My Favorite Binocular- Bill Schmoker

A Tough Decision- Bill Schmoker

An amazing part of being on the Leica Birding Team is choosing a binocular to use.  Conversely, a really tough part about being on the Team is choosing a binocular, given the mouth-watering range of choices in the Leica stable!  With well-used and loved Ultravid 8x42s already in my quiver, I thought I’d evaluate something in a different niche to support my birding style.  When I’m afield, I’m usually toting a DSLR rig and spotting scope in addition to my bins.  I also travel a bit and know that every cubic centimeter of camera bag space is precious, especially when flying.  To top it off there’s more gray in my beard than when I started this game, and when I’m already strapped up with a DSLR on one shoulder and a scope on the other my neck appreciates whatever break I can give it.  So I decided to give the 8×32 Ultravid HD a go to gain weight and size savings.  My only regret is waiting so long to get into Leica 32s!  Initially, there were some muscle memory issues with popping the smaller optics onto target after decades of hoisting larger bins, but after just a few hours they became an unconscious extension of my arms (and increasingly often just my right hand as these are wonderful bins to use single-handed.)  Despite their smaller dimensions the performance of these bins is full-sized:  Their brightness, color fidelity, field of view, and edge-to-edge sharpness are fabulous.  I really can’t put it any more eloquently than my fellow Birding Team member Steve Howell did in his review of these bins when he said, “…I am not really aware I am using binoculars, they just form a seamless part of the viewing experience” I love the change in my game, now I just need some of my Leica buddies to stop tempting me with those stunning 7x42s…

Bill Schmoker sharing the pleasure of viewing Mountain Plovers on Colorado's Pawnee Grasslands, trusty Ultravid HD 8x32 at the ready.

Bill Schmoker sharing the pleasure of viewing Mountain Plovers on Colorado’s Pawnee Grasslands, trusty Ultravid HD 8×32 at the ready.