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CA Leica Ultravid HD

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Old Friday 29th February 2008, 02:35   #1
AlbertoJ
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CA Leica Ultravid HD

Hello, Id like to know CA (Colour Aberration) comparison Leica Ultravid HD :

-Leica Ultravid.
-Zeiss Victory FL.
-Kowa Genesis XD.
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Old Friday 29th February 2008, 17:03   #2
ingle1970
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hi , had my first look through the leica HD 8x32 today at my local dealer . there good but not great , CA is there , and in my view quite noticeable . at the moment i am borrowing a zeiss fl 8x32 and these showed very little CA if any , the zeiss also appeared brighter in comparison to the leica . i was quite dissapointed with the leica , and have decided to keep the zeiss a little longer for further evaluation but on todays viewing i will be having a pair of the zeiss for sure ...........
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Old Tuesday 4th March 2008, 18:29   #3
macrourus
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Well, its just your taste as for me for ex. LEICA is far better than any ZEISS as is SVAROSKI too
in ZEISS there is too much lateral deformation, distorsion, if you follow a raptor or a bird flying along a mountain you'll see the trees for example at the corner to deformed any time and blurreing, and your eye get easel tired...

Also, any WORLD binocular show a bit CA and any human eye have different colour view and perception of CA...from this to tell that you are so disappointed from ULtravid HD is very hard...

I think they are just great even if not far more improved then previous Ultravid

Andrea C
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Old Friday 7th March 2008, 08:10   #4
AlbertoJ
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Yesterday I had the opportunity to test Leica Ultravid 8x42 HD, Zeiss 8x42 and 7x42 FL. I compared them my Leica Ultravid 8x42.

CA is the same in Leica Ultravid that Ultravid HD. View with them is exactly the same. And Im able to detect very good CA in binoculars. But view in Leica Ultravid hasnt changed.

Zeiss FL has much less CA that Leica, but nevertheless, 8x42 and 10x42 arent as good as Leica. I saw with them a worse image than Leica Ultravid.

But then I tried Zeiss 7x42 FL. I was very pleasantly surprised. It has a very low CA and hasnt other great optics defects or aberrations as remarkable as 8x42 and 10x42 FL.

In my opinion, the best 42 mm binocular is Zeiss 7x42 FL, followed by Leica Ultravid.
Zeiss 7x42 FL is like Leica Ultravid, but it has much less CA which gives it an higher contrast.
I havent compared to Nikon SE nor Kowa Genesis XD. But I have tested Swarovski EL 8.5x42, 10x42, and Nikon HG 8x42.
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Old Friday 7th March 2008, 23:22   #5
Renze de Vries
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlbertoJ View Post
Hello, Id like to know CA (Colour Aberration) comparison Leica Ultravid HD :

-Leica Ultravid.
-Zeiss Victory FL.
-Kowa Genesis XD.

Hi,

I haven't seen the Leica HD yet, but my impression is that Leica just dropped in different glass without changing anything else, coating for instance. While I think that this is in itself a good it may not come as a surprise the improvements are minor.
In the Zeiss the use of FL glass was part of a more rigorous design change and so the improvements over previous and competitive models are quite notable.
The same goes for the Kowa XD, where FL glass and improved coating is applied to air-spaced objective lenses. If I'm correct, Kowa in their XD uses more FL glass than any other binocular on the market today. As with the Zeiss the results are excellent. Judged on CA and resolution alone my impression is that the Kowa probably even has the edge here. I for one wouldn't think of swapping my XD 8.5 for a Zeiss, not for a minute.

Renze
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Old Tuesday 11th March 2008, 19:35   #6
jwillson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Renze de Vries View Post
Hi,

I haven't seen the Leica HD yet, but my impression is that Leica just dropped in different glass without changing anything else, coating for instance. While I think that this is in itself a good it may not come as a surprise the improvements are minor.
In the Zeiss the use of FL glass was part of a more rigorous design change and so the improvements over previous and competitive models are quite notable.
The same goes for the Kowa XD, where FL glass and improved coating is applied to air-spaced objective lenses. If I'm correct, Kowa in their XD uses more FL glass than any other binocular on the market today. As with the Zeiss the results are excellent. Judged on CA and resolution alone my impression is that the Kowa probably even has the edge here. I for one wouldn't think of swapping my XD 8.5 for a Zeiss, not for a minute.

Renze
No, they changed more than that. You can't just drop in a different lens material and have everything work out. The mating element in the doublet also needs to be changed, as well as the optical design of the overall objective (radius of curvature on all three surfaces in the doublet, possibly the material and curvature of the third element in the objective, etc.).

The other changes Leica claims include:
- Modification to the design of the focuser to make it smoother
- Hydrophobic coating on the outer most surface of the objective

Some of the marketing literature implies that the formulation of the HDC (anti-reflective coatings) changed as well to improve transmission rates without distorting colors. However, I am unclear on whether this change was made with the HD line or with the introduction of the Ultravid series itself. I suspect the latter.

Personally, I do not find the changes in the HD line significant enough to justify the increased cost. The improvements in chromatic aberration are minor at best (I can't actually detect a difference); my Ultravids already had smooth (if underdamped) focusers, and since I use my binoculars for astronomy rather than hunting or birding, the hydrophobic coatings are of no use to me. I never was able to see much starlight during a rain shower!

You are certainly correct that this change is a "tweak" rather than a redesign. Consistent with that, Leica only changed the suffix of the model line rather than renaming it from "Ultravid" to something else. This seems appropriate to me.

It seems to me that Leica was simply making the minor changes required to ensure their high end binocular looks as good on a spec sheet as their competition's.

Personally, I don't get too excited about the inclusion of this ED glass type or that FL material. Without knowing the materials used as mating elements, the simple inclusion of Fluorite crystal or synthetic Fluorite glass tells you nothing about the level of color correction or resolution. Frankly, at the typical 8x power at which most binoculars are used, the resolution on virtually all well executed bins should be limited by the human eye, not by the objective lens. Much bigger issues in my mind are:
- Quality of construction
- Fit (ergonomics)
- Focus (ergonomics)
- Flatness of field (which determines sharpness in the periphery)
- Weight (ergonomics)
- Price
- Color accuracy
- Brightness

For me, the non-HD Ultravids represent the best combination of the above factors. The quality of construction is first rate, the fit (for me) happens to be quite good, though this will obviously vary from person to person, the focus is pleasant, but is perfectly accurate and functional, the flatness of field is very good (though there is still room for improvement), the weight is near the top of the class, the color accuracy is the best around, the brightness is a step below some of the competition, and the price is pretty good right now when compared to the HD version of the Ultravids.
-
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Old Tuesday 11th March 2008, 19:45   #7
jwillson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlbertoJ View Post
Hello, Id like to know CA (Colour Aberration) comparison Leica Ultravid HD :

-Leica Ultravid.
-Zeiss Victory FL.
-Kowa Genesis XD.
I haven't used the Kowa's, so I can't comment on them. As far as the Ultravid vs. the Victory FL's goes...

The Victory FL's have noticeably less chromatic aberration (color fringing) and higher light transmission (brighter).

That being said, I find the Ultravids to have more accurate colors--the Zeiss seem blue to me while the Ultravids are neutral--and the Ultravids also appear to me to have higher color saturation, though this could just be the more neutral colors.

On balance, I prefer the Leica's to the Zeiss both in terms of the views and, primarily, because of the materials used in construction. The Leica's have a magnesium body and the Zeiss have a polymer body. I much prefer the feel of the magnesium body. I also find the Zeiss eyecup design somewhat flimsy.

- Jared
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Old Tuesday 11th March 2008, 20:42   #8
etc
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> the hydrophobic coatings are of no use to me. ......

I have a Swaro with hydrophobic coatings and I think they are worth it as they appear to be easier to clean and more importantly, harder to damage.
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Old Tuesday 11th March 2008, 21:19   #9
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> the hydrophobic coatings are of no use to me. ......

I have a Swaro with hydrophobic coatings and I think they are worth it as they appear to be easier to clean and more importantly, harder to damage.
I'm intrigued by this notion of 'harder to damage'. How do you quantify this? Have you tried damaging HD and non-HD binoculars?

My brother pretended to damage my Leica Trinovids in our garage when I was a teenager - he swung a hammer at them and knocked a chip out of the objective lens, but that's by-the-by.
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Old Tuesday 11th March 2008, 22:02   #10
Renze de Vries
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Jared,

I think we agree 95% (+/-).
On the basis of the reports on the HD thus far, mentioning only very slight or no visible improvements at all on CA reduction, I tried to find (guess really) a possible explanation in the one important thing Leica didn't change, the coating. In my opinion this coating is very important for the specific character of the Leica, in the way that it sets it apart from other makes, and appeals to different people. So I think Leica would be very reluctant to give up this identity (imagine them suddenly adopting the Swarovski or Zeiss 'touch', wouldn't we be greatly disappointed?).
Now, to my eyes this 'Leica view' can be characterized as a kind of prettified (magnified, sharpened up) image, in the way that colour saturation and contrast is just a bit 'better than life'. There is an explanation of the phenomenon, written in defence of the Zeiss (FL) approach, by Stephen Ingraham: http://www.zbirding.info/Truth/contrast/contrast.htm
Now, I won't go into any arguing which approach is best (I just happen to like both). My point is that I think the reason for the quite strong CA found in the Ultravids could very well have something to do with this 'not completely natural contrast'-character.
Back to the proper issue under discussion: maybe the lack of visible improvement in the HD over the non-HD Ultravid could be explained by the phenomenon as well. In the way that the coating simply doesn't allow the subtle possibilities of the better glass to flower.
Just a thought.

Renze

Last edited by Renze de Vries : Tuesday 11th March 2008 at 22:06.
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Old Saturday 15th March 2008, 04:06   #11
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Long time lurker but I must say that I've just gotten the 10x32 HD's and there is a major improvement on them if you're an all weather birder.. the hydrophobic coating on the lenses is nothing short of amazing. More over, I can tell in lower light that they're a bit brighter and the color more vivid. I so happen to have the 10x32 non-HD's that I got 2 years ago and was able to compare them side by side. I plan to sell those on craigslist now.
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Old Tuesday 18th March 2008, 23:49   #12
Tvc15_2000
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Long time lurker but I must say that I've just gotten the 10x32 HD's and there is a major improvement on them if you're an all weather birder.. the hydrophobic coating on the lenses is nothing short of amazing. More over, I can tell in lower light that they're a bit brighter and the color more vivid. I so happen to have the 10x32 non-HD's that I got 2 years ago and was able to compare them side by side. I plan to sell those on craigslist now.
Welcome to the (posting) group. Thanks for your post. Can you give a little more information on the rain shedding ability of the coating? I have not had my HDs out in the rain. The problem with the old Ultravid and just about every other binocular in the rain is the droplets sitck to the objective and ocular and make the view unuseable. I find birding in the rain frustrating from the optics distortion due to the rain drops. Has Leica succeded where so many others have failed? Some details on the conditions you encountered and what you are seeing would be appreciated Was the rain rolling right off and you had a good view despite the rain?

Thanks
TVC

Last edited by Tvc15_2000 : Wednesday 19th March 2008 at 22:44.
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