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.