When we list the best rangefinding binoculars available, only a few brands come to mind. Of these, the highest in quality, features, and use in the field is probably the Leica Geovid HD B 10X42.
For those who take long-range sighting and shooting seriously, the highest quality and unqualified precision are absolute necessities. Whether determining the accurate distances of several kilometers across rugged mountain peaks, calculating bullet drop compensation at 1500 yards, or knowing the position of game to the half-yard, there are those for whom accuracy and consistency are paramount. It is for this outdoorsman that Leica created the Geovid HD B 10X42 rangefinder binoculars.
From its origins in Germany in 1869, the lens maker Leica has been perfecting optics in everything from riflescopes and cameras to microscopes. Across the ages and various products, the one constant is outstanding quality. When comparing the finest in every category, the Leica name always rises to the top. This is particularly true when discussing binoculars. This review will examine what may be the best of the best, the Geovid HD B 10X42 laser range finding binoculars.
To fully grasp the depth of the technology we’re discussing and the quality of the optic instrument we’re describing, it’s necessary to understand a little of how range finding binoculars work. There are two methods of range-finding currently used in binoculars. The traditional method, the one often employed through the crosshairs of riflescopes, is scaled reticle ranging. This technology involves sighting on a distant object (referred to as the “objective”) and estimating its size, then comparing the estimated size of the objective to the space it takes up within the scope. The reticle (crosshairs) of such binoculars have either a series of lines (mrads) or a series of dots (mil dots) and the viewer can determine the distance to the objective-based upon how many mil dots it covers. Then, by using a mathematical formula, the viewer can determine the distance to the objective. Better quality reticle ranging binoculars have silhouettes of different sizes within the lens to help the user estimate the size, and thus the distance, to the objective. Using this type of range finder obvious requires a good deal of practice to develop expertise. The military, and in particular the US Marine Corps, uses this type of rangefinder to great effect. Binoculars of this type are less expensive than laser rangefinders. Using them properly does require making calculations. Reticle scaling rangefinders tend to be less accurate than laser binoculars.
Laser range finding binoculars work by sending pulses of light directly to the objective. The light bounces from the objective to the binoculars. By calculating the exact time it takes for the light to strike the objective and return to the source, the exact distance is derived. There is no calculation involved in determining the distance, which appears typically within .5 to 1 second within the eyepiece of the viewer. Laser range finding binoculars are quicker and more accurate. It can be said that they are more expensive, but when it comes to a quality instrument the proverb is true, “You get what you pay for.”
While the explanation of laser range finding is simple enough, the refinements required to live up to the potential of the technology and fulfill the needs of specific users are great. There are laser range finding binoculars available for less than $100, but they will not be useful to the outdoorsman with any significant need to measure distances accurately or, in case of point, to provide the data necessary long-range shooting. To achieve accurate, consistent distancing with dependable binoculars, one must expect to enter a higher price range. What does this superior quality look like in laser range finding binoculars?
What Goes into Making the Leica Geovid HD B 10X42?
Range finding laser binoculars are two separate devices intricately connected in such a way as to function together perfectly. The first of these two devices is a pair of binoculars, in this case slightly less than 7” long by 5” wide by 3” high and weighing just under 2 pounds. The binoculars are housed in rubber-armored magnesium and nitrogen filled to avoid fogging under any conditions. They are waterproofed to a depth of 16’. Even the battery compartment, that houses a lithium-ion C2R battery rated at 2000 uses, has a watertight O ring. The lenses in the Geovid HD B 10X42 are coated with multi-layers of proprietary emulsion, including HCD and AquaCura coatings. A Perger-Porro prism system utilizing a central drive system collects light, increasing clarity and contrast to the viewer. The binoculars use a 10X magnification through a 42-millimeter objective lens. The eye relief is measured at 16 millimeters with an exit pupil of 4.2 millimeters. For viewing comfort, the eyecup has 4 available click stops with a rotary riding sleeve. The binoculars are capable of 91% light transmission and have a close-range limit of 5 meters and an effective distance range of 3000 yards. At 1000 yards the field of view is 342 feet.
The other device that makes up the rangefinder is the laser. The Geovid HD B 10X42 houses an EN, FDA class 1 eye-safe laser. The laser has a reporting time from emission to response of 0.3 seconds. Seamlessly reporting to the viewer through an LED readout in the viewfinder, the laser can give EHR (equivalent horizontal range) readings from 10 yards to 1200 yards with an accuracy greater than 1 yard. It is possible for readouts of even greater length, though the use of ballistic measures beyond this range is typically discouraged for ethical or legal reasons. The Geovid HD B 10X42 offers an accuracy of 0.5 yards to a distance of 438 yards.
Together, the binoculars and laser are coupled with Leica software that gives the rifle shooter 12 potential ballistic trajectories. The user selects the track that most closely suits the rifles and bullets of choice and the Geovid HD B 10X42 automatically gives an accurate distance readout. Additionally, the Geovid HD B 10X42 may be programmed personally by the user for a specific weapon and payload.
It’s worth noting that Leica makes several Geovid HD binoculars with the same quality, but with different specification. Geovid HD R binoculars are identical in every respect, let lack the Advanced Ballistic Compensation ability that allows the Geovid HD B 10X42 to project bullet trajectories automatically for the user. The Geovid HD B 10X42 also can take temperature and barometric pressure into consideration when plotting ballistics. A pioneering innovator in this field, Leica has only made this technology has available since 2018.
The Leica Hunting App used to power the Geovid HD B 10X42 is available for both iOS and Android devices. It allows Bluetooth connection to Geovid devices and, among other features, can store ballistic information from one DOPE (data on previous engagement) shooting session in such a way that it can be easily accessed when needed for research or in preparation for the next trip to the range. Leica also provides a handsome array of accessories for the Geovid HD B 10X42, including tripods, bags and covers, straps, and additional eyecups.
How Does the Geovid HD B 10X42 Perform in the Field
Superior quality specifications are one thing, but if one is going to invest in a high-end device, it must be able to perform not just in the showroom but in the unforgiving terrain where it will be put into service. What do we know about how the Geovid HD B 10X42 performs in the field?
When a device comes onto the market with brand new technology, unique features, and such a high degree of quality that it may potentially be the best in its class, many individuals rush to test it. This was certainly true of the Geovid HD B 10X42 after it was released in 2018. Of course, it was put up against comparable models of Zeiss and Swarovski, quickly revealing that the Geovid HD B 10X42 had superior range finding ability. At distances well beyond 1000 yards, the binoculars focus instantly on the desired target and the laser responds immediately. The crisp, clear image itself does not fatigue the eye of the user. The binoculars are ideal for “glassing,” using lenses to make systematic, overlapping sweeps of terrain to look for objectives. It has a single measurement scanning function. Unlike other range finding binoculars, the Geovid HD B 10X42 has an enhanced ability to “peer through” wooded areas without additional adjusting and focus on animals that are partially concealed in the undergrowth.
In what might seem to be a minor thing, the Geovid HD B 10X42 includes a detailed instruction manual that spells out how the features may be understood, programmed, and personalized—a perfect combination of old school and newest tech in this age of missing user guides. While it’s Advanced Ballistic Compensator is state of the art, the device is user friendly to other ballistic programs as well. Other, seemingly small, factors also grace the Geovid HD B 10X42. The contoured texture of the binoculars is pleasant to grasp and the objective lens covers are connected to the housing so they cannot be lost. The Geovid HD B 10X42 binoculars are ergonomically designed, easy to store, intuitive to use—with a two-button control format—precise to a very fine tolerance, rugged and attractive.
What do users have to say about the Geovid HD B 10X42?
As might be expected from a high-end device that has only been available for less than two years, there are not a great number of reviews for the Geovid HD B 10X42. Those that are available tend to rate the binoculars very well, with 4.2 of 5 Stars. A total of 62% of purchasers rated the device with 5 Stars. Among their observations, when compared to other binoculars, the Geovid HD B 10X42 always shines for clarity of lenses and achieving the best distance ranges. Users tend to get spoiled by these Leica binoculars and are disappointed when they expect others to be able to achieve what the Geovid HD B 10X42 can do. In brighter conditions, the lenses give an almost 3-dimensional effect to targets and they can maintain excellent contrast in low light as well. Not only does it perform “as advertised,” but it is extremely rugged as evidenced by surviving rough handling over lengthy camping excursions. It has been observed by more than one reviewer that these binoculars are built to endure. The opinion was offered that these binoculars were of such quality and construction that they would gain value over time.
With the Geovid HD B 10X42 laser range finding binoculars, Leica has perpetuated its reputation as one of the premier optic makers in the world. There is universal agreement that this device represents the highest state-of-art among laser rangefinder binoculars. The construction of the device is extremely rugged. The multi-coated glass is crystal clear, offering refined focus and contrast at all distances. Together, the binoculars and class 1 laser function to provide virtually instantaneous reporting of distances beyond the actual effective range of most rifles. Leica has included innovation in these binoculars in several ways: from lens emulsions to the Advanced Ballistic Compensator, the Geovid HD B 10X42 is a clear example of pioneering technology. Perhaps the most noteworthy development is the accompanying Leica software, which renders a dozen ballistic patterns to the shooter and allows the user to track, retain, and personalize the results. Those who have tested and purchased these laser rangefinders testify to their abilities in the field and predict that these binoculars will stand the test of time.