Leica Geovid 8X42 Rangefinder
The Leica Geovid BRF 8X42 binoculars are fairly large, not something I’d want to carry with me for a long hike, but I liked them a lot. They were my kids favorite, at least out on the beach where they also tried the Fujinons and the Zeiss Victory FL.
The model I reviewed is the previous model, the new model just out is the HD version, with fluoride used to eliminate color aberrations.
Comapared to the Zeiss Victory FL 8X32 with 15.5mm eye relief, the 18mm eye relief of the Geovids was definitely easier in terms of maintaining a quality view, But do note that Leica's own Ultravid 8X32 has a miserable 13.3mm eye relief, so always check the model features carefully.
Image quality was outstanding even with the sun strafing the front elements— no flare.
The ability to maintain high contrast into shadow areas and brightly backlit areas was very impressive. I’d rate the image quality as the top of the heap taking all factors into account, but the Fujinons are very close and indeed even easier on the eyes because of the 23mm eye relief.
The Geovid models incorporate a laser rangefinder— press a button and you get distance to within one yard (or meter depending on the model).
Presumably rangefinding is a feature for hunters, but being a geek I thought it was rather fun to measure distances by pressing the button on top of the binoculars. And it might be useful for something I haven’t yet imagined, like how wide a canyon is, or how far I might have to hike.
Of the binoculars I tested, only the Geovids fogged on me, and this happened repeatedly one day (but not other days). Using the other brands at the same time (conditions), only the Leicas fogged! The Zeiss and Fujinon models did not fog. This was very annoying. Claimed to be “waterproof and fogproof”, I’m not sure what to say. They did not fog on other days I used them, but clearly there are factors involved where they will fog.
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The Leica 8X42 Geovids are definitely a model I’d consider buying, but I’d be sure to get the latest “HD” model with the fluoride elements.
But given the already large size, I might just go straight to the 8X56 model, with its 18.5mm eye relief, because my eyes can use more light than a 42mm objective provides in dim conditions. After all, neither binocular is one I’d want to take up a climb of Mt Dana.