Leica Geovid HD-B 10x42 Range Finding Binoculars

rookhawk

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I thought I'd share this review I did of the Leicas on another forum.

The punchline is twofold on this:

1.) They are the best (IMHO) rangefinder available today based on a variety of features
2.) In many ways, the "best" still has some serious shortcomings

I've had them in use for awhile since writing the review so feel free to ask any questions about them and I'll be happy to share what I've learned. For the record, I'm an optics aficionado (I like Swaro, Zeiss, Leica, S&B) but I'm not a "one brand bigot" and I try to be ecumenical in my choices.

First review here but I thought this one would have been so valuable for me to read had it existed before I made my purchase.

The Leica Geovid HD-B 10x42 is the most advanced range finding binocular available in the ~$3000 MSRP price point as of Q1 2015. Competitive products in this same price range that I considered were the Swarovski EL 10x42 Range and the Zeiss Victory RF 10x45 Rangefinding Binocular.

The requirements I had (of which no product could fully achieve) were as follows:

1.) I wished to have rangefinding ballistic drop calculations for a high performance crossbow that would assist in calculating real hold-overs for ethical shots from 50 yards to 80 yards.

2.) I wished to have a ballistic calculation for use with a ultra premium rifled slug gun that is about 2 MOA when using sabot slugs out to 200 yards. The slug gun is a big desire because it pushes the slugs real-world at 1735fps MV with a 260r projectile and a BC of .146. Plenty of accuracy for those shots from 130-200 yards provided you know precisely your drops to exceptional detail.

3.) I wanted range finding capability with ballistic calculations for a 6.5x55 and 7x57 for precise firing solutions for shots out to 500 yards, the maximum reasonable distance for CXP2 and CXP3 game where quality bullets will still expand properly. (e.g. Nosler Partition, Accubond, Woodleighs, Oryx)

4.) I wanted excellent glass so I could avoid a separate binocular purchase

5.) I wanted to eliminate carrying my Leica 1000r pocket rangefinder that I purchased <90 days ago

6.) I wanted an excellent warranty and support model

7.) I wanted general EHR capabilities for targets as close as 10 yards and as far as 500 yards

After trying out all three in store I concluded that the Swaro and Leica had comparable glass, the Zeiss i felt was slightly lesser quality in glass but the additional 3mm exit objective did create a larger FOV that was impressive.

Then I stacked them all against my requirements. I did not buy the Swaro because it failed to meet any archery requirements as it could not provide range finding under 33 yards. I called Swaro and they stated this was a patent issue and thus they made the software in that manner.

The zeiss didn't wow me optically or with their grip so that left the Leica meeting most requirements.

What I learned after purchase was the following disappointments about the Leica.

1.) The custom software would not let me put in ballistic data for an arrow or crossbow bolt nor would it permit a drop table based on a 50 yard zero.

2.) The custom software would not permit me to create a 100 yard zero for a 260gr bullet moving at 1735 fps with a BC of .146, so the slug firing solutions are not possible. I subsequently learned that it also will not handle loads like .22 hornet, .357 mag, .44 mag and other loads that have low BCs with 100 yard zeros and moderate muzzle velocities. Adding to this frustration is that you do not get to know if your data is good or bad when using the application to input your data. Only when you take your data.hex file and transfer it to a memory card and place it in your binoculars do you get an ERR3 code that the data is not acceptable to the binoculars. This is problematic as it leaves you scratching your head as to what went wrong. I've called Leica who is indeed responsive to consumers (a good thing) and asked what the minimum thresholds are for what is acceptable load data. They do not know but are going to ask the developer, Gunwerks for clarity. This is an incredibly disappointing situation that I hope Leica will remedy (and I'll write an update if they do) because not every fire solution you use on a rangefinder is for great distances but they are always used to insure an ethical shot. (like a sabot slug from a 2 MOA gun at 100-200 yards for example)

So in conclusion, the Leica Geovid HD-B 10x42 met several requirements but failed to meet all. It will:

1.) meet quality glass requirements
2.) will hopefully meet durability requirements (* more addendum on this below)
3.) It will NOT be able to calculate custom drops for crossbow bolts
4.) It will NOT be able to calculate custom drops for for rimfire, slug, or some straight wall rifle and pistol calibers.
5.) It will be able to calculate drops and firing solutions for high velocity rifles from 100 yards to 1000 yards.
6.) It does have excellent glass
7.) Leica has been responsive to inquiries

That concludes my initial review.

-Rookhawk

*Addendum on quality. I found out the Leica products are made in Portugal, not Germany which is really disheartening for a $3000 product. The 1000r rangefinder I had was used in -4 weather for deer hunting on two occasions. The 1000r rangefinder rubber peeled off in sheets with no abuse on my part. I owned it <90 days and did ask for a refund/exchange towards the Geovids but was told no by the dealer because they cannot sell them as new. I'm waiting for Leica to service the 1000r by replacing the housing or replacing the unit. I'm deeply concerned that the Geovids might use the same rubberizing as the 1000r and I'll be absolutely disheartened if that rubber fails at -4 also because it certainly is well within the optical operating conditions published by Leica.
 

BRICKBURN

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Outsourcing is going on everywhere evidently.
 

James.Grage

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I use both Leica binoculars and range finder.

Both are great to use...

and just purchased a Leica scope to add to a rifle...
 

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I'm just from a hunt where I had the opportunity to extensively try the Swaro and the Leica. My take, not based on software or lab tests: the Swaro come on top.

Eye cups on the Leica feel "flimsy", with a couple of odd stops on the way out or in. The whole hardware feels more solid on the Swaro (which is not to say that the Leica is cheap junk by any means, we're talking of optics in the rarefied quality summit air...).

I prefer the ergonomy of the Swaro, and my eyes prefer the image/hue etc of the Swaro. The Leica do feel bulkier.

However, both are rather heavy compared to the 8x30 that I carry or to a standard 10x40, and for a full-time day-long use I'll pass until such a time that the technology shrinks a bit more.

As a tool for glassing when you do need to know the distances, I'd go with the Swaro.
 

rookhawk

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Kano,

I agree that the build features (diopter adjustments, etc.) are better on the Swaro than the Leica. The problem is thus:

Leica hold the patent on range finding for objects under 100 feet. I find the most common blunder made is a grave miscalculation of distance. Only the Leica will give you range finding for bow hunting at close ranges. Only the Leica will give you firing solutions for shots beginning at 33'.

If either of the above are important to you the Leica will have the Swaro beat for the rest of our shooting lifetime. (18 year patent?)

The one ergonomics counterpoint I would provide is that the button placement and menu system on the Leica I believe is simplified and much more effective than the Swaro. One button gets the range, another gets the firing solution. The Leica will generate a firing solution faster than any other product at present.

If you're purely a "western US long range elk / antelope hunter" type of individual and you only are a rifleman, you have nothing to lose by buying the Swaro.

Regards,

Troy
 

rookhawk

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I'd like to post an update on this topic. After sending a lengthy letter and a defective pair of binoculars to Roger Horn, President of Leica USA, I received a call from the director of the Sport Optics division, Mr. Brian Bell on Monday 1/23/17.

Mr. Bell was cordial and authorized an exchange to address my problem. He stated I will receive a pair of 10x42 HD-B 2200 binoculars shortly although it will take a week to process RMA/Repair and about a week to ship out the new pair.

In addition, Mr. Bell informed me that the two Leica ER 5 riflescopes I have had on order for some time and have attempted to buy since April of 2015 have been moved back again. The 1-5x straight tube and the 1.5-8x belled scope are delayed again until at least summer of 2017. These products are alleged to be made in America by an undisclosed manufacturer using Leica glass from Germany.

I will let the readers know if/when the commitments made by Leica USA are satisfied. Incidentally, my polite note to Leica ON THIS FORUM went completely unanswered even though Leica continued to post other advertisements many times after my attempt at contact. Probably not a good way to attempt to reach Leica by using this forum even though they are an Africa Hunting sponsor.
 

rookhawk

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Providing another update. It's been two weeks so I should have the binoculars I was promised by now. Brian Bell asked me to contact him "to remind him" after a week which I did. That contact went unacknowledged. At the two week mark this morning I contacted Brian Bell again mentioning its been two weeks and I've not received tracking for the binoculars that I was promised.

The response I received was: "I apologize for the delay. The individual responsible for this has been out sick for most of the last two weeks."

This points back to a few points about Leica that are worth mentioning:

1. When the president of Leica USA, Roger Horn, is written a personal letter about this situation you'd think it would garner attention. Particularly because I provided the links to my online reviews of the situation, all prior Leica correspondence, and the URL for this forum thread. You would think that when a manufacture is told that "the situation is being documented publicly" that would be the time where you put your best foot forward in the hopes of winning some PR or doing some damage control.

2. Generally speaking, most companies don't tell the customer to call back and remind them to do their job. I get it, major show season, many other obligations, but still, I'm a customer of a $3200 pair of binoculars, not the Leica Management Life Coach.

3. Not unlike the time they upgraded their ERP / MRP / Shipping software and couldn't determine product availability, recognize revenue or ship product for a MONTH, this situation is similar. Single point of failure. No other firm in the world of Leica's size would not have a Business Continuity Plan. A BCP is there so that no one person can be sick for two weeks and not have a business process flow. Leica doesn't have one.

On another topic, I just got a refund from the outstanding crew at www.cameralandny.com (Neil is a rockstar). They are the finest premium scope dealer in the nation. They just refunded my long held deposits for the Leica ER5 1-8x32 and ER5 1-5x24 rifle scopes that were announced three years ago. Leica has told me that they will not be made until at least summer and since this is at least the 10th change in delivery/manufacturing forecast I had to take my business elsewhere. Again, you'd think for a good customer they'd have tried to get me a demo, offer me a different scope or make other concessions to a loyal customer / victim of Leica but they made no such attempt. Fact based bad press means nothing to Leica. If for no other reason, the time value of my money and CC interest for a purchased product should be something you'd think Leica would step up with some sort of mea culpa.

So I look forward to my HD-B 2200 Binos when they eventually arrive because they are the finest rangefinding binos in the world and they possess features non-existent anywhere else. I also think this will be the last Leica product I ever own if there is any competitive product available.

I'll continue to keep the forum abreast of updates.
 

sierraone

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Please do keep the updates coming. I am surprised you ordered these new binos after your past problems with the company, but it sure makes for interesting reading never the less! Leica products are too expensive for me, BUT, if they weren't I would probably not engage with them based on your reports on AH!
 

rookhawk

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Please do keep the updates coming. I am surprised you ordered these new binos after your past problems with the company, but it sure makes for interesting reading never the less! Leica products are too expensive for me, BUT, if they weren't I would probably not engage with them based on your reports on AH!

They are warranty replacement. Not a new purchase.
 

sierraone

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They are warranty replacement. Not a new purchase.
I guess then you can't afford not to deal with them once again under these circumstances. Its a wonder they are able to stay in business.
 

wesheltonj

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Getting a 2200 model for a replacement, is very good warranty service, even if service is slow. And it should address your bow concerns, with the software change, but I understand that you will lose the number of clicks in the display, which is a killer for me. As to the ER5, I would love to know what the production problem is, I looked at some at DSC 2 or 3 years ago. I suspect its a quality control issue with the OEM manufacturer, I would love to know who is assembling the scope. If you recall, the first Leica rifle scope for the USA was made L&S and from what I and most folks understand not a successful product.

You could buy the "new" Visus scope. It's a re-badged ERi scope and priced about the same of the old ERi, instead of the ER5. There may be some old ER scopes still available NIB selling for about 1/2 of full retail, and its a Made in Germany, just like the flagship Magnus.
 

rookhawk

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@wesheltonj Good suggestions on alternatives and of course, great info for the other readers on the prior info on Leica USA made scopes. I think we both discussed previously how intriguing the 2-8x32 scope from Leica appeared to be for an all-arounder for Africa medium bore use. At a MSRP of $675 when announced 3 years ago it seemed VERY interesting to all of us. Unfortunately, Leica made a critical error in opting to make 2-10x42 scopes or whatever models that did choose to make from the ER5 lineup first. They shocked and awed us with two game changers, a straight tube german glass 1-5x scope and that 2-8x magnum scope, both for under $700 MSRP. Instead, they made scopes that are not game changers and are available from any number of quality manufacturers for similar price points.

If I had a twitter feed I guess I'd be hashtagging #Leicamakesnodamnsense about now.
 

wesheltonj

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@wesheltonj Good suggestions on alternatives and of course, great info for the other readers on the prior info on Leica USA made scopes. I think we both discussed previously how intriguing the 2-8x32 scope from Leica appeared to be for an all-arounder for Africa medium bore use. At a MSRP of $675 when announced 3 years ago it seemed VERY interesting to all of us. Unfortunately, Leica made a critical error in opting to make 2-10x42 scopes or whatever models that did choose to make from the ER5 lineup first. They shocked and awed us with two game changers, a straight tube german glass 1-5x scope and that 2-8x magnum scope, both for under $700 MSRP. Instead, they made scopes that are not game changers and are available from any number of quality manufacturers for similar price points.

If I had a twitter feed I guess I'd be hashtagging #Leicamakesnodamnsense about now.

I suspect the reason you are seeing the more "mainstream" ER5 scopes might have something to do with Zeiss and budget friendly Conquest HD5 lineup, Assembled in Germany scope; not to be confused with the "new" Conquest, Made in Germany scope.
 
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Buckdog

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Rookhawk you don't have the replacements yet?? Shit I bet Brian will be at SCI and I know he will have some there go in person and tell him to pony them up(n)
 

rookhawk

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Update:

Reminded Leica on 1/31... they asked to be reminded. No reply or response.

Reminded again on 2/3 asked for confirmation... Person in charge of shipping for Leica USA was sick for past two weeks. Leica management says "I'll try to get it resolved ASAP".

I responded on 2/7... "Thanks. Just a reminder now in week 3 or so to get me tracking info so I can make sure someone is present when it arrives." No answer or acknowledgment.

I send same message on 2/9 at 7:49 AM... "Thanks. Just a reminder now in week 3 or so to get me tracking info so I can make sure someone is present when it arrives."

Immediate Response from Leica Management: "will do"

I send another message on 2/9 at 3:39 PM... "Never received shipping confirmation. Will be flying to TX to do a hunt with my daughter next week. She was intending to use the binos if they can get here before Thursday. ETA?

Immediate response from Leica Managment: "The office is closed today because of the snow. I will find out in the morning what's going on."

I respond today, 2/10 @ 9:27AM: "Any Update?"


@Buckdog I would have loved to show up at their booth asking for the binos and also for the two paid-in-full scopes that they surely were demonstrating but would not fulfill for the past 3 years and won't have until at least summer now. (I did finally get the dealer to cry uncle and give me my money back!). Unfortunately, I had to cancel my SCI trip. My little girl wanted to go hunting and a get away for the grown ups takes a back seat to quality time with the children. So Leica dodged a bullet on that one.
 

rookhawk

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Final update:

I received my binos and I do not have the issue any longer. Numerous delays aside, Leica in the end did what they said they would do. The product is wonderful. There is not better technology available presently for delivering a firing solution using your own rifle's ballistics while doubling their use as a normal binocular.
 

sierraone

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Final update:

I received my binos and I do not have the issue any longer. Numerous delays aside, Leica in the end did what they said they would do. The product is wonderful. There is not better technology available presently for delivering a firing solution using your own rifle's ballistics while doubling their use as a normal binocular.
I'm happy for you,but wow! So much chaos dealing with Leica!!!
 

rookhawk

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I'm happy for you,but wow! So much chaos dealing with Leica!!!

A patent lasts about 18 years. If you don't want the headaches but you want the features, its going to be a long wait before swarovski can make the same product.
 

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FYI, I was looking at them in a Sportsman's Warehouse. The salesman said I might want to wait a few months because Both Nikon and Vortex are coming out with their versions.
 

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