Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Magnifying the passion for nature. Zeiss Victory Harpia 95. New!

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rating: Thread Rating: 24 votes, 5.00 average.
Old Wednesday 29th May 2013, 19:43   #26
Mike V
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Brooklyn NY
Posts: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by misanthorpe View Post
Bushnell sells a replacement eye cup (w/ part number BN05) that is a nice work-around for the out of stock eye cups for the Bausch & Lomb custom compact 7x26 (mn: 61-7261) and works very well.
Hi Misanthorpe, I called Bushnell and they told me that BN05 is just the generic code for eye cups. You also need to tell them what model it is for. I told him, and he advised none in stock for the metal Custom Compacts. Did you order one that was for a different Bushnell/B&L model that you were able to fit, as you said it was a work-around?
Mike V is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 28th August 2013, 18:31   #27
Mike V
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Brooklyn NY
Posts: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike V View Post

The Elite Custom 7 x 26 - Model 62-0726, is fully rubber armored with twist up eye cups and was successor to the Custom Compact 7 x 26 - Model 12-0726. Bushnell's Model 12-0726 had a polycarbonate body and partial rubber armor on the top and sides only, with soft roll down rubber eye cups. This version was made from 1993 to 2004 as the Bausch & Lomb Custom Compact - Model 61-0726, and from 2004 until 2008, as the identical Bushnell Custom Compact - Model 12-0726, when the Elite Custom replaced it. There has been only one model of Elite Custom 7 x 26 made, and it is still the one in production, Model 62-0726. It says Elite on the left body side and Elite Custom in the center of the focus wheel and has a round inset logo on top of the right body that says Bushnell Birding Series. It is said these are magnesium bodied under the rubber armor, but I can't tell by comparing my Elite Custom to my polycarbonate body B&L one. They look awfully similar just peering inside!

The 1993 and earlier Custom Compacts were metal & leatherette bodied, the final one being marked as Bausch & Lomb, model 61-7261, and this last metal one had green multi-coating (my 1993 one is as bright as my newest Elite one). The earlier metal ones had blue coatings and were marked as Bushnell, model 10-7261. There are several minor variations of the old metal ones as well. These are as sharp as the newest B&L metal ones, but they are not as bright. The later Bushnell 1980's thru the Bausch & Lomb 1993 metal ones had improved eyepieces and diopter adjustment, and can focus a bit closer than older original Bushnell 1960's thru 1970's vintage ones. These are the later ones with neck strap eyelets on the outer sides of the body rather than the inner sides of the body in the middle of the eyepieces. This version began as Bushnell marked but was changed in the last few years of production to the Bausch & Lomb with better coatings before the 1994 complete (and unfortunate) polycarbonate re-vamp.


Mike V.
Okay guys. I finally got a series of photos up on a web hosting site and can put some photos together to show the various Custom Compact models over the years.

Let's start with the classic metal and leatherette Custom Compacts. There are four main variations with a few additional marking changes. There are three eyepiece/ocular designs.

Version One Metal Bodied Custom Compact, "The Project Gemini" model:
Here is the earliest Custom Compact I own and am aware of. I bought my first ones in 1972, for the then princely sum of $129- a lot to a high school senior in those days. Work it out to today's dollars and it is lot more than Elites sell for now. These have served me faithfully for decades, still clear and sharp as a tack. The original style eyepiece and ocular adjustment is a column shaped ocular housing with adjustment on the left side and the markings are visible in a little window. Adjustment is by turning the rubber eye cup. It is friction lock only and tends to drift if handled, so I often use a little square of black electrical tape to hold it where I want it. Close focus on this design was to 16 feet. The eye cups are thick heavy rubber that lasts well. Main issue with these early ones is the black paint on the back plate will come off if you look at it funny. Early on, I had an otherwise mint binocular with a beat up brassy chipped back plate, which really bugged me. Being a model builder, I whipped out my airbrush, masked off the back plate and sprayed it with black epoxy paint. Problem solved, still good thirty years later, but a bit too glossy black!) I recently acquired a mint in box copy of this version, which is higher numbered than my first. I suspect this as mid to late 1970's production. Same binocular, same box, same paperwork but the box and carry case have a little double circle logo added. The black back plate finish looks more durable, so Bushnell changed it along the way. The neck strap on both of these is a thin shoelace style strap, permanently attached to heavy metal lugs located beneath the prism housing, close to the hinge. The clear inset on the focus wheel is often missing on beat up examples of this version.
My first 1972 7x26:
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/

My slightly newer, mint in box, recent acquisition, same as my first but a bit higher serial numbered. Back plate has better finish than the less durable one my first 1972 one had. I estimate it is from mid to late 1970's production. The slight flared ends of the eye cups are the result of having sat in the box for decades in folded down position, resulting in a permanent set. They should be column shaped, but the flare did not harm them and actually is a nicer shape. Note the OO logo added to the mid/late 1970 version's case:
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/


Version Two Metal Bodied Custom Compact. The "Push-Pull" model:
I acquired this one recently and it is very minty. It has the second design ocular housing and eye cup style. I call it the Push-Pull. The eye cup is polyurethane plastic, not rubber, so no deterioration concerns. The eye cups pull out or push in for eye relief adjustment. There are two variations of the Push-Pull. One has the neck strap attached to the front hinge screw cap, which is enlarged and can be unscrewed allowing removal of the strap. The other has the same neck strap with central under body lugs like the version one has. I don't know which came first, or if there was switching back and forth on this strap style by Bushnell. Ocular lens is wider and close focus is now 8 feet. Adjustment is still on left side, with a larger window than version one. There is a lug on the left eye cup for adjusting, and while still friction locked, it is tighter than version one.
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/

Version Three Metal Bodied Custom Compact - The Micrometer model:
This is the final physical variation of the Bushnell metal Custom Compact.
The eye cups are now flared and roll down. They are less durable than those on version one. If found in rolled down condition, they are usually shot, and no longer replaceable as the parts are unavailable. (Shame on Bushnell.) Close focus is 8 feet (although several of mine will go to seven feet). The focus adjustment is now on the right ocular housing and is a micrometer twist ring with very fine click stops. The last batches of these, before the Custom Compact was re-branded as Bausch & Lomb, have metal embossed Bushnell brand name logos on the right housing, like the later B&L ones do, as well as the National Audubon Society marking. They also have a stylized Bushnell B on the front hinge screw cap. These were 1980's production until the switch to B&L, which I believe was early 1990's. The neck strap lugs are now on the outer edge of the prism housings, and this is the final location on the metal Custom Compacts
Last Bushnell version (left) alongside the metal Bausch & Lomb version of 1993 (right):
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
The Bushnell Version Three with the Bausch & Lomb metal version. All Bushnell metal Custom Compact's have blue coatings. The B&L has green coatings. The B&L has the gold triangle logo on the hinge screw cover:
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
Last Bushnell production of version three had embossed logo:
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/

Version Four Metal Bodied Custom Compact, The Bausch & Lomb model:
This was the ultimate metal bodied Custom Compact, and was changed in 1993 to the polycarbonate bodied B&L version. In physical layout, the body and ocular design is carried over from previous Bushnell marked production. Focus is to 8 feet, mine will do a bit better. The main difference from the prior Bushnell version is the lens coatings, which are now green. My metal B&L's were purchased new in early 1994 and have remained in NIB condition since. They are as sharp as any of my others, including the latest Elite, and are noticeably brighter than the Bushnell metal bodied ones with blue coatings. They are as bright as the polycarbonate B&L version that followed them from 1994 to 2004, and I am unable to detect any real difference between the later version B&L. Even the newest Elites do not seem to have any real edge I can detect. They are the only metal bodied ones I have that came with four lens covers. These are my personal favorites of my Custom Compact collection.
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
The final B&L metal version with the polycarbonate B&L successor:
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
The coatings on the metal B&L and the polycarb B&L are very similar:
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/

The Polycarbonate Bausch & Lomb Custom Compact. "The Plastic Fantastic" model:
I purchased this one new in 1994. It is optically the equal of the metal B&L I purchased earlier that year. It feels a tiny bit bigger in the hand and it is more bulky than the metal ones. I personally prefer the feel of the metal ones in the hand, but it's a personal preference. It is less bulky than the newest Elites. These were made from 1994 until 2007, but the brand logo was changed in 2004 to Bushnell when B&L lifted it's licensing rights to the name. The Elites succeeded this version.
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/

The latest Elite version. The Elite Custom 7x26:
Take careful note. It is labelled Elite Custom, not Elite Custom COMPACT! It has grown a bit tubby over the years, has it not? The optics however, are impeccable. I have two pair of these, and they are identical. I bought one a few years back and, one was purchased a few months ago. The only change is the serial number. They are still (as all have been) made in Japan. The eye-cups screw up and down, so no deterioration issues. The only change I see on the newest one is a smaller box and the carry case has been simplified and improved by removing the goofy magnetic catch and flap in addition to the zipper. The size and bulk of these cases are approaching silly when compared to the trim little zipper cases the earlier ones came with. My only complaint is the bulk of the cases, in addition to not adding waterproofing to them.
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
The neck strap seems a bit more than is really needed here:
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
Latest case is on the right:
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
Plastic Fantastic and the Elite:
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
You can get a sense of how much more trim in the hand the metal version is here:
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
The three main generations of Custom Compacts, metal, polycarb and Elite:
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/

There you have it folks. I have many big flashy binoculars to play with, but the little Custom Compacts have a special place in my heart I cannot explain. No other compact rivals their view and clarity. They are not fussy and hard to deal with, like my Swaro 8x20 compact roofs, which are so tiny, I can't hold them steady enough or get the double hinged pupils lined up, let alone focus. The exit pupil is big enough to not drive you crazy and the eye relief is good enough that I do not need to roll down the eye cups with glasses on. They always deliver, and at a reasonable price. Hope you enjoy the photos.

Last edited by Mike V : Wednesday 28th August 2013 at 20:10. Reason: spelling
Mike V is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 28th August 2013, 18:39   #28
Gilmore Girl
Beth
 
Gilmore Girl's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Northeast
Posts: 2,493
very nice photos. I really like the older ones from the 70's.
I like small compact bins a lot too.
Gilmore Girl is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2013 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Thursday 29th August 2013, 04:37   #29
ceasar
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: NE Pennsylvania
Posts: 10,742
Well done, Mike.

We 7 x 26 fans sure do appreciate it!

Bob
ceasar is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2010 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Thursday 29th August 2013, 13:16   #30
Kammerdiner
Registered User

 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: PA
Posts: 1,680
Indeed, that's a nice archive Mike.

As you say, the latest version has grown a little "tubby" (pushing 15 ounces I think--I'll weigh it) but it's good to see Bushnell's long-term commitment to the model.

You might mention that the latest version has gone back to a metal housing, magnesium this time if I'm not mistaken.

Although mine hasn't been getting much use (I may sell it) it is certainly one of the best compacts available, and always was.

Mark
Kammerdiner is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 29th August 2013, 14:57   #31
Mike V
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Brooklyn NY
Posts: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kammerdiner View Post
Indeed, that's a nice archive Mike.

As you say, the latest version has grown a little "tubby" (pushing 15 ounces I think--I'll weigh it) but it's good to see Bushnell's long-term commitment to the model.

You might mention that the latest version has gone back to a metal housing, magnesium this time if I'm not mistaken.

Although mine hasn't been getting much use (I may sell it) it is certainly one of the best compacts available, and always was.

Mark
Hi Mark,

I deliberately did not mention that the Elite has a magnesium body because I have no hard proof yet that it is. I have seen posts claiming it is so, but until somebody gets under that rubber armor and confirms it, it remains uncertain. My main reason for remaining uncertain is this. When I look inside the objective ends of the Elite and compare to the "plastic fantastic" that preceded it, the innards look identical.

Mike
Mike V is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 29th August 2013, 15:11   #32
Kammerdiner
Registered User

 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: PA
Posts: 1,680
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike V View Post
Hi Mark,

I deliberately did not mention that the Elite has a magnesium body because I have no hard proof yet that it is. I have seen posts claiming it is so, but until somebody gets under that rubber armor and confirms it, it remains uncertain. My main reason for remaining uncertain is this. When I look inside the objective ends of the Elite and compare to the "plastic fantastic" that preceded it, the innards look identical.

Mike
Mike,

To me, the black, unarmored portion of the Bushnell (and there's quite a bit of it) seems like metal. Tapping on it, for example, doesn't quite sound/feel like plastic. Just too "hard" or "metallic" somehow. Also, on Bushnell's website they claim the 7x26 is "built around a tough, lightweight magnesium chassis for reliability in the most extreme conditions."

That's what I was going on. I suppose you could scratch the surface and see if it bleeds metal. You first though.

Mark
Kammerdiner is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 29th August 2013, 19:01   #33
Mike V
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Brooklyn NY
Posts: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kammerdiner View Post
Mike,

To me, the black, unarmored portion of the Bushnell (and there's quite a bit of it) seems like metal. Tapping on it, for example, doesn't quite sound/feel like plastic. Just too "hard" or "metallic" somehow. Also, on Bushnell's website they claim the 7x26 is "built around a tough, lightweight magnesium chassis for reliability in the most extreme conditions."

That's what I was going on. I suppose you could scratch the surface and see if it bleeds metal. You first though.

Mark
Trouble is that all the parts on the Elite that seem to clearly be metal are also clearly metal on the polycarbonate version (like the hinge). The Bushnell website transfers a lot of information meant for the two full size Elites onto the 7x26 page, and I'm not convinced it really applies to all three.
Mike
Mike V is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 29th August 2013, 20:30   #34
Kammerdiner
Registered User

 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: PA
Posts: 1,680
I hadn't used the Bushnell in a while so I took it outside and gave it a look. The housing could very well be plastic after all. But it's hard enough and textured enough to file a fingernail. Maybe that's why I remembered it as metal.

It's also 13.5 ounces, not "pushing 15" as I remembered it. Very sharp, bright, contrasty.

You're right about the website. Bushnell's webmaster is sometimes not a stickler for facts. I'd guess aluminum, not magnesium, accounts for some of the weight.

Mark
Kammerdiner is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 30th August 2013, 00:40   #35
Mike V
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Brooklyn NY
Posts: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kammerdiner View Post
I hadn't used the Bushnell in a while so I took it outside and gave it a look. The housing could very well be plastic after all. But it's hard enough and textured enough to file a fingernail. Maybe that's why I remembered it as metal.

It's also 13.5 ounces, not "pushing 15" as I remembered it. Very sharp, bright, contrasty.

You're right about the website. Bushnell's webmaster is sometimes not a stickler for facts. I'd guess aluminum, not magnesium, accounts for some of the weight.

Mark
Mark, Good news on the Elite 7x26. I figured what the hell, I have two of them. I just wiggled the rubber armor around the objective housing and exposed enough of the lens barrel underneath to see that it indeed looks like it is metal. I see machining marks along the edge, which is very sharp. If it is not metal, then it is the most metallic plastic I've ever seen. BTW, the rubber snapped back with no issues. I'll await any further evidence either way, but it does seem to be metal.

Mike
Mike V is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 4th September 2013, 04:41   #36
clschmalz
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Ogden UT
Posts: 69
A couple of comments to further clarify (or muddle) things.

The B&L 7x26 Customs (polycarbonate body) were 61-0726, not 12 series. According to my 1997 Eagle Optics catalog their list price was $450.

Also, I have a pair of 9x26 B&L Customs (61-0926). Externally identical to the 7x26 model. Unfortunately I can't comment on their optical quality because their prisms were badly etched when I received them (something the eBay seller had failed to mention). They are an extension of B&L's Audubon endorsed series, but I've never been able to find much else about them. Would appreciate any info.

Charlie
clschmalz is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 4th September 2013, 20:16   #37
Mike V
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Brooklyn NY
Posts: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by clschmalz View Post
A couple of comments to further clarify (or muddle) things.

The B&L 7x26 Customs (polycarbonate body) were 61-0726, not 12 series. According to my 1997 Eagle Optics catalog their list price was $450.

Also, I have a pair of 9x26 B&L Customs (61-0926). Externally identical to the 7x26 model. Unfortunately I can't comment on their optical quality because their prisms were badly etched when I received them (something the eBay seller had failed to mention). They are an extension of B&L's Audubon endorsed series, but I've never been able to find much else about them. Would appreciate any info.

Charlie
Charlie, see my original post where I had the changes to the model numbers laid out:

"This version was made from 1993 to 2004 as the Bausch & Lomb Custom Compact - Model 61-0726, and from 2004 until 2008, as the identical Bushnell Custom Compact - Model 12-0726."

The 61- series was for the B&L version of 61-0726, the polycarbonate body one introduced in 1993. When Bushnell had to re-brand the B&L models to Bushnell branding in 2004, the model series changed to 12- series. Otherwise identical, save labeling.

NOW, a 9 power custom compact? (The early 6x25's are well known, but a 9 power, I've never heard of it!!!) This is entirely new information to me, and I have been a fan of them for forty plus years! Can you post photos?

PS: Never-mind the photos. I just googled and it came up, looks exactly like the polycarb 7x26 as you said. Not much out there except confirmation of the model number and a thumbnail photo, but they apparently existed. Wow. How did I not ever hear of this before? You learn something new everyday!

Last edited by Mike V : Wednesday 4th September 2013 at 20:30.
Mike V is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 4th September 2013, 20:34   #38
Weekend Birder
Registered User
 
Weekend Birder's Avatar

 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: St.Helens, Merseyside, UK
Posts: 355
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike V View Post
No other compact rivals their view and clarity.
The B&L 7x26 is a little gem of engineering. I got a pair of the metal bodied version 4 in mint condition off ebay for a good price.

I have to say that my Olympus 8x25 PC I are a bit sharper though. That's not a criticism of the B&L's - they are sharp - it's just that the Olympus really defies belief for a cheapo bin.

If you can put up with the plastic body, give them a try.
Weekend Birder is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 4th September 2013, 20:49   #39
normjackson
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Colchester, Essex
Posts: 1,439
Found Charlie's picture of his 9x26 :
http://www.flickr.com/photos/clschma...n/photostream/

Seems Richard of UK repairer and retailer ActionOptics had a demo one for sale back in 2004 in this thread about 9x binoculars :
http://www.birdforum.net/showpost.ph...13&postcount=2

And from this looks like it came from the last days of the Bausch and Lomb binocular brand at the turn of the century :
http://greatoutdoors.theshoppe.com/photo5.html
normjackson is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 4th September 2013, 22:53   #40
typo
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Hertfordshire
Posts: 3,335
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weekend Birder View Post
The B&L 7x26 is a little gem of engineering. I got a pair of the metal bodied version 4 in mint condition off ebay for a good price.

I have to say that my Olympus 8x25 PC I are a bit sharper though. That's not a criticism of the B&L's - they are sharp - it's just that the Olympus really defies belief for a cheapo bin.

If you can put up with the plastic body, give them a try.
That's interesting. When I was scouting around for a compact I compared the Olympus PCI 8x25 to the current Elite 7x26 and a number of others. Those were the stand out pairs from the number I tried but I thought the Elite slightly brighter and sharper. Worth the price difference to me. In error I ordered the previous polycarbonate version and it just didn't impress me like the Elite I'd tried so they were returned and replace. The Elite's are definitely a favourite for summer walks.

I've mentioned it before, but I was told by someone in the trade that 4 different Japanese companies made versions of the 7x26 Bushnell and B&L over the years. Anyone know who made what?

David
typo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 5th September 2013, 01:07   #41
clschmalz
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Ogden UT
Posts: 69
Re: 9x26 Customs. I bought mine on eBay about five years ago. I've had a standing search for 9x26 binoculars on eBay since then but have had no B&L Custom hit yet. They're obviously very rare.

Charlie
clschmalz is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 5th September 2013, 16:30   #42
Alexis Powell
Registered User

 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Lawrence, Kansas, USA
Posts: 2,661
I remember the 9x26, though I never tried one. I think the B&L Custom near-twin, the Monk Explorer also came in 7x26 and 9x26 versions. Another bin to remember from the past was the Swift 8x26 Trekker. The body seemed to be made by the same company that made the first polycarbonate B&L 7x26 and Monk 7x26 Explorer, but I don't know how the optics compared.

--AP
Alexis Powell is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 30th September 2013, 17:31   #43
Mike V
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Brooklyn NY
Posts: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike V View Post
Mark, Good news on the Elite 7x26. I figured what the hell, I have two of them. I just wiggled the rubber armor around the objective housing and exposed enough of the lens barrel underneath to see that it indeed looks like it is metal. I see machining marks along the edge, which is very sharp. If it is not metal, then it is the most metallic plastic I've ever seen. BTW, the rubber snapped back with no issues. I'll await any further evidence either way, but it does seem to be metal.

Mike
I just came across a review at this site: http://www.opticsreviewer.com/elite-custom.html that says the Bushnell factory technical rep advised the author that the new Elite 7x26 has an aluminum alloy body, not magnesium, under the rubber armor. It is a nice review, BTW.

Also, I just noticed a metal lapse in my big post of all the models. I ascribed version three, the metal body micrometer adjuster one with the new ocular housing as having moved the adjuster from left to right side. It was on the left side for all of this type (all metal and leatherette types) and the adjuster was moved to the right side with the later polycarbonate body version. (And I was looking right at them as I typed it! Duh!)

Mike
Mike V is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 4th October 2013, 18:49   #44
Mike V
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Brooklyn NY
Posts: 26
Further new information on the early metal Custom Compact chronology. I just found a magazine article, Field & Stream, March, 1965, reviewing the Custom Compact. Also saw photos of the instruction paperwork for one, dated 1964-65, packed with warranty card from 1967. These all have photos showing the Push-Pull eyecup model that I originally believed was the second version for the metal Custom Compact. It is actually the first model. I had believed it was the second model because it (oddly) has the closer focus distance of the third micrometer type Bushnell and fourth Bausch & Lomb versions.

So, the Push-Pull with the neck strap on the front center hinge cap was the 1960's original version, the cylindrical roll down cup one that came with Project Gemini paperwork, with inner prism housing mounted neck strap lugs was the 1970's version, the micrometer adjuster version was the 1980's and the Bausch & Lomb was the 1990's version (until 1993.)
Mike V is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 4th October 2013, 20:31   #45
John Dracon
John Dracon

 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: White Sulphur Springs, Montana
Posts: 908
Mike V - thanks for all the work and effort you have gone through doing your research.

Some additional info for you. Have literally had dozens of the Custom Compacts pass my hands. Have only retained a few pairs. One is the 60's 6x25 version which you described - lift up eye cups, diopter on left side, and really not designed to be carried around the neck with no practical attachment place to be found. I have jury-rigged a system which is heavy nylon black ties snugged up around the body with a cord running underneath, positioned so the compact hangs against my chest and yet can be tucked into a shirt pocket. Not pretty, but functional.

If you have not run into the rubber covers for the Customs. an after market product which I tried to use, I found them most unsatisfactory. Reason. When in place they affect both the focus and collimation.
Again, thanks for all your research.

John
John Dracon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 5th October 2013, 01:25   #46
Mike V
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Brooklyn NY
Posts: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Dracon View Post
Mike V - thanks for all the work and effort you have gone through doing your research.

Some additional info for you. Have literally had dozens of the Custom Compacts pass my hands. Have only retained a few pairs. One is the 60's 6x25 version which you described - lift up eye cups, diopter on left side, and really not designed to be carried around the neck with no practical attachment place to be found. I have jury-rigged a system which is heavy nylon black ties snugged up around the body with a cord running underneath, positioned so the compact hangs against my chest and yet can be tucked into a shirt pocket. Not pretty, but functional.

If you have not run into the rubber covers for the Customs. an after market product which I tried to use, I found them most unsatisfactory. Reason. When in place they affect both the focus and collimation.
Again, thanks for all your research.

John
Hi John, it is interesting that you have one with no strap. I recall someone commenting somewhere that the very first 1960's ones had no strap. The ones in the article show the same central strap as mine, mounted on the larger version of the hinge cap, and some photos show no strap, intimating that the strap was removable. (Mine can easily be removed by unscrewing the hinge cap and sliding the strap out the back end, then screwing the hinge cap back on. Does yours have the small hinge cap or a larger one with a hole (possibly plugged) in it?

Mike
BTW, I had heard of those covers and have photos of them, and yes, they were known to mess things up
Mike V is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 5th October 2013, 02:14   #47
John Dracon
John Dracon

 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: White Sulphur Springs, Montana
Posts: 908
Mike - Mine has the hole in the end, but that means the strap or string starts in the wrong place. I believe the original compact was thought of as a purely pocket binocular, John
John Dracon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 6th October 2013, 02:06   #48
Mike V
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Brooklyn NY
Posts: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Dracon View Post
Mike - Mine has the hole in the end, but that means the strap or string starts in the wrong place. I believe the original compact was thought of as a purely pocket binocular, John
Hi John, it sounds like you have one that had its strap removed. The early strap had the binocular hanging objective end up and was a bit awkward. You can make one up by getting a piece of black shoelace similar to the kind the factory made them out of, make a tight knot on the end and unscrew the hinge cap. Run the strap though the hole, using the knot as the retainer. You want the knot to be big enough to not slip through the hole, but small enough to still fit inside the cap. The factory used a short bit of plastic tubing to line the hole so as not to fray the strap. Then screw the cap back on. These photos show the setup:
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/

http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3...D720/ry%3D480/

Last edited by Mike V : Sunday 6th October 2013 at 02:18.
Mike V is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 24th May 2016, 22:44   #49
Johnph
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: High River AB Canada
Posts: 1
Over the past couple or more months I have purchased thru eBay, 3 pair of 7x26 Custom Compacts in as new condition. One pair is a Bushnell 7x26 non-Audubon. Blue lens coating. They are the only Cust. Comp. that I have seen with a diamond pattern focusing knob perimeter which is very 'grippy' to the finger.

The next pair is 7X26 Audubon - came in a box specifically used by Audubon labeled binoculars. Box bears designation BUSHNELL Custom Compact Binocular Model 10-7261 and the binoculars have a raised designation on the right hand barrel which says BUSHNELL. The lenses are blue coated. Box has a label from G.I. Joe's priced at $279.99. Google this seller. Maybe Wiki.

The last pair of 7x26 came in an Audubon box and were virtually brand new. They as well as the previous one had the Audubon bird logo on the LH barrel. The box bears designation Baush & Lomb Custom Compact Binocular 7x26mm Model 61-7261.The lenses are green coated and the right hand barrel has raised letters BAUSH & LOMB. Thes binoculars were originally purchased Nov. 25, 1991 from a retailer named LECHMERE. Price tag $259.99.

The 7x26 have a very narrow(depth of field) focusing range and are a bit more fussy as to eye placement. The optics are as outstanding as the 6x25 and the entire older Custom Compact series are in my opinion a first rate binocular. Well ahead of their time in every way. Hung around your neck, you soon forget they are there at 325 grams.

May 24/16
Johnph is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 24th May 2016, 23:42   #50
Mike V
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Brooklyn NY
Posts: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnph View Post
Over the past couple or more months I have purchased thru eBay, 3 pair of 7x26 Custom Compacts in as new condition. One pair is a Bushnell 7x26 non-Audubon. Blue lens coating. They are the only Cust. Comp. that I have seen with a diamond pattern focusing knob perimeter which is very 'grippy' to the finger.

The next pair is 7X26 Audubon - came in a box specifically used by Audubon labeled binoculars. Box bears designation BUSHNELL Custom Compact Binocular Model 10-7261 and the binoculars have a raised designation on the right hand barrel which says BUSHNELL. The lenses are blue coated. Box has a label from G.I. Joe's priced at $279.99. Google this seller. Maybe Wiki.

The last pair of 7x26 came in an Audubon box and were virtually brand new. They as well as the previous one had the Audubon bird logo on the LH barrel. The box bears designation Baush & Lomb Custom Compact Binocular 7x26mm Model 61-7261.The lenses are green coated and the right hand barrel has raised letters BAUSH & LOMB. Thes binoculars were originally purchased Nov. 25, 1991 from a retailer named LECHMERE. Price tag $259.99.

The 7x26 have a very narrow(depth of field) focusing range and are a bit more fussy as to eye placement. The optics are as outstanding as the 6x25 and the entire older Custom Compact series are in my opinion a first rate binocular. Well ahead of their time in every way. Hung around your neck, you soon forget they are there at 325 grams.

May 24/16
Hi John,

Nice trio there! Be careful or you will wind up with a dozen or more like me. Custom Compacts are addictive!!! The metal and leather B&L Audubon one is my personal favorite. The Audubon Bushnell with blue coatings and the embossed name on right housing was the last one made before the change to Bausch & Lomb branding and improved multi-coated lenses (green coating).

The first Bushnell you mentioned with diamond knurling matches one of my pre-Audubon Bushnells with an S serial prefix. That would be a fairly late version, prior to Bushnell marking them with Audubon markings. It should have the same late style flared out eye cups as the other two pairs, not the cylindrical ones of early Bushnells. Both of my metal B&Ls have square knurling on the rubber ring, and my Bushnell with Audubon marking has the same square rubber knurling. A different late metal Bushnell with a Q prefix has no rubber ring at all, but rather just grooves molded into the edge of the focus wheel. Not as nice as either rubber ring types. There are minor little detail differences all along the decades long production run of these little beauties. You definitely landed some of the choicest of the bunch.

Mike
Mike V is offline  
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Leica Ultravid 8x20 v. Bushnell Elite Custom 7x26 Sancho Binoculars 16 Friday 4th February 2011 12:24

{googleads}
£100 Cashback on Opticron DBA VHD Binoculars. Click to find out more.

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.34187293 seconds with 34 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 12:50.