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

Patudo

Well-known member
Really enjoyed reading your observations señor! I tried all three Retrovids back in January, before all the madness happened (my observations in these two posts). The 7x35 was in many ways the most interesting of the three and although I didn't try it without glasses, its slimness is so apparent both in the hand that one can easily see how one might not enjoy using the narrow eyecups straight to your eyes (although I myself didn't have any issues using the 8x30 leatherette Habicht, which has to be used without glasses because of its short eye relief). The twist-up eyecups are a godsend to those like me, but reading your notes makes me wonder how you might have got along with the old Leitz Trinovids which had rubber eyecups - and whether it might be possible for the clever folks at Leica to produce replacement Retrovid eyecups with those slightly flared rubber ends for those lucky folks who don't need glasses.

Do you think fitting aftermarket rubber eyecups (the same internal diameter as the outer diameter of the Retrovid eyecups) might work? It would spoil the elegant lines somewhat, but might let you use the binocular more comfortably...?

It sounds as though you liked the view through the 7x35 quite a lot, and its build quality and handling too. I would have to broadly agree on all three counts. Although my own observations don't sound as enthusiastic as yours, I did think the 7x35 compared very well image-wise to my 7x42 P model Dialyt (which is pretty good going if one thinks about it) - well enough that when looking through it I never for a moment found myself thinking "if only it was Uppendahl prismed". Build quality wise - I won't say I was awed by them, but maybe I've been spoilt in that regard, having had the pleasure of handling and using a number of Zeiss Wests, Leitzes etc from that 1950s-60s West German golden era. The real test of their build quality is whether the mechanical fineness and delicacy that was apparent in the examples I tried holds up over decades, like their namesakes have proved themselves to do. As for handling, I too was really struck by how small the 7x35 feels, and is - smaller than the 8x32 FL feels in my hands, and almost too small for me, although I could see how those who like small binoculars might love it. The closest thing to the 7x35 Retrovid is probably Swarovski's 8x30 CL - small, light, handy, and perfectly at home in the stands at Longchamp.

PS. my perception is more like tenex's - I've used, and like, 7x binoculars but never myself found 7x mag to have a "magic" beyond the obvious (less wobble, greater depth of field). But then, I don't really "feel" the so-called 3D effect that others experience with using porros, either...
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
Patudo, thanks for the suggestions. I've been thinking about trying to attach some sort of wider eyecups, or broaden the existing one with tyre rubber, but I'm not sure that will offer a good performance, unfortunately. So I'm afraid there's little to be done (the more I use them, the more infuriating it seems that engineers creating such a nice device aren't able or willing to come up with something that can serve a wider range of users. Such a incredible device simply negated by that stupid detail).

As for the difference in view between Porro and roof prism binoculars at close range it is quite clear to me, and easy to see. Just try to replicate the exercise I mention above. Grab a nice cup of tea and sit comfortably watching some passerines in a bush at close range (7-15 m away; backyard is just perfect), and change back and forth between Porro and roof. To my eyes, the perception of space and three dimensionality is just impressive, and sort of makes up for the lesser optics in many porros. As I said, I did this comparing some top optics like the Leica Ultravid HD 8x32 and Swarovski EL SV 8x32 to the humble Nikon EII 8x30, and the view through the latter was simply more pleasurable, more vivid and immersive due to the increased perception of depth. By the way, on the subject of 7x... in that test I mention there was another participant: Zeiss Victory FL T* 7x42. I was really curious to make this comparison (Porro vs roof, but also SP vs AK) because while using the 7x42 FL I felt I could appreciate an enhanced feeling of space, a more 3D-esque view, I even opened a thread last year regarding this issue (it's here). However, to my surprise, in this test (to my eyes, at least) the 7x42 FL behaved more like the 8x32 UVHD and the 8x42 ELSV, so, more like a roof. This is, the little Porro EII produced a way more pronounced sensation of 3D than the FL (even being a 8x compared to the 7x). So, overtime I've come to the conclusion that part of this "sense of space" in the 7x42 FL was simply down to it being a 7x, even in a roof prism binocular, which is the same I can see in the Retrovid 7x35, or any other 7x for that matter (I'd be curious to test an SP roof against a AK roof of the same magnification, 7x, to see how they compare in this regard).

Anyway, after all these words, want counts and matters is what one sees through her or his eyes: some people swear by 10x, some people swear by flat-fields (some people curse them), some people swear by Porro prism binoculars, by leaded glass, silver coatings, you name it. In my case, "the 7x issue" is a recurring thing whenever I put a 7x binocular to my eyes, but I understand if other people simply don't see it :)
 
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Patudo

Well-known member
I've been thinking about trying to attach some sort of wider eyecups

That would be worth a try I reckon. You can find quite a few rubber eye cups or "eye shields" of different shapes (standard cup shapes, winged, etc) on the net. There must be some Birdforum guys who have ordered them and can recommend a supplier. Something of about 33mm internal diameter, that would fit right over the existing eyecups of the Retrovid, would be ideal. You've mentioned using the Nikon 10x42 SE so I would guess you get along fine with rubber eyecups.

PS. I actually have a pair of rubber eyecups I bought to try with my Oberkochen 10x50 that did not work out. They are about 38mm external diameter and about 33mm internal diameter. Let me know if you'd like to try them, and I'll send them over to you. I hate to think how they would look on your 7x35 Retrovid (Penelope Cruz in a clunky black pair of wellington boots is the image that comes to mind...), but if it's the difference between making them usable or not, I'd use them.
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Eyecup Choices?

It turns out that my suggestion in post #9 of trying the small (Compact) Field Optics eyecups on the Trinovid was ‘sub-optimal’
Or to put it more plainly, just flat out wrong!

On the FO site it states that the Compact eyecups will fit eyepieces from 1.10 to 1.46” diameter (28 to 37 mm)
I’ve just tried fitting one that I’ve had on my UV 8x20 (31 mm) for some time, onto a leatherette Habicht (33 mm), and it went on OK though with some effort

However, when I then tried one that's not previously been used, it required a lot of force to stretch it to fit, and it's then under a lot of tension once fitted
(this reminded me that I did originally try them on the Habicht and I had the same problem, and they also tended to spontaneously slip off the slightly tapered eyecups)

The Compact size may be fine on a 33 mm or even larger diameter solid metal or bakelite eyecup, such as on an old Porro prism binocular
However, I'd strongly advise against applying so much squeezing force to the Trinovid's eyecup, particularly as there are other options


A far better choice would be the eyecups that I recently mentioned for the Habicht at:
https://www.birdforum.net/threads/eye-cups-swarovski-habicht-10x40-ga.402353/#post-4108246
They’ll fit easily without squeezing the Trinovid's eyecup, as they have:
• a lip at the front that'll centre them on the eyepiece, and
• another smaller lip (around 30 mm) at the rear that'll stop them sliding down too far onto the eyecup


John
 
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yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
PS. I actually have a pair of rubber eyecups I bought to try with my Oberkochen 10x50 that did not work out. They are about 38mm external diameter and about 33mm internal diameter. Let me know if you'd like to try them, and I'll send them over to you. I hate to think how they would look on your 7x35 Retrovid (Penelope Cruz in a clunky black pair of wellington boots is the image that comes to mind...), but if it's the difference between making them usable or not, I'd use them.
Hahahha, Penelope Cruz in wellies sounds pretty trendy to me ;) I'll send you a direct message.
Eyecup Choices?

It turns out that my suggestion in post #9 of trying the small (Compact) Field Optics eyecups on the Trinovid was ‘sub-optimal’
Or to put it more plainly, just flat out wrong!

A far better choice would be the eyecups that I recently mentioned for the Habicht at:
https://www.birdforum.net/threads/eye-cups-swarovski-habicht-10x40-ga.402353/#post-4108246
They’ll fit easily without squeezing the Trinovid's eyecup, as they have:
• a lip at the front that'll centre them on the eyepiece, and
• another smaller lip (around 30 mm) at the rear that'll stop them sliding down too far onto the eyecup
John, thanks for the follow up and the nice advice. I'd ve wary of putting a lot of pressure on the new Retrovid eyecups. Actually, now that I think about it, I don't even now if they can be unscrewed (without damaging them, this is).
I tried the winged eyecups with my 8x30 Habicht but it didn't work for me, I preferred the green ones from the GA version. But in the end, the lack of absolute comfort together with the other hindrances of the Habicht (superhard focus wheel, glare) made me sell them, although to this day I miss the view. It is just so sad (and probably a life lesson) that you just can't have your cake and eat it. Lovely view, comfort, size/weight: pick two ;)
 

dries1

Member
Very enjoyable read Yarrellii. No doubt a good 7X provides a great depth of focus, but hey the SV 8X32 is one heck of a glass. And you still have the EII and SE for porro viewing.

Andy W.
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
Yes, the view through the ELSV is simply stunning. I though that was it. To be honest I didn't expect to find such a noticeable difference, but I've been surprised as I could have never imagined, and now I'm spoiled by the view through the 7x35.
I'll try to fix the eyecup issue, because they view is worth it. My idea is for the Retrovids to take the EL place as my everyday device (and sell the EL) but only if I can use them comfortably (which now seems a bit difficult).
 

Patudo

Well-known member
Sorry for bothering everyone with these, but the forum does not let me include images (from my computer drive) in private messages.

The depth from the top of the eyecup to the rubber ridge in the middle (intended to fit up against the ocular end of the binocular) is about 5mm. The eyecups themselves are about 12mm high. They originally were slightly winged, but I couldn't get along with them in that shape and cut them down to a more cylindrical shape like the ones on my 12x50B.

I'd try these on your Retrovid with the binocular's eyecups turned in fully, then fitting these rubber ones over them. Ugly, I know, but hopefully might make the binocular more usable...
 

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yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
Ugly, I know, but hopefully might make the binocular more usable...
Sorry, I haven't seen this before. Thank you ever so much for taking your time and measuring it. As soon as I've seen your pictures I've realised that I do have something similar at home (from a microscope), so I've just rushed to the microscope box and found them and... voilà. I don't know how the use on the field will be, if they'll be up to anything, but they fit the Retrovid like a glove. If anything, these eyecups are a not particularly tight-fitting, so I'm not sure they will hold should the binoculars be taken out of their case or a pocket in a hurry, there is a chance that they might rub against something, slip and get lost. But we'll see.

Just put the binoculars to my eyes and... oh, the miracle: I can use them. Still too soon to tell if this is a viable option, but at least I don't get the discomfort of narrow eyecups.

Here's a picture of what I've just done. If I recall correctly, I think sometime ago I bought another set of these for the 8x30 Habicht, but I'm not sure if I gave them away when I sold the Habicht.
Thank you again, you've definitely made my day :) (isn't this forum a wonderful place). I'll try the binoculars later today and report.

EDIT: I've noticed your comment about your eyecups being winged as mine. I thought maybe they were the same model, but I've measured mines and the height of the even part is 15 mm, and 20 mm on the talles bit of the winged side. Those 15 mm are plenty, the view is comfortable and wide and (standing still, from the balcony, I can see the field stop without any problems and I don't seem to get any kidney-beaning, but this is a stationary observation, so not a real test for that matter).
 

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Renze de Vries

Well-known member
Bicycle inner tube, god's gift to the world. The general purpose type is the 2,25 inch, ERTRO 62-203. Roll back on itself, cut to measure. When you're completely on your own in the field, put them on, when human beings come into sight pull them off, when they've passed by put them on again. Lost them? Cut another pair.
Renze
 

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yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
When you're completely on your own in the field, put them on, when human beings come into sight pull them off, when they've passed by put them on again.
Hahahhaha, this is hilarious :D I like the attitude, however, personally, I couldn't care less if someone sees me destroying the retro-sleek looks of a 2020 Trinovid with an ugly DIY eyecup. Hopefully I don't come across a Leica designer, so I won't have to watch him/her colapse due to heart attack when watching the Frankenvids :D :D :D

Thanks for the suggestion about bicycle inner tube. I tried it once on a pair of Minolta porro (or something like that) but the eyecup was just too wide. In that case my problem was not narrow eyecup, but too little eye relief, so I was trying to bulk the eyecup to get a better view. However, I might give it a go. Thanks!!

By the way, that's some serious Porro action going on there. Is that the "century glass"? If so, how would you describe the performance? I've been very interested in that model for quite a while (as well as in the 804; I owned the Habicht but sold it du to -among other things-... you guessed it: the eyecups!).
 

Renze de Vries

Well-known member
You don't care making the Triniovids look ugly? Man, I won't start describing my jealousy. I've always found them almost impossible to change appearance because of the sublime proportions (take the 7x42, the most beautiful of the series, and change eye cups (14 mm instead of 19) and you'll start crying. I remember I even shed a tear when I applied a set of Leitz replacement eye cups - those cups have to be just a bit tapered.
The Zeiss porro: it's a very late one from the original series (BTW they didn't change anything when issuing the Century glass). Performance: well, if you're an incurable afficionado of the porro view and you don't mind short eye relief, stone hard eyecups, low light transmission and some bulk, then they could be the thing for you. I liked the 8x50 just a bit better.

good luck,

Renze
 

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dries1

Member
Renze,

Nice 7X42 there, like the green. Eyecups (Leitz) here in the US are no longer provided by Leica, perhaps in the EU that is different.

Andy W.
 

Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
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.
Yarrellii,

I know this is an old thread and I’m just reading through all of it now, after just purchasing one of these wonderful Retrovids. I was wondering if you worked out the eyecup issue you talked about. They are new right now so I’m not sure if the eyecups will bother me yet.

I did have a small problem with both my 7x42 and 8x30 Swaro Habicht’s. I have two options I use, on the 42 I’ve been using the green eyecups from the rubberized model and I have some rubber eye cups I bought on line that I use on the 30’s. I’ve included pictures. I don’t have a problem with the thinness, but wanted a little bit more comfortable eye relief. But these certainly can solve the problem on the Retrovids.

If this issue has already been addressed somewhere else in this thread my apologies for any duplication.
Thank you
 

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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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