Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Binoculars Review

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD

Bushnell has a diverse binocular catalog, historically tailored for hunters, where the preferred lens diameter typically ranges between 40 and 42 millimeters. The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10×42 positions itself precisely within this category and offers a mid-range price point that aligns with its quality and features.

It’s a roof-prism pair from Schmidt-Pechan, which incorporates several optical innovations, such as ED (ultra-low dispersion) glasses, full multi-coating of the lenses, and Bushnell’s “RainGuard HD” hydrophobic coating.

Determine from this review whether the model’s performance justifies its price.

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10×42 Review

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 2

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Technical Specifications:

  • Magnification: 10
  • Lens diameter (mm): 42
  • Perceived linear field at 1000 meters (m): 113
  • Brightness index: 17.6
  • Exit pupil (mm): 4.2
  • Eye relief (mm): 15.2
  • Minimum focusing distance (m): 1.9
  • Dimensions (mm): 175x137x62
  • Weight (g): 639
  • Interpupillary distance (mm): 58 -75
  • Type of prisms: Roof

Advantages:

  • Chassis quality and magnesium construction
  • Good correction of chromatic aberrations
  • Moderate astigmatism
  • Not many coma aberrations
  • Extended field of view that provides great panoramas
  • Perfectly circular exit pupil
  • Good quality BaK-4 prisms

Disadvantages:

  • Brightness is a little worse than average
  • Color rendering is not completely neutral
  • Pronounced loss of sharpness in the periphery of the visual field
  • Eye relief is a bit weak

Image Quality and Ergonomics

Bushnell almost went flawless with its Legend Ultra HD 10×42. Thanks to the use of ultra-low dispersion ED glasses, no color fringing is perceived at the edges of objects. This is a fairly rare advantage for binoculars sold for less than $300.

The coma aberrations are also quite weak. They appear only on the last outer quarter of the visual field. Their low intensity will allow for obtaining a good definition of stars and planets. Astigmatism defects are well corrected while moderate distortion is visible at the periphery of the field of vision.

The main problem here is that the image suffers a loss of sharpness over the entire last outer third of the image compared to the center.

The reduction in tube size and, consequently, optical component size has led to a compromise in peripheral image quality. The lenses become sensitive to spherical aberrations which cause this decrease. It’s a shame since the sharpness is really good in the center. The image retains excellent resolution with high detail precision.

Medium brightness but perfect circular exit pupil

Brightness is as important as sharpness because it is the light rays that form the image. The maximum light transmission reaches 82%. It’s not a particularly high value, but it’s not bad either. The color rendering is not totally neutral: the blue tones are less intense than the other shades, which gives a weak yellow/orange tint to the image.

The lenses capture less light on their edges, which slightly weakens the brightness at the periphery of the field of vision. On the other hand, there is no perceptible vignetting: the exit pupil is perfectly circular. This is the result of the quality of the BaK-4 prisms; a high-reflectivity dielectric coating.

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x42s will have the best potential in the open. The lenses benefit from a complete multi-layer treatment which limits the loss of light between each glass. Bushnell gives no indication of the quality of the coating applied, but it would seem that not all surfaces are fully treated.

Quick and easy focus

Focusing is done via a wheel located between the two eyecups. Its inertia is quite high and requires a little effort to turn. In some places, you feel some additional friction in the rotation mechanism, which is not problematic. The focus range is 560 degrees or about one and a half turns. This leaves plenty of room for precise focusing without losing speed.

The diopter correction is done by turning a ring located under the right eyecup. The adjustment of visual acuity between the two eyes is done without difficulty. Once set correctly, the diopter correction does not need to be readjusted between two uses.

Note that it is the outer part of the mechanism that moves during adjustment, which may make it a little more sensitive to dust.

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 3

The eyecups are extendable and suitable for wearing glasses. The 15.2mm eye relief is less than on other 10×42 binoculars. You will need to concentrate more to perceive the entire field of vision if you wear very thick lenses.

Ergonomic and quite light

The dimensions of the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10×42 are standard for their caliber. The frame is wrapped in a rubber coating which provides better grip on the hands. The center of the binoculars has a hollow shape which allows more room for the fingers. The eyecups are very comfortable to the touch on the face.

The frame is made from magnesium, which considerably reduces its weight, reaching only 638 grams. This is an advantage for long-duration observations where arm fatigue complicates image stabilization. You can also mount this device on a tripod by using an adapter (not included in the package). A fixing hole is provided for this purpose, on the front of the pair. Otherwise, a lanyard will attach the binoculars around the neck.

Very good quality components

Bushnell has made the bet to build quality binoculars and as such offers a 30-year warranty on its Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10×42. The rubber coating around the tubes protects against bumps and drops. It doesn’t get sticky when exposed to heat like other binoculars sometimes do.

The collimation of the tubes is perfect and their inner surfaces do not reflect light which can cause glare. The use of magnesium for the manufacture of the chassis, and not a polycarbonate/steel mix, is a characteristic normally reserved for premium models, which is synonymous with quality.

On the sealing side, this model is equipped with O-rings at the ends of each tube. According to Bushnell, this gives them water resistance for 30 minutes up to a maximum depth of 1 meter. The lenses have received the hydrophobic “RainGuard” treatment, which prevents raindrops from stagnating on the lenses and reducing image quality. The tubes are filled with nitrogen, to prevent internal moisture from fogging up.

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 4

The package contains a padded strap, a Cordura storage case, a microfiber cloth to wipe the lenses, and a protective cap for the outer lenses. The accessories have no special feature, they fulfill their role well. The protections remain in place once fitted, which is not always the case on other models.

Very short minimum focusing distance

The design of the optical components makes it possible to achieve a very short minimum focusing distance of only 1.9 meters. This is an excellent score, which will allow you to get very close to your target while maintaining a high quality of focus.

Large visual field

The visual field is 113 meters wide at 1000 meters distance. This is a higher than average value. It will give you extended panoramas. The advantage of having a wider field of vision is to be able to identify events that occur on the periphery, such as the passage of a bird or an animal for example.

Final Thoughts

With its Legend Ultra HD 10×42, Bushnell has almost succeeded in offering binoculars that are both comfortable and have excellent optical performance. Chromatic aberrations are low and comas are moderate from the center to the edge of the field of view. Astigmatism defects are well corrected and the exit pupil is perfectly circular, which gives the image a high level of detail.

Unfortunately, the sharpness is not homogeneous. This decreases very quickly around the field of vision, which does not necessarily allow you to take advantage of all of it. The light transmission is quite average and the blue tones are less intense than the other colors.

In short, it is a pair that we will use especially during the day. Overall, we think the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x42s are good value for money, although better alternatives exist.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What activities are the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10×42 made for?

Several activities are ideal for using the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10×42. It is a pair dedicated primarily to ornithology and animal observation. However, it can also be used for marine use. Their compact size makes them suitable binoculars for hiking or traveling.

For stargazing, a pair of binoculars with better brightness will be a better choice. It will not be impossible to observe the moon or certain constellations, but it will be more difficult for the lenses to maintain good light transmission. Likewise, the perception of details at dusk will be more complicated.

How do these binoculars compare to other models in terms of value for money?

The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10×42 offers considerable value for the price, especially when factoring in features such as ED glass, waterproofing, and ergonomic design. While there may be models that perform slightly better, they often come at a higher cost.

How do these binoculars fare in various weather conditions for birdwatching?

The binoculars are waterproof and fogproof, making them suitable for various weather conditions. We have found them reliable and excellent for wildlife observation and birdwatching.

Can the objective lens covers be considered a potential weakness?

The objective lens covers, made of rubber, have been noted as a potential weakness. We recommend treating them as “fully removable” for better reliability

If you are primarily looking for resistant binoculars for use in very humid or dusty environments, check our other Reviews…

Liam Dean is a Professional Blogger and Outdoor Enthusiast. He completed Masters in Sports Sciences and spend all of his free time doing sports and other outdoor activities. During vacations, he goes hunting, fishing and mountaineering.

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