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New 12x50 UVHD+ lens issue

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Old Saturday 4th April 2020, 19:37   #1
Mike F
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New 12x50 UVHD+ lens issue

Hi Everyone,

I sincerely hope that you are all keeping well! The purpose of this post is to get some advice / reassurance about a lens issue that I have on a new 12x50. I purchased the binocular from a Leica dealer in Holland and have had it for a few weeks. Initially I noticed a spot of dust behind the RH objective lens. No big deal but a bit irritating. Unfortunately, in an effort to convince myself that I could live with it I had closer look with a strong artificial light. I then noticed what can best be described as scratches, even though they are most definitely underneath the coatings. These imperfections are all but invisible in natural light and most certainly have no effect on the view, but are there nonetheless.

I have all but decided to keep the binoculars anyway, even though the dealer will replace them for me, because this pair has an excellent focuser and has no other niggling cosmetic problems (the dust spot that made me notice the imperfections in the first place has mysteriously disappeared!). Unfortunately they won't send another pair for me to compare (even if I pay for them) so and I'm somewhat afraid that the replacements might be inferior overall to the pair I have. Also, at the moment it's practically impossible to send them back anyway, and although they have ordered a replacement from Leica, both Leica Germany and Leica Portugal are shut because of the virus so it could be months before I would get them.

This is more an enquiry as to whether other people have experienced similar imperfections in objective lens, and whether, even though I would be happy to keep them, I should be concerned about any effect on the long term second hand value, or indeed anything else that I might not have thought of! I'm sure that this issue can't be unique to this pair of binoculars, and I'm absolutely sure that it has no effect whatsoever on the view - the only question is whether i really should do something about it or whether I can happily ignore it and just get on and enjoy the binocular (which is what I would like to do!).

All advice / comments welcome! I include some photos of what the lens looks like in natural light, one of the original dust spot, and two which show the imperfections.
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Old Saturday 4th April 2020, 19:49   #2
Mike F
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There's a maximum of five attachments per post, so here are the other photos. The first in natural light again, the second, also in natural light showing the original dust spot, and the last two in strong artificial light showing the imperfections.
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Old Saturday 4th April 2020, 22:48   #3
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I would replace them If you are more concerned with resale value, otherwise enjoy them. If you do replace them the HD + all have upgraded focus mechanisms from the HD, so that will be fine with another 12X50 HD +. In today's climate (lack of a better word), I would keep them, let Leica know about the problem so down the road (after things simmer down) you can send them in for an inspection cleaning, etc. under Warranty

I really like the 12X50 I have the HD and it is so immersive in the day and at night under the stars. I do not wear glasses and the ER is just enough for me. Roger Vine really liked it also, but not enough ER for one who wears glasses.

So while under quarantine enjoy those bad boys.


All the best,

Andy w.
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Old Saturday 4th April 2020, 23:00   #4
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Mike:
That is unfortunate, anything like dust or scratches are a bad mark on quality control for Leica.

I would just take it back and get a replacement, you will never be satisfied with those problems, they
should not be there.

I am wondering if these are made in Wetzler, and if so, maybe the assemblers forgot to clean their dirty
hands after coming back from the casino...…

Before you do that, give them the dunk test, and check to see if they are waterproof, 3 meters for
1 hour.
Good luck.

Jerry
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Old Sunday 5th April 2020, 14:11   #5
Mike F
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dries1 View Post
I would replace them If you are more concerned with resale value, otherwise enjoy them. If you do replace them the HD + all have upgraded focus mechanisms from the HD, so that will be fine with another 12X50 HD +. In today's climate (lack of a better word), I would keep them, let Leica know about the problem so down the road (after things simmer down) you can send them in for an inspection cleaning, etc. under Warranty

I really like the 12X50 I have the HD and it is so immersive in the day and at night under the stars. I do not wear glasses and the ER is just enough for me. Roger Vine really liked it also, but not enough ER for one who wears glasses.

So while under quarantine enjoy those bad boys.


All the best,

Andy w.
Thanks, Andy.

To be honest I can't ever see myself selling them, which may or may not be a reason for worrying about the imperfections..... Needless to say that if I could walk into the dealer that I bought them from and replace them easily then I would - after checking the new pair very thoroughly, but the situation is a about as different from that as it could be.

I'd happily live with the ones I have if these lens imperfections are known to occur from time to time and are within what might be considered acceptable. Of course there is always the option to do something about it under warranty down the road, but at the moment I've asked the dealer whether under these exceptional circumstances I can hang on to these for the moment - at least until they have a replacement they can send me, and then deal with the situation when it's possible to make the exchange. In the meantime I can use them (carefully) and have more time to think about the situation.

With regard to the focuser, I have a 7x42 UVHD+ to compare. I've never had a problem with the 7x42, but compared to the 12x50 it is lighter with a tiny bit of play (just perceptible when changing directions) but also a small amount of 'stiction' compared to the 12x50. It's not something that has ever bothered me, but the differences show that not all HD+ focusers are the same, and the focuser on this 12x50 is particularly good. I do wonder if I'm not better off with a bin with an excellent focuser but with some small imperfections in one of the objectives which make no difference to the view, of another example which has no tiny imperfections but isn't as enjoyable to use because the focuser isn't as good.

I'm probably overthinking this due to the fact that I have too much time to do so(!) but........
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Old Sunday 5th April 2020, 14:21   #6
Mike F
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NDhunter View Post
Mike:
That is unfortunate, anything like dust or scratches are a bad mark on quality control for Leica.

I would just take it back and get a replacement, you will never be satisfied with those problems, they
should not be there.

I am wondering if these are made in Wetzler, and if so, maybe the assemblers forgot to clean their dirty
hands after coming back from the casino...

Before you do that, give them the dunk test, and check to see if they are waterproof, 3 meters for
1 hour.
Good luck.

Jerry
Hi Jerry,

Thanks for the response - it's appreciated! Yes, it's a quandary! Will I always have the nagging feeling that I should have sent them back, or will I always regret doing so when I receive a replacement that isn't generally as good.......

To be honest waterproofness isn't an issue for me - the wettest my bins ever get is a bit of light rain. But, your suggestion of the dunk test highlights my dilemma. If waterproofness was important to me and I tested them and they passed, would I then exchange them for another pair, hoping that they would be as waterproof, or would I then be more inclined to keep them despite the small lens imperfections?

Of course, every example of an instrument of this quality should be identical, but we all know that isn't the case, and this, from what I've read, doesn't just apply to Leica!
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Old Sunday 5th April 2020, 14:47   #7
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If memory serves, one of the pros on this forum, maybe Bill Cook or perhaps Henry, demonstrated the un-importance of these kind of small glitches by having the user look through the glass after the surreptitious addition of a dime sized of black paper to one of the objective lenses.
No one ever could tell that it was there. So perhaps the best course is just to be happy with your lovely glass
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Old Sunday 5th April 2020, 14:49   #8
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Hi Mike,

My old 12x50 UV is very good, except that I cannot accurately set the dioptre in the dark. As I push down there is a slight rotation, and I am very sensitive to dioptre.

I would think that with any optical instrument if one looks hard enough a fault will be seen.

The dust that you get on the outside of the objectives will be more than the slight imperfection internally.

If you have a good or excellent binocular optically, I definitely wouldn't change it for a random new untested example.

The idea that any slightly imperfect binocular has to be sent back for a cosmetically perfect but maybe not good optically binocular make no sense at all.

Horace Dall's 8 inch Maksutov had a primary that had rough edges just hewn and not perfectly round. It was probably amongst the world's best or the best 8 inch Maksutov made.

If I see a demonstrator binocular that tests almost perfectly I will buy that and not a new boxed untested binocular.

From the photos your binocular looks fine.

Voi hyvin.
Terveisin,

B.
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Old Sunday 5th April 2020, 17:04   #9
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Hey Mike!

I tend to agree with Binastro...

I looked at the objective ends of the Leica binoculars I have which is nine models...from a Trinovid BN to UVHD+ 8X50 and Retrovid. I couldn't see any imperfections/blemishes in the lenses. Most of the "imperfections" I see will blow or wipe off!. Saying that, I'm certainly not discounting your issue. Should it be there? Probably not. If your dealer were just down the street and you could compare two specimens of the same model and pick the one you prefer, that would be great. A UVHD+ in 12X50 is certainly not a fast mover. If a dealer happened to have ONE in stock it would be close to a miracle and two is certainly not likely. Usually when I have bought something like that they were drop shipped. For instance, the UVHD+ 8X50 I have was in fact drop shipped from Leica USA and was the ONLY one THEY had! I've also returned binoculars for replacement and to the manufacturer for repair. Many times I've felt like when returned they were worse than when sent. So rolling the dice and sending them back for replacement...I just don't know about that. I'd probably just hang on to them and use the crap out of them!

I wanted to add....looking at your pictures....that Leica AR coating...WOW! Talk about transparency! Even the insides of that binocular...a work of art almost!
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Last edited by chill6x6 : Sunday 5th April 2020 at 17:18. Reason: Added last paragraph..
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Old Monday 6th April 2020, 06:24   #10
42za
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Hello,

I am late to the party , but agree with others that you should keep your binocular if you cannot notice any degradation in the view that it gives.

I have a question for you , have you cleaned the lenses properly , sometimes it appears that there are imperfections and scratches on the interior lens surfaces when the "imperfections" are actually on the outside lens surfacec , an optical illusion sometimes gives the impression that the faults are on interior lens surfaces when in actual fact the lenses are perfect.

Try cleaning your lenses carefully with a cleaning fluid like the Zeiss offering.

Perhaps this is all that is necessary.

Cheers.
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Old Monday 6th April 2020, 07:44   #11
Mike F
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Binastro View Post
Hi Mike,

My old 12x50 UV is very good, except that I cannot accurately set the dioptre in the dark. As I push down there is a slight rotation, and I am very sensitive to dioptre.

I would think that with any optical instrument if one looks hard enough a fault will be seen.

The dust that you get on the outside of the objectives will be more than the slight imperfection internally.

If you have a good or excellent binocular optically, I definitely wouldn't change it for a random new untested example.

The idea that any slightly imperfect binocular has to be sent back for a cosmetically perfect but maybe not good optically binocular make no sense at all.

Horace Dall's 8 inch Maksutov had a primary that had rough edges just hewn and not perfectly round. It was probably amongst the world's best or the best 8 inch Maksutov made.

If I see a demonstrator binocular that tests almost perfectly I will buy that and not a new boxed untested binocular.

From the photos your binocular looks fine.

Voi hyvin.
Terveisin,

B.
Thanks, Kiitos, Binastro!

In my experience the highlighted sentence is absolutely the truth! I currently have 5 Leica's in my possession and have had 7 through my hands, and only one of those (the Noctivid 10x42 which I have) is beyond reasonable criticism.

It's a little disturbing to have faults in the actual glass but, from what I understand, the outside of the objective is probably the least worrying place to have any such imperfections. This is pure speculation, but I suppose it would be possible to get an apparently cosmetically perfect replacement which had small internal optical imperfections which were not visible from the outside but which had a greater negative impact on the view.

Sometimes it's probably a case of 'better the devil you know' and I agree that sending back a binocular for a replacement (which may or may not be cosmetically better) when one has a mechanically and optically good one already makes no sense. But nonetheless it's very encouraging to have other people say the same thing!

Michael.
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Old Monday 6th April 2020, 08:28   #12
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Hey Mike!

I tend to agree with Binastro...

I looked at the objective ends of the Leica binoculars I have which is nine models...from a Trinovid BN to UVHD+ 8X50 and Retrovid. I couldn't see any imperfections/blemishes in the lenses. Most of the "imperfections" I see will blow or wipe off!. Saying that, I'm certainly not discounting your issue. Should it be there? Probably not. If your dealer were just down the street and you could compare two specimens of the same model and pick the one you prefer, that would be great. A UVHD+ in 12X50 is certainly not a fast mover. If a dealer happened to have ONE in stock it would be close to a miracle and two is certainly not likely. Usually when I have bought something like that they were drop shipped. For instance, the UVHD+ 8X50 I have was in fact drop shipped from Leica USA and was the ONLY one THEY had! I've also returned binoculars for replacement and to the manufacturer for repair. Many times I've felt like when returned they were worse than when sent. So rolling the dice and sending them back for replacement...I just don't know about that. I'd probably just hang on to them and use the crap out of them!

I wanted to add....looking at your pictures....that Leica AR coating...WOW! Talk about transparency! Even the insides of that binocular...a work of art almost!
Hi Chuck, thanks for chipping in here - much appreciated!

Yes, the main problem really is just not being able to compare a potential replacement.

The whole situation with shipping is obviously quite exceptional at the moment, but I strongly suspect that the main reason that the dealer is unwilling to send out the replacement for me to compare is that in reality they were hoping to get my pair back so that they could do a straight exchange with leica and not have to buy in a new 12x50 for me to try.
They had sold a number of 12x50's via eBay (which is where I bought mine) for an exceptional price. They were apparently able to do that because they had bought up a number of them from Leica and therefore managed to get a special price. (I will immediately point out, before someone thinks that the ones I have were somehow old or B-stock, that the manufacturing date on mine is 12.12.19, and they are very obviously brand new.)

So yes, rolling the dice and sending them back for replacement..... not something which I'm comfortable with. In fact, the dealer had arranged a pick up a week or so ago and I was using them for one last time before packing them up for the pickup (which was to be in a few days from the theatre which I had been working at). It was then that I noticed that the speck of dust had disappeared, and that, along with the very comfortable view and great focuser made me more and more uncomfortable with the idea of returning them and risking a worse replacement. I contacted the dealer and cancelled that pickup, although it remains an option.

The AR coatings are indeed spectacular! It's worth repeating that the imperfections are only visible under strong artificial light, otherwise the lens looks perfect.
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Old Monday 6th April 2020, 08:49   #13
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Hello,

I am late to the party , but agree with others that you should keep your binocular if you cannot notice any degradation in the view that it gives.

I have a question for you , have you cleaned the lenses properly , sometimes it appears that there are imperfections and scratches on the interior lens surfaces when the "imperfections" are actually on the outside lens surfacec , an optical illusion sometimes gives the impression that the faults are on interior lens surfaces when in actual fact the lenses are perfect.

Try cleaning your lenses carefully with a cleaning fluid like the Zeiss offering.

Perhaps this is all that is necessary.

Cheers.
Hi 42za!

Thanks for your input.

I have in fact tried to clean the lens. It's very hard (well, impossible in fact) to show it on a photo, but in real life it's fairly obvious that the imperfections are on the outside glass surface but underneath the coatings. It's possible that they could be on the inside of the objective, but it really doesn't look like that. The bins came inside the plastic bag inside the case (which is how they come from the factory) and were spotless. I blew what little dust there was away after using them for a while and after noticing the problem and cleaned carefully with the lens cloth, but it's obvious from the breath test that there are no deposits or other imperfections on the actual surface coatings.

But thanks for agreeing that I should just keep them if it makes no difference to the view - it's helpful.
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Old Monday 6th April 2020, 13:07   #14
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Hi,

while I'm quite sure that those imperfections would not have diminished the performance in any way, if I had bought an instrument as new and without any problems disclosed, I would like to get an example without problems - even if they're cosmetical, they do affect resale value.

I tend to be quite a bit less strict with used, demo or other not quite new examples...

Joachim
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Old Monday 6th April 2020, 14:16   #15
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Mike,
Pity I don't read the music under the Leica.

It is quite possible to get a perfect cosmetic binocular with poor objectives and poor performance.

It is quite impossible to say if a perfect looking objective is any good.
The glass could be inconsistent and the curves and accuracy of the surfaces completely wrong.
Only testing will reveal how good the optics are.

In fact, most of the lower price binoculars clearly do not perform well in say star or resolution tests.
There are very few cherries, but plenty of lemons.
High quality binoculars do better on average.

B.
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Old Monday 6th April 2020, 15:19   #16
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Mike, everyone's different and I respect all opinions and suggestions offered. Personally, I could never be satisfied with those defects in a brand new pair of binoculars (if for nothing other than how they might affect future resale value if you switch to a different offering). If Leica (as opposed to the retailer) is aware of the issue and has documented it, why not use them as is until global conditions are more favorable to return them for replacement?
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Old Monday 6th April 2020, 20:05   #17
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Another option is to send the bins back to Leica and ask them to replace the faulty objective under warranty. Same bins, but cosmetically perfect :-)
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Old Monday 6th April 2020, 20:10   #18
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Hi Mike,

The Ultra 12x50 is one of the best and I am absolutely sure that your replacement will have the same excellent focuser. If I were you I would ask the dealer to examine the replacement for dust etc inside before they send you the replacement. If this one has the same problem they have to ask Leica to send you an inspected sample directly from the factory and send them your example in return.
The purchage price may not be an issue. You bought a brand new Leica which will serve you for the rest of your life. It has to be in perfect condition when you get it.
Just my advice.

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Old Tuesday 7th April 2020, 18:16   #19
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Thanks to everyone for their contributions and suggestions - it's been most appreciated. I've finally decided to exchange the pair I have for another new pair, as was the original plan. I've realised on balance that I am more likely to have long term regrets (if I don't send them back for replacement) than be disappointed with the replacement.

Any further comments are still welcome. I've been in contact again with the dealer today (who Jan assures me are excellent) and they are in the process of seeing if they can source a replacement from the Leica Store in Wetzlar, so I might possibly get a replacement sooner than later. Otherwise I'll just wait for the replacement to come from Leica. In the meantime I can hang on to the pair I have.

I will update this thread when I get the replacement pair. Stay well everybody!

Michael.
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Old Wednesday 8th April 2020, 13:26   #20
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Michael,

I hope you get everything worked out!
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Old Wednesday 8th April 2020, 17:07   #21
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Michael,

I hope you get everything worked out!
Thanks, Chuck!

I think it's something I have to do! I'll be sure to give a full report on the new ones when I get them.
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Old Wednesday 8th April 2020, 20:16   #22
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Good luck, I agree with your decision to replace.

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Old Wednesday 8th April 2020, 21:22   #23
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yes replace them because it will eat at you every time you take them out.
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Old Friday 5th June 2020, 17:47   #24
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Well, a few months on and I can finally give an update. In the end I was able to persuade the dealer to send out the new pair for me to try out and compare with my original pair. I could give a detailed account of the differences of every aspect of the two binoculars, but in the interests of brevity, it became apparent that there was very little to choose between the two and it became an exercise in splitting hairs as they both had what could be considered 'faults' if one looked hard enough. As Binastro so accurately said earlier, 'I would think that with any optical instrument if one looks hard enough a fault will be seen'.
Well in being able to compare two pairs side by side I have certainly proved that to be true - it really was a case of choosing between one set of very minor, in the end cosmetic, issues and another. I just found that, quite early on in the process, the virtually invisible lens imperfections in my original pair just simply became unimportant - something which had no effect on the view and just didn't matter (and would probably never have been noticed by anybody else!).

In the end I decided to keep my original pair. After many comparisons in different situations and over a couple of weeks I kept coming to the conclusion that the original pair had slightly more resolution and slightly better contrast. Everything else just became irrelevant.

I'm enormously grateful to the dealer, Foto Henny Hoogeveen | Leica Store Lisse in Holland, for letting me try the two side by side. They went well out of their way to accommodate a very demanding customer who couldn't be more satisfied with both their customer service and, ultimately his purchase. I highly recommend them!
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Old Friday 5th June 2020, 19:10   #25
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Hi Mike,

I am very pleased for you that you had a chance to compare two instruments and weigh up and dispel your doubts. I have never had the privilege of looking through any 12 power binoculars but your photo shows they are at least very attractive on the outside: a beautiful design with a classy finish. (I know the word classy isn't itself very classy!)

Let's hope you get many hours of happy strain-free viewing now that you have had a chance to 'hand grade' the different specimens!

Tom

PS I'd be very interested to know how you find the 12x50's size and weight; do they take much getting used to in practice? (Sorry if you have mentioned this before - I haven't read the earlier posts for a while now as I think the thread has been running for some time.)

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