Before I reveal my deep love for the Leica APO-Televid 77 spotting scope, I wish to tell you all that I am not easily enamored with every item that B&H Photo sells, adorned with the famous “Red Dot” of Leica. That addiction afflicts my father (and many others), but not I. I do own two Leica lenses—my architectural workhorse, the 1980s vintage 28mm f/2.8 PC Super Angulon R (made by Schneider) and a 1970s vintage 35mm f/2 Summicron (made in Canada) with a light fungus on the optics. Neither lens is anywhere near new. I have never owned a Leica camera, but I have used a few here and there.
Now that we have gotten that denial out of the way, let me transport you back 15 years (has it been that long? Ugh.) to my move to Oak Harbor, on Whidbey Island, in the great State of Washington. Across the street, right next to where Dave and Naomi live, was a trio of tall coniferous trees. On an almost daily basis, several bald eagles would perch there—scouring the waters below (and skies above) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The design of my living room was begging for a gorgeous spotting scope to fill the glass cupola-like extension of the room.
I did a heavy amount of research and narrowed my selection down to the Leica APO-Televid 77 and the Nikon Field Scope ED 82. Honestly, the Nikon’s optics were just as good as the Leica, and its lower price and larger 82mm objective made it an exceptional value when compared to its German competition. I was also shooting Nikon cameras and lenses and had several Nikon binoculars. Grabbing the Nikon was very tempting. But, someone at Nikon thought that pale green was a great color for a scope. I disagree. Besides, my scope was going to be as much a piece of furniture as it was going to be a workhorse optic. The Leica Televid, however, has a gorgeous silver body. It is beautiful to look at—and look through.
While I was researching which scope to choose, the price of the Euro jumped and, suddenly, the Leica was $500 more than it had been. Oh no! Luckily for me, the local optics store near my home in Washington had updated the price on their website, but failed to change the physical price tag on the Leica in their display case. “I’d like that one, please. Thank you.” The salesperson noted that the online price was much higher than the “sticker price,” but he kindly honored the price tag. Score!
A decade and a half later, I have spent hours looking, not only at those birds of prey, but the Leica APO-Televid 77 has been my trusty 1500mm f/11 (equivalent on APS-C) photographic partner for thousands of images of the moon, sun, Jupiter, Saturn, and more. (I must share that the Leica camera adapter for the Televid is annoyingly expensive. Thanks, Leica.) When friends and family look through the scope, they are always impressed by the view. The optics are gorgeous and there is an intangible pleasure that comes with looking through great optics—be it binoculars or a spotting scope.
Yes, I have been tempted to get the Televid’s replacement, the beautiful-in-black APO-Televid 82 Spotting Scope, which I can tell you is spectacular, but its price point, without an eyepiece, is double what I got my Televid 77 and zoom eyepiece for, so many years ago. I think I will stay with what I have until I win the lottery.
The “Things We Love” series articles are written by B&H Photo Video Pro Audio staff to talk about products and items that we love. Opinions expressed in the articles are those of the writers and do not represent product endorsements from B&H Photo Video Pro Audio.