Bird Watching (UK) - - Gear - RE­VIEWED BY MATT MER­RITT

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

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.

The diop­tre is cal­i­brated and locks in place The eye­cups have three po­si­tions Ac­ces­sories in­clude an easy to fit rain­guard

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