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Bushnell Engage 10x42's

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Old Monday 17th September 2018, 14:55   #1
justabirdwatcher
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Bushnell Engage 10x42's

Just wanted to offer my thoughts on a pair of Engage 10x42's I picked up yesterday.

For some background, I'm a confessed binocular junkie. They might be my favorite tools of all, so I am always eager to test new models and see how they compare to what I have, and what I have seen in the past.

My initial impression - after about 2 hours of side-by-side testing (on a tripod) and field observations is that these are an outstanding value - well worth the asking price. The optical quality is on par with binoculars I've used that cost 2-3X as much. The view:dollar ratio might be the highest I've ever seen, aside from perhaps the now-legendary Sightron Blue Sky 8x32's (which I also own).

Pro's:

Resolving power is exceptional. I can see minute detail that is hard to make out with most other binoculars in this price range.

Contrast is fantastic. Reminds me of Zeiss Conquests.

Depth of field is superb.

Build quality is excellent. These look like they can take a beating over time.

Diopter adjustment is excellent. I was intially concerned about this, but it has proven to be a very smart design that does not interfere with regular operation at all.

Eyecups are metal, comfortable in size and shape, and click smoothly into position.

Focus wheel concerned me at first (overtravel) but after some initial use it is just fine. I'm sure with use it will get even better.

These DO have a tripod socket with a easy to remove/replace threaded cap. They were a natural fit on my tripod adapter.

The size is very compact, and fit my hands extremely well. I don't think I'd want a pair of 10x42's to be any smaller, but I also wouldn't want them any larger.


Con's:

Not many.

Field of view is slightly narrow, but only compared to my current bins which have an exceptionally wide, immersive FOV. However for this to happen they also have enormous eyecups that are not comfortable for me to use (hence the search that led to the Engage bin's).

There are some internal reflections when my eyes are not positioned correctly, but this goes away when I readjust my eye relief.

Eye relief is good, but might be a little short for eyeglass wearers. My old bins have exceptional eye relief, and will become my wife's birding binoculars for that reason - she wears glasses.

All in all, I would put these on my "Best Buy" list so far. The view strikes me as very similar to my old Nikon LX-L 10x42's, but with a slightly narrower FOV. That's pretty high praise considering I sold a pair of Swaro's when I got my LX-L's.

So far, this is the only pair of Chinese-made binoculars I've tested that I will keep. That includes Zen-Ray's (3 models), other Bushells (2 models), Vortex (3 models), Leupolds (2 models) and the Zeiss Terra ED's.

Well done Bushnell.
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Old Monday 17th September 2018, 17:22   #2
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I have the Bushnell Forge 10X42 and I am impressed with them as well. The Forge and the Legend M have a locking diopter, does the engage have a locking diopter?

Andy W.
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Old Monday 17th September 2018, 23:45   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dries1 View Post
I have the Bushnell Forge 10X42 and I am impressed with them as well. The Forge and the Legend M have a locking diopter, does the engage have a locking diopter?

Andy W.
Yes. It's a pretty good system.
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Old Tuesday 18th September 2018, 01:15   #4
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So.....one question. I can see the focus adjustment was talked about a LITTLE....but...SLACK/PLAY in the focus adjustment...how is it? It it THERE? Forge and/or Engage... Is it the same/similar to the Legend M?

THANKS!
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Old Tuesday 18th September 2018, 01:34   #5
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What Vortex models did you try and why didn't you like them?
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Old Tuesday 18th September 2018, 02:35   #6
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Chuck, the Forge focus is definitely an upgrade from the Legend, no squish or noise I was quite surprised at the optics also. I am curious about the 8X42 as I have the 10X42, and they make a 15X56 with AK Prisms. With the Engage and the Forge, Bushnell is upgrading its optics. I am looking at the Engage 12X50 down the road for astro.

Andy W.
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Old Wednesday 19th September 2018, 18:36   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chill6x6 View Post
So.....one question. I can see the focus adjustment was talked about a LITTLE....but...SLACK/PLAY in the focus adjustment...how is it? It it THERE? Forge and/or Engage... Is it the same/similar to the Legend M?

THANKS!
Initially there was a little slack or overtravel, but I ran the focus wheel back and forth to either limit about 10-15 times, and it firmed up. I don't even notice it now. It's not as bad as my old Bushell Elites. Their focus wheel was sloppy the whole time I owned those.
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Old Wednesday 19th September 2018, 18:39   #8
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What Vortex models did you try and why didn't you like them?
I have tried the 10x42 Vipers, Razors and Diamondbacks. Of the three, I think the Viper HD's are the best value, and are nearly as good a performance:cost ratio as these Engage binoculars, but not quite. But the Viper HD's are pretty darn nice.

The Razors are overpriced for the view they provide IMO. I've looked through Razors that were made in Japan, and the newer ones made in China, and they just aren't that bright compared to other binoculars in their price range. I would take a pair of Zeiss Conquest HD's over the Razors any day of the week. The handling of the Razors was very good, and these Engage binoculars actually remind me most of the Razors in the handling/size/build categories.
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Old Thursday 20th September 2018, 18:58   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dries1 View Post
Chuck, the Forge focus is definitely an upgrade from the Legend, no squish or noise I was quite surprised at the optics also. I am curious about the 8X42 as I have the 10X42, and they make a 15X56 with AK Prisms. With the Engage and the Forge, Bushnell is upgrading its optics. I am looking at the Engage 12X50 down the road for astro.

Andy W.
Quote:
Originally Posted by justabirdwatcher View Post
Initially there was a little slack or overtravel, but I ran the focus wheel back and forth to either limit about 10-15 times, and it firmed up. I don't even notice it now. It's not as bad as my old Bushell Elites. Their focus wheel was sloppy the whole time I owned those.
Thanks for that info!
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Old Friday 21st September 2018, 13:03   #10
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Having said that, every Zeiss Conquest I've ever used has had such a stiff, jumpy focus wheel that it was really a distraction. A few other models too. So I'm not sure which is worse. The squishy one or the stiff one that makes you jump past your focus and back again.

I wish every set of bins had the same focus wheel as my little Sightron Blue Sky 8x32's!
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Old Friday 21st September 2018, 13:28   #11
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The only Bushnells I still use are the 10x42 Legends. They work OK with glasses on. The 8x42 of the same were weird: too much eye relief.
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Old Friday 21st September 2018, 17:28   #12
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The only Bushnells I still use are the 10x42 Legends. They work OK with glasses on. The 8x42 of the same were weird: too much eye relief.
I had that issue with some 8.5x42 Bruntons. Spectacular glass but too much eye relief. I got blackouts with the eye cups fully extended. It was very annoying so I eventually sold them.
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Old Friday 21st September 2018, 22:41   #13
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Thanks, for the response. I agree the Viper's are the sweet spot in the Vortex line. The Conquest's IMO don't have a lot of contrast compared to other binoculars at their price point and they have a very cool color profile.

Last edited by [email protected] : Friday 21st September 2018 at 22:44.
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Old Saturday 22nd September 2018, 00:54   #14
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Thanks, for the response. I agree the Viper's are the sweet spot in the Vortex line. The Conquest's IMO don't have a lot of contrast compared to other binoculars at their price point and they have a very cool color profile.
Maybe so. I would be interested to view these Engage bins to the Conquest now. I doubt there will be a lot of difference really. The resolving power and contrast of the Engage is really impressive for a bin in this price range.
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Old Saturday 22nd September 2018, 15:55   #15
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Simply using the Compare facility in the Bushnell website (and Microsoft Windows Paint):
Attached Thumbnails
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Old Monday 24th September 2018, 21:42   #16
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They seem to have dropped the custom elite from their lineage...too bad
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Old Saturday 13th October 2018, 03:59   #17
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After checking the difference between the engage and the Forge in 8 and 10X42. To my eyes the Forge provide better eye relief and the sweet spot is larger, I guess you get what you pay for, the Forge are about a $100.00 more in price. Either way Bushnell is stepping up their game for glass at a very economical price. Both are great for the price.

Andy W.
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Old Friday 9th November 2018, 16:12   #18
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Unfortunately, the Bushnell Engage proved to have the barrels just very slightly out of alignment and I eventually returned them.

I did not notice this when using them on short trips but once I got out west and put them on a tripod for an extended glassing session, it became apparent that my eyes had to do that weird adjustment thing for a little while after looking up from the binoculars. :( I tried these side-by-side with my old Cabelas Outfitter HD's, and eventually I had to concede that the collimation was not perfect on the Bushnells).

That really made me sad, because the IQ and brightness, not to mention the excellent handling/ergonomics gave me a lot to like about these budget bins.

Perhaps another pair would have been perfectly aligned and I would have kept those. Guess I won't know. I think I'm done with trying chinese-made optics. I'm saving my $ now for a pair of Zeiss Conquests.
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Old Monday 17th December 2018, 22:04   #19
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For the last three days I've been birding with the Engage 10x42 in all types of light conditions.
Overall I find them to be a decided upgrade over my ZEN ED 8x43, ZRS 10x42, and Vixen Foresta Porro 7x50.

Like justabirdwatcher I consider their size/weight, ergonomics,resolution, low-light capabilities,contrast, and DOF to be positives. However, the smooth, relatively fast focus (I experienced no over travel) is ideal for the type of day-to-day birding I do (mostly open field and riparian) and the FOV is also more than adequate, especially compared to the much narrower ZRS'.

Also like justabirdwatcher I experienced some internal reflections and adjusted my eye placement accordingly, so that's no longer an issue.

Even though I purchased them through Mercado Libre Mexico at a price much higher than if they were bought and shipped in the U.S., I still consider them to be excellent value for the money.

Last edited by Les Shulman : Monday 17th December 2018 at 22:06.
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Old Monday 17th December 2018, 23:38   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Shulman View Post
For the last three days I've been birding with the Engage 10x42 in all types of light conditions.
Overall I find them to be a decided upgrade over my ZEN ED 8x43, ZRS 10x42, and Vixen Foresta Porro 7x50.

Like justabirdwatcher I consider their size/weight, ergonomics,resolution, low-light capabilities,contrast, and DOF to be positives. However, the smooth, relatively fast focus (I experienced no over travel) is ideal for the type of day-to-day birding I do (mostly open field and riparian) and the FOV is also more than adequate, especially compared to the much narrower ZRS'.

Also like justabirdwatcher I experienced some internal reflections and adjusted my eye placement accordingly, so that's no longer an issue.

Even though I purchased them through Mercado Libre Mexico at a price much higher than if they were bought and shipped in the U.S., I still consider them to be excellent value for the money.
Les, if the particular pair I bought had not been ever-so-slightly out of alignment, I doubt I ever would have returned them. I mean, what a joy to use! Just goes to show how close some of the less expensive bins are getting to great these days.
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Old Sunday 3rd February 2019, 07:26   #21
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Just received yesterday a pair of Engage 10x42 bins I purchased online. Looking them over, checking for collimation issues, among other things, I discovered that when focused on an object and then slowly moving the bins away from my eyes(5-6 inches), the diameter of the right barrel appears smaller than that of the left by about 1/3. Can anyone explain this? In the field for about 2 hours they seemed fine, offering views equivalent to those of my Bushnell M series 10X42s. Patrick

Last edited by Patrickxyzxyzxyz : Sunday 3rd February 2019 at 07:49.
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Old Sunday 3rd February 2019, 16:05   #22
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Patrick.
Your different eye prescription between left and right eyes?
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Old Monday 4th February 2019, 02:37   #23
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Originally Posted by Patrickxyzxyzxyz View Post
Just received yesterday a pair of Engage 10x42 bins I purchased online. Looking them over, checking for collimation issues, among other things, I discovered that when focused on an object and then slowly moving the bins away from my eyes(5-6 inches), the diameter of the right barrel appears smaller than that of the left by about 1/3. Can anyone explain this? In the field for about 2 hours they seemed fine, offering views equivalent to those of my Bushnell M series 10X42s. Patrick
I think you will be OK, just spend more time getting used to your new
binocular.

Just use it, and don't spend time trying to test and play unless you know
what you are doing.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes.

Jerry
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Old Monday 4th February 2019, 15:54   #24
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Thanks Binastro, and NDhunter. I am now convinced that the disparity I saw between the barrels was due to the way I was holding the bins while testing, not equidistant for both from my eyes. Spent a few hrs. in the field yesterday and was very pleased with how the bins performed. Crystal clear image with no noticeable CA, just as with the M series. ...Thanks again, Patrick
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Old Tuesday 5th February 2019, 00:51   #25
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Well, one last,"observation." Just had an idea to turn bins upside down so that barrels would reverse positions. Left barrel with correct orientation becomes right when upside down, etc. Again, performing the same test, barrel on the right was smaller in diameter by about 1/3. It's not the bins... Patrick
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