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The Binocular Advisor

Binoculars of Note

Leica Ultravid HD
High-end Binocular Round-up, 2008

by Michael and Diane Porter

Leica Ultravid HD

Our survey of top binoculars (High-end Binoculars Round-up, Bird Watcher's Digest, September, 2008) included the new Leica Ultravid HD binoculars. And the Leicas were one of the standouts.

Super 3-D View

Most of our judges loved the new Leica Ultravid HDs. They praised the clarity and richness of the image. It may be an illusion, and we can't explain it, but scenes seemed especially three-dimensional viewed through the Ultravid HDs. It was as if every object was saturated with reality.

One lone judge scored the Leica a little lower than Zeiss on image quality, and that is the reason it got a slightly lower score than the Zeiss and Swarovski on the Ratings Chart. Leica fans take heart. Such minute variations in scoring are not significant, and in this case all the other judges thought the Leica was as good as or better than anything else in the survey.

Wide focus knob kind to gloved fingers

The focus wheel also came in for special appreciation from several of our judges. It's a doublewide knob and can work with two fingers or with gloves. When unlocked, the focus knob becomes a diopter adjustment. The top of the focus knob is an easy-to-read dial that shows the setting. Easy and intuitive to set, it locks, so it won't get knocked out of adjustment accidentally. You can glance at it at any time to confirm that it is set correctly. One of the best diopter adjustments.

The delight of lightness

The binocular's surface is textured, but with a firmer touch than most of the other binoculars. Several of our judges commented that they liked it. All the Ultravid HDs are relatively lightweight, and the 8x32 was the lightest binocular in our test. "I love the small size," wrote one judge. "I like to wrap my hand around it," wrote another.

Leica Ultravid HD 8x32We especially liked the 8x32 model, which is compact and lightweight.

With the Ultravid HD, Leica introduced its AquaDura™ hydrophobic lens coating, which makes water roll off the lenses, protects them from dirt, moisture, and fingerprints, and makes cleaning astonishingly easy.


Leica has a limited lifetime warranty on materials and workmanship. In addition, there is a three-year Passport Protection Plan for accidental damage that is not covered by the other warranty. To ensure that your Leica HDs carry a US warranty (if you're in the United States) make sure that you purchase your Leicas from an authorized Leica dealer.

The Leica Ultravid HD is available in 8x42, 10x42, 7x42, 8x32, 10x32, 8x50, 10x50, and 12x50.

See price

Bird Watcher's DigestCopyright 2008 by Michael and Diane Porter.

This article appears as part of the High-end Binoculars Round Up in the September, 2008, issue of Bird Watcher's Digest.

Photo of magazine copyright 2008 Bird Watcher's Digest. Image of Leica HD 8x32 is copyright Michael and Diane Porter 2008.



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