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Leica Ultravid HD’s

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/17/2007 at 20:30
Roy Finn View Drop Down
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Hey Chris, do you have any info on these new bin's? Aquadur (hydrophobic) coatings and HD glass?

 

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/18/2007 at 00:05
tbone1 View Drop Down
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Roy, I have been hearing about these for a little while but it looks like they just posted the info on their website in the last day or two.  I usually try to hold my excitement until I get my hands on items, but these appear to be significant improvements to an already superb bino.  On paper these binos seem to have everything you could possibly ask for with no stone unturned.

 

The are upgrading from ED to Flouride glass, adding Aquadur coatings, and improving the focus mechanism.

 

http://www.leica-camera.us/nature_observation/ultravid_binoc ulars/ultravid_hd_range/

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/21/2007 at 13:39
Chris Farris View Drop Down
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The only info I have is basically what tbone just posted.

 

I hope to take a pair to Mexico this year for desert mulies.



Edited by Chris Farris
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/21/2007 at 21:03
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[QUOTE=tbone1]

The are upgrading from ED to Flouride glass, adding Aquadur coatings, and improving the focus mechanism.



Curious advertising statement.

Minox's ED "is" Fluoride glass, in their BD 10x58 & 15x58 & 8-14x40 BR ED's.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/22/2007 at 00:27
tbone1 View Drop Down
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The way I understand it is that extra density (ED) glass is made by adding heavy metals or rare earths to the glass mix (not necessarily flourite elements).  In Europe it is sometimes referred to as HD or high-density glass.  FL or flourite glass is very similar except that fluorite is the heavy metal that is added.  I always thought that they were very similar in their properties and performance but that flourite glass was slightly more expensive to use.  ED/HD or Fluorite glass is used to bring together the unfocused light that is bent in different directions.  This is sometimes referred to as a halo or chromatic abberations.

 

ED/HD or Fluorite glass can help tighten contrast, and produce a sharper, brighter image.  Some spotting scopes take this one step further by adding a third lens element that bring all of the colors of daylight together to the same focus and are called apochromatic (APO).

 

So what I am assuming this means is that Leica is upgrading from very expensive ED glass with heavy metals to Fluoride glass with flourite elements.  It appears that Minox' ED glass is "flourite" in the binos that you mentioned.

 

I have owned ED, flourite, and APO optics.  I can't say which is actually better.  I believe that its more about how it's all put together.

 

What is interesting from what Leica is claiming is that not only are they changing the glass, but that they are constantly experimenting and upgrading their High-Lux prism coating as well as their lens coatings.  The new HD binos will have new coatings to match the new glass.  To me the only thing that matters is can I see a difference and how they feel in my hand.  Of course this may all be some marketing "fluff" but based on my experience with Leica in the past, they usually are not just blowing smoke.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/22/2007 at 01:12
tbone1 View Drop Down
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I thought I would clarify what I know about the recent history of the big three and my opinions of their binos.  Maybe some of you will find this helpful.  I know I am off on the exact dates but I didn't want to look it all up.  If I am wrong about type or glass, coatings ect..., please feel free to correct me.

 

Year 2000

Leica Trinovid vs. Swaro (SLC- non swarobright) vs. Zeiss Victory vs. Swaro EL

 

Leica used ED glass with silver coated prisms.

Swaro SLC used high quality Crown & Flint (I think but not sure) glass and silver coated prisms.

Swaro ELs used the same glass but with Swarobright dielectric prism coatings.

Zeiss Victory used Abbe Konig prisms which eliminated the need for a prism coating other than the phase correction.  Not sure what glass they used, I think ED.

 

In my opinion the Leica and ELs were very good.  Both were exceptional optically.  Leicas were better than the SLCs.  They were noticably brighter and the SLCs had a slight yellow or amber tint to the glass (they claim cut through the haze in Europe).  The Zeiss Victory were not in the same class and any of the other binos mentioned.  I don't know why but they just were not optically a top notch bino.  They weren't nearly as sharp as the other three despite all the hype about how much better Abbe Konig prisms were.

 

 

Sometime around 2002-2003.

 

Swaro added the Swarobright to their prisms and got rid of the amber tinted glass.  To me it made a substantial difference.  Optically they were neck and neck with Leica and real close to their EL model.  Zeiss Victory IIs made a few substandard improvments but not enough to save the line.

Leica trinovids remained the same but Leica introduced the Ultravids.  A new premium bino that used a magnesium/titanium body with reduced weight as well as size.  They used the same ED glass as the trinovids but with a new High-Lux dielectric prism coating that improved CA and slightly improved light transmission. 

 

Around 2004-2005

 

Zeiss introduced the Victory FLs.  They went back to the drawing board and came out with completely new bino.  They still used Abbe-Konig prisms and added FL glass.

These were a superb bino and optically on par with Leica Ultravids and ELs.  I won't argue which is better because they are all superb just a slightly different view.

 

Last year Zeiss introduced the Lotutec water shedding coatings.  To me its definately a plus but there has been a lot of hype that they are now optically better.  I haven't been able to tell that and don't really believe that but they do shed water droplets.

 

Optically the current Ultravids differ from the Trinovids by having the High-Lux prism coating.  The new Ultravid HDs will have new FL glass, an improved High-Lux prism coating and new lense coatings to match the new glass as well as a new focus mechanism.

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/22/2007 at 12:57
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A couple of comments on ED and Fluorite glass.

First of all, fluorite is not glass.  It is a different compound.   I could be wrong of course, but basically when a maker says that they use fluorite glass, that really means that they have on or more lens elements, that are  made of crystalline fluorite (calcium fluoride, I think) instead of glass.  The biggest advantage of fluorite compared to using ED glass or complex multi-element lens groups is weight.  ED glass is typically doped with some rare earth elements which are very heavy.  Complex lens groups, by definition, involve multiple lenses which add weight.  Other considerations are light transmission and image fidelity.  Multiple lenses mean multiple surfaces which hurt both light transmission and image quality.

The downside to fluorite is that it is quite fragile and is very sensitive to temperature changes.  It expands and contracts more than glass when subjected to heat or cold and if subjected to a rapid cooling it cracks.  Because of that, mechanical design is more complicated if you want to use fluorite elements.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/22/2007 at 19:17
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Zeiss FL's is not Flourite, it's a new type of glass by Zeiss.

 

 

"FL glass, a special optical glass which is enhanced with fluorine ions, has the advantages of both ED and Fluorite, but without the drawbacks of either. The introduction of FL glass allows the design of systems that are light weight, durable, and which offer superior color correction. "

 

 

http://www.zbirding.info/zbirders/blogs/sing/default.aspx

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/22/2007 at 20:42
koshkin View Drop Down
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Thanks for the clarification, although the rest of my post still holds.  The biggest differentiators are weight and brittleness (heavily doped glass is typically more brittle than less doped glass).

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/23/2007 at 11:11
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The die are rolling. Swarovski ELs will be upgraded to HD lenses for sure.

 

As far as ED, FL, etc, i don't care. I've used non-ED optics that were better than ED designated models and i read all the time all sorts of marketing mambo-jumbo. I recently examined a HD Leupold 8x42 side by side with a Swarovski SLCnew 8x30. They were close, but the SLC won. They could be using corn husks to make lenses. For what i care, the final product and it's performance is what matters. 

 

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/23/2007 at 16:02
tbone1 View Drop Down
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Maybe I wasn't clear in my original post and I will try to clear this up.  True Fluorite is not glass but a mineral and sometimes reffered to as crystalline.  It is soft and fragile.  A true fluorite lens is usually only used in ultra high end camera lens, microscopes, telescopes and spotting scopes occassionally.  It is usually done by placing one pure fluorite lens in the middle of a 3 or 4 lens element and is commonly referred to as APO.  This is the only way to eliminate the last little bit of unfocused light and will produce the absolute purest image.  It is the best and most expensive way to correct the unfocused light.

 

FL, or fluorite glass which I have been referring to and which many makers also refer to as ED/HD or extra low dispersion, is glass with fluoride/fluorine ions in it so that it was lighter than typical ED with heavy metals added but strong enough to use in optical instruments.  This FL glass functions similar to other ED/HD glass and will eliminate all but a small amount of the unfocused light.

 

Leica is the only one of the big 3, that uses this APO type system in their high end spotting scope.  Their new HD spotting scope with flourite glass will be standard and the APO version using pure fluorite will be an upgrade.

 

 

http://www.leica-camera.us/nature_observation/televid_spotti ng_scopes/

 

http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=CanonAdvant ageTopicDtlAct&id=2641  

 

I meant to say that flouride was the mineral that was added instead of heavy metal that was added.  Sorry for the confusion.

 

I hope this helps.

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/23/2007 at 19:14
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for hunting, where we look at browns, greens, yellows, greys, all against dark back grounds...why would I care about CA? especially in a 7x, 8x, and maybe even 10x binocular? I just htink it is probably not going to matter for hunting...birding yes, spotting scopes, yes, but low power binos that arent for high contrast arenas like birding, i just dont see it
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/24/2007 at 10:47
Chris Farris View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Spitzer Spitzer wrote:

 

Zeiss FL's is not Flourite, it's a new type of glass by Zeiss.

 

 

"FL glass, a special optical glass which is enhanced with fluorine ions, has the advantages of both ED and Fluorite, but without the drawbacks of either. The introduction of FL glass allows the design of systems that are light weight, durable, and which offer superior color correction. "

 

 

http://www.zbirding.info/zbirders/blogs/sing/default.aspx

 

Here is some additional information from a previous post that Zeiss supplied.

 

Zeiss ED, AOL and FL Glass



Edited by Chris Farris
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/24/2007 at 13:11
tbone1 View Drop Down
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Spitzer and Chris, this is some excellent information and thanks for posting it.  I hope everyone will take some time and read this as it will answer alot of questions.

 

A few comments from

 

http://www.zbirding.info/zbirders/blogs/sing/default.aspx

 

The writer is a zeiss product specialist and seems to be pushing ziess but gives some great and accurate information.

 

The comments about the Schmidt Pecan vs. Abbe Konig prism was interesting.  I have never liked the Abbe Konig design primarily because it makes the binos too long.  I much prefer a more compact design.  He also explains that with recent advances in di-electric coatings by applying as much as 70 coatings to the prisms, Schmidt Pecans can equal and even exceed the efficiency of Abbe Konig or Porro.  Leica is claiming that they have further improved their di-electric coatings.

 

The Truth about Contrast section:

 

The most interesting topic is that the writer seems to give an interesting explanation of why Zeiss appears to have less contrast than Leica.  This is one thing that I have always noticed and have commented on several times in the past.  He provides interesting photos, and seems to spin the information to show that the Zeiss FL has more dynamic range and more colors, and appears brighter with less contrast, even though technically it has more contrast.

 

I found this to be a very interesting arguement and I think he very well may be right in his explanation.  The photo he provides is a photo similation in photoshop showing the what zeiss (top photo) should look like and what leica (bottom photo) should look like.  It seems very accurate to what I have seen with my eyes comparing these binoculars.

 

What I disagree with him on is which image looks better.  He comments that the top image (zeiss) has more dynamic range with more shades of gray, appears brighter and appears to have less contrast but acutally has more (technically or numerically) and claims that there is no loss of detail.  He claims that zeiss accomplishs this by adjusting their lens coatings to provide "full natural contrast range".

 

To me the second image looks noticably better.  He comments that the first is brighter.  To me it looks a little washed out, like a photo that is barely over exposed.  He may be correct that there are more shades of gray but to me it loses contrast.  He claims that there is a loss of detail in the second.  I don't see how he can make that statement, to me there is more detail in the second photo.

 

Look for yourself at the second photo.  The green is greener, the white is whiter.  Making the bird stand out from the background.  The colors are more vibrant.  Look at the brown and white stripes on the back.  Then just below that at the brown patch.  And then look to the left where the brown meets the light feathers.  The colors are much more vibrant with more contrast and it is noticably more detail in the second photo to me.

 

I have always said that Leica provided a more brilliant image to my eyes and this is a good example of that.  He claims quote " We could adjust our coatings and glass types to produce the "high apparent contrast image" but why would we do that.  Why would we sacrifice image detail in the dark and light areas of the image and brightness overall to achieve an increase in contrast that is only apparent".

 

I'll tell you why, cause it looks better!  I wish everyone would read that section and look for themselves.   His information seems to be accurate, but he is spinning it in a riduculous way.

 

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/24/2007 at 14:28
Chris Farris View Drop Down
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Originally posted by tbone1 tbone1 wrote:

"Why would we sacrifice image detail in the dark and light areas of the image and brightness overall to achieve an increase in contrast that is only apparent".

 

 

This is a very typical "German" attitude.  Implying that anything needs to be changed is implying that they did something wrong.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/24/2007 at 15:20
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Thanks for posting some very good, thorough information, gentlemen!

Edited by RifleDude
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