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Leica service on Ultravids. Upgraded optics? (1 Viewer)

Recently I had occasion to send my Leica Ultravid 8x42 back to Portugal for repair and service.

I had a fair old bill of €349.25 plus a further c €18 for the initial despatch.

But they seem to have been returned with upgraded optics. I did specify I would like the objectives and eyepiece glass replaced snd it seems as if that's been done. I took them out yesterday for a really good test. It was a sunny day here in South Wales and I live on the coast so I went off to Barry Island. Previously they exhibited mild to moderate chromatic aberration in certain high contrast situations. But yesterday despite me focusing on things like seagulls perched on rooftops, a chough against a brick background and a magpie perched on the roof of my room I saw virtually zero chromatic aberration with only the last scenario presenting anything noticeable. And even that was probably about 70% less than I've been used to.

So I'm wondering if the Leica service department have in some way ungraded the optics as opposed to simply replacing the parts in question?

One thing about it , I am blown away with the performance as they now stand.

Any comments would be welcome.
 

jremmons

Wildlife Biologist
I believe another user, maybe Pileatus, had his returned with HD+ optics?
I think Swarovski has done this for users as well.

Justin
 

Pileatus

"Experientia Docet”
United States
Recently I had occasion to send my Leica Ultravid 8x42 back to Portugal for repair and service.

I had a fair old bill of €349.25 plus a further c €18 for the initial despatch.

But they seem to have been returned with upgraded optics. I did specify I would like the objectives and eyepiece glass replaced snd it seems as if that's been done. I took them out yesterday for a really good test. It was a sunny day here in South Wales and I live on the coast so I went off to Barry Island. Previously they exhibited mild to moderate chromatic aberration in certain high contrast situations. But yesterday despite me focusing on things like seagulls perched on rooftops, a chough against a brick background and a magpie perched on the roof of my room I saw virtually zero chromatic aberration with only the last scenario presenting anything noticeable. And even that was probably about 70% less than I've been used to.

So I'm wondering if the Leica service department have in some way ungraded the optics as opposed to simply replacing the parts in question?

One thing about it , I am blown away with the performance as they now stand.

Any comments would be welcome.
I sent a 7X42 BR (purchased in 2004) in for repair and it came back like-new with the statement "upgrade optical system". I, too, see less CA and the image is great.
Enjoy!
 

dries1

Member
They don't have the BR glass in house anymore it would appear, the beauty of it is the armor and mg body is the same (internal focus parts a bit different (minor), the lens is the only real difference, likely only HD or HD+ glass in stock.

Andy W.
 

Mike F

Well-known member
Funny, how here, people have noticed a big improvement to a previously well known binocular, even when an improvement wasn't even expected, but in other threads many people try to claim that there is very little to no difference/improvement between the various iterations of the Ultravids, and that it has mostly just been a marketing exercise by Leica....... I'm inclined to believe the surprise expressed by Peter and Pileatus.
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Funny, how here, people have noticed a big improvement to a previously well known binocular, even when an improvement wasn't even expected, but in other threads many people try to claim that there is very little to no difference/improvement between the various iterations of the Ultravids, and that it has mostly just been a marketing exercise by Leica....... I'm inclined to believe the surprise expressed by Peter and Pileatus.

I was just thinking exactly the same, Mike!
 

Whiterain

Well-known member
I just my BR's back from Leica sometime in October. They were sent in to have the cracked diopter window replaced and to lube or tune up the focuser, which was just... impressively horrible.

The glass was in excellent condition and their office confirmed that by reading off the repair notes. It was something along the lines of "glass is fine, just cleaning the optics, replacing the diopter wheel, and repairing/living the focusing mechanism."

When they arrived the repair ticket stated the same but also "optical adjustment," which may be a standard code for calibration after reassembly? Next thing was to unpack the bubble wrap and whatnot to see how the focuser felt. To my amazement, it actually felt worse than before; like two wet pieces of Formica sliding across each other, occasionally slowing from a vacuum, then back to skidding plastic. The only other difference I noticed was that I could now leave the diopter wheel at 0 instead of whatever setting I had it at. The lenses do fog up easier than my other binos so I'm not convinced they replaced the outer lenses, all of which would theoretically come with improved coatings.

The focuser and wheel cap were the only reasons for repair and I was already less than happy about that already. I certainly had no reason to believe/expect there would/should be any change to how they look through the tubes. Imagine my surprise when I was immediately impressed with the image sharpness and brightness...

So I pulled out a pair I had compared it to directly and extensively just a few months earlier. At the time, my wife and I both agreed that the other bino had a better overall feel to the image, better brightness, more contrast, etc., and both recall it being an immediate in-your-face difference favoring the other pair. This time we both had the exact opposite impression, and I wouldn't have bothered her for her opinion except self-doubt and the expectation that there should be zero change in the Leica's image.

Anyways, I dont know what they did to them but they have a noticeably nicer first-impression through the glass and still have a lousy focuser (though a ton of deliberate cycling seems to have smoothed it out a bit and maybe distributed the lubrication better).

No confirmation bias on this one since it was an unexpected improvement and the wife truly couldn't care less about binoculars to have a bias to begin with. Anyways, I'll try to keep tabs on this thread in case someone comes along and throws is a bone. I can understand a lens change ("upgrade") to available and current parts if the lenses were the reason for the repair service, but doing so would have been completely unwarranted in this case.
 
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Had.enough

Registered User
Supporter
Bias, or lack of it! Is the phrase that popped into my head too, when I read the above posts.
Comparing new models with old, you are always going to have " this is several hundred pounds more expensive" in your mind.
In comparison, It's nice to read about people getting a genuine nice surprise
 

Whiterain

Well-known member
For the record, my "upgraded" 2004 7X42 BR has pale greenish coatings.

Did your glass need to be replaced or was it a "surprise here ya go!" thing? Going to have to check my coatings here too, since I couldn't find any way to differentiate them.

I wouldn't object to an upgrade in my particular case, but I can see someone being upset about the unsolicited removal of parts if it is truly irrelevant to the service being done. Might be grandpappy's gift, wedding present, just a picky SOB, et al.

ETA: amber ocular and purple/blue objectives here. Guess they left the glass alone?
 
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Pileatus

"Experientia Docet”
United States
Did your glass need to be replaced or was it a "surprise here ya go!" thing? Going to have to check my coatings here too, since I couldn't find any way to differentiate them.

I wouldn't object to an upgrade in my particular case, but I can see someone being upset about the unsolicited removal of parts if it is truly irrelevant to the service being done. Might be grandpappy's gift, wedding present, just a picky SOB, et al.

ETA: amber ocular and purple/blue objectives here. Guess they left the glass alone?
My 2004 7X42 Ultravid BR had "speckles" inside both tubes. I do not know what the problem was but they could be seen from the objective side using a flashlight. I could not see the "speckles" through the eyepieces but I didn't think I should see them at all so I sent them in. Leica did a fantastic job and the view, through both sides, is now spotless!
 

Whiterain

Well-known member
My 2004 7X42 Ultravid BR had "speckles" inside both tubes. I do not know what the problem was but they could be seen from the objective side using a flashlight. I could not see the "speckles" through the eyepieces but I didn't think I should see them at all so I sent them in. Leica did a fantastic job and the view, through both sides, is now spotless!

So... yea. Mine has it, and another product of theirs does as well. I cant see it when using them, but a flashlight looking through the objectives makes them stick out. I've seen a combination of metal shavings, lubricant, a human hair, and the speckles on both. Thought it may have been a bunch if dust if their air system wasn't working or maybe the tech had dandruff, but the even dispersion makes me think it has something to do with the argon/whatever purging process and may actually be a pneumatic oil or other contaminant from that process.
 
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AGPank

Well-known member
Has anyone ever reached out about upgrading an Ultravid to an HD+? I have a pair of 8x32 I picked up and would consider upgrading if they can do this.
 

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
I suppose you need to talk to Leica, and I think the answer will be no. Let us know what you find out.

Jerry
 

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