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Leica 8x50 Ultravid HD Plus (1 Viewer)

Peter Leitzman

Active member
Supporter
I've just acquired a pair of Leica Ultravid 8x50 HD Plus binoculars.

There seems to be both virtually non existent stock in the UK and reviews of any sort. So I thought I'd add my first impressions.

The 8x50s are not the smallest or lightest around but they're all about maximising image brightness which is good for dusk and dawn observations.

In comparison to my 8x42 Ultravids these HD Plus go a step or two further with matters.

They retain the incredible colour fidelity of the Ultravids but also reach the point of ZERO chromatic abberation. I've tried and tried again to see any purple or green fringing including looking at a TV Ariel against a clear blue sky on a bright, sunny day. Not a micro hint so far..

Another per hate of mine was back in the days when I owned a pair of the Leitz10x40 BA/N was and still is distortion. And it is virtually zero here and again a step up from my conventional Ultravids.

Field of view is a bit more narrow but is more than made up for the increase in imaage brightness.

These are the fifth pair of Leitz/Leica binoculars I've owned starting with the Leitz Trinovid10x40 BA/N then the Leica Trinovid 8x50 BA , Leitz Trinovid 7x42 BA, Leica Ultravid 8x42 BA and now these.

Just loving them.

And if anyone is wondering if they're worth having over a pair of older Ultravids then the answer is a resounding YES !
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
Peter, thanks for your impressions, really interesting. I've always been surprised that 8x50 seems to get very little love from both manufacturers (there are not that many 8x50 models around) and users (very little posts/mentions in comparison to any x42 or x32). Furthermore, if one thinks that 7x50 has been the "default" pair in every grandad's wardrobe, it only seems logical that a 8x50 can offer so much without the burden of excessive bulk and weight of an 8x56. As a matter of fact, talking about low light performers, 7x42 usually get a lot of good press because of the 6 mm exit pupil, but I guess an 8x50 goes a couple of steps beyond, because of both higher magnification and noticeably bigger lens size. It's a pity that there are so few 8x50 of middle-range (for example, there used to be a 8x50 Zeiss Conquest, but the Conquest HD range did away with it).
I usa a lovely 7x50 porro on a daily basis, and have a huge 8x56 (Abbe-Koenig), and can only asume that a nice 8x50 could have the best of both worlds. Now that I think about it... I don't think I've seen many 8x50 porro binoculars, or have I? I wonder if there's any reason beyond habit (before it used to be 30/40 mm, now it's more often than not 32/42...).
 

Canip

Well-known member
The only two 8x50 porros I know used to be made by Carl Zeiss Jena (Octarem, and Nobilem Super), but I am sure there were others.

Canip
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
Thank you, Canip. Yes, of course, how could I forgot those, they're quite famous (maybe I was thinking about contemporary models), somehow the Octarem seem to have a nearly cult status!
 

henry link

Well-known member
The only two 8x50 porros I know used to be made by Carl Zeiss Jena (Octarem, and Nobilem Super), but I am sure there were others.

Canip

Yes, the Carl Zeiss/Oberkochen 8x50 B and the Bausch & Lomb Elite 8x50 to name two. I like the idea of this spec so much I bought the Nobilem Super, both the leather and rubber armored versions of the Octarem, the Oberkochen 8x50 B and I almost bought the B&L Elite (a rare example of a vertical offset Porro), but passed because of its narrow FOV.

I'd jump on an NL Pure 8x50.

Henry
 
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Canip

Well-known member
It's a question of personal preference.

No doubt, the SLC 8x56 has more field of view and is brighter with more transmission (AK) and a larger objective diameter; on the other hand the UV 8x50 is considerably smaller and lighter, see pic., and therefore easier to carry around your neck for extended periods. Moreover, I find the focuser on the UV much smoother than the one on my SLC, and overall, the mechanics on the UV (hinge, diopter adjustment) are more to my liking.

The SLC is a wonderful instrument and perhaps the best 8x56 currently available (there was an excellent competitor from Zeiss, though, in case some of you still are proud owners of a 8x56 Victory FL ...)

The UV 8x50 has for some reason certain image qualities that are hard to quantify, and it has attraction to it that is perhaps quite personal (I do admit that I am a Leica fan); I myself have never had a more relaxing viewing experience than with the 8x50 UV HD+, not with the 10x50 UV nor with other binos, and I agree with Tobias Mennle and others here that the 8x50 UV is an overall unmatched package that people ought to try if they don't know it.

But again, if you need or want more brightness and field of view, you will probably consider the SLC rather than the UV.
 

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Binastro

Well-known member
There are a few vertical offset Porroprism binoculars.

I like the Minolta Activa 12x50.

There is another Japanese offset Porro, but I can't remember the name at the moment. The firm that has some of the old Monk's optics binoculars.

Then the Avimo, Rollei, Belomo 7x42.

As to a 8x50 or 8x56 binocular. I don't think that I have used one.
I'm trying to remember.

There is the Barr and Stroud Savannah 8x56ED and 8x56 non ED.

I have a 10x56 lower quality, but it has problems with focus drag on one side.

Regards,
B.

P.S.
I can't tell whether the Hilkinson 8x45 waterproof Porroprism binocular is vertically offset or not.
 
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Tringa45

Well-known member
Europe
With a little more eye relief and another degree added to the FOV, I’d be very interested.
The narrower the AFoV, the less eye relief you need. Unless you have a very strong +ve. correction (far-sighted) I think you'd get along very well with an 8x50 UV.
There's something very special about binoculars with such large exit pupils.

John
 

gwlee

Active member
I use a 7x50 a lot for the viewing comfort that it’s 7mm exit pupil provides. It’s also a bit brighter for astronomy compared to my 10x50, both Fuginon FMT-SX.

I haven’t noticed that a narrower AFOV needing less eye relief though. For example, the 7x50 AFOV is 49* and the 10x50 is 65*. The 7x50 has the longer eye relief (specified 23mm) and I like it better, but the 10x50 (specified 20mm) is adequate. I haven’t actually measured eye relief, but the specified eye reliefs seems about right to me, and the 7x50 obviously has more. My experience with my 8x32 and 8x42 roofs are similar.

I am looking for a brick and mortar store in California that stocks the Leica 7x42 and 8x50, so I can see whether the specified 17mm eye relief of either will be adequate.
 

jan van daalen

Well-known member
There are a few vertical offset Porroprism binoculars.

I like the Minolta Activa 12x50.

There is another Japanese offset Porro, but I can't remember the name at the moment. The firm that has some of the old Monk's optics binoculars.

Then the Avimo, Rollei, Belomo 7x42.

As to a 8x50 or 8x56 binocular. I don't think that I have used one.
I'm trying to remember.

There is the Barr and Stroud Savannah 8x56ED and 8x56 non ED.

I have a 10x56 lower quality, but it has problems with focus drag on one side.

Regards,
B.

P.S.
I can't tell whether the Hilkinson 8x45 waterproof Porroprism binocular is vertically offset or not.
Hi B,

You mean Miyauchi, regarding Monk Optics..

Jan
 

Binastro

Well-known member
Hi Jan,

I don't recall the binocular having the Miyauchi name.

But some Miyauchi binoculars had names like Vixen and maybe other names also.

Monks optics sold some fine binoculars as well as some lower priced binoculars.
Also some modified large binoculars.

Pity they no longer supply optics.

Regards,
B.
 

Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
I've just acquired a pair of Leica Ultravid 8x50 HD Plus binoculars.

There seems to be both virtually non existent stock in the UK and reviews of any sort. So I thought I'd add my first impressions.

The 8x50s are not the smallest or lightest around but they're all about maximising image brightness which is good for dusk and dawn observations.

In comparison to my 8x42 Ultravids these HD Plus go a step or two further with matters.

They retain the incredible colour fidelity of the Ultravids but also reach the point of ZERO chromatic abberation. I've tried and tried again to see any purple or green fringing including looking at a TV Ariel against a clear blue sky on a bright, sunny day. Not a micro hint so far..

Another per hate of mine was back in the days when I owned a pair of the Leitz10x40 BA/N was and still is distortion. And it is virtually zero here and again a step up from my conventional Ultravids.

Field of view is a bit more narrow but is more than made up for the increase in imaage brightness.

These are the fifth pair of Leitz/Leica binoculars I've owned starting with the Leitz Trinovid10x40 BA/N then the Leica Trinovid 8x50 BA , Leitz Trinovid 7x42 BA, Leica Ultravid 8x42 BA and now these.

Just loving them.

And if anyone is wondering if they're worth having over a pair of older Ultravids then the answer is a resounding YES !

I'm looking at the 8 x 50 Ultravids myself.

I have the 8X42 noctivids but have not had any time with them as there in another home I have in another state. Could we get some opinions on the following comparisons; 8x50 UVHD+, 8x42 UVHD+ and the 8x42 Noctivids. Do all three have the same rich color saturation that Leica fans rave about. I recently got the 8x32 UVHD+ and I find them absolutely beautiful.

A fellow at B&H told me today that he believes that the noctivid would be better in low light than the ultravid in 42's, he didn't seem to have any specific data other than what he has heard from other users. He also said that he has heard that the noctivids have more CA than the ultravids. I can't test my noctivids until late january. So I'm debating the 8X50 or even another pair of UVHD in 42.

Thank you

Paul
 

Peter Leitzman

Active member
Supporter
I'm looking at the 8 x 50 Ultravids myself.

I have the 8X42 noctivids but have not had any time with them as there in another home I have in another state. Could we get some opinions on the following comparisons; 8x50 UVHD+, 8x42 UVHD+ and the 8x42 Noctivids. Do all three have the same rich color saturation that Leica fans rave about. I recently got the 8x32 UVHD+ and I find them absolutely beautiful.

A fellow at B&H told me today that he believes that the noctivid would be better in low light than the ultravid in 42's, he didn't seem to have any specific data other than what he has heard from other users. He also said that he has heard that the noctivids have more CA than the ultravids. I can't test my noctivids until late january. So I'm debating the 8X50 or even another pair of UVHD in 42.

Thank you

Paul
Hi Paul,

I'll try and give you some direction based on my experiences. It won't be a direct comparison as I've yet to look through some Noctivids.

But comparison between the 8x42 Ultravids ( with upgraded Aquadura coated objectives and eyepieces) and 8x50 Ultravid HD Plus.

1 The 50s have the brighter image. It isn't quite chalk and cheese but it's noticeable if you're looking at a raven on a pine tree at dusk. This is a bit extreme but it is what totally convinced me about the benefits of premium quality binoculars. Lesser brands simply wouldn't have worked. My previously owned 42s could do it though. Twilight is where the difference is more noticeable.

2 The 50s are definitely at least for me, easier to handhold.

3 Distortion and especially CA are again in my experience exceptional on both the 42s and 50s with the 50s just ahead.

4 The 50s are noticeably bulkier and heavier. But not to the point where they're uncomfortable or awkward. In fact I prefer the 50s in this respect.

5 The 42s have an advantage in the field of view, interpupullary distance and minimum focusing distance. The latter doesn't make much difference for me although it maybe more important for others.

Overall, for me the 50s are the better choice. I can also say that the incredible colour reproduction and the 'pop' is most certainly there on the 50s as much as the 42s.

I'd have no hesitation at all in recommending the 50s .
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Rebought an 8x50 UVHD Plus yesterday (not the same example I previously had): I think the only binocular I have had any regrets selling, hence the second attempt!

While I find the 7x42 version of UVHD Plus definitely a bit steadier to hold, the 8x50 is easier still for me to hold than the big Carl Zeiss Victory 8x56 T*FL I used to have. Ease of view, colour reproduction, and freedom from aberrations are most enjoyable. Interesting that many find the 42s or smaller glass in general harder to hold steady but I understand the reasoning. (Practitioners feel differently: for me 32 is a bit too light, 42 usually just right, 50 about the same as 42 if a fraction harder, and 56 hopeless after the first 90 seconds unless supported.)

Anyway, this time the 8x50 is staying. You may be interested to know I found one at first attempt and after one telephone call to the same stockist as before: Ace Optics in Bath. A very fine shop with an excellent view and terrain from near to far across the hills round Bath. I was convinced within the first minute of trying this model out again.

Hope you are still enjoying the glass, Peter!

Tom
 
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quincy88

Well-known member
I've just acquired a pair of Leica Ultravid 8x50 HD Plus binoculars.

There seems to be both virtually non existent stock in the UK and reviews of any sort. So I thought I'd add my first impressions.

The 8x50s are not the smallest or lightest around but they're all about maximising image brightness which is good for dusk and dawn observations.

In comparison to my 8x42 Ultravids these HD Plus go a step or two further with matters.

They retain the incredible colour fidelity of the Ultravids but also reach the point of ZERO chromatic abberation. I've tried and tried again to see any purple or green fringing including looking at a TV Ariel against a clear blue sky on a bright, sunny day. Not a micro hint so far..

Another per hate of mine was back in the days when I owned a pair of the Leitz10x40 BA/N was and still is distortion. And it is virtually zero here and again a step up from my conventional Ultravids.

Field of view is a bit more narrow but is more than made up for the increase in imaage brightness.

These are the fifth pair of Leitz/Leica binoculars I've owned starting with the Leitz Trinovid10x40 BA/N then the Leica Trinovid 8x50 BA , Leitz Trinovid 7x42 BA, Leica Ultravid 8x42 BA and now these.

Just loving them.

And if anyone is wondering if they're worth having over a pair of older Ultravids then the answer is a resounding YES !
Thanks for starting this thread Peter Leitzman. This thread and others inspired me to get my 8x50 BNs which I am very happy with and have discussed in another thread. Cheers.
 

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