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Zeiss 8x32 FL vs Leica UV HD+ 8x32

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Old Saturday 23rd May 2020, 08:40   #1
LucaPCP
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Zeiss 8x32 FL vs Leica UV HD+ 8x32

I am considering getting 8x32 binoculars. I currently have Zeiss Victory Pocket 8x25, and I am looking for compact binoculars that would give me a bit more brightness, and even easier viewing, than the Zeiss Pockets. I am looking mainly at the Zeiss 8x32 FL, and at the Leica UV HD+ 8x32.
I have been reading here comparisons between the Zeiss FL and the Leica UV on the forum, but I cannot quite understand how they differ.

Of the FL, I hear that they are marvelous, but also that the eye placement can be difficult. Of the Leica, I hear that they are equally marvelous, but many people mention the short eyecups, so I don't know how easy the view is in practice.


I think what I am mostly looking for is:
- Relaxed, easy view with easy eye placement is one of the most important attributes, or else I can use my 8x25 Victory Pockets.
- Eye relief not a big factor (I would use them w/o glasses)
- Flare / backlight resistance very important (lots of sun in California, and I use them also in Winter with snow).
- Smoothness of use important (focuser, general handling).

If you have had both of Zeiss 8x32 FL and Leica UV HD+ 8x32, how would you compare them?
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Old Saturday 23rd May 2020, 09:40   #2
Conndomat
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Hello LucaPCP,

the Zeiss is a bit larger, eye relief 15.5mm, the Leica is only 13.5mm, I can see the entire field of view with the Zeiss with eyeglasses, this is not possible with the Leica!
The zeiss has a larger field of view 140 / 1000m. compared to Leica 136 / 1000m.
In my opinion, the Zeiss is also a little bit brighter.
Personally I would prefer the Zeiss, I think the 8x32 from the Victory series is a very good pair of binoculars, but you should definitely test both glasses yourself, that is the safest way.

Andreas
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Old Saturday 23rd May 2020, 13:24   #3
lmans66
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I was just testing a 8x25 Victory and a Meopta MeoStar 8x32B1.1 side-by-side.... you might want to give the Meostar a look as I was impressed enough to keep it as it is a mid priced bin that I feel can compete against the Zeiss 8x32FL. Or if you want to wait, look at the upcoming 8x32SF by Zeiss if you want to pay 'alpha $" as your choices seem to lean to.


I returned the 8x25, too small, dark...but wonderful focus. A great Traveling pair but I can see why you would move 'up to the 32's'

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Old Saturday 23rd May 2020, 14:07   #4
[email protected]mcast.n
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I have had both the Zeiss FL 8x32 and the Leica Ultravid HD+ 8x32. They are both good at glare control but the Zeiss FL will be a little brighter and it control's CA better if you don't like CA. The Zeiss has a little bigger FOV and less distortion also but Leica's in general have nice warm saturated color's. From the factory the Leica will have a smoother focuser than the Zeiss but you can send the Zeiss in for service and get the focuser adjusted so it is smoother. I think you would like the Zeiss 8x32 FL between the two for those reason's. You mention smoothness of use and a smooth focuser and easy eye placement as being important. The Swarovski 8x32 EL has easy eye placement but it is poor at glare control. The Meopta Meostar 8x32 is a nice binocular but it is a notch down from the top alpha's IMO. The 8x32 binocular with the smoothest focuser and having the easiest eye placement and is excellent at glare control is the Nikon EDG 8x32 which you can still get from Japan. That is what I use. It is probably the best 8x32 you can buy.

https://www.allbinos.com/allbinos_ra...king-8x32.html

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Old Saturday 23rd May 2020, 14:21   #5
John Frink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LucaPCP View Post

I think what I am mostly looking for is:
- Relaxed, easy view with easy eye placement.
- Eye relief not a big factor (I would use them w/o glasses)
- Flare / backlight resistance very important.
- Smoothness of use important (focuser, general handling).
I have the 8x32 FL, UVHD+, and MeoStar; in my opinion you can't go wrong with any of them, they are all superb binos. Very subjectively, to me the view through the FL feels precise but a bit "cold"; the UV's view feels "warm" and "lively", and the MeoStar is somewhere in between. Eye placement for me is equally easy with all of them, I've had no problems with glare or flare, and all three are very compact, with excellent ergonomics, again in my opinion.

Ideally, as they say, you should try them all and see which one "fits" you best; but if you can't do that, just choose one and enjoy a great bino.

Hope this helps,

John
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Old Saturday 23rd May 2020, 19:50   #6
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I have the UVHD (not plus) and Cabelas Euro HD (Meostar) in 8x32. Won’t comment much on the FL.

If you want the absolute smallest and lightest option while still being great optically, the Leica is the winner. It is noticeably smaller and lighter than the Meostar, which is not very big. The FL and the Meostar are a smidge longer and have fatter more curved barrels (I believe the FL is a bit fatter than the Meostar).

The UVHD are extremely bright and sharp, with superb contrast and very neutral and well saturated colors. In field use they appear to have a huge sweet spot, and a very transparent view. IMO they the very best execution of a binocular that is extremely small, but still *extremely* good (alpha level) optically. There are 8x32 that have wider FOV, or sharper edges, or less pincushion, or better eye relief... but anything better optically is larger and heavier. My wife has tiny hands and a very narrow IPD and hates heavy binoculars, and she loves the Leica 8x32 more than anything she’s ever tried.

The Euro HD / Meostar are objectively a bit behind the UVHD optically. The sweet is a bit smaller (but still very large), they have a bit more distortion, a hair less contrast, and most of all the color balance is not as superb, as they have a slight yellow/green color bias due to a drop-off in the transmission of the blue/violet end of the spectrum. On the plus side, the Meopta has a wider FOV for more of a “walk in” feel, and excellent CA control as good as the Leicas.

HOWEVER — I greatly prefer the Euros to the Leicas for ME! The fact that the UVHD is ~5% better optically pales in comparison to the fact that I find the Euros to be much better ergonomically. The slightly larger curved barrels, thumb indents, and slightly increased bulk actually makes them much more comfortable to hold. They slip into my hand like an old friend. I don’t have huge hands, but whereas my wife adores the UVHD for me they are just a bit too small. The Meoptas are a couple oz heavier, but the superior grip and extra weight gives them amazing balance such that it’s much more comfortable for me to glass with them, and I don’t feel the extra weight at all when they are up to my eyes. Plus, due to whatever combination of factors (eye relief, eyepiece design etc) the Meoptas are much less finicky for me to get a clean view. I just slap them up my face and get this easy, wide, clean view. The Leicas require my to fuss more trying to get the exact right balance of IPD, eyecup extension, balance point on my eye socket, etc. The big centrally placed focus knob and position of the thumb indents keeps your hands away from your face which further helps the balance. Even though the Leica eyecups and rubber armor texture are just a bit nicer than the Meoptas, I find the handling and comfort of the Meoptas to be far superior TO ME.

So, just to echo others — nothing is more important than finding a bin that FITS. All your choices are excellent optically, so it’s more about the little stuff.
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Old Saturday 23rd May 2020, 20:16   #7
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(On the flip side, if your main priority is the absolute best optical quality and you don’t mind a bit of extra physical size, or paying too dollar, then I would probably wait for the Zeiss 8x32 SF)

Also, since you mentioned glare/flare control, did want to note that both the UVHD and Meopta are excellent in this regard, the Leica probably a bit better. Not the best I’ve ever seen, but both are way above average. I don’t find glare to be a huge issue with either bin birding in SoCal.
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Old Saturday 23rd May 2020, 22:08   #8
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Originally Posted by LucaPCP View Post
...I am looking mainly at the Zeiss 8x32 FL, and at the Leica UV HD+ 8x32...
When it comes to these two, both of which I like for their pack size (in practice, identically small), for me the most significant differences are as follows:

Zeiss--longer eye-relief, superbly sharp and clean central view but with astigmatism off-axis, finicky eye placement to avoid even more astigmatism, very smooth and precise focus from 5 ft to infinity is great for butterflies, bright.

Leica--shorter eye relief not so great w/glasses, otherwise easy view compared to the Zeiss but suffers from a bit of chromatic aberration which detracts from views of very small details, focus can be a little sticky, pretty view and bin.

--AP
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Old Sunday 24th May 2020, 01:13   #9
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We used to own both (along with 8x30 CL, 8x32 EL, 8x32 Meostar), but when it came time to make room in the safe for a 7x35 Retrovid, the FL was the one we sold. Both are excellent as one could reasonably expect, but I preferred the slightly smoother focus wheel of the Leica, along with it’s small size and beautiful appearance. I also greatly preferred the warmer color presentation and slightly better contrast of the Leica too.

The only thing I don’t care for about the UVHD+ is the short ER. Fortunately, I also have an 8x32 EL SV for when I am viewing with sunglasses, so I’m not too bothered by this.
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Old Sunday 24th May 2020, 05:55   #10
LucaPCP
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Thank you for all the comments, this is really very insightful. I generally use binoculars without sunglasses. The exception is when I am mountain biking, but for that I take my Zeiss Terra 8x25, which are really quite good, and which I mind a bit less endangering -- nothing ever happened to them, but there's always the risk of a fall, or mud. The Terras live in the side pocket of my mountain biking backpack.

Given that eye relief is not so critical, I am leaning a bit towards the Leica, due to the nicer way the diopter is implemented, and the lower weight. I really like diopters with clear indications of the settings.
Thank you for bringing the Meopta to my attention!

Today btw on the Sierra I saw many nice birds, including Mountain Chickadees, Steller Jays, Dark-eyed Juncos, and I heard a Soothy Grouse! I did not see the grouse; finding one after hearing it is a matter of luck and takes long time, their call is so low that it's difficult to figure out their location. Oh and a yellow warbler too, my first!
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Old Sunday 24th May 2020, 06:48   #11
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I cannot comment on the 8x32, but I did try the 7x42 variants of FL and UV when buying my binoculars and found the UV totally unsuited to my eyes - definitely try before you buy, don’t just go by specs and recommendations, as this took me by surprise at the time, and I thought I might have a hard time comparing.

You may find both are usable to you, but don’t take any blind buying risks.
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Old Sunday 24th May 2020, 08:43   #12
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Thank you for bringing the Meopta to my attention!
Have you considered the Kowa Genesis 8x33 ?

Its a real contender in the class.
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