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Pocket binoculars (1 Viewer)

If you want a true pocket binocular, I don't think you'll beat a Leica 8X20. Both the Trinovid and the Ultravid are very nice binoculars.

You can see in the picture below how much smaller the Leica is vs. the two 25mms.
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I agree with the Leica UV 8x20. I think it is the best choice if you want a truly pocketable binocular.
 
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My recommendation is the Zeiss VP 25mm in either 8x or 10x. I have the 8x and it's a surprisingly competent replacement for an 8x42 when weight is an issue as long as you have plenty of light. I haven't seen anything else in this size bracket that competes optically, but then I haven't yet looked through the Swaro Curio either.
I thought the same after having had an 8x25 Victory Pocket for a time, but having purchased the 10x25 out of confidence with the other, soon found myself selling them off. The 8x25 is a phenomenal binocular, but the 10x25 is not the same and should be tried out on its own.
The Curio which you haven't tried yet may well surprise you when you do get a chance to get your hands on one.
 
I thought the same after having had an 8x25 Victory Pocket for a time, but having purchased the 10x25 out of confidence with the other, soon found myself selling them off. The 8x25 is a phenomenal binocular, but the 10x25 is not the same and should be tried out on its own.
The Curio which you haven't tried yet may well surprise you when you do get a chance to get your hands on one.
Hi Trinovid,

Is it the small exit pupil of the VP 10x25 you didn't really like? Or is a 10x25 just too lightweight too hold steady?
I have the Curio 7x21 and like it for it's size. But since it is just 7x and the afov is a bit limited I feel some urge to complement it with a 8x25 or 10x25 for the times pocketable isn't really important. I am afraid 10x25 is just a bit too finicky with the 2.5mm exit pupil and the light weight together with 10 power.
 
Hi Trinovid,

Is it the small exit pupil of the VP 10x25 you didn't really like? Or is a 10x25 just too lightweight too hold steady?
I have the Curio 7x21 and like it for it's size. But since it is just 7x and the afov is a bit limited I feel some urge to complement it with a 8x25 or 10x25 for the times pocketable isn't really important. I am afraid 10x25 is just a bit too finicky with the 2.5mm exit pupil and the light weight together with 10 power.
Reiner,

I've had the VP 8x25 for several years and use it a lot. It handles like a dream for me in all respects with or without glasses. I've had the VP 10x25 for a couple of months. While the image is fantastic and I can hold it very steady, it is the most finicky 2.5 mm ep bin I own when using glasses -- a bit better without glasses. It seems be a bit short on eye relief for glasses and maybe the wide FOV for a 10x25 has something to do with this as well. I like the image well enough to work with it but for example the UV 10x25 is more relaxing and less finicky to use.

Mike
 
Is it the small exit pupil of the VP 10x25 you didn't really like? Or is a 10x25 just too lightweight too hold steady?
I am afraid 10x25 is just a bit too finicky with the 2.5mm exit pupil and the light weight together with 10 power.
Ironically I've had no problems with my 10x25 Ultravid, and took it along with the Curio a couple weeks ago on a family outing with friends. Everyone from teens to old people enjoyed both binoculars even though none of them had much experience using them before.

When I got the opportunity at the 10x25 Victory Pocket I'd assumed it would be as easy to use as its more famous sibling and I still don't fully understand why the one is so effortless to use and the other so difficult for me, especially in light of the fact that I have no trouble whatsoever with either the 8x20 or 10x25 Ultravids.

Just on my experience alone I'd suggest giving the 10x25 Ultravid a try. I had doubts before trying it but quickly fell for them.
 
I think folk expect too much of a pocket bin.
I walked around London yesterday with my UV 8x20 in a sunglass microfibre bag, in my pocket.
Only used them a few times, but hardly knew they were there.
I would not have taken anything bigger, regardless of brightness, exit pupil or whatever... even a 25mm
And guess what... they were not as good as my Zeiss HT's....... but I saw anything I wanted to.
I would not have taken anything else other than an 8x20.
And for their size, they are superb.
 
It's an interesting question. One I've been considering myself recently. I'm away at the moment on a road trip round France and have brought along an 8x30 porro and a 8x20 leica trinovid br to try and see if I could be content (i.e not optically frustrated!) with just an 8x20.

I've been genuinely surprised by the 8x20 in a lot of circumstances. I've used it a lot over the last few months since I got it back from a full service - that in itself says a lot as I don't typically like pocket (20/25mm lenses) binoculars.

The handling has taken a bit of familiarizing but I'm quite happy with the stability of them now. Eye positioning is fiddly - there is no denying that, I like a 6mm+ exit pupil for a reason! They are very useable though with careful ipd adjustments and positioning of my hands to lift them slightly away from my eye sockets.

Outright resolution is not bad, on a heat hazy day today at the mouth of the river somme they were about as good as a full size set, in more settled conditions they are clearly not as sharp and accomplished at resolving detail as even an 8x32.

The real problems though for me at least were highlighted when we walked into a church. I know this is bird forum but me and the family like to go into any church that has it's door open on our trips away and I always enjoy getting closer to the architectural details, paintings, organ pipes and stained glass, whatever, with my binoculars. There's often something special about the craftsmanship when it's been done in the name of faith.

The 8x20's were a real let down though. Visibly dimmer than naked eye and as a result scarcely revealing more detail, a quick check on my pupils revealed why, I was loosing about half there light gathering potential with the bins misery 2.5mm exit pupil. This has also been born out on cloudy days and dawn or dusk use - forget any engaging viewing of the night sky too.

So I suppose that's the advice, pockets are great on a sunny day, 8x20 or 10x25 have the same brightness so will be equally accomplished on those occasions - just pick your favourite mag but if you want a smaller second set that does most things well and can show you the brush strokes of a fresco, reach for a compact 30 or 32.....
Hi William, not sure if yours is the Trinovid, or an old version, but I haven't experieced this 'dimmer than the naked eye' in darker conditions with my (new version) Ultavids.
Infact the opposite. I have been impressed in these conditions, given their exit pupil. A notch behind the Curio, but very useable.
Mine will have the latest coatings etc, but i'm not knowledgeable enough to argue if this helps or not.
 
Reiner,

I've had the VP 8x25 for several years and use it a lot. It handles like a dream for me in all respects with or without glasses. I've had the VP 10x25 for a couple of months. While the image is fantastic and I can hold it very steady, it is the most finicky 2.5 mm ep bin I own when using glasses -- a bit better without glasses. It seems be a bit short on eye relief for glasses and maybe the wide FOV for a 10x25 has something to do with this as well. I like the image well enough to work with it but for example the UV 10x25 is more relaxing and less finicky to use.

Mike
Hi Mike,

You do like the VP 25's also without wearing glasses? For me the eyecups are too short. But maybe I can get used to it. However, I think the CL 25's are more comfortable in that way.

I have had the Trinovid 8x20 and tried the Ultravid 8x20 shortly. But they weren't really comfortable in use. The eyecups just a bit too narrow. That's why I expect that it wouldn't be different with the 10x25's as the eyecups are the same I assume.
The VP 25's are floaters for me, so agian I think it will be Swarovski again for me :). Either 8x25 or 10x25.
 
Ironically I've had no problems with my 10x25 Ultravid, and took it along with the Curio a couple weeks ago on a family outing with friends. Everyone from teens to old people enjoyed both binoculars even though none of them had much experience using them before.

When I got the opportunity at the 10x25 Victory Pocket I'd assumed it would be as easy to use as its more famous sibling and I still don't fully understand why the one is so effortless to use and the other so difficult for me, especially in light of the fact that I have no trouble whatsoever with either the 8x20 or 10x25 Ultravids.

Just on my experience alone I'd suggest giving the 10x25 Ultravid a try. I had doubts before trying it but quickly fell for them.

Maybe I will give the Ultravid 10x25 a try, but I suppose I wouldn't really like them because of the narrow eyecups (like the 8x20's have). The Curio 7x21 is more comfortable imo. I found the CL 25's the most comfortable in that aspect, well fitting eyecups. But they are heavy, that is true.

The VP 25's and CL 25's feel like allround compact binoculars, but the 8x20's and the Curio 7x21 are just a bit too tiny/restricted. I have drawn a line between these two categories: compact but still quiet comfortable -- real pocketable but not the nicest for a full day birding.
I don't know where I would put the Ultravid 10x25. Probably in the last category.
 
I walked around London yesterday with my UV 8x20 in a sunglass microfibre bag, in my pocket.
Only used them a few times, but hardly knew they were there.
The pocket of your jeans or the pocket of your jacket?

In my experience I do only put them (8x20 or 7x21) in the pocket of my jacket. In summertime I prefer carrying them bandolier style. I do not put them in the pockets of my jeans.
 
The pocket of your jeans or the pocket of your jacket?

In my experience I do only put them (8x20 or 7x21) in the pocket of my jacket. In summertime I prefer carrying them bandolier style. I do not put them in the pockets of my jeans.
Both actually.... in the Oakley cloth case, they are so small
 
Hi Mike,

You do like the VP 25's also without wearing glasses? For me the eyecups are too short. But maybe I can get used to it. However, I think the CL 25's are more comfortable in that way.

I have had the Trinovid 8x20 and tried the Ultravid 8x20 shortly. But they weren't really comfortable in use. The eyecups just a bit too narrow. That's why I expect that it wouldn't be different with the 10x25's as the eyecups are the same I assume.
The VP 25's are floaters for me, so agian I think it will be Swarovski again for me :). Either 8x25 or 10x25.

Reinier,

Yes the VP 8x25 works equally well for me with or without glasses.

Regarding eyecup diameter I did compare them just now. The UV 8x20 and 10x25 eyecups are the same size and the CL 8x25 are quite a bit larger relatively speaking. So looks like SW CL is the way for you. I don't have to "float" any of them, just brace against my brow when necessary. The CL 8x25 of course is excellent, but I have never tried the 10x version so can't comment on that.

Mike
 
Hi William, not sure if yours is the Trinovid, or an old version, but I haven't experieced this 'dimmer than the naked eye' in darker conditions with my (new version) Ultavids.
Infact the opposite. I have been impressed in these conditions, given their exit pupil. A notch behind the Curio, but very useable.
Mine will have the latest coatings etc, but i'm not knowledgeable enough to argue if this helps or not.
Hi Rob.
It's a relatively new trinovid. I'm still enjoying it - in a cathedral and on the banks of the river seine today.

It's most apparent when your eyes pupil is dilated to more than the 2.5mm the binocular gives you when your peering into an even darker area. It's much less apparent in good lighting, but you should notice the effect at dawn and dusk when compared to an optic that gives an exit pupil of 4mm or above.

Interestingly even on a cloudy day my eyes pupils aren't dilated hugely more than the 2.5mm the little trinovids provide so there utility isn't limited to bright sunny days in the slightest providing your not in an area of deep shade.

It's a bit of a technical minefield as you suggest when deciding what size of exit pupil is still providing usefully more detail, spotting scopes will routinely get close to 1mm and astronomy scopes can still have worthwhile results down to 0.5mm but as a comparison with an 8x30 the greater utility of that extra 12mm of objective size for a little extra overall bulk is interesting. Of course if you can have a few pairs of bins you'd probably have both!

Will
 
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My choice of pocket binoculars is Ultravid 8x20. The comfort of the eyepieces is the same as any pocket binoculars with a 2.5mm exit pupil, not great, but over time I got used to it (even 8x25 format requires getting used over time). On the other hand, ergonomically, I can say that the comfort in the hands is almost the same as the Zeiss VP 8x25 due to the oversized focus wheel in relation to the small body.Ultravid ergonomics.JPG


The ease holding and accessing of UV 8x20 focus is the most convenient of all 20mm pocket binoculars. All other pocket models 8x20 or 7x21 have the focus wheel buried in the body of the binoculars and can only be accessed with a small area of the fingertip, which is uncomfortable and lack of precision. With Ultravid 8x20 I have focus control naturally without discomfort and with greater precision.
Trino vs Ultra Focus.JPG
 
My choice of pocket binoculars is Ultravid 8x20. The comfort of the eyepieces is the same as any pocket binoculars with a 2.5mm exit pupil, not great, but over time I got used to it (even 8x25 format requires getting used over time). On the other hand, ergonomically, I can say that the comfort in the hands is almost the same as the Zeiss VP 8x25 due to the oversized focus wheel in relation to the small body.View attachment 1582484


The ease holding and accessing of UV 8x20 focus is the most convenient of all 20mm pocket binoculars. All other pocket models 8x20 or 7x21 have the focus wheel buried in the body of the binoculars and can only be accessed with a small area of the fingertip, which is uncomfortable and lack of precision. With Ultravid 8x20 I have focus control naturally without discomfort and with greater precision.
View attachment 1582485
I hate to admit this, but I agree with you!:)
 
Hi Rob.
It's a relatively new trinovid. I'm still enjoying it - in a cathedral and on the banks of the river seine today.

It's most apparent when your eyes pupil is dilated to more than the 2.5mm the binocular gives you when your peering into an even darker area. It's much less apparent in good lighting, but you should notice the effect at dawn and dusk when compared to an optic that gives an exit pupil of 4mm or above.

Interestingly even on a cloudy day my eyes pupils aren't dilated hugely more than the 2.5mm the little trinovids provide so there utility isn't limited to bright sunny days in the slightest providing your not in an area of deep shade.

It's a bit of a technical minefield as you suggest when deciding what size of exit pupil is still providing usefully more detail, spotting scopes will routinely get close to 1mm and astronomy scopes can still have worthwhile results down to 0.5mm but as a comparison with an 8x30 the greater utility of that extra 12mm of objective size for a little extra overall bulk is interesting. Of course if you can have a few pairs of bins you'd probably have both!

Will
Hi will,
So I had lunch today outside in a dark wooded area. Had my 8x20 Ultravids so had a look.
I can say with certainty that I could see more with the binos than the naked eye.
Quite a bit more aswell, looking into really dark areas.
I did not have my HT's with me though, which would have been stellar.
 
Hi will,
So I had lunch today outside in a dark wooded area. Had my 8x20 Ultravids so had a look.
I can say with certainty that I could see more with the binos than the naked eye.
Quite a bit more aswell, looking into really dark areas.
I did not have my HT's with me though, which would have been stellar.
Seems legit Rob! The transmission difference between the two sets could be up to 10% according to Gijs measurements.
 

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