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New McKinley first impressions

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Old Sunday 14th September 2014, 03:47   #1
Steve C
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New McKinley first impressions

Funny how things work. Just a few hours after I posted I had no idea about the new McKinley, the UPS truck showed up. Along with a bunch of other stuff I now need to find time to review, there was a new McKinley 8x42. I really don’t have time for a real proper review just now, but I now have had these for a few days and I do have some impressions. I’ll use a new thread since the other one was pretty mucked up.

There are not a lot of changes in the new one, but what there are make the new one look like the first version that got put on the Plan Z diet. First there is a two oz. weight reduction, primarily due to a much thinner rubber armor. The tube diameter just under the eye cup has gone from 50 mm down to 45 mm. The diameter of the objective at the point of the tethered cover attachment ha also lost 5 mm, from 55 to 50. How close the specification tolerances for rubber armor covering is, I have no clue, but the one I have seems to represent a about a 10% size reduction. The 5 mm reduction carries through to the eye cups. Any standard size 42 mm class ocular cover will fit the new version. The version used on the old one now fits the new on like a little kid wearing dad’s hat. The armor covering is identical in design to the original, with the exception of there being no thumb indents on the new version. The new binocular weighs 30 oz. vs the old one’s weight of 32 oz., but with the trimmer profile, it seems a lot less. Hefting it, I expected to see the scale real about 26 oz. or thereabouts.

The other big change is the diopter. It has moved from the right eyepiece to the center focus dial. It is somewhat different from the typical Leupold center dial diopter. For instance the Mojave has a snap out dial on the front of the focuser for the diopter. The dial is snapped back in place after adjustment. The new McKinley has the diopter adjustment on the back of the dial. There is a button about 8 mm square that sticks up about 3 mm. The button needs to be depressed which allows the diopter to adjust. You need to keep the button down to move the diopter. The upper edges of the button are beveled and there is a white dot at the base of the button over the diopter scale. I admit my first reaction to this setup was not positive. I like this style less than some others, but I quickly concluded that this one has evidently been pretty well thought out. It looks like it is going to take definite, I intentional input from the user to move it. Focus remain the same regards to both being counterclockwise to infinity and with focus wheel travel. Close focus distance is identical.

I see nothing that indicates any change in internal optical workings. The image characteristics remain unchanged in the new version. However that may not seem so to everyone. The ergonomic improvement is definite and substantial and I would bet that a lot of people who don’t wear glasses and could not quite get along with the original problem won’t have the issues that they had with the older one. For example, my brother who in spite of being fairly large, has pretty narrow set eyes, needing about 57 mm IPD. He liked the original McKinley a lot, but didn't like using it for much more that a quick glance. The original eye cups were pretty uncomfortable for him after a fairly short time. In spite of my stance that the views are pretty much a wash, he is convinced the new one is much superior. Likely, in my opinion, due to the fact it fits his face and eyes better.

My first impression is that this binocular would easily suit me as my only binocular. It is a very clear, solid, and substantial binocular. I am not going to tell anybody it is as good as their favorite alpha. It is not, but on the other hand your favorite alpha is not the new McKinley either. What you get for 3x the price is worth it to some, not so much to others. If your personal mindset gravitates you toward what you will regard as superior gear, skip this one and go for a more expensive one. You will gain little optically, but you will have a bunch more cash left over, which may be a pretty big deal for a lot of folks.

I'll get some pictures up. Look for the full review probably in the new site Frank and I have in the works. Details for that will follow when appropriate.

EDIT: 12 hours in the freezer will seriously harden the focus movement, but only for a turn or two, then it loosens up.
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Last edited by Steve C : Sunday 14th September 2014 at 16:11.
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Old Sunday 14th September 2014, 08:38   #2
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Steve,

Thanks for the short review and the subzero test result :-)

It seems like it isnt designed all the way for sub zero performance, then it would have been smooth in the initial turns.

Anders
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Old Sunday 14th September 2014, 16:09   #3
Steve C
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I often use binoculars in temperatures as low as -25* (including the original McKinley last winter). I really don't get the focus free obsession. Keep the binocular inside your jacket or just use a bit of masking tape to keep a hand warmer packet over the top of the bridge. It seems to me to be a whole lot simpler to do some simple thing rather than worry over whether or not the focus will turn freely at -25. Chances are it won't. Nothing works completely normally in those temperatures anyway. I have more of an issue with lens fogging/freezing than with the focus by a substantial margin.
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Last edited by Steve C : Sunday 14th September 2014 at 16:12.
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Old Sunday 12th October 2014, 18:02   #4
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My new McKinley's arrived a week or so ago. As Steve mentioned they are a substantial binocular, but they don't feel overly hefty once you get used to them. They seem to me to sit easily in the hands and feel well-balanced. The ocular lenses are very large - 26 mm. The sweet spot is truly huge, to my eye without my glasses on they are sharply focused to the very edge of a very large FOV for an 8X42, 425' as advertised. I lose a little of the edges with my glasses on (progressive bifocals) but that's true with all binos. The only binos I've owned that compare to these were my 8X32 SEs. I'm very pleased.

Last edited by Protanope : Sunday 12th October 2014 at 18:04.
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Old Saturday 15th November 2014, 20:54   #5
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Has anyone seen a 10x42 McKinley? May get myself a new pair to replace the my Monarch.
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Old Tuesday 17th February 2015, 13:39   #6
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OpticsPlanet just gave me a screen saying that the McKinley has been discontinued. Can anyone verify?
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Old Tuesday 17th February 2015, 15:09   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inquisitor View Post
OpticsPlanet just gave me a screen saying that the McKinley has been discontinued. Can anyone verify?
I believe this is the web page .......

http://www.opticsplanet.com/leupold-...d-10x42mm.html

When I first read your post, I figured you were looking at the first generation of the McKinley, which was replaced in the first half of 2014 with the second generation containing smaller eye cups and the diopter adjustment moved from the right eye piece to the center focus. However, the web page linked above has a picture of the second generation and clearly displays "Product Discontinued by Manufacturer". Also, the one review associated with this web page specifically mentions the review is for the second generation.

As usual, the Leupold web site is not of much help. It still links to the first generation product photo.

You may be right in your assumption. Here is a link to the Leupold 2015 catalog and I can not find any reference to the McKinley .......

http://www.leupold.com/wp-content/up...er_Catalog.pdf

Binoculars begin on Catalog page 56.

Hopefully Steve C knows something and will comment.
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Old Tuesday 17th February 2015, 19:25   #8
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Wow, pretty amazing. Really nice binos but I suppose there's lots of competition at the price point, and they had manufacturing issues with the supplier obviously. I noticed the new ones were starting to pop up on eBay from main vendors with discounted pricing. Mine are, to my eyes, clearly better than the Golden Rings they replaced, though I am thinking I will pass them on and switch to some compacts. Not birding enough these days.
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Old Tuesday 17th February 2015, 22:23   #9
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It does indeed appear that the McKinley is being discontinued. Leupold and ZR both confirmed that. Not due to unsatisfactory product I think. Leupold apparently feels that the new Mojave BX-3 Guide Pro ED and another ED glass in the McKinley will see too much Leupold competition with Leupold. The new Guide Pro does not have the field flattener incorporated.

If the Mojave Guide Pro ED is an improvement over the new Mojave 8x32 then it will be worth a hard look.

The Mojave has always been a good seller for Leupold. I also do not think the flat field provides enough of a sales advantage to warrant the cost of the ocular assembly. So I think Leupold is sticking with a model name that sells well.

Leupold has not given up on the premise of a Gold Ring series. I think there is a possibility that the McKinley may well serve as the foundation for that.
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Old Sunday 22nd February 2015, 16:14   #10
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Wow... that was a short lived binocular. I was looking forward to trying the second generation of this model... the first generation seemed like decent optics... but it never arrived at any of our stores.

I checked the link to the 2015 Leupold Catalog ... not only is the McKinley not shown, the Hawthorne is not present either. Is this another goner or did that happen a year or two ago??? I suppose it is of no significance other than the pool of available 7x binoculars growing smaller.

CG
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Old Sunday 22nd February 2015, 19:37   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cycleguy View Post
Wow... that was a short lived binocular. I was looking forward to trying the second generation of this model... the first generation seemed like decent optics... but it never arrived at any of our stores.

I checked the link to the 2015 Leupold Catalog ... not only is the McKinley not shown, the Hawthorne is not present either. Is this another goner or did that happen a year or two ago??? I suppose it is of no significance other than the pool of available 7x binoculars growing smaller.

CG
The Hawthorne is still listed and should be available. Look for it under "Observation" binoculars rather than "Hunting." Here is a link to it from their website: (It is for 2015)

http://www.leupold.com/observation/b...e-7x42mm-roof/

It is an upgrade of the BX-2 Cascade 7x42 (which I have) making it FMC rather than MC. Except for that and a cosmetic change on the exterior it is practically the same binocular.


Bob

PS: I checked the PDF of their catalog and did not find it listed there (I didn't find a lot of their binoculars listed there) but I noticed one thing about it. There are more pictures (portraits) in it of the people working there than there are of binoculars. I don't know what that says about Leupold and Binoculars.

PPS: OK, my bad! There is an OBSERVATION POCKET GUIDE PDF you can download. It is shown there with the other binoculars.

Last edited by ceasar : Sunday 22nd February 2015 at 19:59.
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