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Would it be crazy to get a pair of 7x35 Retrovids instead of 8x32 HD+ Uvids? (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
As some of you may have noticed, I've been on a bit of an alpha odyssey of late. Tried many many bins, and learned a lot in the process.

Through it all, I had settled on the 8x32 HD+ Uvids as being an underrated sleeper. Even looked at two copies, one 2nd hand and one brand new from the local Leica shop. As of several days ago I had settled on them.

I've been a bit challenged on figuring out what my objectives are through this whole process. I have 8x32s coming out my ears - SEs, BNs, Conquest HDs...and in a certain way yet another pair seems a bit nuts. But the Uvids have seemed like the ultimate 8x32s in their diminutive size, elegant and robust design/build, and middle of the road, clean, contrasty but no-drama nature (both the ELs and SFs strike me as "better" but more ultimately more flawed binoculars). In particular, I travel/hike/etc. a lot, and their small package is just fabulous. However, their bottom line clarity and resolution seemed maybe not the best - the SEs and HDs both often seem cleaner, and even the BNs in many conditions seem more a more straightforward/clean view (though with less pop and bling).

Then there is a whole other line of thought of doing something completely different, as in the 7x42 Uvids. Very cool bins.

So last night I ended up back at the Leica store (they are definitely getting sick of me) with the thought of getting the 7x42s instead. Just for fun, I asked to see the 7x35s. And I have to say, I feel like their ease of view and resolution were better than either the 7x42 or 8x32 Uvids I was looking through - it was hard to put my finger on it, but it was there. There are certain bins that just feel right and I don't have to think much about (ie are my eyes comfortable? is the view clear?). My 8x32 BNs and 8x32 SEs are in this category.

It occurs to me that the 7x35 Retros offer a lot - very light and small, pocketable, a different range of magnification/brightness/stability (maybe not like the 7x42s, but a step different than the 8x32s) - combining two objectives in one binocular.

Maybe this whole post is an answer to my own question - but bottom line I wonder if folks think the idea that the Uvid 8x32s wouldn't match the 7x35 Rvid clarity of view is off?

Any thoughts/reflections appreciated!


Well-known member
Oh...and...the 7x42 Uvids are obviously an order of magnitude larger and heavier...worth the gain in light collection?


Well-known member
Oh...and...the 7x42 Uvids are obviously an order of magnitude larger and heavier...worth the gain in light collection?

The viewing is much more comfortable than the 8x32 and even more so if you wear glasses. But they are clearly not the best choice as a compact, travel/hiking binoculars.


Well-known member
Do they need to be waterproof? The 7x35 are not.
For travel, small is good. I have a 10x32.
But if you were hiking up a mountain 7x gives you a steadier view in the wind with a racing heartbeat (though 12x is what you may wish for).
Life huh, first world problems

Gilmore Girl

United States
Uvids have seemed like the ultimate 8x32s
why has it suddenly stopped being the "ultimate" 8x32? I think comparing multiple binos can sometimes cause problems in the decision process for some people. Each bino has something it does a little better than the next and there's a desire to have all those great features combined into one. I doubt you'll ever find anything that does it all for you; that's difficult to find. Good luck ... hope you find a good usable binocular that finally makes you stop thinking of something "better".
I hope you don't think I'm being too judgmental; I've been there too and I understand the obsessive nature of it.


The 7X35 has a larger exit pupil, so I would find it easier/more relaxed to view with than the UV HD+ 8X32, or any other 8X32, be it SV or SF. If I go on a hike, I mean a real hike - with everything on my back, the FL 8X32 is all I need/or an FL 10X32 (don't have one - waiting to see if I can find one used), with a small monocular in hand.

Andy W.


Well-known member
Those 7x35 Retrovids have been gnawing a hole in my psyche for months.

I absolutely LOVE my 7x42 Ultravid HDs. They view is the most pleasant, deep, transparent and "natural" I've ever seen. They are just a joy to look through, the type of binocular that you find yourself just staring at random things just because it looks so dang good.

BUT... I also like small binoculars. The 7x42 UVHD are possibly THE most compact and light weight alpha 42mm (they are a bit smaller and lighter than the 8x and 10x models), and they feel wonderful in the hand. But then I think I can get a similar view from a much smaller, lighter package in the 7x35.... hmmmm.....

And every glowing review of the 7x35 makes it worse!

Why do binocular manufacturers have to torture us with "almost there" models that check nearly all the boxes? The thing that worries me the most about the 7x35 is the poor close focus. It's SO close to (presumed) perfection for me, a 7x35 Leica with wide FOV, superb transmission, compact size and weight.... but if they only didn't hamper the close focus!

The lack of full waterproofing is not nearly as much of a concern (San Diego you know) but it, along with the too-long close focus, does limit their versatility as a true modern birding optic. So, if I'm dreaming, it sure would be amazing to have a fully modernized version of the 7x35 with a similar slim and light form factor but waterproof, rubber armored, with the modern double-length UV focus knob. Even if it porked up by ~75-100 grams, would still be considerably smaller and lighter than the 42mm Ultravids (or an 8x36 UVHD with a wider FOV and longer eye relief! a boy can dream)....

The biggest problem for me is that I can't try them out. I don't have any nearby Leica stores and I'm certainly not traveling these days to try out a binocular! And because they are new, and limited in production, it's not something readily available on the used market if I want to play with them at home. I'd prefer not to abuse a return policy of an online dealer just to mess around with them.... I have a strong feeling I'll like them more than the 7x42 for general walk-around birding but need to get my hands on them to try out for myself! :/
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The key words here seem to be clear, clean, straightforward, ease of view... and resolution. I don't easily see differences in resolution among alpha bins (without stepping up to say a 10x56) so I'll pass on that one. The rest is subjective, so just go with what you like. I just compared our BN and HD+ 10x32s again and obviously if you like one, you should like the other... but if you want something different, that's another story. The HD+ is a bit brighter, may have a tad more contrast, and somehow renders subtle textures and shades of color more distinctly, but if that looks less "clean" to you it may not seem an improvement. For my taste, the BN was pretty hard to improve upon, and you seem to have the same "problem". The 7x35 does actually sound like a fun alterative. (How susceptible is it to glare, compared to these champs?)


Well-known member
b-lilja, you just don't know how "I feel your pain, bro" ;)

I've gone through a pretty similar road (I guess many around here have). I just don't "see" 8x42 as a main everyday binocular. I much prefer 7x42 (steadier view, greater depth of field, even brighter in low light), but both usually suffer from the same weight/bulk issues (for me and everyday binocular above 550-600 g is simply a no-no). So the search for a nice 8x32 has been long (in my case, the end of the road for now has been the EL SV, which I preferred over the UVHD and the FL), although deep in my heart what I really like are 7x. For lack of nice 7x32 (or 7x35, for that matter) 7x42 has become my favourite "experience" binocular, the one that has given me the greatest pleasure while using it (in this case, I preferred the FL over the UVHD), but I ended up selling them all (2x FL, UVHD, BA) because of the size/bulk. I can only afford (or can only justify) one top binocular at home, the light-but-capable allrounder we've all been searching like a golden binocular Eldorado (to enjoy along with other additional nice-but-cheaper optics for dedicated areas: macro, long reach, night, astro, etc.). And, all of a sudden, a modern 7x35 with great optical performance and the weight and size of an average 8x32 shows up... and most reviews are so positive! If you want my answer to your question, you'll have to wait a bit, because my 7x35 Retrovid are on their way (the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak :D :D).

I can only hope that maybe other brands will be tempted to copy Leica. Now that the SLC line seems to be over (wouldn't a modern 7x30 SLC HD have been nice)... maybe Swarovsi can come up with a 7x35 or even 7x30 CL with 8,5º FOV and complete waterproofness... But, oh, well, daydreaming. As I said, I'll soon have my answer to your/my question. Personally, if the Retrovid perform and, above all, feel good (yes, for me fit is as important as sheer performance) I think I won't have any problem exchanging it for my 8x32 EL SV. Time will tell.


Experienced observer
United States

I think you have your 8x32 needs covered well. This 7x35 retro model would be a nice compliment to your others.

Go ahead and give it a try. I would love to try one someday, but for most of us, hard to do.
I have a 10x40 original Trinovid, the nice slender body and size are very nice. The 7x35 is even smaller.

I suppose you should know, it is fun to advise others on spending their money.


John A Roberts

Well-known member
To get an idea just how compact the 7x35 Retrovid is compared to various 8x32’s . . .

A) Listed Heights
• Leica 7x35 132 mm/ 5.2”

Various 8x32’s:
• Zeiss SF x32 152 mm/ 6”
• Swarovski EL x32 138 mm/ 5.4”
• Zeiss FL x32 117 mm/ 4.6”
• Leica UV x32 116 mm/ 4.57”

And for comparison, a short x42:
• Leica UV x42 142 mm/ 5.6”

B) Some Images, that show the Retrovid’s slimness
i) 7x35 Retrovid, EL x32 and UV HD x42
from Chuck at: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=387118

ii) Nikon EDG x32, Conquest HD x32 and 7x35 Retrovid
again from Chuck as above

iii) Swarovski x30 CL (new version), Zeiss Conquest HD x32, Nikon EDG x32, Kowa Genesis x33 and Leica UV HD+ x32
from Eitan at: https://www.birdforum.net/threads/z...32-victory-sf-8x32.394034/page-3#post-4102000

And like Andy, I too expect that the 56% larger area of the exit pupil of the 7x35 verses the 8x32’s, will contribute greatly to viewing comfort


And further stressing the Retrovid's slimness, an image of it with the CL x30
Again from Chuck at: https://www.birdforum.net/threads/r...-birding-binocular.387118/page-5#post-4005493


  • Retro 7x35, EL x32, UV HD x42.jpg
    Retro 7x35, EL x32, UV HD x42.jpg
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  • EDG 8x32, Conq HD 8x32, Retro 7x35.jpg
    EDG 8x32, Conq HD 8x32, Retro 7x35.jpg
    376.4 KB · Views: 52
  • CL x30, Conq HD x32, EDG x32, Gen x33, UV DD x32.jpg
    CL x30, Conq HD x32, EDG x32, Gen x33, UV DD x32.jpg
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  • CL x30 and Retro 7x35.jpg
    CL x30 and Retro 7x35.jpg
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Well-known member
Does it need to be waterproof? If yes, move on. :) This is why people often have two or more binos. It’s all about compromise and knowing what you can live with and what you can live without. If the eye relief works, I would stick with the Ultravid, but another mm of exit pupil is certainly easier to use. With all the variety out there, it’s a shame that we don’t have manufacturers chasing 7x35mm alphas. It would probably disrupt the production lines which are geared for 42 and 32.
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Well-known member
why has it suddenly stopped being the "ultimate" 8x32? I think comparing multiple binos can sometimes cause problems in the decision process for some people. Each bino has something it does a little better than the next and there's a desire to have all those great features combined into one. I doubt you'll ever find anything that does it all for you; that's difficult to find. Good luck ... hope you find a good usable binocular that finally makes you stop thinking of something "better".
I hope you don't think I'm being too judgmental; I've been there too and I understand the obsessive nature of it.
Hi Beth,

I don't feel that way...I think what is holding me back is questioning the ease/clarity of view of the HD+s - two copies of - at the peak of my search I had the 8x32 SFs, SEs, BNs, Conquest HDs, and ELs on hand - the HD+s are optimal in size/weight spec, love the Leica color, glare control...but they were not the clearest/most straightforward view. Even compared to the BNs, - there are definitely times where the UVHD+ had that great contrast and color that was definitely better than the BNs, but while I never question the resolution of the BNs or whether they were in focus or not, I had to work the UVHD+s more - check diopter settings, etc.. If this wasn't present, I would be keeping the UVHD+s, as well as the BNs (which are my wife's and she loves them above any thing else I throw her way), and selling everything else. I think ultimately I was left wondering if they were worth the coin, whereas I never questioned that with the ELs and the SFs (if they didn't have other issues I've addressed elsewhere).

I should also add my eyes are a bit weird - my eye doc says my prescription is very particular, and my right eye is much weaker than my left. So I think I am probably also a tough customer. Probably yet another reason the 7xs with their great depth of field/flexibility appeals...
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Gilmore Girl

United States
If you wear glasses when using your binos (it sounds like you do) then it's understandable to me why those other binoculars are a bit easier to use compared to the Uvid 8x32. "Straightforward" sounds to me like "ease of view", so It makes sense the 7x35 with its 5mm exit pupil and longer eye relief will seem more straightforward and will provide an easier viewing experience. But maybe you're talking about something else in the view which I'm struggling to understand.
Anyway you should definitely try the 7x35 more and, if you haven't already, you may want to give the FL 8x32 a whirl. It's compact and light and the view is great. While I prefer the colors in the Ultravid, I think the FL is slightly better overall optically; it has a super clean image. Maybe I was crazy to sell mine.


Well-known member
I actually don't wear glasses while birding, which is probably part of the challenge as the bins do the correction for me - I am farsighted however, but my right eye isn't perfect at distance.


Well-known member
OK all...drum roll please...I bought the...7x42s!!!

They are just amazing bins and serve my boating/birding, twilight, and forest/brush observation needs. Such an easy view. The store had a second pair that was newer than the demo and to my eyes slightly better as well - and visibly different coatings. Also the whole compact x42 thing is real - these are just slightly larger than by x82 Conquests with the eyecups where they need to be for good viewing.

The 7x35 Trins are just terrific, crystal clear. Such an interesting bin, quirky...a great value...agreed too bad about the slow focus on what is otherwise maybe the nicest focuser I've used...but I have the feeling you would get used to these in a hurry.
Was not expecting all this techno stuff when I signed up. I figure a big upgrade is going from the naked eye to any magnification.

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