Bushnell Excursion 8x42 Binoculars
I do not badly need any of these, I have three 8x32s and two 10x42s. But I have never had a 8x42. The best I could afford now is a Pentax 8x43, but that would be a stretch.
As you may know...folks, this is serious, don't get into it this much if you can avoid...I have stuggled between 8x and 10x for years. I think my final top level binocular will be an 8x32, or maybe 8x30 Swarovski SLC. Maybe not big 3, but close.
So I am just spending time exploring the 8x42. If I like it, I will bird with it this winter. I have a scope so no need to carry a 10x around for ducks and gulls.
The Excursion has been a best seller for the asking price of $150, but no $150 binocular will be a $300 binocular in terms of optics. Here is a recent test I did between the very similar Alpen Pro 10x42 and the Excursion 10x42. Note that neither matched up against a good $300 bino, such as the Carson XM HD.
Shootout Excursion 10x42, Alpen 390 Pro 10x42
Focusing, Smoothness, Effort, Evenness: Excursion
The Excursion was unusually good for a binocular this price - no high spots or play with reasonable effort. The Alpen required only a little more effort, but had a couple of high spots and some barely detectable play
The Excursion was slightly above average for a 10x at this price, while the Alpen rated only slightly less. I rate them as very good for binoculars at this price, but not quite at the level of a good $300 binocular, such as the Carson XM HD, which I used as a control.
Brightness: Alpen Pro
The Alpen gave a detectably brighter image, rating it above average for a binocular at this price.
I was very pleased by both - clean images with little washing out or stray reflections
Edge Sharpness: Excursion
The Excursion rated above average at about 80% sharp across the field . The Alpen tested a more average 70%
Barrel Distortion (Least): Excursion
Both about what I expected at this price, but neither was objectionable. The Excursion had slightly less.
Color Correction: Excursion
The Excursion rated a very good, with only a little purple fringing on bright objects. The Alpen had a more noticeable green tint around bright objects. Both are quite satisfactory, however. Should not be an issue.
Both binoculars were very similar in size, weight and feel. Typical nice roof prism handling.
Overall, I was quite pleased with what I saw, considering the prices. Binoculars at this price have shown a lot of improvement in optics in the last five years. No, neither binocular matched the Carson XM HD I used as a control for resolution, contrast, color correction and so on, but the differences were not as great as the prices suggest. I would have no hesitation recommending either model for someone on a budget of less than $200. Both great values, but, no, neither is a good $300 binocular, despite glowing reviews.
The 300 dollar "best of" is then a different issue. I just tell them to go to a store at that point. Try them out.
Yes, a binocular in the hand is always the best test when possible. Just wish there were more stores that had even a small selecton of optics. Until then, price is a pretty good place to start.
http://www.opticsplanet.com/bushnell-ex ... 44208.html
The open frame body is in use by Leupold and otheres to mimic high end products. If it gives a lighter binocular, fine. The optics is the issue. They are a bit more expensive. It would seem the optics are not identical.
Overall, optics will be the same. The difference gained by an open bridge design is handling. Not a significant difference in terms of weight. An open bridge design tends to balance and handle better than a conventional body design, but, as always, handling is a very subjective feature. It may or may not be worth the extra expense for you.
I also did not want to explore the other EX at this point. I have a 8x28 excursion, which is fine with the diopter. So I will just ignore the Excursion EX series for now until I hear any more from other users.
In my opinion the Diamondback 8x42 and regular Excursion 8x42, as well as Excursion 8x32 are all still OK beginner, or "spare" binoculars. We fanatics just have too many spares.
One issue I had with a Diamondback that I tested was the rather ough focusing. No, I don't expect a lot at this price point and it may have just been a bad sample.
But I have two 8x32 roofs that I have kept, both ran about 250 dollars a year or two back, and I did not see this effect on those.
One has to live with a few deficiences at the 200 and under mark, but I still want the diopter to be useful.
My Monarchs are 10x so I can't really compare. But my 10x Monarchs seem to be as bright as these two.
If you want these, buy them for the wide field of view and overall reliable build. Excursion only, can't vouch for Excursion EX.
I had them a week or two and they went back. It is too easy to return items! I was little short of cash so I exchanged them for a tripod, which was more urgent.
I wish the 8x36 EX model had been of better build. Reliable. The diopter issue. I quite liked the compact design. But there are so many models out there these days, the consumer is really a bit stronger than before, to try and return and keep only the very best fit and feel. Postage is only some 6 dollars.