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Bushnell Engage 10x42's (1 Viewer)

justabirdwatcher

Well-known member
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.
 

dries1

Member
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.
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
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!
 

dries1

Member
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.
 

justabirdwatcher

Well-known member
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.
 

justabirdwatcher

Well-known member
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.
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
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.

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! :t:
 

justabirdwatcher

Well-known member
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! :D
 

Tero

Retired
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.
 

justabirdwatcher

Well-known member
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.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
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.
 
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justabirdwatcher

Well-known member
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.
 

adhoc

Well-known member
Simply using the Compare facility in the Bushnell website (and Microsoft Windows Paint):
 

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dries1

Member
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.
 

justabirdwatcher

Well-known member
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.
 

Les Shulman

Active member
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.
 
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justabirdwatcher

Well-known member
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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