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Leica 8x20 Monovid Review (1 Viewer)

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Roger Vine has added to his recent reviews of the Leica Trinovid 7x35 and the Swarovski NL 8x42,
with the addition of the specialist Leica Monovid 8x20, see at: http://www.scopeviews.co.uk/Leica8x20Monovid.htm

To get an idea of it’s size, see an image from the review comparing the Monovid to the already compact 7x35 Trinovid

And further to Roger’s review, see a cutaway of the Monovid showing the optical construction
Although it’s not clear from the image, the optical construction is the same as that of the Ultravid binocular, with 6 lenses in 4 groups:
A) a 3 lens eyepiece with a doublet followed by a single eye lens (2 + 1), and

B) a 3 lens objective with a doublet followed by a single focusing lens (2 + 1)
And there is the optional close focus lens that attaches to the front

For comparison with the Ultravid binocular, see my post at:
https://www.birdforum.net/threads/leica-uv-8x20-versus-zeiss-victory-8x25.395429/page-3#post-4073993


John


p.s. And for completeness the Monovid specification sheet
 

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b-lilja

Well-known member
His review is spot on to me. I do very much like the Docter Optic 8x21 - a folding type monocular with excellent optics, that is easy to rest on your face/forehead and get good stability. However his comment on two eyes is definitely true - and why if I grab something small it's my B and L 7x26 v4s.
 

42za

Well-known member
I have the Leica Monovid and agree with Roger Vine's review.
However one does get used to using this little gem of engineering.
I really like mine , and will be keeping it.
 

Seascout

New member
United States
I agree with 42za. One “trick” I read about to help the shakes is to wrap the palm of your hand around the Monovid, instead of holding it with your fingers. You can then hold your hand against your eye socket. It doesn’t cure the shakes but does help.
 

LucaPCP

Well-known member
Supporter
For me the benefit of the Monovid is that I can carry it in my front jacket pocket when skiing. When the weather is bad and one has to be fast, it's great to have it so accessible. That's my main use. Otherwise, if I have more time & ease, indeed binoculars are easier to use.
 

edwincjones

Well-known member
I use mine more with the closeup lens attachment and looking
at small things like flowers and insects on nature walks.
I agree that binoculars are easier to use but
remain impressed with the very high quality.

edj
 

Jonno52

John (a bad birdwatcher)
Supporter
United Kingdom
I agree with 42za. One “trick” I read about to help the shakes is to wrap the palm of your hand around the Monovid, instead of holding it with your fingers. You can then hold your hand against your eye socket. It doesn’t cure the shakes but does help.
On the infrequent occasions I use my Monovid, that's exactly how I hold it. It makes a big difference. Trying to hold it delicately between thumb and one finger doesn't work for me, the image is very unsteady. I do find the optical quality excellent.
 

lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
A nifty device.... much like some of the 8x20 bins....or even some of those travel scopes etc.... But the thing is that while I like the 'idea'...when I get a product like one of those, I rarely use past the opening novelty. A few years ago I packed a small mono-scope when the wife and I traveled (pre-COVID) and I never even used that for she wasn't into birding as much as other things. And while I try to convince myself I can use a mono-vid or 8x20 bin as a car optic, I hate to invest this much $ to have it stay in the car during weather extremes etc.
 

Seascout

New member
United States
A nifty device.... much like some of the 8x20 bins....or even some of those travel scopes etc.... But the thing is that while I like the 'idea'...when I get a product like one of those, I rarely use past the opening novelty. A few years ago I packed a small mono-scope when the wife and I traveled (pre-COVID) and I never even used that for she wasn't into birding as much as other things. And while I try to convince myself I can use a mono-vid or 8x20 bin as a car optic, I hate to invest this much $ to have it stay in the car during weather extremes etc.
I agree. I love my Monovid, but I think the default for most situations would be binoculars. The Monovid is for a special case—someone who wants to observe close up in the field with the closeup lens, or someone like me who is trying to save as much space or weight as possible. Even I’m reconsidering whether to get a pair of the small Ultravids (as spendy as they are).
 

forent

Well-known member
I also concur Roger Vine's review. The optical quality of the Monovid is top notch and far superior to all other monoculars I have ever tested and the build quality is first class. And yes, holding the Monovid in your palm while pressing your hand to your eye-socket is the way to go. The limitation to one eye and the stiff focuser remain annoying, though.

But I have my black Monovid always with me - in opposite to my full-size binos and scopes. Stowed in the small leather pouch of a Zeiss 8x20 T* Mono it's sufficiently tiny to fit easily in any pocket. (For that reason I sold the original cylindrical poser case: it's way to bulky and ruins the intended purpose of the Monovid.)

Because it is always at hand the Monovid allows for observations otherwise impossible, btw. three migrant short-ear owls at the dutch coast some years ago. Of course, I would have been served better with my serious equipment but who cares when it is out of reach? Hence, for me the Monovid is an essential piece of kit.

By the way: the leather-like armour is in fact some synthetic rubber shrink tube and therefore fully water-resistant.
 

sillyak

Well-known member
I thought long and hard about getting a Monovid. In the end I got a used Swarovski 8x20 BN. I wanted something that would fit in a pocket or on my belt to take when walking my dog, family hikes, backpacking and climbing in the mountains. In other words activities where I would like a binocular but wouldn't want to take a full size one. For this purpose the small Swarovski works perfectly and I have spent more time looking through it in the last year than I have though other binoculars in the last 10 years.

I think I made the right choice, I take my little bins everywhere I would have taken the Monovid, but get better performance. The current Leica UV 8x20 and the out of production Swarovski 8x20 are small enough to serve this purpose. My Swarovski is 7.6 ounces. The current Swaro and Zeiss pockets are too big and heavy.
 

Mikewander

Active member
Scotland
When i was younger and more able, i used to be a climber. That was the only time i carried a mono. It was excellent for scoping out the route, and could be carried easily.
I can't really see a need for one apart from a few specialist uses.
 

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