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7x42: evaluating UVHD+ definition against Abbe-König Zeisses (1 Viewer)

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Utmost heresy about to be uttered but this is a serious question. I am a great Leica fan (appreciator would be a better description) and every time I look through the 7x42 UVHD+ it is a very special view - easy, relaxed, colourful and very three-dimensional. Also contrasty but see below for the next bit...

... I am also lucky to have some excellent Abbe-König glass from Carl Zeiss and of course those bins have their own unique combination of qualities. In particular I notice something extra about the definition of fine detail.

So what I am wondering is if my UV is a bit off from best alignment or if it is to be expected (in view of all the Leica's other fine points) that a longer, larger design as in the case of 7x42 BGAT*P* and 7x42 T*FL with AK glass would be better in that one aspect. I notice it even more in the 8x42 HT but that is an unfair comparison as you would already expect to see more detail in a higher magnification.

What made me think of this was chancing in a book on a comment that in the old pre-war days lenses for the Contax 35mm camera (i.e. Zeiss) were optimized for resolution whereas the Leitz lenses for the Leica put the emphasis on contrast. That would be out of date long ago but it got me thinking and comparing.

Anyone else who has or has had access to the UVHD in its Plus iteration and one or both (or all three) of these AK Zs care to comment? Incidentally today has been a good day to check these bins, as the wet totally overcast weather and suffused non-directional lighting has meant a complete absence from glare/flare/reflections (never quite sure of the difference here but that can keep till another day).

Tom
 
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Pinewood

New York correspondent
United States
...
What made me think of this was chancing in a book on a comment that in the old pre-war days lenses for the Contax 35mm camera (i.e. Zeiss) were optimized for resolution whereas the Leitz lenses for the Leica put the emphasis on contrast. That would be out of date long ago but it got me thinking and comparing.


Tom

Hello Tom,

It was still Leica practice in the late 1960's.

Stay safe,
Arthur
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Utmost heresy about to be uttered but this is a serious question. I am a great Leica fan (appreciator would be a better description) and every time I look through the 7x42 UVHD+ it is a very special view - easy, relaxed, colourful and very three-dimensional. Also contrasty but see below for the next bit...

... I am also lucky to have some excellent Abbe-König glass from Carl Zeiss and of course those bins have their own unique combination of qualities. In particular I notice something extra about the definition of fine detail.

So what I am wondering is if my UV is a bit off from best alignment or if it is to be expected (in view of all the Leica's other fine points) that a longer, larger design as in the case of 7x42 BGAT*P* and 7x42 T*FL with AK glass would be better in that one aspect. I notice it even more in the 8x42 HT but that is an unfair comparison as you would already expect to see more detail in a higher magnification.

What made me think of this was chancing in a book on a comment that in the old pre-war days lenses for the Contax 35mm camera (i.e. Zeiss) were optimized for resolution whereas the Leitz lenses for the Leica put the emphasis on contrast. That would be out of date long ago but it got me thinking and comparing.

Anyone else who has or has had access to the UVHD in its Plus iteration and one or both (or all three) of these AK Zs care to comment? Incidentally today has been a good day to check these bins, as the wet totally overcast weather and suffused non-directional lighting has meant a complete absence from glare/flare/reflections (never quite sure of the difference here but that can keep till another day).

Tom
Usually an AK prism as used in the Zeiss will have more resolution than an SP prism as used in the Leica. I believe the difference you are seeing is due to the different type of prisms used in these two binoculars. From Cloudy Nights(Erik Baker).

"In addition to what John said, two things stand out for me from the best Abbe-Koenig, and porro prism binoculars, due to their total internal reflections to bend the path of the incoming light rays from the objectives to the eyepieces and make them appear there with the correct image orientation:
1. high transmission, well known and often discussed
2. high contrast and sharpness, less often discussed. Total internal reflection means excellent polish of the optical surfaces is always smoother than the slightly more light scattering surface of the (dielectric) mirror coated Schmidt Pechan prisms.
Just take a good 8x30 porro like the Swaro Habicht or Nikon 8x30 EII and observe foliage side-by-side with Scmidt-Pechan roof like a Swarovski EL 8x32 or Leica Noctilux 8x42. The differences are enlightening. In comparison, the S-P images look slightly smudged and less crystal clear."
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Usually an AK prism as used in the Zeiss will have more resolution than an SP prism as used in the Leica. I believe the difference you are seeing is due to the different type of prisms used in these two binoculars. From Cloudy Nights(Erik Baker).

"In addition to what John said, two things stand out for me from the best Abbe-Koenig, and porro prism binoculars, due to their total internal reflections to bend the path of the incoming light rays from the objectives to the eyepieces and make them appear there with the correct image orientation:
1. high transmission, well known and often discussed
2. high contrast and sharpness, less often discussed. Total internal reflection means excellent polish of the optical surfaces is always smoother than the slightly more light scattering surface of the (dielectric) mirror coated Schmidt Pechan prisms.
Just take a good 8x30 porro like the Swaro Habicht or Nikon 8x30 EII and observe foliage side-by-side with Scmidt-Pechan roof like a Swarovski EL 8x32 or Leica Noctilux 8x42. The differences are enlightening. In comparison, the S-P images look slightly smudged and less crystal clear."

Dennis,

Thank you for sourcing these comments. If you have time, would you send me the Cloudy Nights link to the words you quote; I'd like to follow the conversation up.

Interestingly I had an e-mail yesterday from a respected L and Z fan saying that AK glass lay between SP and porro prisms in their strength at representing small details and textures. I must also correct something I said about contrast. I think possibly the AK glass I have may also have higher contrast especially in dim conditions before it's too dark to make out all the colours, but the Leica profits in brighter conditions because of more saturated colour. These are not my words but I do agree with them. Gijs van Ginkel, if you are reading this would your transmission graphs and colour analysis that can be taken from them back this up: I am not a scientist and can't interpret them for myself even after getting a translation (i.e. it's not the language but the science that is my problem :) ).

I always end up cursing this habit of trying to compare different alpha-class binoculars. No good comes of it; it's quite a destructive process! Two things I do know; the Leica is still a very fine instrument indeed, and also (or but also) I may still try another sample if the chance comes my way, to see if it is stronger in this micro-detail aspect.

Any other thoughts from others also welcome, all the same.

Tom
 
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SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Hello Tom,

It was still Leica practice in the late 1960's.

Stay safe,
Arthur

Thank you for this, Arthur. Much appreciated. For a time I used a Contax with (Japanese-manufactured) Zeiss glass in the 1990s and it had a noticeably different look from Leitz/Leica: both were superb but I often preferred the ZC look. Not saying it was better, just different, and you could see it even in small colour prints. But I digress from double-barrelled viewing!

All the best,

Tom
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Dennis,

Thank you for sourcing these comments. If you have time, would you send me the Cloudy Nights link to the words you quote; I'd like to follow the conversation up.

Interestingly I had an e-mail yesterday from a respected L and Z fan saying that AK glass lay between SP and porro prisms in their strength at representing small details and textures. I must also correct something I said about contrast. I think possibly the AK glass I have may also have higher contrast especially in dim conditions before it's too dark to make out all the colours, but the Leica profits in brighter conditions because of more saturated colour. These are not my words but I do agree with them. Gijs van Ginkel, if you are reading this would your transmission graphs and colour analysis that can be taken from them back this up: I am not a scientist and can't interpret them for myself even after getting a translation (i.e. it's not the language but the science that is my problem :) ).

I always end up cursing this habit of trying to compare different alpha-class binoculars. No good comes of it; it's quite a destructive process! Two things I do know; the Leica is still a very fine instrument indeed, and also (or but also) I may still try another sample if the chance comes my way, to see if it is stronger in this micro-detail aspect.

Any other thoughts from others also welcome, all the same.

Tom


" I think possibly the AK glass I have may also have higher contrast especially in dim conditions before it's too dark to make out all the colour, but the Leica profits in brighter conditions because of more saturated colour."

AK prisms are known for higher light transmission than an SP, so they are performing better in dim light, whereas, the Leicas saturated colors will show more contrast in brighter light.


https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/587339-abbe-konig-vs-schmidt-pechan-prism-systems/
 
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mwhogue

Well Known Member
Supporter
Tom,

It does seem to me that the Zeiss T*FL has slightly but noticeably better contrast in both bright and dim conditions than the 7x42 HD+, at least when looking for it. I did the comparison in response to your post using both tripod mounted with and without Binobandit, and hand held with and without Binobandit. My only caveat is it seemed to me the slight Zeiss advantage in this regard was more uniform in both bright and dim conditions than others seem to have observed based on the other helpful input here. This is probably because I was focusing on this one aspect as the Zeiss advantage should actually increase as light grows dimmer.

In actual use the Zeiss advantage is less noticeable and I pick which one to use, and love, based on whether I want the wider FOV of the Zeiss or that more emotionally engaging 7x42 HD+ "Leica image".

Mike
 

CharleyBird

Well-known member
I’ve owned the 7x42 uv+ for a year and the FL for about 6 months. Chewing over any pros and cons with my no-longer youthful teeth, this is how I currently think of them...

The FL image is a tiny bit brighter in near darkness, truly excellent brightness yet it loses a tiny bit of colour; there is purple fringing near the edges, it feels sturdy in my hands.

The uv+ view is also bright and brings out a little extra colour; contrast I think might be very slightly better than the FL, it feels passive in my quite large male hands.

I am lead to believe the uv+ uses the latest Zeiss schott glass, is a more modern design and so it ought to be better. The Leica mechanics I feel are slightly smoother. Let’s be absolutely clear I have no regrets buying the FL as a second 7x42 and pretty much alternate carrying them.


I don’t know if this subjective nitpicking over images & ergonomics helps, but in the real world the winner for me is the Leica 7x42uv+, the reason being that as an instrument it becomes almost unnoticeable when I use it.
 

Patudo

Well-known member
There's lots of love for the Abbe-Koening designs here, but I have to confess I could not see any real improvement in contrast in the four I've used (7x42 Dialyt, 8x42 FL, 10x56 SLC, 10x50 WX) to good Schmidt-Pechan prismed models - or at least improvement that I could attribute to the prisms. My keener-eyed brother does think he sees a slight improvement in contrast, but I honestly can't say the same.

Brightness wise, although all those Abbe-Koening models I've noted above are of course very bright, any difference the prisms make between them and Schmidt-Pechan models with dielectric coating in the conditions I use them has got to be outweighed by eg. objective size. I do notice a slight, but noticeable, improvement in brightness between SP prisms with dielectric versus those of the same/similar format with silver mirror coatings.
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Tom,

It does seem to me that the Zeiss T*FL has slightly but noticeably better contrast in both bright and dim conditions than the 7x42 HD+, at least when looking for it. I did the comparison in response to your post using both tripod mounted with and without Binobandit, and hand held with and without Binobandit. My only caveat is it seemed to me the slight Zeiss advantage in this regard was more uniform in both bright and dim conditions than others seem to have observed based on the other helpful input here. This is probably because I was focusing on this one aspect as the Zeiss advantage should actually increase as light grows dimmer.

In actual use the Zeiss advantage is less noticeable and I pick which one to use, and love, based on whether I want the wider FOV of the Zeiss or that more emotionally engaging 7x42 HD+ "Leica image".

Mike

Thank you, Mike. That is very helpful and makes sense to me. Also it is nice to know others are able to love both. I do too but must resist the comparison lark as it is easy to turn it into a 'second place is first of the losers' game!

If really fussy I'd say I'm starting to notice that for ultra-precise focusing the Leica lags a bit behind both the T*FL (very smooth and consistent) and also the Swarovski SLC (more effort needed but very consistent), but this is nit-picking and they are all three very good by absolute standards.

I suppose it's a nice problem to have, all things considered. They are all great in their own way. Recently I have deliberately spent time with just the Leica to really get used to it in proper use, and am appreciating it more and more as a result. No longer are things like crescent flares really bothering me; I've got used to absorbing them.

Thanks for your input.

Tom
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
I’ve owned the 7x42 uv+ for a year and the FL for about 6 months. Chewing over any pros and cons with my no-longer youthful teeth, this is how I currently think of them...

The FL image is a tiny bit brighter in near darkness, truly excellent brightness yet it loses a tiny bit of colour; there is purple fringing near the edges, it feels sturdy in my hands.

The uv+ view is also bright and brings out a little extra colour; contrast I think might be very slightly better than the FL, it feels passive in my quite large male hands.

I am lead to believe the uv+ uses the latest Zeiss schott glass, is a more modern design and so it ought to be better. The Leica mechanics I feel are slightly smoother. Let’s be absolutely clear I have no regrets buying the FL as a second 7x42 and pretty much alternate carrying them.


I don’t know if this subjective nitpicking over images & ergonomics helps, but in the real world the winner for me is the Leica 7x42uv+, the reason being that as an instrument it becomes almost unnoticeable when I use it.

CharleyBird, as I said to Mike in answer to his post I am coming to appreciate the UVHD+ more and more in real-life (as opposed to comparative amateur testing) use. It gives such an easy view. I also absolutely love the FL view: the Zeiss edge astigmatism doesn't bother me when looking at birds - I only notice it in idle tests - and I have come to appreciate its contrast, handling ease and fantastic focuser. Interestingly handlin-wise to me they are both first class, as you might expect, but I'd probably put the Z in first position and the L in second position next to the SLC. The Dialyt is an all time favourite but like trains and cars and everything else takes just a bit more work than the modern stuff (which can make it more rewarding possibly).

Tom
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
There's lots of love for the Abbe-Koening designs here, but I have to confess I could not see any real improvement in contrast in the four I've used (7x42 Dialyt, 8x42 FL, 10x56 SLC, 10x50 WX) to good Schmidt-Pechan prismed models - or at least improvement that I could attribute to the prisms. My keener-eyed brother does think he sees a slight improvement in contrast, but I honestly can't say the same.

Brightness wise, although all those Abbe-Koening models I've noted above are of course very bright, any difference the prisms make between them and Schmidt-Pechan models with dielectric coating in the conditions I use them has got to be outweighed by eg. objective size. I do notice a slight, but noticeable, improvement in brightness between SP prisms with dielectric versus those of the same/similar format with silver mirror coatings.

Interesting what you say about what you and your brother separately see. I will admit that some issues I have when making comparisons I really have to blame my eyes for, not the instruments I am looking through. Looking yesterday or the day before I did quickly compare the AKs against the Leica and on that occasion: dim light just bright enough to tell apart the colours, my feeling was that the Leica did best. Maybe that's to do with the saturation; maybe I fooled myself. They were all very good, and I have to admit I don't remember how different views through silver mirror coatings looked by comparison.

Tom
 

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