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Leica 8x32 BN

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Old Sunday 12th September 2010, 19:10   #1
nature elvis
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Leica 8x32 BN

Hi, new to this forum, wonder if you can give me some advice. I've seen an old pair of Leica 8x32 BN Trinovids. I've heard these were/are the bees knees when it comes to Birding bins and still command quite a high price on the second hand market. Basically the question is, is 599 a good price for these and are they still worth it?

Another option is the Swarovski SLC 8x30's. Although these are new they are a similar price and I'm not sure whether new means better. In most cases it does as tech improves over time. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old Sunday 12th September 2010, 19:31   #2
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I've seen an old pair of Leica 8x32 BN Trinovids. I've heard these were/are the bees knees when it comes to Birding bins and still command quite a high price on the second hand market. Basically the question is, is 599 a good price for these and are they still worth it?
Well, the 8x32 BN is a nice pair. Good optics and built like a tank. But it's optically not quite as good as some of the current crop of alpha roofs, for instance the Zeiss 8x32 FL. I personally wouldn't pay 600 quid for a used 8x32 BN, not even for one in perfect condition, I'd rather save up for a Zeiss FL if it's got to be a roof.

Or, if you happen to be a fine weather birder, I'd get the Nikon 8x32 SE. It's optically clearly better than the Leica, but of course it's not waterproof. Another pair in the price range you mentioned is the traditional Swarovski 8x30 porro. The Swarovski porros are waterproof and optically very good indeed.

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Old Sunday 12th September 2010, 19:37   #3
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Welcome to BF Elvis!

Since I don't know what Leica BNs sell for in the UK, my take on the price is marginal. 599 sterling is about $920. here. That is an OK price on a very clean/near-new pair. Again, here.

The 8x32 BN is one of the best birding bins ever made IMHO. Silver v dielectric prism coatings are the main difference between those and the latest. To me, not much to lose sleep about. The handling is also superb, as is their robustness. Focus is quick and snappy. A classic.

The Swaros are a tad smaller. The latest versions have better coatings with improved color accuracy over older ones. A nice bin but I could never warm up to the position of the focus knob though... it's in the wrong place.

Cheers!
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Old Sunday 12th September 2010, 21:31   #4
nature elvis
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Welcome to BF Elvis!

Since I don't know what Leica BNs sell for in the UK, my take on the price is marginal. 599 sterling is about $920. here. That is an OK price on a very clean/near-new pair. Again, here.

The 8x32 BN is one of the best birding bins ever made IMHO. Silver v dielectric prism coatings are the main difference between those and the latest. To me, not much to lose sleep about. The handling is also superb, as is their robustness. Focus is quick and snappy. A classic.

The Swaros are a tad smaller. The latest versions have better coatings with improved color accuracy over older ones. A nice bin but I could never warm up to the position of the focus knob though... it's in the wrong place.

Cheers!
Hi, thanks for the response. What about the 8.5x42 EL's. I've seen a pair used for 999. Obviously this is a step up in terms of price but is there much difference between the Leica 8x32 BN's?
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Old Sunday 12th September 2010, 21:46   #5
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I'm with Kevin all the way on this one. In fact he helped to ease my mind! You only have to view the constant stream of threads on optics to realize a lot of birders are NEVER happy! I've been fortunate to own all the alpha models...all 8x32.
Zeiss - amazingly sharp and bright but poor depth of field = constant focussing!
Swarovski - as above but for me almost 2 dimensional and slightly pale?
Ultravids - Lovely 3D rich contrasty image BUT nightmare notchy focus. UNBELIEVABLE for the price and reputation of the company
Ultravid HD - sorted the focus (for a few MORE hundred quid!), minimal optical improvement and oh yes, the water runs off! BUT just not enough of them.
Trinovid BN - Heaven. It's the overall birding unit that clinches it for me. Feel just right in the hand, smooth focus (although older?!) and a view that feels so natural it's like your eyes are just "seeing closer" Not quite the brightest, not quite the sharpest, but the BEST natural view for birding! The search is OVER!!!
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Old Sunday 12th September 2010, 22:12   #6
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Originally Posted by nature elvis View Post
What about the 8.5x42 EL's. I've seen a pair used for 999. Obviously this is a step up in terms of price but is there much difference between the Leica 8x32 BN's?
Having not owned 8.5x42 Swaros, I'm beyond my scope here. This IS however, a different size class of bin. Before you buy any of these, you should decide for yourself what size bin you want/need. I happen to like the 8x30/32 format a lot and have been up and down the the scale a few times, like many here.
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Old Sunday 12th September 2010, 22:58   #7
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Hi, thanks for the response. What about the 8.5x42 EL's. I've seen a pair used for 999. Obviously this is a step up in terms of price but is there much difference between the Leica 8x32 BN's?
Not that much, IMHO: I remember doing a side-by-side comparison between a friend's Swaros and my Leica 8x32 BAs, and - hand to God - there was practically no difference in terms of detail, colour, CA. The overall view was very similar.

Obviously the Swaros would have better light gathering, but even that was much of a muchness at the time I did the test.
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Old Monday 13th September 2010, 00:46   #8
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Hi, thanks for the response. What about the 8.5x42 EL's. I've seen a pair used for 999. Obviously this is a step up in terms of price but is there much difference between the Leica 8x32 BN's?
Elvis:

Many great optics to choose from here. No right answer to what you would
like best. Often heard on the forum, you need to try them to see for yourself.

The 8.5 x42 EL will give you a brighter, easy view, easier in eye placement, and the advantages a 42mm offers. It is heavier, but overall more eye pleasing.
The 30's or 32's are lighter and for carry will be good also.

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Old Monday 13th September 2010, 01:29   #9
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The Cult of 8x32 Trinnie Owners

Welcome Nature Elvis!

First off, I gotta ask, does Nature Elvis wear only his birthday suit? :-)

The number of posts about user preference for older model bins keep mounting with each new thread on this forum and other bin forums such that calling them "cherry picked" (a phrase that shall live in infamy) is clearly a misnomer (unless, of course, these are the same miscreants, using different user names and conspiring together. :-).

Speaking generally, my experience with roofs has been that each new generation (but not always upgrades to the same bin) seems to have "improved color accuracy," as Kevin put it. This includes the 8x30 SLCNeu, though the latter day "Alts" allegedly have the same coatings as the "Neu," but that's hard to say "apples with apples" since Swaro is "continually updating their coatings".

(Btw, are you aware that you have to use your ring finger or pinky to focus with the 8x30 SLC? Not everybody's cup o' tea including me. What makes this odd placement even more challenging is the fact that the focuser moves somewhat coarsely in one direction).

I'd add "color saturation" too since it's not just how true the colors are to what you see with your unaided eyes, but also the intensity of the colors and the ability for the user to detect subtle variations within an expanded color palette that I find the most impressive in the current generation of roofs (or even in the Nikon HG from a decade ago - a bin that was ahead its time, and if Nikon had done a better job controlling CA, it would still be current).

With birding, and particularly for those who are keen on distinguishing different varieties within species, and males from females, juveniles from adults, color rendition is important.

For birding in general, color rendition is important and color saturation is an added bonus, because colors are the real attraction of birds. If all birds were black from head to toe like crows, would the hobby be growing like a weed? I doubt it. But we would have had ED glass in roofs a lot sooner. :-)

Even though coatings and glass technology seems to have peaked even before this point in terms of further changes yielding only incremental improvements (another "infamous phrase") -- looking back, there seems to be certain bins that stand out from the crowd.

One of those is the Leica 8x32 Trinnie, which has an almost cult-like following similar to the 8x32 SE in porros.

To the point where even a confessed porromaniac like myself was tempted to buy one - a trade-in 8x32 BA for $550 from a dealer - but I went with an 8x32 HG instead for the same price, based largely upon on Stephen Ingraham's reference list in which the HG had superseded the Leica 8x32 Trinnie.

However, like Sophie, I have always wondered if I had made the wrong choice.

Brock (former HG owner/Nikon SE Cult Member since 1998)

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Old Monday 13th September 2010, 15:58   #10
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I've owned PILES of top bins in 42mm and 32mm.
My favorites are the 8x32 and 10x42 Trinovid. The view is sharp and bright enough. "I" like the handling/ergo and the optics don't take a back seat so I'm about down comparing........
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Old Monday 13th September 2010, 18:01   #11
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Hi, new to this forum, wonder if you can give me some advice. I've seen an old pair of Leica 8x32 BN Trinovids. I've heard these were/are the bees knees when it comes to Birding bins and still command quite a high price on the second hand market. Basically the question is, is 599 a good price for these and are they still worth it?

Another option is the Swarovski SLC 8x30's. Although these are new they are a similar price and I'm not sure whether new means better. In most cases it does as tech improves over time. Any advice would be appreciated.
The 8x32BN is a wonderful binocular, no doubt about it. I have seen a 8x32BA though for sale for 400, i would go for the BA and save yourself a couple of hundred quid.
You pays your money, you takes your choice....
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Old Monday 13th September 2010, 18:31   #12
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Both of my Trinovids are BA. I have owned 7-10 sets of various BA and BN versions and IMO I have seen more sample variation in the BN. Not a good thing. The set of 8x32BA and 10x42BA have been compared against a bunch and always are on top or close.
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Old Monday 13th September 2010, 21:58   #13
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Thanks all for your responses. Some real food for thought there. I am very tempted with the Leica 8x32 BN's so will give it some more thought. The problem is I kind of want the Swarovski 8x30 slc's purely because of the colour of the rubber coating! haha.
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Old Monday 13th September 2010, 22:17   #14
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but I went with an 8x32 HG instead for the same price, based largely upon on Stephen Ingraham's reference list in which the HG had superseded the Leica 8x32 Trinnie.

However, like Sophie, I have always wondered if I had made the wrong choice.
Oh, you did, for sure.

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Old Monday 13th September 2010, 22:26   #15
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Paid just over 500 for my 10x42 BN trinovid Leica,s well over a year ago on ebay(second hand, but as new ) ....a tad on the heavy side but best purchase ive made in the way of bins.
The bins are Built like a brick sh**house and are sharp and clear. Also ive had them under the tap clearing sand from within the eye cups(after getting advice on here) they passed that test thankfully!

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Old Monday 13th September 2010, 22:33   #16
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So, if I was to move for the 8x32 Leica's are they likely to last me? i.e they are already old (but obviously still hold there own) so is there anything in the pipeline which is going to blow these out of the water soon? Also does anyone know what these cost in GBP when they originally came out and also the year the BN's were introduced?
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Old Monday 13th September 2010, 22:55   #17
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Hi, new to this forum, wonder if you can give me some advice. I've seen an old pair of Leica 8x32 BN Trinovids......
I bought these brand new a few years ago for around 650 and I LOVE them!!!!
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Old Tuesday 14th September 2010, 00:14   #18
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Thanks all for your responses. Some real food for thought there. I am very tempted with the Leica 8x32 BN's so will give it some more thought. The problem is I kind of want the Swarovski 8x30 slc's purely because of the colour of the rubber coating! haha.
But seriously, have you tried an 8x30 SLC? The "pinky focuser" could be a show stopper. It was for me but that could be because like Fred Flinstone I was born w/out pinkies. :-)

Also, the 8x30 SLC's close focus is rather long for a modern midsized roof. Even the full sized EL actually does much better in this regard.

OTOH, the green rubber coating is very nice. :-)

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Old Tuesday 14th September 2010, 01:13   #19
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"(Btw, are you aware that you have to use your ring finger or pinky to focus with the 8x30 SLC? Not everybody's cup o' tea including me. What makes this odd placement even more challenging is the fact that the focuser moves somewhat coarsely in one direction)."

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Old Tuesday 14th September 2010, 02:42   #20
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Well, the 8x32 BN is a nice pair. Good optics and built like a tank. But it's optically not quite as good as some of the current crop of alpha roofs, for instance the Zeiss 8x32 FL. I personally wouldn't pay 600 quid for a used 8x32 BN, not even for one in perfect condition, I'd rather save up for a Zeiss FL if it's got to be a roof.

Or, if you happen to be a fine weather birder, I'd get the Nikon 8x32 SE. It's optically clearly better than the Leica, but of course it's not waterproof. Another pair in the price range you mentioned is the traditional Swarovski 8x30 porro. The Swarovski porros are waterproof and optically very good indeed.

Hermann
2nd that except add the Nikon 8x30 EII to the mix. It is clearly better than the Leica 8x32 BN. You may prefer the EII to the SE because it has a wider FOV. The Leica 8x32 BN's are definitely not as good as the newer alpha binoculars especially the Zeiss 8x32 FL. Even the Zen Ray 8x42 ED's are better than the Leica's.
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Old Tuesday 14th September 2010, 04:37   #21
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Dennis, please don't try to convert this into another EII thread. I'm of the thinking that this is about more than the GREATEST VIEW, or THE BEST VIEW FOR THE BUCK, or PORRO PERFECTION, yada yada yada.

Look, we mostly all love the EIIs, OK? I do and recently bought a pair. Very nice alright and I concede, based strictly on the view, is generally better than my 8x32 Trins.

This is a thread about a superior birding binocular. Something greater than the sum of it's parts. Something that can't be reduced to a couple of catch phrases.

The Leicas have so many advantages that, to me, make them a superior birding tool. I started to list them but then thought "what's the point?" Not everyone places ultimate value on that last tiny bit of view, looking at stationary targets, in clean dry conditions, really... not everyone.
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Old Tuesday 14th September 2010, 04:45   #22
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Even the Zen Ray 8x42 ED's are better than the Leica's.
I recently looked through a Hawkes 8x43, which is I think similar to the Zens. While optically they come close to the Trinovids (I still like the view of the Trino better, mainly because of excellent stray light control and good contrast), in no they match the built quality of a Leica!
Even used Trinovids still cost considerably more than Zen and alike... Rightly so, in my opinion.
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Old Tuesday 14th September 2010, 18:49   #23
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2nd that except add the Nikon 8x30 EII to the mix. It is clearly better than the Leica 8x32 BN. You may prefer the EII to the SE because it has a wider FOV. The Leica 8x32 BN's are definitely not as good as the newer alpha binoculars especially the Zeiss 8x32 FL. Even the Zen Ray 8x42 ED's are better than the Leica's.
I think you are correct from a pure view standpoint, but even saying that, there is something about the Leica view, a color contrast thing that I really-really like. So though your latest alpha's may be better, slightly, the Trinnies are still very-very good. To me the thing about the 8x32 BNs is the complete package. I found the size, shape and feel of the little BN to be the ultimate refinement of binocular design. I just think it is perfect in a subjective way that others might not feel. In addition to feeling nice in the hand, they also feel bullet proof, which they seem to be by reputation.

Now I personally don't like the brick-like 42mm size Trinnies, but some people swear by them. I also put the 8x32 SE up there in ergonomics and view, but it isn't waterproof and doesn't exude that indestructable vibe the BN does.

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Old Tuesday 14th September 2010, 19:13   #24
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So, if I was to move for the 8x32 Leica's are they likely to last me? i.e they are already old (but obviously still hold there own) so is there anything in the pipeline which is going to blow these out of the water soon?

I've had my 8x32s's for a decade and a half now (not to mention my 8x20's, 8x42's and 8x50's) and the incremental improvements over those years haven't been enough for me to get anything else (although I have been tempted many times). Unless Leica comes out with a pair of replacement eyeballs I'm seeing all that I will ever be able to see through binoculars. And mechanically (a subject that is too often left out of these discussions) the Trinovids have more than proven themselves, something that can't be said of most of the new "alpha" binoculars.
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Old Tuesday 14th September 2010, 19:23   #25
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I am only familar with the 8x42 BA, which I used for a couple of years. The view, although dimmer than FL or porros, was surpassingly pleasant, and it made an excellent hammer. I am reminded of the scene from "Men in Black" when the agent entices the monster to swallow him, so he can retrieve his ray gun which it has already eaten, that would be how I felt about my Trinovid. If there had only been a better "total package" there, I could have enjoyed it forever. Unfortunately, it was heavy, and the focuser was work to control, always a little battle.

I can easily believe the 8x32, with its size, weight, and ergonomics, could be "forgiven" its '90s view. I have never heard of focus difficulties with the 8x32 either, perhaps simply because in the small binocular, there is less machinery, and less friction. Walk tall 8x32 Trinovid guys!
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