Someone put out a message requesting information
recently about the Leica Duovids - the ones that range from 8-12 x
I was in a camera shop in the city the other day
and they had a pair on display so I took the opportunity to test them out.
Optically they did not seem as good as the standard fixed magnification
versions. The worst thing about this pair though was that the 'switch' they
refer to is actually a dial. Switch indicates that it will 'switch' from one
magnification to the other whereas they are actually a zoom pair.
Those familiar with other Leicas will know that the
diopter adjuster is located on the focusing wheel on the end that you look at
when using the binoculars. With this locked in place on the Duovids, you can
then turn the near-end of the drum and zoom in and out. The zoom works by
turning the eyepieces which move in and out, changing the focal length.
This pair in the shop were awful! The zoom facility
seems to work by applying friction to the ribbed sides of both eyepieces - i.e.
it turns them like a pair of cogs. But the system was incredibly stiff and I
would have to stop looking through the binoculars to try to handle the zoom
piece. What is more, the pair in the shop would turn one eye piece and not the
other resulting in one eye piece at 12x and the other at 8x!
It is possible that the pair I viewed were
unusually poor but I expect more from Leica and cannot understand how they would
have come up with something with fundamental problems. I am a great fan of
Leicas but even on the fixed focal-length versions, their main problem is the
focusing ring - for example on the 8x32BAs, users complain that the rubber
armouring warps until it eventually makes the focusing stiff.
If my experience is anything to go by, the Duovid
binoculars are worth avoiding. If you want a simple zoom facility then better to
go for a very cheap alternative brand. Otherwise, stick to the known and tested
fixed focal length brands. At least we know they work and for about AUS$2,600,
the Duovids certainly don't seem to be worth the extra expense.
Simon Mustoe - Director
AES Applied Ecology Solutions Pty Ltd.