Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The new Leica Trinovid HD debuts in Honduras!

With an invitation to test a new Leica Trinovid HD binocular at The Lodge at Pico Bonito in Honduras, there wasn't any doubt that it would be a fantastic trip--and it was, without exception. The country and its birds, the company of amazing, knowledgeable colleagues, and the gracious accommodations were more than I could have hoped for. And the binocular--well, it was a willing and welcome companion, showing us all the color and detail we hoped for.

The new Leica Trinovid HD lives up to Leica's reputation of quality and craftsmanship--no doubt about that. Each of the 10 participants tested it for 6 days through tough tropical conditions: deep rain forest and cloud forest trails, lush lagoons and mangroves, hot, dry forest habitat, and ocean shoreline. In doing so, we were afforded crisp views of over 260 species of birds and a stunning variety of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and insects.

Photo by Jonathan Meyrev

The Lodge at Pico Bonito is truly a naturalist's paradise--400 acres of tropical wilderness bordering the Pico Bonito National Park. When you're at the lodge, you're minutes from the mountains, the rain forest, two raging rivers, and the Caribbean coast. One could spend an entire vacation on the lodge's property without a feeling of having missed anything--but our host and guides made sure there were plenty of side trips to satisfy our wildest birding imaginations. With the impressive new Trinovid HD and our sharp-eyed crew, we made the most of every opportunity. Nothing crawling, flying, slithering, perching, or singing escaped our view!
Photo by Jeff Bouton
Leica calls this new Trinovid HD its first premium entry level binocular, with a price tag starting under $1,000. The Trinovid name is one many will recognize, but this new version has been redesigned with the intent to make even more of us Leica customers--and I predict it will do just that. Lighter in weight, better close focus with a wider field of view, and even more well-suited for eyeglass-wearers, this new Trinovid will surely excel at its new price point. It is well-balanced in the hand, with a pleasingly smooth focus wheel and eyecups with 4 click-stop settings that twist up and hold their position. And the view? I found it to have very fine resolution, color rendition, and contrast. All the better to see you with, my dear (birdies)!

Photo by David LaPuma
After a 3-hour van ride from the airport at San Pedro Sula, we received a warm greeting by friendly lodge staff in Pico's lobby. Servers stood ready with drinks served in coconut shells and spa personnel offered our choice of foot massage or neck rubs. A welcome worth waiting for, for weary travelers--two who had come from the U.K., and one all the way from Israel. Yours truly had endured a red-eye from Los Angeles, and the rest had early flights from Indiana, Florida, North Carolina, and New York. It didn't matter, as all 11 of us were filled with adrenaline in anticipation of the adventure that awaited us.

My home sweet home during my stay.

Making our way along winding stone paths to our lovely, well-appointed cabins, we quickly got settled and headed to the open-air dining room to enjoy the first of many delightful meals. Our long, candle lit table became a favorite place to unwind, relax, and recount the adventures of the day. The smiling, attentive waiters became our friends. And by the way, there are no buffet lines at Pico Bonito Lodge: every entree is made-to-order from the menu, and in 6 days, we weren't able to sample every amazing offering. Though we surely tried.

Photo by Jeff Bouton
The following morning, our first full day of birding, we tried out the Trinovid HD's Adventure Strap, which is designed to serve as both a neck strap, harness strap, and a soft field case. Ingenious idea. It got mixed reviews from the men in the group, but I found it to be comfortable to wear, and for women, possibly less interfering than a conventional harness strap when raising and lowering the binoculars for viewing. It holds the binocular comfortably and securely against the body while you're walking. It's a bit fussy to clip in each time--maybe Leica will tweak the design a bit. Other than that, I was quite happy with it. Check this link to get a better look at how the Adventure Strap works.

After breakfast, we walked up the road from our cabins to discover Pico's marvelous tower, which gave us an over-reaching view of the forest canopy, the river below, and the Caribbean Ocean in the distance. Through our Trinovids, Lovely Cotingas, Keel-billed Toucans, Brown-hooded Parrots, and so many hummingbirds were among our first sightings.
And so our week began--with much ahead to discover. Stay tuned here so I can share more of our adventure!

Nina Cheney
Eagle Optics Staff
Binoculars: Bring them. See what they bring you.

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