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Binoculars review

Leica Geovid 8x56 HD-M

Leica Geovid 8x56 HD-M
14 September 2011
Optyczne.pl 
The Geovid HD series of binoculars consists of roof prism models with the following parameters: 8x42, 10x42, 8x56 and 15x56. They were launched in the middle of 2009. According to the producer they are equipped with a modern optical system in HD technology (High Definition Optics), ensuring significantly better performance, especially compared to that of the earlier Geovid series. In all pairs of binoculars of this new series the main elements are made of fluorite glass, containing crystal calcium fluorite - a mineral with very low dispersion coefficient and negligible susceptibility to aberration . The usage of such a glass is supposed to enhance the contrast of images across the whole field of view and improve the colour rendering.

All Geovid HD binoculars are also feature the AquaDura technology – a system of hydrophobic layers which reduce significantly the surface tension. They allow water droplets and dirt to simply roll off of the front element of the binoculars. The housings of Geovid devices are always made of hard, die-cast aluminum covered by shock-absorbing rubber, which ensures steady grip even when your hands are wet or gloved. Eyecups are constructed in such a way that guarantees comfort of observation also for spectacle-wearing people. They can be easily removed to make keeping the eyepieces clean easier. What’s interesting, these binoculars, apart from the central focusing wheel, also feature individual rings to correct dioptre in every eyepiece individually.

. All Geovid HD binoculars are nitrogen-filled which reduces fogging during sudden changed of temperature. They are also completely waterproof – submersible up to a depth of 5 m – and they can be used in the temperature range from minus 25 to plus 60 ░C.

The Geovid 8x56 HD features an improved laser rangefinder with the range increased to 1300 metres (1400 yards). The distance measurements are displayed in the right eyepiece of the binoculars using clear LED diodes. The brightness is automatically adjusted to conditions, guaranteeing comfortable usage during a sunny day and at night alike, without the risk of blinding. The accuracy of the rangefinder is supposed to reach 1 m in the distance to 350 m, 2 meters in the distance to 700 m and 0.5% above 700 m.

Package contents include: a neoprene carrying strap, a Cordura case, eyepiece and protective front lens covers. Because of electronic components this pair of binoculars comes with only two-year long warranty period.

Pictures
  • Lornetka Leica Geovid 8x56 HD-M
  • Lornetka Leica Geovid 8x56 HD-M
  • Lornetka Leica Geovid 8x56 HD-M
  • Lornetka Leica Geovid 8x56 HD-M
Manufacturer data

Manufacturer:

Leica
web site

Distribution / Sales:

LeicaStore
web site

Magnification Lens diameter Angular field of view Prisms Eye relief Weight Price
8 56 118/1000(6.8o) BaK-4/roof 18.5 mm 1100 g 9900 PLN
Results of the review
Real front lens diameter Left:   55.12+/- 0.05 mm
Right:  55.11+/- 0.05 mm
4 / 8.0 pkt
Real magnification 8.38+/- 0.05x 3/3.0
Transmission 85.2+/- 1% 13/25.0
Chromatic aberration Low in the centre, a bit lower than average on the edge. 8.2/10.0
Astigmatism Negligible. 8.8/10.0
Distortion The distance of the first curved line from the field centre compared to the field of view radius:: 58% +\- 4% 7/10.0
Coma Appears relatively far because about 80% from the centre of the field. A bit lower than average on the edge. 8.2/10.0
Blurring at the edge of the FOV The blur occurs in the distance of 92% +\- 3% from the field of vision centre. 8.5/10.0
Darkening at the edge the FOV Virtually no trace of it. 4.7/5.0
Whiteness of the image Good. Slightly creamy. An improvement compared to the predecessor. 4/5.0
Collimation Perfect. 5/5.0
Internal reflections
Left: Right:
Leica Geovid 8x56 HD-M - Internal reflections - Left Leica Geovid 8x56 HD-M - Internal reflections - Right
Very slight.
4.7/5.0
Housing Compact but solid. Very comfortable to hold and to look through Adjustable eyecups. Nothing bends under pressure and/or creaks. 8/8.0
Focusing Comfortable central wheel with a protruberance which comes in handy at night. The full turn takes 540 degrees. Individual focusing on both eyepieces and it doesn’t move the outside elements. Perfect! 5/5.0
Tripod Rangefinder on the spot where usually a tripod exit should be. You have to get an optional tripod adapter which, for such a price, should have been added free of charge. 2/3.0
Interpupilary distance from 57.8 to 74.3mm 5/6.0
Closest focusing distance 3.0 m 2/2.0
Eyepieces FOV Apparent field of view of 55.9 deg (according to simple formula) and 52.1 deg (according to tangent formula). 8/20.0
Field of view Measured by us amounted to 6.67 +\- 0.03 degrees and it was a tad smaller than stated in specifications. Quite wide field of view for such a class of instruments. 5.5/8.0
Quality of the interior of the barrels Perfectly clean and black inside. Unfortunately you can see rangefinder’s electronics and multi-coloured wires. 3.3/5.0
Vignetting
Left: Right:
Leica Geovid 8x56 HD-M - Vignetting - Left Leica Geovid 8x56 HD-M - Vignetting - Right
OL: 1.8%, OR: 1.8%
5.5/8.0
Prisms quality Good quality BaK-4, but a bit too small. You can notice gray darkening near the edge which doesn’t refract light effectively. The darkening occupies respectively: OL: 3.9%, OR: 4.2% 3.5/8.0
Antireflection coatings Green-yellow –orange on objective lenses, green-yellow on eyepieces, reddish on prisms. Medium intensity. 4.5/5.0
Warranty [years] 5 3.5/6.0
Final result
71%
134.9 / 190 pkt
Econo result 0pkt.

Summary


Pros:
  • solid, small and compact housing for such an equipment class,
  • decent transmission in the center of the visible spectrum and, what’s important, the same for both optical paths
  • negligible astigmatism,
  • slight coma,
  • chromatic aberration very well corrected,
  • good whiteness rendering,
  • slight brightness loss on the edge of the field,
  • sharp image almost to the very edge of the field,
  • low internal flares,
  • slight distortion,
  • rangefinder useful even at night.

Cons:
  • too small prisms, giving, as a result, truncated and darkened exit pupils,
  • objectives are closer to 55 mm than to 56,
  • not blackened rangefinder electronic elements, clearly visible in the inner tube.


The situation is quite interesting here because the new model got a worse result than the old one. The transmission, which graph is presented below, is one reason of this assessment. What’s important, contrary to the rival Zeiss Victory 8x56 T* RF, we get here roughly the same the transmission for every optical path. It is a serious advantage. The problem is the graph, compared to its predecessor, changed – in one case the change was positive, in other negative but overall score for transmission and colour rendering, compared to that of the previous model, decreased. The new pair of binoculars renders colours better (a better performance for red) but the maximum transmission, reached by it, is lower.


The next factor is the shape of exit pupils. Like in the case of the predecessor, you can notice too small prisms which make the image near the edge of the pupil a bit darkened and elements inside the binoculars noticeably overlap the pupils’ areas. What’s more, the percentage score of that overlapping is a bit higher than that of the predecessor so in the ‘central vignetting’ and ‘prism quality’ categories the device got worse scores.

Small prisms can be a good point too - you can clearly notice it looking at the photo below, showing the tested pair of binoculars next to the rival Zeiss Victory 8x56 T* RF. You can see at once that the Leica is smaller and more handy. Because of the size of the prisms it is one of the smallest top-of-the-range 8x56 sets of binoculars on the market. One more thing should be emphasized here. Compared to its predecessor, the new model features better coatings, definitely easier to clean, and a rangefinder of newer generation. These undeniable advantages aren’t assessed and scored in our tests.


Finally a word or two about the rangefinder and its efficiency. The operation of rangefinder is problem-free during the day and also at night; its daytime and night-time efficiency we assess very highly too. For closer objects, situated in the distance of about several dozen meters, the measurements, shown by the Leica and its rival Zeiss were in perfect accordance with each other. When we tried to measure distances of more than several hundred meters, the differences reached 1-2 meters, which is perfectly within the declared margin of measurement error. The rangefinder function of this pair of binoculars can be called flawless then.