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"Zeiss Victory 7x42 T* FL" vs "Leica Ultravid 7x42 HD"

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Old Monday 13th June 2011, 03:57   #1
spiralcoil
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"Zeiss Victory 7x42 T* FL" vs "Leica Ultravid 7x42 HD"

May I ask that would anyone have experience of comparing the views/handling of those two pairs of binoculars? Would you find the Zeiss 7x42FL has a noticeable wider field of view (not just on paper a wider FOV figure than the Leica 7x42HD)?

And which one would you chose for your own use and why?

Also wondering should this posting also be posted to the Zeiss Sub-Forums too, in order to have Zeiss users opinions?
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Old Monday 13th June 2011, 04:14   #2
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Go ahead and post it. It can't hurt.

I have the 7 x 42 Trinovid but have never tried the Zeiss 7 x 42 which has a FOV about 30' wider at 1000 yards. I'd like to know too. I'm not sure it would make too much difference at say 100 feet but it might make the overall view a bit more expansive.

Bob
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Old Monday 13th June 2011, 04:20   #3
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I couldn't comment on the "Zeiss Victory 7x42 T* FL" vs "Leica Ultravid 7x42 HD" but in the battle of the "Zeiss Victory 7x42 T* FL" vs :"Godzilla," I'd put my money on the big guy. :-)

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Old Monday 13th June 2011, 04:38   #4
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If you dig through the archive, somewhere there is a battle of the alpha 7x42s thread. Thought I bookmarked it, but don't see it in my bins folder. The 7x42 SLC was also included in that discussion, that's why I looked it up.

You might have better luck with Google than the BF search engine.

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Old Monday 13th June 2011, 15:46   #5
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I have compared the Zeiss with the non-HD Ultravid side by side...extensively (thank you Pileatus).

The Zeiss does present a noticeably wider true and apparent field of view. It was noticeable to me in regular use. The Zeiss also shines, pun intended, in terms of CA control and apparent sharpness. Handling is a tossup and definitely a personal preference issue. The Zeiss choice of materials versus the Leica's definitely leaves a different feel in the user's hands.

At the time I picked the Zeiss and probably would do so against the Ultravid HD as well. The brightness, wider field of view and CA control overrides the edge performance issues of the FL for my personal preferences.
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Old Tuesday 14th June 2011, 18:04   #6
Cameron Cox
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Spiralcoil,

First let me make it clear that I work for Leica. I am, however, in an excellent position to answer your question as I have used the 7x42 Ultravid HD everyday for almost a year. I also worked as Morning Flight Counter for Cape May Bird Observatory a couple of falls back, a project sponsored by Zeiss, and used the FLs all-day-every-day for three months. Iíve also compared them side-by-side at a number of birding festivals.

In choosing between these two binoculars you are choosing between superb and extraordinary. Meaning that there is not a bad choice here. Either way you are getting an incredible tool that will serve you well for years. In my opinion if you want to bird like your hair is on fire, 100%, all the time then you should be using one of these two 7x instruments. If size/weigh are an issue or other pursues such as butterflying or odeing also capture your interest then you can consider other options, but for the serious birder you are in the right place.

Iíd agree with other members that the feel in the hand is an important aspect of this decision as they feel quite different. Only you can assess what feels better for you. Personally I prefer the balance of the Leicas and the feel of the more rounded eyecups against my eyes.

Iíll also agree that the different in FOV is apparent. It isnít huge but you do notice it.

The area where I believe Leica has a significant edge is durability. Both binoculars have excellent warranties, but the best warranty is the one you never have to use. Leica has the highest degree of waterproofness of any company that lists their specs (to 5m). This speaks to the care that goes into sealing the Ultravids and to Leicaís use of all metal body. Those seals are particularly important when birding in the tropics. Internal fogging is the last thing you want to see once youíve plunked down your money for a trip. The Ultravids also receive a 100G shock rating.

If you have the opportunity at a field trip, convention, or birding festival, ask other birders with high-end optics how they feel their investment has held up. Has the rubber armor bubbled? The eyecups broken? Plastic pieces fallen off? Ect.

Color rendition is another difference that is apparent to many people that try both of these excellent binoculars. To me this is a very striking difference but it may not matter to you. Iím sure engineers from both companies would go to the mat swearing that their optic provides the most accurate color, but it comes down to what the individual user prefers. Personally I prefer the color rendition of the Ultravid. Others like the Zeiss. I wonít describe the differences for you. Take a look for yourself. If you can see the difference then decide which you prefer, if you canít see the difference then it doesnít matter.

As to the question of sharpness, it almost seems that whichever binocular an individual expects will be sharper when they pick them up is the binocular they perceive to be sharper. When comparing them side-by-side most people see little difference in sharpness, while some decidedly see the Leicas as being sharper and other perceive the FLs as sharper. One way or the other, in the field there will never be a situation were the difference in sharpness will cost you a bird ID. To me that is always the bottom line.

Both are great. Some dealers will let you buy both to try for a week then send the one you donít want back. Testing them side-by-side is by far the best way to make this decision. Often someone immediately gravitates to one or the other for very subjective reasons that may have never entered their mind until they tried both for themselves.

Cheers,

Cameron Cox
Leica Sport Optics


BTW- On a personal note, as a longtime professional birder/birdbum let me make my position on CA clear (pardon the pun!). If you can see CA thatís a You problem. 85%+ of optics users canít see it and donít care about it. The ones that do care about it populate forums such as this one. If you care about optics for optics sake you care about CA, if you view optics as a tool to facilitate bird (or bug or other critter) identification then donít worry about CA. Just making my personal view known as I likely will be posting somewhat regularly from now on.
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Old Tuesday 14th June 2011, 19:33   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cameron Cox View Post
BTW- On a personal note, as a longtime professional birder/birdbum let me make my position on CA clear (pardon the pun!). If you can see CA thatís a You problem. 85%+ of optics users canít see it and donít care about it. The ones that do care about it populate forums such as this one. If you care about optics for optics sake you care about CA, if you view optics as a tool to facilitate bird (or bug or other critter) identification then donít worry about CA. Just making my personal view known as I likely will be posting somewhat regularly from now on.
Agree to this very much! Did not know about CA before reading in this kind of forum. Now I can see CA when I look for it, but most of the time I look for birds, not CA.

As to the original question: I once did the comparision of the Zeiss and Leica 8x42 and went for the Leica because of its nice compact size, and because I liked the view a little better and because of a few other very subjective considerations. Now for the 7x42, I think I would be very much tempted by the Zeiss, 150 m of FOV is certainly something you see (and is better than any other top-binocular, except the Nikon EII). Also the Zeiss 7x42 is quite a bit smaller than the 8x42 version and comes much closer to the Leica in this.
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Old Tuesday 14th June 2011, 21:49   #8
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[quote=Cameron Cox;2168303]





The area where I believe Leica has a significant edge is durability. Both binoculars have excellent warranties, but the best warranty is the one you never have to use. Leica has the highest degree of waterproofness of any company that lists their specs (to 5m).


.....

Both are great. Some dealers will let you buy both to try for a week then send the one you donít want back. Testing them side-by-side is by far the best way to make this decision. Often someone immediately gravitates to one or the other for very subjective reasons that may have never entered their mind until they tried both for themselves.

Cheers,

Cameron Cox
Leica Sport Optics


QUOTE]


Hi Cameron,


http://www.degreef-partner.nl/Discov...ry-8-x-44.html


Steiner also states -5 m waterproofness


As for the choice of Zeiss or Leica: I chose the Zeiss 7x42 FL's in 2006, unfortunately I could not compare them to the 7x42 Ultravids at the time of purchase. I tried the UV 8x42's and wasn't impressed.
I still regret I did not try the 7x42 UV. The Zeiss developed an issue with a wandering diopter, and I sold them to a friend of mine in 2007 for very little money ( Ä 250.- ) who didn't care about the diopter madness. By now the endcap on the focus wheel has fallen off ( I've seen the bins recently) and the detent on the left objective rim still reminds me of the drop of only 3 feet on a linoleum floor they made in 2006.
I would never choose an FL again, were I in the luxurious position that I had crazy money to spend. Durability issues are not to be expected in such a price class.

For the record:

I've been using a cheapish pair of compact reverse porro's as my only bins for a month now, and am quite happy. The image reminds me of the colour rendition of a Trinovid 10x32 that I had 10 years ago.

Best regards,

Ronald
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Old Tuesday 14th June 2011, 21:58   #9
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Originally Posted by Cameron Cox View Post
BTW- On a personal note, as a longtime professional birder/birdbum let me make my position on CA clear (pardon the pun!). If you can see CA thatís a You problem. 85%+ of optics users canít see it and donít care about it. The ones that do care about it populate forums such as this one. If you care about optics for optics sake you care about CA, if you view optics as a tool to facilitate bird (or bug or other critter) identification then donít worry about CA. Just making my personal view known as I likely will be posting somewhat regularly from now on.
Welcome Cameron! Glad to see another rep on these forums. Always nice to have a direct pipeline to the OEM. I totally agree with your view on CA being more apparent to the gearhead than the birder. I am trying to kick the gear habit myself (though I just ordered ANOTHER bin today!) and concentrate more on the birds.

So I'd like to have your opinion as a pro birder. Which mag do you and other hardcore birders seem to prefer, 7x, 8x, or 10x? Here in Japan, I've noticed the folks that seem to care more about birds than gear tend to want 10x rather than the lower powers. Why do you think that is?
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Old Wednesday 15th June 2011, 16:07   #10
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Originally Posted by Cameron Cox View Post
Spiralcoil,

First let me make it clear that I work for Leica. I am, however, in an excellent position to answer your question as I have used the 7x42 Ultravid HD everyday for almost a year. I also worked as Morning Flight Counter for Cape May Bird Observatory a couple of falls back, a project sponsored by Zeiss, and used the FLs all-day-every-day for three months. Iíve also compared them side-by-side at a number of birding festivals.

In choosing between these two binoculars you are choosing between superb and extraordinary. Meaning that there is not a bad choice here. Either way you are getting an incredible tool that will serve you well for years. In my opinion if you want to bird like your hair is on fire, 100%, all the time then you should be using one of these two 7x instruments. If size/weigh are an issue or other pursues such as butterflying or odeing also capture your interest then you can consider other options, but for the serious birder you are in the right place.

Iíd agree with other members that the feel in the hand is an important aspect of this decision as they feel quite different. Only you can assess what feels better for you. Personally I prefer the balance of the Leicas and the feel of the more rounded eyecups against my eyes.

Iíll also agree that the different in FOV is apparent. It isnít huge but you do notice it.

The area where I believe Leica has a significant edge is durability. Both binoculars have excellent warranties, but the best warranty is the one you never have to use. Leica has the highest degree of waterproofness of any company that lists their specs (to 5m). This speaks to the care that goes into sealing the Ultravids and to Leicaís use of all metal body. Those seals are particularly important when birding in the tropics. Internal fogging is the last thing you want to see once youíve plunked down your money for a trip. The Ultravids also receive a 100G shock rating.

If you have the opportunity at a field trip, convention, or birding festival, ask other birders with high-end optics how they feel their investment has held up. Has the rubber armor bubbled? The eyecups broken? Plastic pieces fallen off? Ect.

Color rendition is another difference that is apparent to many people that try both of these excellent binoculars. To me this is a very striking difference but it may not matter to you. Iím sure engineers from both companies would go to the mat swearing that their optic provides the most accurate color, but it comes down to what the individual user prefers. Personally I prefer the color rendition of the Ultravid. Others like the Zeiss. I wonít describe the differences for you. Take a look for yourself. If you can see the difference then decide which you prefer, if you canít see the difference then it doesnít matter.

As to the question of sharpness, it almost seems that whichever binocular an individual expects will be sharper when they pick them up is the binocular they perceive to be sharper. When comparing them side-by-side most people see little difference in sharpness, while some decidedly see the Leicas as being sharper and other perceive the FLs as sharper. One way or the other, in the field there will never be a situation were the difference in sharpness will cost you a bird ID. To me that is always the bottom line.

Both are great. Some dealers will let you buy both to try for a week then send the one you donít want back. Testing them side-by-side is by far the best way to make this decision. Often someone immediately gravitates to one or the other for very subjective reasons that may have never entered their mind until they tried both for themselves.

Cheers,

Cameron Cox
Leica Sport Optics


BTW- On a personal note, as a longtime professional birder/birdbum let me make my position on CA clear (pardon the pun!). If you can see CA thatís a You problem. 85%+ of optics users canít see it and donít care about it. The ones that do care about it populate forums such as this one. If you care about optics for optics sake you care about CA, if you view optics as a tool to facilitate bird (or bug or other critter) identification then donít worry about CA. Just making my personal view known as I likely will be posting somewhat regularly from now on.
Excellent, honest assessment Cameron! It's all about personal choice of course but your expertise has to be listened to. I've been birding for over 25 years and have tried/owned all the top makes (I like to think I've managed to minimise my financial loses!). Just by chance I tried the Leica 7x42HD last Saturday only because they didn't have an 8 in stock! I had gone to try the Swarovisions which were very nice but didn't blow me away (never noticed the "rolling ball" effect) but, when I looked through the Leica...WOW! I never thought I could be surprised by a Binoculars performance...but this was special.
I personally agree with your comments about the Zeiss. I love the colour and 3D look of the Leicas. Also it was the bright, razor sharp easy view they gave me. I compared them also with my trusty 8x32 Trinovids which I swear by but again the difference in view was (unfortunately for my finances...dramatic, even bearing in mind the objective lens difference). I'd never considered owning a 7x binocular but now I'm hooked...as you say...EXTRAORDINARY!!!
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Old Wednesday 15th June 2011, 20:35   #11
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"Cameron,

I used an Ultravid 7X42 from 2004 until late last year when I purchased a Swarovision 8.5X42. I bought the Ultravid because, at the time, it was the best I could do vis-a-vis my Nikon SE 8X32. When it rained or I needed protection I used the Ultravid. Otherwise, I used my SE.

CA is an obvious problem and I can't imagine where you came up with your 85%. It was quite obvious in the Ultravid and so were "soft" edges, especially when compared to the SE. Still, I got a lot of mileage out of the Ultravid in/out of the USA and it's still in use by a family member.

I was shocked you would downplay CA when Leica clearly advertises and promotes the HD model on the basis of its ability to reduce "troublesome colour fringing". The ads go on to say "the viewing experience is more natural and impressive than it has ever been before."

If someone other than a Leica employee had said what you said I'd take a pass. However, I suggest you either modify your post, remove it or forever leave every reader with the impression that Leica didn't mean what they said about expensive HD glass OR they didn't do what they said. Some, as you might know, don't believe the Ultravid glass was changed at all. Personally, I don't know."




All,

I received the letter above as a private message yesterday. I know it is semi-frowned upon to post a private messages, but the individual raises some interesting points and I thought it best to answer them publicly. I believe the message was written out of genuine concern and deserves a full and honest answer. I have not used the name or handle of the individual to respect their desire for privacy.

First off I was not saying that CA is never a problem. For certain users it is a serious problem and one of their primary concerns when choosing a binocular. Iím simply stating my personal belief that of birders making decisions about optics very few take CA into consideration. I base this on 4 years in the industry plus another 10 where I was very close to the birding optics industry and frequently spoke to people in the industry about optics. In the thousands of conversations Iíve had with individuals about optics, in fewer than 15 has an individual that was not a dealer or otherwise involved in the optics industry brought up CA to me. It simply isnít something that average person is interested in or considers. This is in striking contrast to forums such as this one where conversations about CA often are often prominent. Now clearly my number of 85% was a shot in the dark, if I were to only consider my personal experience, 15% would be a gross overestimate of the people interested in CA. It was only meant to indicate that the vast majority of optics buyers do not take it into consideration.

My basic suggestion is this: If you can see CA in a certain optic then it is up to you to determine how much you perception of CA will influence your decisions, but donít expect everyone to share your concerns. For those of you that donít see CA, donít worry about it. Decide, based on how you used binocular, which features or concerns are important to you and based your decisions off of them.

For me personally, my primary concern is never missing a bird so when I choose a binocular I look for speed, speed, seamless functionality, durability, and more speed. For some of you weight and portability might be a concern, or eye relief, or close focus to study insects, or whatever your concern may be. If you are confused about optics, forums such as this one can be helpful, but it is far more helpful to go to a birding event where you can try a number of models and find the best fit for you. The best possible situation is to go to a knowledgeably and patient dealer with some time to kill and benefit from their knowledge. (There are far too few dealers that fall into this category but if you are serious about buying optics send me a private message with your location and Iíll see if I can find some good ones near you.) A friend of mine that sells optics in California says that choosing a binocular is like buying shoes you have to try them on first.


Getting back to the issue of CA and my statements in my post yesterday, any downplaying I did of the issue of CA reflects my personal views, not necessarily those of Leica Sport Optics. I was very clear that my comments about CA where my personal views. To address the quotes of Leica advertising, that the HDs reduces ďTroublesome colour fringingĒ. They do. However ďTroublesomeĒ from the perspective of an optical engineer is not always going to coincide with the perspective of an avid birder. About a year ago I spent an afternoon comparing the 8x42 HD to an original 8x42 Ultravid. You can see the difference. Colors are a little more vibrant and the Ultravid HD is a little sharper and a little brighter. The difference isnít earthshattering and Leica never claimed it was. It was before I was with the company, but I think the advertised spec was 3% greater light transmission, a significant feat given how good the original Ultravids already were. Keeping with my bottom line, the difference in optical performance between the Ultravid BRs and the Ultravid HDs is never going to cost you a bird ID. For me personally, the improvement made in the focus wheel and the addition of the water-shedding Aquadura coating are much more tangible benefits of the HDs.

To examine the contention about ďexpensive HD glassĒ I agree itís expensive but is it that much more expensive that than an original Ultravid? Some dealers still stock the Ultravid BRs and BLs. They are $200-$300 dollars less than the Ultravid HDs. The Ultravid HDs require several additional manufacturing steps compared to the Ultravid BRs and are more expensive to product, but the addition in cost is relatively minor and you also get the Aquadura coatings and the improved focus wheel. Again, I wasnít with Leica when the HDs came out, but price increases at that time compared to the Ultravid BRs likely were driven by the economy, not just the addition of HD glass. At around the same time Swarovski had several price hikes to the original EL without changing the product at all.

Finally, I have no plans to change or remove my original post. I think this forum has room for multiple points of view when it comes to the issue of color fringing. Iím certain not everyone will agree with my view point, but I look forward to being part of the discussion on Birdforum. Hopefully my next post will not be as long winded!

Cheers,

Cameron Cox
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Old Wednesday 15th June 2011, 21:03   #12
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Alan,

Glad you are enjoying your new 7x42s! My favorite bins as well.

RJM,

I personally use 7x42s and would never willingly use 10x. It is my opinion that here in the North America people that know both birds and optics really well often chose 7x bins. There is a tendency for conventional wisdom on the east coast to favor 7x, while conventional wisdom on the west coast favors 10x. Overall, however, in the last 10 years 8x42 has become the kind of the most generally accepted configuration among birders. I don't want to hijack this thread anymore than I already have, so if you want to start a new thread discussing the merits of 7x vs. 10x (which I believe has been covered on Birdforum in the past as well) I'd be happy to contribute my thoughts. Send me a private message if you start the thread and I'll post.

In general I'll try to be as active as possible on this forum. Be aware I do quite a bit of travel so I may not get back to you immediately but I will as soon as it is possible. If anyone has questions about Leica products drop me a private message.

Cheers,

Cameron

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Old Wednesday 15th June 2011, 22:07   #13
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Thank you Cameron for your thoughts. I agree CA is the LEAST IMPORTANT of the aberrations in low-powered handheld binoculars. In order of importance, spherical aberration, astigmatism, coma, distortion, and field curvature, with CA pulling up the rear affect image quality the most. CA just happens to be the easiest for most to identify while the other aberrations require special testing to pinpoint. Even when reporting CA, most even confuse the two different types, seeing the less important lateral color error instead of the more IQ destructive longitudinal.

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Old Wednesday 15th June 2011, 23:55   #14
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There's confusing CA and confusing ID's because of it in the proper conditions with the bin of choice. The other aberrations never did that for me. Admittedly the CA loss issue is scarce, but if you do counts and are affected, it will be a problem sometime. On topic, I'd love to try these 2 side by side. I have looked through the Zeiss and loved them, but not the Leicas, which I generally prefer, and own both in different configurations.
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Old Thursday 16th June 2011, 02:54   #15
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Cameron,

I have been following this thread since my original post. I read your original comments and the subsequent response to the private message (me thinks I know who it was from though I did not know he purchased the Swarovisions...it has been some time since the two of us got together. )

I understand your stance on the issue of CA and the general public. You are right actually. Most folks pick up a binocular and notice handling first, then image quality followed by focusing speed and tension. They notice how bright the image and how sharp the image is...how wide the field of view is and how easy it is to follow a bird in flight. Not many individuals in the general public even know what CA is or how to identify it. If you placed two identical binoculars side by side (one with ED glass and one without) then joe consumer may notice that one is slightly sharper with more vibrant colors but he probably would not be able to tell you why.

I have often read on various forums that the benefit of ED/FL glass in binoculars is overstated, especially in "low power" instruments in the 7x-10x range. I could not disagree more. For anyone that has spent a great deal of time behind optics the benefits are obvious. Images look so much more lifelike...crisper, brighter and more colorful. Being able to see the finest details seems much easier in an ED glass binocular. One must assume that it is the result of the decreased level of CA in the image.

Sure, manufacturers have taken advantage of the momentum that ED glass has created. You can see ED glass models in just about every price range (from $150 all the way up to the $2500 models). Is it just marketing hype? Certainly not and I know you would agree with me on that point. The benefits are real and I do applaud the manufacturers for addressing one area of optical deficiency that has existed in one form or another since binoculars were invented.

Just my two cents.
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Old Thursday 16th June 2011, 07:12   #16
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There has also been some discussion here about the relative merits of different types of ED glass; if my memory serves me right. Some types of it might be better than other types. If this is so then there must be cost factors involved in choosing which type to use. And it would follow that there must be a difference in the results they give; within the constraints of the laws of physics in the optics of the binocular formats. I suspect there are trade secrets here too. In any case, one should get what one pays for.

Is it safe to say that less costly binoculars use less costly "ED" glass? Perhaps less "effective" ED glass?

Bob

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Old Friday 17th June 2011, 14:57   #17
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Tried both

I have used the Leica Ultravid pre-HD version for more than 2 years for birding under all kinds of conditions. Itís handling is the best I have ever experienced. The balance is perfect in my hands and combined with the 7x magnification it results in a very stable view. After upgrading (downgrading would be more appropriate word here maybe) my eyeglasses I started to have problems with its eye relief. Though it is stated as 17mm the design of the rubber eyecups takes several mms of the usable eye relief.
At a birding festival I glanced through the than newly arrived Zeiss FLís binocs. The 7x42FL suited my eyes perfectly and the ptics were impressive. But something in the balance, though much better than the Zeiss 8x42FL, and design of the tubes held me away from buying one immediately. Nevertheless after a couple of months I tried them again and bought a pair. I kept moving between the Leica and Zeiss 7x42 for months, where Zeiss had the optical edge and Leica was the winner in handling. I decided to stay with the Zeiss. Reasons being; usable eye relief, cleaner view, field of view, and moreover; I could forget the thing when I was looking at birds, which happened less with the Leica. The Leica is now in permanent use with my father and we are happily birding together.

A remark on durability; The Zeiss objective and eyepiece covers are better than Leicaís, robust and they stay where they are supposed to be. The connection of the Leica objective covers broke within a few weeks and the things were a nuisance to use. Leica changed the design in newer versions. I do take care of my gear, but my Zeiss have had a fair treat of bad Dutch weather, Dutch mud and knocks and it did not do it any harm: there is nothing wrong with them up till now.
There are statements about Leica binocs, especially their trinovid series, being built like a tank. Ever considered the impact of dropping a tank? Much greater than that of dropping a ToyotaYaris. A bit off topic maybe but I once dropped a 8x42 trinovid on a wooden floor. Repairing the damage done cost me (e.g. my insurance company) half the price of a new one and left me for more than 2 months without them. I was quite happy that I had a proper insurance which paid for it and a daughter who was so kind as to borrow me her conquest frequently.

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=200542

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Old Friday 17th June 2011, 17:23   #18
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Alan,

Glad you are enjoying your new 7x42s! My favorite bins as well.

Cameron
Wish I'd tried them years ago Cameron. Loved the "Birding with your hair on Fire" quote! Also love Birding in the US...Bliss!
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Old Saturday 18th June 2011, 01:01   #19
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May I ask that would anyone have experience of comparing the views/handling of those two pairs of binoculars? Would you find the Zeiss 7x42FL has a noticeable wider field of view (not just on paper a wider FOV figure than the Leica 7x42HD)?

And which one would you chose for your own use and why?

Also wondering should this posting also be posted to the Zeiss Sub-Forums too, in order to have Zeiss users opinions?
If you are thinking about a purchase of a new 7x42, you should include in
the mix the Nikon 7x42 EDG.

This one will be in the same class, and the flat field design will offer better edge performance, and that would help me decide to go that direction.

This model 7x42 is the latest to the market, and needs to be mentioned.
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Old Saturday 18th June 2011, 12:22   #20
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If you are thinking about a purchase of a new 7x42, you should include in
the mix the Nikon 7x42 EDG.

This model 7x42 is the latest to the market, and needs to be mentioned.
Agreed. At this level they're all excellent. It's just personal choice and a deep wallet! Leica for me though...image and ergo.
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Old Sunday 24th July 2011, 12:20   #21
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My experience with both is :

Zeiss : brightest , sharpest and highest contrast BUT more pronounced internal reflection!
Leica : perfect balance though , but focus drive is still not fluent as is seen with Nikon EDG and HG.Les interal reflection.
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Old Monday 25th July 2011, 08:33   #22
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. I agree CA is the LEAST IMPORTANT of the aberrations in low-powered handheld binoculars. In order of importance, spherical aberration, astigmatism, coma, distortion, and field curvature, with CA pulling up the rear affect image quality the most. CA just happens to be the easiest for most to identify while the other aberrations require special testing to pinpoint. Even when reporting CA, most even confuse the two different types, seeing the less important lateral color error instead of the more IQ destructive longitudinal.
I strongly disagree with this.
CA can totally spoil the view and make identification difficult or even impossible when the conditions worsen, it is to me the most annoying flaw for any optical instrument and always gives a "cheap" view (the other aberrations always come with it anyway because an instrument with a lot of CA is a poorly designed one).
A good instrument should have minimal visible CA and a very good one should have none.
CA is a detail and color rendition destructor as things get drowned in a "rainbow mush".
I've been using binoculars and telescope for over 25 years and to me, CA is THE revealing factor of poor optics.

Zeiss, Leica and Swarovski understood this a very, very long time ago...

By the way the trend for "ED, FL" makes me smile as we've been using this types of glass in astronomy since the mid-eighties (Vixen apo reflectors for one), and it had already been used in microcopy before that.Absolutely nothing new there.

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Old Monday 25th July 2011, 19:02   #23
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Zeiss, Leica and Swarovski understood this a very, very long time ago...

By the way the trend for "ED, FL" makes me smile as we've been using this types of glass in astronomy since the mid-eighties (Vixen apo reflectors for one), and it had already been used in microcopy before that.Absolutely nothing new there.
The Zeiss West 10x50 porro introduced from 1957 to 1969 was described by Zeiss as a "Semi-Apochromat" at the time, and it is almost free of CA. Better than many modern binoculars.

Hermann

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Old Tuesday 26th July 2011, 10:04   #24
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The Zeiss West 10x50 porro introduced from 1957 to 1969 was described by Zeiss as a "Semi-Apochromat" at the time, and it is almost free of CA. Better than many modern binoculars.

Hermann
For some reason we have seen in the past 15 years the comeback of CA, perhaps the result of the "democratisation" of binoculars which used to be more of luxury items (remember the nice leather cases that came with them) when spot-on optics used to be the norm.
Sad.

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Old Thursday 28th July 2011, 17:55   #25
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Cameron,

I have been following this thread since my original post. I read your original comments and the subsequent response to the private message (me thinks I know who it was from though I did not know he purchased the Swarovisions...it has been some time since the two of us got together. )

I understand your stance on the issue of CA and the general public. You are right actually. Most folks pick up a binocular and notice handling first, then image quality followed by focusing speed and tension. They notice how bright the image and how sharp the image is...how wide the field of view is and how easy it is to follow a bird in flight. Not many individuals in the general public even know what CA is or how to identify it. If you placed two identical binoculars side by side (one with ED glass and one without) then joe consumer may notice that one is slightly sharper with more vibrant colors but he probably would not be able to tell you why.

I have often read on various forums that the benefit of ED/FL glass in binoculars is overstated, especially in "low power" instruments in the 7x-10x range. I could not disagree more. For anyone that has spent a great deal of time behind optics the benefits are obvious. Images look so much more lifelike...crisper, brighter and more colorful. Being able to see the finest details seems much easier in an ED glass binocular. One must assume that it is the result of the decreased level of CA in the image.

Sure, manufacturers have taken advantage of the momentum that ED glass has created. You can see ED glass models in just about every price range (from $150 all the way up to the $2500 models). Is it just marketing hype? Certainly not and I know you would agree with me on that point. The benefits are real and I do applaud the manufacturers for addressing one area of optical deficiency that has existed in one form or another since binoculars were invented.

Just my two cents.
Frank,

I'll see your two cents and raise you two more, but with one qualification, which I will address at the end of this post.

I've had this debate with none other than Professor EDz. You think someone with "ED" in his name would appreciate the benefits of "ED" glass. :-) He said what you quoted above, that the benefits of ED glass in "low power" instruments is "overstated".

Of course, he mostly uses bins for stargazing, so the benefit for that use is not as obvious unless you're looking at the moon or one of the brighter planets or brightest stars. "Faint fuzzies" have too little contrast against the background sky, particularly under bright suburban skies for ED glass to make a stark difference.

But for birding, the difference is quite stark, at least for those who are sensitive to CA. Not only the lower CA in high contrast situations but also the richer, more vibrant colors and sharper and higher contrast images. Of course, the top bananas, which already have excellent color saturation and contrast, those benefits may not be as noticeable as the better CA control.

For example, in comparing the 8x32 HG to the 10x42 EDG, colors looked as saturated and the contrast was as good in the HG as the EDG despite the greater CA in the HG.

I'm opening a can o' worms here, but I also thought the ED glass in the EDG I wasn't as good (or the end result of the entire optical train wasn't as good) as the Celestron 10x50 ED porros I had, which showed no CA on axis and very little half way out. The EDG showed CA just off axis against a high contrast background, and CA was more obvious than the Celestron at half way out.

One reviewer even noted some CA in the 7x42 EDG. I saw no CA in the 7x36 ED on axis and only minimally half way out, not even much near the edge. I don't see any on axis in old Nikon 7x35 porros either.

So I'm a bit puzzled by this less than optimal CA control in the EDG and wondering if the 10x sample I tried and the 7x42 reviewed were anomalies.

I have noted repeatedly that before the addition of ED glass, I saw more CA in the roofs I tried than I did the same configuration porros. Henry suggested that the internal focusing element may play a part in this, but I don't think that's ever been confirmed. Presumably the 7x ED2 has internal focus like the 7x EDG, but there are differences in some bins with positive and negative lenses used as the focuser lens, which may be a factor. Someone mentioned this a while back so I thought it was worth repeating here, but elkcub, please don't ask me to dig out that reference!

The reports of greater CA in bins around the mid to late 1990s can't be ignored, and I don't believe the spike in CA reports were due to greater awareness of the issue from the reviews of Stephen Ingraham and others, as someone suggested. By the time the Leica Ultravid BR and the Swaro EL was introduced, the lead free glass should have been as good as lead glass even if the earliest attempts at lead free glass were less than optimal, and nobody knows if any of that glass was ever used in binoculars so no point going there again.

Whatever the cause, ED glass, which was used in porros nearly 20 years ago, has now become the new standard in roofs.

Something tangible was going on with pre-ED roofs in terms of an increase in CA, and I believe that ED glass was introduced to address this problem, but now it's become a "fashion trend" to the point where ED glass is becoming ubiquitous in roofs today, now even in a compact (8x and 10x25 Alpen Wings EDs).

Being sensitive to CA and enjoying vivid colors and high contrast, I think that's a good trend. However, I'd like to see the optics companies post the type of ED glass use, so we know whether or not we're comparing apples to apples since not all ED glasses are created equal (they are not covered under the US Constitution :-).

Here's my caveat, hinted at in the start of this post. Even with that (20-years-in-the-making) "innovation," the overall optical quality of the bin still trumps whether or not it has ED glass.

For example, while I really liked the sharp and "clean" images in the center of the 7x36 ED2, the lower distortions off axis in my EII and SE made me chose them over the ED2 roofs.

So while ED glass can be an important upgrade to a binocular design, in and of itself, it is only one component that produces the "better view desired".

Brock

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