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Gear Review: Leica Ultravid 8×20 binoculars

Leica Ultravid 8x20 BR binocular

Compact binoculars are an ideal choice for the ardent backcountry enthusiast. Their small size and lightweight allow for easy access even when bushwhacking through dense vegetation. Leica Camera AG manufactures a perfect example of a compact binocular in the Ultravid 8×20 BR.

Leica Camera AG is an international company in the optics industry with a reputation for superior optics used in binoculars and camera lens. The company has produced innovative cameras since the early 20th century and is responsible for the first practical 35 mm camera produced intended to be compact enough for mountainous landscape photography.

In addition to cameras, Leica produces an extensive line of binoculars known for their outstanding clear images and rugged manufacturing. The Ultravid 8×20 BR binoculars are an ideal example of the combination of crystal clear images, top-notch quality and rugged design.

The Leica Ultravid 8×20 BR binocular is a rugged, lightweight and beautifully engineered compact binocular ideal for those journeying off the beaten path. These binoculars are small enough to be worn on the hip belt of most any backpack and lightweight enough not to infuriate the most weight conscious backpacker.

This binocular contains roof prisms, which allow for their compact size of 60 x 94 x 35 mm (width by height x depth) and their total weight of only 245 grams. This binocular can fit almost anywhere, even in a pocket or on a backpack hip-belt.

The Ultravid 8×20 has a field of view of 110 meters at 1000 meters (or 6.3 degrees). With a close focus of approximately 2.2 meters these binoculars are just as useful for observing birds or even butterflies up close.

The lenses have highly advanced coatings to provide the most beautiful and clear images possible. Leica’s High Durable Coatings (HDC™) maximizes image clarity and protection on the outside lenses, while their High Lux System (HLS™) and phase correction coating P4 on the prisms increases usable light transmission.

In addition, these binoculars are waterproof up to an approximate 5 m water depth.

The Ultravid 8×20 binocular is extremely rugged with a body of aircraft-grade aluminum surrounded by a shock-absorbing rubber exterior (a lighter weight leather exterior is available). The quality of the engineering of these binoculars makes them virtually indestructible. This is especially important for those engaging in such activities as backpacking and/or bushwhacking.

Unfortunately, all this precise engineering comes at a rather steep price tag with the listing price at $749. But the clear image and rugged design makes these binoculars more than worth the price.

For years now I have carried a pair of Leica Ultravid 8×20 BCR binoculars, having abandoned my heavy full-sized ones. I have been completely satisfied with this change despite the disadvantages of using compact binoculars, such as the need for more precise alignment with your pupils, more difficult to focus, and having less resolution especially at greater distances. The binoculars advantages of lighter weight and ease of access more than make up for these disadvantages.

The Leica Ultravid 8×20 BCR binocular is available from the following online retailers:

Eagle Optics $699.00
Amazon $699.00

And as far as compact binoculars go you cannot go wrong with a pair of Leica Ultravid 8×20 BCR binocular for bushwhacking and backpacking, especially if birding is an activity you enjoy while in the backcountry.

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