Binocular Review: Leica Ultravid HD-Plus 8×42

Reviewing and testing all different models and styles of binoculars, I get most excited when I review the “top of the line.” The optics that are in the highest price range and have all the bells and whistles.

What makes them so expensive (over $2,000) and are they worth the money? Especially when so many binoculars that cost much less are very good and deliver great results.

I can now honestly say that if you have the money to spend, a high end binocular is worth the money. One of my favorites was the Leica 8×42 Ultravid HD Plus. The rest of this review is focused on WHY this binocular is worth the money and its best features.

*Need help understanding all the features that come on a binocular? Read my post  How To Select Bird Watching Binoculars! It explains what is important in a binocular to a birder and will make your shopping experience more educated and enjoyable.*

 

The Feel:

  • There is just something about how this felt in my hands that made me feel like a much better birder!!! This is probably a mental thing, but the design and fit feels perfect for my hands.
  • It is very light and compact and Leica did an excellent job with it’s design. Seriously, I did not want to put this down.

Glass and Image:

  • It uses a special kind of high transmission glass (Schott glass) in the prisms. This glass has a special ability (almost like a super hero!) to transmit light in the blue-violet spectrum.
    • So what does this mean birders?? Basically, this lets us see so much more detail in low light settings such as dawn or dusk. I don’t think you can appreciate these binoculars unless you try them out in the early morning or when the sun is setting. During these magical times is when the Ultravid HD-Plus sets itself apart from other optics.

Coatings:

  • All of the lenses are fully multi-coated with their HDC™ coating.  Leica advertises that they use “innovative coating processes” and a “sophisticated system of baffles keep stray light at a minimum.”
  • With that being said, from a binocular novice point of view, the image is outstanding. The detail and colors look incredible!
  • The prisms have a phase correcting coating P40 and HighLux-System HLS™. The anti-reflective material reduces reflections and minimizes stray light.

Waterproof and Durability:

  • Special protective coating on the binoculars by Leica called The AquaDura coating. This help protects against dirt, water and fingerprints on the lenses.
  • Nitrogen purged to prevent fogging.
  • Magnesium and titanium body. (Higher quality than polycarbonate, which is what many other binoculars use.)
  • Watertight to 5m.

Other Specifications:

  • Magnification: 8x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42mm
  • Field of View: 389 feet at 1,000 yards. 130 meters at 1,000 meters
  • Close Focusing Distance: 9.8 feet / 3 m
  • Weight: 27.9 ounces / 1.74 pounds
  • Eye Relief: 15.5mm
  • What’s Included: Neoprene carrying strap, front lens cap, eyepiece cap, cordura case

Warranty:

  • Leica includes a Lifetime Warranty for manufacturer defects.
  • If you register your new purchase within 30 days, they also include their Passport Warranty for 3 years.  The Passport Warranty covers accidental damage, which is really great!
  • Both of these are non transferable. This means if you buy a used Leica, these warranties do not apply.

Summary:

Just as the golf clubs that Tiger Wood’s uses or the shoes that Michael Jordan wears is not the reason they are the best in the world, buying one of the best binoculars available on the market does not mean you are suddenly a better birder.

But….

It certainly doesn’t hurt!! I am a really big fan of the Leica Ultravid HD Plus. There was just something about the way it felt in my hands that made me want to immediately go birding. It also made me want to go in the morning and evening when I knew that this binocular could really show off.

Leica has been a leader in binoculars and optics for a long time. They have had engineers working for years and years to develop the technology that is in each of their products.

The Ultravid represents the best they have to offer. It’s their highest quality lenses combined with their precision engineering, with the single purpose to make our subjects look as clear and bright as possible. After testing these out in the shaded woods and canopy, I think Leica delivers!

As I have mentioned before, for the most part you get what you pay for with binoculars. If you want to see the best detail and colors and have just about the clearest image available, then upgrading to the Ultravid HD-Plus should be something to consider. Especially if you bird at sunset, sunrise or in shady woods.

Purchase Information:

As mentioned before, I could not find a better price that buying these on Amazon: Leica 8×42 Ultravid HD Plus.

My personal preference for bird watching binoculars is an 8×42 (magnification x objective diameter). This is a much debated topic with no right nor wrong answer, it just comes down to the individual birder. I mention this because the Ultravid HD Plus also has a model with a 10x magnification, check it out on Amazon: Leica 10×42 Ultravid HD Plus.

Lastly, if you are looking for a lighter binocular, the Ultravid HD Plus comes in an 8×32 model. It only weights 1.25 lbs but you will sacrifice a bit on brightness and clarity due to the smaller lens objective. It also has a bigger Field of View at 407 feet.

If you read this review and made it this far I have a favor to ask. Was this helpful?? My goal was to keep it simple and dig through all the data to find the features that were important to bird watching. Please let me know how I can improve this site or what you would like to see.

If you end up purchasing a binocular, please use one of the links provided on this page. At no cost to you, Amazon gives a small portion of the sale to me. I would really appreciate that as it helps keep this site running and lets me know that this content is valuable! 🙂

Happy birding!

Scott

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