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Trinovid 10x42 (2012-2015 edition) impressions (1 Viewer)

eitanaltman

Well-known member
I recently purchased Andy's (dries1) extra pair of 2012-2015 vintage Trinovid 10x42.

I've been on a bit of a 10x42 bender recently, having been an 8x user traditionally. That said, I also don't have an alpha budget, so I've been playing in the midrange space (starting with a Tract Toric UHD) trying to find a high value optic. This was a model that I'd always been curious about, having read many times that it was essentially an Ultravid BR in a slightly cheaper wrapper, so I couldn't resist the opportunity to try these.

Now, I'm not going to say anything that hasn't been observed by others, but having used them heavily as my primary optics for the past 2+ weeks, my bottom line conclusion is that these are one of the all-time great "hidden gem" optics, and at the prices they run used these days (if you can find one!) they are one of the very best optical values around. They fully deserve their cult status as a "secret Ultravid".

Make no mistake, the quality of the view is unequivocally, 100% alpha in terms of center field sharpness, contrast, color saturation, and that elusive "clarity" or "sparkle" that only the best glass provides. These are not "almost alphas" like the Conquest HD or Razor HD, they are ALPHA optically, full stop. They give up precious little to my wife's 8x32 Ultravid HD, which nobody would dispute is alpha quality. No, it's not an ultra-wide, field flattened view that's sharp to the edges like the latest and greatest top dogs, but the general impression in the field is of a gloriously clean, transparent, razor sharp image with that classic "Leica feel" of vibrant, saturated, contrasty colors that "pop".

More than anything, the "micro-contrast" or "perceived sharpness" they provide is just jaw dropping; I cannot imagine a 10x optic being sharper than these. It does not surprise me at all that these had equal tested resolution with the $2K alphas in the well known 2012 Birdwatching review that declared them indistinguishable from the Ultravid HD. The other day I was at a local lake, scanning the gulls perched on the dam almost 1/2 mile away; I could not believe the clarity and detail I could see at that extreme distance hand-held, the white breasts and head of the Western Gulls just popped against their dark gray backs.

Glare control is very good; not the best, but plenty good enough for it not to impinge on the view in the center. Interestingly, when reading Tobias' review of the Ultravid 8x42 HD, he mentioned "peripheral crescent flaring... looking against the sun" yet it "manages to keep very low veiling glare levels in the image center under most conditions". This is *exactly* what I've observed on these Trinnies: when looking in the direction of the sun, there are some bright crescent flares, yet somehow it never intrudes into the center of the image. Holding the binoculars out and tilting them around in the direction of the sun, it shows like a bright "rim" right at the edge of the exit pupil, and I can usually eliminate it by adjusting my eye position slightly to avoid the offending exit pupil edge. In nearly any other lighting situation they show basically zero glare / flare.

Also not an original observation, but the build quality is top notch. These have the proverbial "built like a tank" feel and exude solidity and engineering excellence. I seem to always like Leica eyecups and these may be the best I've ever used -- they are rock solid in operation and have just the right texture of soft rubber covering to be comfortable, and they have a nice taper which fits my eye sockets perfectly (unlike some bigger non-tapered eyecups which are too wide). The eyecup mechanism is as solid and robust as anything I've ever used, and there are 5 regulated stops which *LOCK* in place with a firm click; once a position is set they cannot be moved accidentally, which is a common problem with intermediate stops on most binoculars.

The stops are also smartly placed. Want to jam them deep into your eye sockets? The fully extended position is just right for the eye relief, I can see the full FOV with zero blackouts. Prefer to rest them on your brow a bit, so they aren't fully jammed into the eye socket? There's a stop just a small click in from fully extended that is perfect. Wear glasses but have really thin lenses so you get blackouts? There's a position that's a small click out from fully retracted. And one extra that's basically in the middle, just in case. PLUS, it you still can't find the sweet spot, the friction of the rotation and the rigidity of the detents allows for intermediate positions between stops by twisting down and "resting" the eyecups at a semi-stop just before it slides in and locks into the detent. Tobias also notes this in his review of the Ultravid HD, "you can not only fix the cups into the stops going upwards, but lock them also against the stops going downwards".

So, with all the glowing positives out of the way, there are a few nitpicks. Nothing is perfect after all:

- First, the FOV could be a bit wider; it's not narrow at all, but it feels fairly pedestrian compared to the two other 10x42's that I've been playing with (Tract Toric UHD and Minox HG MiG) which both have ~6.5 degree FOV that gives a really relaxing, walk-in feel.

- Second, the chromatic aberration control is below average for the (original) price point. It's clean enough in the center to not be an issue in real world viewing in normal lighting conditions, but the purple/green color fringes are pretty wide and "fuzzy" off axis making them hard to miss in more severe conditions. With my wife's 8x32 Ultravid HD or my 8x32 EuroHD the color fringing off axis is barely there in the center, and thinner and crisper edged when it shows up off axis. My Pentax 9x32 (Sightron clone) even handle CA slightly better than the Trinnies, the Tract Torics are fairly similar, and the Minox HG are a bit worse.

- Third, there is a TINY bit of desaturation in the blue end of the spectrum which results in a SLIGHT warming or yellowing of whites and a reduction in the vibrancy of deep blue tones. The 8x32 UVHD clearly has whiter whites and bluer blues, which to me lends credence to the idea that these Trinnies were given the Ultravid BR coatings vs the newer coatings used on the UVHD (I assume to save a bit of cost and place them a small peg below the UVHD series at the time). Again, I will emphasize that this is *slight*, but I'm very sensitive to color balance and immediately notice the slight "dingy" cast it gives to the sky for example.

- Fourth, a few tiny ergonomic nitpicks... the biggest of which is that they are a bit on the "chunky" and heavy side for my tastes. The balance is quite good, although it's a bit back heavy, but with my thumbs behind the nicely shaped bottom ridges I can hold them quite steady for a 10x. However, I notice arm fatigue creep in with protracting scanning. The chunky barrels are also compounded a bit by the bulk of the wide, raised center bridge. Also, the focus knob, while very precise, has a bit of "stiction" that can make small, smooth one-finger adjustments difficult. However, since it's a double-length knob with the integrated diopter and I have my hands wrapped around the brick, I end up using two fingers which gives me that extra little bit of control to make precise adjustments.

- Finally, I noticed some fogging on the oculars when using them recently on a cold, damp morning, which I assume would be mitigated by the AquaDura coatings on the UVHD/HD+ models.

THAT SAID.... if you take the 2012-2015 Trinovid and added a bit more FOV, slightly better coatings, a bit less CA, and shaved off a tiny bit of weight.... well, that would be an Ultravid HD! So hard to complain really, especially for the price.

I am fully convinced of the common consensus that the 2012-15 Trinovids are indeed Ultravids optically, just lacking some of the newer innovations of the UVHD series like improved coatings, "fluoride" objective lenses, and AquaDura. Comparing to the 8x32 UVHD on hand, the UVHD is a bit brighter, a bit whiter, with a wee bit more "sparkle" and superior CA reduction. At the original price point of $1,500 they were awkwardly positioned since at that point just spend a few hundred more for the UVHD; however, if you can find them used at 1/2 the price, they are an absolute steal.
 

eronald

Well-known member
Shops in France are still selling new/old stock at about $1500


I recently purchased Andy's (dries1) extra pair of 2012-2015 vintage Trinovid 10x42.

I've been on a bit of a 10x42 bender recently, having been an 8x user traditionally. That said, I also don't have an alpha budget, so I've been playing in the midrange space (starting with a Tract Toric UHD) trying to find a high value optic. This was a model that I'd always been curious about, having read many times that it was essentially an Ultravid BR in a slightly cheaper wrapper, so I couldn't resist the opportunity to try these.

Now, I'm not going to say anything that hasn't been observed by others, but having used them heavily as my primary optics for the past 2+ weeks, my bottom line conclusion is that these are one of the all-time great "hidden gem" optics, and at the prices they run used these days (if you can find one!) they are one of the very best optical values around. They fully deserve their cult status as a "secret Ultravid".

Make no mistake, the quality of the view is unequivocally, 100% alpha in terms of center field sharpness, contrast, color saturation, and that elusive "clarity" or "sparkle" that only the best glass provides. These are not "almost alphas" like the Conquest HD or Razor HD, they are ALPHA optically, full stop. They give up precious little to my wife's 8x32 Ultravid HD, which nobody would dispute is alpha quality. No, it's not an ultra-wide, field flattened view that's sharp to the edges like the latest and greatest top dogs, but the general impression in the field is of a gloriously clean, transparent, razor sharp image with that classic "Leica feel" of vibrant, saturated, contrasty colors that "pop".

More than anything, the "micro-contrast" or "perceived sharpness" they provide is just jaw dropping; I cannot imagine a 10x optic being sharper than these. It does not surprise me at all that these had equal tested resolution with the $2K alphas in the well known 2012 Birdwatching review that declared them indistinguishable from the Ultravid HD. The other day I was at a local lake, scanning the gulls perched on the dam almost 1/2 mile away; I could not believe the clarity and detail I could see at that extreme distance hand-held, the white breasts and head of the Western Gulls just popped against their dark gray backs.

Glare control is very good; not the best, but plenty good enough for it not to impinge on the view in the center. Interestingly, when reading Tobias' review of the Ultravid 8x42 HD, he mentioned "peripheral crescent flaring... looking against the sun" yet it "manages to keep very low veiling glare levels in the image center under most conditions". This is *exactly* what I've observed on these Trinnies: when looking in the direction of the sun, there are some bright crescent flares, yet somehow it never intrudes into the center of the image. Holding the binoculars out and tilting them around in the direction of the sun, it shows like a bright "rim" right at the edge of the exit pupil, and I can usually eliminate it by adjusting my eye position slightly to avoid the offending exit pupil edge. In nearly any other lighting situation they show basically zero glare / flare.

Also not an original observation, but the build quality is top notch. These have the proverbial "built like a tank" feel and exude solidity and engineering excellence. I seem to always like Leica eyecups and these may be the best I've ever used -- they are rock solid in operation and have just the right texture of soft rubber covering to be comfortable, and they have a nice taper which fits my eye sockets perfectly (unlike some bigger non-tapered eyecups which are too wide). The eyecup mechanism is as solid and robust as anything I've ever used, and there are 5 regulated stops which *LOCK* in place with a firm click; once a position is set they cannot be moved accidentally, which is a common problem with intermediate stops on most binoculars.

The stops are also smartly placed. Want to jam them deep into your eye sockets? The fully extended position is just right for the eye relief, I can see the full FOV with zero blackouts. Prefer to rest them on your brow a bit, so they aren't fully jammed into the eye socket? There's a stop just a small click in from fully extended that is perfect. Wear glasses but have really thin lenses so you get blackouts? There's a position that's a small click out from fully retracted. And one extra that's basically in the middle, just in case. PLUS, it you still can't find the sweet spot, the friction of the rotation and the rigidity of the detents allows for intermediate positions between stops by twisting down and "resting" the eyecups at a semi-stop just before it slides in and locks into the detent. Tobias also notes this in his review of the Ultravid HD, "you can not only fix the cups into the stops going upwards, but lock them also against the stops going downwards".

So, with all the glowing positives out of the way, there are a few nitpicks. Nothing is perfect after all:

- First, the FOV could be a bit wider; it's not narrow at all, but it feels fairly pedestrian compared to the two other 10x42's that I've been playing with (Tract Toric UHD and Minox HG MiG) which both have ~6.5 degree FOV that gives a really relaxing, walk-in feel.

- Second, the chromatic aberration control is below average for the (original) price point. It's clean enough in the center to not be an issue in real world viewing in normal lighting conditions, but the purple/green color fringes are pretty wide and "fuzzy" off axis making them hard to miss in more severe conditions. With my wife's 8x32 Ultravid HD or my 8x32 EuroHD the color fringing off axis is barely there in the center, and thinner and crisper edged when it shows up off axis. My Pentax 9x32 (Sightron clone) even handle CA slightly better than the Trinnies, the Tract Torics are fairly similar, and the Minox HG are a bit worse.

- Third, there is a TINY bit of desaturation in the blue end of the spectrum which results in a SLIGHT warming or yellowing of whites and a reduction in the vibrancy of deep blue tones. The 8x32 UVHD clearly has whiter whites and bluer blues, which to me lends credence to the idea that these Trinnies were given the Ultravid BR coatings vs the newer coatings used on the UVHD (I assume to save a bit of cost and place them a small peg below the UVHD series at the time). Again, I will emphasize that this is *slight*, but I'm very sensitive to color balance and immediately notice the slight "dingy" cast it gives to the sky for example.

- Fourth, a few tiny ergonomic nitpicks... the biggest of which is that they are a bit on the "chunky" and heavy side for my tastes. The balance is quite good, although it's a bit back heavy, but with my thumbs behind the nicely shaped bottom ridges I can hold them quite steady for a 10x. However, I notice arm fatigue creep in with protracting scanning. The chunky barrels are also compounded a bit by the bulk of the wide, raised center bridge. Also, the focus knob, while very precise, has a bit of "stiction" that can make small, smooth one-finger adjustments difficult. However, since it's a double-length knob with the integrated diopter and I have my hands wrapped around the brick, I end up using two fingers which gives me that extra little bit of control to make precise adjustments.

- Finally, I noticed some fogging on the oculars when using them recently on a cold, damp morning, which I assume would be mitigated by the AquaDura coatings on the UVHD/HD+ models.

THAT SAID.... if you take the 2012-2015 Trinovid and added a bit more FOV, slightly better coatings, a bit less CA, and shaved off a tiny bit of weight.... well, that would be an Ultravid HD! So hard to complain really, especially for the price.

I am fully convinced of the common consensus that the 2012-15 Trinovids are indeed Ultravids optically, just lacking some of the newer innovations of the UVHD series like improved coatings, "fluoride" objective lenses, and AquaDura. Comparing to the 8x32 UVHD on hand, the UVHD is a bit brighter, a bit whiter, with a wee bit more "sparkle" and superior CA reduction. At the original price point of $1,500 they were awkwardly positioned since at that point just spend a few hundred more for the UVHD; however, if you can find them used at 1/2 the price, they are an absolute steal.
 

Mike F

Well-known member
eitanaltman, Thanks for the great review. I also think 'that these are one of the all-time great "hidden gem" optics'.

I was extremely fortunate to be able to buy an ex-demo pair of 8x42's from Leica Mayfair at a great price a few years ago. I had been intending to buy a 8x42 Trinovid HD but when I compared them to the 2012-15 Trinovid there was no comparison IMO. The Trinovid HD is a (very good) mid-range binocular. The 2012-15 Trinovid is an alpha. Behind the very best in the ways which you describe, but in terms of build quality and centre view, it's most definitely alpha.

I've said it before but the only problem with the 2012-15 Trinovid IMO was that it was, as you said, too close in price to the UVHD. This put Leica in competition with themselves and with no real mid-range priced bin to offer the market. I'm sure that's the only reason why this very special Trinovid had such a short run. The best iteration of the Trinovid in the line that started with the BA.

I have an UVHD+ 7x and 12x as well as a NV 10x and the Trinovid 8x stands up to them extremely well in terms of center field sharpness, contrast and colour saturation. They ultimately lose a little in terms of what you called 'pop' to the 7x42 UVHD+ (as well as the other things mentioned such as FOV and weight) but really the differences in general viewing are small.

Regarding the focuser, mine is actually a bit smoother and with less 'stiction' than my Ultravids. I've always believed this to be because the focuser on the Trinovid has a stainless steel mechanism rather than the titanium mechanism of the Ultravid and steel has a lower friction coefficient than titanium. I stand to be corrected!
 

A2GG

Beth
Supporter
United States
I had this version Trinovid for about a year and agree it's very good.
The focuser on mine was super smooth. Excellent Leica quality and quite heavy.
I believe it's about 29 ounces or so.
Very nice view but does have strong CA I recall (to me) off axis
IMO the Ultravid HD Plus image is a noticeable step up.
 

A2GG

Beth
Supporter
United States
I now believe that the birding population is aging, when a Leica 10X42 is too heavy.

Andy W.

I guess that was a swipe at me. Yes, im aging and I'm probably older than you and I also have mentioned here in the past about my shoulder problems.
I now carry a 17 ounce bino so that I can still go out birding without having to take an ibuprofen when I get home. Everyone has their own tolerance levels and preferences and thankfully there are lots of quality binos to choose from.

The Trinovid was a bit heavy FOR ME . That should help to clarify my previous post.
 

dries1

Member
Not you Beth, but the complaining for so much about weight of a 8X42 or a 10X42 at 800 grams. I know why you use a light 8X30/32 (shoulder) but the general consensus I remember being down in South Jersey at Audubon and the gentleman with the glass says, many feel that many premium 8X42/10X42s are too heavy.
Folks are already complaining about the weight of the NL at 800 grams.
If the manufactures would build a glass at the level of the SV, Noctivid, etc. or even the NL at say 650 grams, customers should be ready to pay $4000-$5000, but then they would complain about the cost.

Andy W.
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
Enjoyed your review and I agree with practically everything you said! I've owned both 8X42 and 10X42 versions of these. I kick myself for letting the 8X42 go. BUT the REASON I let the 8X42 Trinovid go was...I ALSO had the UVHD+ 8X42 which is PRACTICALLY the same binocular that is a little lighter, a little smaller, a little more FOV, and utilizes AquaDura coatings. Sounds like a lot but in actual use they are pretty much equivalent.
 

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Mike F

Well-known member
Chuck,

I tell you what, I’ll swop you my 8x42 Trinovid for your 8x42 Ultravids if you pay the shipping. 8-P

Actually, given that I have the 7x42 UV I’m not sure that I would. I really like the Trinovid in its own right and it’s also nice to have something a bit different.
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
Chuck,

I tell you what, I’ll swop you my 8x42 Trinovid for your 8x42 Ultravids if you pay the shipping. 8-P

Actually, given that I have the 7x42 UV I’m not sure that I would. I really like the Trinovid in its own right and it’s also nice to have something a bit different.

I always knew you were a nice guy Mike! :smoke:
 

Mike F

Well-known member
Andy,

FWIW I didn’t think you were having a swipe at Beth. She has good reason to want something very light, but I agree that the constant general demand for ever lighter x42 bins without increase in price is unreasonable. Technology and new materials can only achieve so much and I suspect that we’re about at the limit now, and I would not wish to sacrifice optical or/and build quality in the pursuit of lighter weight.

Personally I’m enjoying my 12x50 UV’s a lot at the moment and they weigh in at over 1kg. I haven’t once thought about the weight, and by comparison the 2012-15 Trinovid is small and light!
 
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A2GG

Beth
Supporter
United States
Not you Beth, but the complaining for so much about weight of a 8X42 or a 10X42 at 800 grams. I know why you use a light 8X30/32 (shoulder) but the general consensus I remember being down in South Jersey at Audubon and the gentleman with the glass says, many feel that many premium 8X42/10X42s are too heavy.
Folks are already complaining about the weight of the NL at 800 grams.
If the manufactures would build a glass at the level of the SV, Noctivid, etc. or even the NL at say 650 grams, customers should be ready to pay $4000-$5000, but then they would complain about the cost.

Andy W.

Is it that the magnesium metal frame is cheaper than other materials?
I would think durable plastic body could cut down a few ounces and be rather inexpensive ... or not ?

2 near alpha 42mm binos are light weight: Minox HG APO and Nikon Monarch HG. I wonder how they achieved this. I would think there's a lot of glass elements in those.

Perhaps the new Swaro NL just has too many glass elements inside making it heavy no matter what material the frame is made from ?

I don't know ... just asking questions here.
 

Patudo

Well-known member
Congratulations on your new acquisition Eitan - and thanks for taking the time to note your thoughts in such detail!
 

eronald

Well-known member
I guess that was a swipe at me. Yes, im aging and I'm probably older than you and I also have mentioned here in the past about my shoulder problems.
I now carry a 17 ounce bino so that I can still go out birding without having to take an ibuprofen when I get home. Everyone has their own tolerance levels and preferences and thankfully there are lots of quality binos to choose from.

The Trinovid was a bit heavy FOR ME . That should help to clarify my previous post.

You're not the only one here who hates carrying stuff. And even those who can carry need to think of the rest of the stuff which should go with, eg. water bottle, sketchbook or camera etc.

I think that sooner or later the binocular makers are going to figure out that the trend to x32 is due to weight, and they'll start making lighter binoculars in the larger sizes just so they can get the money people are willing to pay there ...

Edmund
 

dries1

Member
Beth,

You mention the Monarch HG, Nikon built a glass that would satisfy many that are looking for a light glass and good optics actually, (the 8X30 also) however not everyone is enamored with Nikon, color is too warm, too much CA, etc., or they just do not like Nikon. (Not part of the heritage of the big three)
Zeiss also made the FL, composite material, however many blasted Zeiss over a glass with a plastic body. Incidentally Allbinos gave it first prize for durability through some fairly harsh conditions compared to other premium 8X42s.

It cost Zeiss more to make the FL body than the Mg they use now on the SF I would think, so in the end it is a cost issue.

To your other point, when manufacturers can make a light glass with thinner/smaller elements, only then will there be a premium light <600 grams 8 or 10X42. I have a FL 8X56, most if not all the weight is in the glass and the internal metal parts. I actually have held a FL body blank for a FL 56, very light in hand.

Andy W.
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
I now believe that the birding population is aging, when a Leica 10X42 is too heavy.

Andy W.

Ha! Well I’m a reasonably spry 42 ;)

Smaller and lighter is a premium in nearly any consumer product that you tote with you. Smart phones, laptops, cameras, etc. People want things to be smaller and lighter and will pay a premium for it.

To be clear these aren’t as brick like as say an older Swaro SLC or Kowa 44 and i don’t think 28-29oz is excessive for a premium 42mm glass.. I have no issues carrying them around for hours on a RY Ultralight harness, or birding with them for extended stretches. It’s just those times when I’m doing protracted scanning, like sweeping across a lake or open field trying to pick up distant birds, after a few minutes I start to notice a bit of arm fatigue and need to take a break.

Perhaps that’s more of an issue with balance and personal “fit” than weight. I also have a Minox HG 10x42 which is among the lightest premium 42’s at ~24-25oz and it doesn’t feel lighter in use because the balance doesn’t work as well for me. There’s a difference between weight on the strap vs “perceived weight” in the hands holding them up to your eyes.

I also have been using 8x32 as my primary optic for over a decade, so I’m clearly biased. Before that my first “real” binocular was an Eagle Optics Ranger 8x42 which is pretty compact and light for a 42 like most inexpensive “china bins”.

I guess I just need to get a bit 50mm to train my arms and brain :)
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
2 near alpha 42mm binos are light weight: Minox HG APO and Nikon Monarch HG. I wonder how they achieved this. I would think there's a lot of glass elements in those.

Funny since I just mentioned the Minox HG. They are quite light with nice slender barrels but for me the balance in hand isn’t great which mitigates their weight advantage.

In a lot of these “slender” 42s it seems they skimped a bit on the prism size to shave some weight and keep the barrels slimmer. Allbinos notes some exit pupil truncation with nearly all of the slim/light 42s including the Minox HG, Monarch HG, and Razor HD.

Thinner and/or less rubber armor can also shave off a couple ounces. The Monarch HG has thinner “leatherish” armor that doesn’t completely cover the outer frame. The Razor HD also has thin armor.

Shoot even Leica has the BL versions of the Ultravid which have minimal leather wrap which results in much slimmer barrels and a ~2-3oz weight reduction. I’m actually mulling an 8x42 BL (if I can ever find one for a good price used) as a primary optic, only a few ounces heavier than an 8x32 but a bigger exit pupil for low light viewing.
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
Also I will note that with higher magnification the extra weight is actually helpful for steadying the image. I think that’s one reason I have more difficulty getting a steady image with the Minox HG vs the slightly heavier Trinovid or the Tract Toric.

I also have the 9x32 Pentax Sightron clone which is very light and despite good ergonomics it gets a bit shaky at 9x.
 

dries1

Member
Eitan,

Very good review of a very underrated 10X42 which is actually waterproof compared to the newer Trinovid HD, (yes I fogged one of those up internally). The brick which was the Leica BA, the 10x42 weighs just short of 900 grams, or 2 lbs., that is a bit more than the 2012-2015 Trinovid.

Andy W.
 

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