- Bright image, thanks to HD glass
- Good, wide view, sharp to the edges
- Smooth, precise focusing
- Excellent build quality
- Very comfortable in extended use
Bushnell’s Legends have always had a good reputation, and the new HD version adds some extra punch optically. The HD glass gives a good bright image, and coped very well even in low light – that extra bit of performance you’re given by the HD glass is, unsurprisingly, particularly obvious then. Another advantage of HD glass is also quickly apparent – there’s far less fall-off in the quality of the image as you get to the edges, compared to non-HD models, meaning that you get fuller value for the field of view. The image is sharp, with good contrast, and close focus is excellent – I found it good right down to about 1.5m, making these excellent binoculars for all-round wildlife-watching. The image is good and wide, at a quoted field of view of 140m@1,000m, and it really feels it, too. Colour fringing is kept to a minimum – it was only noticeable against very bright light, and even then was not a problem. There was a slightly yellowy cast to the image, although this was never distracting, and you’d perhaps only notice it when compared with really top-end binoculars.
Focussing was excellent – smooth and precise. The focus wheel travel was moderately stiff, which suits me – easy to move deliberately, not too easy to disturb accidentally. The chunky focus wheel is 1.5 fingers wide, with a ridged grip finish which made it easy to handle even with thick gloves on. It takes around 1.5 anti-clockwise turns from close focus to infinity. The dioptre, a pull-out ring on the right eyepiece, is chunky too, and works well. You won’t find yourself nudging it out of position accidentally
I’ve always found build quality a major virtue of Bushnell’s bins, and these are no exception. The heavily ridged armour gives them a really robust, no-nonsense feel, but they’re not heavy, and feel very nicely balanced. The rubber-covered eyepieces twist up and down to three positions, and were very comfortable in extended use. They remain in position well, too. Bushnell usually score high marks for their accessories, and again these were no different. The objective lens covers are tethered but removable, there’s a rainguard, and a choice of a good neoprene strap or a harness – the latter a nice touch. The semi-solid case looks capable of withstanding more knocks than most, too.
There are HD binoculars out there offering a brighter image, but again they’re generally more expensive, and the Legends were plenty bright enough out in the field. Perhaps only a problem if you’re a reviewer spoilt for choice. In my experience, Bushnell usually deliver good all-round binoculars, optically impressive and well-made enough to withstand most situations. These are very much in that mould, and they’re unfussy and user-friendly in extended use, but they also give you the extra benefits of HD glass without breaking the bank, so they’re well worth your consideration.
REVIEWED BY MATT MERRITT
- RRP: £459.95 inc VAT.
- Close focus: 2m.
- Dimensions: 145mm x 125mm x 50mm.
- Weight: 635g.
- Field of View: 140m@1,000m.
- Also supplied: Semi-solid carry case, strap, harness, rainguard, objective lens covers.
- Distributed by JJ Vickers & Sons Ltd, Unit 9, 35 Revenge Road, Lordswood, Kent ME5 8DW, tel: 01634 201 284; website: www.jjvickers.co.uk