each side...
The New Case is really Cool,sort of soft shell,very well padded,and besides the zipper,it has a STRONG magnet for faster access...The strap is the same that was provided with the previous model,and is not very good.The Strap lugs are the same style that older models,but this time they rotate 360˚ .They are a little bit in the Way,but a little bit of handling would train your hands to jump over them..
The Wheatherproofing...I am going to have to Live with whatever Is already there,and take a little extra care in harsh weather ..I Will comment further in the way they
perform in this regard..
I took them to the field,and put them to Dreadful test of the Peregrine nest Watch,where mighty contenders have failed to stay clear of glare,in the super-demanding conditions of this particular site (shady ,dark area underneath a bridge,100 feet straight Up,facing the setting Sun)...Seriously,These binoculars are very sharp,amazingly bright (26mm aperture!!!!)and they seem to have VERY serious coatings,by the way they stay free of glare.One think That I noticed Is a VERY slight Rolling Ball effect when panning..I can not even Call it a Rolling Ball effect,JUST a notion of it ,mostly noticeable in the VEry edge .It didnt bothered me at all..I actually think they are impressive optically ,specially For a Super Portable binocular
I understand Why, everything I read from people that actually owned or tried this binocular was very positive.And I retract my comment in other Thread,where I said that Bushnell created an instant looser by not waterproofing the Binos...I guess That can be called part of its personality (Where did I read something like that recently?).

If Bushnell Would Push the FOV ,even to 400 feet,and waterproof THIS binocular,I think with the Image and Size/ergo that this binocular provides,ANY birder would spend 350$ in this thing and be VERY happy ever After...well maybe next time...
AAND,,by the way..When shoping for these elite Custom 7x26,I found at least two dealers to be out of stock,and ONE of them,when checking for availability,was told that this Model is now DISCONTINUED..I need to call Bushnell about this...

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Old Tuesday 25th August 2009, 15:21   #8
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Maybe a bunch of us bino mavens/aficianados/fanatics should start an email campaign to Bushnell for 8*fov, weatherproofing (lens covers ala Canon IS over the objectives?) and 28mm. Let them know we are appreciative of the little Custom already, but just adding a couple things would put it in a class by itself, truly, and for a good couple hundred less than the peewee "Alpha roofs" (which unless you are of elfin stature are just too darn dinky to get a good grip on and have small fov's). A good weatherproof, widefield 7x28 might even pass muster with those snobs at the Cornell Lab when they do their so-called comparisons (which it's always seemed to me that whichever optics outfit(s) is contributing funding their projects gets the nod, with a few exceptions).
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Old Tuesday 25th August 2009, 19:09   #9
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I talked to one of the Bushnell Reps. over the phone,about the Custom/elites,a while back..and He mentioned that such petitions would not change a thing..He also said that the Waterproof Custom "IS not Going to happen"..I Really,Really like the Elites Custom..The weight is perfect at 15 Oz. and It is a COOL binocular to look through and to look at!..Very well designed..Amazing Optics,..I dont even need more aperture(yes a couple mm would be welcomed,BUT,..)..And I CAN live with the FOV,since image is so sharp and there is no distortion in 95% of the FOV..(One thing that I am curious about is variation in FOV between the different versions,,,This last version is a hair short of 7˚(6.9)...most versions are 7˚,but I think I remember some being 7.5 ,not sure..maybe I'm getting confused with the 6X )..Truly from 7˚ to 7.5˚,or even 8˚,the difference at 7x is not huge..Is going to still be a moderate FOV, But the advantage is a sharp well corrected image across the entire field
A larger objective and different eyepieces to grant a wide field,means a total new design,So that would be in a way the end of the Custom 7x26..Maybe there are ways to maximize the FOV of a particular eyepiece,and that could explain the slight differences in FOV found in different versions,..For me still not a big deal,I can live with these compromises.
Now, The Waterproofing is necessary..These New Elite/Custom Have not Changed in that sense,And is a real pity..Because You need to hold this binocular and Look through to really appreciate how nice this thing is...And MIGHTY..I used them yesterday well into dawn,and they are bright ..ant the contrast is superb,the new coatings have improved image considerably..Being so handy they need to offer that ultimate level of ruggedness,this way you'd be able to throw them in backpacks,pockets,etc ,and forget about them until you need them..right now,..Well ,You better pamper them!
If no improvement is weatherproofing is in the way(the rumors about being discontinued could be a sign of the line going either way),they are not going to get the attention they deserve from many birders..Honestly,I think some company should offer Bushnell some $ for the Custom trade mark,and put them into perspective..

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Old Thursday 27th August 2009, 04:37   #10
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mayoayo,

Very good review you have done, congrats.

I have the old Bushnell Audubon 7x26. They are a souvenir of my father so they are >15 years. Yet they are still good and are my current compact binocular. Never has problems with waterproofing but they are always somewhat protected when it rains. I also found that while not waterproofs, they are most probably water resistant.

Therefore, I understand your appreciation of them. I can understand the fact that Bushnell would not redesign them but I also feel they are not very open to customers wishes (Zen Ray anybody?). Me too I think revers porro makes great compacts. Hell , who said here that for low-mid budget, porro offer the best bang for the bucks over roof?
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Old Thursday 27th August 2009, 06:40   #11
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SPARTACVS..

Thanks for the good words..

Bushnell/Bausch and Lomb made different versions of the Custom binocular...You mentioned "Audubons",and I think that You are making reference to the National Audubon Society endorsement logo,printed in the body of the binocular..Two different models have the endorsement..The last version of the B&L metal body(black leatherette metal body)and the first version of the polycarbonate body ,also by B&L( I dont know if other versions with the Bushnell brand name were also endorsed by Audubon)..
Which One You have?..I think both are older than 15 Years,the metal version probably late 80's..The Black metal version has the first green multicoatings,and are an improvement is image contrast already,PLUS the old version is better protected against moisture and dust,since the eyepieces move via an external bridge,and slide over a (greased )tube,with a snug fit.The grease in the tube is enough(seriously) to catch a lot of dust and trap it,and if there is not immersion,or massive downpour,a little care should prove enough to keep them dry...
The Polycarbonate body is another story!..
ITs design its basically AN OPEN BODY CONFIGURATION,they will gather dust inside RAPIDLY ,and they are completely susceptible to internal fogging.The Elites are JUST the same in that regard..I have only taken out twice,but one or two specs are already inside the body(OK,I am really looking close,but I want to study the progress of this exposure) ..this is not serious at all, AT THIS POINT,of course has no effect whatsoever in IQ ,but it shows how susceptible to the elements they are..
I am tempted to return them and just wait for the ideal version,if ever happens to be made....BUT THE IMAGE IS TRULY FORMIDABLE..seriously,FORMIDABLE..A pleasure to carry,this small and well balance binocular is VERY BRIGHT and VERY SHARP,Crystal clear ,full of contrast And the color rendition,NEUTRAL,NEUTRAL ..gorgeous ...Of course has a smaller exit pupil,(actually only 0.3 mm smaller than any fancy 8x32 )and it has to be more precisely aligned to deliver the image,But they are easy to hold and for me they WORK VERY WELL..I always loved the Custom 7x26,in all their versions.This has truly the best optics of all,with difference.THEY DESERVE the waterproofing MORE Than EVER.

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Old Thursday 27th August 2009, 13:28   #12
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A picture is worth a thousand words...
The AR is definately blue (slightly purple).
Body seems to be all metal with black leatherette.
Actually they are over 20 yers old. So they are most probably the first release.
I use them as a sale argument to push peoples to buy more decent binoculars telling them that a decent one will last decades. We're the kind of store that has penty of the crappy 15$ 8x21. Not easy to push peoples to buy something that is 10x more expensive, yet are still on the low quality part of the market.
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Old Thursday 27th August 2009, 17:41   #13
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SPARTACVS:
.Those are definitely the Old body,But not the Older ..Older versions are gray,..If yours is Black but doesnt have greenish objective AR(the oculars are going to be bluish anyway)they must be the version prior to the Audubon endorsed model,Just before the newer coatings(I am guessing here)..They are beautiful binos,and well made...better body than the Polycarbonate versions,I think,more durable,But contrast got better every time they improved AR quality,and comparing those older versions with the new Elite Custom would Show a Big gap in image quality.
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Old Friday 28th August 2009, 15:44   #14
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I still have & use the "Audubon" endorement stamp version of the 7x26, unarmored. They live in my work day bag.
BTW:
In the 1980's B&L actually had a line of porro's often referred to as the Audubon Customs, all three very good for their price. The 7x26 is the only survivor of that line.

I had all three. The others;
B&L 8x36 Custom Audubon.
Excellent binocular. Ended up being given to a girlfriend.
B&L 10x40 Custom Audubon.
Also very good. Armored, not WP. Bit narrow in FOV though. Still have these. Have not used it for years though.
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Old Saturday 29th August 2009, 23:34   #15
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Jay....they're interesting to watch,....but lousy to eat. I know from experience....
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Old Sunday 30th August 2009, 04:10   #16
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Jay....they're interesting to watch,....but lousy to eat. I know from experience....
Assuming you mean the Common Crow, what do they taste like?
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Old Sunday 30th August 2009, 18:35   #17
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They taste like Raven...
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Old Monday 31st August 2009, 01:21   #18
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They taste like Raven...
Did you try them with mayo, Mayoayo?

Bob
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Old Tuesday 1st September 2009, 03:15   #19
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OK I cant resist....NO,I didnt ..Only with salad ,ceasar..Or was it ceasar salad?
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Old Wednesday 2nd September 2009, 00:24   #20
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Now why did I expect that answer??
Bob

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Old Thursday 3rd September 2009, 05:49   #21
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Well, there's eating crow, then there's....eating crow. Neither is pleasant....
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Old Monday 21st September 2009, 00:22   #22
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Well, there's eating crow, then there's....eating crow. Neither is pleasant....
I once called the Elite 7x a "looser",when I learned that Bushnell didnt improved the weatherproofing in this new version..I still think that is a shame on the part of Bushnell not to have pushed this version to that level.But I gladly Would Eat crow,and say that this binocular IS NOT a looser...
This binocular now more than ever deserves to be weatherproof,but ,this fact aside,the new elites 7x are among the best binoculars You can imagine.I have used them everyday now for a month.and Yes a little dot of dust made already its way in,and can be seen if you do close scrutiny the inside through the objective end,but this of course ,doesnt have the slight impact in performance.A tiny piece of thin,thin fiber or hair ,is also visible,and it was there since day one.I almost returned the bino to Optics Planet for this reason.But since Has no effect in the view,I opted to keep the binocular,because I am astonished about sharpness in this unit,and dont wat to risk receiving something different.
There is a thread about the best porro and roof models ,for people to vote,Most folks give the SE series a vote in the Porro section,..Well,....I LIKE THE ELITE 7x26 BETTER....I have owned the SE 8x32 ,and yes,What a wonderful image they create, but there is Something about getting SO MUCH (sharpness,contrast,DOF,glare control..etc)out of something SO SMALL,that is beyond Optical perfection.
Is called a Great Compromise.

( I still URGE bushnell to review this binocular ,and try to waterproof it,without Changing its design,then send it to the Cornell folks to review,I imagine thumbs up all over the birding community,.After all this glass always was Bushnell's best)

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Old Monday 21st September 2009, 21:22   #23
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If they's seal the body at the obj end, ala Canon IS, that'd keep out a lotta stuff....maybe wouldn't be imersion capable but would keep out dust and such. I jst wish they's enlarge the obj to 28mm and kick the fov up to 8* and keep 15-16mm er. As far as the Cornell bunch, giving a good review.....unless Bushnell opened the checkbook and became a big-time "supporter", I wouldn't look for a great review from them. And besides, the Bushnell name "isn't right" for them ('course neither is Swift or even Nikon....they did give the new Kowa 88 scope raves, but doubt they had little choice, since it literally blew away their pet Euro scopes and even the Pentax and Nikon...but I'm sure is was with apologies to Swaro, Zeiss, et al).
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Old Tuesday 22nd September 2009, 01:02   #24
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If they's seal the body at the obj end, ala Canon IS, that'd keep out a lotta stuff....maybe wouldn't be imersion capable but would keep out dust and such. I jst wish they's enlarge the obj to 28mm and kick the fov up to 8* and keep 15-16mm er. As far as the Cornell bunch, giving a good review.....unless Bushnell opened the checkbook and became a big-time "supporter", I wouldn't look for a great review from them. And besides, the Bushnell name "isn't right" for them ('course neither is Swift or even Nikon....they did give the new Kowa 88 scope raves, but doubt they had little choice, since it literally blew away their pet Euro scopes and even the Pentax and Nikon...but I'm sure is was with apologies to Swaro, Zeiss, et al).
Yeah,I wasnt being serious about the Endorsement of Cornell,or any other "endorser",...The Bushnell brand is not something that I ,personally,love specially,And honestly ,I dont really care for most of their prodicts..The "Custom" name is a thing of its own though,And its interesting that the elite 7x26 has the Elite series logo in large letters in the side of the body,the Elite and Custom names in the focuser wheel,but No Bushnell brand clearly visible,except for the tiny letters in the round logo where it says (tiny) "bushnell birding series",..

I dont really need the 2mm extra aperture,nor do I care for the extra degree in FOV necessarily either.I am now used to the moderate,distortion free FOV and the LARGE sweet spot.But some type of sealing is needed,as you say,at least to keep dust to move in ..I dont know ,probably it would take 5 years of dust gathering before the view is compromised,But I have been monitoring the progression of specks inside the binos,and with normal use,there are New Friends inside almost every day!
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Old Tuesday 22nd September 2009, 04:20   #25
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You should give the new 10x43 Elite a try......verrrry good, 'specally for $800 (even less sometimes on ebay).
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