Leica Ultravid 8x32 HD Plus

Factfile:

Field of view: 135m@1,000m
Close focus: 2.1m (manufacturer’s figure)
Weight: 535g
Dimensions: 116mm x 116mm x 56mm
Eye relief: 13.3mm
RRP: £1,650
 

Ratings (out of 5):

Optics 4.5
Handling 4.5
Price 4
Overall 4.5

Review by Matt Merritt

Leica Ultravid 8x32 HD Plus

Leica Ultravid 8x32 HD Plus

MORE and more, I find myself wanting smaller, lighter bins I can carry at all times, to fit a bit of birding in anywhere.

Leica’s Ultravid HD Plus 8x32s are a refinement of what was already an exceptional model. Outwardly, little has changed. Very compact and light (just 560g), they have a closed bridge, and solid, easy to grip armouring. The comfortable eyecups click up and down to four positions, and stay in place well, a little too well at times. 

The focus wheel is a finger-and-a-half wide, well ridged, and takes just more than a full clockwise turn from close focus (less than 2m, for me) to infinity, moving very smoothly and moderately stiffly. The dioptre is set by pulling out the wheel, and is calibrated and locks in place well. 

Bright and natural binoculars

The image produced is very sharp and well contrasted right to the edges, making the most of the 135m@1,000m field of view, and it’s bright and natural too. In really dim light, perhaps you’d miss your 8x42s but, generally, it coped well with dawn, dusk and bad weather.

Colour-fringing was negligible, but setting the bins up does need care. They’re so compact that you need to take time to get the interpupillary distance and your eye position right to avoid flaring or chromatic aberration. Once you have, a fairly stiff hinge keeps things in place well. The rainguard fits easily, and the neoprene strap makes even lighter of your burden.

If you’re looking to downsize optically, you have to consider these – they do the job optically, and they’re also a pleasure to use. 

This review was first published in the April 2017 issue of Bird Watching magazine