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The Amazing Custom Compact

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#1 WALL.E

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 10:14 AM

Hello!

It's been a while since I posted anything.

 

After reviewing the praises upon the Bushnell Custom Compact binocular for a long time, I finally secured one for myself.

 

It's quite incredible.

A tiny binocular that almost plays in the major league.

My specimen is the 7X26.

It has the strap hooks out on the sides as opposed to the center mount type.

 

The optics are so clean you could almost call it brand new. I mean perfect.

The coating are purple-ish and well distributed.

The images are astonishingly bright and vivid.

This tiny unit has a very hefty and solid feel to it.

The number is P07912 with the little "BL" logo inside an oval ring. No JB markings to be found.

This is the earlier model with the exposed barrels. Not the Elite line.

 

Any ideas about manufacture date?

 

My minor issue with this binocular is the sagging IPD axis. It sags very smoothly like melting butter. But it still sags under it's own weight.

Is this characteristic of the Custom compact?

I could live with this minor annoyance but it would be great if I didn't have to.

 

I appeal to anyone with experience with this model for advice on tightening the axis pivot.

I have worked on many binoculars before, but I want to be very careful with this little gem.

 

Welcoming your suggestions.

 

Regards,

 

Eric


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#2 Binojunky

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 10:27 AM

Been around for a long time in one form or another, now dropped by Bushnell though some retailers may still carry stock?  a lot of compacts both roof and reverse porros have come and gone through my hands over the years however not my custom compact, D


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#3 Rich V.

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 10:31 AM

I still have my original model Custom Compact 7x26 which I bought in 1971 as a backpack bino.  I think the original model was made from the '60s through the '80s.  I agree they are a great little bino that is brighter than the competition with its almost 4mm exit pupil.  Longer eye relief, too.  The original design was a bit delicate with the bridged, unprotected moving objective end rather than at the eyepieces.  Later 7x26 models had the objectives more protected with an armored body surrounding them.

 

I'm not sure where they can be tightened at the hinge for more tension and don't have them here with me to examine at the moment. I'll try to remember to have a look at them.

 

Rich


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#4 brentwood

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 11:43 AM

I seem to remember that I tightened one of mine by turning the 'button' between  the objectives. On my 7x26 , you can see two holes that you can twist to tighten the hinge , but I think there is a set screw that you have to loosen first, and tighten back up after the hinge is the right tightness. On my 6x25, there seems to be a cap over this adjustment, which probably screws off. 



#5 shredder1656

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 12:12 PM

I really like this bino too. I have the 6x25. Might have the 7x coming soon.

Congrats on a nearly perfect set.

I don't think the loose hinge is specific to the CC. Mine, at least, is pretty solid, although it's a little rough cosmetically.

#6 WALL.E

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 12:49 PM

Thank you for your insights and impressions.

 

My instinct (gained through wisdom via years) is to leave it alone for now.

 

Working on this axis on a "full" size 7X35 or 7X50 Porro is much more straight forward.

 

The focus on this CC 7X26 is so silk smooth, 0% slop, and all components so tiny, I don't want to do anything to jeopardize that. I don't even want to "gouge" it up by "exploring". I wish I had a perfect schematic diagram.

 

For now, I will content myself with the opinion that brain surgery is not a sound treatment for greying hair.

 

Any guesses on manufacture date based on number P07912?

Also marked JAPAN with the little BL inside the oval. Is that in lieu of a JB mark?

 

Thanks again to all!

 

Eric 


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#7 Yarddog

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 01:19 PM

I just got out my old Custom Compacts.

 

They are marked, "National Audubon Society" with a nice image of a heron or pelican or something similar.

 

They are ordinary 7X26 other wise.

 

They have the serial number: X02164. There are two letters in an oval but I can't make them out.



#8 RLoret

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 01:40 PM

Any guesses on manufacture date based on number P07912?

Also marked JAPAN with the little BL inside the oval. Is that in lieu of a JB mark?

Thanks again to all!

Eric


It would help if you post a picture of the focus wheel. That can give a rough idea.

#9 WALL.E

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 09:52 AM

Quite silly of me really.

We DO all love photos here on CN as they are most useful too.

 

Front and rear views of the 7X26 Custom Compact.

Perhaps under the front cap there is an adjustment to tighten the axis hinge?

There's just so little room to work. No room for mistakes here.

 

011__1572092764_48270.jpg

012__1572092872_12431.jpg

 

For size comparison see the Custom Compact with a mint Swift 6X15, a magnificent Jason Statesman 7X35 11*, and a Swift Admiral Mark 1 10X50 wide angle.

 

Other photos show some of the little guys stepping out. Chaperoned by a classic Nikon 7X50 (which looks monstrous) to illustrate how small these binoculars actually are.

They include a Selsi 6X25 12*, the Custom Compact 7X26 7*, Carl Wetzlar 6X25 9*, a beautiful new in box Tasco 7X25 10.5*,

and a Busch 6X24.

 

The Selsi stomps all contenders with it's huge field. But it's weight and design make it clumsy for hanging around your neck for extended periods.

The Tasco is incredible. Small, comfortable, images are quite bright, crisp, and very wide. This one can easily hang on you all day.

The Bushnell CC is smaller yet. Images are exceptionally bright. Eye relief is excellent. And images are just a tiny bit sharper than the Tasco but not by much. Field is adequate at 7*. Due to it's heft, you can hold it quite steady.

The Custom Compact leaves you with the impression you are using a much larger instrument of fine quality.

And it will easily fit in any coat pocket.

 

I think it deserves the title, "Amazing".

 

A little "lightheartedness"......

Cloudy Nights is not just a curse following astronomical observers.

This past September (2019) I set out with good spirits on a voyage across Lake Michigan. The weather forecast was very promising.

I brought with me a case of 8 small binoculars to compare for my intended CN posting, "Six and Sevens at Sea".

I arrived at the harbor in Ludington MI.to find it socked in with fog so thick you could scoop it in your hands.

And that's the way it was from sun up, to sun set. No wonderful vistas of the open great lake. No shorelines. No passing ships.

It was terribly unpleasant to even be on deck as you became saturated with fog moisture and the Kahlenberg T4 horn of the mighty SS BADGER unleashing every 4 minutes due to the fog. It's like 10 train horns together, only much deeper.

 

I attached photos to share the misery.

Some fog banks were so thick you could barely see the waterline on the ship's hull at times.

 

I achieved two things in the course of this ten hour misadventure.

I read over 100 pages of Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea while sitting in various lounges and sheltered deck locations.

I went ashore in Manitowoc WI. (groping through the fog) to a small Pub where I had the best smelt basket I've ever had.

(The smelt were butterflied, light and crisp).

 

The binocular case never got unzipped.

 

Eric

 

 

 


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#10 WALL.E

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 09:54 AM

013__1572093286_77446.jpg

014__1572093373_73262(1).jpg

 


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#11 WALL.E

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 09:56 AM

016__1572093480_51358.jpg


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#12 WALL.E

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 09:58 AM

017__1572093587_31901.jpg

011_opt(2).jpg


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#13 WALL.E

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 09:59 AM

014_opt(1).jpg



#14 RLoret

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 12:05 PM

I suspect your Custom is late 70s to early 80s.

Edited by RLoret, 26 October 2019 - 12:06 PM.


#15 WALL.E

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 12:23 PM

RLoret,

 

Thank you!

 

Curiously, I was guessing at the same period (roughly).

At some point they eliminated the strap hooks on the sides and plugged neck cords right into the center axis. Or so it appears.

I think this was done on later models before the Elite design took over.

 

Eric



#16 SMark

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 12:40 PM

RLoret,

 

Thank you!

 

Curiously, I was guessing at the same period (roughly).

At some point they eliminated the strap hooks on the sides and plugged neck cords right into the center axis. Or so it appears.

I think this was done on later models before the Elite design took over.

 

Eric

The earlier models often had the "BT" insignia, which stands for Bushnell/Tamron, since Tamron made the earlier Custom Compact models. I have no idea what "BL" stands for. However, Bushnell did use the "BOL" insignia in the era just before your Custom Compact, which stood for Bushnell Optical Laboratory. Perhaps the "BL" insignia is just a shortening of the "BOL" insignia, and simply stands for Bushnell Laboratories... In any case, Binoculars with the "BOL" insignia are most often identified with J-B138, Toyo Jitsugyo. Perhaps the "BL" insignia also indicates J-B138? It would be just a guess...



#17 Rich V.

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 12:50 PM

I suspect your Custom is late 70s to early 80s.

Yes, the eyecups and strap lug locations are different than my 1971 version.  Strap lugs were a weak point on the early ones; they were underneath the prisms/eyepieces and were close together so subject to twist and work loose.  Eyecups were folding rubber.  Marked J-E47  No. I31411

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#18 SMark

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 01:08 PM

Yes, the eyecups and strap lug locations are different than my 1971 version.  Strap lugs were a weak point on the early ones; they were underneath the prisms/eyepieces and were close together so subject to twist and work loose.  Eyecups were folding rubber.  Marked J-E47  No. I31411

And the BT insignia means Bushnell/Tamron. So it is a J-B45 / J-E47. laugh.gif


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#19 WALL.E

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 02:07 PM

SMark, Rich,

You guys are great. Thanks.

 

I was under the impression (for what reason I don't know) that the later CC's had the strap/cord lugs under the body.

It seems I saw a photo of one that looked like the neck cord attached right into the center axis.

Sooo, it was the later ones that had the strap lugs moved to the sides of the body?

 

Yes I have the rubber eye cups. I carefully pulled them off.

Also I see the left eye diopter is quite different from the one Rich pictured. There's an outer shield over the scale.

The model I have is all exposed and has faint little click stops. You can just barely feel them.

 

If I could only tighten the hinge just a tad bit...

 

Thanks again.

 

Eric



#20 brentwood

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 10:18 PM

"If I could only tighten the hinge just a tad bit..."  Did you read my post, #4? 



#21 WALL.E

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Posted 27 October 2019 - 06:51 AM

brentwood,

 

Yes, I certainly did read your post carefully.

 

A natural caution arises in me when I read, "seems to be", and, "probably".

I certainly mean no disrespect to your experience.

 

Part of my conflict is whether I want to fool with an instrument that functions perfectly in every way save for the minor sagging hinge issue. But I "probably" will pursue your suggestions.

 

I'm concerned about there being so little room to work.

Did you have to remove the objective barrels?

I resist that idea. The optics are about as perfect as it gets.

 

I have used snap ring pliers with interchangeable jaws on the those types of pin holes before.

What type of tool did you use and how did you fit it in there?

That is, supposing I'm able to remove the suspected cap at the end and find what I hope to find.

I just want to avoid gouging and marring this little binocular up.

 

I'm just seeking the best experience I can get on this minor disassembly.

 

I have made a couple of dreadful mistakes in the past in the realm of binocular "repair".

(I'm certain I'm the only one here that has done that).

 

Hoping you can recall what tools and how applied.

 

Thanks,

 

Eric



#22 Binojunky

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Posted 27 October 2019 - 12:21 PM

BL stands for Borch & Lomb, Bushnell used this name under licence for a lot of years,D.



#23 brentwood

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Posted 27 October 2019 - 10:45 PM

The 6x25 & 7x26 do have  removable caps that just screw off. The 7x26 has a hole in the side which could be for a set screw, but I cannot remember whether I slackened it off to adjust it. I probably just tightened it. I know that I did not take the objectives off. I don.t know whether I could get a screwdriver in there, the objectives could be in the way. I can't see if the 6x25  has a set hole or not. To tighten the hinge, I used a pliers with points on the ends, it was easy to adjust, 



#24 WALL.E

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Posted 30 October 2019 - 09:04 AM

My Exploration.

 

An attempt to tighten the IPD axis hinge on the Bushnell Custom Compact binocular.....

 

I was dismayed to find that the cap (between the objective barrels) was not threaded at all.

It was simply held by a tiny drop of adhesive.

 

As I thought, the first ring nut is simply the retaining fastener for the arms of the objective barrels to the focus shaft.

There was also a pair of set (or grub) screws to deal with at very difficult angles I may add.

Tightening this will only produce an extremely marginal difference in the tension on the IPD axis.

 

Further examination indicated that the proper nut for tightening this axis lay deeper.

I DID have to pull the barrels from the body. No other way to see what lay beneath.

To get at this next ring nut, and more ultra tiny set screws, would involve removing the brass guide on the end of the focus shaft. All these set screws were in pairs.

I believe that, "that" may be getting closer to properly adjusting tension on the axis.

 

Call me cowardly, or call me wise, I desisted from that point.

I was grateful to achieve success in reassembly.

To hold the micro screws I had to dip the smallest jewelers screwdriver in Vaseline to hold them on the tip to be awkwardly guided back to their locations. (This can drive you into maniacal frenzy).

This is a totally different challenge than working on exposed center shafts on larger Porros. 

 

Surrender.

They work just fine. As I initially admitted, the droopy hinge is a very minor issue. It doesn't "flop". It just slowly sags.

In fact, I guess it only bothered me as a matter of principle.

 

Sometimes we try to make things "perfect" to our way of thinking.

When something is reliable and works fine, we should accept and live with largely irrelevant deficiencies.

(At least that's what I've convinced my Darling Maryheart.png  of for over 29 yearsflowerred.gif ).

 

Thanks again to all!

 

Eric


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