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The Leica Ultravid binoculars are one of the smallest decent pair of binos in the market. If you’re looking for a good, lightweight set of binoculars for birdwatching or other lengthy activity, the Leica Ultravid BR 8×20 binos could be just what you need.
I’ll show you what these binoculars are made of and why you should consider them when searching for a nice pair of binos that will last you a long time.
If you’re in a hurry and just need to check the price and availability of these binoculars at Amazon, you can click (or tap) the link below.
Features You Want in Leica 8×20 Binoculars
Larger binoculars often come with magnification powers of 8x or 10x – for example, 8×42 or 10×42. With the Leica Ultravids, you get similar magnification at the 8 times level. This means real life objects look 8 times normal size when you view them through the lenses.
Much of what makes these compact binoculars has to do with the size of the objective lenses. Here, they are just 20 millimeters in diameter. Lenses that small won’t let in a lot of light, but that’s the trade-off when using compacts.
To help compensate for the lack of light, Leica coats the glass with their proprietary AquaDura HDC (Highly Durable Coating). They also apply phase correction (P40) coating and their HLS – highLux System.
In reality, these coatings are likely no more and no less than what other manufacturers use. Leica just assigns them special names to try to stand out from the crowd.
The “BR” in the model name stands for “Black Rubber” which refers to the shock-absorbing, protective covering on the outside of the unit. This rubberization shouldn’t pull away from the metal tubes and housing inside, due to a special vulcanization method employed. So, you investment is protected quite well.
These are nitrogen filled and so are waterproof to a depth of 5 meters and are likely fogproof too. If you accidentally drop them in a puddle, you won’t lose the value of your investment.
Leica Specs That Matter
Weight matters a lot when deciding on a pair of compact binos. The Ultravids weigh just 8.5 ounces, making them one of the lightest pair of good binoculars I’ve seen.
Combine that weight with measurements of 4 ⅜ inches wide by 3 ⅝ inches high by 1 ½ inches long (deep) and you get a pair of binoculars you can easily tuck into most pockets and carry around all day, if you like.
The field of view is 341 feet at 1000 yards. This is a bit less than average for compact binos, but it’s still good enough to let you spot birds and other wildlife at a distance fairly easily.
Close focus distance for the Ultravid binos is just 7.2 feet – which could be better – but you’re probably not going to use these for targets any closer than 3 steps away anyway.
Eye relief is 15 millimeters – which also could be better – but this probably won’t matter to most users either.
You can adjust the interpupillary distance from 34 to 74 millimeters, a range wide enough to accommodate virtually all faces.
One tube has a diopter that adjusts to ± 3.5 clicks. This is a little unusual in that most binoculars have a diopter that goes to an even amount, like 3 or 4 or 5. I’m not sure why Leica settled on 3.5. It might have something to do with the overall size of the chassis.
Accessories include a carrying strap and Cordura case with a belt loop. You also get eyepiece covers.
Leica Warranty and Final Thoughts about the Ultravid Binoculars
Here is the Leica warranty in full.
Leica Camera AG (‘LEICA’) provides a Limited Lifetime (30 year) Manufacturer’s Warranty, excluding impact and water damage, for this LEICA sport optic item valid from the date of purchase from an authorized LEICA dealer. This includes accessories contained in the original packaging, which come with a two year warranty.
In addition to the Limited Lifetime Manufacturer’s Warranty, this product also includes a three-year US Passport warranty, which protects against impact and water damage (except fire and theft.) This is only valid if the unit is purchased within the United States, and is sent in to the US repair facility for service. This warranty is not transferable from owner to owner.
Putting all these pieces together, you get a great little pair of binos in the Leica Ultravid 8×20. The only downside to them is the small objective lens, but since you know that incoming light-gathering will be a problem up front, you can make allowances for it in daily use.
However, if you don’t think these are what you were looking for, take a look at some more compact binos in this article.