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What is the Noctivid about?

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Old Tuesday 3rd September 2019, 23:09   #51
tenex
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Originally Posted by Steve C View Post
I am not sure if this is germane or not, but perceived field of view may have some relevance here. I once read an article from an outdoors writer that stated one should leave the eye cups down because that gave a wider field of view...
I've read about that here on BF. It doesn't work for me because it's too tiring to try to hold binos off my face without eyecup contact. I can see how it could psychologically affect the shut-in impression of "tunnel vision", but as you confirmed, it doesn't change the FOV, or even AFOV.
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Old Wednesday 4th September 2019, 17:51   #52
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That's an interesting perspective, and brings up the question no one has asked Alexis: how is it that you find contrast crucial and would be excited by more in the NV (my guess would be color saturation?)... and potentially at the expense of what?

Edit: The digital manipulations in that photo look quite extreme compared to variations between binos. And the usual tradeoff I've seen and heard discussed is between contrast and brightness, rather than detail (resolution). Think of the dark but saturated look of Nikon EDGs or SEs.
I'm familiar w/contrast adjustments in digital photo editing and how they can trade-off with detail when applied crudely (Better to use curves, and keep a good distribution of different pixel values around the values most relevant to the visual structure of a given image), but that isn't what I mean w/bins. The best performance for a bin, in my opinion, would be contrast that is equivalent to a good naked eye view, which is my benchmark for "highest contrast". In other words, I seek contrast that is not compromised by veiling glare, scattering within the lens, chromatic aberration, or other such issues, and that is not altered by transmission (color) biases so that it has accurate blacks, whites, and everything in between. Some photographers call it microcontrast, but I think it is just contrast. Boosting contrast (e.g. by using filters or digitally redistributing pixel values) can help accentuate certain features, and is very useful procedure in photography, but I don't seek that from birding bins. I want glass that magnifies 8x and does nothing else :)

--AP
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Old Thursday 5th September 2019, 12:06   #53
Renze de Vries
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Originally Posted by Alexis Powell View Post
The best performance for a bin, in my opinion, would be contrast that is equivalent to a good naked eye view, which is my benchmark for "highest contrast".
I would call this hi fidelity contrast. And when you say "I want glass that magnifies 8x and does nothing else", I would call that hi fidelity optics.


I wouldn't make contrast as crucial as you obviously do, but maybe that's because you're more sensitive to it. I think we agree wholeheartedly on the phenomenon of contrast being very much related to other aspects in play. We concur also on the importance of naturalness, high fidelity. Yet, my ultimate test is the retrieval of fine detail, or resolution.

Renze

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Old Thursday 5th September 2019, 13:40   #54
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Let me approach the issue of the qualities of the Noctivid from this angle:

I have two pair of eyes in use. One pair is slightly astigmatic, the other pair is without astigmatism because it's corrected by spectacles.

In everyday life the unaided eyes are pretty good, they don't give me any trouble. I do know of course that there's better eye sight available but most of the time I don't care. I even do most of my birding in this manner, without the spectacles, because the view through my bins is more natural, less of a hassle.

Yet, when I put my spectacles on when birding, things change for the better. For instance, I like the perceived view when backed off a bit from the eye cups. There's a bit of the normal world in sight, there's a small black circle and inside the circle there's the magnified part of the world. It's dififferent from the normal viewing experience, and certainly less comfortable, but it has its rewards.
The other rewards are not subtle. The slight veiling caused by the astigmatism is gone, the world looks more transparent, much sharper and brighter, there's more contrast, colors are more vivid, and lots of small detail has become available.

Now what happens when I use binoculars on both types of eye sight? Of course the view improves when wearing spectacles. But not completely as expected. Some binoculars seem to profit more from the improvement than others. My reference binocular for central sharpness is the Swift Audubon 804 ED. No other bin has better central resolution than this classic porro. The Leica Noctivid just can't do this.
That is, with the unaided eye. When wearing spectacles the view through the Noctivid goes to a completely new level, while the Swift seems to have trouble improving on its already great performance. I have performed this test with other binoculars (non Hd-Ultravid, Ultravid HD+, Nikon SE, Kowa Genesis) and my impression is that the Noctivid indeed profits more from better eyesight than others. Suddenly there's a level of fine detail that's not quite available in the contenders mentioned.

Note: there's a factor here that should be constant when comparing bins like this. Not all binoculars are as well tuned to spectacle use than the Noctivid. And certainly not the Swift with its short eye relief. I have tried to take this into account as conscientiously as possible.

Renze
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Old Thursday 5th September 2019, 17:39   #55
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Hmm... has Leica has not only provided more ER in the Noctivid then, but also assumed and catered to higher than average acuity in users with eyeglasses? I wonder whether someone with unusually good unaided vision would corroborate that. It sounds somehow more interesting than the alternative, that the NV just accommodates eyeglasses better than other models in some way.
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Old Thursday 5th September 2019, 18:30   #56
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FWIW the one thing you get that everybody should agree about is longer eye relief.

Bob
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Old Thursday 5th September 2019, 23:19   #57
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The purpose of the new model? Swaro has an open bridge bino that sells well, Leica figured they needed one too. There's been a lot of good info here, I think they improved many things slightly and I enjoy mine. I enjoy it more than my SV due to not having flat fields. I enjoy my UVHD's too and I don't think it's a giant leap. But to be totally frank I think it's purpose is simply to compete with the SV in an open bridge design. I think they did a good job, could be better (ergos), but good.
+1

They followed Swaro's lead. Top of the line dual hinge binocular; second tier single hinge binocular. It just took a long time to get there... has the EL been around 20 years now???

CG
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Old Saturday 7th September 2019, 19:36   #58
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All,

... the now discontinued EDG 7x42 is IMO an outstanding binocular ...

Mike
Hi Mike,

The Nikon EDG 7x42 is still listed in Britain - at 1,979. I bought one earlier this year and absolutely love it. As you say, the FOV is not record-breaking but the view, colour, the way the flat field is done, and the focus control are superb. AND the lens objective covers snap in firmly in mine. Anyway, back to the main point of the thread; not wishing to steer it in a new direction. Afraid I have never seen or looked through a Noctivid. The Nikon incidentally - don't know if you'd agree - has quite a Leica-like image except for the flatter field.

Best wishes,

Tom
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Old Saturday 7th September 2019, 20:48   #59
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Presumably Leica's background in photography leans them towards more saturated colours.
Interestingly my own impression, backed by photographic writers such as the late Roger Hicks, is that colour transparencies shot with Leica M and R lenses really do have a depth or 3D effect that stands out from the already excellent rendition of, for instance, Nikon, to cite the two marques that I have had first hand experience of.

Incidentally it struck me that when it comes to photographic lenses budget and financial concerns are always claimed to be irrelevant to development by Leica; they set out to produce the best they possibly can 'to the limits of the technically possible' - I think that's their phrase, or something very similar. A recent example would be the 50mm f/2 Apo-Summicron-M ASPH which must be the most expensive standard lens for 35mm or digital equivalent at that quite modest maximum aperture for the focal length. Perhaps the parameters and priorities are arrived at differently in the binocular sector of the company.

Tom
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Old Saturday 7th September 2019, 20:56   #60
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[quote=dwever;3889690]

... The 7X42 UVHD+ and Zeiss Victory HD 8X42s were the most pleasing images I have come across in any alphas, with the 7X42 UVHD+ nudging the win with its Kodachrome leaning colors; and the NVD 8X42 at least matches that 7x UVHD+ while besting it in clarity and contrast.

It is likely my knowledge is deficient, but just to check: did you mean Victory HD or was it HT or possibly FL or a Conquest HD? Apologies if there is a Victory HD: I'm fairly new to this hobby.

Tom
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Old Saturday 7th September 2019, 21:12   #61
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Originally Posted by dries1 View Post
Perhaps Chosen can chime in with discussion of the green ham...we have had discussions ad nausea regarding color...contrast....brightness? (what is that anyway). All of it is subjective.
I will put this way, Renze is right the NV is a great 8X42 which provides great resolution. IMHO Leica along with Nikon provides great color in their glass, some like the warm enrichment and some hate it...and prefer the colder tones, it is a matter preference and taste.
Andy,

You got me thinking... there are obviously many on this forum who use and keep several marques of binoculars, as we know. Part of it is a search for perfection (what fools we are ;-) ) but also I suppose many of us like to have something different on the menu, just as we like to wear different clothes and colours of clothes from day to day. It occurred to me the other day when wondering if I already had more binoculars than I could ever need that actually I like different colour renderings BUT NOT IN CLOSE SUCCESSION. I.e. it's a bit disturbing when testing different glass side by side to see the colours of blossom, foliage, flowers, weathered stone, plumage, even the sky change, but if you use one on one day and maybe another a day or two later, it's quite satisfying to enjoy the different nuances. Do you feel the same? I know some don't, of course, which is fine (of course)!

Best wishes,

Tom
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Old Sunday 8th September 2019, 02:37   #62
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Tom,

I do agree that is why I have too much glass, but I do enjoy all of them.

Andy W.
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Old Sunday 8th September 2019, 13:14   #63
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I can answer the OP question.

The Noctivid is about Leica selling one more genuinely beautiful alpha bino to people who already bought the classic x42 a few years ago. And there will be a Nocivid x32 for the same reason, eventually for the x32 crowd. The problem with binoculars is that the customers insist on products which last forever and get fixed for free, so one needs to rebrand to sell tehm the same thing again and again.

And btw I tried the Noctivid and it gave me a headache, at least the sample I tried did. I watched some birds 300 or 400 meters away, flying and perched, and the contrast with the cloudy sky was painful. Nice optics but somehow an excessive impression of light, and a headache for some reason within a few minutes. I can and have spent an hour behind my UV 7x42 with pleasure.I totally hate my Victory Pockets, but they just give me a sharp image at the price of some mild eyestrain, not a headache.

My take on this is that anyone who has a Leica glass and spare cash can go get a Zeiss x42 SF instead of some Leica gear, and enjoy some genuine well thought out incremental user-centric redesign of a classic roof. Not that the old Leica gear is bad. And Zeiss users with too much cash can get the Noctivid and enjoy its beautiful stylish look, although functionally what they have already is probably superior, style does count.



Edmund

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Old Sunday 8th September 2019, 13:39   #64
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I am enjoying the Noctivid 8X42s, no need to run off and buy an SF, I already had one, and IMHO the SF is not superior.

Andy W.
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Old Sunday 8th September 2019, 14:20   #65
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I think there’s always inevitably a degree of backlash against a new top end product (binocular in this case) from people who either have the previous top end model or a top end model from a rival manufacturer. It’s probably true to say that the Noctivid is in fact not innovative in any area and that certain aspects of its design were inspired by the innovations of other manufacturers, but that does nothing to take away from the fact that it is generally acknowledged, by those who have purchased it and compared it with an UVHD+, as being Leica’s best binocular to date. I’m not sure why anybody would have a problem with that.

It’s a little hard for me to have a good direct comparison between my UVHD+ 7x42 and my NV 10x42 because of the magnification difference, but there is no doubt in my mind that the NV has the edge in terms of sharpness (it certainly has a larger sweet spot) contrast and colour rendition, not to mention control of glare. And yes, if pushed I would say that it does have a greater sense of 3-D in the image. IMHO it’s just ‘better’. FWIW I also think that any sense in which the ergonomics might be said to be inferior to the UVHD+ is more than offset by the improvement in the feel of the focus wheel. I don’t have a problem in any way with the focus wheel on the UVHD+, but the focus wheel on the NV is a definite improvement.

Last edited by Mike F : Sunday 8th September 2019 at 20:37.
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Old Sunday 8th September 2019, 17:57   #66
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Yes Mike F.

And, to even care about the optical difference between an SV, HT, SF, UVHD, and NVD frankly takes some overindulgence as a hobbyist and reinforcement by a technical forum because the alphas are all each and every one generally so pleasing optically. I own Zeiss and Leica. When I ran in to a bear in four feet of snow this April at a very safe distance and watched him for the next 15 minutes, there was never a time where I’m going, “man, this would be even better if I’d had my Zeiss HT RF” or vice versa.

While some alphas are better at some things than others, and I appreciate this site for pouring over the details to point out why, they’re all also close enough that on one level I might be tempted to say that the best alpha is the one causing the most wonder in nature at the moment. It’s a good time to have 2-3$K to drop on a set.
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Old Sunday 8th September 2019, 21:08   #67
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Hi Mike,

The Nikon EDG 7x42 is still listed in Britain - at 1,979. I bought one earlier this year and absolutely love it. As you say, the FOV is not record-breaking but the view, colour, the way the flat field is done, and the focus control are superb. AND the lens objective covers snap in firmly in mine. Anyway, back to the main point of the thread; not wishing to steer it in a new direction. Afraid I have never seen or looked through a Noctivid. The Nikon incidentally - don't know if you'd agree - has quite a Leica-like image except for the flatter field.

Best wishes,

Tom
Tom,

Glad you are enjoying your EDG 7x42. I do agree generally the EDG and Leica HD+ view are similar.

On the op's question, I did briefly test a NV 10x42 outside at a local shop in good light when considering whether to trade in my HD+ 10x50. As others have remarked it did seem the NV had a slightly brighter view and the focusing function was really sweet - very EDG-like. But not quite enough of an upgrade to justify the cost even with a potential trade in. If the NV came in 10x50, I might have taken the plunge.

Best,

Mike
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Old Sunday 8th September 2019, 22:32   #68
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Tom,

I do agree that is why I have too much glass, but I do enjoy all of them.

Andy W.
Me too!

Tom
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Old Thursday 12th September 2019, 12:00   #69
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I been fortunate enough to briefly try both 8 & 10x Noctovids alongside my 7x42 UV+.

Immediate impression was that the N's are very comfortable and easy for both my hands and eyes. Preferred their feel over Swaro.
The views are excellent of course, not much more to add.
If I were in the market for either magnification they'd be top of my list (but I'm gonna get a Swaro 15x56)
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Old Sunday 15th September 2019, 15:32   #70
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While some alphas are better at some things than others, and I appreciate this site for pouring over the details to point out why, theyre all also close enough that on one level I might be tempted to say that the best alpha is the one causing the most wonder in nature at the moment. Its a good time to have 2-3$K to drop on a set.
+1! I was only curious about the details of the NV because each of us cares a bit more about some little thing than another, and it's nice to find the glass that suits us best.
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(but I'm gonna get a Swaro 15x56)
Now that is a different story... it's amazing, you'll love it.
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Old Wednesday 18th September 2019, 14:06   #71
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I did my usual thing of wasting time in the airport looking at expensive binoculars while waiting for the plane. They had a 10x42 NV and UVHD+. Both had great views, but the NV had a kind of magic that really took me. The ergonomics and eye relief for me as a glasses wearer were super, the focuser was so smooth and the sharpness was phenomenal. There was a Christmas tree (yep even in September) with led lights some distance off and they were tiny bright pinpoints that even with my Zeiss 8x25 Victory Pockets that I travel with and are super sharp, I could get nowhere near the pinpoint image with. There was a bit of CA, but not distracting when they're that comfy and sharp. I was really impressed. The UV+ could achieve similar views, but didn't have quite the luxury user experience of the NVs. I can't see anyone having regrets about getting the 10x NVs.
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Old Thursday 19th September 2019, 12:40   #72
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I did my usual thing of wasting time in the airport looking at expensive binoculars while waiting for the plane. They had a 10x42 NV and UVHD+. Both had great views, but the NV had a kind of magic that really took me. The ergonomics and eye relief for me as a glasses wearer were super, the focuser was so smooth and the sharpness was phenomenal. There was a Christmas tree (yep even in September) with led lights some distance off and they were tiny bright pinpoints that even with my Zeiss 8x25 Victory Pockets that I travel with and are super sharp, I could get nowhere near the pinpoint image with. There was a bit of CA, but not distracting when they're that comfy and sharp. I was really impressed. The UV+ could achieve similar views, but didn't have quite the luxury user experience of the NVs. I can't see anyone having regrets about getting the 10x NVs.
Thanks! Those led lights, yes. Yesterday I was looking at a clothes line with raindrops and the sun full on it. Probably an even harder test. Seems the Noctivid is always in control on highlights like this, with no excessive sparkle, nothing spectacular jumping to the fore. It's almost understated, and yet everything's there, in fine detail. The view reminds me of some fine hifi equipment which seems to invite you into the music, instead of throwing it at you.

Renze

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Old Thursday 19th September 2019, 13:12   #73
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Thanks!The view reminds me of some fine hifi equipment which seems to invite you into the music, instead of throwing it at you.

Renze
As a life long self confessed audiophile, I can relate to that! Very good analogy.
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Old Sunday 22nd September 2019, 17:15   #74
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What's different?
It is exactly as wdc mentioned. The Nuctivid is a slight improvement over Ultravid HD+ which is itself zero improvement over Ultravid HD which is itself zero improvement over Ultravid which is itself zero improvement over Trinovid BN which is itself a slight improvement over Trinovid BA. This summarizes 30 years of "progress" in Leica binoculars :)

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As many have pointed out, we may be looking at the end of innovative technical advancement with binoculars, and Leica may very well be guilty of re-packaging/marketing existing optical design for a few generations of product, with just enough modest tweaks to attract new users, and justify an increased price...
Well said :)

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Old Sunday 22nd September 2019, 21:43   #75
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IMHO the Noctivid is a definite improvement and, after many years, a Leica I'd seriously consider as an alternative to my Swarovski's. I own a 7X42 Ultravid BR from 2004 that was refurbished by Leica to like-new condition. Though not specific, Leica performed an "optical upgrade" due to both scopes having the "speckles" problem as viewed from the objectives. The upgrade has less CA and overall was clearly an improvement over my original. I have no idea if it's HD or HD+.

I've used the Noctivid 8X42 a few times side-by-side with other Leica models and it's truly an impressive view. IMO it's definitely alpha class and a subjective improvement over the HD+ model.

And, everyone of the Ultravid/Noctivid models is brighter than earlier Trinovid models.
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