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Thread: Swarovski EL Range 8x42 vs. Leica Geovid HD-B 8x42 - Head to Head Product review!

  1. #1

    Swarovski EL Range 8x42 vs. Leica Geovid HD-B 8x42 - Head to Head Product review!

    Since running the group buy I have seen some very sexy kit and personally picked up a pair of the HD-B Geovids
    Its still running, and there are still some deals to be had despite a less favourable exchange rate

    For Sale: European Optics Group Buy (Updated))

    It made me think I have the opportunity to review some products head to head
    The obvious one being Swaro EL Range and Leica Geovid (HD-B) Rangefinder binos

    There is a much more detailed comparison here
    http://www.birdforum.net/attachment....2&d=1396360283

    But as a layman's review:
    Both sets in 8x42 form

    Packaging and Dimensions
    Swarovski EL Range come in a very sturdy box with all the accessories in a small side compartment.
    Small zip toggles on the cordura bag are wrapped in tissue
    Binos are bare in their cordura bag which has a zip closure (is this a noise you want when removing binos?)

    Leica Geovid HDB come in a fairly flimsy box heavily lined with foam, accessories are on a foam tray that lifts out presenting the binos in a larger cordura bag, binos themselves are in a plastic bag inside this
    the cordura carrying case has a large double sided clip, which with practice can be opened and closed very quietly

    Once out of the bags the binocular are markedly different
    Despite the stats to say otherwise the Swaros look much smaller, most obviously in length

    the stand out features to look at are:
    • Swaro integrated lens caps, quite stiff and a slight "Pop" when opened in anything other than slow motion, both occular and objective lens covers fix on the inside of the lens housing. not getting them wet for the hell of it I wonder which keeps the lens drier?
    • Leica lens covers fix to the outside of the lens housing, retaining loops and grip on body is not great
    • Swaro have two fairly sizeable bulges under the main bino tube, I believe to house the laser mechanics, I found them quite noticeable when holding the binos.
    • Leica - with closely set eyes and larger than average hands an interlocking thumb position is the only way tohold them without thumbs being squashed together. alternatively hold thumbs along the body of the tube
    • Swaro have a new proprietary fixing for the strap, seen as the black button on the side
    • Leica laser is emitted through a central lens on the hinge
    • Swaro laser is emitted through the objective


    Optics

    I tried the binos at ranges between 20 and 200 yds in bright sunlight, dusk and darkness (heavily backlit in town)
    I did this by simply holding one set in one hand and the other set in the other hand and alternating whilst viewing the same objects in identical conditions

    Daylight:
    First impressions straight out of the box are the Swaros happened to be focused almost perfectly to my eyes and come with all the expected clarity from the brand
    The Geovids have three adjustments, both occular and on the central hinge. This is partly due to a focusing feature to bring the RF reticule into sharp focus, bit does make focusing a little fussy
    Once focused I would give the Swaros a marginal edge on brightness and clarity, but without holding them both at the same time or using optical analysis equipment I think you would really struggle to see the difference one day to the next

    Dusk:
    In Dusk I saw no discernable difference in brightness or clarity between them

    Night:
    possibly a slight edge to the Leicas in darkness but very little if any

    Summary: both incredibly clear and bright and better than pretty much any other pair of binoculars with or without rangefinders in my opinion.
    Slightly subjective due to individual eyes obviously


    Range Finder

    Here is one area the differences in operation and visual are quickly seen
    two very different approaches to the same problem

    Swaro

    The single button operation is as you would expect, point, press, read
    however if you press the button once the reticule is displayed and then automatically shows the range, without pre-aiming the reticule this makes fine ranging on small targets a longer task
    you need to range, aim the reticule and range again on the target

    Leica
    I have deliberately avoided reviewing any Ballistic fuction as it is not comparable
    but, the Leica Geovids are operated in a more logical way
    one press - reticule display, aim at object, press again, range displayed
    This may sound like a similar process but there is no re-aiming done and it feels a more intuitive process

    This coupled with what is in my opinion a much bigger difference - LRF response time
    The Swaro LRF is noticeably slower. add in variable target range of objects between bushes or moving and the response time goes up
    The Geovids seem to respond faster in all scenarios
    It wasnt ideal that one was set to metres and one yards as I would liked to have seen what direct range comparison showed, I suspect accuracy is very good in both and they would be very similar

    Repeated ranging of the same target displayed identical or near identical results at short to moderate distances in both sets with some increase in multiple ranging needed with the Swarovskis

    Long range:

    The Geovids have been tested well past there indicated 2000yd range regularly ranging targets out to 2500yds
    The Swaros did not appear to range past 1500 and it did take a number of readings to get the limit

    The ballistic and environmental readings that the HD-B also offers do not currently have a competitor product from Swarovski
    Some people have commented on the Leica reticule being to feint and the Swaro one being much brighter
    I can't say I noticed a big difference until ranging at night
    I personally find some illuminated scope reticules too bright
    the Swaro reticule is almost in that category when dark
    I can see however that you might want a bright reticule when using the Leica in bright light, but it is still clearly visible even looking into a very bright area


    Summary

    All in all two cracking pairs of binos each with the distinct packaging and operational differences

    There are some notable comparisons on stated data below:
    • Swarovski data is sometimes overstated (rounding up of exit pupil for example)
    • Despite the apparent size difference the actual weight difference is marginal, but the Leicas are heavier
    • When the eye caps are wound out the Leicas look considerably longer
    • Analysed light transmission figures clearly favour the Swaros but test data was below marketing material
    • LRF range and battery life cycle favour the Leica


    UK RRP
    Leica Geovid 8x42 HD-B - Around 1849
    Leica geovid 8x42 HD-R - Around 1649
    Swaro EL Range 8x42 - Around 2065

    better deals can be had shopping around and overseas






















  2. #2
    Hi

    Thank you for taking the time to provide an interesting comparative read.

    L

  3. #3

  4. #4
    Here's an interesting thing I noticed with my leicas. I wear my bag on my belt so I can put the bins in it and that clip can bounce about and make noise hitting the case. That is just me being extremely picky and a little bit of something or other to stop it bouncing around and the problem will be sorted. Aside from that I lovvvvvvvvvveee them.
    Anyone want to buy my swaro monocular rangefinder? I think it is now redundant.
    I can speak in-depth and with great knowledge about most subjects until some bugger who actually knows what he is speaking about opens his gob .

  5. #5
    Thank you for a most informative read.

    A pity that they are out of my price range.




    Steve.
    He that strikes the venison first shall be the lord o' the feast. Shakespeare, King Lear.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by The Singing Stalker View Post
    Here's an interesting thing I noticed with my leicas. I wear my bag on my belt so I can put the bins in it and that clip can bounce about and make noise hitting the case. That is just me being extremely picky and a little bit of something or other to stop it bouncing around and the problem will be sorted. Aside from that I lovvvvvvvvvveee them. .
    can you not just clip it shut?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by NOTSHARP View Post
    Thank you for a most informative read.

    A pity that they are out of my price range.

    Steve.
    hd-r works out about 1400
    by the time you sell your existing Binos and any rangefinder you have I wasn't a million miles away

  8. #8
    That's a very useful review, Thanks.

  9. #9
    I've just done exactly that and bought Leica but 2nd generation ex demo pair & they are mint .

    Paul

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