on April 23, 2013
This review is for the Bushnell H2O Roof Binoculars sizes 8x42 and 10x42, both of which I recently purchased. These binoculars are inexpensive but have many of the characteristics of expensive binoculars. They are water and fog-proof, they have BaK-4 prisms, and they have a well-constructed and rugged body. I purchased roofs rather than porros after my Nikon porros lost their collimation. Nikon repaired them for $10 plus shipping (which was very fair), but I did not want to go through that again. Roofs are generally more durable. These binos appear well collimated (I did every test I could find on the internet, including shining the sun through them onto a screen), they can quickly be focused quite sharply, and there is very little color aberration. The 8x42s have remarkably little distortion near the outside of the field of vision; the 10x42s have more, but are still quite acceptable. The eye relief is good, so I can wear these with or without glasses. The rubber eyepiece collars are a little hard, but I purchased Field Optics eyeshields (I have no interest in the company) which both shield outside light from entering from the sides and soften the feel of the binoculars against the eyes. Both binos feel slightly heavy for their size, but are really okay. The straps require some lacing, but if carefully done, are okay too. The case is slightly tight, but acceptable. The front and rear lens covers can be attached, which is great.
The biggest problem with these binos is that they are roof binoculars with only multicoating. They are not fully multicoated nor phase coated. The lens quality is good, but not great. Thus the images are clear and sharp, but not as bright as you might get with a porro of the same class or an expensive roof bino. In good daytime light, this does not matter, but in really overcast light, the view is acceptable, but could be better. Not surprisingly, the 8x42s are brighter than the 10x42s. However, at night, using a tripod, I prefer the 10x42s since they permit better viewing of the moon and the stars. Surprisingly, the focus is so sharp that I can produce pinpoint images of Jupiter without flaring.
Thus we have inexpensive binoculars pretending to be expensive binoculars and doing a pretty good job of deception. The muted brightness is only a problem in poor lighting, but otherwise these binoculars are impressive for their price. I give the 10x42s four stars and the 8x42s four and a half stars.
on June 29, 2013
I'm no expert in binoculars, I'm not a birder, I'm just a guy who is looking for binoculars that work well for hikes in the local forests. So I want good light sensitivity, good weather proofing, and good value for the dollar.
I compared specs for the Bushnell H20s and the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD's, both 8x42, booth roof prism. I paid about $240 for the legend, vs. $105 for the H20 + Harness. On the Bushnell website you can compare specs, and these look really similar.
In terms of physical size, the two are about the same. The image is adjusted the same. Both have right eye adjustment and eye relief adjustment. The grips on the H20s are a little bit thicker and softer, and I think have an edge in friendliness.
The major stated difference:
Close Focus (ft/m): 18ft vs 6.5ft
is strange because on my hands-on testing, I found it be more like 10ft for the H20 vs 6.5 ft for the Legend. So although the legend is better, it isn't that much better, to me.
The HD's have a slightly larger field of view, which I did notice, and which was nice.
In theory the H20s don't work with the screw-in tripod adapter, but it sure looks like they both have the same screw-in area for that. I didn't try a tripod adapter with either though.
Both have eye-side lense protectors that can attach to the strap, and both have the same rubber loop to keep the other side lense protectors attached.
The Legends come with a harness, which otherwise you can buy for about $20 separately. The harness won't work out of the box with the H20's, but with a little imagination you can get it to attach.
OK so most importantly--how is the image? From reading the marketing materials, I was expecting that the Ultra HD Legend would be much better than the H20. In terms of the image difference, to my eyes the Legend's definitely have an edge, but it's just that--an edge. They are slightly brighter in low light, slightly clearer, but the H20's are still pretty darned good. I kept switching between one and the other and asking myself "are the legends worth twice the price?" Yes the image was slightly more appealing, slightly brighter. In bright light in particular, the Legends have more "pop," but this isn't as obvious in low light. In low light the HDs are a bit brighter, which is nice. Both had a really nice image, I thought, in both daylight and dawn light.
I've been looking through both of these for a few days now, in bright light and in dim light, and it's a tough call. "Do I spend a bunch more money to get a bit brighter, a bit wider image?"
One strike against the HD is that some people are saying that the focus adjustment lock that's on the right eye has split on them. On a related note, Bushnells overall have a 2 year limited warranty, which nudges me towards the less expensive model. In any case the H20s don't have this adjustment lock, which in my experience is fine.
This might be one of those cases where if you are heavy into binoculars, and you are using them constantly, and the thought of spending $500 on binoculars doesn't phase you, that the Legends at $220--which have great quality--would be a good move. From other reviews they seem to be a good value. And maybe there is a ruggedness story to tell, although to me the H20s seem plenty rugged. But for the casual user, the H20s seem like a really good value. It is a tough call--is it worth the extra money?
I looked and looked for a head to head comparison of the two products. If you've *actually used* both and can tell the rest of us what the substantive difference regarding image is, or something else that matters, that'd be great. For now, the H20s with a harness, at less than half the price, would seem to be the way to go for a casual user.
on October 4, 2012
I opened the box pulled these Bino's out and the 1st thing I noticed was how heavy, solid and well built they are. I love their size they are not too large, they are a very manageable size. They are not fit in your pocket small but they are just right. It only took a few seconds to get them adjusted and focused out of the box. They have a really nice thick canvas carrying case. The pieces that cover the end lenses are thick rubber that closely attached to the Binos so you don't have to worry about losing them and they are not at all in the way. The caps that cover the front lenses are one piece of thick rubber that will easily fit in your pocket if you are on the go. I've been in the Army 12 years and everything I buy I try to make sure it can take a beating through all my field training, moves or deployments and these Bino's def pass the test.
on April 21, 2015
I researched a number of binoculars, read a lot of reviews and settled on the Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Binoculars. For my purposes, they're just what I need. I use them to look out my window at the wildlife around the lake and on my kayak and jon boat. Now all I have to do is figure out how to keep them from sinking should they fall overboard.
I'm impressed with the quality in how they're made and how well they work. It's very easy to grab them and focus quickly, unlike other binoculars I've owned. They come in a box (see my photos) with a case and a strap. There are four rubber end caps to protect the lenses. The front caps attach securely with a small "rubber band" and the caps near your eyes attach to the strap so you don't lose them. In the pictures, you'll notice the neck strap that comes with them (black). It's decent, but I had purchased the red strap (pictured) because I didn't realize they come fully equipped with strap. I'm using the red strap because it's more cushioned. I'm very pleased with my purchase, and the price was right.
For several years I have a pair of very good, very high power Minolta binoculars but they are a bit on the large side so given the chance to test out a smaller, more compact version I was eager to have a go and promptly received the set of Bushnell's.
They come in a small, slightly padded pouch that has a small internal pocket for other items and most importantly a slot so these can be carried on a belt, freeing you up from having to always carry them on a cord around your neck and look like Irwin Rommel. It does comes with a strap you can attach to the binoculars themselves if you want to look like Rommel and in all fairness this is probably a good thing to have when you have them out to save you from dropping them, but there doesn't need to be a strap around your neck all the time.
They were about 2/3rd the size of the large Minoltas and weighted as less than half the weight. So smaller lighter, generally more compact and easier to carry.
Besides the weight and cord one problem I have with my larger glasses is the lens covers. Front and back they protect the lens from scratches so are needed but you need to keep them somewhere. You take them off to use the glasses and have to put them in a pocket or pouch or something which can be a little annoying. I looked at the Bushnell and the covers on the front lenses have little straps to hold them to the frame when not in place. Cool! And the back lenses? ....don't, so they go into the pockets just like the more cumbersome glasses.
To test out the visual quality of the glasses I took them and my larger pair to Valley Forge Park to compare them side by side at several vistas. Obviously the larger pair were going to be more powerful but I tested these by looking at something through the Bushnell's, THEN switching to the Minolta's to see what I had missed. There was not much lost in magnification. But I did discover something interesting. The compactness of the Bushnell's made them less comfortable to hold and look through. There was a sense that I was being condensed. The larger Minoltas although heavier were much more comfortable to look through and easier to adjust.
In the end the Bushnell's are very good binoculars. Light, easy to carry and very good quality for the $70-$80 price range. I'm glad I have them but I won't be replacing my larger set. I think where these will come in is if you are on a generic trip where you want binoculars as well as other stuff, such as a camping or fishing trip, this will be the item to reach for, BUT if I were doing something where the binoculars themselves are the chief item to be used, an afternoon's bird watching, I'll go with the larger but more comfortable pair.
These are not toys nor are they cheap binoculars. They are the real deal. If your into watching sports up close or bird watching these are for you. Their 8X42 focal length brings images up close and personal. They are worth the ticket. Recommended. 9/24/12 Update. Two weeks ago my girlfriend and I were on vacation on Chincoteague Island, Virginia and these Binoculars were the hit. My girlfriend has another model of Bushnell Binoculars and she was using mine the whole time. We got them wet, dropped it in puddles(not recommended) but they took a licking and were still extreme. Bald Eagles look terrific in the eyes of these binoculars.
on December 11, 2012
These binocs work very well and provide a clear view. There is no zoom however, so if you want to zoom in/out, this is not the one to get.
The front lens covers are attached to the body of the binoc so they don't need to go in your pocket. The back lens cover is a single piece that can be attached to the neck strap, so that too can stay on the binoc while in use. It is nice to have the covers attached so you don't have to put them in your pocket and you also won't lose them.
Other reviewers said these binocs are light weight and I cannot disagree, but they are still pretty heavy if you plan to keep them around your neck with the strap. If that is the intended use, you might want to get a lighter pair. These binocs are pretty heavy duty so they are not that light.
on January 10, 2013
Just received i the mail and at first I was very pleasantly surprised to feel these binos. They are very well made. You can feel the quality as you hold them. the grip is grip and the neck strap that comes with it is very comfortable. As far as the optics go, these are not to be underestimated. Very clear, very defined lines and colors (even in low light) a great purchase for birding, sports, or recreational issue.
on March 11, 2014
I have never bought an expensive pair of binoculars in my life, and I never will. I have always been pleased with Tasco, Bushell, and Celestron. Based on the price and the reviews, these Bushnells seemed like the top-choice shelf for my needs.
I bought these binoculars because I needed an extra set for travel. While reasonably compact, they are sort of an odd design. They are rubberized with a black and blue-grey rubber. The cap covers on the front lenses are great because they remain attached and hang down (once you adjust the rings that hold them). The cap covers on the back are not attached and so you have to hold them or put them in your pocket (a minor issue, I know, but a classic annoyance with most field binoculars).
Using the binoculars, the picture appears sharp and there's plenty of light, but I honestly feel a bit like a cyclops when using them. The eye pieces are so very narrow, it makes my eyes feel strange while using them. I feel like I'm being forced cross-eyed. You can adjust them outward a bit, but not nearly as much as on a standard full-size pair of binoculars. Whenever I pick them up, I immediately go to widen them and realize that they are already as wide as they'll go.
I'm hoping this pair of compact binoculars will grow on me, but I can see that I'll be using my other Bushnells or Celestrons for most occasions, and will only take these when space is a real premium. I would say that these binoculars are about the size of two 8oz cans of Red Bull side-by-side. I've compared this with my other Bushnells and Celestrons and the field-of-view at distances is considerably less. To put it another way, these would be poor binoculars for star gazing a wide area or terrestrial landscape viewing of a large group of birds or vegetation, but they would be good for an outdoor concert or sporting event where you're looking at one person or one fixed point.
Think about where you want a set of binoculars: in the field, on a boat, watching the stars, camping, etc. The presence of water is the common denominator which makes these binoculars all the more practical and valued. The Bushnell set may not be the most powerful binoculars on the planet, but they are good for birdwatching, hiking and taking in the scenery. Those wanting more powerful magnification should buy a more powerful set.
We have had several binocular sets in the past, including one that took pictures of what you saw. All of them felt light, cheaply made and stayed in the house rather than being taken into the field. This set, with its rubber coating and study construction tells you that its ready to go and that means they will get used. The heft associated with the waterproofing actually makes these more stable in your hands leading to less jumbling around as you focus in on objects.
There are few drawback. The rubber caps over the lens are a bit bulky and there is no way to attach the rubber covers for the eye pieces to the binocular set. I can see where these will be lost in the field. These are minor issues that do not dampen the overall good quality of the set or its readiness for us to use.
Overall recommended if you are looking for a pair of recreations binoculars that you are not afraid to take into the field, throw into a field bag or just take for a hike.