Leica introduces new products!
Externally the new Ultravid HD look nearly identical to the present Ultravid line, except for the letters "HD" on the strap lug. However, there are as many as 200 different changes over the entire line which will include all of the popular full-sized Ultravid models: 8x32, 10x32, 7x42, 8x42, 10x42, 8x50, 10x50, & 12x50. The new HD line offers a 3% increase in light transmission over the current Ultravid line, all models will contain fourite-ion lenses to aid in reduction of chromatic aberration (offers improved color rendition), and will have a modified focus mechanism. However, one of the greatest advantages for a birder like me is the addition of the new AquaDura TM hydro-phobic lens coatings.
AquaDura lens coatings (right) shown without (left)
This new coating allows water to run off the lens reducing the effects of water spotting in the field. It also makes the lenses easier to clean because dirt, dust, and oily residues (e.g. that pesky thumb print) will no longer adhere to the lens surfaces.
It rained throughout much of the Birdfair so I had ideal conditions to give the new AquaDura coatings a true birder's field test. I donned my rain coat and mud boots at hit the trail purposely leaving the lenses on the Ultravid HD's exposed to the falling rain. When I came across a pocket of birds I was able to easily clear them almost entirely with a purposeful snap of my wrists as I brought these to my eyes! As I soaked up my life views of Sedge Warblers, Long-tailed Tits, and the like I was happy to find the lenses were not soaked at all and the views were nearly spot and streak free (without resorting to the old cleaning cloth)! This is a fantastic advantage to a birder like me who doesn't have sense enough to get out of the rain (or sea spray, or splash zone at the bow of the boat while on a pelagic) when the birding is good.
The other exciting announcement was the new line of Leica Televid spotting scopes due mid 2008. Unlike the Ultravid HD these products appear vastly different from the current Televid spotting scope line. Available only in the black, rubber armored version seen above, the new Televids will feature larger objective lenses (82 & 65 mm compared to current 77 & 62 mm models) and will feature the same AquaDura coatings as the Ultravid HD line. Through use of new lighter weight components like a magnesium housing, the APO Teleivid 82 will be a full 20% shorter and lighter weight than the current 77 mm APO Televid model.
The more compact 65 mm models will have the same focal range as the larger 82 mm models (e.g. eyepieces will offer the same magnification on the 65 and the larger 82 mm). The scopes will also feature a newly designed focus system, still maintaining the popular dual-focus wheels. The new wedge shaped foot will mount directly to all Bogen/Manfrotto tripod heads without the use of the quick connect plate. Plus the scope body will have a built in lock to insure all eyepieces will mount securely with no chance of accidently twisting or falling off.
Leica 25x - 50x WW asph. eyepiece