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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Leica 8x50 Ultravid HD Plus (1 Viewer)

Peter Leitzman

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 !
 

dries1

Member
I have the 10X50 BR and am not affected by CA, still an excellent glass today, I also have the 10X50 HD+.
I can see you are really a Leitz/Leica fan, enjoy the 8X50s
 

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.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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