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Old Friday 14th June 2013, 22:47   #1
bundlecup
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Bushnell Legend HD vs Elites?

Hi,

I'm new to this site but thought I would register to get some help with a question. I had some 8X42 Elites which I bought in 1994 and have used ever since then. The center hinge wasn't working anymore and in general they didn't seem to be working as well as they used to (unfortunately I do not bird as much as I used to, only a couple of times a year). So I sent them to Bushnell to be repaired. I got a reply that they had "loose optics" as well as "impact damage" and that the cost for repair exceeds replacement.

Long story short, they offered me the Legend Ultra HD as a replacement.

A few questions:

1. Are Legends an appropriate equivalent for bins that cost almost $800 20 years ago? Have binoculars advanced that much that this could be true?

2. Wouldn't Elites be a better replacement for Elites? I have done some searching and have seen a lot of good reviews for the Legends and not as much seems to have been written about the Elites. I know the Elites cost more, but are the Legends as good? I did complain about the equivalency and they said they would let me have Elites for the same price if I wanted.

3. Is it worth just getting my originals repaired? Or are optics so much better now that it's not worth it?

I would appreciate any help/comments/observations anyone has. I am trying to make up my mind this weekend. They did send the Legends which I have to admit I'm impressed with....but wanted to know if people think the Elites are better.

Thanks!
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Old Friday 14th June 2013, 23:36   #2
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The Legends have very good, perhaps even excellent optics. Mechanics are a little iffy though and in this respect the Elites may be better. That said I have put my Legends thru some pretty rough treatment and only have a loose eyecup to show for it. I prefer the Legends Ultrawide FoV compared to the Elite's more restrictive FoV and don't feel I am missing much over binoculars costing 2x more. If you go with Elites realize there have been various Elite models in the last few years. Try to get the latest with ED glass.
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Old Saturday 15th June 2013, 04:20   #3
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Thanks!

Good to hear and thanks so much for taking the time to reply. It does sort of seem like the Legends are just as good as, if not better than, the Elites. It makes me wonder if the folks at Bushnell know something I don't know since they offered the Legends as the equivalent of the Elites....Anyone else have experience with the Elites??
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Old Saturday 15th June 2013, 14:07   #4
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I have a lot of experience with your vintage of Elites, and with the Legend Ultra HD. The optics of the HD (provided you have a good one--these vary a lot from unit to unit) are much better overall, with much better contrast, much lower CA, more neutral color, and wider FOV. However, the mechanics of the vintage Elite are far superior to the HD (some of which have issues right out of the box, many of which shed bits, such as the plastic diopter control ring, in their first year or so of use), and the integrity and precision of its focus control is also much better. If you don't wear glasses, also be aware that the eyecups of the HD do not extend far enough for most users to properly position the eyes. As for the newest "Elite", I don't have any experience with it, but the Elites aren't alphas any more. The narrow FOV of the 8x42 model is especially disappointing.

--AP
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Old Saturday 15th June 2013, 19:42   #5
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Alexis,

Thanks so much for the info! Since the Legends were already shipped, they let me open them and try them out before deciding whether I want them or the Elites. My experience (just standing in my kitchen) confirms what everyone is saying....the optics seem great but they feel really tight. I couldn't even get the diopter ring to budge and was also having trouble getting the center hinge setting right (kept seeing black edges in my circle). I think I am going to just try the Elites since they are offering them for the same price as the Legends. I don't think I have much to lose on that score. I am just sort of mourning the old glasses I guess....they served me so well for so long and I hate to just think of them on the trash pile (or wherever Bushnell has put them!)....I feel like I will just use the Elites for now since they are only costing me $200....and if I want better ones I will look at Leicas or Swarovskis or whatever....
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Old Saturday 15th June 2013, 23:34   #6
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The diopter ring is a LOCKING diopter. you need to pull it towards the eyelens until it "clicks" to move it. Once you have it set, push it back until it clicks again.
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Old Sunday 16th June 2013, 00:57   #7
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THANKS RJ....my husband figured it out. I didn't want to mess with it too much as I am probably sending it back....
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Old Sunday 16th June 2013, 17:33   #8
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THANKS RJ....my husband figured it out. I didn't want to mess with it too much as I am probably sending it back....
My review of the Bushnell Legend HD 10x36 is posted int he Equipment reviews section. I sent them back one day after I got them due to that broken locking diopter ring. It spoke badly about their eventual longevity for me.

Hope your experience was better than mine!
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Old Tuesday 18th June 2013, 20:18   #9
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I have been using an Elite 8x42 for some years and just today got a Legend Ultra HD 8x42. I am more than impressed. And yes, binoculars have improved a great deal during the past 10 years. It is the coatings which have made the biggest improvement to mid priced bins and I can't see any reason to pay 800 to 1000 just to get a posh little badge. My business is www.actionoptics.co.uk so I am not easily impressed. Time will tell if the mechanics in the Legend are as good as the Elite but I have had to repair a number of Elites where the focus shafts have corroded solid because their top halves are not protected from water. The O ring is half way down.
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Old Wednesday 19th June 2013, 01:56   #10
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I have been using an Elite 8x42 for some years and just today got a Legend Ultra HD 8x42. I am more than impressed. And yes, binoculars have improved a great deal during the past 10 years. It is the coatings which have made the biggest improvement to mid priced bins and I can't see any reason to pay 800 to 1000 just to get a posh little badge. My business is www.actionoptics.co.uk so I am not easily impressed. Time will tell if the mechanics in the Legend are as good as the Elite but I have had to repair a number of Elites where the focus shafts have corroded solid because their top halves are not protected from water. The O ring is half way down.
The Legend won't last the year without falling apart - and this is from a long-time Bushnell / B & L fan - so it is painful to see the shoddy build quality.
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Old Wednesday 19th June 2013, 02:24   #11
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The Legend won't last the year without falling apart - and this is from a long-time Bushnell / B & L fan - so it is painful to see the shoddy build quality.
Now that is just an unfounded exaggeration. Like I said above, I've had 2 pairs for 3yrs+ with only one loose eyecup to show for all the abuse, including weeks left bouncing around on the floorboard of an open jeep over the rough dusty senderos of our S. Texas ranch and exposed to all kinds of weather, including -20C Hokkaido winters and dunkings in the Pacific Ocean while kayaking in Hawaii.

The Legend may look/feel shoddy to some, but in practice they hold up pretty well. And for the cost of ONE Zeiss HT I could buy 10 Legends and give them to my friends and family or donate 200 mosquito nets to ward off malaria and save the lives of the less fortunate.

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Old Wednesday 19th June 2013, 03:06   #12
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Now that is just an unfounded exaggeration. Like I said above, I've had 2 pairs for 3yrs+ with only one loose eyecup to show for all the abuse, including weeks left bouncing around on the floorboard of an open jeep over the rough dusty senderos of our S. Texas ranch and exposed to all kinds of weather, including -20C Hokkaido winters and dunkings in the Pacific Ocean while kayaking in Hawaii.

The Lengend may look/feel shoddy to some, but in practice they hold up pretty well. And for the cost of ONE Zeiss HT I could buy 10 Legends and give them to my friends and family or donate 200 mosquito nets to ward off malaria and save the lives of the less fortunate.
I know 6 owners of Legends / Legend Ultra's [including me / my wife] - 4 have had the dioptre ring break, most have loose eye-cups and one has a focus knob that has so much lateral play that it rubs the body of the bino. and seizes.

My wife's 10x32 has chronic stray-light issue's and poor centrefield sharpness, both issues have manifested over time so must be a QC / wear issue.

This is not an attack, as I like the brand, but I think their Chinese offerings are poorly built.
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Old Wednesday 19th June 2013, 03:37   #13
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So send them in for repair or replacement under the warranty. Given their bargain $195 price, I could buy two so I'd have a backup handy if one needed repair or to lend.
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Old Wednesday 19th June 2013, 04:28   #14
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Now that is just an unfounded exaggeration. Like I said above, I've had 2 pairs for 3yrs+ with only one loose eyecup to show for all the abuse, including weeks left bouncing around on the floorboard of an open jeep over the rough dusty senderos of our S. Texas ranch and exposed to all kinds of weather, including -20C Hokkaido winters and dunkings in the Pacific Ocean while kayaking in Hawaii.

The Legend may look/feel shoddy to some, but in practice they hold up pretty well. And for the cost of ONE Zeiss HT I could buy 10 Legends and give them to my friends and family or donate 200 mosquito nets to ward off malaria and save the lives of the less fortunate.
Rick:

You have been pushing the Legend Ultra, and seem to be a "one man band".
I have only tried the Legend Ultra once in a store setting, and it was similar to your take on a Zenray post you made recently.
15 seconds, that was enough for me.

Tell us, I know you have some high quality spotting scopes, but with binoculars
you do not seem to have the same desire for quality.

Jerry
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Old Wednesday 19th June 2013, 05:16   #15
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Not true Jerry. I currently own a Nikon 12x50SE and 10x35/8x30 EIIs in addition to my "knock-around" Legends Ultra HDs and Excursion 8x28. I was also fairly happy with my Canon 15/18x50 IS bins (which by any measure are the most technologically advanced handheld binoculars made even now), but that was when they sold for less than US$1000 too! Eventually I came to like the ED50 fieldscope better and sold the Canons in keeping with my philosophy that, "IMO there are NO handheld optics that are worth spending more than $500 USED."

That doesn't mean I don't think optics that sell for more aren't swell. I definitely lust after a Swaro 10x50 SV, Leica Duovid, and even a Nikon EDG. But my lust is tempered by perhaps a little too much production knowledge gained from the industry trade shows and insiders.

Frankly, I have an aversion to being gouged, and with margins in excess of 400%, I see all the so-called Alphas as excessively overpriced. Especially when their price is as much as larger optics requiring more production complexity and higher material costs.
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Old Thursday 20th June 2013, 01:50   #16
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Not true Jerry. I currently own a Nikon 12x50SE and 10x35/8x30 EIIs in addition to my "knock-around" Legends Ultra HDs and Excursion 8x28. I was also fairly happy with my Canon 15/18x50 IS bins (which by any measure are the most technologically advanced handheld binoculars made even now), but that was when they sold for less than US$1000 too! Eventually I came to like the ED50 fieldscope better and sold the Canons in keeping with my philosophy that, "IMO there are NO handheld optics that are worth spending more than $500 USED."

That doesn't mean I don't think optics that sell for more aren't swell. I definitely lust after a Swaro 10x50 SV, Leica Duovid, and even a Nikon EDG. But my lust is tempered by perhaps a little too much production knowledge gained from the industry trade shows and insiders.

Frankly, I have an aversion to being gouged, and with margins in excess of 400%, I see all the so-called Alphas as excessively overpriced. Especially when their price is as much as larger optics requiring more production complexity and higher material costs.
Rick:

You do have a nice stable of binoculars and thanks for the update.
I am not picking on the Legend, I just had my Bushnell Excursion 8x28 out yesterday, and that size is very nice, these offer a nice view and are compact.
That model has a niche, I do not know of others with that size and performance,
in that price area.

Your budget shows restraint, and I do respect that. The quality Nikons you have do qualify, they are in the best value area for optical quality that is available
today.

Jerry
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Old Thursday 20th June 2013, 02:31   #17
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Not true Jerry. I currently own a Nikon 12x50SE and 10x35/8x30 EIIs in addition to my "knock-around" Legends Ultra HDs and Excursion 8x28. I was also fairly happy with my Canon 15/18x50 IS bins (which by any measure are the most technologically advanced handheld binoculars made even now), but that was when they sold for less than US$1000 too! Eventually I came to like the ED50 fieldscope better and sold the Canons in keeping with my philosophy that, "IMO there are NO handheld optics that are worth spending more than $500 USED."

That doesn't mean I don't think optics that sell for more aren't swell. I definitely lust after a Swaro 10x50 SV, Leica Duovid, and even a Nikon EDG. But my lust is tempered by perhaps a little too much production knowledge gained from the industry trade shows and insiders.

Frankly, I have an aversion to being gouged, and with margins in excess of 400%, I see all the so-called Alphas as excessively overpriced. Especially when their price is as much as larger optics requiring more production complexity and higher material costs.

There is an aspect of buying used alpha's that you are missing - investment value. I have 5 Classic series Zeiss, all bought used and all are currently worth more than what I paid for them [+ 5 - 10%]. If you look at prices for models such as the Classics, you can see just where they have been and where they are going. To me, they are a work of art - both antique and advanced at the same time - but still wonderful to look at.

I think of them as my best investments, as I can look at them, hold them, take them into the field and then [one day] sell them for a bit more than I paid for them. That's a lot more fun than another boring mutual fund, that just sits there waiting for me to die some day............

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Old Thursday 20th June 2013, 05:45   #18
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I did complain about the equivalency and they said they would let me have Elites for the same price if I wanted.
So they offered either legend or elite as replacement? Why is the choice even an question lol?
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Old Thursday 20th June 2013, 16:16   #19
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So they offered either legend or elite as replacement? Why is the choice even an question lol?
Because the Elites are elite in name only. They have disappointing specs, whereas the Legend is groundbreaking, even setting price aside.

As for the question of Legend optical quality and durability, I've recommended these to many colleagues and students over the last few years, and in my experience the optics are outstanding (lemons right out of the box aside--and there are, unfortunately, quite a few of those) but the mechanical integrity is far below standard. Many units develop problems with the focus, or shed plastic bits (very commonly, the plastic ring over the diopter control shatters into 2 pieces, though the diopter still functions perfectly, just harder to grip to pull out and adjust). Thus far, Bushnell has done a fine job of replacing broken units under their lifetime warranty, so I continue to recommend these because I don't think their optical quality can be beat except by the alphas, but I recommend that purchasers make their peace, the day they buy them, that they may have to be sent back for service in a relatively short time. I've not had the same experience with mechanical issues developing with any of various Japanese made budget roofs of the past (e.g. past Bushnell Legend models, Nikon Monarchs, Eagle Optics Rangers, Vortex models, etc) with which I've had experience with many models, units, and users over a longer period of time, but I was never enthusiastic about their optical quality, whereas I find the Legend Ultra 8x42 HD stunning. I just wish the Chinese manufacturer could build focus drives etc as well as they can make the optics.

--AP

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Old Thursday 20th June 2013, 17:01   #20
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Because the Elites are elite in name only. They have disappointing specs, whereas the Legend is groundbreaking, even setting price aside.

As for the question of Legend optical quality and durability, I've recommended these to many colleagues and students over the last few years, and in my experience the optics are outstanding (lemons right out of the box aside--and there are, unfortunately, quite a few of those) but the mechanical integrity is far below standard. Many units develop problems with the focus, or shed plastic bits (very commonly, the plastic ring over the diopter control shatters into 2 pieces, though the diopter still functions perfectly, just harder to grip to pull out and adjust). Thus far, Bushnell has done a fine job of replacing broken units under their lifetime warranty, so I continue to recommend these because I don't think their optical quality can be beat except by the alphas, but I recommend that purchasers make their peace, the day they buy them, that they may have to be sent back for service in a relatively short time. I've not had the same experience with mechanical issues developing with any of various Japanese made budget roofs of the past (e.g. past Bushnell Legend models, Nikon Monarchs, Eagle Optics Rangers, Vortex models, etc) with which I've had experience with many models, units, and users over a longer period of time, but I was never enthusiastic about their optical quality, whereas I find the Legend Ultra 8x42 HD stunning. I just wish the Chinese manufacturer could build focus drives etc as well as they can make the optics.

--AP

Sums it up perfectly for me.....a reference standard at their price-point but a tiny addition of better quality materials would make it a world beater.
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Old Friday 21st June 2013, 07:33   #21
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I would like to thank everyone for their help with this! An update: I did return the Legends as I could not get the interpupillary distance set correctly...I was seeing black shapes no matter what I did! I guess (from what I've read) the eye cups did not twist far enough up? I was super impressed with the brightness and clarity though...and I convinced myself that the elites must be "better" or why would Bushnell charge more for them? Anyway I received the Elites today and unfortunately am underwhelmed. I don't know if I have just psyched myself out by overthinking this whole thing, but I certainly did not feel "wow" when I first put them up like I did with the Legends. I will say that I was able to get a single circle view with these. So, I really didn't have a choice in the end since, as good as the Legends were, they just weren't the right size (?) for me.

I still think Bushnell offered me the Legends as a replacement because they are better. But why they charge less for them? A mystery.

In the end I am just sad they couldn't repair my 1994 Elites. They said there were no parts available. I have read that so-called "Alpha" binox should last for life. And Elites certainly were the alphas of their day. I guess they just didn't last forever. I should just dollar cost average the amount of use I got out of them for so long and just call it a day. I will probably just try the Elites on my next trip (Belize! including Chanh Chich Lodge) and see how it goes. I just don't bird enough these days to justify the purchase of something major right now.

Again, thanks everyone for your help....do you think I will get used to these Elites?
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Old Friday 21st June 2013, 09:47   #22
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I've not spent much time with the Ultra HD or the new Elite. just a couple of occasions at stores and birding fairs so I can't comment on the ownership problems that others have reported.

I fully understand the instant appeal of the Ultra HD though. At least the pairs I've tried were very sharp in the centre, the wide view, and the rich colour presentation. It's not without it's faults though. Certainly the build quality left something to be desired. For an ED glass there was a lot of CA (colour fringing) there was magnification distortion (though few notice it) and the edges weren't great. At US prices at least, I thought it was very good value overall, but then I didn't experience the dioptre problems.

I thought the Elite was a pretty classy glass, marred mostly by the narrow FOV. The pairs I tried I thought at least as sharp as the Ulta HD in the centre, but that degree of sharpness covered a wider area than the Ultra HD. The colours were more neutral and the CA was better controlled. The standard of construction appeared substantially better. I usually wear glasses and didn't check either for eye relief without them.

I do understand the irritation that many feel when the eye cups don't extend far enough for their facial features. I've got a couple like that. I've found on one that positioning one against my eyebrows (and sightly frowning) works, and the other placing my hand further back and using a finger as a spacer is fine. Neither may work for you.

If I were buying new I might look at alternatives to the Elite, but although I prefer lower powers in general, I suspect I might find the 10x apparent field of view more satisfactory on that model. The AFOV is about 60 degrees compared to 50 on the 8x. Not everyone can hold a 10x steady though. The eye relief is also shorter than the 8x which might be a better fit for you.

David
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Old Wednesday 21st August 2013, 17:12   #23
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Question

I seem to recall seeing advertising for the Legend Ultra HD's that said that the mirror coatings were silver based. However that has evaporated, and I can't put my finger on it right now, so in response to questions from AP on anothet thread I made some enquiries ..... ultimately no dice. Here's the story so far:
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How do you know that the Bushnell is silver and not dielectric? .....
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..... As for the Bushie's silver coated prisms, that was from retailer advertising (which is not always reliable), though I checked the Bushnell website, and there's no specific mention of either. Stay tuned ..... more to follow shortly.
Well, that's all she wrote folks! Despite a coupla requests to Bushnell - they're remaining v-e-r-y __
All they proferred was, ... "For further assistance with this please give us a call at 1-800-423-3537 Option 2. Thank you."
I could buy a pair and have them shipped here and then sent to a lab for anaylsis for what it would cost me to ring that number from here on my mobile! Perhaps one of our local US peeps can call and find out ??
Do be sure and post your findings ....... type of mirror coating, number of layers, etc. ..... Ta muchly
None of our US peeps have yet picked up the 'dog n bone', and as the Legend Ultra HD's retail here for $499, and a phone call from here would cost considerably more - I can guarantee you I won't be doing it!!

Any chance one of you good curious folk can get on the blower at the above number and find out?


Chosun

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Old Wednesday 21st August 2013, 18:27   #24
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I seem to recall seeing advertising for the Legend Ultra HD's that said that the mirror coatings were silver based. However that has evaporated, and I can't put my finger on it right now, so in response to questions from AP on anothet thread I made some enquiries ..... ultimately no dice. Here's the story so far:

None of our US peeps have yet picked up the 'dog n bone', and as the Legend Ultra HD's retail here for $499, and a phone call from here would cost considerably more - I can guarantee you I won't be doing it!!

Any chance one of you good curious folk can get on the blower at the above number and find out?


Chosun
Chosun

Found this on http://www.opticsreviewer.com/bushne...#ixzz2ccqGwt4E
The BaK-4 glass used in making the prisms is certainly a part of it, as well as the prism's reflective coating of silver alloy. (We wondered what kind of reflective prism coating was used and thought you might, too. Since the information wasn't published, we asked the company and learned it's a silver alloy reflective coating.)

Hows that?

Lee
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Old Thursday 22nd August 2013, 16:20   #25
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Chosun

Found this on http://www.opticsreviewer.com/bushne...#ixzz2ccqGwt4E
The BaK-4 glass used in making the prisms is certainly a part of it, as well as the prism's reflective coating of silver alloy. (We wondered what kind of reflective prism coating was used and thought you might, too. Since the information wasn't published, we asked the company and learned it's a silver alloy reflective coating.)

Hows that?

Lee
Thanks Lee - well done

I knew I was right (thought I was wrong once, but turns out I was mistaken! )

Looks like you have your answer Alexis ..... Silver it is ......

Di + ED would be too radical of a market positioning paradigm shift @ circa ~$150 - well, at least for this year anyway ...... next year - ah, well, that's something else again ......

The "alloy" part of the silver "alloy", is still a bit puzzling - but hey, you can't have everything!


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