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Leica Retrovid 7x35 vs Swarovski 8x32 EL SV (1 Viewer)

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
Leica Trinovid 7x35 2019 (Retrovid) First impressions.
My initial idea was to post this as an answer to another two threads about the 7x35 Retrovid being a viable everyday birding binocular and also about the possibility of the Retrovid replacing a top 8x32, which in my case is the Swarovski EL SV (a 2016 model. Please note that my unit has been to Absam for refurbishment and AFAIK, both the rubber armour focus wheel and eyepieces have been updated).

Given the space limitations, I've divided it in two consecutive posts.

I love 7x binoculars, I usually find a great difference in the field between 7x and 8x, something that can probably be measured (depth of field, stability due to less shaking) and something that is surely pure perception (and hence a personal experience sometimes difficult to put into words). Usually 7x gives me an enhanced feeling of 3D, or immersive view if you like. I say 3D because most of my 7x experience has been Porro prism binoculars, but after using some 7x roofs (7x42 FL, 7x33 Granite, etc.) I can see this feeling of “immersiveness” (if that word ever exists) has to do with 7x, regardless of the type of prism.
In short (you can skip the lengthy text and go to the last sentence): the view through these is mind-blowing. Sharp, “warm and beautiful” (as in "Leica View" TM), full of contrast and “more real than reality itself”, if you know what I mean.

For the sake of comparison, I’ll use a well known contender, a 8x32 EL SV pre-FP (2016).
First I’ll go with the good news and then I’ll cover the not so good.
The view. Seriously. These deliver such a wonderful view you just don’t want to put them down and you end up using them simply because the world looks a nicer place through them (more beautiful, more interesting), and you end up indulging in the prolonged contemplation of trees, branches, clouds or just about anything that appears on sight. What is so special about it? The feeling of space, the 3D-esque/porro-esque immersion in the scene you’re observing. I think there are 3 things that help produce this feeling. First is the contrast. Comparing the ELSV and the Retrovid in different light situations, the image on the ELSV looks washed, while the image on the Retrovid looks as if someone just hit the “contrast boost” button. When you return to the ELSV you keep wondering who turned the contrast off. On one hand, the blacks, the shadows, the parts of the image that give it more volume are simply on another league in the Retrovid, then the colours on the Leica are warmer (“Leica View" TM), a bit more saturated, sweeter, and pleasing to the eye, I’m not sure if this actually means they are more true to reality, but they’re like a drug you get addicted to. The colour cast on the ELSV looks greenish after switching from the Retrovid. On the other hand, because of the increased depth of field you get this transparency, this “immersiveness”, as if the air was cleaner through the lenses of the Leica, as if it had just rained. It is difficult to explain. It can also be that the overall feeling (under daylight) is that the scene through the ELSV is “brighter” as in more clear, as if it was richer in more clear tones (yellows, lighter shades of green) and poorer in darker tones (browns, ochres, black). So you combine enhanced contrast (blacks, shadows), more transparent view, increased sense of space, and you simply get a more stunning view with more “pop” (the subjects appear cut out from the background). Take picture number 1. A black redstar on top of a pile of soil. Through the Leica it simply stood out more prominently from the background (more like on those XIX century stereoscopic images where you looked through a special device that showed each eye a slightly different picture of the same object, thus creating this 3D effect, this "pop"). The Retrovid is simply on a different level regarding this. Really very stunning.

As for the FOV: it is nice on the Leica, same 8º as the ELSV, but being 7x maybe the feeling is nicer through the ELSV, since not only are objects closer/bigger, but the sensation is that of an increased FOV (I guess this is a good example to explain FOV vs AFOV).

(Continues on following comment)

The view through the Leica is pleasing, although when watching vertical lines you can notice the pincushion distortion on a good part of the field, not only at the very edge. This can be distracting at times, especially if you are looking at trees, or buildings for that matter. See picture number 2. Not good, not bad, a matter of design, but worth mentioning. I probably wouldn’t have paid attention to this, if not for the fact that my main binocular is a 8x32 ELSV, where the flat field is one of the most characteristic features. Together with the distortion, you can see that the sharpness also softens towards the edge, probably more so than in other non-flat top binoculars.

Brightness is very similar, maybe the ELSV give a sensation of being brighter because of the colour balance (as I explained earlier), but at night, looking for objects in the shadows the Leicas have a clear edge (not surprising given the larger aperture and larger exit pupil). However, it really has to get very dark to appreciate this, I'm talking about 10 PM in December. During dusk hours, it was really close, probably the 8x of the Swarovski made up for the bigger lenses in the Leica.

Let’s leave the view for a while, because another impressive asset of the Retrovid has to be its build quality. To say that it is impressive and it leaves you in awe is an understatement. They are really very small. When you hold them in your hands they feel reassuringly compact, solid like a perfectly balanced tool. When I handed them to my partner the first thing she said was “Wow, these are heavy”, but then they have almost the exact same weight as the 8x32 Kowa BD XD she is used to. I guess it is the sheer compactness and the lack of a thick rubber armour that gives them this 100 % metal feeling: pure mechanical precision. Maybe because the focus wheel is bare metal (as is most of the device) they feel heavier than they really are. If you put the front end of the Retrovid against that of the ELSV you are in of a surprise: the 8x32 ELSV tubes are actually thicker (because of the rubber armour), see picture number 3. This is really impressive. To have a 7x35, with a larger diameter lens and a bigger exit pupil in a shorter and slimmer body is something to behold. I wish other brands would follow suit. There’s no escaping from the fact that, given a sudden drop, the Leica would probably take the worst part because of this lack of protection.

As for handling, the Retrovid feel great in the hands, although I could see how they may be too slim for someone with large hands (the same way a small and light 8x32 could feel toyish for some people). Focusing worried me after reading some reviews, but I found it was not that much of a problem. Yes, it is slower than others, but it is very precise, and given the improved depth of field, it’s only a problem for sudden changes from very close to very far away. What is really nice is the mechanical precision and feel of the focus wheel, so soft, nice, even. It just matches the overall feeling of a well thought out tool.
 

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yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
And now let me talk about the not so nice. First, the lesser part: CA. I’m not particularly bothered by it, although I obviously prefer not to have it within my view. Under not very demanding light conditions it is almost invisible on axis, but as soon as you go off axis (and you don’t have to go to the edge of the field) it is present, and it makes itself especially noticeable laterally, not so much on the top and bottom of the image. However, under bright conditions and in situations of high contrasting subjects it is clearly noticeable. It is difficult to capture CA on a picture. I mean, you can do it, but many times it does not reflect what your eyes see in real life. I’ve seen cases where I could see very noticeable amounts of CA looking with certain binoculars, but hard as I tried, the photo would not show it. In image number 4 and 4B you can see a couple of times where I succeeded capturing more or less what my eyes were watching. In number 4 you can see lateral CA on a sign (look at the left side). Maybe it was a wee less through my eyes, but this white signal from the local nature reserve shows it nearly as I saw it. Not at the very edge of the FOV, and quite noticeable. Another hard test for CA are the local salty water ponds where the flamingos like to linger. Even in December, Ibiza can get really sunny at noon, and light reflecting from the water is very demanding for optics. Especially the bushy limits between the ponds are a CA killer for most binoculars. Both the limit between the vegetation and the water (lower part) and the silhouette of the bushes (top part) are pretty telling, see picture 4B (ELSV on the left, Retrovid on the right). As I said, it is not terrible, I can probably live with it, but it comes as a surprise given the sheer quality and other mind-blowing characteristics of the image of the Retrovid.

And now for the (for me, personally, to my eyes) terrible bit, the deal-breaker. Have a look at picture number 5. Just like in shoes or trousers fit is everything. I can try on the nicest shoes made by the best craftsman with the nicest materials… if they don’t fit, I won’t be wearing them. The same goes for binoculars. After trying dozens upon dozens of binoculars, in my case one of the deciding factors is something I shall call “eyecup comfort”. Other than the gripping position of the hands (and the balance of the binoculars, even the way they hang -hello Nikon EII 8x30), the deciding factor is the way eyecups fit my face. Over time I’ve realised I must have a pretty special skull and eye sockets, because I’ve been forced to say no to very nice devices where the eyecups were just too narrow. To name a few: Meostar 8x32, SW CL 8x30 (2018), SW Habicht 8x30… and it seems that the 7x35 Retrovid can join the club. I'm surprised I have not read anything about this in any review, most likely because spectacle wearers are not bothered by the gauge of the eyecups. Just as the 35 mm objective tube of the Retrovid is thinner than the 8x32 ELSV, the eyecups are also thinner, but to such an extent that in my personal experience looking through them becomes an exercise, not a natural and pleasurable gesture. I have to squint, and the feeling I get is that my eyebrows don’t rest comfortably on the edge of the eyecups, but rather my eyeballs are somehow “sucked” by the borders of the eyecup. Not nice. For static observations is not that bad, but for following birds on flight is just plain uncomfortable. My eyelashes are crushed by the sides of the eyecups. I have to say that I don’t wear glasses, and I tend to prefer widish eyecups (Nikon EII, SVEL 8x32, Zeiss FL, etc.). I wonder why top manufacturers can't simply offer 3 sets of eyecups: narrow, medium, wide, like some shoemakers do. With the Habicht 8x30 I kind of found a temporary solution, as the green rubber eyecups of the GA Habicht are actually wider than the black ones that come in the leatherette version, so you have two options (probably Swarovski didn't make it intentionally, but there you have it: regular and wide eyecups. So, it is feasible, at least in some cases. And most top binoculars have screw-out eyecups, even the 300 € Opticron Traveler ED have them).

I think there’s two aspects about "the eyecup issue". There’s the width of the glass eyepiece and width of the rubber cup around it. Have a look at picture number 6 for a visual explanation (Retrovid, ELSV, TravelerED). Doing a quick (and unscientific) measurement with a tape, I get following measures of the eyepiece diameter:
Retrovid (eyepiece/eyecup): around 21 /33 mm
ELSV (eyepiece/eyecup): around 26/39 mm

As I said before, I think both the eyepiece (the exposed part of the glass itself) and the gauge of the eyecup are relevant, because for the sake of comparison I’ve also used an Opticron Traveler ED 8x32. For the Opticron I get:
Traveler ED (eyepiece/eyecup): around 22,5/38 mm

So, while the eyepiece is not that different between the Retrovid and the Traveler ED 21 vs 22,5 mm. It is the width of the rubber eyecup that really spoils it for the Retrovid. I find the eyecups of Traveler way more comfortable than the Retrovid, and it has to be those 38 mm eyecups (compared to the 33 m in the Retrovid).

On the subject of size, find a comparison between the 7x35 Retrovid and two different 8x32 in picture number 7. One on the larger side of 8x32, the ELSV (still, the EDG and HGL are larger, and there are many heavier 8x32, like the Conquest HD or the Kowa Genesis); on the other hand, a small and very light 8x32, the Traveler ED. As for weight, on my scale they go like this:
Retrovid 7x35, 572 g
ELSV 8x32, 584 g
Traveler ED 8x32, 452 g

These are some initial impressions after a few days comparing the 7x35 Retrovid and the 8x32 ELSV. I prefer the view through the Retrovid by a much larger margin that I could have anticipated (really impressive), this is exactly what I want. Well, it was not that hard to imagine: 7x35 format from a good manufacturer in a high quality pair of binoculars (which leaves me wondering just why-oh-why there aren’t more nice 7x35!!!!!???). But then, the moment I put the Retrovids to my eyes I got the heart-breaking feeling that I simply would not be able to live with them. So, at the moment I’m trying to play with eyecup position, IPD, etc. to see if I can improve on the fit of the Retrovid, given that I much prefer the view to the ELSV (or anything else I’ve tried, for that matter).
In short: love the views, hate those eyecups.
 

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mbb

Well-known member
Thank you for the very(!) good and interesting review/feedback on these binoculars!

They had caught my attention and you discussed many of the things I was wondering about. I can't justify myself owning both those ànd the Ultravid HD 8x32 (still enjoying them a lot!, thank you!), but have been wondering how they would compare. I love the contrast/saturation of the Ultravid and its reliability in different, challenging lighting conditions, being very well resistant to stray light etc. (no crescent flare or haze/veiling).

This might be a difficult question to answer, as you don't have the Ultravids anymore, but, to the level of it being possible from memory, how would you relate/compare the Ultravid HD and the Retrovid? Mainly with regards to image quality, more specifically mainly contrast, resistance to stray light etc. and brightness, but other comments based on your experience with both are welcome!

Considering the smaller eyecups of the Retrovid and them not being nitrogen-filled, now being winter time, did you experience any internal or external fogging e.g. on cold early mornings or late evenings?
(I had the chance to experience the magnificence of the Habicht 8x30 on a beautiful autumn afternoon, but recurrent external fogging of the eyepieces ruined the look through it on a very cold, a bit misty late evening, while the Ultravid didn't suffer from it at all. Thus I suspect the small eyecups of the Habicht are the culpit and I'm wondering if the same would happen with the Retrovids, as you are pointing out their small eyecup size.)
 

quincy88

Well-known member
Thanks for your time Yarrellii. Interesting review. I hope you figure out a way to use those Leicas that works for you.
 

Richard Scott

Well-known member
I've not noticed that channel on the top of the eyecups of the retrovid before (image 5 & 6). I can see that filling with dirt.
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
This might be a difficult question to answer, as you don't have the Ultravids anymore, but, to the level of it being possible from memory, how would you relate/compare the Ultravid HD and the Retrovid? Mainly with regards to image quality, more specifically mainly contrast, resistance to stray light etc. and brightness, but other comments based on your experience with both are welcome!
I'm afraid this is an impossible question for me to answer, since anything I say can prove wrong, such are the games memory plays! However, I can try to make an exercise of logic (if this makes any sense).
I have not compared the UVHD 8x32 to the Retrovid 7x35 (that's the cold fact), but I've compared the UVHD I sold you (and you know their performance) to the Swarovski ELSV 8x32 that I use, and this very ELSV to the Retrovid
In both the UVHD and the ELSV the view was comparable in terms of sharpness, I remember some months ago we talked about my impression that both the UVHD and the ELSV shared the same "OMG this is S H A R P", something I had found both in the 7x42 UVHD and the 7x42 FL, but something I had not found in the two units of the 8x32 FL (yes, I know it is a much loved binocular, but to my eyes the UVHD and the ELSV are one step ahead in sharpness and pop). For me it was like this: I got the UVHD and I was really impressed. I like the weight/shape/idea of the FL, so I bought another one, although my memories of the first one I had were not particularly impressive. I compared the UVHD against the FL and the Zeiss performed just as I remembered, not as sharp or remotely as nice as the UVHD, so I got the ELSV. I think when comparing your UVHD and the ELSV I finally decided to keep the Swarovski mainly for fit reasons, both eyecups and gripping (maybe I thought they were a tiny-tiny bit brighter, if anything, and also for the flat field).
And now I can compare the same ELSV to the Retrovid. I find both have that "OMG this is S H A R P", but the Retrovid has something else which I much prefer: contrast and enhanced "3D effect/immersion" and the deep and relaxed view from a 7x (but remember, I'm biased because I love 7x). So my guess (just guessing here) if you compared the UVHD 8x32 and the Retrovid 7x35 would be that the UVHD are probably one step ahead optically (in terms of CA and stray light) but the Retrovid make up for that by their 7x condition (which gives this "enhanced" optical effect). The fascinating thing is that the Retrovid has everything I love in 7x42 (my favourite format, but one that I don't use as an everyday device because of size/weight) but with the size and weight of a 8x32. This is a dream come true (please, chief-engineer at Leica: please, come up with wider eyecups!!!).
Considering the smaller eyecups of the Retrovid and them not being nitrogen-filled, now being winter time, did you experience any internal or external fogging e.g. on cold early mornings or late evenings?
I think I know what you mean. I've had external fogging in binoculars with very narrow eyecups, where the eye would somehow act as a "lid" and create a perfect environment for fog. I have only tried the Retrovid for a few days, so far I have not encountered any problems: wet days, night use, etc. (this is a tiny island and everything is very close to the sea, when dusk arrives there's so much humidity that everything becomes wet). However, these are just first impressions, I have not had enough time to experience a wider array of conditions to properly answer you question. Anyway, in these conditions I've had things like a Nikon EII 8x30 fog internally (one of the reasons for me looking for a waterproof binocular), but just once.

Thanks for your time Yarrellii. Interesting review. I hope you figure out a way to use those Leicas that works for you.
Thank you! I'm really torn between the image I love and the fit/usability. I'm afraid in this kind of situation, it's always the latter that wins.
 
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b-lilja

Well-known member
I can imagine someone doing aftermarket eyecups with a 3d printer for these.

My gig with the Retrovids was the too many turns lock to lock on the focuser for active birding.

Seems like a little attention to these by Leica would get them to primetime. Perhaps that's coming - remember the Ultravid Blacklines, vs. armored? Maybe they do a birding oriented, sealed, armored, screwup eyecups with a different worm ratio on the focuser. Instead of something for the Leica fanboyz.
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
It’s hard to fully appreciate just how slim the 7x35 Trinovid is, even in side-by-side comparison photographs
e.g. see some images in post #11 at: https://www.birdforum.net/threads/w...35-retrovids-instead-of-8x32-hd-uvids.402128/

And specifically in relation to the eyecup fit and comfort issues . . .
With an external diameter of 33 mm on all 3 of the Trinovid models, the eyecups are:
• the same diameter as those on the leatherette versions of the Habicht Porro, and
• only 3 mm larger in diameter than on the Leica 8x20 and 10x25!


With my 8x20, I found lighting from around the front of the eyepieces particularly distracting, and I ended up using some slip on winged eyecups
from Field Optics, at: http://www.fieldopticsresearch.com/shop/EyeShield-Winged-Eye-Cups.htm
The diameter increased to 36 mm (so perhaps 39 mm on the slightly larger Trinovids?), and the relatively small increase transformed their usability
So perhaps a quick and cheap fix for some? (and you could minimise the extra bulk by cutting off the wings)


With my Habichts I’ve also tried various alternate eyecups. However, I often just use the regular eyecups with an alternate hold:
I place my index fingers so as to act as larger diameter eyecups, see post #6 at:
https://www.birdforum.net/threads/habicht-8x30w-and-italian-supercars-my-take-on-the-habicht.376504/
So an alternate no cost possibility


John
 
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eitanaltman

Well-known member
Thank you so much for this review, you may have eased the nagging ache in my heart from the existence of those 7x35 Retrovids and allowed me to live in peace with my 7x42 UVHD :)

I know exactly the feeling of "I love the view but I know I can't be happy with these ergonomically" and it usually comes from eyecups. I'm sure I would have been heartbroken had I tried out the 7x35's and ended up in your situation where I looooove the view but hate the eyecups :/

The 7x42 UVHD have, on the contrary, perhaps the best eyecups of any binocular I've ever used. The perfect diameter for my eye sockets, the perfect supple feel to the rubber covering, and that perect rock-solid Ultravid detent mechanism. And the view is wide and glorious, with a gigantic sweet spot and barely any noticeable CA. My only criticisms are tiny nitpicks.... wouldn't mind a bit less pincushion, a bit wider FOV....

I will stop wondering "what if" and just continue to enjoy the 7x42's...... until such time, that is, that Leica comes out with a waterproof, rubber-armored 7x35 with faster / closer focus :cool:
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
Slightly off topic for this thread, but while you're here... can you talk about the Traveler ED optics and handling in comparison to the others?

After giving up on the Zeiss 8x25 Victory Pocket (another case of "small eyecups + long eye relief"), I've been eyeing the Opticrons to fill the role of "small and super light for casual outings, but still pretty good optically".

Obviously it's an unfair comparison to put the little Traveler ED 8x32 up against the alphas here, but if you're using the Opticrons do you feel like you're "missing out" on anything not having the bigger guns?
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I had the 7x42 UVHD and the 7x35 Retrovid at the same time and I found the optics on the Retrovid to be every bit as good as the bigger UVHD. I know it doesn't seem possible but I actually found the Retrovid a little brighter probably because of their higher light transmission than the UVHD. I didn't have a problem with the eye cups on the Retrovid at all but it all depends on the size of your eye sockets. I sold the 7x42 UVHD because the Retrovid was smaller and lighter and just as good optically. The 56 degree AFOV of the Retrovid 7x35 and the UVHD 7x42 were a little small for me also. After using them a while I decided I still prefer 8x and went back to it. More detail and a little bigger AFOV.
 
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b-lilja

Well-known member
Yeah, when I bought the 7x42s two weeks ago, I took a close look at the Retro's, as I mentioned elsewhere. The optics of the Retro's really are incredible - someone said Noctovid sharp, and that's actually not hyperbole. However, I prefer the UVHD+s in pretty much every other way. I just love them. Also, there is just something about the slenderness of the Retro's that's almost too much - the long/skinny thing just doesn't appeal to me that much. For me with the $400 Black Friday off deal, the $350 difference between the two was not that huge and the UVHD+s just seemed like a lot more bin. However - as we've said now 100s of times, at the end of the day it's what works best for each of us individually. That was just my call at the end of the process, and I haven't regretted it.
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
Slightly off topic for this thread, but while you're here... can you talk about the Traveler ED optics and handling in comparison to the others?

After giving up on the Zeiss 8x25 Victory Pocket (another case of "small eyecups + long eye relief"), I've been eyeing the Opticrons to fill the role of "small and super light for casual outings, but still pretty good optically".

Obviously it's an unfair comparison to put the little Traveler ED 8x32 up against the alphas here, but if you're using the Opticrons do you feel like you're "missing out" on anything not having the bigger guns?
I did a review of the Traveler ED a while ago. It can be found here:

I simply like it a lot. I have had 2 units of the M7 8x30 and the Traveler belongs to the same family, but I think it suffers less veiling problems, and for some reason I think I like it more. In short: great glass. I understand they're will be an updated version soon, so maybe there will be good deals. I can only recommend it (I've never used the 8x25 Victory Pocket, but I understand it is optically superior -also way more expensive- but with the logical caveats of a x25 device). At 450 g, the Travelers are just fantastic. I think that, if something terrible happened and I was forced to keep only one binocular for everything, the Travelers would be on top of the list, that would also factor cost.


Yeah, when I bought the 7x42s two weeks ago, I took a close look at the Retro's, as I mentioned elsewhere. The optics of the Retro's really are incredible - someone said Noctovid sharp, and that's actually not hyperbole. However, I prefer the UVHD+s in pretty much every other way. I just love them. Also, there is just something about the slenderness of the Retro's that's almost too much - the long/skinny thing just doesn't appeal to me that much. For me with the $400 Black Friday off deal, the $350 difference between the two was not that huge and the UVHD+s just seemed like a lot more bin. However - as we've said now 100s of times, at the end of the day it's what works best for each of us individually. That was just my call at the end of the process, and I haven't regretted it.
I had a 7x42 UVHD and loved it, but I simply can't carry a x42 binocular as an everyday device. For me (weird as it may sound) x42 are in the same department as x50 or 12x: speciality glass that I use in certain occasions for certain needs. I love my 10x42 Nikon SE, but I just take it for long range or stargazing, just like the 7x50 Vixen Foresta, so unfortunately, whenever I've had 7x42 (2x FL, UVHD, BA) I've discovered that I ended up leaving them at home in favour of an 8x32. So for me the amazing bit of the Retrovid 7x35 is that it offers much of what a 7x42 has while remaining in 8x32 territory when it comes to bulk/weight. A winning combination. If there was only a 7x32 EL or a 7x32 Trinovid HD (like in the current production Trinovids) or a 7x32 Conquest HD or SF... :D
 

mbb

Well-known member
Thanks a lot for the reply! I realized while asking the question that it would indeed only be possible to some 'exercise of logic', as you formulated it, but it already clarified a few things. Good to know you didn't experience any (external) fogging of the eyecups (yet).

I share your preference for 30-32mm as main binocular size and really enjoy the UV HD 8x32. (They would be even better if they had the even smeller weight of the Kite Lynx HD 8x30, but you cannot have everything in life. :) )

While the eyecups of the Habicht 8x30 do bother me a bit, the eyecups of the Zeiss Victory 8x25 are fine for me. Maybe in part because it's part of them being pocket binoculars, maybe in part because they also have better eye relief than the Habicht. I didn't measure/compare their respective diameter though, but maybe the width of the Retrovid's eyecups wouldn't bother me either. I'd need to test it for myself.

Anyway, I cannot justify or permit myself having yet another 30-32mm binoculars, so the UV HD would had to go íf I would buy the Retrovid, thus not a choice I will be making lightly. I guess I first need to focus on my priority: complementing my 8x25 (pocket) and 8x32 (primary) binoculars with something with more light gathering for use at dusk/dawn (maybe UV HD(+) 7x42 or Lynx HD+ 10x50), funded by selling another bin :( Thus probably having to let the Habicht go.
It is just that you have made me think: I expect the 7x35 not to be enough of a step-up regarding light-gathering capability at dusk to reasonably complement(!) the UV HD 8x32 in a 3-binoculars set-up, as opposed to a 7x42 or 10x50. But, of course, íf it could be a replacement all together being not perfect at e.g. dusk but still noticeably better, it would make me save money (possible to fund directly by selling UV ànd Habicht) and avoid the probable recurrent dilemma of which binocular to take along when leaving the house... :rolleyes: Thank you for the food for thoughts! ;)
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
"So for me the amazing bit of the Retrovid 7x35 is that it offers much of what a 7x42 has while remaining in 8x32 territory when it comes to bulk/weight. A winning combination."

You hit the nail on the head with the Retrovid. That is the nice thing about it.
 

[email protected]

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Thanks a lot for the reply! I realized while asking the question that it would indeed only be possible to some 'exercise of logic', as you formulated it, but it already clarified a few things. Good to know you didn't experience any (external) fogging of the eyecups (yet).

I share your preference for 30-32mm as main binocular size and really enjoy the UV HD 8x32. (They would be even better if they had the even smeller weight of the Kite Lynx HD 8x30, but you cannot have everything in life. :) )

While the eyecups of the Habicht 8x30 do bother me a bit, the eyecups of the Zeiss Victory 8x25 are fine for me. Maybe in part because it's part of them being pocket binoculars, maybe in part because they also have better eye relief than the Habicht. I didn't measure/compare their respective diameter though, but maybe the width of the Retrovid's eyecups wouldn't bother me either. I'd need to test it for myself.

Anyway, I cannot justify or permit myself having yet another 30-32mm binoculars, so the UV HD would had to go íf I would buy the Retrovid, thus not a choice I will be making lightly. I guess I first need to focus on my priority: complementing my 8x25 (pocket) and 8x32 (primary) binoculars with something with more light gathering for use at dusk/dawn (maybe UV HD(+) 7x42 or Lynx HD+ 10x50), funded by selling another bin :( Thus probably having to let the Habicht go.
It is just that you have made me think: I expect the 7x35 not to be enough of a step-up regarding light-gathering capability at dusk to reasonably complement(!) the UV HD 8x32 in a 3-binoculars set-up, as opposed to a 7x42 or 10x50. But, of course, íf it could be a replacement all together being not perfect at e.g. dusk but still noticeably better, it would make me save money (possible to fund directly by selling UV ànd Habicht) and avoid the probable recurrent dilemma of which binocular to take along when leaving the house... :rolleyes: Thank you for the food for thoughts! ;)
I have the Kite Lunx HD + 10x50
Thanks a lot for the reply! I realized while asking the question that it would indeed only be possible to some 'exercise of logic', as you formulated it, but it already clarified a few things. Good to know you didn't experience any (external) fogging of the eyecups (yet).

I share your preference for 30-32mm as main binocular size and really enjoy the UV HD 8x32. (They would be even better if they had the even smeller weight of the Kite Lynx HD 8x30, but you cannot have everything in life. :) )

While the eyecups of the Habicht 8x30 do bother me a bit, the eyecups of the Zeiss Victory 8x25 are fine for me. Maybe in part because it's part of them being pocket binoculars, maybe in part because they also have better eye relief than the Habicht. I didn't measure/compare their respective diameter though, but maybe the width of the Retrovid's eyecups wouldn't bother me either. I'd need to test it for myself.

Anyway, I cannot justify or permit myself having yet another 30-32mm binoculars, so the UV HD would had to go íf I would buy the Retrovid, thus not a choice I will be making lightly. I guess I first need to focus on my priority: complementing my 8x25 (pocket) and 8x32 (primary) binoculars with something with more light gathering for use at dusk/dawn (maybe UV HD(+) 7x42 or Lynx HD+ 10x50), funded by selling another bin :( Thus probably having to let the Habicht go.
It is just that you have made me think: I expect the 7x35 not to be enough of a step-up regarding light-gathering capability at dusk to reasonably complement(!) the UV HD 8x32 in a 3-binoculars set-up, as opposed to a 7x42 or 10x50. But, of course, íf it could be a replacement all together being not perfect at e.g. dusk but still noticeably better, it would make me save money (possible to fund directly by selling UV ànd Habicht) and avoid the probable recurrent dilemma of which binocular to take along when leaving the house... :rolleyes: Thank you for the food for thoughts! ;)
I have the Kite Lynx HD + 10x50 and it is much better in low light than the Leica UVHD + 7x42 I had. The bigger aperture and higher magnification are the reason. The Kite also has 90% transmission and the Leica is probably 87% at best.
 

tenex

reality-based
but I simply can't carry a x42 binocular as an everyday device. For me (weird as it may sound) x42 are in the same department as x50 or 12x: speciality glass that I use in certain occasions for certain needs.
This has long been my feeling also, however weird. Especially for hiking, there's just a size/weight limit for me that even the old BN 32 was pushing (around 24 oz/680g) that makes the HD+ seem nicer. And then my feeling is, when I'm going to carry something big after all, forget 42, it might as well be SLC 56!

Thanks for your lovely review. I still struggle to understand the 7x "magic", probably due to limited AFOV.
 

yarrellii

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Tenex, absolutely agree on the weight limit (and a lot of my birding involves hiking, so...). For me the limit sits around 600 g (the lesser, the better), but it also has to do with how the binocular fall and feel (I opened a thread a while ago about the perceived "density" of different binoculars). The 450 g of a 8x30 M7/Traveler/Maven/MHG/etc. are just a dream, and actually the crisp image of the SW CL 8x30 (new) looked so great, but I had the same issue with the eyecups. I wrote to Swarovski about it, but to no avail, otherwise the CL would pretty much be it (yes, they're not as great as the EL or UV, but they offer a great view, although they look too bling-bling for my liking). I have the same feeling as you: 8x30/32 is my ideal for everyday format (or a light 7x35, in this case)... and then if I want brightness, 7x42 offers a wider EP than 8x42, but why not go 8x56 or 10x50, for example. This is the exact reason I've been looking for a nice (but not terribly expensive) 10x50 for quite a while. I've tried many things, but sold them all and enjoy a 10x42 SE. But I keep looking for those big eyes, a 10x50 or 10x56, to complement a small and light everyday binocular.

Regarding "the magic" of 7x. Well, the view a 7x offers is usually quite telling to my eyes, but YMMV, as they say. It usually has to do with the perception of space (and basically everything you see is space, so there it is). It is quite difficult to explain, but I get an enhanced feeling of three dimensionality and space, as if I could "savour the texture of space", or appreciate its density in a more refined and subtle way (yes, I know all this sounds a bit weird :D. It's Friday night, but I swear I haven't had a sip, heheh).

Let me put it this way. I don't know if you've made the experiment of watching a bird in some nearby bushes, close range (say 7 to 15 meters away) both with roof and a Porro prism binoculars and look back and forth between them. At such a close range, the latter offers a very different experience of space. I remember doing this experiment between two mighty 8x32 alphas (ELSV and UVHD) and a modest EII 8x30... and the Porro was just in another level, the view was so much more pleasurable, and also provided a more detailed information about where in the space was the action happening. Well, if you know what I mean by this, in my experience 7x offers an experience that, while not matching the roof-porro difference at close range, can be explained in a similar way: it's the experience of space (coupled with a really relaxing steadiness, that makes for an enhanced perception of detail). In the case of something like the 7x42 UVHD or the 7x42 FL, the bright view together with a generous FOV and the 7x sense of space simply offer an amazing experience (I think the 7x42 FL has given me some of the most amazing images; talking about pure "retinal pleasure"). Now enter the 7x35 Retrovid. You have all of that... at 570 g and a tad smaller than a EL 8x32. I've been using both again today and the transparency of the Retrovid is mind-blowing, really.
 

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