Leica Geovid Pro

They work Leica dream

Dion Hudson applauds the classy Geovid Pro

With my last rangefinder binoculars finally giving up on me after a decade of solid use, it was time to venture into the market and find a replacement. Lecia had recently launched their Geovid Pro 10x42s so why not? Danny from Delta Tactical was called and within days there was a package ready for pick up at the local post office and the binos were mine.

In the box was a quick-start guide, rubberized dust caps, lens cloth, battery, lanyard and soft storage case. Full instructions are downloadable as are some great YouTube clips for the ‘how do I’ questions which inevitably arise with new technology. As with its smaller sister units 8 or 10x32s, the larger 8 or 10×42 Pros all have Bluetooth and feature integrated ballistic calculation courtesy of Applied Ballistics and the Leica ballistics app for Android and Apple.

Leica’s ballistic app is easy to use and after pairing to your phone, you need to create a file for each firearm you’re going to implement, the only minor issue I hit being having to flick between Euro and US (metric or imperial ) for sub-categories like entering bullet weight and muzzle velocity. Applied Ballistics’ light is supplied which translates as calculated solutions to 875m, so if you want it upgraded you have to do so via the app.

As the end user I try not to get caught up in specification wars or regurgitate nebulous data with no real-world application, but that aside these optics weighed in at bang on a kilo (including battery) and with eyecups extended are 18cm long, so push the outer limits of a compact binocular. I just managed to squeeze them into my standard-sized chest harness so would check prior to buying an aftermarket harness that they’ll fit, as most manufacturers have a size chart which seem to accommodate their regular or medium offerings.

Power is delivered via a single CR2 camera battery (supplied) and will last about a year of regular use. There are only two buttons on the right, the upper for laser/enter and lower for menu and ancillary. Press and hold the menu button to cycle through the toggle options – units, time out, Bluetooth and most importantly the operation. This gives you three options of direct line of sight to target, calculated distance based on trigonometry of distance and angle, or ballistic solution to include scrolled elevation and windage, delivered in your preferred setting (Mil, MOA or click value). You can also adjust these settings via the app.

The laser button offers two options and a single press gives you range while a long press-and-hold enters active scan where the laser ‘pings’ continuously as the button is held, a great option if you’re trying to pinpoint a small target among clutter. The diopter adjustments and eyecups are firm but easy to affect with no slop or mush often found on cheaper alternatives. The index finger focus wheel is the same and allows easy focus, all of these quality finished as expected with a premium optic. The outer covering feels like a rubberized protective coating and makes grip and use a breeze, while keeping the unit looking new without marring or scratching.

I’ve deliberately saved the best till last – the glass – and having used Leicas and other high-end optics for the past few decades I’m still impressed. Clarity and colour transmission to your eye is phenomenal and second to none. A comparison is like watching a new high-definition TV and having an old set beside it with contrast and brightness set too high. When you use Leicas next to cheaper glass you really notice and appreciate the difference, almost like the glare is removed with colours and definition enhanced.

Across the breadth of glare, heat-haze and low light they’re standout performers, allowing you to discern finer details and colours the human eye are optimised for. Spotting a still, slightly pink rabbit ear in underbrush in lowering light and at distance is the first example I found, with the optics transmitting that fine variance I’d have overlooked in lesser quality. The difference is going to be noticeable if glassing for game that’s not moving or holed-up in cover and shade.

The app as with all good brands is an example of pursuing excellence, ever-evolving and improving. It’s easy to use, offers a suite of features and integrates with select Kestrel weather stations to give wind and atmospherics to further improve ballistic calculations in real time. The other ‘first’ here is the makers now offer a function they call Leica Pro Track. Pressing that in the main screen prompts you through the steps of taking a range and magnetic bearing then plotting it with Google Maps, giving you a drop-pin on the screen.

This is simple to use and generically is good to achieve a relatively accurate position to the intended target, though that said, caution must be taken to ensure you have good phone GPS reception and correctly calibrated bearings to reduce the potential for error. Things like magnetic catches and latches aren’t your friend with sensitive electronics.

The laser is an offset ‘third-eye’ style and  rated to 2950m on reflective objects, with an accuracy of plus or minus .5m-200m and .9m-400m. Unlike some other brands this claim was fairly easy to achieve and even hand-held results from things like trees were a snap to 1800m.  Scan mode feels slightly slower than other models at about three ranges per second compared to four and accessing it seems to take a little longer too, though still works well for obtaining fine target fidelity. The notable difference is first-time ranges appeared very reliable when compared to competitors which may be faster to ‘reload’ but need multiple attempts to range.

The external offset laser means the internals can remain uncluttered by technology and, in layman’s terms, gives Leica a distinct advantage to create premium optical clarity. I tested in dusty and saltwater haze that’ll give even the most expensive and powerful lasers a hard time. I’m pleased to report that again, unlike some brands which state they ‘can’ function to a stated range in ‘optimum conditions’, the Leicas had no issue penetrating and measuring through it all with no embellishments on their stated capabilities.

This is something of a novel concept that they work as they’re meant to and, in my opinion, far past the usable distance which all but extended range target shooters will ever need. Best results always come from a stable position like a tripod, yet Leica don’t have a mounting point to put a camera adaptor or similar mount in, though there are a wealth of after-market options available and I look forward to testing some.

So who’s going to want these? In short, everyone from bowhunters and air-gunners to precision rifle shooters and of course hunters. Anyone who’s spent time behind glass will appreciate quality that’ll keep you in the game longer due to your eyes suffering less fatigue. There are several other brands that’ll hold appeal as cheaper alternatives, all with rangefinder, integrated ballistics and phone app. Yet I suggest if the finest quality optics, fit-out and finish are important and you want the added benefit of integrated rangefinder and ballistic calculation, the Leica Geovid Pro line should definitely be on your radar.

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