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Any experience with the 10x40 Retrovid? (1 Viewer)

John M Robinson

Well-known member
I’ve had my 7x35 Retrovids almost a year now and am very happy with them. Optically they are on par with my Ultravids, but in a much handier package. The 42 size Ultravids have more comfortable eyecups, but that’s it. I own SE 8x32 and 10x42, but rarely use the 10x42s due to their large size. I also hardly ever use my 8x42 Ultravids for the same reason. I’m wondering how comfortable the 10x40 Retrovids are?
 
I have the 10x40. The minimum focus distance is close to 5m and that's bitten me in the past. Otherwise they are very similar to the 7x35 in handling and ergonomics. Very slender and elegant binoculars.

I have mostly 8x binoculars, the only 10x I have are a Leica Ultravid 10x50 used mostly for astronomy, a Canon 10x42L IS I seldom use because of the weight, and a Nikon 10x25 Stabilized (Japan import) that is excellent and tiny, but eats through batteries like there's not tomorrow (fortunately it does take rechargeables).

I have the 8x42 Ultravid BL, and if push came to shove I'd take it over the Retrovid, the focus wheel is much faster and ergonomic, if less pretty. I don't think I'd prefer a rubber-armored Ultravid, however. Leather binoculars are just so much nicer.
 
Yes, the close focus...I forgot about that and yes, the 8x40 wouldn't due me much good as I enjoy looking at birds up close when I find them. Even the Retro 7x35 at 12" or so is unacceptable so sometimes I toss in my Meostar. I can understand they are true to the original form but that close focus is not acceptable by any means. I have thought of picking up a Trini newer version though.

So the BL has rubber armor...is that what you are saying and that you like it over the Ultravid or am I reading you wrong? jim
 
I might be the only one on here who doesn’t care a whit about close focus. Most of the things I’m looking at are hundreds of yards up to miles away, that’s not an issue. All that said, I’m rethinking my whole idea of a lightweight, trim 10x40 after trying various 10x42 Zeiss, Swarovski NL, EL and Noctovid today.

That’s a story for another thread. Regarding the bL-BR Ultravid, I’ve owned a nice 8x42 BR for over ten years. I love it’s optics but thought it was too bulky and heavy for the mountain hiking I do, so I usually carry my 8x32 SEs and now my 7x35 Retrovids. If I could have I would have bought 8x42 BLs instead, they are like 24 oz and trimmer than the BR version. Not as small as the Retrovid but 100% waterproof.
 
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So the BL has rubber armor...is that what you are saying and that you like it over the Ultravid or am I reading you wrong? jim

No, the BL is leather and has a fitted hard leather case. Sadly it’s been discontinued.

 
...the BL is leather and has a fitted hard leather case.
Leather is a natural covering for animals and it's sad to see vinyl being called the same thing here. Leica has actually made leather covered binoculars but the BL lines are not actually leather. Vinyl, leatherette or some such, but not leather. Many of the cases/pouches Leica has made over the years though have been real leather, some of them really very nice too.
 
My 1935 Leica III had leather grained synthetic covering as did my later M3 and M6’s. As has been mentioned before, this is common knowledge and frankly I did not care nor did I notice any downside to the material. I never checked other period cameras but I suspect ditto for all or most. My 50’s Voighlander Prominent has leather grained fake. I know because it’s peeling :-(
I miss my 8x42BL and love my 7x retrovids ;-)
 
No, the BL is leather and has a fitted hard leather case. Sadly it’s been discontinued.

They came with a hard leather case? I didn’t know that. I just assumed it was the soft leather zip pouch like my Retrovids and older 8x32 BN’s.
 
I might be the only one on here who doesn’t care a whit about close focus. Most of the things I’m looking at are hundreds of yards up to miles away, that’s not an issue. All that said, I’m rethinking my whole idea of a lightweight, trim 10x40 after trying various 10x42 Zeiss, Swarovski NL, EL and Noctovid today.

That’s a story for another thread. Regarding the bL-BR Ultravid, I’ve owned a nice 8x42 BR for over ten years. I love it’s optics but thought it was too bulky and heavy for the mountain hiking I do, so I usually carry my 8x32 SEs and now my 7x35 Retrovids. If I could have I would have bought 8x42 BLs instead, they are like 24 oz and trimmer than the BR version. Not as small as the Retrovid but 100% waterproof.
I have a 10x42 Noctivids.... great pair. The 10x42 always a bit heavy but I usually use them for hawk watches and just hang around one spot the entire time. But a nice pair. One pair I used to have a 10x42 HT was perfect in the light against clouds/sky, but the focus was more fickle than what I have now with the Noctivid...but a thought to you.

Otherwise...my 7x35 Retro is my go-to... the 13' close focus is not idea and i know you stated you are not all that worried about and frankly at 13' ...not me all that much, but I would love it if it was closer to 6'.
 
Leather is a natural covering for animals and it's sad to see vinyl being called the same thing here. Leica has actually made leather covered binoculars but the BL lines are not actually leather. Vinyl, leatherette or some such, but not leather. Many of the cases/pouches Leica has made over the years though have been real leather, some of them really very nice too.

Possibly, still far less bulky than rubber armor.

My 8x20 Monovid was exposed to humidity and the covering swelled at the seam near the ocular. Would synthetic leatherette behave this way?
 
They came with a hard leather case? I didn’t know that. I just assumed it was the soft leather zip pouch like my Retrovids and older 8x32 BN’s.

Older ones did have the hard leather case, mine is from 2008, then at some point they switched. You can see it here:

 
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I have the 10x40. The minimum focus distance is close to 5m and that's bitten me in the past. Otherwise they are very similar to the 7x35 in handling and ergonomics. Very slender and elegant binoculars.

I have mostly 8x binoculars, the only 10x I have are a Leica Ultravid 10x50 used mostly for astronomy, a Canon 10x42L IS I seldom use because of the weight, and a Nikon 10x25 Stabilized (Japan import) that is excellent and tiny, but eats through batteries like there's not tomorrow (fortunately it does take rechargeables).

I have the 8x42 Ultravid BL, and if push came to shove I'd take it over the Retrovid, the focus wheel is much faster and ergonomic, if less pretty. I don't think I'd prefer a rubber-armored Ultravid, however. Leather binoculars are just so much nicer.
Hi Fazal,

Have you tried the Zeiss 10x40 SFL? I'm thinking the reason the 8x40 and 10x40 Retorvids are not getting the love the 7x35s are might be due to the SFLs, which have the same 40mm configurations with a "smarter" focuser and better close focus (1.5 m for the 10x40 SFL).

Brock
 
Hi Fazal,

Have you tried the Zeiss 10x40 SFL? I'm thinking the reason the 8x40 and 10x40 Retorvids are not getting the love the 7x35s are might be due to the SFLs, which have the same 40mm configurations with a "smarter" focuser and better close focus (1.5 m for the 10x40 SFL).

Brock
The 8x and 10x40 retros have a close focus of 16 feet / 4.8 meters. Can you figure out why it doesn’t sell?
 
The 8x and 10x40 retros have a close focus of 16 feet / 4.8 meters. Can you figure out why it doesn’t sell?
Having watched various companies over the years explain away why they made certain bad choices when making their upgraded version is nothing but doublespeak really. If they can't make some invisible changes inside to offer closer focus then they shouldn't have been able to mess around with the Leitz naming, modernized eyecups, optimized coatings, or phase correction either. Don't even get me started on non-1960's style black and white advertising...
 
Having watched various companies over the years explain away why they made certain bad choices when making their upgraded version is nothing but doublespeak really. If they can't make some invisible changes inside to offer closer focus then they shouldn't have been able to mess around with the Leitz naming, modernized eyecups, optimized coatings, or phase correction either. Don't even get me started on non-1960's style black and white advertising...
Leica is a company that enjoys its history-past products. Recently they reintroduced the camera M6 film… looks just like—to the tee—the 1980’s version. Little change but modern inners. With binocular retro series, they did the same. Bring back a winner. Sure the eyecups are not to everyone’s taste but frankly the older eyecups were not either. The close focus = the original and again not to my taste but I just accept. I feel Leica, of all manufacturers will embrace the past and I admire them for that.

The retro ticks all the boxes for me with exception of 12’ focus. But… this spring while birding often… I have yet to need less. Find that interesting
 
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