Since April 2022, the smallest binoculars with rangefinder have been available from the expert engineers in Wetzlar. This glass accompanied me for a good six months through Africa and the autumnal forests of Europe.
Now, I’d like to share my experiences…
For over ten years, the Leica Geovid 8×42 accompanied me all over the world. It survived extreme heat and cold, altitude and depth without technical damage, and has always worked beautifully. At the beginning of the year, “leaks” in professional forums, and then press releases, introduced me to a new model from Wetzlar – with improvements in lens production and digital technology, and a smaller lens diameter. Even at first glance, when handling my test model for the first time, it stood out: The Leica Geovid Pro 32 has the same design as its big brother, the same finely grained, rubberized, nitrogen-filled magnesium housing. The familiar open bridge allows a secure hold, but this model is about three centimeters shorter and about 150 grams lighter. A contoured neoprene strap is included, too.
The first question is whether to choose 8x or a 10x magnification. I had the opportunity to use both models on several hunts. My verdict: The advantages of the 10x glass can rarely be exploited, due to lack of physical supports, trembling during physical exertion, etc., which is why I prefer the 8x.
The first thing you notice when comparing the “old” and the “new” models is that Leica has indeed improved the contrast and brilliance once again. If you sit in a calm hide and look at a target in front of you, first through the “old” and then the “new” glass, you can notice it. Not much, but it can be seen. When I asked at the factory, the reason given was the new Perger-Porro lenses.
The smaller pack size and lower weight is quickly noticeable, both in the backpack and around the neck. With each passing year, I take less and less gear with me when stalking – but have no less hunting success.
The Leica Geovid Pro 32 again has two main buttons on top, which are used for rangefinding, for the additional functions, and for navigating through the menu. After a few times, you’ll be using them intuitively, as with the previous models. What’s new is the ballistics calculator in the binoculars – and the respective app in the smartphone, which is installed in just a few steps. The connection is established via Bluetooth. The data is configured in the app and then transferred to the binoculars.
The “Applied Ballistics Ultralight” software supplied ex works offers data on approx. 750 factory ammunition cartridges, in addition to the extensive Leica database. The bullet diameter and weight, ballistic coefficient, muzzle velocity, impact distance and sighting height are taken into account. Thus, with one measurement in the Geovid, trajectories and the respective riflescope holdovers can be calculated, for distances up to 800 meters.
Upgrades to advanced software versions are also possible. Here, spin drift, Coriolis effect, spin length, spin direction, etc. are included for even more precise results. This is best done in combination with data from a Kestrel weather meter for wind, humidity, pressure, and altitude. Hold corrections can then be obtained for distances of up to 2,300 meters.
The Leica Geovid Pro 32 allows distance measurements from about 10 to 2,300 meters, even in poor weather and light conditions, and even through grass and branches. The CR2 battery, which is not readily available, is supposed to last 2,000 measurements; in my Leica Geovid 42, it lasts “forever”. When it gets weaker, the display flashes and the battery must then be changed.
Another new feature is the Leica ProTrack (LPTTM) function for determining coordinates in the field. The position of the last distance measurement is saved and can be recalled for guidance. For example: With the glass, I target a red deer at 240 meters, measure the distance and use this for hold correction on my scope. The fourteen-pointer goes down, but the high grasses and the failing light no longer allow me a direct view of my prey after the breakaway. My smartphone now shows me a compass needle that guides me safely to my destination, even if I can’t take the direct route. Advanced users call up maps from Google or BaseMap for this purpose, so that they can see everything in a graphical terrain. With this GPS tracking, it becomes possible to quickly and ethically locate shot game.
Does that sound too complicated? Too technical? Leica has 12 tutorials on its homepage – in plain English – that explain all the functions in detail. However, a non-representative survey of 100 hunters showed that only about 10% actually use these additional functions. Exceptions are long-range shooters and mountain hunters in extreme regions of the USA and Asia. I personally only use the basic functions, but I believe that anyone who has tried the LPTTM function would not want to do without.
One thing that could be improved: Depending on the opening angle of the glass, the LED display of the measured values in the lens can appear “crooked”, since it is probably set to an average value and does not adapt. This has no technical influence, it’s just a bit annoying. The designers would also be well advised to change the power supply to a CR 123 A battery, which lasts even longer and can be found in most photo stores around the world.
I highly recommend the Leica Geovid Pro 8×32, and have already ordered it for myself. It will become my new universal glass, replacing and my 10-year-old Leica Geovid 8×42, which I am currently offering on an Internet sales platform. At Christmas, the new model will be under the tree. After all, the best gifts are the ones you give yourself…
Copyright © Text and photos: Dr. Frank B. Metzner