My first pair of binoculars were borrowed (AKA stolen) from my dad. They were Bushnell 7 X 50 Zoom binoculars. My dad purchased them sometime in the early 80's I think. They were always with us on our childhood birding excursions and I saw many life birds with them. When I picked up birding again after college, they were the binoculars I used for a few years. A few things stood out about them:
- They were created in the time before adjustable eyecups and I wore glasses when I first started birding. A friendly hawk counter showed me how to roll the eyecups down to allow my eyes to be closer. Unfortunately, old age had dried out the rubber eyecups and they cracked off.
- They had a "rocking" focus wheel instead of the traditional spinning one. I actually liked this feature and felt it was easy to use. I'm not sure why it was never used in more binoculars.
- The zoom feature was interesting. With the swing of a small lever by the left eyepiece, I could zoom from 7x to 10x and quickly lose 50% of my field of view (which wasn't much to begin with). Leica tried to bring back this feature with their Duovid binoculars which didn't last in the market too long. I never got to try them and I don't see any stores carrying them now.
- The neck strap was the worst neck strap ever. It was a half-inch wide plastic neck strap that cut into my neck and stuck to me on hot days.
- Other than these features, I managed pretty darn well with them. And when I upgraded, I think I was a better birder for having birded with less superior optics.