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

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi Mike,

It's something Leica does a lot e.g. see my recent comment about the figures provided for the Noctivids:

. . .
This is a common error in Field Of View conversion:

a) There’s 3.3 feet (39.4 inches) to 1 meter. So when converting a length in feet to meters, or vice versa, one divides or multiplies accordingly

b) However, Field of View is a ratio i.e. the width of the field at a given distance
The FOV is the same regardless of the units used, whether:
  • meters at 1000 meters, or
  • yards at 1000 yards

So when converting the width in yards, to the width in feet, there's 3 feet to a yard

The 10x42 Noctivid's FOV is: 112 m at 1000 m > 112 yd at 1000 yd > 336 ft at 1000 yd

- - - -

In the specification table that you attached, to convert the FOV in meters to feet, the conversion factors are:
  • 3.28 for the 8x42, and
  • 3.36 for the 10x42
So who knows what was going on?
. . .

Maybe the work experience kid does the calculations?


John
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
John

Thanks for the useful info and pictures. One question, is it my lack of math skills or is Leica's spec sheet listing the FoV of all three models incorrectly in terms of feet as opposed to meters? E.G. given the 7x35 at 8 degrees and 140m at 1000m, isn't 420 feet at 1000 yards the correct figure rather than 460 feet? The figures listed for the 8x and 10x in feet appear incorrect as well?

Mike
That's correct. I believe they started doing that with the Noctivid. For some reason it doesn't seem to bother Leica that it's incorrect.
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
Thanks for sharing your experiences with the Trinnie Classic.
To what extent would you consider the 7x35 to be pocketable?
It would take a big pocket! Although it's a little smaller than a EL 8X32 it's still not small by other 32mm standards. It's about the same size as a CL B 8X30 which still isn't really a pocket binocular IMO. The previous generation CL 8X30 is pretty close to a pocket binocular...about the largest I'd consider for a "pocket." I tried to make several different 8X30s a "pocket-binocular." Still a "pocket binocular" is a 8X25 dual-hinge model. That's truly a pocket binocular.
 

Sterngucker

Well-known member
It would take a big pocket! Although it's a little smaller than a EL 8X32 it's still not small by other 32mm standards. It's about the same size as a CL B 8X30 which still isn't really a pocket binocular IMO. The previous generation CL 8X30 is pretty close to a pocket binocular...about the largest I'd consider for a "pocket." I tried to make several different 8X30s a "pocket-binocular." Still a "pocket binocular" is a 8X25 dual-hinge model. That's truly a pocket binocular.
Thanks for answering my question. I was afraid you'd be saying something like that. Guess I am just trying to kill too many birds with one stone: ≥ 4 mm exit pupil, pocketable, European brand, ≤ 8x (rugged and waterproof too, if at all possible) - in short, my swiss army knife of binos.
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
Regarding pocketable... I agree it depends a lot on the pocket. In winter, with a coat on, I think that the 8x30 MHG or CL-B would fit in the pocket of a good percentage of mens' coats. My MHG fits in the hand pocket of all my various winter coats. They don't fit in summer but in summer I am less encumbered and it's not too much work to grab them in and out of a small bag if need be, so I make do. I personally don't like the double hinge bins, and the otherwise excellent Victory 8x25 isn't REALLY pocketable in MY summer pockets, so I've never felt it was a necessary addition, even though I really like it.
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
Regarding pocketable... I agree it depends a lot on the pocket. In winter, with a coat on, I think that the 8x30 MHG or CL-B would fit in the pocket of a good percentage of mens' coats. My MHG fits in the hand pocket of all my various winter coats.
Lately I've been using my 8x30 Monarch 7 without a strap, simply snug inside the pocket of my parka. Whenever I need it, I slide it out (this is doable because of the lack of strap, with the strap on it would not be feasible).
I also do it with the 8x32 ELSV, but is less convenient, and I've done it with the binoculars in question a couple of times, but in this case the lack of armour was a source of concern, not only because the exposed metal parts could get scratched, but due to the risk of a sudden fall (should the binocular slip between my fingers). So I'd say "pocketable" is quite a long shot for the 7x35 Retrovid. However, as Chuck has said, they are really incredible small for a 7x35, smaller than many 8x32.
 

Sterngucker

Well-known member
Thanks for all your input. Here in South Texas it is usually t-shirt, shorts (with cargo pockets) or (cargo) pants. Long-sleeved shirt and M65 or jeans jacket in winter. Real coats only for trips north of the Mason-Dixon line, which I try to avoid as much as possible.
Oh, and a goretex rainjacket - cos Stevie Ray Vaughan is so right - Texas Flood.

So bottom line = either some poxy 8x25 with its little eyecups and small exit pupil, or no "pocketability".

But I do not want to hijack the thread - so long.
 
Last edited:

gweller

Well-known member
I thought I would add my 2 cent's worth to the discussion! I had been thinking about getting a 7x binocular for a while and decided to bite the bullet and try the Retrovid 7x35.

It arrived yesterday, and although I have not had a chance to try it out that extensively, I’m delighted with it so far.

Some comments/thoughts:

Build: Very very good, immaculately finished inside and out. It feels sturdy, made to last, and it’s actually quite heavy for its diminutive size. The focuser is smooth, with a bit of friction. The eye cups are small in diameter, (and I know that some people find this a negative point,) but for me they fit perfectly. It’s supplied with a case, strap and rain guard, lens cloth but no objective lens covers.

View: Very good and “relaxed”, with great colour rendition and sharpness. I did notice a bit of CA when watching a couple of circling Buzzards against a bright sky, but nothing to worry about or to spoil the view in my opinion. I found eye placement to be very forgiving and, with the eyecups fully out, I had no problems with blackouts etc.

Conclusion: A very nice binocular and definitely a keeper for me!! Some binoculars have that special, almost indefinable attribute, whereby you seem to forget you are using them and just get immersed in the view. I had this with my old Leica Trinovid 7x42 BA and I have that now with the Retrovid.

Is it a viable birding binocular? Yes and no! For me, being pretty much a fair weather birder and as a supplement to my other bins, the answer is absolutely yes! Optically it is definitely up there with the best birding bins and it is a pleasure to use. But I can see that if it was your only bin, the fact that it is not fully waterproof and has a leather/metal finish (making it cold to the hands in winter), it might limit you a bit. It is a shame Leica did not choose to make a rubber armoured, fully waterproof, version as well - preferably in green!

Regards
Gary
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
A 7x35 Ultravid or Noctivid would be a “one and done” binocular for me...
Very nice review!

If Leica made a 7x35 “ultra” version with waterproofing, rubber armor + correspondingly fatter eyecups, and slightly better close focus I would be all over that and probably saying goodbye to my 7x42!
So I have a question(or two)....
Let's say one buys a Retrovid 7X35....goes birding with it all year as their only binocular including the Louisiana swamps, S Florida, Puerto Rico, and Honduras. Multiple day trips each. It gets rained on a couple of times but not soaked.

1. What's the likelihood of the humidity/moisture/rain being an issue?
2. Would Leica repair it IF there was an issue?
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
Chuck, I don't really know the answer to those questions. But, given the specificity of the travel itinerary, I suspect you do and it's not really that hypothetical :p

I would wager that if one is somewhat careful, making sure to use a rainguard in light precipitation and stuffing it into a case and/or under a jacket when it really rains, you'd probably be fine. I'm sure it can handle getting a bit damp now and then. I'm not sure it could handle getting soaked in a tropical downpour though, but I'd also be concerned about internal fogging on cold/wet morning and moisture eventually seeping in if used hard in the field.

That said, I've done plenty of tropical rainforest birding, and I have been caught in my fair share of sudden, torrential downpours (including one in Borneo that ended up with many happy leeches sucking on my toes inside my shoes! I thought "nope, it's not going to rain, I don't need to wear my leech socks today"....). And if I'm spending $1500 (!!!) on a frontline birding binocular, I would want the peace of mind. It feels kind of good to be standing in a downpour and not being worried when my binoculars are getting soaked!

Would Leica repair it if I took them out in a downpour and they got soaked and waterlogged? Maybe? Maybe they would say "we aren't covering that under warranty, these do not claim to be WP!", whereas with an Ultravid they for sure would cover it because they themselves assert its waterproofness.

Honestly though, waterproofing is NOT that high on my list of concerns with this binocular. I live in San Diego CA! Rain isn't something I worry about 90% of the time. Travel birding is only a few weeks a year at most, I could happily use a non-WP bin for most of the year and have a solid WP pair for travel like the the Conquest HD 8x32.

If I had to rank my concerns of the 4 things I mentioned, ergonomics would be at the top. Specifically:
  1. Skinny eyecups
  2. Slender barrels
  3. Waterproofing
  4. Close focus
The skinny eyecups are, unfortunately, a show stopper for me. I've already bought and sold multiple fine binoculars including the Meostar 8x32, the Swaro CL-B 8x30, Zeiss VP 8x25, etc because the eyecups are too small. After seeing the tragic tale of yarrellii being forced to sell his despite liking the view more than his 8x32 Swaro SV EL, because of those dang eyecups, I scratched it off my list. I know that would be me also, and I would be crushed by the outcome, so I don't even want to let myself try them since I know I will love the view.

Concerns #2-4 I could likely deal with if concern #1 wasn't there. I'm not even sure if #2 would be a real problem in practice, but I tend to dislike the ergonomics of skinny binoculars (e.g. Swaro CL-B 8x30). For a frontline birding bin, I'd rather have a chunkier body that I can wrap my mitts around. So I have a strong suspicion that I'd prefer the handling of these bins if they were wrapped in UV-like rubber, giving them a few extra mm of thickness all around.

Plus, once you make the eyecups fatter, it would look odd to have the skinny body, so correspondingly thicker body armor to maintain the flush profile of the imaginary fatter eyecups just makes sense, and you also get the improved handling comfort, and insulation/shock resistance.

Concerns #3/4 are barely concerns, especially close focus distance as I've never really been bothered by the ~3m close focus of my 7x42. So those are really a "nice to have", not a true impediment to me buying them. BUT.... if I'm going to the trouble of having Leica make me a special imaginary pair of rubber-armored Retrovids, I might as well go for the gusto and make it a true "birder-focused" model :D
 

gweller

Well-known member
So I have a question(or two)....
Let's say one buys a Retrovid 7X35....goes birding with it all year as their only binocular including the Louisiana swamps, S Florida, Puerto Rico, and Honduras. Multiple day trips each. It gets rained on a couple of times but not soaked.

1. What's the likelihood of the humidity/moisture/rain being an issue?
2. Would Leica repair it IF there was an issue?
Makes you wonder how birders ever managed 30, 40 years ago before the advent of the fully waterproof bins what we now have!
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
Makes you wonder how birders ever managed 30, 40 years ago before the advent of the fully waterproof bins what we now have!
.... well, there were probably a lot of annoyed birders standing on a rainy, misty trail in Costa Rica with fogged up optics and internal condensation ;)

People "managed", but that doesn't mean it wasn't a real problem, or else this would not have become a feature that is heavily marketed :)
 

Canip

Well-known member
Makes you wonder how birders ever managed 30, 40 years ago before the advent of the fully waterproof bins what we now have!
Point well made!
Beside my official army Kern 8x30 bino, I had been using my private Leitz Trinovid 10x40 as an artillery officer for many years in all sorts of conditions, and while Switzerland does not count rain forests and large swamps among its landscapes, it does regularly get fog, rain, snow and ice. I never encountered internal fogging of the Trinovid in over 25 years of service.
 

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