Introduction

In this article, I will make a comparison between the Swarovski CL Pocket 10×25  and Leica Ultravid 10×25 BL binoculars. Both are pocket models, extremely small, elegant and compact, perfect for traveling and various outdoor activities. Regardless of how “small” they are, they offer an amazing optical performance. With them, you will look stylish and equipped for every trip! Swarovski Optik is a synonym for superior quality as far as optical devices are concerned. They started production in 1935 and expended their business after World War II. Binoculars from the CL family are an extremely popular companion for traveling and leisure.
Leica’s Ultravid binoculars are one of the lightest and smallest on the market. They are famous for their aesthetic design and top quality leather in which they are coated in. They are built to the highest quality standards. The acronym BL stands for the term “BlackLine“.

Swarovski CL Pocket 10x25 and Leica Ultravid 10x25 BL AquaDura

Swarovski CL Pocket 10×25 and Leica Ultravid 10×25 BL AquaDura

Size & Weight

 Swarovski CL Pocket 10x25Leica Ultravid 10x25 BL AquaDura
Weight:350g265 g
Width:98 mm112 mm
Length:110 mm111 mm
Max interpupillary distance:74 mm74 mm

When it comes to size, the Ultravid is much smaller and lighter. The difference in weight is almost 100 grams! It has both barrels much thinner and narrower than the CL. Ultravid binoculars are dressed in fabulous black leather with rubber and metallic details. When folded, it takes up so little space that we can hold it in the palm of our hand or carry in a pocket. CL is much more robust with fewer details. The design is more massive and the rubber used on it much thicker. The binoculars are still very small and light-weight enough for carrying everywhere around.
Both binoculars are coated in materials that do not slip and fit very well in hands.

Swarovski CL Pocket 10x25

Swarovski CL Pocket 10×25

Leica Ultravid 10×25 BL AquaDura

Leica Ultravid 10×25 BL AquaDura

Optical Properties

 Swarovski CL Pocket 10x25Leica Ultravid 10x25 BL AquaDura
Prism type:Roof -Schmidt/PechanRoof -Schmidt/Pechan
Lens Diameter:25 mm25 mm
Magnification:10x10x
Variable Magnification:NoNo
Coatings:Fully multi-coatedFully multi-coated
Close focus:2.5 m 3.2 m
Field of View:98 m /1000 m90 m / 1000 m

10×25 configuration is excellent for outdoor activities, as the binoculars are usually very small and compact. They do not cause almost any additional weight and that is why they are perfect for hikers and travelers as they are easy to carry and pack. 25 mm objective lenses are among the smallest and do not gather as much light as larger models and therefore are not so suitable for observing in low light conditions. However, powerful 10x magnification will allow observing the details from longer distances.
These two binoculars both have a Schmidt/Pechan prism type. Swarovski has Swarobright (highly reflective prism coatings-dielectric coatings), Swarotop (increases light transmission and enhances resolution, contrast, and color fidelity) and Swarodur (reduces reflections and provides clearer and brighter images) coatings on their Pocket CL. It also has a shorter close focus distance and a wider field of view than Ultravid. Ultravid has their HighLux-System (HLS-improves colors and contrast) anti-reflection highly durable (HDC) multi-coatings on lenses with phase correcting coating P40 (increases light transmission and improves clarity) on the prism. Its external lenses are protected with AquaDura coating, which makes them easier to clean, since it repels water, dirt, oil, etc. Both binoculars have a prism correction that reduces aberrations and distortions for edge-to-edge sharpness.

Swarovski CL Pocket 10x25 and Leica Ultravid 10x25 BL AquaDura Folded

Swarovski CL Pocket 10×25 and Leica Ultravid 10×25 BL AquaDura Folded

Swarovski CL Pocket 10x25 and Leica Ultravid 10x25 BL AquaDura

Swarovski CL Pocket 10×25 and Leica Ultravid 10×25 BL AquaDura

Leica Ultravid 10x25 BL AquaDura and Swarovski CL Pocket 10x25

Leica Ultravid 10×25 BL AquaDura and Swarovski CL Pocket 10×25

Focus Properties

 Swarovski CL Pocket 10x25Leica Ultravid 10x25 BL AquaDura
Focusing System:CentralCentral
Central Wheel Grasp:7/109/10
Central Wheel Rotation:7/109/10
Diopter Setting:CentralCentral
Diopter Range: +5 / -5 +3.5 / -3.5
Central Wheel Diameter:17 mm18 mm
Central Wheel Length:15 mm20 mm
Total Revolution: 720°540°
Bridge Length (Without the Central Wheel Length)66 mm33 mm

Both binoculars have a central focusing system and diopter setting. Diopter range on Ultravid is +3.5 / -3.5 and +5 / -5 on a CL. Ultravid has diopter setting installed into the central wheel/knob and is adjusted by pressing the button in the middle of the underside of the bridge and at the same time rotating the focusing wheel. CL has a smaller wheel for diopter setting opposite from the central wheel, placed on the underside of the bridge. I prefer the Ultravid’s focusing knob because the rotation is more sturdy and slower on it. The whole knob is separated from the bridge and it is thus possible to hold it all over/all around. CL’s knob is a bit impractically built into the bridge (too deep) so the rotation is not that comfortable and offers poor grip. The rotation is also too fast and smooth means the focus setting can be changed quickly if we are not careful. Ultravid has an extremely short bridge with an open design, so it is more suitable for holding in one hand. CL is not that practical, especially if we have bigger hands. I have evaluated the grasp and rotation of the Ultravid’s focusing wheel with a good 9/10, and with a 7/10 on the Pocket CL.

Swarovski CL Pocket 10x25 and Leica Ultravid 10x25 BL AquaDura

Swarovski CL Pocket 10×25 and Leica Ultravid 10×25 BL AquaDura

Swarovski CL Pocket 10x25 and Leica Ultravid 10x25 BL AquaDura

Swarovski CL Pocket 10×25 and Leica Ultravid 10×25 BL AquaDura

Eyepiece Properties

 Swarovski CL Pocket 10×25Leica Ultravid 10×25 BL AquaDura
Eyepiece type:MultipositionedMultipositioned
Number of Click-stops:11
Eye relief:17 mm15 mm
Exit pupil:2.5 mm2.5 mm
Firmness:9/108/10
Quality:9/109/10
Suitable for Eye Glass Wearers:YesYes
External Diameter:31 mm29 mm
Internal Diameter:18 mm16 mm

Both binoculars have multi-positioned eyecups. Swarovski CL has a turn and slide mechanism by which you can find the exact setting of the eye relief. Eye relief on the Leica Ultravid’s is set so that the eyecups are being twisted-up/ pulled out. The “zipp” sound produced when being pulled out is quite loud and high-pitched and because of that, I have evaluated its firmness with an 8/10. I gave it 9/10 for quality. CL’s eyecups can only be heard if we listen carefully. None of them offers click stops. The eye relief is a little larger on a CL, which is a great advantage since Ultravid’s eyecups are extra small and therefore hard and less comfortable to use. I gave CL’s eyepiece a 9/10 for both, firmness and quality.
Eyepieces on both binoculars are very quality-made; Ultravid’s are thicker and softer than the CL’s. However, the rubber on CL’s eyecups being thinner, in this case, means the more comfortable use, because they fit more nicely into the eyeballs.

Leica Ultravid 10x25 BL AquaDura and Swarovski CL Pocket 10x25 Eyepieces

Leica Ultravid 10×25 BL AquaDura and Swarovski CL Pocket 10×25 Eyepieces

General Properties

 Swarovski CL Pocket 10x25Leica Ultravid 10x25 BL AquaDura
Housing Material:Plastic/ RubberPlastic/ Rubber/ Leather/ Metal Details
Armoring:RubberRubber/ Leather
Quality of Armoring:9/1010/10
Build in Rangefinder:NoNo
Waterproof:YesYes
Submersible:Yes Yes
Filled With:NitrogenNitrogen
Number of Colors:31
Tripod Adaptable:NoNo
Made in:AustriaPortugal
Introduced in:20132016
Warranty period: 10 years5 years
MRSP Price:740.00 EUR825.00 EUR

As for the exterior, Ultravid really stands out from the average, since it is coated in leather and has wonderful, metal and plastic details. The leather used for the armoring is tightly wrapped around the barrels and on top of the bridge. The bridge and ends of the barrels are made out of light-weight, black anodized aluminum. The whole design is absolutely stunning and that is why I have evaluated it with a 10/10. Swarovski CL has its own classic, minimalist design; armoring made of greyish-green rubber, black plastic, and metal details. I have evaluated it with a 9/10 because the details are not as precisely made as on the Leica. Both binoculars have a dual-hinge design, which allows optical barrels to fold under the bridge so that in the folded shape they occupy very little space. As for the covers, Swarovski CL has none and Leica only has caps for the eyepiece.
Both binoculars are filled with Nitrogen and O-ring sealed for the maximum water, fog and dust resistance. Leica Ultravid is submersible to a depth of 5 meters and Swarovski CL up to 4 meters. You can choose the latter in three different colors; sand-brown, greyish green and black. CL is made in Austria and Ultravid in Portugal. The latter has a 5-year warranty period and CL has 10 years.

Leica Ultravid 10x25 BL AquaDura and Swarovski CL Pocket 10x25

Leica Ultravid 10×25 BL AquaDura and Swarovski CL Pocket 10×25

Group Test

How we made a test

We made a test with a group of 6 people with very diverse knowledge about sports optics. Some had previous experiences with binoculars and other almost none. We compared central and edge sharpness, glare, real FOV, eye-box and overall impression. Everyone in the test group tested binoculars individually without being influenced by other people. We also covered down any brand signs on binoculars, so no one was influenced by knowing which company manufactured which.

 Swarovski CL Pocket 10x25Leica Ultravid 10x25 BL AquaDura
Central sharpness:5/61/6
Edge sharpness:3/63/6
Glare:3/63/6
Real FOV:6/60/6
Eye-box:5/61/6
Overall impression:6/60/6

Nevertheless that the appearance of Leica Ultravid is the main attribute, it still has the eyepiece a lot too narrow and small, so that everyone could use it comfortably. Most of the people who helped me with the test were bothered by this- especially those with long eyelashes and bigger eyes. Results for the edge sharpness and glare ended up in a tie and CL won in the central sharpness, real field of view, eye-box and in the overall impression. All 6 people would prefer to buy a CL!

Conclusion

Swarovski impressed me again with its extraordinary and unique optical performance. I absolutely love their Pocket CL and despite the high price, it is acceptable for the quality you get with this pair of binoculars. Ultravid’s design fascinated me, however, the optical performance was slightly worse than on a CL. Also, I did not like the small eyepieces, because my eyelashes were getting in the way all the time and I could not see through them properly.
Ultravid comes in a beautiful black leather Cordura Case, that is coated with the red suede inside. It has a leather carrying strap, eyepiece covers and a cleaning cloth included.
Swarovski CL comes in a nicely shaped cardboard box, where it is packed in a greyish-green (similar to the color of binoculars) carrying pouch with a silver eagle badge sewed in.

Leica Ultravid 10×25 BL AquaDura Kit

Leica Ultravid 10×25 BL AquaDura Kit

Swarovski CL Pocket 10x25 Kit

Swarovski CL Pocket 10×25 Kit

Swarovski CL Pocket 10x25 and Leica Ultravid 10x25 BL AquaDura Boxes

Swarovski CL Pocket 10×25 and Leica Ultravid 10×25 BL AquaDura Boxes

 

Disclaimer

This test wasn’t financed and is unbiased. As a wildlife enthusiast interested in sports optics I made this tests because I would like to see how binoculars perform and if they meet the advertised expectations. With this test, I also hope that it will help people choose the right binoculars for their personal use. I am not in any way connected with the manufacturers of sports optics and I’m not personally in favor of particular brand.
In the end, I would like to thank Optics-trade.eu to lend me these binoculars for this test. I also thank them for letting me use their videos.

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Written by heuxbf

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