7 Reasons to Purchase the Leica Noctivid Today (2024)

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

Statements like this make you take notice. Especially coming from a company like Leica, which has been in business for over 100 years and has built up an incredible reputation for its optics.

In August 2016, the Leica Noctivid was introduced and replaced the Leica Ultravid-HD. Since then, it’s been described as the company’s best binocular.

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Unfortunately, the price tag of these binoculars might take your breath away.  

Normally priced around $2,600, everyone asks the same question: Is the Leica Noctivid 8×42 worth the cost? To help answer that question, I’ve tried to give an honest, no-fluff review of the Leica Noctivid binoculars.

7 reasons to buy the Leica Noctivid 8×42 binocular:

Quick note: 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 you prefer.

#1. A bird inspired the creation of the Leica Noctivid.

Ok, this reason might sound a bit silly. But remember, you’re on a bird-watching blog! The Little Owl was referenced as the inspiration for the Noctivid AND even used in promotional videos and advertisements.

If I’m 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.

Owls see very well in low amounts of light, which happens to be one of the best features of the Leica Noctivid. In challenging light situations like sunset or sunrise, it still provides a bright and clear image.

The biggest winner, though, is the Little Owl. Leica says this bird is “a symbol of wisdom and perfectly adapted to its environment.” I think more birds need to be given this kind of credit for the products they have inspired!

#2. Noctivid has an extremely wide field of view.

While shopping for new bird-watching binoculars, it’s important to pay attention to the Field of View (FOV). It’s one of the most important technical specifications for wildlife viewing.

Why does it matter?

Naturally, birds don’t tend to stay still for very long. They fly from branch to branch, chase insects, and move around while they do bird things.

It can be hard to follow a bird with your binoculars as they flutter around. And personally, I find that once I’ve lost the bird, it’s even harder to spot it with my naked eye and try to locate it 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 you can see through your binocular. The bigger, the better! Having a large FOV helps to see more of the action and makes it easier to follow a bird through your optic.

The Leica Noctivid’s Field of View is unmatched.

It has an incredible 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 of the Leica Ultravid HD for bird watchers was the smaller FOV (389 feet). I was happy to see this improved when the Noctivid was released!

#3. Noctivid has a low Close Focus.

If you are like most birdwatchers, then getting to observe birds as closely as possible is important to you. I love seeing a bird’s beautiful feathers, vibrant colors, and even the small caterpillar hanging out of its 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. So, in the case of close focus, the lower the number, the better!

The Leica Noctivid 8×42’s Close Focus of 6.2 feet is outstanding compared to other optics.

In fact, with these binoculars, your biggest problem will be staying quiet so you don’t startle your subject!

Technical Specifications of the Leica Noctivid

Here, you can see all the specs and compare the 8×42 vs. 10×42 size Noctivids side-by-side.

#4. Functional, user-friendly design.

While out bird watching, you might as well be married to your binocular. It’s always hanging around your neck or held in your hands. As you’re 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.

No matter what you’re doing, the Leica Noctivid is easy and comfortable to hold.

  • First, it has an open bridge design. This allows your fingers to curl around the barrels and makes it easier to grab one of the binocular tubes with just one hand. The design conveniently frees up your other hand for coffee or backpack digging. 🙂
  • Secondly, the Noctivid is very compact at less than six inches in length. This smaller size helps to center the weight on your palm, which prevents fatigue. Additionally, it’s very well-balanced!

#5. Waterproof, Fog-proof, and Durable

Your bird-watching binocular is going to face all sorts of rough handling. I often encounter bad weather; sometimes even different kinds in the same day! Not to mention if you fall on a slippery rock or trip in the mud, and it crashes to the ground. Or how about if your three-year-old daughter takes your binoculars outside to look at a Northern Cardinal?

It’s almost impossible to predict all the things that could happen to your binocular! So, it should be obvious why your binoculars need to be sturdy and durable. And the Leica Noctivid delivers on durability:

  • It has a durable magnesium alloy chassis that helps to absorb impacts, whether you drop it or it knocks against something in your backpack.
  • The body is nitrogen-filled and O-ring-sealed. These features make the Noctivid waterproof, fog-proof, and submersible in water up to 16.5 feet (5m).
  • The outside is coated with non-slip rubber armoring, which serves two purposes. First, it prevents drops by giving it an outstanding grip. Second, when an accidental (and inevitable) drop or fall occurs, the rubber helps to absorb the impact and to avoid damage.
  • The lens surfaces are very easy to clean when the occasional fingerprint or smudge gets on them, thanks to their Leica AquaDura coating. This coating was designed to make the lenses easy to clean and prevent scratching.

And if everything fails, you can count on Leica’s 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 three years. This warranty also covers accidental damage, which is perfect for an active birder.

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 this into consideration if you plan to purchase a used Leica binocular.

#6. Leica is one of the most respected optics companies.

Binoculars are one of the most important tools that a bird watcher uses, and many birders find incredible value in these binoculars, despite their high price.

But with such a hefty investment, it’s vital that you trust the company that manufactures 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 its early days. They have a long and storied history of innovation, and not only from their cameras and lenses. For example, they had very progressive labor policies during the 1930s, which encouraged the retention of skilled workers. Leica’s entire history is a fascinating read.

Today, Leica binoculars have one of the most well-respected names around, especially the Noctivid and its less-expensive cousin, the Trinovid.

  • They have over 100 years of design and experimentation under their belt. Just think how much money Leica has poured into research and development! From its lens and prism coatings to the glass quality to the ergonomic design, Leica has been perfecting its product and approach for a long time.
  • They continue to be on the cutting edge of modern engineering and mechanical precision. They’re an industry leader in excellent optics that are perfect for birding.
  • From binoculars to cameras to scopes, their products are very well respected and consistently receive high praise and positive reviews.

#7. Noctivid provides the best image 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 see. From the depth of field to natural colors to a crystal clear picture, every visual aspect should be perfect.

So much of the image depends on the quality of materials and engineering from the company. This is why the Leica Noctivid is special. Their high-quality materials, combined with their fantastic engineering, produce binoculars better than just about any other product on the market.

Leica Noctivid Binocular Review

Here are a few reasons that Leica’s optics are superior to other products:

  • SCHOTT HT (High Transmission) Prisms: SCHOTT is a separate company that has more than 130 years of experience in specialty glass and glass ceramics. They are known for their high-quality glass, which is why Leica uses it in the Noctivid. Find out more information here.
  • Leica AquaDura coating is used to prevent lens damage. This coating was also designed to make the lenses easy to clean.
  • 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.  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 undoubtedly one of my favorites, along with the Zeiss Victory HT.

It is the complete package:

  • The image is outstanding. Depth of field, bright and pure colors and pesky nuances like chromatic aberration are minimized.
  • A great company backed by an outstanding warranty.
  • The Noctivid was made with birders in mind. It has features that are perfect for watching birds and wildlife.

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.

Next Steps:

Buy the Leica Noctivid from one of these places:

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)

Do you have the Leica Noctivid Binoculars? 

Tell us about your experience in the comments!

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