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Magellan vs. Elite

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/28/2007 at 16:50
lucznik View Drop Down
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On another forum I frequent the members are sometimes given the opportunity to recieve and test optics including riflescopes and binoculars.  The optics are then passed along to the next tester to review.  All you are asked to do is to ship the optic to the next guy on the list when you're done and to write up and post a review for the benefit of the board.  I recently had the chance to review a budget class, phase-corrected binocular from Olympus and I thought I might re-post my findings here for the benefit of anyone interested in this class of binocular.

 

I was sent  a 10x42 Olympus Magellan.  The best price I have seen advertised for this binocular was $194 and I have seen it selling for as high as $320.  I had my 10x43 Bushnell Elite to compare it against which generally can be found for between $800 and $900.  Here is what I found.

 

Size / Ergonomics

The Magellan is a reasonably sized binocular that fits reasonably well in the hand. It reminded me of my old Pentax DCF WPs. The rubber armoring is soft but not “tacky” to the touch The Elite is (despite its slightly larger objective lens size) physically smaller in all dimensions.  The rubber armoring is thinner, and does not completely cover the optical barrels.  The Elite balances better in the hands, probably due to the split-bridge hinge styling.

 

Styling

The Magellan has large, bright yellow and very gaudy lettering which says “10x42 EXWP-I Waterproof Field 6°” + a couple of silly stickers that proclaim it to be waterproof and to have UV protection.  This is not dissimilar to other makers (Burris, Pentax, etc.) who like to place their logo on their optics in such a way as to be unmistakable from 100 yards out.  Yes, I realize I can just remove the stickers and the yellow letters don’t affect the binoculars performance but, I just don’t understand why manufacturers think that in purchasing their products, I am somehow volunteering to serve as a free billboard to help get their name out.  The Elite on the other hand, is probably the classiest looking binocular on the market today.  Its gray tones are particularly suited to a variety of venues and the branding that is done is quite subtle and tastefully done.

 

Eye Relief

Eye relief for the Olympus was stated to be 14mm – which is a bit short.  I was however, able to see the full FoV with my glasses on so; I wonder if Olympus is being a bit conservative in their claims.  The Elites’ eye relief is given as 19.5mm – and I don’t doubt this is accurate. I’ve never had any problem getting the full FoV from this binocular.

 

Field of View

Both binoculars claim a 6° Field of View.  However, the Elite’s FoV was noticeably (though not excessively) wider.  I doubt it would make a lot of difference in any hunting scenario but, the difference is there.

 

Image Quality

Edge clarity in the Olympus was good but, not spectacular.  The drop in clarity became fairly apparent at about 1/3 of the way in from the edges and worsened the closer toward the edge you looked. This still was not bad performance but, the limitations were easy to see.

Olympus says these are phase coated which I don’t doubt as they do provide a better image than binoculars like the Bushnell Trophy that are not phase-coated. However, despite this added benefit for the Olympus, the image still was not anywhere near equal to that of better/more expensive optics.  Phase coating, while nice, is not everything and it won’t turn marginal glass into anything super-special.  A comparably priced porro prism binocular will still offer a substantially better image

The Elite was obviously superior in this regard offering  a very large “sweet spot” that comes very close to the edges and is (at least in my sample) better even than any Swarovski I have examined.   Overall image quali

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/28/2007 at 18:38
Narrow Gap View Drop Down
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Great post lucznik!!!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/28/2007 at 20:45
ND2000 View Drop Down
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I would agree...nice post indeed.  I tried out the Elites for quite some time...did not go with them, but they are nice.  Right up with Nikon in the price/value spectrum.

 

ND2000

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2007 at 19:55
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Very nice again lucznik. I am on the "list" for the 8x42 Magellan but have not heard anything about it since I signed up. I have heard good comments about some of the Olympus bin models but very little about the Magellan. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/11/2007 at 07:22
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I agree with alot of the review of the Magellan, primarily the ergonomics of the accessories, but not with the optics at all.  I own a pair, having collected Olympus professional grade and Nikon camera equipment for years.  The binoculars are made in Japan, of quality construction, solid to put it another way.  My pair is optical clear from center to edge without any fringing or color distortion what so ever with images that appear uncanny, as though you are right there.  This is a sensation I really have not experienced with any other binocular.  Color rendition was perfect and low light capabilities were more than adequate.  They accompanied me on a bear hunt on the coast of NC last December and are going with me next weekend and when scoping the woods for movement provided very good contrast and detail.  This is something I cannot compare with other high end binoculars, because I have not had them in the same situation.  Regardless, extremely good pair of binoculars for a very good price.  Throw away the lens caps, useless as you said, same with the cheapo neck strap.  Otherwise, if you do not want to drop big dollars on a pair of binoculars and come close, if not equal in my opinion to some high end units, buy a pair and you will not be disappointed.

Now I also own a pair of the pathfinders, which are even less expensive porro prism models, which optically are several steps behind the magellans, but for the price beat the 100 to 200 dollar Nikons.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/11/2007 at 09:42
Bird Watcher View Drop Down
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Dolphin,

 

How old is the Magellan binocular that you own?

 

Alot of binoculars that once were made in Japan are NOW being manufactured in China, and the quality of some is no longer the same as it once was.

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/13/2007 at 11:53
Dolphin View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Bird Watcher Bird Watcher wrote:

Dolphin,

 

How old is the Magellan binocular that you own?

 

Alot of binoculars that once were made in Japan are NOW being manufactured in China, and the quality of some is no longer the same as it once was.

 

About 1 year old.  It clearly states Made in Japan on the Binocular and if I am not correct, on the website.  Right now, you would have to offer me alot of money to give up those binoculars and I definately would not trade them for anything without trying the trade in the same setting where I am heading this weekend.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/13/2007 at 14:34
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Dolphin,

 

The fact that you got a good binocular is all that really matters.

It is a shame that binoculars have to vary from batch to batch.

So much for quality control.

 

 

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