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Leica Noctivid 8x42 design flaws and review - owners please check

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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 15:49   #1
Tobias Mennle
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Leica Noctivid 8x42 design flaws and review - owners please check

I have owned the Noctivid over a year now in which I have mostly used the Nikon EDG instead. The name seems program - the Noctivid is great in low or subdued light, but probably much more due to a strongly boosted contrast by skewing the transmission curve than due to more transmissive glass. Similar to Zeiss and Swarovski SLC.

But the Nocti seems to hate strong light flowing through it. I got frustrated by the level of veiling glare that makes the images dull and flat. It is an often very weak glare, just hardly noticeable unless you play around trying to shield the objectives, but it destroys contrast. The extreme sharpness of the glass counteracts this a bit.

Finally I used a torch and have a closer look through the objectives - see attached image. Should have done that on day one and will do on day one with all new purchases.

An unblackened, unbaffled, very reflective brass knob at the base of the focuser axis. It can easily be hit by sunlight and will scatter part of it back into the image path.

This is either a serious design flaw, or Leica just forgot a baffle when assembling my glass - could other Noctivid owners check on their samples, please, if there is a baffle? The Ultravid 8x32 is completely baffled.

I assume it is a design flaw though because I could provoke heavy flare in the 10x42 I had.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

Such stuff has happened before though, for example in the 8K APO Summicron 50/2, where lens rims were not been blackened etc.

The contrast boost due to skewed transmission is much more aggressive than in the Ultravids. I don't buy Leica´s statement of a whiter image at all but I'm happy to be taught otherwise after the contrast issue is solved. Colours are a tad on the yellow green side but without proper global contrast it is a useless discussion anyway. As always, it shows in the shadows and midtones, not in the highlights. Black dogs and male blackbirds look on the brownish side of things when they are a cold black seen with the Nikon EDG.

Ergonomy is a huge step back from the Ultravids.

The Nikon EDG, although it does have many annoying flaws, is my reference glass for global contrast and colour accuracy, employing no artificial contrast boost whatsoever.

Here is my (hopefully preliminary) review. The Noctivid has great potential but with this issue it is a shame for Leica.

http://www.greatestbinoculars.com/al...tivid8x42.html
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 16:53   #2
Mike F
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Tobias,

My 10x42 NV look as black as night inside. That's not a design fault, it's a manufacturing fault. You've probably read on this site that many people report how well veiling glare is suppressed in the Noctivid.

As it's over a year since you purchased them you will probably have to send them directly to Leica, but I would first check what your dealer says about the issue.

All the best. Michael.
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 19:39   #3
Canip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tobias Mennle View Post
.....
.....
.....
..... could other Noctivid owners check on their samples, please, if there is a baffle? .....
.....
.....

Ergonomy is a huge step back from the Ultravids.

.....
.....
Tobias,

regarding the shiny spot in your Noctivid:

this (attached) is what the inside of my 8x42 Noctivid looks like - same as yours! So this is not a one-time assembly fault.

Whether it's a serious design flaw and will in fact scatter much light back into the optical path I am not so sure; but it's certainly possible, and so this situation should have been avoided.

Regarding ergonomy: I could not agree more.

Canip
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 20:26   #4
Mike F
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Tobias, my apologies, I was mistaken! I have a bad habit of looking down the wrong end of my binoculars so I was sure that I would have seen the same thing if it was there, but I hadn't. (Thanks, Canip, for doing what was requested and actually looking!)

I have to say that whatever they are, they are well behind and inside the baffles (which is why I'd never noticed them), so whether they do cause bad veiling glare is doubtful IMO given the many reports of how well the NV suppresses glare. I've never noticed a glare problem with mine....
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 21:14   #5
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Thank you for your clarification, Mike.
So it is what it is.
By the way: from memory, I do not think the shaft of the focusing mechanism in any of my other roof prism binoculars is visible when looking into the tube from the front end. Or am I mistaken (I could go and check, but already in bed and too lazy to get back up ... ) ?
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Old Thursday 18th June 2020, 19:03   #6
Tobias Mennle
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Thanks to both of you! Once I have a bit more time, I will make a complaint. If everything fails at Leica, I will have this thing blackened. I'm sure it is a very bad thing.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 14:14   #7
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Thanks to both of you! Once I have a bit more time, I will make a complaint. If everything fails at Leica, I will have this thing blackened. I'm sure it is a very bad thing.
Same on my 10x42
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 14:59   #8
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Same on my 10x42
Have you noticed any problems with glare?
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 15:27   #9
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Both my 8X42 and 10X42 have that same exposed brass screw. So the question...Is this an issue? I've NEVER noticed it until you pointed it out so for me...a non issue.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 16:44   #10
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Have you noticed any problems with glare?
Sometimes there is too much veil glare or milky view without any special reason like cloudy days looking into darkest areas, well like many other bins but is estrange because the binocular is amazing agains low sun, looking close to sunset the performance is the best of any Alpha bin.

I do not understand why the interior of any high-end binocular always under intense light can be seen that the paint is satin gray and not completely black, why do not they use something darker, less reflective? like the type of paint used on hi end APO refractors ?
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 17:12   #11
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the binocular is amazing agains low sun, looking close to sunset the performance is the best of any Alpha bin.
Excellent performance indeed, but not the best: the Zeiss Victory FL 10x56 is better at controlling glare, if you can try it you'll see what I mean, really exceptional. Probably the larger EP of the Zeiss also plays a role here.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 18:11   #12
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Probably the larger EP of the Zeiss also plays a role here.
Yes, I was thinking that as I read the first part of your post. What about compared to other 8 and 10x42's?
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 18:20   #13
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Yes, I was thinking that as I read the first part of your post. What about compared to other 8 and 10x42's?
I would say that from an optics standpoint the Noctivid and the EDG are rather similar to one another, and the best 8/10x42s at glare control that I own/owned.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 19:03   #14
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Hello Peter,

I do not know that EDG 8 and 10x42, but that 7x42 is the best glass against stray light I have ever had, in this point it is significantly better than the noctivid 8x42.
With the binoculars I accidentally looked twice into the setting sun because it shows no reflexes.

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Old Saturday 20th June 2020, 05:00   #15
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Both my 8X42 and 10X42 have that same exposed brass screw. So the question...Is this an issue? I've NEVER noticed it until you pointed it out so for me...a non issue.
Agreed.
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Old Saturday 20th June 2020, 06:05   #16
PeterPS
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Hello Peter,

I do not know that EDG 8 and 10x42, but that 7x42 is the best glass against stray light I have ever had, in this point it is significantly better than the noctivid 8x42.
With the binoculars I accidentally looked twice into the setting sun because it shows no reflexes.

Andreas
Hi Andreas, The 7x42s have a larger EP and while I have no experience with the 7x42 I wouldn't be surprised if their glare control was even better, Peter.
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Old Saturday 20th June 2020, 07:11   #17
Tobias Mennle
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Tobias, my apologies, I was mistaken! I have a bad habit of looking down the wrong end of my binoculars so I was sure that I would have seen the same thing if it was there, but I hadn't. (Thanks, Canip, for doing what was requested and actually looking!)

I have to say that whatever they are, they are well behind and inside the baffles (which is why I'd never noticed them), so whether they do cause bad veiling glare is doubtful IMO given the many reports of how well the NV suppresses glare. I've never noticed a glare problem with mine....
Mike, I don´t see this knob is baffled at all, in backlit observation the sun at an angle can easily fully hit it. Otherwise it would not be so easy to photograph it...

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Old Saturday 20th June 2020, 07:18   #18
Tobias Mennle
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Originally Posted by GLOBETROTTER View Post
Sometimes there is too much veil glare or milky view without any special reason like cloudy days looking into darkest areas, well like many other bins but is estrange because the binocular is amazing agains low sun, looking close to sunset the performance is the best of any Alpha bin.

I do not understand why the interior of any high-end binocular always under intense light can be seen that the paint is satin gray and not completely black, why do not they use something darker, less reflective? like the type of paint used on hi end APO refractors ?
The Noctivid is deceptive. It has basically no crescent/peripheral flares that for example plague a Swarovision 8x32 and turn up in most binoculars. In so far, exceptional flare performance.

But it does not manage to keep the center free from milky veiling glare like an EDG or even many Ultravids do.

I don´t see this as a contradiction though.

After all the praise for Nocti flare suppression I was a bit sobered when comparing the Nocti 10x42 to the UVHD+7x42, regarding veiling glare in the image center. Comparing Nocti 8x42 to EDG 8x42, I am not sobered, but frustrated and angry.

This might be different comparing to a Swarovision which has low priority on flare suppression. But it is always "compared to what" - and directly comparing both glasses with that blackbird in the backlight - and the EDG is the best comparison I have. And a demanding one.

About the grey instead of black colour, I have often wondered about that, too.

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Old Saturday 20th June 2020, 07:45   #19
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Brillant Leica head of lens design Peter Karbe had 16 years of thought about the perfect 50mm and when Leica finally produced it it was initially spoilt by a flare issue.

https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic...after-service/

Of course it was the customers recognizing this issue, not the engineers

I see the same irony in the Noctivid, Leica clearly put a lot of effort into it but the flaws are serious, so this glass is only using 70% of its potential at the moment.

The 100% would only require a better internal blackening and more Ultravid HD+ like coatings which they could easily do, whereas the Zeiss SF will always remain an abomination to some users due to the optical construction.

Leica is hurting customers, but even more so themselves probably.

They would sell more Noctivids with a better product.

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Old Saturday 20th June 2020, 09:44   #20
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Mike, I don't see this knob is baffled at all, in backlit observation the sun at an angle can easily fully hit it. Otherwise it would not be so easy to photograph it...
Tobias, I'm not going to say that the brass knob that we can see wouldn't be better blackened, at least to be on the safe side, but it is well out of the way behind a baffle and cannot be seen when looking inside unless you look in at a fairly extreme angle. As I said, I have an unhealthily obsession with inspecting the insides of (new) binoculars to check for faults (mainly dust) and I never previously saw it.

Also, I stand to be corrected, but I don't see how under any viewing situation the sun can actually hit it. It (they) are tucked right up inside behind a baffle in a place where I can't imagine that direct sun is going to shine. If you look at the photo below and imagine that the sun would have to be situated at the angle from which the photo was taken....... I suppose it could happen if you were following a bird in flight and you were almost falling over backwards (with the sun low in the sky somewhere in front of you) but other than that........?

You say that 'in backlit observation the sun at an angle can easily fully hit it'. I'm not sure what you mean - or rather don't understand how it could happen. I know what backlit means in photographic terms, but I would be grateful if you could explain how sunlight could hit this brass knob in such situations.
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Old Saturday 20th June 2020, 12:03   #21
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Nothing wrong with it.
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Old Saturday 20th June 2020, 13:00   #22
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Originally Posted by Tobias Mennle View Post
Brillant Leica head of lens design Peter Karbe had 16 years of thought about the perfect 50mm and when Leica finally produced it it was initially spoilt by a flare issue.

https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic...after-service/

Of course it was the customers recognizing this issue, not the engineers

I see the same irony in the Noctivid, Leica clearly put a lot of effort into it but the flaws are serious, so this glass is only using 70% of its potential at the moment.

The 100% would only require a better internal blackening and more Ultravid HD+ like coatings which they could easily do, whereas the Zeiss SF will always remain an abomination to some users due to the optical construction.

Leica is hurting customers, but even more so themselves probably.

They would sell more Noctivids with a better product.
Hmm, Tobias ...

Is Leica really "hurting customers" ?

And do you have any reliable indication whatever for your claim that "they would sell more Noctivids with a better product"??

I know you are a particularly critical reviewer (your website is full of evidence).

Regarding stray-light suppression, I feel more like Mike (post #20); for me, the Noctivid appears generally well shielded and shows none of the slight reflections and even glare which can appear in the Ultravid when panning the bino in front of a dark landscape while there is still some light in the sky.

What bothers me more is that the Noctivid shows clear „cross spikes“ (an effect of the roof prisms) on point-like light sources which „reach out“ quite a bit through the FOV; these are brighter and more distinct than in the Ultravid. Flares and small amounts of ghost images can also be triggered by bright light sources.

So while I agree that the Noctivid is clearly not perfect, and that the unblackened focusing shaft reflects (pun?) badly on Leica's design and manufacturing process, I don't believe the Noctivid performs at just "70 percent of its potential".

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Old Saturday 20th June 2020, 15:32   #23
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For some reason this comes across a little like a personal vendetta with Leica. Something just doesn't feel right here...
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Old Saturday 20th June 2020, 15:49   #24
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It looks to me like part of the focus mechanism, two different metals to negate lubricant perhaps ?

How could this work if it were blackened ?

I did`nt choose a NV because I prefer the SF, but I don`t buy this argument about its quality of execution, its superbly engineered.
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Old Saturday 20th June 2020, 19:47   #25
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I bought my Leica's this winter and beginning of June I was very excited to find that the binoculars takes harsh light conditions very well.
Owned two pairs of EL's or Swarovision for the last 14 years which I wasn't to buy at that time (went for Ultravid) and before all that, had used two pairs of Zeiss for 16 years.

Noctivid doesn't disappoint me at-al actually It keeps surprising me not to be some useless posh alternative but as something I really want to be birding with all the time: outstanding properties!!
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