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Retrovid 7X35 a viable birding binocular? (1 Viewer)

chill6x6

Well-known member
Sooo... I've had a little time the field behind the Retrovid 7X35. I purchased my sample from Leica of San Francisco. Service was excellent. They kept me informed of when they were to arrive to their store all the way to Alabama.

First impression of the binocular is of quality and small size. It's almost a shame to take such a nice looking binocular out birding. Mine is the black leathered model and it really IS a nice looking binocular. Besides quality...one can't help but notice the SIZE of the thing. It is SMALL...almost toy-like. Holding it in your hand it looks so much smaller than any binocular I'm used to. VERY slim/trim feeling.

I've rigged mine up as I practically always do with a Rick Young Ultralight harness. This harness goes specially well with the Retrovid. While carrying in the field you hardly notice it's there. For storage it's easy to just wrap it around the binocular a couple of times and everything fits nicely in the included leather(ish) binocular case. Certainly a compact set up.

It's kinda difficult for me to come up with the 7X35s direct competition for comparison. Do I want to compare to other 7X binoculars that I have which are all 42mms OR to similar sized 30-32mms which are all 8X? I picked mostly 32mms with a 7X42 thrown into the mix.

Here are some comparative weights:

Retrovid(Trinovid) 7X35- 20.2oz
SV 8X32- 20.6oz
CL-B 8X30- 16.7oz
EDG II 8X32- 23.1oz
Conquest HD 8X32- 22.2oz
UVHD+ 7X42- 26.4oz

Out in the field...you notice the Retrovid really IS a bright binocular. Really! After using it exclusively and going to the SV 8X32...it comes across as "brighter." Maybe just a different color profile. In no way does the SV come across as "whiter." I also checked the FOV against the UVHD+ 7X42. It is exactly the same or about 420ft @ 1000yds.

Eye relief... Looking at specs one has to navigate to Leica's "Lifestyle and Leisure" optics instead of the usual "Experience nature" or "hunting" sections. Leica lists the ER for the Retrovid as 16mm. They also list the UVHD+ 7X42 as 17mm. Comparing these two either the UVHD+ ER is slightly more than that OR the Retrovids is slightly less. Wearing eyeglass I have the Retrovids eyecups all the way down and it's perfect. The UVHD+ is a notch up from all the way down for me. Through several birding trips I never felt the need to adjust the ER with the Retrovid. Always perfect when brought to the eye. No blackouts or kidney beaning whatsoever.

In the field impressions...
That FOCUS....as smooth as it gets quite frankly. Literally perfect function but it IS somewhat SLOW. Getting on a bird was fast and easy with a quick ID BUT...many times the bird would move before attaining perfect focus. It's something you might not notice if the Retrovid was your only binocular BUT swap to the SV or Conquest HD reminded you how it should be. I used the Retrovid almost exclusive since I bought it with an occasional swap to something else. One thing I noticed is that it didn't seem to "point" quite as well as say the SV, probably a function of what I'm used to. Some birds were acquired from just a few feet(winter wren, pine warblers, and ruby crowned kinglets) and never did I bottom out the focus. So so far the longish close focus doesn't seem to be an issue. I did notice a little more CA when compared to the UVHD+. Also when viewing and IDing some juvenile bald eagles at a distance on an overcast morning, I could certainly see it. I didn't have time to bring another binocular up to compare but it is what it is.

So far that's about it. I'm sure I haven't said all wanted to but to be honest my MacBook battery is winding down and I don't have my charger with me! LOL! Feel free to ask if you have a question and I'll get back to you. I'd have to say that the Retrovid is a nice little quality binocular. It truly IS unique being a 7X35. I'm planning on birding with it throughout the spring. It will make the trip to Magee Marsh in May. I'm not quite sure I'd recommend it over even some less expensive known entities namely the Conquest HD 8X32.

I plan on adding to this post has the year progresses. Feel free to add your own birding impressions of your own Retrovid 7X35.

Including a few pics of the above binoculars for comparison sake.
 

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wdc

Well-known member
Hi Chuck,
Nice Review!
Thanks for taking it through its paces and giving a range of binoculars to get a context of where it fits in the canon of optical devices that get hauled out into the field, as well as subtract money from our pocketbook.

FWIW, I also see CA in a lot of bins. There's always those 'special occassions' where you can see it with almost anything. I suppose it is more or less a threshold of tolerance..

So, just checking.. you can see the entire field in an 8x32 Conquest HD with your glasses on? Dang!

-Bill
 
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[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Nice review, Chuck. I always enjoy reading reviews of birder's actual experiences with their binoculars because practical field use is more meaningful to me. Having the 7x35 Retrovid I agree with you on their brightness. Every time I use them I am amazed how bright they are and how sharp the FOV seems all the way to the edge. I was shocked that you think they are brighter than the SV 8x32 because that little SV is one bright binocular. It must be the Retrovid's high transmission coupled with their relatively large 5mm exit pupil. I like how small and light the Retrovid's are too. They are like carrying nothing around your neck and will fit in a coat pocket but they perform like a full size binocular due to their format. They are a good small carry binocular if you can't tolerate the finickiness or poor low light performance of an 8x25 compact. They make you understand why the older Trinovid's were popular in the sixties. I notice you have an EDG 8x32. That is one of my favorite birding binoculars. How do you like it compared to your SV 8x32? Is it better with glare than the SV? Glare is a big issue in Colorado because especially in the mountains due to the high altitude and sunny days I have a lot of glare problems with binoculars that you may not have being at lower altitude.
 
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Canip

Well-known member
Thank you for the very nice review, Chuck!

I see that you enjoy your Retrovid, and I understand why.
I agree (as usual ;)) with almost everything you say.

Happy birding with it!
Canip
 

jan van daalen

Well-known member
LEICA - Make the 7x35 with rubber armoring!

Thanks for the review :)

No Leica please don'to:)o:)

Nice and truthful piece of work you wrote Chuck:t:
Personally I'm not a birder but I am a 7x man and love the Retrovid the way it is. Balance, FOV, brightness and the looks.
A bin nice to look through and to look at.

Jan
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
Hi Chuck,
Nice Review!
Thanks for taking it through its paces and giving a range of binoculars to get a context of where it fits in the canon of optical devices that get hauled out into the field, as well as subtract money from our pocketbook.

FWIW, I also see CA in a lot of bins. There's always those 'special occassions' where you can see it with almost anything. I suppose it is more or less a threshold of tolerance..

So, just checking.. you can see the entire field in an 8x32 Conquest HD with your glasses on? Dang!

-Bill

Thanks Bill! I certainly can see the complete FOV with the 8X32 Conquest HD. With eyecups all the way down it's about perfect, very similar to the Retrovid.

Nice review, Chuck. I always enjoy reading reviews of birder's actual experiences with their binoculars because practical field use is more meaningful and interesting to me than technical facts and historical pictures that are more befitting an encyclopedia or scientific optics journal than Bird Forum. IMO there are too many "Armchair Optical Engineer's" on Bird Forum that think that they know more than the designer's and it leads to a lot of misinformation. Let the deisigner's design the binoculars. That is what they went to school for. I don't really care how many cemented doublets or what kind of a prism a binocular has as long as it works good. Having the 7x35 Retrovid I agree with you on their brightness. Every time I use them I am amazed how bright they are and how sharp the FOV seems all the way to the edge. I was shocked that you think they are brighter than the SV 8x32 because that little SV is one bright binocular. It must be the Retrovid's high transmission coupled with their relatively large 5mm exit pupil. I like how small and light the Retrovid's are too. They are like carrying nothing around your neck and will fit in a coat pocket but they perform like a full size binocular due to their format. They are a good small carry binocular if you can't tolerate the finickiness or poor low light performance of an 8x25 compact. They make you understand why the older Trinovid's were popular in the sixties. I notice you have an EDG 8x32. That is one of my favorite birding binoculars. How do you like it compared to your SV 8x32? Is it better with glare than the SV? Glare is a big issue in Colorado because especially in the mountains due to the high altitude and sunny days I have a lot of glare problems with binoculars that you may not have being at lower altitude.

Thanks Dennis! I think each of us appreciates binoculars in our own way. The EDG- I LIKE it...I made myself use it for a couple of months. It has just BARELY enough ER for me. It's heavier than the SV with less FOV so at least for ME, it suffers by comparison. If I'm picking an EDG, I'm picking the 8X42!

Thank you for the very nice review, Chuck!

I see that you enjoy your Retrovid, and I understand why.
I agree (as usual ;)) with almost everything you say.

Happy birding with it!
Canip

Thanks Canip!

Great write-up Chuck, thanks for posting.

Lee

Thanks Lee!

LEICA - Make the 7x35 with rubber armoring!

Thanks for the review :)

Seconded!

Thanks Guys! Although I DO love the looks of the black leathered Retrovid, I DO give a little extra care with it that I wouldn't do with an armored binocular.

No Leica please don'to:)o:)

Nice and truthful piece of work you wrote Chuck:t:
Personally I'm not a birder but I am a 7x man and love the Retrovid the way it is. Balance, FOV, brightness and the looks.
A bin nice to look through and to look at.

Jan

Thanks Jan! There's really not much to complain about!
 

Mac308

Well-known member
Thanks Guys! Although I DO love the looks of the black leathered Retrovid, I DO give a little extra care with it that I wouldn't do with an armored binocular.

The way I use binoculars at least 50% of the time, "a little extra care" is not possible. Snow, sleet, rain in the mountains for days on end are not conducive to leather binoculars.

I would love to own a pair of 7x35, but will not until they're available with rubber armoring.

But again, thank you for your excellent review.
 

Mike F

Well-known member
The way I use binoculars at least 50% of the time, "a little extra care" is not possible. Snow, sleet, rain in the mountains for days on end are not conducive to leather binoculars.

I would love to own a pair of 7x35, but will not until they're available with rubber armoring.

But again, thank you for your excellent review.

It’s worth noting that the ‘leather’ is not real leather and is much harder wearing than the real thing would be. I’m not sure that there would be much difference, either in protection of the bin or the longevity of the finish, between the faux leather and a thin layer of rubber in practice.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
It’s worth noting that the ‘leather’ is not real leather and is much harder wearing than the real thing would be. I’m not sure that there would be much difference, either in protection of the bin or the longevity of the finish, between the faux leather and a thin layer of rubber in practice.

Here is what 44 year-old Leica faux leather looks like after hard work in the islands off the West of Scotland, the fens of South East England and the Cairngorm Mountains of East Scotland.

Notice that large areas of the paint are worn away but there is not a mark on the 'leather'.

Lee
 

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[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
If you look at the older 'leather' Trinovids 7x35 on Ebay that must be at least 50 years old the faux leather look's like new on most of them but the rubber ones look in worse condition so I think the faux leather is actually more durable. The rubber look's like it is oxidized in many cases from the UV radiation from the sun.
 

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Canip

Well-known member
Here is what 44 year-old Leica faux leather looks like after hard work in the islands off the West of Scotland, the fens of South East England and the Cairngorm Mountains of East Scotland.

Notice that large areas of the paint are worn away but there is not a mark on the 'leather'.

Lee

Bl...y hell, Lee, what have you been doing to your Trinovid - what a lack of care!!

Let me show you what 50 year old Trinovid should look like (attached)
 

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NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
Bl...y hell, Lee, what have you been doing to your Trinovid - what a lack of care!!

Let me show you what 50 year old Trinovid should look like (attached)

Is this one yours or a stock photo ? I can tell it has not left the case much or
out of the house. ;)

Jerry
 

Canip

Well-known member
:t:
I can’t say much about its former life (it was in the hands of a famous optics expert before I bought it a few years ago)
Canip
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Bl...y hell, Lee, what have you been doing to your Trinovid - what a lack of care!!

Let me show you what 50 year old Trinovid should look like (attached)

Sheep poop is corrosive.:king:

Don't blame me guys, that old warrior belongs to Troubadoris and has been in retirement after a super service by Gary for the last few years. As you can see it wasn't treated like a baby and it gave terrific service. Troubadoris now uses an Ultravid HD 8x32 unless she needs ultra-close focusing, in which case she chooses a Trinovid HD 8x32.

Lee
 

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