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Leica Ultravid vs HD-Plus versions

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Old Thursday 13th June 2019, 11:00   #1
yves0071
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Leica Ultravid vs HD-Plus versions

Hi,
We are seing now Leica Ultravid HD-Plus binoculars on market. Does it exist non HD plus versions?
When Leica Ultravid HD-Plus has been introduce on market?
Thanks in advance and best regards
Yves
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Old Thursday 13th June 2019, 13:18   #2
Lightbender
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Originally Posted by yves0071 View Post
Hi,
We are seing now Leica Ultravid HD-Plus binoculars on market. Does it exist non HD plus versions?
When Leica Ultravid HD-Plus has been introduce on market?
Thanks in advance and best regards
Yves
The Ultravid HD was launched in 2007; the HD-Plus in 2014, I think.
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Old Thursday 13th June 2019, 13:43   #3
eronald
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The Ultravid HD was launched in 2007; the HD-Plus in 2014, I think.

There seem to be a lot of new-old-stock of HD versions still in retail.

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Old Thursday 13th June 2019, 14:17   #4
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Leica still sells special edition non-hds like their Silverline Edition which comes in 8x42 and 10x42.

https://cameralandny.com/shop/brands...iation=1090884

Bob
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Old Thursday 13th June 2019, 23:27   #5
John A Roberts
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The Ultravid chronology is:
2003 - BR
2007 - HD (addition of HD glass in the objectives, AquaDura external lens coatings, and an improved focusing mechanism)
2015 - HD Plus (and Schott HT glass prisms)

See both the the information from a flyer issued on the introduction of the HD version
(the original and many other early- to mid-2000 Leica pamphlets can be found here: http://www.company7.com/library/leica/notes.html ),
and the page from the 2015 catalogue on introduction of the HD Plus version

n.b. the BR designation on the original production helps distinguish it from the previous Trinovid BA and BN models


Identification:
- HD models are marked ‘HD’ on the ID panel on the left hand barrel, and
- HD Plus models have the same marking, except that the ‘HD’ is in red instead of white (see the image from the 2015 catalogue)


Additionally, there are also BL and SL versions that are leatherette finished, instead of rubber armoured:
Blackline/ BL - with black coloured metalwork
Silverline/ SL - with silver coloured metalwork


John


p.s. to pick up on Bob's comment, both the BL and SL models seem to have pre-HD technology
- the units aren't marked HD
- and in the same catalogues as HD or HD+ models, the BL and SL pages never indicate that they have HD or HD+ glass
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Old Friday 14th June 2019, 00:22   #6
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Yves:

John has presented a very nice order of the Leica Ultravid history, well done John.

If you go back on the Leica subforum, spend some time and read about the Ultravid models, this will
take some time. You can find out how members have posted about the UV, the HD and HD+.

I have the Leica Ultravid HD 8x42. It is a nice binocular, and some reviews have found the HD+, does not offer anything better that is observable in the optics.
The main thing promoted with the HD+ is a different glass type in some lenses. The construction of both is very similar.

Jerry
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Old Sunday 16th June 2019, 12:44   #7
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[quote=John A Roberts;3859638]

Identification:
- HD models are marked ‘HD’ on the ID panel on the left hand barrel, and
- HD Plus models have the same marking, except that the ‘HD’ is in red instead of white (see the image from the 2015 catalogue)

John

Hi Yves,

Just to add a note of caution if buying secondhand...

Unlikely you'll come across the following but be aware of what I was told by the staff of Ace Optics in Bath when I bought an Ultravid HD Plus from them. Mine was new and is excellent but they warned me that they had come across instances of people trying to pass off used HDs for sale as HD Pluses after painting over the white HD logo with red paint! Luckily they checked the serial numbers and the model number on the boxes and caught the scammers out.

Tom
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Old Sunday 16th June 2019, 14:52   #8
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Another twist to the story...
I bought a 7X42 BR in 2004. In early 2018 I had it repaired to address the "speckles" I could see inside both tubes. It was returned in perfect, like-new condition with noticeably less CA. The invoice noted "Optical Upgrade" but there were no labeling changes to the exterior.

Personally, I don't care about external labels but I do believe the upgrade is either HD or HD+. After seeing an HD+ (latest version) I tend to think my upgrade was to HD. It's hard to say without confirmation from Leica.

I don't see many BR's for sale and I would encourage people looking for used Ultravid's to go for the HD/HD+. The CA in the original BR's often intruded on the "view" and I was quite pleased to see it minimized in my upgraded version.
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Old Sunday 16th June 2019, 15:03   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pileatus View Post
Another twist to the story...
I bought a 7X42 BR in 2004. In early 2018 I had it repaired to address the "speckles" I could see inside both tubes. It was returned in perfect, like-new condition with noticeably less CA. The invoice noted "Optical Upgrade" but there were no labeling changes to the exterior.

Personally, I don't care about external labels but I do believe the upgrade is either HD or HD+. After seeing an HD+ (latest version) I tend to think my upgrade was to HD. It's hard to say without confirmation from Leica.

I don't see many BR's for sale and I would encourage people looking for used Ultravid's to go for the HD/HD+. The CA in the original BR's often intruded on the "view" and I was quite pleased to see it minimized in my upgraded version.
I have a feeling you would be correct; if the glass needed replaced for whatever reason (to address the 'speckles'), it would be likely they would only have the newer lenses in stock (just an assumption on my part, of course).
The difference in CA was minor but that was the only real thing (aside from the hydrophobic coating) that I had noticed when doing side by side comparisons between the UV and UVHD. In direct comparison between the UVHD and UVHD+, I maybe noticed a slightly more 'neutral' cast but it was very difficult to say for certain.

Justin
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Old Sunday 16th June 2019, 15:38   #10
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Nice and encouraging to hear Pileatus got a significant upgrade.

Justin, what you say about replacement with new lenses makes perfect sense and seems confirmed by P's experience.

Several years ago I compared side by side a friend's UV 10x50 with my UVHD+ 10x50. I neglected to do the comparison blind which may have skewed the results but the + did seem slightly but noticeably brighter. i didn't notice any difference in CA or color cast but wasn't really looking for either, just comparing brightness.

Mike
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Old Sunday 16th June 2019, 17:37   #11
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Thanks to all of you for information & advices!
Regards
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Old Monday 17th June 2019, 23:09   #12
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More re Leatherette Versions

The BL/ Blackline was introduced in 2003 at the same time as the BR
And the SL/ Silverline was introduced in 2010
Both are still listed on the Leica website and both are available in 8x42 and 10x42


HD & HD+ upgrades?
I previously used the qualifier that it ‘seems’ both the BL and SL models have pre-HD optical technology, since I hadn’t seen any clear information to the contrary


But looking at Leica’s order numbers
When the BL was introduced the order numbers were: 8x42 - 40 271; and 10x42 - 40 272
And when the SL was introduced the numbers were: 8x42 - 40 653; and 10x42 - 40 654

Significantly these are still the order numbers used in both the current catalogue and website listings
(in contrast, the numbers for the rubber armoured BR, HD and HD+ versions change: for the 8x42 from 40 261 to 40 293 then 40 093; and for the 10x42 from 40 262 to 40 294 then 40 094)

So the BL has pre-HD optics, and presumedly the SL has the same pre-HD optics - since there's no indication by Leica that it has superior optics to the BL


However in contrast to the above, there are non-rubber armoured Ultravids that do have HD Plus optics - see my next post


John


p.s. for comparison with the images in the next post I've added a BL and an SL image
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Old Tuesday 18th June 2019, 05:04   #13
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Other Non-Rubber Armoured Ultravids

Leica (and Leitz before it) has long been a producer of de luxe versions of it’s basic product lines
While these Ultravid offerings are mainly of interest to collectors, I’ve included them as many will have a passing interest


A) Regular Production
Customised
In January 2019 the Customised version of the HD Plus was introduced (see https://en.leica-camera.com/World-of...meets-elegance )
It’s offered in 8x32, 10x32, 8x42 and 10x42, and appears to be an ongoing production item

The Customised model has titanium coloured metal on the main body, with a contrasting black bridge and focuser, and brown leather body covering (not leatherette),
see the image



B) Limited/ Specially Numbered Editions
Edition Safari
There have been 2 production runs of this model:
- In 2016, a pre-HD version with 100 units each in 8x42 and 10x42, and
- In 2017, an HD Plus version with 100 units each in 8x32, 10x32, 8x42 and 10x42

The Safari model has olive green coloured metal on the main body, with a contrasting black bridge and focuser, and olive green leather body covering (not leatherette),
see the image of the HD plus version
It comes with a brown leather neck strap and a matching bag from the Aneas leather goods company


Edition Hermes
In January 2016 the Edition Hermes version of the HD Plus was introduced (see https://en.leica-camera.com/World-of...Hermes-Edition )
It was offered in 8x32 and 10x32, with 111 units of each produced. And it is still listed on the the Leica website

The Hermes model is black, with a body covering of brown Hermes leather, and it is readily identified by the ‘vintage’ eyepieces, see the image
It comes with matching wrist and neck straps and a bag with matching trim from Hermes



Edition Zagato
In September 2015, the Edition Zagato of the HD Plus was introduced. It was offered in 8x32, with 1,000 units produced
It was the result of a collaboration with the Zagato design company, see the description

The Zagato model is silver coloured aluminium with milled full length grooves
n.b. in the photo the silver coloured metal is visible within the objective barrel!


For comprehensive sets of high quality images of Leica binoculars, including the Silverline, Safari, Hermes and Zagato models
(along with various Leica photo gear) see: https://www.ebay.com/str/leicastorel...cat=1242201019
It’s also interesting to compare the prices asked for the various models!


John
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Old Sunday 30th June 2019, 20:54   #14
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I just used my 7x42 HD here in Paris this afternoon. At 300m or so, at street level in the daylight the view is incredible, so detailed I can't imagine it's just 7x. At 50m or so I don't find this binocular that spectacular, but in the middle distance, wow!

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Old Wednesday 24th July 2019, 18:41   #15
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[quote=SeldomPerched;3860262]
Quote:
Originally Posted by John A Roberts View Post

Identification:
- HD models are marked ‘HD’ on the ID panel on the left hand barrel, and
- HD Plus models have the same marking, except that the ‘HD’ is in red instead of white (see the image from the 2015 catalogue)

John

Hi Yves,

Just to add a note of caution if buying secondhand...

Unlikely you'll come across the following but be aware of what I was told by the staff of Ace Optics in Bath when I bought an Ultravid HD Plus from them. Mine was new and is excellent but they warned me that they had come across instances of people trying to pass off used HDs for sale as HD Pluses after painting over the white HD logo with red paint! Luckily they checked the serial numbers and the model number on the boxes and caught the scammers out.

Tom
I've got a pair of 8x32 HD in green, which I bought when I had too much money burning a hole in my pocket, because they looked nice and were unusual.

In a long-running saga, they've been back to Leica about four or five times (I can't quite remember) to try and get the bad focuser fixed. This didn't happen, despite very senior people at Leica getting involved.

Apart from the fact that Leica seem unable to actually fix a poor focuser, the thing I find very odd is that when they came back the final time (at that point I'd decided to give up) the white HD marking was now red! This makes me reluctant to sell them, because there's obviously now a conflict between what's on the binoculars and what the box says. I might have trouble convincing a potential buyer that Leica painted over the marking and not me!

I have a 'regular' black pair of 8x32 HD+ on which the focuser is fine, but that's because I actually tried the bins out this time instead of just naively believing Leica either wouldn't send out binoculars with a duff focuser, or at least would be able to repair them.
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Old Wednesday 24th July 2019, 19:37   #16
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[quote=johnhub;3874867]
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeldomPerched View Post

I've got a pair of 8x32 HD in green, which I bought when I had too much money burning a hole in my pocket, because they looked nice and were unusual.

In a long-running saga, they've been back to Leica about four or five times (I can't quite remember) to try and get the bad focuser fixed. This didn't happen, despite very senior people at Leica getting involved.

Apart from the fact that Leica seem unable to actually fix a poor focuser, the thing I find very odd is that when they came back the final time (at that point I'd decided to give up) the white HD marking was now red! This makes me reluctant to sell them, because there's obviously now a conflict between what's on the binoculars and what the box says. I might have trouble convincing a potential buyer that Leica painted over the marking and not me!

I have a 'regular' black pair of 8x32 HD+ on which the focuser is fine, but that's because I actually tried the bins out this time instead of just naively believing Leica either wouldn't send out binoculars with a duff focuser, or at least would be able to repair them.
Sorry you've had a bad experience. It seems highly unlikely to me that Leica would paint over the HD marking with red paint. Much more likely that they replaced your bin with a new HD+ in order to solve your focus issue. I have a Leica 7x42 HD+ but the box just says HD. AFAIK the boxes for the HD+ models do not state 'plus' anywhere on them. Check your black 8x32 HD+ box and see if it says HD+ anywhere. I suspect that it doesn't......
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Old Wednesday 24th July 2019, 20:14   #17
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[quote=Mike F;3874881]
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnhub View Post

Sorry you've had a bad experience. It seems highly unlikely to me that Leica would paint over the HD marking with red paint. Much more likely that they replaced your bin with a new HD+ in order to solve your focus issue. I have a Leica 7x42 HD+ but the box just says HD. AFAIK the boxes for the HD+ models do not state 'plus' anywhere on them. Check your black 8x32 HD+ box and see if it says HD+ anywhere. I suspect that it doesn't......
Hi Mike, you're probably right about the boxes - I'll check tomorrow. However, they absolutely did paint over the HD symbol. Same serial number, same rubbish focuser, same armour. They told me that the only 'proper' way to fix the focuser was to remove the green armour and replace it with black (green no longer available). I told them the whole point of having the green bin was because it's rare, so they explored other ways of fixing the focuser, with partial success. By that, I mean the slap was *almost* removed, but at the cost of the whole mechanism now moving perceptibly back and forth in the horizontal plane.

As I already have a black HD+ with a near-perfect focuser, I saw no point in having a black-armoured 'regular' HD.

The green bins are in all other respects OK, but I now never use them, and for the reasons explained above am reluctant to offer them for sale.

Cheers
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Old Wednesday 24th July 2019, 21:21   #18
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They told me that the only 'proper' way to fix the focuser was to remove the green armour and replace it with black (green no longer available).
Good to know that they think they could repair the focuser properly, if you let them do it. (Then again I've seen someone else say this didn't work out.)

I wonder why they would have put an HD+ marking on your bino if they couldn't take it apart, and so can't have replaced the prisms? The result is a curious rarity, or apparent rarity. (There are no green HD+s, are there? Did the green armor not wear well, or was this just economization?)
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Old Wednesday 24th July 2019, 22:24   #19
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Good to know that they think they could repair the focuser properly, if you let them do it. (Then again I've seen someone else say this didn't work out.)

I wonder why they would have put an HD+ marking on your bino if they couldn't take it apart, and so can't have replaced the prisms? The result is a curious rarity, or apparent rarity. (There are no green HD+s, are there? Did the green armor not wear well, or was this just economization?)
I have a theory, only anecdotal evidence, that once an Ultravid leaves the factory with a faulty focuser (the original BRs were terrible for this), it can't be fixed. If you want an Ultravid it's critically important that you test the example yourself. I had an 8x32 BR which went back twice to no apparent effect. I've since passed that on to my daughter.

Therefore, I'm not convinced that Leica could have fixed my HD, even if I'd let them re-armour it. They didn't elaborate as to why they no longer supply green armour, just that it's no longer an option. Looking at the bin now as I write, apart from the colour, the armour looks and feels the same as that on my HD+. How it will endure, of course, is another matter.

I'm baffled why they would put an HD+ marking on the bins. Your point about the rarity aspect is one I've considered. I don't think there were ever any green HD+, so it would appear to be unique (although as you say, it can't be a true HD+ because it hasn't had the Schott prisms installed). For that reason, I can't market it as an HD+, although I could, I suppose, say something about its history.

However, with the less than perfect focuser, I guess that will depress its value, perhaps to the point where it's better to keep it as a spare.

Cheers
John
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Old Wednesday 24th July 2019, 22:47   #20
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I have a theory, only anecdotal evidence, that once an Ultravid leaves the factory with a faulty focuser (the original BRs were terrible for this), it can't be fixed. If you want an Ultravid it's critically important that you test the example yourself. I had an 8x32 BR which went back twice to no apparent effect. I've since passed that on to my daughter.

Therefore, I'm not convinced that Leica could have fixed my HD, even if I'd let them re-armour it. They didn't elaborate as to why they no longer supply green armour, just that it's no longer an option. Looking at the bin now as I write, apart from the colour, the armour looks and feels the same as that on my HD+. How it will endure, of course, is another matter.

I'm baffled why they would put an HD+ marking on the bins. Your point about the rarity aspect is one I've considered. I don't think there were ever any green HD+, so it would appear to be unique (although as you say, it can't be a true HD+ because it hasn't had the Schott prisms installed). For that reason, I can't market it as an HD+, although I could, I suppose, say something about its history.

However, with the less than perfect focuser, I guess that will depress its value, perhaps to the point where it's better to keep it as a spare.

Cheers
John
Please see photo of both bins. The green ones are pretty, aren't they? Shame about the focuser. Note how there's a red sealing ring visible on the green (non-HD+) focusing assembly, which isn't evident on the black HD+.

The black HD+ has a near-perfect focuser - tiny amount of play, and entire mechanism tight and stays in one place. The green HD now has very minimal play, but the mechanism (focuser and dioptre aduster) moves considerably back and forth if you wiggle it. Not convinced of its waterproofness.
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Old Wednesday 24th July 2019, 23:32   #21
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I am stumped by this, I can understand about the green armor, they did not save any, (Zeiss FLs the same story, a green armored one that needed a face lift would get black armor as a replacement). They, Leica, likely thought that to really get to the focus mechanism they had to remove the armor, and if they screwed it up, no green replacement - if they removed the armor, they could put black armor on it however you would be $%%^&* off since you wanted to keep the green, so IMO they never did anything to the focus. The red HD is befuddling, I have no idea why they would do that. Hopefully an explanation to you from Leica in the near future.

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Old Thursday 25th July 2019, 06:14   #22
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Hi John,
I am not convinced that you change only armour color. I think you get a full replacement to an HD?? (I think that is is easier for leica to 'just replace' a faulty Equipment rather than spend time to fix it (and keep Customer happy).
To be sure, I would suggest you to ask Leica to mention what they have made on this scope (repair, replacement, switch, ...). You can simply tell them that you are traveling a lot and at Customs (or for insurance declaration) you need to prove:
1- It is yours (OK)
2- invoice corresponds to the item (otherwise, custom could suspect that you bought this item else where in the world to avoid taxes.... and they could charge you 20 or 30% of taxes, corresponding to VAT+).

In theory, Case 2 it is quite rare, but it is someting you can mention to Leica to force them to justify what they have done.
Good luck (please keep us informed!)
Yves
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Old Thursday 25th July 2019, 18:33   #23
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Quote:
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I have a theory, only anecdotal evidence, that once an Ultravid leaves the factory with a faulty focuser (the original BRs were terrible for this), it can't be fixed. If you want an Ultravid it's critically important that you test the example yourself.
That would explain every experience I've heard either way, and is an excellent recommendation. We have two recent Leicas (10x32 HD+, 10x42 Trinovid BR) with this mechanism, both of which continue to work perfectly. I haven't heard any report of one developing focus problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnhub View Post
Note how there's a red sealing ring visible on the green (non-HD+) focusing assembly, which isn't evident on the black HD+...The green HD now has very minimal play, but the mechanism (focuser and dioptre aduster) moves considerably back and forth if you wiggle it. Not convinced of its waterproofness.
The red ring is on your HD+ too; when visible it's meant to warn you that you have the diopter popped out for adjustment, and that state isn't waterproof. Are you sure the diopter knob is firmly seated, and can it be? Do you actually have a faulty diopter mechanism interacting with the focuser? (Not sure what plane your "wiggle" occurs in...?)

Last edited by tenex : Friday 26th July 2019 at 18:07. Reason: typo
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 12:49   #24
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That would explain every experience I've heard either way, and is an excellent recommendation. We have two recent Leicas (8x32 HD+, 10x42 Trinovid BR) with this mechanism, both of which continue to work perfectly. I haven't heard any report of one developing focus problems.


The red ring is on your HD+ too; when visible it's meant to warn you that you have the diopter popped out for adjustment, and that state isn't waterproof. Are you sure the diopter knob is firmly seated, and can it be? Do you actually have a faulty diopter mechanism interacting with the focuser? (Not sure what plane your "wiggle" occurs in...?)
I think you're right. I haven't noticed any deterioration in the focuser of my black HD+.

I didn't make my point very well about the red O-ring. As you say, the ring is concealed on the HD+ when the dioptre mechanism is pushed firmly home. Not so with the HD - it's still clearly visible, which suggests something isn't seating as it should. The dioptre mechanism itself works OK (but is quite slack). What is concerning is the movement of the whole mechanism, i.e. the focuser and the dioptre adjuster. By this I mean that it moves back and forth along the axis of the hinge, if that makes sense. It doesn't seem to be more than maybe one or two millimetres, but feels alarmingly slack.

I think I'm going to re-open this case with Leica.
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 18:14   #25
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Originally Posted by johnhub View Post
I didn't make my point very well about the red O-ring. As you say, the ring is concealed on the HD+ when the dioptre mechanism is pushed firmly home. Not so with the HD - it's still clearly visible, which suggests something isn't seating as it should. The dioptre mechanism itself works OK (but is quite slack). What is concerning is the movement of the whole mechanism, i.e. the focuser and the dioptre adjuster. By this I mean that it moves back and forth along the axis of the hinge, if that makes sense. It doesn't seem to be more than maybe one or two millimetres, but feels alarmingly slack.
This is just where my thought was going... it looks like your diopter knob won't fully seat and lock, which could naturally introduce some looseness along the whole assembly. (Not sure what you mean by "slackness", but this diopter mechanism does normally have a very light feel in rotation. Is it any different than your HD+?)
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