Legendary for the past 50 years, both as a brand – Leica - and a product, the Trinovid, these binoculars are the latest generation of an optical instrument that is firmly set in both enthusiasts and pros’ hearts as a reference against which optics should be compared.
Manufacturer’s specs for the 8x42 Trinovid are indeed impressive, and are a definite improvement in regards to all previous incarnations of the Trinovid.
The roof prism set is treated with a P40 phase correction for improved contrast, resolution and color; inner lens elements are coated with Leica’s proprietary HighLux System, while outer lens surfaces are treated with the scratch resistant HDC Coating. Other specs include a 7.2°angle of view, +/- 4 dioptric adjustment, and 15.5mm eye relief.
The packaging is remarkable, a rich silver cardboard box with high quality closed cell padding, containing the binocular, a good quality black Cordura carry case with leatherette trims and Fastex latch, a Neoprene contoured carry strap, 2 removable lens caps and a Bikini eyepiece cover, cleaning Microfiber tissue and the manual.
Beautifully crafted, the elegant and pragmatic design of the Trinovid is a pleasure to behold. Details such as the steel loops for the carry strap, the inset metal labels and the two-sectioned focus knob are flawless, giving an impression of quality and reliability, confirmed by the tactile feedback of the materials and operation of the knobs and main hinge.
The binocular is built using a die cast Magnesium chassis protected by a high quality rubber armoring, Nitrogen purged and waterproof down to 5m depth.
Not exactly light, with its 810g, the Trinovid is not too tiring even in long viewing sessions thanks to the instrument’s excellent ergonomics - the thumbs rests under the body are especially helpful - which allow effortless single hand use.
The focusing knob is precise, smooth and perfectly braked, affording full focus from 3m to infinity in just above a full rotation.
The focus knob also doubles as dioptric adjustment, pulling out the outer section of the knob; the adjustment operates on an inner lens element of the right eyepiece.
We have no doubt that, mechanically, the Leica Trinovid must be considered state of the art for its market segment.
The actual measured angle of view is slightly above spec, 7.3°, yielding 127.6m at 1000m, which is excellent but not outstanding.
The measured eye relief is roughly 15,7mm, a bit too much on the short side, although still exceeding the manufacturer's spec, which is 15,5 mm.
Prescription glass users will find that only 80.4 % in the right eyepiece, and 86.9% in the left eyepiece, of the angle of view will be available to them.
The difference could be due to the particular dioptric adjustment system used.
We set out to test the 8x42 Trinovid with great expectations: the instrument transmits great confidence, and it confirmed our impressions.
The image has excellent sharpness and really remarkable contrast, which is never washed out even in the harshest lighting conditions.
Color rendition is superb, extremely natural and brilliant; it is not an Apo, but it nears it. Fringing can be noted in some conditions, and is present only in the peripheral 25% of the FoV.
Softening at the edge can be appreciated if looking for it, but is more than acceptable, as is the slight darkening at the edges.
We would have expected better performance in respects to the correction of geometric aberrations, which, on the other hand, are still much better than average. Coma is extremely limited in the center 75% of the FoV, and progressively becomes perceivable towards the edges, but stargazing is a real pleasure with the Trinovid.