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Old Tuesday 6th December 2011, 03:53   #1
AlbertoJ
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When a new Leica binocular?

I think Leica should make soon a new binocular to compete with the last Swarovski (Swarovision).
His Ultravid is from 2003, and Ultravid HD adds nothing new.
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Old Tuesday 6th December 2011, 05:19   #2
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I think Leica should make soon a new binocular to compete with the last Swarovski (Swarovision).
His Ultravid is from 2003, and Ultravid HD adds nothing new.
Good point, Alberto. I think we saw this trend emerge in the "Optics Consumer Price Index Poll" in regard to spending limits on alphas.

Most alpha owners were reluctant to spend more money on incremental change$, but some were willing to dig deeper if there was something truly innovative worth buying.

What do you think Leica needs to do with its next generation of bins to keep repeat customers and win new converts?

Brock
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Old Tuesday 6th December 2011, 10:30   #3
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What do you think Leica needs to do with its next generation of bins to keep repeat customers and win new converts?

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Go retro and bring back the Trinovid, what a bino!.......
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Old Tuesday 6th December 2011, 15:07   #4
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What do you think Leica needs to do with its next generation of bins to keep repeat customers and win new converts?
Well, they just would need to add those field flatteners and otherwise keep their binoculars being the most compact and well designd bins. Not raising the price beyond the Swaro level would help as well.

From the few hints that are given in German optic forums, it seems that we can expect some news from Leica earliest next automn at the Photokina fair.
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Old Tuesday 6th December 2011, 15:40   #5
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Go retro and bring back the Trinovid, what a bino!.......
I don't think they should reintroduce the Trinovid but I wish they would produce a range of binoculars which inspire the same feeling of confidence as the Trinovids. I love my 8x32 BN but I have heard so many worrying reports of problems with Leica products recently that there is no way I would contemplate splashing out so much cash on one of their binoculars at the moment.

As I understand it, Ultravids now come with a 10 year warranty. That is very weedy compared to its alpha competitors, let alone sub-alpha brands such as Opticron, Minox, Hawke etc.

Apart from a better warranty I would like my Leica bins to have silky smooth focusing (something which I am very fussy about.) Only when I was satisfied with the mechanical construction of them would I consider their optical properties, which seem to be extremely good.

Ron

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Old Tuesday 6th December 2011, 15:59   #6
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I love my 8x32 BN but I have heard so many worrying reports of problems with Leica products recently that there is no way I would contemplate splashing out so much cash on one of their binoculars at the moment.

As I understand it, Ultravids now come with a 10 year warranty. That is very weedy compared to its alpha competitors
At least from what I can read here on BF, I don't see that worrying reports concern Leica bins significantly more than others. It's all just anecdotical reports, I think there is no way to deduce any kind of tendency from this. Bins of every make have problems here and there, just see the recent example of a Swarovision with mould inside and rattles after repair by the glorious Swaro service.

As for the warranty, Zeiss and Swarovski also give not more than 10 years now (at least in Europe).

For the next Leica, the focus would indeed be something where they can still improve something to catch up with Zeiss and Nikon.

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Old Tuesday 6th December 2011, 16:10   #7
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At least from what I can read here on BF, I don't see that worrying reports concern Leica bins significantly more than others. It's all just anecdotical reports, I think there is no way to deduce any kind of tendency from this. Bins of every make have problems here and there, just see the recent example of a Swarovision with mould inside and rattles after repair by the glorious Swaro service.

As for the warranty, Zeiss and Swarovski also give not more than 10 years now (at least in Europe).
Perhaps it is a false perception on my part and is unjustified. However, for me, the damage is done now and, rightly or wrongly, Leica are off my list of trusted brands. Fortunately, I cannot afford an alpha binocular, so it is not really an issue anyway.

Regarding warranties, I don't understand why Leica, Zeiss and Swarovski are offering such measly guarantees when my Minox HGs came with a 30 year no-fault warranty. They repaired my eyecups free of charge when the strap came loose and I dropped them. I have heard many excellent reports about the aftersales service from Opticron too.

I wish I did trust Leica as the Ultravids are so compact, neat and light.

Ron
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Old Tuesday 6th December 2011, 19:46   #8
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I think it's beside the point (Alberto's that is) to propose incremental changes based on incidental flaws in binoculars, be it Leicas or others. But OK, a few words on warranty and focussers.
I don't think Leica's warranty and customer service is significantly worse than other A-marks. Unless of course your ideal is a no-questions-asked policy.
The deciding factor in focussing conduct is grease or no grease. Since Leica some decades ago introduced non-greased focussers, which operated a bit stiffer but happily kept working in all kinds of temperature, other makes followed in its wake. And now the focussing complaints are all over the place. Because people want to feel the grease of old. My impression is that there's simply no going back to the supersmooth, heavily greased focussers of the past century. Unless you like to do your birding only in summer.

Renze

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Old Tuesday 6th December 2011, 19:54   #9
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Are we forgetting that we are in possibly the worst European economic position for decades - any of those giving a lifetime or thirty year warranty would surely be committing financial suicide - they are in business to make profits not to be "nice!" Leica Camera has allegedly had a rocky few years recently. By the way, not being a camera enthusiast, what's the warranty on a body costing around the £2000 mark, 10 years or less?
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Old Tuesday 6th December 2011, 21:30   #10
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Why worry about the warranty if one is going to buy the newest, latest and greatest binocular every other year that one comes out?

Make it a 1 year warranty instead. All the bugs should fall out in that period of time. Then the prices of the new models should be lower since we all know that those amortized costs of the lengths of the warranties are factored into the selling prices of the binoculars.
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Old Tuesday 6th December 2011, 22:36   #11
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Why worry about the warranty if one is going to buy the newest, latest and greatest binocular every other year that one comes out?

Make it a 1 year warranty instead. All the bugs should fall out in that period of time. Then the prices of the new models should be lower since we all know that those amortized costs of the lengths of the warranties are factored into the selling prices of the binoculars.
That might work with birders like Dennis who chase the "latest and greatest" and then flip them for next year's model, but perhaps not with hunters who hold on to their bins for a decade or two before finally buying a new bin.

Hunters can also be rough on their bins, dragging them through the "mud, the blood and the beer" under brutal weather conditions, and dropping them from tree stands (read one report of that last year).

I don't think the 1-year warranty on high end bins would sit well in the hunting community, but perhaps you could take off your Tilley Birding Hat and put on your Blaze Orange Mad Bomber hat and address that concern with more clarity since I'm only a bargain hunter. :-)

Brock
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Old Tuesday 6th December 2011, 23:50   #12
Renze de Vries
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I think Leica should make soon a new binocular to compete with the last Swarovski (Swarovision).
His Ultravid is from 2003, and Ultravid HD adds nothing new.
Ok, here we go, on to the future: what would we like to see in the next binoculars from Leica (or Zeiss, Nikon or any manufacturer imaginable).

In the last couple of months of this venerable year 2011 I extensively compared two binoculars of the venerable company Swarovski: the 8.5x42 EL Swarovision and the 8x42 SLC HD. Why? Because the rumor was spread, here and elsewhere, that the EL SV was the last word in binocular construction, a groundbreaking, possibly even revolutionary design. I took the SLC HD because it was said to be of comparable quality, arriving at the same goal by using a more conventional approach.
What did I find? I found them to be truly superb, really modern binoculars, both of them. Possibly even the best of today’s heap, why not.
Of course I also compared the two race horses in an A-B contest. And the verdict was, and still is, that I preferred the SLC over the EL. In my humble opinion the SLC is the better binocular, for birding.
Let me repeat that: for birding. I think it’s very well possible that I would have chosen the EL over the SLC if my application was different. But the fact is, it isn’t. For instance, if I happened to be a stargazer (or a stargazing birder), I think I would have appreciated the flat field and the sharp edge of the EL more. But I don’t split stars, I’m a birder. And for birding a flat field and a crack-sharp edge is only of secondary importance. It has always been like that, and it still is, in my opinion.
The SLC definitely shows field curvature, and so a blurry edge. But the curvature is so nicely controlled and gradual, one can easily have a quick look at the edge when some movement is noticed there, and point the binoculars in the desired direction. Again, that’s he way birding is done, and the SLC is a perfect instrument to perform the task.
In comparing the two models on center sharpness, one of my other priorities, I found them to be both excellent. So close to my reference binoculars (Zeiss 8x56 FL, Swift Audubon 804 ED, Leitz 8x30 Binuxit) that it would be childish not to call them equal in performance. On one aspect however, also very close to my heart, I felt I couldn’t really get along with the EL. Not in comparison to the SLC anyway. Now I’m aware I could be somewhat vague here, but I can’t say it any other way: ease of view. The EL didn’t convince me in ease of view. To me this is the ease, the convenience, my eyes are allowed by the binocular to go their own way in the viewing circle. Not guided, not directed, free and on their own. My eyes simply do like the SLC better in this respect and the question is of course: why.
My explanation is that my eyes are protesting against the complexities of the EL’s optical design. For that’s what it is, rather complex. Strong correction of field curvature plus strong correction of pincushion distortion, leading to a kind of ‘compound distortion’ (Henry Link), I think my eyes are telling me: OK boss, we won’t let you down but please be aware we’re not on vacation.
Wrapping things up, I think that as great a binocular the EL is, in comparison to its more humble brother (but is it really?) it leaves something to be desired. Something essential. In a more stern mood I think I’d say that the EL SV is more interesting as an optical experiment than as a good, practical tool for birding.
And this brings me – at last, at last – to the subject proper of this thread. I think it would be a mistake of the likes of Leica, Zeiss, Nikon and others to simply adopt the inventions of the Swarovski EL SV. Just because folks like their bins ‘sharp to the very edge’? Come on, there are other, more important issues to address. How about the lousy angle of view we birders have to live with for the last 50 years or so? 8 degrees in an 8 power binocular and that’s it? If there’s any progress in optical engineering (and there is, have a look at the Swaro EL SV!) please give us (back) the 10 degrees Leica put in their 1958 first edition Trinovid. Fuzzy edge and all (but I wouldn’t care).

Renze
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Old Wednesday 7th December 2011, 00:37   #13
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Renze:

I do like your post, and agree with much of your observations. The SV is a complex
binocular and the view is like nothing else, and for some may be too much. The best test review that I have seen of the current types, is the Binomania review a few months ago, and I would post a link, but it is here on BF, and I am not able.

The point I would like to make, is that the Nikon EDG, is the one that has the best compromise with great edg performance along with excellent centerfield performance,
and you may find it one to check out.
As most know here, these new offerings from Swaro. and Nikon do offer the next high
point binoculars from both, and some improvement over previous versions. And both
seem to be rated at the top of the heap.

The best never rest.

Jerry
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Old Wednesday 7th December 2011, 06:50   #14
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Ok, here we go, on to the future: what would we like to see in the next binoculars from Leica (or Zeiss, Nikon or any manufacturer imaginable)....
My explanation is that my eyes are protesting against the complexities of the EL’s optical design. For that’s what it is, rather complex. Strong correction of field curvature plus strong correction of pincushion distortion, leading to a kind of ‘compound distortion’ (Henry Link), ...
Wrapping things up, I think that as great a binocular the EL is, in comparison to its more humble brother (but is it really?) it leaves something to be desired. Something essential. In a more stern mood I think I’d say that the EL SV is more interesting as an optical experiment than as a good, practical tool for birding.
And this brings me – at last, at last – to the subject proper of this thread. I think it would be a mistake of the likes of Leica, Zeiss, Nikon and others to simply adopt the inventions of the Swarovski EL SV. Just because folks like their bins ‘sharp to the very edge’? Come on, there are other, more important issues to address. How about the lousy angle of view we birders have to live with for the last 50 years or so? 8 degrees in an 8 power binocular and that’s it? If there’s any progress in optical engineering (and there is, have a look at the Swaro EL SV!) please give us (back) the 10 degrees Leica put in their 1958 first edition Trinovid. Fuzzy edge and all (but I wouldn’t care).

Renze
Renze,

Great counterpoint for not copying the SV EL's "compound distortion". Not that I think Leica or Zeiss would do that for fear of being branded a follower not a leader.

I agree that "wider is better" not only in tight ropes but also in birding binoculars. The immersive feel of the 8x30 EII's 8.8* FOV trumps anything else I've tried. And to boot, the sweet spot is quite wide and the fall off gradual at the edges - no fuzzy "ring of fire". If you can "have your cake and eat it too" at this relatively low price point, why not at the $2K+ alpha level?

I'd like to see 9* adopted as the new "standard" in 7x and 8x alphas. Even in a 7x model, you still get an "open" 63* AFOV. In an 8x, an expansive 72*.

Who's making a 9* FOV bin? Zen Ray. Granted, there's too much distortion for my taste, but with more money this can be done without too much distortion at the edges and without overdosing on pincushion. I think it would be heartily embraced. So would a 7x36 alpha configuration!

Such a bin might even make a convert of this confessed porromaniac (at least on discounted demos/refurbs/used markets).

I hope Leica and Zeiss do not abandon the 7x42 configuration like Swaro did. If anything, I'd like to see more 7x bins in other configurations - 7x36, 7x30.

The baby boomers are by and large the generation buying alphas. Boomers are getting older and their hands aren't as steady as they used to be. Plus 7x gives more depth perception, also a nice feature.

I'm not advocating "change for change sake". The suggestion of bringing back the Trinnies is a good one, Leica still has the two lines at the compact level.

As mentioned in the OCPI thread, Leica is either going to need to adopt a two-tier approach like Zeiss and Swaro or face becoming a specialty niche optics maker at some point.

Even the "ageless baby boomers" like nostalgia. Just look at all the retro styles in the auto market. A second tier line of less expensive Trinnies or Trinnie-like bins would fill a niche the $2K Ultravids do not.

I think the chief challenge for Leica lies beyond designs. Even if their customer service/repairs have improved and the bad stories we hear now are "anecdotal," there's enough anecdotal tales of woe out there to turn some birders off to buying Leicas. It did me. I almost pulled the trigger on an 8x32 Trinnie a few years back but went with the 8x32 HG instead, because I knew I'd be covered if something went wrong.

Certainly, the "Goodwill Policy" was a step in the right direction, but that goodwill has to be backed up with good customer service.

Leica has some PR work to do to turn this situation around. We want to hear some "bent over backwards to help me" stories to counteract the horror stories.

Brock

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Old Wednesday 7th December 2011, 09:04   #15
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Excellent Post Renze

...and a voice of reason. Your thoughts greatly mirror my own about this crush towards flat field optics, for BIRDING. Who cares? I don't. You've found something in the SLC that's more important. I've found things in other bins that, to me, are more important.

I've often wondered to myself What kind of birding are these people doing? to place such import on the things they're talking about. To paraphrase something I once wrote on these pages somewhere: Once a certain level of optics is attained, handling, ergonomics, ease of view, quick focus, and je ne sais quoi mean far more that that last .2% of whatever view you'd want to argue about.

Again, wondering how others bird, these instruments are held in our hands! I for one do not have tripod stability and that infinitesimal "improvement" in the view through your $2.4K glasses doesn't account for much in real world conditions over, say, a lowly pair of Trinovids... most of the time anyway.
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Old Wednesday 7th December 2011, 09:40   #16
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Leica should reduce its CA at least like Zeiss FL, Swarovski SLC HD, Swarovision.

Leica doesn´t need have a perfect edge to compite with Swarovision, because it could make a binocular with no perfect edge but with a view free of rolling ball effect.
But in any case Leica must reduce the astigmatism at the edges, at least increase its sweet spot.
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Old Wednesday 7th December 2011, 10:18   #17
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I like my HD for the long, hopefully very long term, if the focus doesn't bugger up again so not really bothered wanting a new model.

They could reduce the CA but I wouldn't want that at the expense of the strangely enjoyable colour that my HD produce which is hard to describe and doesn't even look entirely natural but I don't care. I could never like another binocular as much unless it could better this aspect.

Only bring something new if they can retain the colour thing or even improve on it. The colour effect is like a bright matt. Well thats how it seems to me and I really love it. Sometimes more noticable than other times.
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Old Wednesday 7th December 2011, 11:57   #18
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...and a voice of reason. Your thoughts greatly mirror my own about this crush towards flat field optics, for BIRDING. Who cares? I don't. You've found something in the SLC that's more important. I've found things in other bins that, to me, are more important.

I've often wondered to myself What kind of birding are these people doing? to place such import on the things they're talking about. To paraphrase something I once wrote on these pages somewhere: Once a certain level of optics is attained, handling, ergonomics, ease of view, quick focus, and je ne sais quoi mean far more that that last .2% of whatever view you'd want to argue about.

Again, wondering how others bird, these instruments are held in our hands! I for one do not have tripod stability and that infinitesimal "improvement" in the view through your $2.4K glasses doesn't account for much in real world conditions over, say, a lowly pair of Trinovids... most of the time anyway.
For someone who claims not to care, you certainly seem to CARE! A LOT!

As for Renze's take on it, now that's something I don't really care about. If you don't like the SV view don't use it. But why go on and on about it? To say it's not practical for birding is utterly absurd. John Vanderpoel has been on the road all year doing a big year (734 at last count) and he's using them. Poor guy, how does he manage?

Gone birding, in the usual way, SV in hand,
Mark

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Old Wednesday 7th December 2011, 17:15   #19
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Kammerdiner:
For someone who claims not to care, you certainly seem to CARE! A LOT!


The topic was/is what is the next step for Leica, you know, to keep up with the Jones'. I would hope they would avoid producing a Leicavision version just for the sake of it.

As for Renze's take on it, now that's something I don't really care about. If you don't like the SV view don't use it. But why go on and on about it?

That's going on and on? I thought he made his point well and I enjoyed the read. Watch out Brock, he's coming your way.


To say it's not practical for birding is utterly absurd. John Vanderpoel has been on the road all year doing a big year (734 at last count) and he's using them. Poor guy, how does he manage?


I never said they weren't practical for birding. Don't be utterly absurd Of course, they are. SV is just unnecessary, for birding. I am amused at your citing what John Vanderpoel is using as some kind of accreditation. Do you think Mr. Vanderpoel would have missed a single bird had he been using, say, an SLC? Do you also buy cars and clothes and such based on celebrity endorsements?

added: BTW, the best birder I've ever met in 25 some years used old B&L 10x50 porros. Fun stuff.
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Old Wednesday 7th December 2011, 17:26   #20
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...And for birding a flat field and a crack-sharp edge is only of secondary importance. It has always been like that, and it still is, in my opinion.
...The EL didn’t convince me in ease of view. To me this is the ease, the convenience, my eyes are allowed by the binocular to go their own way in the viewing circle...
I agree that a flat field is of lesser importance than resolution, contrast, and color accuracy in the center of the view (such a bin would be worthless!), but for me (a birder!) a flat and aberration free field is a very critical component of ease of view and my wandering eyes. I don't like having to keep my eyes and the bird locked in the center of the view for a critical look. If the SV flat field somehow doesn't achieve an easy view, then I would agree that there is room for improvement. My first real bins were the Nikon 8x40 Classic Eagle, which have a very flat and aberration free view to the edges, and lack the rolling ball of their Venturer LX/HG successors. I've been chasing those aspects of their view ever since retiring them for their other failings: poor brightness, poor local contrast related to lack of phase coating, and by modern standards poor close focus. Though not quite as flat field, my favorite subsequent binos optically are the Nikon 8x32 SE, and for birding optics, the Swarovski 8.5x42 EL. I've tried the Swarovision a time or two, but haven't had a chance to test it over time and under various conditions.

--AP
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Old Wednesday 7th December 2011, 17:54   #21
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Kammerdiner:
For someone who claims not to care, you certainly seem to CARE! A LOT!


The topic was/is what is the next step for Leica, you know, to keep up with the Jones'. I would hope they would avoid producing a Leicavision version just for the sake of it.

As for Renze's take on it, now that's something I don't really care about. If you don't like the SV view don't use it. But why go on and on about it?

That's going on and on? I thought he made his point well and I enjoyed the read. Watch out Brock, he's coming your way.


To say it's not practical for birding is utterly absurd. John Vanderpoel has been on the road all year doing a big year (734 at last count) and he's using them. Poor guy, how does he manage?

I never said they weren't practical for birding. Don't be utterly absurd Of course, they are. SV is just unnecessary, for birding. I am amused at your citing what John Vanderpoel is using as some kind of accreditation. Do you think Mr. Vanderpoel would have missed a single bird had he been using, say, an SLC? Do you also buy cars and clothes and such based on celebrity endorsements?
Kevin,

I was referring to Renze who did indeed suggest that the SV wasn't "practical for birding," an absurd statement. Perhaps I should have quoted him separately but I responded to both. Sorry for any confusion.

And of course Vanderpoel wouldn't miss stuff with a different bin. I never suggested he would. I mention him only because he seems to find the SV perfectly "practical," and so do I. On top of that, he's probably done more birding in one year than you or I will do in a lifetime. He should know.

I choose nothing based on "celebrity endorsement" and had the SV about seven months before I had ever heard of Vanderpoel. His main competitor is using an SLC HD. I make nothing of their choices. To each his own.

As for the on and on part, that's just a general note referring to the perennial griping here on BF, some of which gets pretty repetitive. I'll say it again: if you don't like the SV view don't use it. But don't pretend that's anything more than a personal preference.

Vanderpoel now has 737. The record is 745. He actually has a chance.

Mark

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Old Wednesday 7th December 2011, 21:03   #22
mosschops
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What I'd like to see is for Leica to do away with this smaller / lighter / more compact trend and go for a 8x36 model with a 150m FOV, 16mm ER, Zeiss levels of CA and weighing 650g which for me is the perfect weight.
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Old Wednesday 7th December 2011, 23:24   #23
ceasar
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I suppose that anyone who can take a year out of his life attempting to set a "birding" record can use any binocular it pleases him to use. It's not as rigorous as competing in the most triathlons or bungee jumping from the most bridges over 100 feet high on the North American Continent in one year but it is certainly a more congenial and relaxing competition.

Bob
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Old Wednesday 7th December 2011, 23:30   #24
NDhunter
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I checked out Vanderpoels blog, and it is very interesting, flying here and there to pick
up a few rare ones as the end of December nears.
It very much reminds me of the recent birding movie "The Big Year". It was discussed here and was entertaining.

Jerry
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Old Wednesday 7th December 2011, 23:43   #25
Omid
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Renze de Vries View Post
Ok, here we go, on to the future: what would we like to see in the next binoculars from Leica (or Zeiss, Nikon or any manufacturer imaginable).
....
Renze
Your observations are very much in line with my view of the situation: There is clearly a quality/price/tire/purpose/branding confusion with the SLC HD and EL SV. I remember we discussed this almost a year back as well. The same situation is true with Nikon Premier and Nikon EDG series in my opinion. If one is a replacement for the other, then why don't they drop the old line? If they are different product tires, whay are they almost exactly the same in performance?

The same situation applies to rifle scopes: Schmidt and Bender has created a new line called Zenith but still makes the previous line which is now called "classic". I and many others still prefer the old model for the very simply reason that the new range offers nothing more.

Another example is the German rifle maker Blaser. They recently brought a new model line called R8 to replace the successfull previous line which was called R93. The key "improvement" in the new rifle is that R8 has detachable magazine. But many people (myself included) simply don't want it and think the old R93 model was better. Shortly after its introduction, Blaser started offering an "option" with R8 so that customers can get it with fixed magazine!!!!!!!

http://www.blaser-usa.com/r8/


Welcome to the era of great product improvements...
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