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10x25 Ultravid

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Old Saturday 18th February 2006, 21:17   #1
Caty on the Bay
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10x25 Ultravid

Are the 10x25 Leica Ultravids one of the best binocular buys for the price? They seem to be perfoming better than expected by some guys around here for the size.
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Old Saturday 18th February 2006, 21:26   #2
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Originally Posted by Caty on the Bay
Are the 10x25 Leica Ultravids one of the best binocular buys for the price? They seem to be perfoming better than expected by some guys around here for the size.
I think even their competitors, if pushed, would say "Doh... yes...". Leica have the very highest tech coatings for brightness and the 25mm objectives just give the extra size to keep them still genuinely compact and light but make them very "holdable" as well as adding to the brightness. The oversize focusing wheel is also a very fine piece of design indeed, falling naturally into place for rapid (and supremely smooth) focusing. Another feature is the razor edge to edge sharpness.
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Old Sunday 19th February 2006, 13:54   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scampo
I think even their competitors, if pushed, would say "Doh... yes...". The Leica have the very highest tech coatings for brightness and the 25mm objectives just give the extra size to keep them still genuinely compact and light but make them very "holdable" as well as adding to the brightness. The oversize focusing wheel is also a very fine piece of design indeed, falling naturally into place for rapid (and supremely smooth) focusing. Another feature is the razor edge to edge sharpness.
I can only second Steve here! But then, we have both said it all before, here on BF. These compact Ultravids (both the 8x20 and the 10x25) are certainly by far the best buy among the high-end binoculars currently on the market. And to make it clear, we both have no affiliation with Leica; Steve has his Swaro ELs and I have my Zeiss FLs that we both cherish as "full size" glasses.
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Old Sunday 19th February 2006, 14:25   #4
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Originally Posted by Swissboy
I can only second Steve here! But then, we have both said it all before, here on BF. These compact Ultravids (both the 8x20 and the 10x25) are certainly by far the best buy among the high-end binoculars currently on the market. And to make it clear, we both have no affiliation with Leica; Steve has his Swaro ELs and I have my Zeiss FLs that we both cherish as "full size" glasses.
Well put!
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Old Sunday 19th February 2006, 17:15   #5
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Originally Posted by scampo
I think even their competitors, if pushed, would say "Doh... yes...". Leica have the very highest tech coatings for brightness and the 25mm objectives just give the extra size to keep them still genuinely compact and light but make them very "holdable" as well as adding to the brightness. The oversize focusing wheel is also a very fine piece of design indeed, falling naturally into place for rapid (and supremely smooth) focusing. Another feature is the razor edge to edge sharpness.
My only 'complaint' (too strong a word--make that 'wish') would be a bit wider FOV, but the view, ergomatics, feel of my 10x25 Ultravid BCRs is unbeatable! After sampling Zeiss 10x25 Classics (nice view, but rubber eyecups) and 10x25 Brunton Epochs (wider FOV, but heavy & overpriced) the best value was the Leica!
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Old Sunday 19th February 2006, 17:50   #6
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Originally Posted by karmantra
My only 'complaint' (too strong a word--make that 'wish') would be a bit wider FOV, but the view, ergomatics, feel of my 10x25 Ultravid BCRs is unbeatable! After sampling Zeiss 10x25 Classics (nice view, but rubber eyecups) and 10x25 Brunton Epochs (wider FOV, but heavy & overpriced) the best value was the Leica!
I'm in agreement with you. It tends to be more noticeable if you own a pair with a much wider fov. If I leave my Swaros at home, no probs - I just am amazed at the Ultravids every time I put them to my eyes. But... if I have my Swaros with me to compare directly... then, yes, you are correct. But what else can we expect from such a fine lightweight compact binocular, really?

The pair are really my wife's - but she lets me borrow them now and again!

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Old Monday 20th February 2006, 02:40   #7
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It is said that a top of the line 32mm binocular is a better choice than a middle priced 42mm. Does this hold true for comparing a compact model like the 10x25 Ultravids compared to middle priced mid-sized binoculars?
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Old Monday 20th February 2006, 20:57   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caty on the Bay
It is said that a top of the line 32mm binocular is a better choice than a middle priced 42mm. Does this hold true for comparing a compact model like the 10x25 Ultravids compared to middle priced mid-sized binoculars?
I would think so, yes. But I'd support this view ONLY for the compact Ultravids. Nevertheless, I think you should try them before you buy. The compacts all have very small exit pupils that may not be comfortable for some people.
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Old Wednesday 22nd February 2006, 22:56   #9
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Have any compact roofs equalled or bested the Bausch and Lomb 7x26 yet? A few years back when I was looking for a new pair of something to play with they were talked up and down as being the epitome of compact binoculars. Are the Ultravids the new epitome?
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Old Wednesday 22nd February 2006, 23:54   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caty on the Bay
Have any compact roofs equalled or bested the Bausch and Lomb 7x26 yet? A few years back when I was looking for a new pair of something to play with they were talked up and down as being the epitome of compact binoculars. Are the Ultravids the new epitome?

If the Ultravids were a 7x25 they would be best!


Too bad the big makers can't see fit to offer 7x's in 20-32 mm objectives.
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Old Thursday 23rd February 2006, 00:34   #11
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Originally Posted by Caty on the Bay
It is said that a top of the line 32mm binocular is a better choice than a middle priced 42mm. Does this hold true for comparing a compact model like the 10x25 Ultravids compared to middle priced mid-sized binoculars?
I have read this same sentiment in another string and I'm not sure I would accept it as factual without first seeing some very careful and detailed comparisons. My experience has been that mid-priced glass often compares very, very favorably to equally sized premium glass. So much so that aside from optics fanatics (and you know who we are) the vast majority of people often physically can't see the differences. It thus strains the limits of reason and credulity to suggest that a premium glass can drop 24% of its objective lens size and still be equal or better than a full sized mid-priced glass.

Similarly, the claim that the Leica Ultravid (or any mini binocular) is the equal of a high quality, mid-priced 32-36mm binocular does not stand up to the test of objective reasoning (pun intended.) Don't get me wrong, I LOVE mini binoculars and I think they perform better than most people give them credit for under almost any circumstances but, one does have to be willing to accept their inherent limitations.

Remember, it was once said that the world was flat but, that didn't make it so.

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Old Thursday 23rd February 2006, 00:41   #12
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Originally Posted by Caty on the Bay
Are the 10x25 Leica Ultravids one of the best binocular buys for the price? They seem to be perfoming better than expected by some guys around here for the size.

Considering that you can get a 10x25 Nikon LXL for over $200 less, no the Leica probably does not qualify as "the best binocular for the price."

The Leica may indeed be the overall best mini-binocular, but you do pay a premium for it and any optical differences between these two jewels are going to be so small that I would doubt there are many people who could truthfully see them.

Ergonomics are a different thing alltogether and only you can decide if the oft lauded oversized focus knob on the Leica (rather than the somewhat unfamiliar styling of the Nikon's focus knob) is worth the extra $$$$$.

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Old Thursday 23rd February 2006, 08:28   #13
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I would agree with your posts Lucznik. Whether compacts or larger bins are best depends on your personal requirements. I am not a serious birder and so have no desire to carry large binos around with me.

At the beginning of this year I needed some decent compacts and looked at various 8/20 and 10/25 models. I also like horseracing and therefore decided to go with 10/25 rather than 8/20 as I was willing to sacrifice FOV for extra magnification. I bought the Leica Ultravids largely because I liked the feel of them better than any others. You are right though, the difference between the decent models is negligible and whether the additional cost of the Ultravids over other makes for what is (in my opinion) marginally improved quality is debatable.

Having said that, I am delighted with the Ultravids and have found them ideal for both birding and horseracing.
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Old Thursday 23rd February 2006, 10:23   #14
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Originally Posted by lucznik
(Ergonomics are a different thing altogether and only you can decide if the oft lauded oversized focus knob on the Leica (rather than the somewhat unfamiliar styling of the Nikon's focus knob) is worth the extra $$$$$.
Its not just the fact that the focus knob is oversized, but that its in the same place as all my other binoculars, so when I need to focus quickly the correct finger is automatically chosen.

Anyway, there is more to the whole package than just optics and ergonomics (for me). Unlike the Nikon, plastic is not used in the compact Ultravid, making the Nikon seem less robust.

Also, my experience of Nikon(UK)'s after-sales service was poor (8x42 LX with sloppy focusing and peeling armouring) and I was never completely satisfied with the repaired bino. By contrast, a focusing problem with my 7x42 Ultravid (a 'notch' at one point) was fixed by sending me a new replacement pair within 10 days. Swarovski are just as good, if not better.

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Old Thursday 23rd February 2006, 16:33   #15
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Originally Posted by lucznik
I have read this same sentiment in another string and I'm not sure I would accept it as factual without first seeing some very careful and detailed comparisons. My experience has been that mid-priced glass often compares very, very favorably to equally sized premium glass. So much so that aside from optics fanatics (and you know who we are) the vast majority of people often physically can't see the differences. It thus strains the limits of reason and credulity to suggest that a premium glass can drop 24% of its objective lens size and still be equal or better than a full sized mid-priced glass.

Similarly, the claim that the Leica Ultravid (or any mini binocular) is the equal of a high quality, mid-priced 32-36mm binocular does not stand up to the test of objective reasoning (pun intended.) Don't get me wrong, I LOVE mini binoculars and I think they perform better than most people give them credit for under almost any circumstances but, one does have to be willing to accept their inherent limitations.

Remember, it was once said that the world was flat but, that didn't make it so.
I would beg to differ a little. Not being a physicist but thinking about the light loss on its circuitous path through the lenses, mirrors and prisms is surely what the people at Leica, Zeiss, Nikon and co know all about - and I suspect that is what we are paying for when all said and done.

There will be mid priced bins that break the rule, that is objectively true, but generally, you get what you pay for.

I have a pair of mid-priced nitrogen filled 10x42 Minolta roof prisms. They're good. The Leica 10x25s, however, are clearly brighter and sharper.
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Old Thursday 23rd February 2006, 17:21   #16
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Originally Posted by scampo
I have a pair of mid-priced nitrogen filled 10x42 Minolta roof prisms. They're good. The Leica 10x25s, however, are clearly brighter and sharper.
Very intersting. I have found that improvement in my ability to identify birds comes more from sharpness (resolution I guess you call it) than from absolute brightness.
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Old Thursday 23rd February 2006, 17:22   #17
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I would beg to differ a little. Not being a physicist but thinking about the light loss on its circuitous path through the lenses, mirrors and prisms is surely what the people at Leica, Zeiss, Nikon and co know all about - and I suspect that is what we are paying for when all said and done.

There will be mid priced bins that break the rule, that is objectively true, but generally, you get what you pay for.

I have a pair of mid-priced nitrogen filled 10x42 Minolta roof prisms. They're good. The Leica 10x25s, however, are clearly brighter and sharper.
I certainly don't want to sound unreasonably contrary toward yours (or others') claims, which is why I indicated that I would first like to see some "careful and detailed" comparisons. Manufacturers publish light transmission figures (as a function of the percentage of available light) all the time for riflescopes and I have always been curious as to why they don't do this for binoculars. Could it be that the sample variations are so great as to make it impossible for them to make definitive claims?

Whatever the reason, this lack of objective measurements by which to make a comparison is a fact of life. Furthermore, the anecdotal style of evaluation that we currently are forced to rely on is just too unreliable to be given much weight. We all (myself included) have too much personal bias in our evaluations based on what we think is important in optical (and ergonomic) performance, our experience level at making comparisons, our physical ability to see certain "abberations," as well as our pride, prejudices, emotions, etc. that will all invariably skew the relative objectivity of our observations. Brand preferences alone seem to fuel a never ending cycle of debate over which binocular might be "the best." I also suspect that it is difficult for people to accept that the binocular for which they paid over $650 (the mini - Ultravid) might not be the optical equal of another costing far less as it would seem to suggest that they were somehow swindled. The fact that they are in many ways "comparing apples to oranges" does nothing to sway such feelings.

I am not at all familiar with the Minolta line so, I can't directly address your comparison. However, I have compared the 10x25 Leica Ultravid and Nikon LXL (in my opinion the two best minis) with my full size 10x42 B&L Discoverer porro prism binocular and the differences could not have been more obvious, even in bright sunlight. I LOVED these two minis. I even accept that for many people a mini binocular would be the best choice for their specific lifestyle and usages. In fact I have decided that a premium mini combined with my mid-level full sized optic easily represents the best combination for me personally and will (hopefully) soon be buying the Nikon to be my "everyday -everywhere" optic. But, to suggest they could optically outperform the bigger glass just does not seem reasonable. The very laws of physics would seem to contradict such an assertion. If I'm wrong about this and someone can demonstrate it using objective data, I welcome that information.

(BTW; I also compared these two minis to my 8x42 Pentax DCF WP even though I know that the differences in magnification make for a very unfair comparison and again the larger glass outperformed.)

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Old Thursday 23rd February 2006, 17:30   #18
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Very intersting. I have found that improvement in my ability to identify birds comes more from sharpness (resolution I guess you call it) than from absolute brightness.
That is so - but I think that contrast (the extremes of bright and dark) add to the sharpness in important ways. This seems to me to begin to separate out even the leading makes. For example, I find Nikons and Ultravids are outstanding with regard to contrast.
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Old Thursday 23rd February 2006, 17:34   #19
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...The very laws of physics would seem to contradict such an assertion. If I'm wrong about this and someone can demonstrate it using objective data, I welcome that information.
And I think you are right. The ability to resolve depends upon objective lens size - it must. But there are so many more factors involved, too, I suppose - quality of glass and so on. Presumably that's why Nikon make their own glass, for example.

You say: "I also suspect that it is difficult for people to accept that the binocular for which they paid over $650 (the mini - Ultravid) might not be the optical equal of another costing far less as it would seem to suggest that they were somehow swindled. The fact that they are in many ways "comparing apples to oranges" does nothing to sway such feelings."

Now. I tested a whole range of mini-bins until I chose the Ultravid. I would say I would have loved to pay half what I ended paying. But, the Ultravids were better - brighter, easier and quicker to use and so on. Interestingly, my wife does not agree - she finds them less easy to use than I do! We are all different.
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Old Thursday 23rd February 2006, 17:49   #20
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Now. I tested a whole range of mini-bins until I chose the Ultravid. I would say I would have loved to pay half what I ended paying. But, the Ultravids were better - brighter, easier and quicker to use and so on. Interestingly, my wife does not agree - she finds them less easy to use than I do! We are all different.
Aren't they supposed to be her bins...
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Old Thursday 23rd February 2006, 20:11   #21
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Aren't they supposed to be her bins...
Mere details!
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Old Sunday 26th February 2006, 18:03   #22
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Have any compact roofs equalled or bested the Bausch and Lomb 7x26 yet? A few years back when I was looking for a new pair of something to play with they were talked up and down as being the epitome of compact binoculars. Are the Ultravids the new epitome?
I have the B&L 7x26 and they are great compact binoculars. I took a look through someone's Leica 10X compacts awhile back and while sharp, the image wasn't as bright as the 7x26 and the FOV was narrower. But the B&L 7x26 is a compact binocular, while the Leica you are talking about is a true pocket binocular. A different size class, I would say. Also the B&Ls are not waterproof and probably need gentler treatment than the premium compact roofs.

To be honest, I would prefer a compact roof as a carry-everywhere binoc and may someday get one.
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Old Monday 27th February 2006, 17:34   #23
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While in Salt Lake this weekend I had the chance to again check out a 10x25 Ultravid. After looking through them for a while I was ready to reach for my wallet but, a vision of what my wife's face would look like and a sincere concern over my future well-being when she would find out about them stopped me.

Whew, that was really close.
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Old Tuesday 28th February 2006, 03:58   #24
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Originally Posted by lucznik
While in Salt Lake this weekend I had the chance to again check out a 10x25 Ultravid. After looking through them for a while I was ready to reach for my wallet but, a vision of what my wife's face would look like and a sincere concern over my future well-being when she would find out about them stopped me.

Whew, that was really close.
You have more self control than I did--my third time back to the optics shop to view the 10x25s convinced me to part with the $$$ and take 'em home! I have a hard time resisting temptation, but I'm sure glad temptation won!
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Old Tuesday 28th February 2006, 08:22   #25
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While in Salt Lake this weekend I had the chance to again check out a 10x25 Ultravid. After looking through them for a while I was ready to reach for my wallet but, a vision of what my wife's face would look like and a sincere concern over my future well-being when she would find out about them stopped me.

Whew, that was really close.
I can fully appreciate your comment. It also filled me with trepidation - well fear actually. In the end I thought b---er it and bought them anyway, and I'm glad I did.
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