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My thoughts on the Bushnell Legend 8x42mm Roof Prism Binoculars

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Old Monday 1st March 2010, 20:53   #1
wanderer55
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My thoughts on the Bushnell Legend 8x42mm Roof Prism Binoculars

My thoughts on the Bushnell Legend 8x42mm Roof Prism Binoculars

EDITED: First Impressions and Adjustment Sections.

I want to state that I am an eyeglass wearer. I have worn eyeglasses since I was six years old. I am very near-sighted. I can see clearly without glasses for about 12" and after that I can't see clearly, so my prescription is fairly strong. Also due to age, I need trifocals, so I use Progressive lenses. This means I have to get my binoculars up to the "sweet spot" to see through them, so it probably biases my thoughts on binoculars.
I also find that I am bothered by "coatings". I can't wear eyeglasses with any UV coatings, as it affects how I see colors. I only use a clear coating to reduce glare on my eyeglasses. So coatings on things like binoculars and camera lenses are bothersome to me.
I also wanted to establish that I do not know much about optics other than light passes through them and that by using different lenses in different configurations, one can magnify the object you are looking at. As far as how any of that works, I don't know and I really don't want to know. I just want to see a clear view of what I am looking at without dealing with a lot of "Optical Aberrations (see wiki)" such as "pin cushion or barrel distortion", "chromatic aberration" or "Spherical aberration" issues. With my lack of knowledge, I really don't think that I will notice anything except "chromatic aberration", which I call "Purple Fringing". I see it in every camera lens or binocular I have ever looked through, especially in bright sun on backlit subjects. Also I probably will notice softness at the edges of a field of view. As far as my "testing", it's not scientific. I use a resolution test which is a print out of an ISO #2 Resolution chart, on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper. I use the "full parking lot" or "wood Fence" methods for finding out depth of field and I test "CA" on backlit subjects ranging from trees to buildings, to Great Egrets.......
You will find that I am very opinionated, but remember opinions are like something else, everyone has one and they're usually full of $$$$......... Forming opinions based on feelings rather than fact is much easier, because you can change your opinion at will and not have to spend so much time actually figuring out the reasons why.
* I will also be using 2 other binoculars for a "reference". The first pair is my wife's Leitz 8x42mm Roof Prism binoculars (early 80's vintage) and the second pair is a pair of Sears 8-17x40mm zoom binoculars (also early 80's vintage). I use them because it's the only pair I have (donated by my wife) and I have used them for a couple years. I don't use the zoom feature as it's worthless. They are BaK4 prism porros.
I have included Bushnell's advertised specifications here, in case anyone is not familiar with them.
Specifications of Bushnell Legend 8 x 42 Roof Prism Binoculars 13-4208:

Power x Obj. 8x42

Size Class Standard

Focus System Center

Prism System Roof

Prism Class BaK-4

Lens Coating FMC

FOV, [email protected] / [email protected] 330/110

Close Focus, ft./m 6/1.8

Exit Pupil dia., mm 5.25

Eye Relief, mm 18

Eyecups Twist-Up

Weight, oz./g 24.5/695

Water/Fog Proof Yes

Adapt to Tripod Yes

Features of Bushnell Legend 8 x 42mm Roof Prism Binoculars 13-4208:
*PC-3 phase-coated BaK-4 roof prisms
*Fully multi-coated optics allow maximum light transmission for optimum brightness
*Heavy-duty, 100% waterproof / fog proof construction
*Rain guard, water-repellent lens coating
*Long eye relief
*Twist-up eyecups allow quick adjustment for optimum eye relief
*Large center focus knob for precise focusing even when wearing gloves
*Trim, ergonomic shape for easy, all-day use
*Textured, non-glare, non-slip rubber armor absorbs shock
*Knurled diopter adjustment for precise and reliable adjustments

Now, on to the Review and my thoughts:
This was a used product from eBay. It came with the original box, paperwork, Case, Case strap, Bin strap & Cleaning cloth. It also came with a Scheels brand bin carrier, the type that goes over your shoulders to keep from neck pain.

1.- First Impression: when Opening the box: Really nice Case. It's a hard case, Black canvas? With a hard liner. Case strap and Bin straps are new. Bin strap is a wide padded strap. I really like the case. It has a strong zipper on 3 sides and a flap on top (Velcro). When you open it, it has sides which only open part way and keeps the bins from ever falling out, if you're using the strap and the case is at your side. Might be a good way to carry, since I carry a camera too.
Now for the bins.
A.- Fit & Finish: Very first thing I noticed was that the Eye cups were just a little different height. So I looked them over and almost just put them in the case and sold them off. Here's a very weak point of these bins. If you are the type of person who adjusts the eye cups on a regular basis, they will fail. Very poor workmanship. EDIT: I rushed this Review and I had to go to work, so I took the bins with me and tore down the cup assemblies. I now present the true facts and my apologies for misleading information. It was not on purpose.... The twist rings are Metal, not Plastic. On close inspection after removal I find them to be a thin metal. There are three slots in the rings and three screws that act as posts. The slots are the guides as the cups twist. The screws are really the problem here. They are just regular phillips head and they need to be taller. If the heads were taller, then the twist rings would not ride over the heads. What probably happened is that in twisting the cups, the rings got jammed and were forced back down, warping and bending the twist rings, so it made the cups usless. (probably why it was sold). The idea is sound, but the decision to use simple screws instead of ones with a taller head, caused the problem of jamming while twisting. After I took everything apart, I shaped the rings back to some semblance of original. Since I wear glasses, the cups will remain down all the way, so I won't worry too much about it at the moment.

Deep Breath & go on....... The bins are Heavy. Heavier than I thought. The cast body is well done and the rubber coating is also well done. No complaints at all here. The Eyepiece caps fall off. Loose fit. The objective caps are nice. They retain on the bins when opened and they stay put when closed. They are rubber and will fall out of the way when pulled off. Simple approach and well done.
B.- Appearance: Overall these are ugly. I don't like the rubber coated appearance at all, but it's functional and does give an excellent grip. Just not pretty, but functional.
C.- Feel: As I said, they feel heavy. They seem so small in the hands, but are heavy. The grip is excellent due to the rubber and overall I like the way they feel in the hand. Secure comes to mind.

2.- Adjustment: Focus, Interpupillary, Diopter
A.- Interpupillary: Ok, so let's go look thru them! First adjustment was to the Interpupillary distance. This adjustment is Very Stiff and it won't get out of adjustment easily. That's ok by me. Smooth feeling and stiff to move.
B.- Focus wheel - Travel/Feel: Next I picked a sign in the yard about 30 yards away and focused the Left eye to it. Focus is somewhat stiff, but smooth as silk, not gritty or rough. No play that I could find, even doing minute movements of the wheel. Since this is a used pair, I applaud Bushnell for the focus wheel. Very Good!
C.- Diopter Adjustment: Next was to adjust the Diopter on the Right eye. What a challenge! The diopter adjustment is two handed. I had to grab the right barrel in my left hand and turn the adjustment wheel with my right. Very Stiff! It certainly won't go anywhere on its own! Also the diopter wheel will "lift up and turn" independent of the adjustment. Why that is so, is beyond me, but it does. You can lift up and turn the wheel freely and then push back down and turn the adjustment. EDIT: I now understand what was wrong with the Diopter ring and it's solved. The diopter adjustment is made to be easy to turn, but you have to Lift the diopter ring and turn it. If it's down, it is locked and someone had turned it before so hard, that the whole upper lens eyepiece assembly was loose. Well tight, but loose. Anyhow, when the diopter did not adjust, I found out that the whole assembly was loose. After I tightened it, I found the diopter adjustment works smoothly and correctly. (I wonder if the Nitrogen is gone now?).....

3.- The rest of the Story:
A.- Feel of grip: The grip feels good when holding the bins and focusing on targets. Very pleased with the feel.
B.- Brightness: DIM! Compared to my wife's Leitz and my old Sears bins, these bins are Dim. Nothing more to say. Like looking through an f8 camera lens, you camera guys will understand. DIM!
C.- Color: First thought is Bluish tint! All across the field of view. A definite bluish tint strong enough to give a slight cast to everything. Worse at the edges.
D.- Flatness/Pincushion: I notice some distortion in these. It's slight, but it's not a totally flat field. Definitely some pincushion effect here.
E.- Depth of Field: I would say the depth of field is fairly shallow. I haven't tried the "parking Lot" test yet, since it's such a lousy day, but through trees, bushes and the like, I find them to have a shallow DOF.
F.- Chromatic Aberrations: Yes, all over! It's a totally cloudy day and I can see CA on every tree, every twig, building, etc........ Fine and detailed CA on the edges of everything. Of course, even the Leitz have CA, but not as bad as this. I think it might be acceptable to most people, but I have to wait for a sunny day to know more.
G.- Clarity edge to edge: Very Good! Really impressed for the Price Point, just how well these bins do with a really large sweet spot and very little softening at the edges. I believe it's a lot to do with the PC3 coatings.
H.- Resolution: Excellent! For the price point, it's unbelievable. Better resolution than the Leitz. Clearer, sharper image than I would ever have hoped to imagine. Again, PC3 coatings must have a lot to do with it.

So............. Am I happy with them? Yes & NO. Poor workmanship on the eyepieces, blue tint, short DOF and CA.
Will I keep them? Most likely........ Really sharp optics! Beautifully clear FOV, $135.00 is also part of why I will most likely keep them.
They are OK, but I don't feel they are worth $200+ new........... Maybe in the $150 & under category.
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Last edited by wanderer55 : Tuesday 2nd March 2010 at 07:11.
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Old Tuesday 2nd March 2010, 01:07   #2
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Nice of you notice the eye cups. I hate most models and brands out there in the long run! The Zeiss were the most sturdy, but at that time very uncomfortable.

I have the 8x32 Legend, similar. Wider field. Eye cups once came off track, got it back on. It may not last 10 years. But it has warranty. I give it to my kids or guests to use.
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Old Tuesday 2nd March 2010, 05:19   #3
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Now on the other hand, it sounds like you are dealing with a locking diopter mechanism. I have about zero experience with the Legend you have, so I do not know for sure if they have a locking diopter or not. But...lift the ring and look through the right barrel and see if the diopter will focus in the up or loose position. The last thing you want to do is horse the diopter into movement if in fact it is designed to lock. Especially if you don't like the optics and ever want to resell it.

You might make a buck or two by sending to Bushnell and getting the eyecups fixed. But the last time I used Bushnell Service it took four months. It was a diopter/eyecup issue too. It almost made me forswear ever dealing with Bushnell products ever again. I say almost because my B&L 7x26 needs a diopter fix.

Again good luck. Pretty decent review too by the way.
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Last edited by Steve C : Tuesday 2nd March 2010 at 05:27.
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Old Tuesday 2nd March 2010, 07:14   #4
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I will ask Bushnell if they will send me new parts. I imagine they will not, but I sure don't want to send the bins to them.

I updated the first post due to the fact that I had some info incorrect....... Corrections are in Red & Blue colors.
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Old Tuesday 2nd March 2010, 15:39   #5
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So I called Bushnell service. "How can we help you". I need to order xxx parts. "I'm sorry, you can't purchase those parts. You will have to send the binoculars in for repair". How long will that take? "It would take 4-6 weeks for repair". But I use them almost every day, would you send a loaner? "No, we don't do that" So what people do is either send them in and it takes 4-6 weeks, or they just buy something that works, from a different manufacturer? "You would have to send them in to be repaired" Thanks..........

I'm going to the local hobby shop and see if I can find socket head cap screws small enough to replace the Phillips head screws. If so, I will use them, if not, then I will make a thin spacer. One way or the other, I will make them better than they are.

If I knew which of the chinese plants made these things, I would contact them, but I would imagine they won't sell the parts because of Bushnell policy.
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Old Tuesday 2nd March 2010, 16:36   #6
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Sunny Day

Oh, how the Sun makes a dull day look better!

I decided to do a litle more testing since the sun is out. A bright & cold morning. I took my resolution chart and my bins and took a little walk.

What I found was that the "sweet spot" on these Bushnells turns out to be about 88% of the full field of view. By sweet spot, I am referring to the point where focus is crisp to the point where it starts to fall off. My letters, numbers and lines on the chart did not start to get soft till about 88%. That's at 50 yards and at 75 yards from the target.

CA is still there, but not any more than it was on the cloudy day. Even backlit subjects are no worse (noticeably), than the other day. I feel CA is there in every lens ever made and I think these bins are acceptable. Not bad enough to really distract the average viewer.

In the sun, the view is brighter (of course). I would rate the brightness as an f4 today. That's OK, but I would rate the Leitz at an f1.4, so it's darker than the Leitz. As far as DOF, I measure it to be 8 yards at a 25 yard distance away and 10 yards at a 50 yard distance away. By DOF I mean the distance where focus is sharp and totally clear. I have a line of trees spaced at 3 yards apart, so that on a slight angle I can look down the row and I used them for DOF, by focusing on the first tree in the row at 25 & 50 yards.

I also have to say that the bluish cast is less in the sun, which I figured it would be. It's still there, but not very noticeable. Remember you probably won't see a thing! My wife says I'm crazy, she can't see a color cast on any of the bins, where I see it on all of them, just like I always see through spotting scopes and rifle scopes.

So, my feelings after 2 days are that I won't want this pair of bins for low light, but for a sunny day they are great. No matter what I find negative, please understand that these are the sharpest optics I have ever used. Sharper than the Leitz! Yes, I mean that. There's a crispness to these bins and it's really surprised me. I think it's got a lot to do with coatings on the lenses and the PC coating on the prisms.

For someone wanting to buy these new, they're probably a good choice. They feel good in the hands and they are sharp. I don't think most of you will ever see the color tint or the CA.

Good bins
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Old Tuesday 2nd March 2010, 16:40   #7
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I would send them in. Get a pair of 8x40 Simmons porros from your local sports stores for the 4 wks. About 40 dollars.

I have the same kind of eye cups on a bushnell 8x28. I have had to glue the rubber skin onto them several times.

You are not going to be free of eye cup problems until you move to the alphas. I think the best eye cups I have are on a Bushnell 8x42 porro.

Eye cups I have had repaired, models:
Nikon Action 8x40
Vortex Viper 8x42
Pentax SP 10x43
ProMaster 10x42

If you do not use the eye cups, that is if you wear glasses, the fold back rubber parts may be actually better.
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Last edited by Tero : Tuesday 2nd March 2010 at 16:45.
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Old Tuesday 2nd March 2010, 17:11   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tero View Post
I would send them in. Get a pair of 8x40 Simmons porros from your local sports stores for the 4 wks. About 40 dollars.

I have the same kind of eye cups on a bushnell 8x28. I have had to glue the rubber skin onto them several times.

You are not going to be free of eye cup problems until you move to the alphas. I think the best eye cups I have are on a Bushnell 8x42 porro.

Eye cups I have had repaired, models:
Nikon Action 8x40
Vortex Viper 8x42
Pentax SP 10x43
ProMaster 10x42

If you do not use the eye cups, that is if you wear glasses, the fold back rubber parts may be actually better.
I think the old style eye cup was the best. These twist up cups don't seem to work well. Maybe on a $2,000.00 pair, but not on all the low and intermediate priced ones. At least the old style cups were easily replaced.
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Old Tuesday 2nd March 2010, 19:22   #9
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If those little screws were just a bit thicker...........

So I made washers out of aluminum tube and a razor blade. I just have to sand them to thickness.

I think it will work. The screws are small, less than a 2mm thread.....

I love to make things at home.

So............. Tonight I got the washers the right thickness just by rubbing them across some 400 grit sandpaper. I reassembled the whole thing and it works great! The screws now sit at the same height as the twist ring, so the ring won't go over the top of the screws. Now both cups turn as they should and no wobble! Included is a photo of a spacing washer in place.......
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