Op­ti­cal per­for­mance

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BUSH­NELL HAS A higher pro­file on the other side of the At­lantic than it does here. Their binoc­u­lar range is ex­ten­sive and in­cludes the Leg­end E, L and M se­ries. Each of these is avail­able as an 8x42 or 10x42. I took de­liv­ery of a box of three – a 10x42 Leg­end E, L and M, to com­pare them to each other. They all have some fea­tures in com­mon, and some dif­fer­ences – which are re­flected in the price. Could I see much dif­fer­ence be­tween them? Is it worth the ex­tra out­lay to get the M? The E is the en­try-level op­tion, with an RRP of £310. The most ex­pen­sive is the M, at £495, and in be­tween is the L, at £375. All have a mag­ne­sium chas­sis and wa­ter-re­pel­lent lens-coat­ing, are made with lead-free glass, and have fully multi-coated op­tics. So what are the dif­fer­ences? enough for glasses wear­ers, but try it out to make sure. Fo­cus­ing is very sim­i­lar on the E and L. The wheel is 1.5 fin­gers deep, moves anti-clock­wise to­wards in­fin­ity, rea­son­ably smoothly and mod­er­ately stiffly, with be­tween 1.5 and 1.75 turns. It’s dif­fer­ent on the M. It’s a big­ger wheel – two fin­gers deep – which moves very smoothly, with more re­sis­tance, per­haps a lit­tle too much. There is the same num­ber of turns, but in the op­po­site di­rec­tion. You’d ex­pect any op­ti­cal dif­fer­ences to be most ob­vi­ous in poor light, but that wasn’t my ex­pe­ri­ence. My ‘be­yond sun­set’ test took place in early March un­til 45 min­utes af­ter sun­set, by which time it was pretty dark. All did OK, even at the end, though there may have been some mi­nor dif­fer­ences. But I could see some dif­fer­ence in good light. To cut to the chase, the M is the best. It’s the most ex­pen­sive, with the best spec, so you’d ex­pect it to be and it is. The E is per­fectly func­tional, but suf­fered from colour fring­ing more than the oth­ers. The view through the L is eas­ier on the eye than the E, but the M is the best. Sharp­ness is good on the E, but bet­ter on the L and the M. Bright­ness was good on all three, with, in good light, the M a tad brighter than the oth­ers. There was no ob­vi­ous colour cast on any, but colour fring­ing was more of an is­sue on the E than the L, and bet­ter again on the M. I had to search a bit for best fo­cus at dis­tance on the E, and per­haps slightly so with the M, but not the L. All have the same field of view, an im­pres­sive 6.5 de­grees, and in the­ory, all have the same close-fo­cus of 1.9m, but don’t be­lieve ev­ery­thing you read! I mea­sured the L at a bit un­der 1.9m, the M at 1.99m, but close-fo­cus on the E ap­proached 2.5m, much less re­spectable. So, if close-fo­cus is im­por­tant to you – check it out.

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