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Curio 7x21 vs Leica trinovid 8x20 (2 Viewers)

For putting in, and removing from, the pocket, both the Curio and UVD are about the same convenience. For comparison, my Zeiss Victory Pocket 8x25 takes 6-9 seconds to come out of my pocket and get sighted onto a bird. The UVD takes about 3 seconds to do the same. The reason is the Zeiss has a slightly triangular folded-up geometry and the focus wheel and diopter making it more difficult for rapid pocket entry or removal for me than the UVD.
Thanks for your very detailed review, i really like the part where you compare the time getting the binoculars in working position!
 
I didn’t buy any pocket binoculars yet, still thinking what to buy. I visited the local dealer but he only had the trinovid. I didn’t really like it, can’t say exactly what I didn’t like but it wasn’t as good as I remember the curio. But I really want this one to be as small and light as possible so maybe I just have to compromise and by the trinovid.
There is quite a price difference between the Trinovids, and then the Curio/Ultravids for good reason (y)
 
grackle,

Great and useful write up, thanks.



While I'm a big fan of pocket carry with both the UV 8x20 and Curio, for hiking you might consider a Rick Young harness to use with your VP as an enjoyable option as well -- a match made in heaven IMO.

Mike
Is there any store that sells those Rick young harnesses in Europe?
 
Very interesting thread. I also am an owner of both the Ultravid 8X20 and the Curio. I have had the Ultravid for many years since they first came out and have used them on a continuous basis. I am not a birder, but I travel extensively and they are easy to bring along. They have great glass, and are amazing for what they are. And weatherproof. As many say, they are a bit "fiddly" and for me I need to adjust the eyecups slightly extended when I use them, as I have glasses. That way I get a better view. But there is no stop at that point, so I have to be a bit careful not to press them against my glasses too much. I also use them for theater shows, etc, at which they excel. So I do love them, even with their limitations. Excellent strap and occular covers also. And for all of their years of use, they look new.

But, when the Curios came out, and seeing what people were saying about them, I thought I would give them a try. They also are amazing in a somewhat different way. The glass is right up there with the Leica, if not more so. For most of my uses, they are brighter due to their greater exit pupil compared to the Leica. I also like their wider field of view. And I like their eyecups much better as they are the screw in type, which you can set at any point. That for me is a big help. But there is one more thing about the the Curios that I discovered by accident. On a trip, I was on a tour bus. I found that when viewing things through the bus window, if I set the focus near infinity, but not quite all of the way, the depth of field was almost incredible. Everything was in focus. It was like the hyperfocal distance on a camera lens when set to a certain setting. In other words, as we traveled along, I could look at most anything and NOT have to focus. Therefore I could just relax and enjoy the view, with things in focus and a wider view as well. It was a revelation. While other people were missing the view as they tried to focus as the bus moved on, for me, it was a complete pleasure with the ease of the view.

Now, do i have issues with the Curios? Yes, as others have said, the eye cup occular covers are ridiculously designed. The Leica is much, much better. Same for the strap. Again the Leica is better. Also, I do have concerns about the covering of the Curios. They are holding up, but I also have a Swaro 8X25CL, which had the well reported cracking occur in the cover. I sent them in and Swarovski fixed the issue to my satisfaction. But I hope that it won't happen to the Curios. But with all that, those little Curios are truly an amazing optical instrument in a tiny little package.
Wonderful review. Thanks for sharing.

I got a very good offer on a slightly used Leica Trinovid manufactured in 2022, mint condition so I bought it. Haven’t used it yet but I hope I will get out and test it today.


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This picture really sums things up. Thank you for sharing. I too am considering some of the models discussed here and I'm personally very torn between which. I know from experience I want the physically smallest one available for pants pocket ease of use. But the curio really does sound like a delight to use or at least try.

I had an opticron 8x20 explorer for a short while recently. It was so small and "toy-like" it almost didn't seem like a real binocular at first until you looked through it. The optic were decent for what it was, a $90 bin. However once you compared them against something more high end you came to your optical senses. That said, I mention them, because I miss how absolutely tiny the explorer's were -- like binoculars for an infant.
 
iseegeorgesstar,

I don't have a Trinovid in rubber armor but here's a pic of SW, Trinovid and UV in leatherette in 8x20 I have handy. The Curio is ever so slightly larger than these three and for most people the small differences will not be relevant in actual use. See my post #6 above for more discussion.

Mike
 

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iseegeorgesstar,

I don't have a Trinovid in rubber armor but here's a pic of SW, Trinovid and UV in leatherette in 8x20 I have handy. The Curio is ever so slightly larger than these three and for most people the small differences will not be relevant in actual use. See my post #6 above for more discussion.

Mike
Maybe it's just angles then. Here they look very similar. I wish I had taken a picture of the baby Opticrons.

Thank you for the picture.
 
grackle,

Great and useful write up, thanks.



While I'm a big fan of pocket carry with both the UV 8x20 and Curio, for hiking you might consider a Rick Young harness to use with your VP as an enjoyable option as well -- a match made in heaven IMO.

Mike
Thanks for your suggestion to couple a Rick Young harness to the Zeiss Victory Pocket 8x25. The harness has arrived and lets the VP sit without bouncing while I walk. An excellent solution for the this pocket binocular when carried outside the pocket, quicker to on-the-bird than pulling it from the pocket.
 
I have had Ultravid 8x20 and today I got the opportunity to try Curio 7x21.
While I cannot comment much about image quality difference because it was several years ago I had the Ultravid 8x20, I can tell that Curio 7x21 is better for use with eyeglasses.
The only drawback with Curio 7x21 is the partly glossy part of the instrument. This can be solved by attaching some friction tape, though.
But I have a Zeiss Terra ED 8x25 which I consider a really great binocular for the price. Compared to Curio 7x21 it loses handsdown.
Curio 7x21 is super sharp and bright, brilliant contrast in comparison. So no doubt that at least in low light condition Curio 7x21 is superior to Ultravid 8x20.
I dare to claim that Curio 7x21 definitely is a top competitor of compact binoculars.
 
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…Curio 7x21 is superior to Ultravid 8x20.
I dare to claim that Curio 7x21 definitely is a top competitor of compact binoculars.
Possibly the absolute best option for pretty much anyone.

I own both the 8x20 Ultravid and 7x21 Curio and while I prefer the Leica, tend to suggest the Curio more often than the Ultravid due to its ultimate user friendliness.
 
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If it's about the size, then Curio or Ultravid/Trinivid win.

The Zeiss VP25 is way bigger, especially with that single hinge. It's in 'no mans land' for size, neither one thing or the other. But great as a one bino option.
I found the Swaro 8x25's a little too big for a pocket bino, and have gone back to the Ultravid 8x20.
I rate the Curio as better optically, although there's not much in it, but I got a killer deal on an Ultravid Aquadura 2nd hand, and I also prefer the Leica build and feel.

Pocket binos are just that.... small, awkward, limited brightness.... but when they are truly pocketable... they are worth their weight in gold.
You will have them with you always. I've had Trinovid and Ultravid 8x20's in the past, sold them as they are a bit awkward, bought 8x25's.... and now gone back to 8x20. I accept their limitations and ergonomics for their portability.

I use mine when I don't want main bins with me, and for that they are superb, and must be as small as possible.... or what's the point?
If size isn't quite so important, then definately an 8x25 is better.... but then why not 8x30.... not much in it !!
 
Possibly the absolute best option for pretty much anyone and it would have been a much fairer comparison with Ultravid.

I own both the 8x20 Ultravid and 7x21 Curio and while I prefer the Leica, tend to suggest the Curio more often than the Ultravid due to its ultimate user friendliness.

I miswrote. I meant Ultravid. My post is edited.
 
Thanks for your suggestion to couple a Rick Young harness to the Zeiss Victory Pocket 8x25. The harness has arrived and lets the VP sit without bouncing while I walk. An excellent solution for the this pocket binocular when carried outside the pocket, quicker to on-the-bird than pulling it from the pocket.
hi👍 do you have a picture of the ry harness on the victory 8x25 s
are you using the split rings on the lugs?
 
Just did about 35miles down canal and river paths on my new bike, and had the Little 8x20 Ultras around my neck, tucked into my top.
I barely knew they were there.... and would not have taken my old 8x25's.
Saw a heron fishing, one field mouse in the middle of the path, nearly ran him over, but he stayed put for 30 seconds or so, right in front of me, a good sized rat, plus a Kestrel, and quite a few Buzzards.
There is no other bino other than perhaps the Curio I would have rather had for that trip out.
These fiddly little 8x20's really do have a unique appeal.
Superb(y)
 
hi👍 do you have a picture of the ry harness on the victory 8x25 s
are you using the split rings on the lugs?
I replaced the metal rings of the RYO harness after a while with small zip ties. The lugs on the VP are small and I was concerned the metal rings might eventually damage them. Some of the paint did wear off after a while with the rings, that's when I decided to switch.

You can see one of the zip ties in the pic below
 

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Just did about 35miles down canal and river paths on my new bike, and had the Little 8x20 Ultras around my neck, tucked into my top.
I barely knew they were there.... and would not have taken my old 8x25's.
Saw a heron fishing, one field mouse in the middle of the path, nearly ran him over, but he stayed put for 30 seconds or so, right in front of me, a good sized rat, plus a Kestrel, and quite a few Buzzards.
There is no other bino other than perhaps the Curio I would have rather had for that trip out.
These fiddly little 8x20's really do have a unique appeal.
Superb(y)
I like Ultravid 8x20 just like you, it has something attractive as an object. The quality of the design, the grip in the hands and the better accessibility to the focus wheel puts UV 8x20 in a different category compared to all pocket binoculars!

And, as an optical instrument, it has a performance that contradicts its small dimensions. It's so small that you don't expect the optics to shine so beautifully for a 2.5mm pupil. But magic happens!
 
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I replaced the metal rings of the RYO harness after a while with small zip ties. The lugs on the VP are small and I was concerned the metal rings might eventually damage them. Some of the paint did wear off after a while with the rings, that's when I decided to switch.

You can see one of the zip ties in the pic below
thanks for that.....yeh i thought the metal ring would pose a problem in the long run
not so sure about the RYH , its probably too restrictive /tight for me (?)
think im going to make a long strap & wear it across the shoulder /chest inside of my jacket & keep everything discreet
👍
 

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