View Full Version : Binoculars

04-11-2003, 04:28 PM
Does anyone out there have the Leica 8+12x42 Duovid binocular? If so, how do you like it?
How does it compare to the other high end optics like Zeiss and Swarovski?

04-15-2003, 09:29 AM
I don't have the Leica's, but have been fortunate to compare most every top brand to my Zeiss 10x40's in field conditions instead of holding them up in a store. With that said I just received my 2nd pair of Ziess 10x40's from Cabela's for $700.00 My first pair I bought used for $600, just didn't figure I could go wrong for another 100 bucks and brand new to boot. Taking them to Kodiak later today. For size quality, and now price I don't think the Cabela's deal can be beat. My 2 cents R&R

04-15-2003, 10:29 AM
I don't have the Leica vari-powers (if I had the bucks, would probably book an African hunt instead), but do have a Leica 10x42. They're what you would expect for a high level glass; very clear, totally waterproof and don't give me a headache over long periods of glassing. I've used the others also - zeiss & swarovski and don't see much difference (though I've heard of a zeiss or two fogging). The warrenty is great - lifetime and if ANYTHING happens to cause their loss (in the first 3 years), Leica replaces them. I bought mine from one of the big camera wholesalers in NY (B&H Camera) and paid $720 for them. Make sure you buy them from an "authorized" dealer or you don't get the warrenty.

04-15-2003, 12:28 PM
The new issue of Rifle has a good arcticle on optics by John Barsness. I respect John's opinion in all areas but especially when it comes to optics.

04-15-2003, 01:13 PM
I have a pair of Leica compact bino's in 8X30 that I really like. When compared to all the other compact bino's I've used these are head and sholders above all. I also have a nice pair of Pentax that that work very well. I have found that 8 power work better, especially in low light conditions than the 10 power ones do. You get a better depth of field too. Jim

04-19-2003, 09:14 AM
Thanks for all the information. I've been researching binoculars for over a year now. I narrowed it down to the Swarovski EL 8.5x42, the Leica 8x42, or the Zeiss 8x40.

Then I heard about the Duovid 8+12x42 from Leica and it caught my interest. However my experience with variable power binoculars in the past has been unsatisfactory. I've never owned a variable power binocular but I have used them and the ones I've used have been terrible.

Since no one has been able to give me any feedback regarding the Duovid binoculars I went to a Leica dealer and asked. He did not recommend them nor did he feel I would be satisfied with them. This may have been based solely on his own experiences with cheaper variable power binoculars in the past.

At this price I did not want to make a mistake so I decided to go back to my three choices. I finally purchased the Swarovski EL 8.5x42. They are fantastic.

Again, thanks for your input.

Yukon Hunter
04-19-2003, 12:55 PM
Congrats on the purchase- as well as on owning the mint ($1,400.00-yikes). While I don't think a guy can possibly go wrong with any of the "Big Three" (Leica, Swarovski & Zeiss), I agree with Ed- When Barsness speaks about optics, I listen. He likes the Nikon Venturer above anything else right now. However, being the eternal cheapskate that I am, I'm thinking more and more about the Zeiss 10x40 from Cabela's...not because it's so much less expensive (it is, but only by a couple of hundred bucks), but because for an extra $300.00, I can buy the tripler. Not only do I save big bucks on a spotting scope, but it only weighs 2 oz. Anyone ever try this little unit?

04-19-2003, 04:27 PM
Yukon, I too feel that you can't go wrong with either Swarovski, Zeiss or Leica.
By the way Swarovski has a doubler for less than 300.

Yukon Hunter
04-19-2003, 08:28 PM
Yeah, but...
The cheapest 10x Swarovski that you can use the doubler with is the SLC for $1030.00.
But this does lead to another interesting question-
A guide friend told me there is little point to any spotting scope over 20 power, as anything more is far too prone to heat-wave distortion. Now, of course, the Zeiss is going to be a thirty power. Anyone got plenty of spotting scope experience for me? Opinions?

04-20-2003, 01:11 PM

I have the Tripler with my 10X40's. On my last goat hunt we forgot a "real" spotting scope and so used the tripler set-up. With good results. The thing really works. The whole Zeiss program is state-of-the-art. I'd say go for it! You won't regret it, and the cost will wear off if you know what I mean. BTW, we appreciated the whole 30X power...must have been too dang cold for heat wave distortion.

04-20-2003, 01:34 PM
Just for the record the Leica Duovid is not a variable power. They are what Leica calls switchable magnifcation. In the case of the 8+10 x42 you can se it at either 8x or 10x but not in between. Barsness had a very favorable review on the Duovid a while back. I will see if I can dig it up and provide the issue.

Also Leica has come out with a 10+15x50 in the Duovid. The wieght on the 8+10x42 is 37 oz. and the 10+15x 50 is 44 oz.

Yukon Hunter
04-20-2003, 05:36 PM
44oz.? Good Lord. If I want to pack that kind of weight, I can get a nice Ultralight 2 man...

04-20-2003, 05:39 PM
Outdoor Life did a review of hunting optics and such in the June-July 2002 issue. The Leica duovid 8+12x42's were the editors choice for bino's.It did'nt say whether doublers or triplers were available, though.Looks like a great glass!

04-20-2003, 07:35 PM
On my previous post the I typed 8+10x42 when I shoud have typed 8+12x42.
I agree with Yukon Hunter as to the weight of the 10+15 x50 Duovids being much more than I would carry. Although for extended spotting the 10+15 X 50's would be lighter than most 8x or 10x glasses and a 20x spotting scope. The Leica 8x42 weighs a shade over 31 oz. so the 8+12 x 42 Duovid isn't much heavier. Quit a lot more cost though.
I prefer a good glass that is light and compact. I have spent many hours looking thru Leica 8x32 and 10x32's and find them hard to top. In optics the best keep getting better but so do the more modest priced. For several hundred dollars you can get some fine optics and if you want and can afford the best it is there as well.

04-21-2003, 04:52 AM
You seem to be quoting prices from Cabela's. The Zeiss binoculars that will accept the tripler do not appear to be all that much cheaper than the Swarovski.
For the spotter I use a Leupold 25x50 with a cross hair reticle. That crosshair is great for pointing out game to a hunting partner.

Yukon Hunter
04-21-2003, 07:25 AM
I think the Zeiss are about $300 cheaper, if you go with the Zeiss Classics rather than their Victory series.
I must admit, Leupold hadn't even entered into my thoughts for a spotter. I know their rifle scopes are tough as nails (I've got a 2-7x on my .375), but I didn't really think their glass could match some of the others for clarity. Maybe I'd better think again...

04-21-2003, 10:00 AM

Just for the record, the 10X40's I spoke of above are the Victory version. Clint, the Guide on that gaot hunt, has a pair just like mine. We both used my Tripler on the hunt. I imagine he has a Tripler of his own by now.

04-21-2003, 11:30 AM
You're right, the Classics are cheaper. I don't think a guy can go wrong with any of the three we've been talking about.

04-21-2003, 11:58 AM
I did read one review that said they were surprised to find that different powers could be used between the 8 and 12 power settings on the Duovids. Technically though I think a two power option would be considered variable.

04-21-2003, 04:55 PM
Yukon Hunter, I too have a leupold 25x50 spotterwith the crosshair. At 91/2 in. and 20 oz. to me it beats carryin' a 40 oz.bino.Like 7mm I think the hair is a most valuable feature, 'specially when you've got to get your hunter zoomed into the right zone or just to share. They are a little hard to come by now that they aren't in the catalog, but there are plenty around.Also, with the compact tripod the whole shebang is under three#.Its good for prone to sitting and uneven ground. I also have the 10x28 pocket bino's individual focus that don't have to be messed with from 150 yds. to inf.The clarity ain't zeiss but beats burris,redfield,nikon, cabelas.My big deal is they are made here, not across the pond either way.My scope and bino's together were way less than above mentioned glass,and I'm happy with 'em.

04-21-2003, 08:33 PM
I grew up with a pair of 7x50 individual focus porro prisms that my dad brought home from occupied Japan in the 50's when we were rebuilding their infrastructure and boy did I love their light gathering qualities. Heavy buggers but I was young and didn't mind. I always knew I wanted to buy Zeiss 8x32 individual focus expedition binos when I grew up and had the $. Well, I didn't. I bought Zwarovski 7x42 roof prisms to save a few bucks and the second year out they broke on me, luckily the last day of the hunt. The left eyepiece just quit focusing. Zwarovski was great about repairing them and sent me a hat and a little compass, whoopee! I have always regretted not getting the Zeiss for 200 sheckles more. My recommendation for a "rugged" hunting binocular....never ever ever a center focus!!! I still have the Zwarovski's 'cause I'm poor but regret not buying the Zeiss expeditions.

I have the Leupold 30x60 and find the 2mm exit pupil not worth dragging in the mountains since you can't see anything at dusk or dawn. Makes a great range scope though. Do overs on a spotting scope...nothing with less than a 3mm exit pupil, 20x60?

04-22-2003, 04:25 PM
Years ago hunters didn't trust scopes because they had bad experiences with them. If they had a scoped rifle they wanted open sights for back up. As the scopes improved a fixed power became acceptable however variables were not considered reliable. Now pretty much everyone will use a variable power scope without any iron sights to back them up. Technology has really improved the products available to us. One day I'm sure there will be reliable variable power binoculars. I'm just not sure that day has come yet.

Still, even the best equipment manufacturers have a product that will fail. I've never had a problem with Leupold scopes nor has anyone I know except for one co-worker. He had a Leupold scope fail, now he doesn't want anything to do with Leupold products.

Center focus binoculars have come a long way just as variable power scopes have.

Elmbow I'm sure someone has had a Zeiss expedition binocular fail on them. It happens! I still think Zeiss, Leica and Swarovski make excellent binoculars and you can't go wrong with either of them.

04-22-2003, 07:58 PM
You're absolutely right on that reliability and quality have increased exponentially in the last 40 years. I don't back up any scoped rifle with open sights anymore and overall I am very pleased with the Zwarovski's but I still kind of regret not getting the ones my heart was set on when I bought, what was for me, probably the last pair of binos I'll purchase in my lifetime. Their customer service really was topnotch. In my mind though, I've always felt a little disappointed that they broke in the first place. I've never had a qc problem with Leopold or Burris scopes so I can't justify buying the expensive european ones on my beer budget.
Thanks for the objective insight, I was speaking a little sarcastically in my previous post.


04-22-2003, 09:05 PM
Are you in Bountiful? My daughter is in Provo.

Yukon Hunter
04-23-2003, 06:55 AM
Ya know, Elmbow, now that you mention it, I WAS considering a Burris spotting scope. It's a dinky little thing, twenty power, 11 oz. (I think) and about 7" long. But, it was cheap, and I always figure you get what you pay for.

04-23-2003, 08:45 AM
yup, in the land Bountiful. Your daughter going to the "Y"?

Yukon Hunter, I think in optics more than some other products you generally do get what you pay for. I've always steered away from brands like Simmons, Bushnell, Redfield etc. because I'm leery of a company that sells $29.00 products alongside their "premium" ones. I can't speak to the quality of the Burris spotting scope but I have always been pleased with their higher end rifle scopes. My minimum quality standard when I bought a spotting scope was Leupold. I believe that if you are truly going to use a spotting scope for its intended purpose, then you should look for a little lower power and as big an objective lens as you can carry weight wise. My choice would be a 20-25 power with a 60mm objective. That will be a little on the heavy side but will allow viewing in low light environment.

04-23-2003, 09:41 PM
Yes, she is going to the Y.
How about that Zeiss 20-60x85 Spotter?
Are you using a spotter? You mentioned using a Leupold spotter with a 50mm objective lens with a low exit pupil.

04-24-2003, 01:23 PM
7mmstw, can't speak from experience on the Zeiss spotter but here is my ho: Great optical/mfg. quality but I don't see a need for variable power higher than 30 in a spotting scope. Even with an 85mm objective, at 60 power your exit pupil is so small you won't see anything at twilight and the shake at that power level will be so horrendous you'll need a 10 lb tripod to steady it. Having said that..buy it and keep your power setting below 30 and you will have a spotting scope that is as the frogs would say, "magnifique"!

04-24-2003, 07:59 PM
To anyone,

Are the Zeiss Classics waterproof. Also, are the pentax roofs good. I am in college so I can't drop alot of money on binoc's till i get out. I know this is a thread on the duovids but I might as well put my post here. Thanks for any replies.

04-25-2003, 06:01 AM

The Pentax DCF WP is likely the best binocular under $500-. Optics are just short of the Swarovskis, Nikon Venturers, Leicas, B&L Elites, etal, at a very good price.

Yukon Hunter
04-25-2003, 01:08 PM
Cody- The Zeiss Classics are, I believe, waterproof.
Funny you should mention the Pentax DCF WP's. They were my #1 choice up until about 2 weeks back. I thought their optics were awesome (which they are). Then I made the mistake of trying them up against a pair of Swarovskis'. Oops- that comparison will probably cost me several hundred dollars.
On further consideration, and while talking with a few guide buddies, I may go a whole new route. I'm mostly concerned with good optics for hunting Dall Rams. I've been advised that, as Dalls usually (usually) show up fairly well against the side of a green/brown mountain, I would be better off spending far less on binocs (maybe $300.00) and more into a spotting scope with a fairly large Objective lens for trophy assessment. The problem with the doubler is, in addition to being a static power, the Ob. lens size is only 40mm.

04-25-2003, 04:07 PM
I agree with your guides. Binoculars are for spotting game not judging them for trophy quality. Since the rams stand out against the terrain you can probably spot them with a cheaper glass and then use the spotter to make a judgement before hauling yourself and all your equipment up the mountain. Of course a cheaper glass may cause undue eye strain.

Yukon Hunter
04-25-2003, 05:30 PM
7 mil-
I think this is the correct direction to go. I don't forsee a lot of eye strain, as I don't forsee a lot of time taken with glassing. I'm thinking a good spotting scope with save me an awful lot of boot leather. And, on that not, time for a new thread...

05-06-2003, 01:58 PM
I have a pair of Zeiss 10 x 40 classics for 18 years or so. Been a great glass and constant companion in the field.

My style of hunting has been changing...chasing blacktails and elk in the Oregon thickets...instead of the wide open desert stuff.

Would trade/sell/cash for a quality pair of 8 power of Swarovski, Zeiss, or Lecias. Would have to be a mutual inspection time for each party.



Jim T
05-17-2003, 04:17 PM
I have the Swarovski 8X32 SLC's. I love them. I'm glad I got them before the prices got so jacked up. I can't stand a pair of heavy binos on my neck. They are super clear, and I really like the diopter lock on them. I think that it the only reason I bought them over the Zeiss 10X40 Classics. My buddy has a pair so I get to use his too. /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/wink.gif

Right now, with the sale at Cabelas, I don't think a guy could go wrong with the Zeis 10X40s.

I have the 30mm Leupold spotting scope. Good magnification for the weight. Their packer's tripod leaves a little to be desired. It works well for the range though.