“ Brand: Bushnell „
About a year ago, I decided to treat myself to a newer, more expensive pair of binoculars. My old pair had had a hard life and proven to not be waterproof during a trip to the seaside. The weather turned inclement resulting in both the binoculars and my clothing getting completely soaked. I was like a drowned rat, but I dried out. The binoculars were not so lucky, and were left with salt contamination inside the housing. So when deciding on new ones, I decided that waterproofing was essential to my requirements!
Doing my usual, extensive searching on the internet, I found that the Discoverer 10x42 binoculars were available for around £300. The specification promised the more robust make up of the 'roof prism' design, expensive 'BAK-4' prisms and fully multi-coating on all lens surfaces. Most importantly, they were guaranteed waterproof and fog proof.
The design is quite pleasing to the eye, appearing very chunky and solid. The binoculars are nice to hold, the rubberised coating feeling warm and secure in the hands. They feel quite weighty, but at 800g are not too heavy.
The focus control is large (always a good idea if you wear gloves at any time) and easy to activate but with enough resistance to stay in place once focused. There's a dioptre adjustment (used if your eyes have a different prescription from each other). This was initially quite stiff, but the mechanism has failed on my pair. It still works, but is so loose that any contact with the circular lever that controls it moves the focus.
The claim to be fully multi-coated seems to be true. Examination of the lenses shows almost no reflection from the surfaces and they appear almost black (uncoated lenses reflect a lot of light which you can see, as the lens looks bright when viewed from outside).
This binocular has an excellent 'eyecups' design. They are of the 'twist up' variety. Twisting the end of the eyepiece moves the eyecup away from the lens, allowing for non-spectacle wearers to have their eyes completely covered (keeping out stray light). The mechanism operates quite stiffly but once in place, stays in place.
The Discoverer 10x42 has quite a good field of view of 140 metres at 1000 yards with a good close focus of 3 metres (useful for observing butterflies and other small objects at close range).
Optically, these are very good performers. The image is bright and sharp and there's no colour cast (that I can detect). Even in dull conditions there's enough light collected to be able to see well.
Chromatic aberration (almost always present in binoculars) is not very noticeable at all. In normal use, I could not detect any. Only when viewing high contrast images, in bright light was there a hint of colour fringing at the edges of objects. Really impressive.
I said that when I bought these they looked robust. They are, but as I found to my cost, they're not 'bullet proof'. I managed to drop them, five foot onto carpet as I was putting them away. The binoculars bounced (rubberised coating, remember), bounced again, then lay still! With the prospect of having to spend another £300 running through my mind, I quickly picked them up. To my relief, there was no sign of damage to the outside. Relief turned to dismay when I looked through them. Something had become misaligned so the two eye views did not converge. A couple of minutes use made me feel sick. I sent them off for repair, but unfortunately, the service centre was not able to repair the fault (so a tip: if you buy these, don't drop them!).
Overall, despite not being completely shock proof (seriously, this was my own fault for dropping them); these are a high quality pair of binoculars. If you're in the market for a mid-range pair and, you're less clumsy than me, I can recommend them.