Bausch & Lomb Reviews
The following comments are the opinions of the writers. We're publishing
them here with the permission of their authors, with minor edits for
clarity or brevity. If you would like to submit a comment, send me an email.
Bausch and Lomb Discoverer 7x42
Optical quality: They're completely adequate for me, but according to
places like Better View Desired they 'share the mediocre optics of other
non-phase-coated roof prism binoculars.' I didn't see any difference
between them and the big ticket items at the store, but of course I was
just looking at a feeder out the window. (Flash: Starlings look the same
at any magnification and level of detail.)
Field of View: Very nice, partly because they're 7 power rather than 8.
420 feet at 100 yards is pleasing. (The Burris Signature 8x42s have
about 100 feet less FOV at that range, which was one of their few
noticeable shortcomings. Tracking black terns in flight was more work
than it should have been.)
Depth of field: Very respectable at everything but close focus. Unless
it's flying very fast toward me, I don't have to refocus much.
Close focus: is around 9' for me. If I was an butterfly watcher, I'd
absolutely go with the Celestron Regal/Eagle Ranger(/Burris) 8x42s; 8
power at 4 feet was great for insects.
Case design: The Discoverer 7x42 and 10x42 have the same molded casing.
It's sort of like the Elite, only less extreme. The thumb grooves
underneath take some getting used to, but I like them.
Eye relief: I love the eyepieces. These things have big, big eyepieces
on them. It's like looking into a dinner plate. I'd strongly recommend
that anyone who'll ever use them with glasses test them out that way.
They use popup eye cups, and you might have to fiddle with the cups to
get things just right.
Focus: The mechanism is slower than the relatively fast Signature
model's. The click stop diopter setting is next to the center focus
mechanism, not on the eyepiece.
Weight: This is the one thing I balked at. They feel heavy somehow. I
look at the specs and they don't seem much heavier than anything else.
They don't feel out of balance, either. (Anything but.) But they seem
heavier than the Celestron/Eagle(/Burris) pair. Still, they're still
nothing like a big binocular, and I have no trouble carrying them for a
At National Camera Exchange (which is in my area, and which I'd highly
recommend) the Discoverer was $300 just about on the nose. The Celestron
Regal 8x42s was around $350, and the Swift Eaglet (the natural 7 power
competition for the Discoverer) was $320. The Eaglet is lighter, but its
field of view is limited for a 7 power binocular. (I saw less of the
Starlings at the store feeder through the Eaglet. While ordinarily
seeing less Starlings would be an advantage...) I traded the light
weight for field of view and eyepieces that were much more appealing and
comfortable. The Eaglet has standard rubber eyecups.
Ian Westray, 18 August 1998.
Wanta know what a really good pair of binocs is? I assume that is what
your post is all about, so I'll tell you what I think.A really ,picky,
CPA friend of mine made an exhaustive search when it came time to invest
in some new glass, and he came to the conclusion that the B and L Elite,
8x42, provided the most bang for the buck. Expensive,yes,($595 mail order)
but worth it. I also bought a pair, and a particular delight is their
close focus (8 feet). And the brilliance of the image in low light(low
light is standard in Seattle) is outstanding.
Howard Douglas, 6 January 1998
Since you published my comments about my B & L Elite 8x42's in Jan. 96 the
image quality continued to deteriorate until they were worse than a cheap
pair of binoculars. The reason was obvious - tiny scratches on the surfaces
of boh eyepieces and objectives. I finally bit the bullet and looked at
having them repaired vesus buying a replacement. B & L claimed that the
cause of the problem was my poor cleaning technique, and they wouldn't
cover it under warranty, depite the fact that I have always tried to be
careful to use the correct lens- cleaning techniques. Although the cost of
replacing all 4 pieces of high quality glass was pretty steep, it was still
cheaper than replacing the binocular with the same or equivalent make. Now
it's been done, I had forgotten how superb, bright and sharp the image is,
and what a joy it is using and looking through them. But I still have a
concern that the glass is more susceptible to scratching or damage during
normal birding than other makes.
Richard Stern, 19 July 1997
I can cite my personal experience as an example of lens quality being
more important than magnification level. For many years I used Bushnell
Custom 10x40's, a mid-range price binocular. Several years ago, I
purchased a pair of Bausch & Lomb Elite 8x42's. I hadn't observed much
difference in a direct comparison, i.e., look at the same object in turn
with both binoculars but once I started using the Elites, I was totally
blown away by the quality of the lenses. The image was so much clearer in
the Elites that the loss of the magnification power wasn't even an
issue. I can't stand using my old binoculars for any length of time now.
Even after using them for nearly two years, I still am impressed by the
clarity of the lenses every time I put them to my eyes. They are also
magnificent in the low light conditions. It's almost eerie. I know some
people don't like the focusing knob location but my hand learned it
with no problem. I also know about the "blackout" problem. This would
happen to me when I tried other people's Elites but I decided to get a
pair anyway. It almost never happens to me now and I guess I have
learned to hold them in such a way so that it doesn't happen.
Jean Bickal, 3 Dec 1996
I own two pairs of B&L binoculars, the 10x40 Custom and the 7x26 Custom
compacts. Both have been excellent for their price range. Both focus
quite close and have excellent eye relief for eyeglass wearers. The
7x26 customs are hands down the best compacts I have used with a very
bright image and clarity.
Jim Kuhn, 20 Nov 1996
I have had a pair of
non-armored Zeiss Dialyt 10 x 40s for about 15 years. I have had the
focussing wheel repaired once. My main complaint is the lack of close-focus.
I have recently tried R.O.R. (after reading about it on
BIRDCHAT), and indeed it has made them look like new again.
I also have a pair of B & L Elite 8 x 42's, which I bought 3 years
ago. Initially I found them to be far superior to the Zeiss, with
increased brightness, closer focus, and a wider field of view more than
compensating for the lower magnification. However, I've had to send them
back for repairs to the focus wheel once, and have them re-rubber
armored once, and also now, some subtle scratches on the lenses have
reduced the clarity a little, and R.O.R. can't seem to do the same as it
did for the Zeiss.
Richard Stern, 7 Jan 1996