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The new Leica 82mm APO Televid and 25-50 WW eyepiece

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  • The new Leica 82mm APO Televid and 25-50 WW eyepiece

    The new Leica 82mm APO Televid and 25-50 WW eyepiece

    For many years I owned a Leica APO Televid 77mm, with 20x, 32x and zoom eyepieces, and though one of my shoulders now seems lower than the other through carrying it around for many years, I loved it – especially with the super-wide 20x. Over the past three weeks I have been lucky enough to field-test the new Leica 82mm APO Televid and 25-50 WW eyepiece. I had heard much about this telescope, and so it was great to be able to put it to use, in a variety of conditions, weather, and in birding situations (e.g., seawatching, waders on the local estuary, warblers in bushes, gulls, etc).

    One of the first things that hit me was the quality of the scope: it’s beautifully made and oozes quality - the black rubberised finish makes it look just a little ‘mean’. The design has much in common with the Zeiss 85 T* FL and Kowa 883 FL, with two focusing wheels for rapid and fine focusing. The eyepiece has a very snug bayonet fitting, and with a slightly smaller eye-relief than the Swarovski, which meant that the placement of my eye was natural and without any problems.

    As with all of the very best telescopes, however, it is the quality of the image that really counts, and like the Kowa and new Swarovski, the Leica really is excellent, virtually unsurpassed. The angle of view for a zoom eyepiece is very wide, equally as wide as the new Swarovski 25-50, and notably wider than the Kowa. The image was amazing: sharp and crisp, with the beautifully neutral-coloured image you expect from Leica, and an easy, unexaggerated contrast; straight lines at the edge of the image remained straight and undistorted; like the Swarovski, at the very edge of the image there was a touch of colour-fringing on dark objects against bright light , but for most of the time when using the ‘scope normally these were not visible. Whilst using the Leica for seawatching at Southwold, the angle of view was particularly helpful; when zooming up on waders and gulls on the estuary it was very good, with minimal or no re-focusing needed, and a resultant fine and sharp image. It passed the ‘scaling on a gull’s legs’ test with flying colours.

    In size, it is very similar to the Swarovski, though with a slightly larger objective lens, and I found the following on other practical levels: the fine and rapid focusing wheels are nice and smooth, and with focusing down to just under 4m you sometimes need it; the balance on a tripod is a touch rear heavy, so it is good to have a tripod head that allows some balancing; the lenshood is ‘locked’ in position so does not twist as you extend it; the eye-piece ‘hood’ clicks out to three settings as required; the ‘scope can swivel about its axis, but the knob on the review model was a touch plasticky and loose (?).

    In summary, this new Leica 82mm APO Televid and 25-50 WW eyepiece is excellent, perhaps faultless; the image is amazing and the build-quality very good – it certainly looks and feels every bit a Leica. I loved the clarity, neutral image and contrast of the image, and it worked well ‘in the field’.There is no doubt it is expensive, but if you want the best you now have another ‘scope to choose from. I hope that there might be a 20x WW brought out, as this would seriously tempt me back to Leica……

    Brian Small – 24-09-09

    Leica also supplied me with a Leica D-Lux camera and adaptor, and I will add some images later on this forum. The adaptor is made specifically for the new telescope and the Leica D-Lux camera (I am not sure if you can get a fitment to adapt it to other cameras) and handled well, though I am not sure how the image quality of the camera compares with other cameras through the ‘scope; my preliminary results of gulls at the harbour mouth compare very favourably with those I have taken through the Kowa and Swarovski with my Nikon 5100.
    Last edited by Brian S; September 25th, 2009, 08:14 AM.

  • #2
    Thanks for this Brian - I would have liked to hear your opinions of the optical quality with a fixed FL eyepiece.

    Does the "foot" of this new 'scope fit directly onto a Manfrotto-type head, or is an adapter still necessary?

    Colin

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    • #3
      sounds really great, backs up what i saw when i looked at it at the birdfair.
      Colin, if memory serves me correct, there is only the zoom eyepiece available, but leica will be releasing 2 new eyepieces (from what I was told at the birdfair) at some point.
      sigpic

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      • #4
        Yes Colin the foot does fit straight in to a Monfrotto
        Brian as I posted a few weeks ago If you have an adapter for your 77 remove the collett and you can use your nikon 5100 on it.fits very nicely
        Last edited by darrenjhughes; September 24th, 2009, 09:38 PM.

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        • #5
          digi-cam adaptor

          Leica have sent me this, 'there is a ‘multiple’ adaptor (Digital Adaptor 3) that will take any camera. The small round one we sent with the D-Lux 4 is obviously designed specifically for that camera model, but we do have the other one, which will take all compact cameras, and even a camera phone! The details are here: http://uk.leica-camera.com/sport_opt...s/digiscoping/

          Brian S

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          • #6
            Thanks Brian, was nice to read your report after reading so many disaffected reports and seeing some deadly broken scopes made by Leica. It is now quite visible that if you close your eyes in the scope shop and pick one box of the Top 3 players' products (for me Leica, Kowa & Swarovski) you check out as a satisfied customer.

            Lets see how long the quality lasts.

            Szimi
            ____________
            Gyorgy Szimuly
            The New Shorebirds Handbook
            Web:
            http://thenewshorebirds.wordpress.com
            Personal blog:
            http://szimistyle.posterous.com
            Skype: thenewshorebirds
            Location: Milton Keynes, UK

            Comment


            • #7
              Images on Leica D-Lux

              Three images, re-sized and two cropped, but not sharpened or modified in other ways.

              Brian S
              Attached Files

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              • #8
                Thanks Brian; a helpful review.

                I am going to ask what might be an unfair question, but you did test the new Swarovski recently as well.

                If you had to make the choice between the new Leica and the new Swarovski, both with 25-50x zoom what would you choose and why? Or would you feel that both are pretty much equal optically and that it is down to personal preference?

                Thanks

                Paul

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                • #9
                  Hi Brian,

                  Also, how does the weight of the new Leica compare to the APO77 (which is what I use currently).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Paul Wood View Post
                    Thanks Brian; a helpful review.

                    I am going to ask what might be an unfair question, but you did test the new Swarovski recently as well.

                    If you had to make the choice between the new Leica and the new Swarovski, both with 25-50x zoom what would you choose and why? Or would you feel that both are pretty much equal optically and that it is down to personal preference?

                    Thanks

                    Paul
                    Paul - I have had the chance to test the Kowa, Leica and Swarovski side-by-side, and in my personal opinion, I reckon that the Kowa 883 has a marginally better (and I mean marginal) image than the Swarovski and Leica, most apparent in lower lighting conditions, where the larger objective lens helps. Most of the time the image quality is comparable, but the thing that makes the Swarovski and the Leica different is the wide angle of view on the 25-50x eyepieces - it does make a difference. Personally, I might have liked the zoom to start at 20x as on the Kowa (for digiscoping), but optically on the two models I could not see much difference between the Swarovski and Leica in resolution - they both have excellent images. So it falls to personal choice: do you prefer the barrel-focusing of the Swarovski or the twin-focusing of the Leica? Are you a green or black person?

                    Brian S

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by marklhawkes View Post
                      Hi Brian,

                      Also, how does the weight of the new Leica compare to the APO77 (which is what I use currently).
                      Mark

                      I would say the weights of the Swarovski and Leica were virtually identical. I think the Leica is about 1470g with the eyepiece and the Swarovski 1490g - and, being made of magnesium (alloy), therefore much lighter than the hulking APO 77mm

                      Brian S

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Brian S View Post
                        Are you a green or black person?

                        Brian S
                        Personally, I'm a green person since there's no way I can envisage affording any one of the three scopes reviewed!

                        John

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Brian S View Post
                          Paul - I have had the chance to test the Kowa, Leica and Swarovski side-by-side, and in my personal opinion, I reckon that the Kowa 883 has a marginally better (and I mean marginal) image than the Swarovski and Leica, most apparent in lower lighting conditions, where the larger objective lens helps. Most of the time the image quality is comparable, but the thing that makes the Swarovski and the Leica different is the wide angle of view on the 25-50x eyepieces - it does make a difference. Personally, I might have liked the zoom to start at 20x as on the Kowa (for digiscoping), but optically on the two models I could not see much difference between the Swarovski and Leica in resolution - they both have excellent images. So it falls to personal choice: do you prefer the barrel-focusing of the Swarovski or the twin-focusing of the Leica? Are you a green or black person?

                          Brian S
                          Brian - many thanks. Not too worried about colours.

                          I've had a Leica APO77 for 12 years now and almost always use the fixed 32x eyepiece (but also have the 20x and 40x), so I am used to the Leica focus system. I have never been a big fan of the 20-60x zoom as I find the FoV too restrictive compared to the wide-angle fixed magnification lenses.

                          I am thinking about upgrading to either the new Leica or the new Swarovski. I fully appreciate that the Kowa is probably better in low light due to the bigger objective lens, but am not keen on the narrow FoV on the 20-60x zoom.

                          A few weeks ago I got the opportunity to look through the new Swarovski with the 25-50x zoom and I was impressed. No doubt I would quickly get used to the focus system, so that doesn't bother me. The new Swarovski UCA and telescope rail also seems a nice piece of kit to enable a DSLR to be used with the scope and might just tip the balance if there is little to choose between this and the new Leica optically.

                          Regards

                          Paul

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Paul Wood View Post
                            The new Swarovski UCA and telescope rail also seems a nice piece of kit to enable a DSLR to be used with the scope and might just tip the balance if there is little to choose between this and the new Leica optically.
                            Paul

                            Personal choice will always be the key.

                            I am not a big fan of the Swarovski camera adaptor and rail, I prefer the adaptor that simply slides snugly over the eyepiece (as below on the Leica).

                            Brian S
                            Attached Files

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                            • #15
                              Quite impressive images Brian; strap a proper DSLR onto that and you could capture shots equivalent to "long lens" optics (as does Faísca).




                              Colin

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