Leica Noctivid Review: The 7 BEST Reasons to Purchase Today

“The best binoculars we’ve ever made.” ~ Leica

 

Statements like this make you take notice. Especially coming from a company like Leica that has been in business for over 100 years and has built up such a wonderful reputation for their optics.

 

In August 2016, the Leica Noctivid was introduced and replaced the Leica Ultravid-HD with the honor as the companies best binocular.

 

But the price tag of these fabulous binoculars can take your breath away.   Normally priced around $2,600 Check Today's Price, everyone asks the same question:

 

Is the Leica Noctivid 8×42 worth the cost?

 

Leica Noctivid Review

 

The rest of this post is dedicated to answering this question and giving an honest Leica Noctivid Review.

 

I came up with 7 reasons the Leica Noctivid 8×42 should be your next bird watching binocular.

 

Quick note before we begin: This list is tailored for a Leica Noctivid 8×42. An 8x magnification and 42mm objective lens diameter is what I use and recommend for birding and nature observation. But most of this list is still applicable no matter what size Noctivid you select and prefer.

***Related Links***

  • The 8 Best Binoculars for Bird Watching

    • This should give some ideas of other binoculars that would be a great choice for bird watching. Includes optics across all different price ranges. (From $125 to $2,600)

 

Let’s begin!

 

1. A Bird was the Inspiration for the Leica Noctivid.

 

Ok, this reason may be a bit silly but remember you are on a bird watching blog!

 

So please just hang with me.

 

The Little Owl was referenced as the inspiration for the Noctivid AND even used in promotional video’s and advertisements.

 

Don’t believe me? Please watch the first 10 seconds of the video below:

 

 

That is awesome! If I am buying bird watching binoculars, it’s nice to know that the company had the interests of birders in mind when developing “the best binoculars” that they have ever made.

 

Owl’s see very well in low amounts of light, which compares to one of the best features of the Leica Noctivid.  In challenging light situations like sunset or sunrise, it performs extraordinarily and is able to provide a bright and clear image.

 

The biggest winner here though is the Little Owl. Leica says they are “a symbol of wisdom and perfectly adapted to it’s environment”. I think more birds need to be given credit for the products they have inspired!

 

2. Extremely Wide Field of View.

 

While shopping for new bird watching binoculars, it’s important to pay attention to the Field of View. It’s one of the first technical specifications that I look at.

 

Why does it matter?

 

Leica Noctivid ReviewNaturally, birds don’t tend to stay still for very long. They fly from branch to branch. They chase insects. They do bird things.

 

It can be hard to follow a bird with your binoculars as they flutter around in a tree. Once I have lost the bird in my binocular, it’s even harder to spot with my naked eye and try to locate with the binocular again.

 

Having a wide Field of View helps to alleviate this problem.

 

Think of FOV as the width of the area that can be seen through your binocular. The bigger the better! Having a big FOV helps to see more of the action and makes it easier to follow a bird around looking through your optic.

 

Which brings us to the Leica Noctivid 8×42.

 

It has an amazingly wide FOV of 404 feet at 1,000 yards. That is one of the best available on the market today.

 

As mentioned earlier, the Noctivid replaced the Ultravid HD as Leica’s “best” binocular. One of the drawbacks with the Leica Ultravid HD for bird watchers was the FOV (389 feet), which was a bit small compared to it’s competitors. I was happy to see this improved when the Noctivid was released!

 

***View the other technical data of the Noctivid 8×42 AND the 10×42 model on Leica’s website***

 

3. A Low Close Focus.

 

If you are like most bird watchers, then getting to observe birds as close as possible is important.

 

Leica Noctivid Binocular Review Close Focus

I love seeing their beautiful feathers, rich colors or even the small caterpillar hanging out of their mouth.

 

With that being said, having a low Close Focus is vital on your bird watching binocular. This measures how close you can get to your target and still have the lenses stay in focus. THE LOWER THE BETTER.

 

The Leica Noctivid 8×42 has a Close Focus of 6.2 feet that is outstanding compared to other optics.

 

 

You can get so close your biggest problem now is figuring out a way to stay quiet!

 

Technical Specifications of the Leica Noctivid

 

I thought it would be helpful to see all the specs and compare the different size Noctivids (8×42 vs 10×42) side by side.

 

SpecificationNoctivid 8x42Noctivid 10x42
Magnification8x10x
Diameter42mm42mm
Close Focus6.2 feet / 1.9 m6.2 ft / 1.9 m
Field of View404 ft @ 1,000 yd / 135 m @ 1,000 m336 ft at 1,000 yds / 112 m @ 1,000 m
Eye Relief19 mm19 mm
Weight1.9 lbs / 30.3 oz1.9 lbs / 30.3 oz
Light Transmission92%92%

 

 

4. A Functional and User Friendly Design

 

Ergonomics is defined as the “science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely.”

 

Why is this important for binoculars?

 

Leica Noctivid 8x42 ReviewA binocular can have all of the best features that money can buy, but if it’s not comfortable to use then it’s just an expensive decoration or paperweight!

 

While out bird watching, you might as well be married to your binocular. It’s literally hanging around your neck and held in your hands constantly. As your holding your binocular, you may also be checking your field guide on your phone, digging in your backpack or just taking a sip of coffee.

 

The Leica Noctivid is VERY easy and comfortable to hold.

 

First, it has an open bridge design. This allows your fingers to curl around the barrels. This design makes it easier to grab one of the binocular tubes with just one hand, which obviously frees up your other hand. This is the first Leica binocular to have this design. Personally, I like it and find it comfortable.

 

The Noctivid is very compact and has a shorter length than other high priced binoculars, less than 6 inches. This helps to center the weight on your palm, which prevents fatigue. It’s very well balanced!

 

5. Waterproof, Fog proof and Durable:

 

Rain. Sleet. Snow. Wind. Extreme Heat. Freezing Cold. Humidity.

 

Leica Noctivid 8x42 ReviewYour bird watching binocular is going to face all sorts of weather; sometimes in the same day! I didn’t even account for when you fall on a slippery rock or trip in the mud and it crashes to the ground. Or how about when your 3 year old daughter takes your binoculars outside to look at a Northern Cardinal.

 

Who knows what is going to happen???

 

It should be obvious why your binoculars need to be tough and durable. Especially when you pay a premium for an optic like the Leica Noctivid.

 

First, its durable magnesium alloy chassis is nitrogen-filled and O-ring sealed. This makes the Noctivid waterproof, fog-proof and submersible in water up to 16.5 feet (5m).

 

The outside is then coated with a non-slip rubber armoring. The purpose is twofold. First, it prevents slipping by giving it an outstanding grip. Second, when the accidental drop or fall occurs, the rubber helps to absorb the impact and prevent damage.

 

One thing I love is the lens surfaces are very easy to clean when the occasional fingerprint or smudge gets on them. This is due to the Leica AquaDura coating that is applied. This coating was designed to make the lenses easy to clean and also prevent scratching.

 

And if everything fails?

 

Leica Noctivid 8x42 Binocular ReviewLeica has a pretty good warranty to help protect your investment.

 

First, they have a Lifetime Warranty for any manufacturer defects. Take great care of this optic and it literally can last the rest of your life!

 

Second, if you register your new purchase within 30 days, they also include their Passport Warranty for 3 years. This warranty also cover’s accidental damage. Wonderful!

 

Make sure to register your Leica below AND keep the receipt.

Register Your Leica

 

***Please note that neither of these warranties is transferable to a new owner. Take into consideration if purchasing a used Leica binocular.***

 

6. Leica is One of the Most Respected Optics Companies.

 

If you haven’t taken a look at the price of the Leica Noctivid then it’s worth viewing now:

Check Today's Price

 

Ok, time to pick up your jaw from the floor. The price is not for the faint of heart at around $2,600.

 

But binoculars are one of the most important tools that a bird watcher deploys and many birders find the price worth the incredible value they receive.

Leica Binocular Reivew

 

But with such a hefty investment, it’s vital that you trust the company that manufacturers your binocular.

 

Put simply, I trust the Leica name.

 

Headquartered in Germany and founded in 1914 by Ernest Leitz, Leica has been an optics industry leader ever since.  They have a long and storied history of innovation, and not only from their camera’s and lenses. For example, they had very progressive labor policies during the 1930’s which encouraged retention of skilled workers, many of whom were Jewish. Leica’s entire history is a very interesting read.

 

Today, Leica binoculars have one of the most well respected names around, especially the Noctivid, Ultravid-HD or the Trinovid.

 

They have over 100 years of design and experimentation under their belt. Just think how much money they have poured into research and development over the years! From their lens and prism coatings to the glass quality to the fatigue free design, Leica has been perfecting their product and approach for a long time.

 

They continue to be on the cutting edge of modern engineering and mechanical precision and a leader in excellent optics that are perfect for birding.

 

The Leica video at the beginning of this post states that the Noctivid is the “best binoculars we’ve ever made”.

 

This means a lot coming from Leica.

 

 

7. The Best Image That Money Can Buy.

 

What is the most important feature of bird watching binoculars?

 

For me, the answer is easy:

 

It’s all about the image! When I put my eyes up to the lens I want to be blown away by whatever I am looking at. From depth of field to natural colors to a crystal clear picture.

 

So much of the image depends on the quality of materials and engineering from the company. Just because a company uses the best materials doesn’t mean they know how to put them all together and vice versa.

 

This is why the Leica Noctivid is special. It takes high quality materials and combines them together with their amazing engineering better than just about any other product on the market.

 

Leica Noctivid Binocular Review

 

Let’s dig in:

 

SCHOTT HT (High Transmission) Prisms:

SCHOTT is a separate company that has more than 130 years of experience and specializes in specialty glass and glass-ceramics. They are known for their high quality glass, which is why Leica uses it in the Noctivid.

 

Leica Binocular Review 8x42

 

Why is the SCHOTT HT glass so good?

 

 

According to SCHOTT…..

 

 

Coatings:

 

Leica Noctivd ReviewThe purpose of coatings is to allow as much light as possible through the binocular to reach your eye. The more light that reaches your eye, the bright and better the image!

 

According to Leica….

 

“The Leica Noctivid binoculars take advantage of a new high-temperature plasma deposition process for highest-quality lens coatings that guarantee perfectly balanced transmission characteristics throughout the entire wavelength range of visible light, which results in a breathtakingly bright and color-neutral viewing image.”

 

Personally, I find researching coatings extremely frustrating! The reason is that most companies don’t give much information about specifics.

 

I guess they have a good reason! Leica has spent years and years developing their specific technologies and this is one of their industry secrets.

 

They let the image observed in binocular do the talking and selling!

 

A New Feature:

 

Something that Leica has been referencing quite a bit with the Noctivid is the modification of the radii of the lenses.  This makes it possible to achieve better sharpness all the way to the edges of the viewing image.

 

This is especially important because of the huge Field of View that the Noctivid offers. We want to make sure this big viewing area is still very clear!

 

 

Final Thoughts and Other Resources:

 

The argument can be made that the Leica Noctivid is currently the best bird watching binocular available right now. It is certainly one of my favorites along with the Zeiss Victory HT.

 

It is the complete package:

  • The image is outstanding. Depth of field, bright and true colors, and pesky nuances like chromatic aberration are minimized.
  • Great company backed by an outstanding warranty.
  • Features that are perfect for bird watchers: Close Focus and Field of View for example.

 

On the flip side, you literally can’t spend more on a binocular, so the best should be expected. This high price is the one major drawback, along with the weight. It is slightly heavier than other binoculars in the same range.

 

After testing and researching, I would love to own a Noctivid but am not in a position to spend so much on a binocular (mortgages and paying for college get in the way!). Hopefully someday soon though!

 

Next Step: Please do 1 of the following 2 things!

 

1. Buy the Leica Noctivid from one of these three places:

 

Are you convinced the Noctivid will transform you into the next John James Audubon? If so, I have done a lot of research to find the best places to purchase.

 

  • B&H Photo Video: Leica Noctivid 8×42

    • Experts at anything optics, photo or video. Prices are very comparable to Amazon, sometimes better with free 2 day shipping.
    • Check out their summary of the Zeiss Victory, it includes more technical details!

 

2. Keep Researching!

 

Not convinced the Leica Noctivid is the best choice?

 

I completely understand. Buying binoculars is a big decision and it’s best to take your time and do your research!

 

I recommend checking out one of the following resources:

  • The 8 Best Binoculars for Bird Watching

    • This should give some ideas of other binoculars that would be a great choice for bird watching. Includes optics across all different price ranges. (From $125 to $2,600)

One Last Thing….

 

I have a serious question for you and I want honest feedback.

 

How can I improve this review of the Leica Noctivid?

 

Please tell the truth. What questions didn’t I answer? What are you still looking for as you search the internet? I want this review to be as useful as possible.

 

If this was helpful, please subscribe via email at the top of the page to receive updates when new posts arrive!

 

Thanks again. Happy birding!

 

Scott

 

p.s. If you end up purchasing a binocular, please use one of the links provided on this page. At no cost to you, the providers may give a small portion of the sale to me. I would really appreciate that as it helps keep this site running and lets me know that this content is valuable! 🙂

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