Swarovski vs Leica

Subject: Swarovski vs Leica
From: "Frank O'Connor" <>
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2005 19:00:08 +0800
At 07:15 AM 20/01/2005, David Adams wrote:
My wife and I each got Pentax 8x42 DCF WP binoculars a few years back
and absolutely love them.  (This model was taken out of production and
replaced by a slightly enhanced version.) At a fraction of the cost of
Zeiss/Swarovski/Leica, it's not such a worry to tote them around.
They're waterproof, have a short minimal focal distance, do great in
bright light and low light, and bring a great deal of color with
excellent clarity. I've had a hard time actually seeing the optical
superiority of bins costing 3-4x as much. (To be fair, everyone's eyes
are different.) They're comfortable in the hand, sturdy, and, as
mentioned, fully waterproof.

If you find a less-expensive (although not cheap) set of binoculars,
you can also spend the extra money on a nice trip ;-)

I am not aware of this model. Are they waterproof or water resistant? i.e. I can drop my Leica bins in a bucket of water to clean them.

I am often asked what type of binoculars that someone should buy. I will mention this model to people.

95% of birders would get minimal benefit from Leica / Swarovski / Zeiss bins. Most birders bird in bright sunlight, with birds easily visible, in good conditions at their local wetland, bushland, grassland, etc. Good bins come into their own in bad light, or misty / foggy conditions, or viewing birds at a distance, or glary conditions, etc. i.e. under the extremes. For me it was like chalk and cheese compared to my previous bins. But I have never seen the Pentax model. I will look out for them. On a recent trip in NZ in overcast conditions I was able able to pick up colour and other details on birds that my friend could not with good bins (Canon or maybe Nikon I think costing about $1200 quite a few years ago). I have been standing out in heath in the Fitzgerald River NP listening for Western Ground Parrot after dark and still been able to see reasonably with my bins for a while after my eyes considered it to be dark.

I am happy with my Leica bins, but they are not perfect. They are comfortable to hold but definitely heavier than I would prefer, and the original strap was terrible. They have a good minimal focal distance, but not the closest that I have seen. The eye pieces stick a bit, but they probably need a good clean and they will free up. Time for the bucket ... :-)

If Leica / Zeiss / Swarovski are not like chalk and cheese for you in bad conditions, or if you don't bird in bad conditions, or if you are a part time birder then don't buy the best binoculars as you don't need them.

Frank O'Connor           Birding WA
Phone : (08) 9386 5694 Email :

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