The Bushnell Falcon 10×50 are Porro Prism binoculars designed for beginners. They are very popular in hunting and birding circles, as their magnification makes them versatile in many situations.
With their large lenses, these binoculars benefit from the better light transmission.
For less than $50, the Falcons incorporate Bushnell’s “InstaFocus” system, which allows for extremely fast focusing. But is the optical performance good? Is the price advantageous?
Here’s the answer in our full review.
Bushnell FALCON 10×50 Binoculars Review
- Magnification: 10
- Lens diameter (mm): 50
- Perceived linear field at 1000 meters (m): 100
- Brightness index: 25
- Exit pupil (mm): 5
- Eye relief (mm): 9
- Minimum focusing distance (m): 8
- Dimensions (mm): 175 x 194 x 68
- Weight (g): 765
- Interpupillary distance (mm): 54 -76
- Waterproofing: No
- No decrease in sharpness at the edge of the image
- Correct brightness and little vignetting
- Convenient InstaFocus focusing system
- Fairly low weight for Porro Prism binoculars
- Wide enough visual field
- Good general ergonomics
- Chromatic aberrations and comas present
- Lens distortion and astigmatism
- Color rendering that lacks neutrality
- Low eye relief and reflections in the tubes
- No attachment for mounting on a tripod
- No sealing
Optical Performance and Ergonomics
The definition of the image of the Bushnell Falcon 10×50 is passable. The lenses suffer from optical defects that are not properly corrected.
The first problem is the presence of chromatic aberrations. These are quite faint in the center, but they become pronounced at the periphery of the image. Spherical aberrations manifest themselves at night with the appearance of comas.
The observed stars have a stretched appearance instead of looking like dots. Distortion is observed over the entire outer half of the image. It gives a curvature effect to the straight lines in this part.
If the sharpness does not decrease significantly as you move away from the center. The lenses still show moderate astigmatism: the result is that the development is not done completely homogeneously in all directions.
Correct light transmission but unbalanced color rendering
The lenses of the eyepieces and objectives benefit from a single-coat coating. It imparts a bluish tint to glasses when the tubes are exposed in the direction of light.
Porro prisms are made from BK-7 glasses, which are more economical than BaK-4 glasses. As a result, the light transmission is a little lower with a maximum reached 78%. It’s not huge, but it still allows you to enjoy decent light during the day.
At night and at dusk, the contrast is less marked and you have to concentrate more to spot the stars.
The color rendering is not well balanced, we notice that the image has a stronger yellow tint than the rest of the shades. Vignetting at the image periphery remains low, it appears mainly horizontally.
The exit pupil is truncated in the shape of a diamond, but this is unavoidable with the BK-7 lenses of the prisms. The interior of the tubes is sensitive to light reflections, and certain halos of light sometimes appear around the exit pupil.
Focusing and InstaFocus system
Focusing is done differently than most other binoculars. Here, the Bushnell Falcon 10×50 uses the “InstaFocus” system.
The focus is not on a wheel but on a lever that pivots in both directions. It is a system that allows for great speed of adjustment, but which in return decreases the precision. It’s a system that works quite well.
The diopter correction on the other hand is identical to the other binoculars. A ring is placed under the right eyecup. With it, you can compensate for any imbalance in visual acuity between the two eyes.
The eyecups are not directly extendable. Instead, it is their rubber part that folds outwards. It’s a simple solution that works, but the only problem is that the eye relief is very low: it does not exceed 9 millimeters. Beyond this value, the field of vision is no longer complete. This is a sensitive point for wearers of glasses since the latter reduces the available margin.
Good ergonomics and reduced weight
In terms of ergonomics, the Bushnell Falcon 10×50 is easy to handle. The weight is not that heavy for Porro Prism binoculars. At 765 grams, it’s not a pair that will be too tiring to carry at arm’s length. A lanyard is provided in the package. It has an extra thickness at the neck which limits friction on the skin.
The big downside, you can mount the Falcon on a tripod via an adapter because no mounting hole is provided for this purpose. This is a definite drawback for astronomy or for observing from a fixed position. An alternative solution will have to be found.
The spacing between the two lenses leaves plenty of room for the hands. The shape of the tubes guarantees a good grip, even when the binoculars are wet. The part of the eyecups in contact with the face is made of very soft rubber, which presses evenly against the skin. No unpleasant pressure points are to be noted.
Standard build quality but no waterproofing
The manufacture of the Falcon 10×50 gives an impression of robustness. No mechanical play is detected in the assembly of the various components and the tubes are perfectly parallel to each other.
The frame structure is made from plastic, specifically polycarbonate. An additional rubber coating provides better protection against shocks. The finishes are not exceptional, but they remain suitable.
The Bushnell Falcon 10x50s aren’t waterproof, but that’s no surprise given the price. If this will not be a problem with light rain, it will be necessary to avoid taking them out when it is raining heavily.
Ditto, no anti-fog treatment is applied, which makes these binoculars sensitive to humidity. The Falcon 10×50 comes with several accessories, including a nylon storage case, a microfiber cloth for cleaning the lenses, a neoprene strap, lens covers, and an instruction manual.
Large minimum focusing distance
The minimum focusing distance corresponds to the distance below which it is no longer possible to focus. On the Bushnell Falcon 10×50, this distance reaches 8 meters. This is a fairly high but expected value for Porro Prism binoculars. They will therefore be used mainly for observations over medium and long ranges.
The visual field has a fairly good range
The horizontal extent of the visual field is 100 meters at 1000 meters distance. This is a value that is in the average of binoculars with a magnification of 10, and which allows you to take advantage of a wider vision. This is an advantage for astronomy where it is easy to lose sight of your target if you don’t keep a fixed image.
Are the Falcon 10×50 suitable for my activity?
The Bushnell Falcon 10×50 are binoculars that we will consider for observing certain stars, practicing ornithology or observing animals. For travel, it’s a pair that may be a little too bulky. Similarly, for hiking, we prefer more compact binoculars with a smaller objective diameter.
Due to the lack of waterproofing, we do not recommend the Falcon for use on a kayak, a paddle, and other boats of the same size, or when the weather is bad.
If the Bushnell Falcon 10×50 is not intended to offer optical performance worthy of high-end binoculars, they are nevertheless not doing too badly. Of course, the image quality is not the best: a lot of chromatic aberrations are present. Comas are visible at night, and the lenses suffer from distortion and moderate astigmatism. But the image keeps a good luminosity which still allows observing many details.
Ergonomics and build quality are average for Bushnell pairs. You will only have to be careful with the water since the Bushnell Falcon 10×50 are not waterproof. We also regret the absence of a fixing for mounting on a tripod using an adapter.
If you primarily want budget binoculars for occasional use, then Falcons might be of interest. Otherwise, we will prefer more efficient binoculars.
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