Friday, December 28, 2007

New Leica Ultravid HD

I recently had a chance to look through several models in the new Leica Ultravid HD line of binoculars. Short comment? Impressive. While my binocular of choice for birding is presently the Swarovski 8x32 EL, I've always been a fan of the Leica Trinovid and didn't think the Ultravid was a discernibly better binocular when they were initially released.

The new Ultravid HD does seem to have improved brightness to my very discriminating eyes. I recently compared the Leica HD against Swarovski EL under overcast conditions and favored the HD for color, contrast and was dead even on resolution at distance. Edge-to-edge sharpness still goes to the EL and I match up best, ergonomically, with the 8x32 EL.

Though Leica enhanced the focusing mechanism in the HD series, I couldn't notice an improvement because I've always found focusing on Leica binoculars to be extremely smooth and precise. Leica touts it will remain so even under extremely cold temperatures. As an owner of the 8x32 EL, I can attest its focus knob does stiffen a bit in temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, so this may be a purchasing point with cold weather birders.

So, in my opinion, contenders for the best premium birding binocular remain Swarovski EL, Leica HD and Zeiss FL, and I can report with confidence that the HD is the binocular Leica fans have been waiting for. You can find a technical rundown of all the new features and specifications of the Ultravid HD series by visiting Leica's website at this link.

Today's birders and nature enthusiasts are fortunate to have such great options and optical quality in the current premium binocular market and it's not like there is a wrong choice – just go with the binocular you match up with the best.

Feel free to contact Eagle Optics (800) 289-1132 for any questions on the new Leica binoculars.

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