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

Leica Standard Ultravid Vs. HD (1 Viewer)

Dialyt

The Definitive Binocular
Forgetting the shuddering focus knob and the marginally improved optics, the main attractant for me to the HD is the AquaDura coating.

Has anyone got solid field experience of it's benefits?

For me it seems like a great idea - it makes the bins easier to clean and also easier to use in wet weather.

I can have a pair of standard Ultravid 8x32 for £799 or a new HD version for £1199.00 - is the price difference worth it?
 

Corax67

Well-known member
Go for the standard Ultravids and spend the £400 saving on a decent birding holiday to test out the new purchase.

As I discussed on another post, I was among a group of birders at Slimbrige In-Focus and we had a mini-test of around 30 sets of bins (waiting for the rain to ease) - we decided there wasn't enough difference to justify the whopping price difference on the Leica's, but the Leica's were still the favourite high price bins of choice.

I use my old Trinovids in all weathers (joys of birding in Wales) and don't have issues around lens cleaning so what is the point of the AquaDura coating.
 

Dialyt

The Definitive Binocular
Go for the standard Ultravids and spend the £400 saving on a decent birding holiday to test out the new purchase.

As I discussed on another post, I was among a group of birders at Slimbrige In-Focus and we had a mini-test of around 30 sets of bins (waiting for the rain to ease) - we decided there wasn't enough difference to justify the whopping price difference on the Leica's, but the Leica's were still the favourite high price bins of choice.

I use my old Trinovids in all weathers (joys of birding in Wales) and don't have issues around lens cleaning so what is the point of the AquaDura coating.

Have in-focus started stocking Leica, cos last time I checked, they didn't, which is a great shame?
 

michaelboustead

Well-known member
Karl,

My wife owns a pair of the old Ultravid and I recently purchased a pair of the HD.

Frankly, I must admit to a little buyers remorse.

The HD's are better(?), but only if you concentrate so hard on the image that you forget about the Bird. False color may be better, but if you bird in the forests of the NE United States, CA never really bothered me.

The focus is not as sloppy as the Ultravid Standard which I sent back to Leica to fix, which they did. Probably why went with the HD. Not really sure now that the improvement is worth the price.

Mike
 

Dialyt

The Definitive Binocular
Karl,

My wife owns a pair of the old Ultravid and I recently purchased a pair of the HD.

Frankly, I must admit to a little buyers remorse.

The HD's are better(?), but only if you concentrate so hard on the image that you forget about the Bird. False color may be better, but if you bird in the forests of the NE United States, CA never really bothered me.

The focus is not as sloppy as the Ultravid Standard which I sent back to Leica to fix, which they did. Probably why went with the HD. Not really sure now that the improvement is worth the price.

Mike

I'm deciding on whether to get standard or HD Ultravid.

A little bird working for a certain company that may or may not make the Leica Ultravids, told me that the HD was basically a 'marketing thing'.

So £400.00 for marketing? Hmmm....

Having said that, for me it boils down to this: £400.00 for a hydrophobic coating... hmmm.....

Add to this the fact that when I buy my new Leica Televid HD 82, with it's aquadura coating, the coating will be sealed behind a protective filter (fitted by me), so my scope won't even benefit from the coating, and with a larger objective, the scope could do with it, but I'd prefer to just wipe the filter with a chamois when needed. I could do the same with the bins in poor weather, but some part of me is still harping after Aquadura coating on my binoculars for some reason. Is a coating really worth £400.00? Like I say the optical improvement is meaningless to me, and the focus knob issue, if it turns out to be an issue (I understand not all specimens are so bad or even noticeable) then Leica will fix it for me free, like they did with my previous Leica Ultravid 8x42BR.
 
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Nick Elliston

Well-known member
Dialyt

Have you tried phoning Leica UK for prices on standard Ultravids? They sent me a letter a month or so back offering standard Ultravids at a good discount. They said they were ex demo but had full warranty etc.

I ordered 8×32 for £660 (inc p&p) and they seem just like new to me. May be difficult to match that price elsewhere, but they might have sold out by now.
 

Dialyt

The Definitive Binocular
Dialyt

Have you tried phoning Leica UK for prices on standard Ultravids? They sent me a letter a month or so back offering standard Ultravids at a good discount. They said they were ex demo but had full warranty etc.

I ordered 8×32 for £660 (inc p&p) and they seem just like new to me. May be difficult to match that price elsewhere, but they might have sold out by now.
I'm on the Leica mailing list - I once got an offer for a Leica compact digital camera, but no offer on bins.

I bit the bullet - I've ordered the standard ones for £799.00. I'd be getting myself into debt in order to get the HDs which I don't really think is worth it.
 

Dialyt

The Definitive Binocular
Is it true that the HDs only come with a 10yr warranty, rather than the usual 30yrs?

I know this is the case in the USA, but was not sure if the same applied to the UK...

If that is the case, I'd rather have the standard Ultravid with 30yrs than a HD with 10yrs.
 

etc

Well-known member
I don't have an Ultravid, but FWIW I have a Swarovski EL with the latest hydrophobic coating which I suppose is the same thing that Leica/Zeiss uses and I like it. I haven't tested how it repels water but it does seem harder to damage and easier to clean.

If I ever get a chance to get an "HD" at a reasonable cost, I will do so.
 

Dialyt

The Definitive Binocular
I don't have an Ultravid, but FWIW I have a Swarovski EL with the latest hydrophobic coating which I suppose is the same thing that Leica/Zeiss uses and I like it. I haven't tested how it repels water but it does seem harder to damage and easier to clean.

If I ever get a chance to get an "HD" at a reasonable cost, I will do so.

FWIW = ? (From what I ....?)

Anyway, I bought a standard Ultravid, cos I can't afford the extra £400 for a coating.

I think it's a disgrace that Leica turn a blunder (crap focussing) into a marketing scam - and charge people a premium for it, along with a coating they could easily have applied to existing Ultravids in production. Swarovski did that, and it was the right thing to do, not make a song and dance about it like Leica have. For me it's the seeming dishonesty of it all - Leica could have applied the aquadura coating to the Ultravids, probably from the start, but chose not to.

Having said that, I am getting my second Ultravid, I think they are probably the best 8x32 around right now, apart from the HD version of course.

I'll probably buy a pair in the future when the price comes down, or I might wait for the next generation of Leica binoculars in a decade or so.
 
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etc

Well-known member
FWIW = For What It's Worth

I would think that in a few years, the market will get saturated with the new "HDs" and the price will come down. Case in point, when Swaro EL came out, there were 3-months waiting lists and now they are everywhere, sometimes at reasonable prices. Same thing will happen to the Ultravid HD.
 

Tvc15_2000

Well-known member
FWIW = For What It's Worth

I would think that in a few years, the market will get saturated with the new "HDs" and the price will come down. Case in point, when Swaro EL came out, there were 3-months waiting lists and now they are everywhere, sometimes at reasonable prices. Same thing will happen to the Ultravid HD.

That might depend on a few more factors. The dollar is at an all time low. One Euro is worth $1.53. So the binoculars you pay $2000 for in the US would cost about $1300 Euros if purchased in the USA. A few years ago when the dollar and Euro were even the same binoculars would cost you $1300 too. Add to that inflation due to soaring fuel prices and a lower price is not a sure thing.

If the dollar recovers then you might see a substantial reduction in the price on new manufactured inventory - If the price of the base componets, material etc fall and are passed along too - (but not old inventory). In the 1980s when a similar situation was experienced with the yen - when the yen value fell, the savings were never passed along to camera consumers. What happened then was the price increases slowed or stopped for a while but the prices never actually fell. At least that was my experience.

That does not diminish your point on supply and demand (which is critical) but other factors might complicate the calculation including more accurate sales projections, and "just in time shipping" etc. The over stock sales are becoming fewer and fewer around here. I do find third party liquidators are becoming more common for end of life models, including on ebay. But they often don't provide the same warranty (which might not be a factor on the Leica HD since the warranty is so bad to begin with). I asked Leica how much a typical maintenance on an Ultravid HD would cost if the bins warranty expired. They told me the customary repair to bring them to factory spec (an overhaul) would cost $300. I don’t think that price will go down in the future.

I am certain the dollar will recover somewhat at some point. I am not as certain that I will see the benefit
 
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Dialyt

The Definitive Binocular
smurf binoculars

Well I just received my new Leica Ultravid 8x32BR this morning and they are wonderful! If smurfs used binoculars, they'd choose this model!

I find the eye relief perfect and the shape and size is amazing. The view is also excellent. I never realised full size binoculars could be so small and light, even smaller and dinkier than my old Leica Trinovid 8x32BA.

These are 'keepers' I even think the focus knob might be ok, but time will tell with that.
 

etc

Well-known member
RE: Falling dollar (Federal Reserve Note) observations, they are of course right on the money. The USDX just fell below 73, which is a catastrophy. I highly doubt the FRN will ever bounce back, the overall trend has been down, down, down. Everything costs more and more. Very soon all of the Big Three will cost above $2,000.

Myself, I am a fan of the used market. I do make exceptions sometimes like with this Swarovski, but generally, you can find awesome deals getting used units. Obviously you take greater risks. As the new models circulate in the system, they will cease to be latest-and-greatest in a few years and you should see lots of them for sale, sometimes at flea market prices..

One thing is clear, if you want something, get it now as it will only go up in price in the future. This might affect the users of the FRN more.
 

black lark

Registered User
about the warranty of 10 years, when i have the binoculair for about 9 years i will be sending it to leica for a check up !!!! if that's possible .
 

Dialyt

The Definitive Binocular
A field test (at gull heaven - Killybegs!) of the Leica Ultravid reveals no issue with the focus knob. During the heavy rain, I did wonder if AquaDura would really make a difference.
 

Swissboy

Sempach, Switzerland
Supporter
Switzerland
.....my new Leica Ultravid 8x32BR ....
I find the eye relief perfect and the shape and size is amazing. The view is also excellent. I never realised full size binoculars could be so small and light, even smaller and dinkier than my old Leica Trinovid 8x32BA.

Well, the Trinovids are kind of a tank. So it should not be too hard to make a new model a bit finer and smaller looking. The eye relief is basically the same on both, as the optical system is the same.
 

Dialyt

The Definitive Binocular
Well, the Trinovids are kind of a tank. So it should not be too hard to make a new model a bit finer and smaller looking. The eye relief is basically the same on both, as the optical system is the same.

These are truly a worthy successor. They feel every bit as good in the hand as the Trinovid model. I sometimes wonder where my serial no. 1040815 Leica 8x32BA is - is he happy? Is he being looked after? |^|
 

Sancho

Registered User
Supporter
..............During the heavy rain, I did wonder if AquaDura would really make a difference................

Only if it could control the weather (given the kind of rain Killybegs would experience in a westerly gale....;))

PS....what did you do with your old Trinovids? I'm sure they're very happy, and being well cared-for in a loving and nurturing environment....
 

Dialyt

The Definitive Binocular
Only if it could control the weather (given the kind of rain Killybegs would experience in a westerly gale....;))

PS....what did you do with your old Trinovids? I'm sure they're very happy, and being well cared-for in a loving and nurturing environment....

I part-exchanged them for a pair of new Zeiss Dialyt 7x42 B/GAT*P*

The Zeiss were going out of production, I panicked, and ensured I got a pair of ClassiCs.

I love the Zeiss, but the Trinovid were excellent. I'd just got them back from being serviced, and they were PERFECT! The focus knob and hinge had gotten stiff, but they were very fine on their return from Leica service. I remember looking at them in the carport, and having a twinge of regret of what I was about to do, but I did it anyway, such was my obsession with obtaining a pair of Zeiss Dialyt 7x42.

I got the Leica in 1995. They were my first quality binocular. I loved them. But various factors, including obsessive binocular disorder, ruined things. I wasn't thinking straight as regards what followed during that fateful day in 2000. The Leica Trinovid was everything I ever wanted in a binocular, but there is a happy ending: the Ultravid 8x32 is equally pleasing to me, in fact, I'd say it is the finest binocular I've ever owned.

This is my sad binocular story. I think maybe I could get a mention on Steve Wright's Sunday Morning Love Songs on BBC Radio 2... If not, if anyone out there has Leica Trinovid 1040815, please do get in touch! (I'm serious!)
 
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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