Photo: ©Leica USA
For many years, I kept borrowing my husbands Leitz Trinovid 10x40B Binoculars that I loved! I bought a pair of 8×42 Baush & Lomb Elites. Wonderful Binoculars. The B&L Elites are different and have a longer eye-relief than some other binoculars. It’s like looking down into/through each eye piece barrel. I use them now for my back ups. Like many times before, looking around in great birding stores with all the trimmings is a load of fun. I decided to finally look through a pair of Leica’s that I had heard so much about with the anticipation of the HD series coming out. Well, The first word was WOW, and continues to be WOW!
That’s all she wrote. I decided then to move up in the optics chain of Binoculars. I now own a pair of roof prism Leica 8X42 Ultravid HD, that I bought when they first came out. I LOVE them and can’t say enough about them! I have NEVER looked back once period!
If the terminology is correct the Leica has a higher/shorter eye point/eye relief than the B&L Elites. Meaning your eyes are closer to the optics when first looking through the Leica’s than the Elites. The first reaction was WOW! and then, holly cow! These binoculars are incredible clean, bright, clear and super sharp! The color balance was tack on! I could not believe that optics could get much better than what I already had with my Elites. Well, I should know better and promptly ate my words!
I have small hands, wear progressive eyeglasses, and my eyes are close together. I like how Leica Binoculars can really squeeze the eyepieces together so they line up with my eyes. Most of the high-end binoculars do, along with other points I will be making. They fit very comfortable in my hands, they don’t fog up in the rain, due to the type of new coating on them. The AquaDura™ coating ensures a consistantly clear view, due to its water and dirt repelling properties. (which by the way is not bs). There super rugged and balanced well. As an optics gal and a very technical photographer, I am incredibly picky about sharpness, and the color of light. These babies are tack sharp with outstanding detail and the color is true to what you see. That for me was the answers I needed. Leica Ultravid HD Binoculars.
The 8×42’s are a great middle of the road for me. I love the 42’s bigger eye area. You can see more come in & go out of field. For me, I didn’t want 7×42’s, not enough power, bright, although great for lightness, watching butterflies, carrying around other equipment including a scope, tripod, and or camera’s. 10×42’s to powerful for me day to day, but on boats/pelagic trips are great., but heavier, not bright enough for me in low light situations. Again, think about what else you are going to be carrying along with your binoculars and how much weight you are willing to carry around? Or, Hire a Sherpa!
The 7, 8×32’s series of any bino along with the Minox is also a great Binocular and absolutely gives a great field of view., plus they are lighter. I would certainly do the exercise in comparing them with all the 42 series of binoculars out there though. I have always said I would love to also have a pair of Leica 8×32’s for traveling if I had to really go light and space was an issue.
Take you time in looking for the right pair of binoculars. Walk away and think about it for a day or so if need be, especially if this is your first pair of binoculars. Go talk to your friends & and a good local birding shop to look at Leica, Swarovski, Zeiss, Kowa, Nikon, Vortex & Minox. These speciality stores will have what your looking for so you can see and feel what works for you. They are all fantastic Binoculars and Manufacturers. It’s just a matter of trying them all out to see what feels the best in your hands, looking through them, sharpness, color balance and the weight. After all is said and done, its about what is right for you and your budget. This is why its best to consult with knowledgable birding associations and companies such as, The Fat Robin Hamden, CT 203-248-7068., BSBO (Black Swamp Bird Observatory) OH 419-898-4070., CMBO (CapeMay Bird Observatory) NJ 609-884-2736. I have bought from each one of these outfits and stand behind there expert knowledge. These folks are very forth coming and will always tell you the truth from the get go about a variety of optics! This is a good will gesture in recommending these folks on my part and nothing else. Let them know I sent you. They will appreciate where the recommendation came from! For further interests about other optics, please click under the header Birdwatching about Spotting Scope Optics.