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Leica Ultravid 8x20 dissection (The beauty) (1 Viewer)

I bought a Curio after testing most of the pocket, and not so pocket, binoculars side by side.
The Curio is the only binocular I've bought new from a vendor, but after becoming my #1 for a couple of weeks the Ultravid found its way back into that spot, where it remains to this day. I'll never get rid of the Curio, and could be happy if it was my only binocular, but happier yet to have the Ultravid.
 
The Curio is the only binocular I've bought new from a vendor, but after becoming my #1 for a couple of weeks the Ultravid found its way back into that spot, where it remains to this day. I'll never get rid of the Curio, and could be happy if it was my only binocular, but happier yet to have the Ultravid.
Which confirms that the best binocular in any class or price range is the one that suits you best.

I thought the Ultravid was a cracking bino when I tested it alongside the Curio and it was a close run thing but the Curio did it for me.
 
The Curio is the only binocular I've bought new from a vendor, but after becoming my #1 for a couple of weeks the Ultravid found its way back into that spot, where it remains to this day. I'll never get rid of the Curio, and could be happy if it was my only binocular, but happier yet to have the Ultravid.
Why did you change your mind? I have often looked at them because they are 7x which I would like better than 8x in a pocket. I never bought a pair, though, because I thought they'd make my Ultravids redundant.
 
Ultravid is a perfect mechanical "machine". Impeccable quality of construction and a superb design! It is a design object in itself that works mechanically perfectly! The quality is felt without looking through it, only if you hold it in your hands! And when you put it in front of your eyes, the quality is confirmed again! These explain why many choose these pocket binoculars!
 
. and not only because of its size, so I can take it anywhere and neither a backpack nor a harness is necessary... just a pocket.
There is also the speed factor... how many times have I had to take it out of the backpack and the "perched" one is no longer there, and the "flying" one is further away...!!?
Also in the city I want something very discreet.
What do you think?
greetings

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Why did you change your mind? I have often looked at them because they are 7x which I would like better than 8x in a pocket. I never bought a pair, though, because I thought they'd make my Ultravids redundant.
I really like lower magnification and together with many of these other positive statements in the forum finally decided to get them. From the moment I opened the box and looked across the street I was struck with how easy the eye alignment and how crisp and bright the view.
At that moment I decided my Ultravid had been bested, and it remained that way for a couple of weeks. No dissatisfaction at all, until the day I thought I’d look through my ‘retired’ Ultravid for ‘old time’s sake’ and saw the richness of the colors again.
I spent a good bit of time comparing what I thought was best about each and then also, which seemed the more enjoyable fit for me, and all of a sudden my Ultravid was back in service and the Curio set aside as a wonderful alternative that gets used far too seldom due to the presence of the Ultravids.
 
Very impressive and well written review @dorubird

I've owned these little beauties since January 2022.

Back then I wanted to have a pocket sized binocular, which would enable me to have some binoculars with me when and wherever I was. I have always been really impressed with Leica binoculars, so I began looking at pocket sized binoculars, and the Ultravid 8x20 kept getting mentioned and highly praised time and time again. I wasn't looking at getting a new pair of binoculars to replace and old pair, I wanted to have a choice, so that I could take with me the pair that would be most suitable for me on that given day.

I own another pair of Leica binoculars (which are the 10-15x50 Duovid which I got back in 2003). I absolutely love these as for me it's essentially like having two pairs of binoculars in one and the optics are outstanding. Downsides are, they are on the heavy side and the large side, and ideally I only take these when I am taking my backpack and I know I will be out for a while on that given day.

After advice read on this forum and also other resources online, I went with the Leica Ultravid 8x20, and have been seriously impressed with them. My partner was also very impressed after using my pair, that she decided to get herself a pair too.

For me the pocket sized binoculars that I would be purchasing would need to be:

1: Clarity wise, colour wise and general image quality wise, would need to match that of my larger Duovid (which from my comparison do indeed match).

2: Be totally pocket sized for either a jacket pocket, shorts pocket (for the warmer months). I was able to make them even more pocket size friendly by following the excellent advice on a thread on here, on using a sunglasses/spectacle micro fibre drawstring pouch, that often come with sunglasses etc.

The vast amount of the time I use my Ultravids are during daylight hours, but on some occasions I have been out and about when the light starts to fade. After reading about small objective lenses (20-25 mm) been better suited for daylight hours, I was expecting the image quality and brightness to suffer, but in all honesty, the brightness of the thing I was looking at with my own eyes, was just the same brightness level when I looked through the Ultravids.

They have certainly lived up to and exceeded my expectations, and also ticked all the boxes and then some, I definitely could not be any happier with them.
 
I found Ultravid 8x20 BR at a good price and I couldn't resist. I tested it for a while and now I will share my Ultravid impressions and images with you. (I will make soon a detailed comparison between Ultravid 8x20 and Trinovid 8x20)
View attachment 1524877


Mechanical presentation

Ultravid eyepieces covers fit perfectly, having loop for the strap it is very useful not to lose them!
View attachment 1524878

Ultravid eyepiece cups have two positions: folded and extended! The rubber is soft. The outer diameter is 30mm
View attachment 1524879

Ultravid Focus system. It has an exact and pleasant rotation, without lost motion. For pocket binoculars, the wheel is very convenient, being easy to access.
View attachment 1524880

Ultravid diopter adjustment is done without taking off binoculars from the eyes, so very convenient and efficient. This is due to the small button that disengages the focus. Has a margin of +-3.5 diopters
View attachment 1524881

Ultravid Housing finish is carefully crafted with quality rubber armor, pleasant to the touch. It is a beauty!!
View attachment 1524882
View attachment 1524883
View attachment 1524884

Ultravid interior finish is impeccably matte blackened and vibrated with grooves
View attachment 1524885

Ultravid hinge is double with a very good resistance
View attachment 1524886

Ultravid resistance
in water is 0.5 bar (up to approx. 5m depth). The material of the case is aluminum (bino weight with straps and caps aprox. 255g.). Operating temperature-25 degrees C. +55 Cdeg
View attachment 1524887

Ultravid ergonomics are impressive for such small binoculars. It is comfortable due to the larger and easy to access focus wheel.
View attachment 1524888


Optical presentation


Ultravid outer lenses are covered with High Durable Coating and hydrophobic AquaDura for very easy maintenance and resistance against fogging. I am extremely satisfied with this aspect, because a pocket binocular, during travels, has many unexpected situations.
Ultravid eyepieces have a tobacco-colored anti-reflective coating with a very high efficiency. From some angles you practically have the impression that the lens disappears. The diameter of the lenses is 16.5mm.
View attachment 1524890

Ultravid 20mm objective lenses have an olive colored coating with small purple hues. The roof prisms are covered with an blue/green coating, High Lux System and phase correction coating P40
View attachment 1524971

Ultravid resolution is very high. A very sharp pair of binoculars! The clarity extends to about 90% of the FOV. Only the last 10% decrease a bit in resolution, but not annoyingly
View attachment 1524894

Ultravid light transmission. I am amazed that in some tests (https://www.houseofoutdoor.com/) it has very high light transmission, higher than we are used with a Leica bino.
Ultravid contrast is very high. Ultravid 8x20 belongs to the category of binoculars with strong contrast with very deep black.
Ultravid glare resistance. With the light source near the FOV, or in the background, this small binoculars have no problems. This is due the very well blackened tubes inside, but also due the well-chosen coating and optical diaphragms in front of the prisms.
Ultravid colors saturation are vivid and strong. Especially in a sunset light, the colors take a special saturation beauty!!
View attachment 1524897

Ultravid Chromatic aberrations are minimal and only on the edges. For me it does not present any kind of problem.
Ultravid eye relief is 15mm from specification, but I think it is maybe a little higher because it is very comfortable with my glasses, having easy access to the entire AFOV.
Ultravid field of view is 6.5 with an AFOV of 52 deg. It's not a large AFOV but it's very similar to competition in this pocket class (Swarovski's Curio 7x21 has a little smaller AFOV- 51 deg.)
The binoculars can focus extremely close (1.75m measured by me). Very useful in nature
View attachment 1524895

Conclusions
Leica Ultravid 8x20 is a very small binocular that hides inside an extremely high performance optic. It has a special sparkle to the image! The mechanics are also impeccable, everything moves firmly and precisely. It gives me the impression that we are dealing with the highest possible quality concentrated per square centimeter!
View attachment 1524896
Thank you all for the appreciations! (y)
Small with maximum constructive robustness, beautiful design and superb image. This is the Ultravid 8x20! The small exit pupil are only compromise of these binoculars, but this compromise are specific to all pocket binoculars. This is a compromise you have to make when you really want a pocket binoculars. I really like these little jewels because they are a sum of impeccable mechanical quality and top-notch optical refinement. Ultravid 8x20 has passed the test of time for constructive resistance and has perhaps the clearest image with a vibrant color, seconded by amazing contrast!!!
It is a small machine that produces colors and clarity!
View attachment 1526384
Now I have to decide if it should be the black line, or this model, then I have to think about the curio again. Maybe Ill have to get them both and pick the one I like the best and send back the other, what, it could happen.
 
... until the day I thought I’d look through my ‘retired’ Ultravid for ‘old time’s sake’ and saw the richness of the colors again.

I see.

I can relive your process of wanting, buying, comparing - and going back to our beloved Ultravids. Enjoy them in good health. Looking through an Ultravid I have realised more than once that the grass is not greener on the other side.

Thanks for your reply.
 
Now I have to decide if it should be the black line, or this model, then I have to think about the curio again. Maybe Ill have to get them both and pick the one I like the best and send back the other…
You actually need to buy all three; 8x20 BL, BR and the Curio. I’ve got all three and none of them are for sale!
 
Why did you change your mind? I have often looked at them because they are 7x which I would like better than 8x in a pocket. I never bought a pair, though, because I thought they'd make my Ultravids redundant.

I can relive your process of wanting, buying, comparing - and going back to our beloved Ultravids. Enjoy them in good health. Looking through an Ultravid I have realised more than once that the grass is not greener on the other side.

jafritten,

I'm not trying to spend your money, but as a pocket nerd who owns and uses both, IMO it would not necessarily be redundant to own both. While as a practical matter they are both the same size, each has its different advantages. I understand why many owners here prefer and would pick just one over the other, but if you could try a Curio and compare it to your UV you might find they complement each other enough to justify (or rationalize?) owning both or you could pick the one you actually like best.

Now I have to decide if it should be the black line, or this model, then I have to think about the curio again. Maybe Ill have to get them both and pick the one I like the best and send back the other, what, it could happen.

You actually need to buy all three; 8x20 BL, BR and the Curio. I’ve got all three and none of them are for sale!

Paul,

I agree with Trinovid 100%. Buy all three if you can reasonably coordinate the purchase, comparison and return drill. If you want to simplify by comparing just two, I personally prefer the slightly smaller, slicker handling and even more beautiful BL UV over the BR.

Mike
 
Conclusions
Leica Ultravid 8x20 is a very small binocular that hides inside an extremely high performance optic. It has a special sparkle to the image! The mechanics are also impeccable, everything moves firmly and precisely. It gives me the impression that we are dealing with the highest possible quality concentrated per square centimeter!
That's what I love about Leica... the image has that special sparkle and the materials/fit/finish/mechanical quality are absolutely superb. I can certainly appreciate what Zeiss and Swaro offerings bring to the table, but neither of those have been able to displace my preference for Leica.
 
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So today, at the Birders' Store in Worcester, I have just tried the 8x20 Ultra's against the Zeiss VP8x25's, and the Curios.
I used to own the Ultravids a few years back, and was always mightily impressed with them.
But things have moved on, and the Curios are (to my eyes) better than the Zeiss and the Ultra's.
And this is coming from a Leica fan !!
They were brighter and clearer/crisper than the Zeiss or Leica, and this was most evident looking into shaded areas.
There was a noticeable improvement in the Curios. immediately noticeable to me.
They were also surprisingly comfortable to hold for pocket bins, even with my spades for hands.
If I were buying a pocket bin, it'll be a Curio no question, even though the Leicas are just so nice, as Leicas always are.
Oh, and for those who've heard nightmares about the Zeiss being no good for non glasses wearers.... well they were fine for me... so just goes to show you've got to try for yourself.
And all this 'glued on' focus knob stuff. Well, they glue cars together these days, I'm sure they would be fine!
Hugely impressed with Curios.
 
Oh... also tried the Habicht 8x30's AGAIN.... it's gonna happen someday... absolutely stunning... love 'em.
They are stunning. I love 'em too (and the 7x42).

Very lucky to find a Habicht in stock, never heard of the Birders' Store but I feel a strong urge to get all my jabs done and drive over the Welsh Border to Worcester.

So today, at the Birders' Store in Worcester, I have just tried the 8x20 Ultra's against the Zeiss VP8x25's, and the Curios.
I used to own the Ultravids a few years back, and was always mightily impressed with them.
But things have moved on, and the Curios are (to my eyes) better than the Zeiss and the Ultra's.
And this is coming from a Leica fan !!
They were brighter and clearer/crisper than the Zeiss or Leica, and this was most evident looking into shaded areas.
There was a noticeable improvement in the Curios. immediately noticeable to me.
They were also surprisingly comfortable to hold for pocket bins, even with my spades for hands.
If I were buying a pocket bin, it'll be a Curio no question, even though the Leicas are just so nice, as Leicas always are.
Oh, and for those who've heard nightmares about the Zeiss being no good for non glasses wearers.... well they were fine for me... so just goes to show you've got to try for yourself.
And all this 'glued on' focus knob stuff. Well, they glue cars together these days, I'm sure they would be fine!
Hugely impressed with Curios
LOL! My youngest son flew Merlin Helicopters. They had more glued components than an Airfix kit.

The Curio's are fantastic and like you I was able to test alongside the Zeiss and Leica's. In all honesty I couldn't see too many differences twixt all three, but the Curio's felt better, were brighter and were the ones I chose.

They have been brilliant and my knob is still where it should be. Ooh Matron!
 

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