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leica 20x-60x zoom eyepiece

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Old Thursday 23rd October 2003, 16:39   #1
Bill Came
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leica 20x-60x zoom eyepiece

Has anyone had the pleasure of seeing or using the new 20x-60x lockable zoom lens by Leica.
regards Bill...
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Old Thursday 23rd October 2003, 17:30   #2
Steve G
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Hi Bill,
I recently bought one as replacement for my old zoom which I drop-kicked off a hill earlier this year (by accident!). The new zoom is now the only one manufactured by Leica. The lockable component only works on recent versions of the APO-TELEVID scope which have a machined dimple as a "sink" for the locking mechanism. I believe that only scopes manufactured from Spring of this year have this lockable function (check with Leica), otherwise the zoom functions just like the old model. The optics are superb with excellent clarity but the x60 setting clearly benefits from reasonable light levels & the light-gathering power is obviously no match for the fixed magnification eyepieces. Many people avoid a zoom eyepiece claiming it is less useful than a brighter but lower magnification eyepiece however the Leica optics are so good that I feel that the zoom eyepiece adds an extra dimension & on bright days the extra magnification can make the difference between quality views or not. Hope this is of help. If you are wondering whether there is a difference in the optics quality between the old & new eyepiece I have to say that I haven't noticed any & don't believe there is.If digiscoping is your aim stick with a lower magnification "wide angle" x20 or x32.
Best wishes,
Steve
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Old Thursday 23rd October 2003, 19:24   #3
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I was intrigued by the statement: "...on bright days the extra magnification [of the Leica 20-60x zoom eyepiece] can make the difference between quality views [compared to a 30x fixed]"

Hmm. I wonder what is meant by 'quality views' through a zoom eyepiece at 60x. My son has a Swarovski 20-60 zoom and, whilst it is an undoubtedly wonderful optic, it neither performs miracles nor rewrites the laws of physics:

> at 50-60x the magnification of atmospheric aspects such as UV haze and pollution often degrades the image;

> the depth of field is minuscule;

> the image dulls;

> the sharpness is slightly reduced.

As much as we would like to believe otherwise, we both have found that the Swarovski view at 60x very rarely reveals more than the view through my own fixed Kowa 30xW - which also benefits from a wider and brighter view.

But, like many of us I expect, I am often in two minds whether to upgrade my kit to a Zeiss, Nikon or Swarovski with latest zoom optic - yet every time I do a side by side comparison, I have never truly seen a more worthwhile image with the Swarovski zoom than I do with my fixed eyepiece. Most often a good view or identification is spoiled not by the twice closer view of a distant bird that the zoom offers but by lack of knowledge or bad viewing conditions. I only wish it were otherwise.

I don't know what others think, but I believe that we are too easily swayed by clever marketing, peer pressure and those oh! so beautifully gleaming bits of glass in the shop's display cases. And ah! To have a glass case opened just for us - what a wonderful feeling of being special.
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Old Thursday 23rd October 2003, 19:51   #4
Al Downie
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I reckon one of the great advantages of the zoom eyepiece is its ability to zoom OUT, as well as in. High-power is great every now and then, but I *really* like the super-bright image at low-power (16x on my wee Leica). I hasten to add that I've also got 16x and 26x fixed WA eyepieces which I intend to use for digiscoping, but I'm so gobsmacked by the image quality and field-of view that I'll certainly use them for observing too.

Yes, the zoom is a bit of a compromise, but that's perfect for days when you want to travel light and probably won't be sitting in a hide.

If you DO ever trade-up Steve, have a look at the Leica APO 62. What a great thing. Use the money you *might* have spent on the Swarovski to buy the fixed eyepieces as well as the zoom!

Al
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Old Thursday 23rd October 2003, 20:17   #5
Steve G
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Hi Steve, I'm not suggesting that a zoom can ever compete with a prime "lens" in terms of clarity, field of view or light gathering power. It is a compromise tool which nevertheless can be of great use in the field when bright conditions permit ultra-zoom use-the extra magnification & thus larger image can be a real boon-especially to someone with dubious ID skills (such as me). I have the zoom, the x20 & the x32 wide angle Leica eyepieces but consistently use the zoom whenever travelling. What I'm saying is the gulf between zoom & prime lenses has been greatly reduced by virtue of improvements in optics -the impact of which seems to have proportionately shown more in the zooms than the fixed objectives (the same thing is happening in zoom vs prime telephoto in photography).
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Old Thursday 23rd October 2003, 20:38   #6
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Before we bought the Swarovski, we were very close indeed to buying the Leica - but someone had sheared off the locking pin locator on the lens body, presumably by twisting the eyepiece without knowing it was locked. That did put us off from buying it at the time - perhaps unfairly - but the Swarovski seemed to ahve a more secure eyepiece locking mechanism - also the Swarovski zoom is a true 20-60.

I'm not sure what the difference in price is between them.
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Old Thursday 23rd October 2003, 20:41   #7
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I agree, Steve - but the fact remains that whenever it comes to real use, the fixed seems to capture the detail at 30x as the zoom does at 60x. Odd - and I wish it were not so in many ways.

That said - if and when funds allow, I'm sure I'll succumb to the large, heavy, wonderful feel of a zoom eyepiece...
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Old Thursday 23rd October 2003, 21:25   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by scampo
also the Swarovski zoom is a true 20-60.

So is the Leica zoom when used on the 77mm scopes, but its reduced zoom range on the 62 is nothing to due with the design of the zoom lens, but the design of the scopes, in that the 77mm has a longer focal length than the 62. The focal length of the 2 Swaro scopes are the same so the Swaro zoom gives the same range on both.

I dont think the lower mag range when used on the smaller scope is a disadvantage, as in practice this is probable a more suitable range for the smaller scope.

I have a Swaro 65 and very rarely do I go above 45x mag, and sometimes I would like to go lower, especially when I want to digiscope insects and birds at close range

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Old Thursday 23rd October 2003, 22:15   #9
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"[17-45x] ... is probable a more suitable range for the smaller scope"?

Despite all I've said in my post, I really can't follow such reasoning. Surely the only time a 20-60x zoom comes into its own is on those few occasions when the light is right and you need to bring in a bird as close as possible. At 45x, the Leica 65mm offers just 1.5x magnification compared with a 'standard' 30xW along with a reduced field of view and some loss of brightness.

I think this is surely a negative point (and one I had forgotten about) when comparing Swarovski, Nikon, Zeiss and Kowa 65mm scopes.
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Old Thursday 23rd October 2003, 22:24   #10
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Anyway! to swing back to the original question in this post.

Ive got the mark 2 leica zoom Bill and its excellent.
I use it for my digiscoping too and haven't had any problems.

When I bought the mark 2 I did read that it eliminated the "tunnel vision" problems of the mark 1 and also using the higher end of the zoom range produced better results than before.
Obviously not owning the old mark 1 I couldnt tell you if that is true or not.

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Old Thursday 23rd October 2003, 23:04   #11
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Steve wrote:

"Surely the only time a 20-60x zoom comes into its own is on those few occasions when the light is right and you need to bring in a bird as close as possible."

I don't think so. Being able to pull back to 16x is also a real advantage when scanning a large area, and then zoom to around 30x for watching a particular bird. I've not had the scope for very long, but so far I find I'm not using 48x very often. Not because the image quality at 48x is inferior; I just find the lower power more versatile and comfortable for extended viewing. Nice to have the option at my fingertips though...

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Old Thursday 23rd October 2003, 23:24   #12
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Steve

Where a good zoom comes into it own is not the fact that it will go to 60x or 45x, but in the versatility, to be able to change magnification without the need to carry several fixed lenses. Quite often 30x is too much.

My logic on the Leica was that a smaller object lens is not going to give great views at 60x under poor lighting conditions, so its no great loss not to have the ability to go that high, but on occations it would be usefull to be able to go below 20x. So what you lose at one end you gain at the other.

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Old Friday 24th October 2003, 01:09   #13
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paul,

your logic is right on the money. i've been using my 62 apo with the mark 2 zoom for digiscoping since january and the 16x is just right for framing those large waders. most of my shots are at 16 to 24x and occasionally 32x. it's so easy to find the bird using the 16x to scan the field of view and then magnify to suit yourself. also this scope focuses down to under 13' so is ideal to digiscope the dragonflys.

i am expecting delivery of the 26wa eyepiece tomorow. i am anxious to see how that looks too.

regards,

richard
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Old Friday 24th October 2003, 07:46   #14
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An interesting set of thoughts - not sure the word 'logic' belongs here really, but that's the way of these things. Perhaps there is a split between those who watch birds and those who photograph them?

Thanks to all who followed on from my email - where else could we learn of such diverse experiences than this forum?
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Old Friday 24th October 2003, 08:07   #15
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Hi Steve

I do both (more watching than photo's) and I think the "logic" applies to both jobs.

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Old Monday 12th September 2005, 20:40   #16
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Hope this helps to clarify things: as eyepiece magnification is increased the viewing apperture, through which the light passes, is reduced in diameter. So a low magnification eyepiece (such as the popular standard ones) will have a relatively large apperture, hence provide a well illuminated image, especially in poor light.

Zooms tend to be attractive because they offer high magnification, but almost without exception push the limits of the scope they are fitted to. The higher magnifications are only likely to provide a decent image in very bright light conditions, which are also those in which heat haze and other atmospheric abberations occur.

As a rule of thumb an apperture of 4mm provides a well illuminated image in most conditions, as per a 10x40 binocular. So a 65mm scope will give good results in most conditions with around 16x magnification, a 77mm with around 19x, etc (divide objective lens diameter in mm by the magnification of the eyepiece). In very good light a 2.5mm apperture should be OK, i.e. 24x and 30x respectively. A 60x mag with a 65mm scope gives barely 1mm apperture, which is likely to give a very poorly illuminated image.

To see the apperture size, hold the scope or binoculars away from your face, but up to a light or window, when in the eyepiece you can see a black disc with a small neat hole in it. It is not a real hole, but a virtual one, which is a function of the optical components.

Now with my 100mm binoculars 4mm apperture equates to 25x and 2.5mm provides 45x - most satisfactory!

Graham.
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Old Friday 23rd September 2005, 18:06   #17
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I believe that it was posted somewhere on the forum a year or two ago that the max power to resolve an image is 44.something whatever size of ob' lens.Any mag' above this simply increases the image a bit like zooming in on a photo - the image is bigger but detail is grainy and duller.
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Old Friday 7th October 2005, 14:45   #18
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[quote=Paul RuleI dont think the lower mag range when used on the smaller scope is a disadvantage, as in practice this is probable a more suitable range for the smaller scope.

I have a Swaro 65 and very rarely do I go above 45x mag, and sometimes I would like to go lower, especially when I want to digiscope insects and birds at close range

Paul[/QUOTE]

After 18 months of usting the Leica 62 I have to agree with you - I rarely go above 40 (can do 48) because I find the quality of the view degrades, albeit marginally. The advantage of the zoom is that the occasional; 'What's that over there' can be answered more often than with a fixed lens. I do find the FoV frustrating on a zoom, however. Guess I'll just have to grow telescopic eyes.....
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