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B&L Elite 8x42 outdated?

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Old Monday 9th September 2019, 20:49   #1
slingworks
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B&L Elite 8x42 outdated?

Not long ago I came across a pair of B&L Elite 8x42s that were a very late model at a show....

I only briefly handed them but thought they felt pretty good..

Are those B&Ls considered outdated? I tried to look them up online but there seems to be very little about them out there. What would be considered a market price?

I think I wouldn't mind a pair if I come across some again....Either those or a pair of Leupold Gold Ring 8x30s...
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Old Tuesday 10th September 2019, 18:39   #2
Alexis Powell
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You'll have to tell us which version of the B&L Elite you looked at.

Very old ones of the original version had leather, later ones had rubber armor. The original version (including with rubber armor) was initially not phase coated, but it got those coatings in ~1991 or a bit thereafter. It has the focus knob on the far side of the bridge, so it works great with hat brims and an asymmetrical grip. I liked it a lot because it was a stand-out for its good specs for birding at the time, but it is nothing special these days. Nothing special terms of FOV, close focus, eye-relief, brightness etc, and it isn't waterproof. You'd certainly want to avoid one w/o phase coatings.

The new B&L Elite with the highly sculpted body that enforces a particular grip got high marks from Steve Ingraham of Better View Desired fame, but I never liked it much for birding. It is waterproof. Early production had issues with performance against the light but that was improved in later production. Very fast focus (and in the "wrong" direction), a good bit of off-axis astigmatism, slight orange bias. The last production had twist-out eyecups. I liked it a lot for butterflying+birding because I could focus down to 4 feet then out to infinity very rapidly, but it was better for butterflies than for birds. I retired it in favor of the Zeiss 8x32 FL.

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Old Tuesday 10th September 2019, 19:21   #3
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Hey Alex,

I was asking about the late model, with the sculpted body, waterproofing and the rear focus wheel.

I think I may have learned allot reading your reply.

Would you consider them to be a good fairly modern glass if the price was reasonable?
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Old Tuesday 10th September 2019, 22:51   #4
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Originally Posted by slingworks View Post
...Would you consider them to be a good fairly modern glass if the price was reasonable?
They are usable and in that sense capable, but to be honest, I was never a fan of their optical properties even though I used them a lot for their close-focus capability. I tried quite a few units over the years and I found lemons but no real cherries. I never found the view that they deliver to be "clean" (= high resolution, good contrast, fairly neutral color) in the way that I do for some other top-end bins of yesteryear. For example, I like the apparent sharpness and contrast of the Leica BA/BN better, I find the first generation Leica Ultravid to be big step up in all ways (resolution, brightness?, contrast, color), and I also adore the Zeiss 7x42 BGATP. The B&L Elite model that intrigues me most at this point (i.e. in hindsight) is the 7x36 from the first generation Elite.

One claim to fame, which I just now remembered, was that somewhere along the way new production got RainGuard. It was a great many years later before Zeiss came out with LotuTec, and then many brands offered such coatings.

What would be a reasonable price? I don't know. I bought mine new for <$750 in ~1998.

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Last edited by Alexis Powell : Tuesday 10th September 2019 at 22:59.
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Old Tuesday 10th September 2019, 22:59   #5
james holdsworth
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I found the change to the sculpted, water-proof body also brought with it optics that were inferior to the previous generation of Elites - less contrasty, less apparently sharp, underwhelming.
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Old Friday 13th September 2019, 18:29   #6
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thankyou james, those are the objective answers I need to hear.
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Old Friday 13th September 2019, 18:39   #7
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I agree with James about the earlier generation of Elites being a superior binocular to the later contoured model with twist up / down eyecups. If the price was favourable and budget limited then they could well be an okayish usable binocular.
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Old Friday 13th September 2019, 19:35   #8
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Originally Posted by PYRTLE View Post
I agree with James about the earlier generation of Elites being a superior binocular to the later contoured model with twist up / down eyecups. If the price was favourable and budget limited then they could well be an okayish usable binocular.
I also agree (as one might guess from my post #2; and to clarify, my follow-up comments in post #4 were specifically about the second generation that slingworks asked about).

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Old Wednesday 18th September 2019, 15:43   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slingworks View Post
Not long ago I came across a pair of B&L Elite 8x42s that were a very late model at a show....

I only briefly handed them but thought they felt pretty good..

Are those B&Ls considered outdated? I tried to look them up online but there seems to be very little about them out there. What would be considered a market price?

I think I wouldn't mind a pair if I come across some again....Either those or a pair of Leupold Gold Ring 8x30s...
Eyes become outdated much faster than binoculars.

Bill
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Old Wednesday 18th September 2019, 16:20   #10
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And the more we learn, the greater the confusion in our minds.
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Old Wednesday 18th September 2019, 16:22   #11
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And the more we learn, the greater the confusion in our minds.
Bingo!

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Old Wednesday 18th September 2019, 22:17   #12
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Sling, if you want the Elites to be outdated, they will be.
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Old Tuesday 8th October 2019, 21:58   #13
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I'm not sure what to make of that comment...Conjures up an image of a philosophical hippie smoking a bit of hemp...

I guess it's my fault in the wording of the question..I should have asked how do these bins that once cost over 1k compare/hold up to $500 Bushnell and similar Bins...Or is the technology just old/outdated.
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Old Tuesday 8th October 2019, 22:31   #14
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Originally Posted by slingworks View Post
...how do these bins that once cost over 1k compare/hold up to $500 Bushnell and similar Bins...Or is the technology just old/outdated.
The list price was over $1K but they generally sold for ~$740. They are a solid bin with superb close focus ability. Compared to the best of today's $500 bins, they have a narrow FOV, are not as bright, and have a yellow-orange bias, so the view, overall, doesn't feel as clean and open as what is now possible from a full-sized roof-prism bin.

--AP
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Old Yesterday, 00:06   #15
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I'm not sure what to make of that comment...Conjures up an image of a philosophical hippie smoking a bit of hemp...

I guess it's my fault in the wording of the question..I should have asked how do these bins that once cost over 1k compare/hold up to $500 Bushnell and similar Bins...Or is the technology just old/outdated.
So much depends on what you intend using them for. If you are going to be watching birds at your garden feeder, most binoculars will serve well. If the job you need them to do is more demanding, you may well find that a good modern glass is a better choice.

How much an old binocular used to cost is no indication of how it compares to current day offerings - more accurate I think is to look at current day secondhand prices. The 7x42 P model Dialyt, for instance, is normally worth more than the 10x40 or 8x30 models because it is more competitive with today's high end glass. The 10x40 I have is certainly surpassed optically by Zeiss's second tier (Conquest HD). I didn't try it against the Terra ED series, but should have - I wouldn't be in the slightest surprised if the latter were at the very least, competitive.
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Old Yesterday, 03:16   #16
james holdsworth
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I have both a P 10x40 B and a Terra 8x42 - the Terra is brighter, has less glare - both are yellow biased, the 10X40 has better contrast and bigger sweetspot but more distortion.
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Old Yesterday, 06:54   #17
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Originally Posted by james holdsworth View Post
I have both a P 10x40 B and a Terra 8x42 - the Terra is brighter, has less glare - both are yellow biased, the 10X40 has better contrast and bigger sweetspot but more distortion.
The latest Terra has no significant „yellow bias“ anymore, a very slight warm tone at most, Zeiss seems to have quietly worked on them over time (I happen to have 3 „generations“ of the Terra 8x42 from between 2013 and now, externally identifiable at the changes in the armour)

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Old Yesterday, 22:36   #18
james holdsworth
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That's good to know
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