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Ultravid BCAs vs *current* Trinovid BCAs - real optical difference or mostly mechanical? (1 Viewer)

LarryO

Active member
United States
Questions about current compact Leica 8x20 BCA models:

I have seen several informal reviews praising the superior brightness and clarity of the Ultravid 8x20 BCA over the Trinovid 8x20 BCA models. This is a question about which 'Trinovid' version, older or current, has been involved in these comparisons and about how different optics of the current Trinovid BCAs really are from the Ultravids.

The older and current Trinovid BCA versions have quite different cosmetic appearances, as shown in the photos below (screen captures from eBay ads). The older version had a series of 'bars' on the surface, similar to those on the larger Trinovid BA/BN models of roughly the same era.

Specifications for the current Trinovid and Ultravid 8x20 BCA models on the Leica site <https://en.leica-camera.com/SPORT-O...a-Compact-Binoculars/Leica-Compact-Binoculars> indicate that important aspects of the optical trains are identical:

"Prism system: roof prism with phasecorrecting coating P40 and HighLux-System HLS®"
"Coating: HDC® multicoating and AquaDura® coating on outer lenses"

The only differences listed are essentially mechanical ones - eye relief (small 1mm difference), closer near focus for the Ultravid (6 ft.) vs the Trinovid (9.8 ft.), and waterproof up to 5m for the Ultravid vs. 'splash-proof' for the Trinovid.

The focusing train is quite different for the two, with an 'extended,' nose-like external control on the Ultravid vs. a control more integrated with the bridge on the Trinovid,. This might be the primary difference, providing the closer near focusing range and the better, waterproof sealing of the Ultravid BCAs.

The questions thus are:
1. Might many of the user comparisons have involved the older Trinovid BCA models? Can any here provide comparisons between the current 8x20 BCA Trinovids and the Ultravids.
2. Is it possible that the optical components of the current Trinovd and Ultravid BCAs are essentially identical, e.g., with both benefitting from phase-coated prisms and newer lens coatings?
3. For those who do not need the closer near focus or waterproofing, can actual optical differences justify the large price difference -- $300, around 67%, more for the Ultravid 8x20 BCAs?

My thanks in advance to any who can offer input on these questions.

Larry

early Trinovid 8x20 BCA.jpg current Trinovid 8x20 BCA.jpg Ultravid 8x20 BCA.jpg
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi Larry,

I recently posted what information I could find at: https://www.birdforum.net/threads/leica-uv-8x20-versus-zeiss-victory-8x25.395429/page-3
See post #52 along with the link contained in it.

A you indicate, one should expect a fair bit extra for the 2/3 price jump for the UV! (B&H Photo currently lists the 8x20 Trinovid BCA at US $470 and the Ultravid BR at $780).

Hopefully, there is someone who has access to a current production unit of each, who can be specific in describing the differences, especially in the image quality. Though of course if you can find a Leica stockist near you with both, the best solution is always to see for yourself.


John
 

Canip

Well-known member
Hi Larry,

here are my 2 ct:
I believe I have current versions of both the Ultravid and the Trinovid (you can check yourself on https://binocular.ch/the-pinac-collection/#collection).

The differences in appearance and mechanics are the ones you describe. The optical difference is not huge, but clearly there: the main advantage of the UV is its greater brightness and contrast. Not a huge difference, as I said, but unmistakable when observed side-by-side.

Whether or not that difference (plus the mechanical ones) justifies the substantial price difference is of course a personal decision.

fwiw Canip
 

dorubird

Well-known member
Romania
It is also worth taking into account that Trinovid is a little smaller than Ultravid, not by much (but it is in all directions - see specifications 111x93x39mm vs 96x92x37mm). This small advantage of Trinovid is not said too often! But when it comes to this category of binoculars, what needs to be folded as compact as possible, every millimeter can count, and dimensions become something important and Trinovid wins! Trinovid is really small! But in compensation, I suspect that the optics and ergonomics of Ultravid are a little better, but not by much!
Everyone weighs their own priorities: a little smaller, compact vs a little better optics, ergonomics - and - more cheaper vs more expensive.
 
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chill6x6

Well-known member
One thing is for sure...the Ultravid 8X20 is one SMALL binocular! I just recently got one....I couldn't believe how small it is. It's a VERY nice binocular. Quality made, perfect functionality, and a nice bright view. I was amazed how nice such a small binocular could be.
fullsizeoutput_1844.jpeg

fullsizeoutput_1848.jpeg
 

LarryO

Active member
United States
Hi Larry,

here are my 2 ct:
I believe I have current versions of both the Ultravid and the Trinovid (you can check yourself on https://binocular.ch/the-pinac-collection/#collection).

The differences in appearance and mechanics are the ones you describe. The optical difference is not huge, but clearly there: the main advantage of the UV is its greater brightness and contrast. Not a huge difference, as I said, but unmistakable when observed side-by-side.

Whether or not that difference (plus the mechanical ones) justifies the substantial price difference is of course a personal decision.

fwiw Canip
Thank you for that helpful comparison, exactly the one I was seeking. Others have suggested very dramatic improvements of the Ultravid BCAs over the Trinovids. So I still wonder whether they might have been comparing older-version Trinovids to the Ultravids. It would be interesting to have a report comparing the older and current Trinovid BCAs if anyone in the group has both and can outline differences in optical performance between them.

At present, I don't have access to a brick-and-mortar vendor with even both the current BCA offerings.

Larry
 

dorubird

Well-known member
Romania
It would be interesting to have a report comparing the older and current Trinovid BCAs if anyone in the group has both and can outline differences in optical performance between them.
I could only compare Leica Trinovid 8x20 BC (1988) with the new version Leica Trinovid 10x25 BCA and the difference is very big: higher brightness and better color (due to much newer and better coating in the new one), much better resolution and contrast (the old version has no Phase Coating).
In conclusion, the optical differences are obvious between the old and new versions of Trinovid. I suspect that the difference between the Leica Trinovid old version and Leica Trinovid new version is much more pronounced than Trinovid new version vs Ultravid. This is due to the much better anti-reflection layers in the new versions of Ultravid and Trinovid.

you can see the comparison here in romanian (you can use goole translate) https://www.astronomy.ro/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16893&start=120
 

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NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
Canip, I agree with your thoughts, I have both the Leica Trinovid and the Ultravid, and I find the optics better in the UV.

Larry has a photo of the earlier "Leitz" model, it are behind the newer Leica models in coatings and other
things such as phase coatings.

Jerry
 

LarryO

Active member
United States
Helpful posts by Canip and dorubird seem to confirm one cause for the wide disparity among comparisons between Trinovid and Ultravid BCA models -- ranging from reports of dramatic, readily seen differences to ones of evident, but more subtle differences requiring side-by-side comparisons. The discrepancy among reports could, indeed, be owed to whether older or current Trinovid BCAs were involved.

I have found that there is yet another possible complication to this story. There was at least one 'intermediate' version of the Trinovid 8x20 BCA, with an external appearance essentially the same as that of the current version, but with an earlier Leica model number -- #40339, packaged in a white Leica box, vs the current #40342, packaged in a box of the black-and-silver design now used for Leica equipment.

It is not clear whether the 'intermediate' and current versions, externally similar, have different optics, or differ only in marketing aspects, including the different model numbers and box colors. Also presently uncertain is which of these two versions have been the 'newer' Trinovid BCAs employed in comparisons with Ultravid or 'older' Trinovd BCAs and, of course, whether that matters.

These questions might well seem rather fussy ones, but could likely be of interest to those wanting a Leica BCA model for its notable compactness, but having very limited funds and also wanting the best optical performance possible, perhaps among 'previously-owned' ones.

Larry
 

Mike F

Well-known member
Helpful posts by Canip and dorubird seem to confirm one cause for the wide disparity among comparisons between Trinovid and Ultravid BCA models -- ranging from reports of dramatic, readily seen differences to ones of evident, but more subtle differences requiring side-by-side comparisons. The discrepancy among reports could, indeed, be owed to whether older or current Trinovid BCAs were involved.

I have found that there is yet another possible complication to this story. There was at least one 'intermediate' version of the Trinovid 8x20 BCA, with an external appearance essentially the same as that of the current version, but with an earlier Leica model number -- #40339, packaged in a white Leica box, vs the current #40342, packaged in a box of the black-and-silver design now used for Leica equipment.

It is not clear whether the 'intermediate' and current versions, externally similar, have different optics, or differ only in marketing aspects, including the different model numbers and box colors. Also presently uncertain is which of these two versions have been the 'newer' Trinovid BCAs employed in comparisons with Ultravid or 'older' Trinovd BCAs and, of course, whether that matters.

These questions might well seem rather fussy ones, but could likely be of interest to those wanting a Leica BCA model for its notable compactness, but having very limited funds and also wanting the best optical performance possible, perhaps among 'previously-owned' ones.

Larry
Interesting. I have a 10x25 BCA which looks identical to the current version, but came in the older white box. I have compared them (once) to a 10x25 UV and would say that the difference in optical quality was noticeable, but relatively small.
 

dorubird

Well-known member
Romania
My new Trinovid was packaged in a box of the new green-and-silver design

In 1986 the optical company LEITZ changed its name to LEICA (LEItz CAmera). This series of Trinovid started to be manufactured since the company was called Leitz and had the code C. It is known that, since 1973, Leitz had its factory open in Portugal.

to structure a little the information I gathered from experience and from others:

1 Very Old model "Leitz" 8x20 C (1978) with extremely small eye relief 8mm, but with FOV 120m / 1000m, 55% light transmission- model tested by https://www.houseofoutdoor.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Leica-kijker-test-dd-29-febr-2020.pdf
2 Old model "Leica" 8x20 BC (1989) with good eye relief 17mm, with FOV 115/1000m, ??% light transmission (may be 85% ?)- my model
3 New model "Leica" 8x20 BC (1998) with good eye relief 17mm, with FOV 115m/1000m, 85% light transmission, "white box" ?- model tested by https://www.houseofoutdoor.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Leica-kijker-test-dd-29-febr-2020.pdf
4 Very New model "Leica" 8x20 BCA with eye relief 14mm, with FOV 113m/1000m, ??% light transmission (may be 90% ?), "Green/silver box"- my model but 10x25 version

It is noticed that for the old models we have more clear and reliable information than the current Trinovid models ... For the Very New Trinovid models the information is strangely less and confused, or even contradictory when it comes to eyerelief and FOV (some numbers appear in the manual, other numbers appear on the site). Maybe it's marketing and the lack of information is not to hit the Ultravid market, because they do not have such a big differences optically. It is clear that Ultravid is better optically but I guess not by much vs very new model of Trinovid! The biggest difference we pay is in construction (sealed nitrogen) and ergonomics!
 
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dorubird

Well-known member
Romania
Here is an example of confusing information that I find unacceptable to the Leica brand:

In the Ultravid 8x20 PDF Instructions Manual, appears a FOV of 110m / 1000m
In the Ultravid 8x20 PDF Technical Datasheet from Leica site appears a FOV of 113m / 1000m


DOWNLOAD (PDF/323.54 KB)

In the very new Trinovid 8x20 PDF Instructions Manual appears a 115m / 1000m FOV
In the very new Trinovid 8x20 PDF Technical Datasheet from Leica site appears a FOV of 113m / 1000m

DOWNLOAD (PDF/138.89 KB)

other confusion:
In the Ultravid 10x25 PDF Instructions Manual, appears a 13.7mm eye relief
In the Ultravid 10x25 PDF Technical Datasheet from Leica site appears a 15mm eye relief

which is the truth? :unsure:

We are tempted to believe that Ultravid has a smaller field of view than Trinovid !!!
FOV and eye relief is an important feature of binoculars where there should be no confusion. It's like writing 8x instead of 10x ... it's unacceptable.

That's why I'm really thinking of buying Trinovid 8x20 instead of Ultravid 8x20. The only thing I'm sorry about is that very new Trinovid 8x20 is no longer made in leather version, is only made in armor version. Otherwise, it can have a slightly large FOV or at least the same (as even Leica writes), it is clear 5mm shorter than Utravid and cheaper which is important for a pair of binoculars that I will use occasionally, and which will stay in your pocket for the longest time anyway!

Is there anyone who really tried the very latest version of Trinovid 8x20/ 10x25 with Ultravid 8x20/ 10x25?
 
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dorubird

Well-known member
Romania
I ordered the Leica Trinovid 8x20 BCA. I will receive it no later than Monday. I'm happy!
I will share my opinions with you!
 

LarryO

Active member
United States
Yet more complications in the Trinovid BCA line --

Here are some version numbers for 8x20 BCAs taken from Leica literature, including yet another one found. The age designations -- 'old,' 'new,' etc. -- follow those in dorubird's post #11.

Trinovid 8x20 BCA versions:
# 40307 Old version, with exterior 'bars' on surface like those on larger Trinovid BA/BNs
-- from Leica Brochure List, 'Compact Binoculars' summary paragraph, Company 7 collection
<http://www.company7.com/library/leica/notes.html>
# 40354 Early New version, with new exterior style (still current), Rubber Armored choice
-- from 'Sports Optics' brochure with Trinovid BNs, Company 7 collection
<http://www.company7.com/library/leica/Leica03SOBrochure.pdf>
# 40339 New with the new, still current, exterior style, packaged in white box
-- from photos posted for an eBay 'pre-owned' sale
# 40342 Very New (current), packaged in current-design Leica black-and-silver box
-- from current 'Compact Binoculars' downloads on Leica site <en.leica-camera.com>

For reference, the current Ultravid 8x20 BCA:
# 40252 Ultravid 8x20 BCA current (BR, Black Rubber) choice

So there are at least four Trinovid 8x20 BCA versions that might be compared to the current Ultravid 8x20 BCAs. The three 'new' versions have essentially the same exterior appearance; possible optical differences among them are unknown to me. For new purchases, the relevant comparison is, of course, between the current Trinovid and Ultravid versions, though comparisons within the Trinovid line seem of interest, since many appear to be using and enjoying various of them.

dorubird's detection of discrepancies in Leica's technical specifications for specific models is impressive, though, as he notes, whether they are reflected in the physical binoculars is uncertain.

Several have helpfully reported that optical differences between current Trinovid and Ultravid BCAs are relatively subtle, requiring side-by-side comparisons (and by experienced users!) to be seen. Those reports are consistent with my lingering suspicion that the optical trains of the two are very similar, perhaps identical. That would certainly provide some production economies for Leica.

In any case, it seems likely that dorubird will be very pleased with the (current) Trinovid BCAs he has ordered -- excellent optical performance and elegant, unmatched compactness.

Larry
 
Hello,

I have had the pleasure of owning and using both the 8 x 20 and 10x 25 Trinovid BCAs, as well as the 8x 20 Ultravid BR. All were bought new in the last 18 months or so. All three instruments are fine pocket glasses with excellent ergonomics and optics, but I think there is a definite improvement in the Ultravid. It has a flatter, better corrected field and better contrast. The Ultravid beats the Trinovids in suppressing veiling glare too. The differences are not night and day but they ARE there.
I have measured the field of view of the Ultravid in a star test to be closer to [email protected] than the quoted [email protected]

Despite the smaller FOV compared with larger models, I like the 8 x 20 BR Ultravid so much that I now use it as my only daylight binocular.

Dipper D.
 
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dorubird

Well-known member
Romania
I also did a star test and found a 6.6 degree field of view in the current Trinovid 8x20BCA model, being identical to my Zeiss Conquest 10x42 field of view. So I can say for sure that my new Trinovid 8x20 (year of manufacture 2020) has 115m/1000m real field of view!
 
Hello durobird,

Thanks for the well wishes. I've always loved these small classic pocket glasses from Leica. Truth be told, I would have all four(Trinovids & Ultravids) but then they would compete for my time, so in a way having just one ensures I'll get maximal use out of it! I must admit I do miss the 10 x 25 Trinnie for its extra reach over the 8x glass but it doesn't focus as near(about 5 metres) as either the Trinovid or Ultravid 8 x 20.

I think the great charm about these glasses is that you can take them anywhere and enjoy them and because they are so well built they will last more than a lifetime if properly cared for.

Anyway, I hope you get many years of service out of your little 8 x 20 BCA!

Best wishes,

Dipper D.
 
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