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Follow up testing Noctivid (1 Viewer)

arran

Well-known member
Today , I had the occasion to review the Noctivid at a local retailer , cloudy weather
I could test it against swaro El Fieldpro and zeiss sf
What most impressed me with the N was the ease of view !!!
No CA visible.colour cast was warm and very comfortabele short distance focusing.
Impression of sharpness was at all 3 on highest level
Contrast impression was highest with swaro and Noctivid
Focusdrive was very nice and pleasant , quite close to the eyes , but after some time using the bin , one get used to this position
No added value seen on presumed 3D effect or DOF
At first sight , no big difference with the Leica HD plus on optical performance
There is indeed a colourdifference in coating between the 2
In general , a quality impression with great ease of view and great colour fidelity
If I could choose now , in this circumstance of light situation and actual feeling ,
I would have bought the Noctivid as birding glass
 

SuperDuty

Well-known member
Is the Noctivid a step up in CA control over past Leica binoculars, haven't they always been noted to have more of it than especially the FL in the past ? I've yet to see a Leica, but I do see a significant improvement in CA control in the FL, HT, and SF over the SV. I'm tempted to seek out a Noctivid, but I hate to go to all the trouble just to see unacceptable CA.

Today , I had the occasion to review the Noctivid at a local retailer , cloudy weather
I could test it against swaro El Fieldpro and zeiss sf
What most impressed me with the N was the ease of view !!!
No CA visible.colour cast was warm and very comfortabele short distance focusing.
Impression of sharpness was at all 3 on highest level
Contrast impression was highest with swaro and Noctivid
Focusdrive was very nice and pleasant , quite close to the eyes , but after some time using the bin , one get used to this position
No added value seen on presumed 3D effect or DOF
At first sight , no big difference with the Leica HD plus on optical performance
There is indeed a colourdifference in coating between the 2
In general , a quality impression with great ease of view and great colour fidelity
If I could choose now , in this circumstance of light situation and actual feeling ,
I would have bought the Noctivid as birding glass
 

GLOBETROTTER

Well-known member
Today , I had the occasion to review the Noctivid at a local retailer , cloudy weather
I could test it against swaro El Fieldpro and zeiss sf
What most impressed me with the N was the ease of view !!!
No CA visible.colour cast was warm and very comfortabele short distance focusing.
Impression of sharpness was at all 3 on highest level
Contrast impression was highest with swaro and Noctivid
Focusdrive was very nice and pleasant , quite close to the eyes , but after some time using the bin , one get used to this position
No added value seen on presumed 3D effect or DOF
At first sight , no big difference with the Leica HD plus on optical performance
There is indeed a colourdifference in coating between the 2
In general , a quality impression with great ease of view and great colour fidelity
If I could choose now , in this circumstance of light situation and actual feeling ,
I would have bought the Noctivid as birding glass

Nice review.

You dint notice the DOF and nice 3D ?

Maybe when checking the binoculars is a good idea to pay attention to people walking around because in this way is more easy no notice it.

Check it side by side with another Bin and then you will see the 3D.

Thanks for share your impressions.
 

Canip

Well-known member
Leica Noctivid 8x42 - Initial Impressions

I used the new binoculars for a few days now and compared them side-by-side – free-hand and mounted on tripods - to „the other alphas“, e.g. Ultravid HD Plus, SF, HT, EL SV and EDG.

Previous comments in this forum range from „amazing WOW effect“, „incredible depth of field“ to „I expected to be blown away but was not“, so I was not sure what to expect.

The Noctivid is in my view a fabulous bino, and in several aspects I find it better than its competition. Below are my initial personal impressions as of today; much needs to be reviewed and reconsidered over the coming months, of course.

(Pro memoria: We are looking at glasses of the „premium class“, so when I mention performance differences between models hereafter, this does often not mean big differences, but it’s often rather about nuances than anything else)

The Noctivid is 1cm higher and about 50g heavier than the Ultravid. The body armor is slightly more „grained“, a bit like in the new Geovid models, grip is good both dry and wet (not as good as the EL SV, though). Build quality is good, but does not fully reach the level of the Ultravid (the fine grooves where metal meets rubber show slight traces of glue (??) in my sample, the finish of the Ultravid is superior in this respect). But overall, the Noctivid looks and feels very solid and well made. The design of the Ultravid may be a bit more original, the Noctivid looks more like other binoculars (my personal opinion, of course).

This is not Leica’s first binocular with open bridge design (cf. the Geovid models with Perger prisms). However, in the Noctivid, the space between the two parts of the bridge is both too short for the average hand and too narrow for the average fingers (as has been mentioned before in this forum). The SF provides the optimum in this respect in my view, the EL SV is second best, the Noctivid takes third place only. But another point is even more important in my view: if you hold the Noctivid by placing three fingers through the open bridge, you have to stretch out the index finger quite a bit to operate the focusing, since the focus wheel is much further away form the open space in the bridge than in the SF or EL SV. For open bridge binos, the SF for me provides the optimum in focusing ergonomics, the EL SV is also very good. The solution in the Noctivid seems sub-optimal to me, and I find the focusing in the Ultravid (without open bridge) more comfortable than in the Noctivid.

Adjusting the hinge, which appears robust and well constructed, is neither too stiff nor too easy in the Noctivid, the IPD range is (measured) 56-75mm, same as the Ultravid. The adjustable eyecups have four stops – in, 1/3 out, 2/3 out, fully extended – and operate the same way as in the Ultravid (not as smooth as in the SF, HT, EL SV or EDG).

The focus wheel turns equally smoothly in either direction and operates very precisely, and there is no play whatever, not even the little „clic“ upon changing direction so typical for the Utravids and Trinovids. You need a full turn of 360 degrees to change focus from 3m to infinity (which some birders may find a bit slow), same as in the Ultravid, and the excess travel „beyond“ the infininity position is another 100 degrees, in line with competition (the EL SV has more). Close focus in the tested sample was (measured) 1.4m (Leica indicates 1.9m).
After using the Noctivid for a short time, I would rate ist focusing mechanism the best among all the alphas.
The diopter adjustment operates essentially the same way as in the Ultravid, also showing the relative position in the little window on top oft he focusing wheel; the adjustment is smooth, precise and allows +/- 4dpt. The „0“ position is exactly on the „0“ mark.

Overall, I got an excellent impression of the mechanics of the Noctivid.

As to the optics:
I got a first surprise when inspecting the eyepieces: in the tested sample, the exit pupils are not really nice and round, but the left one shows a clear „dent“ at the 10 0’clock position, the right one a slightly smaller one at 2 o’clock. Hmm .... I will have to try to get hold of a second sample to see whether this finding is typical for the model or whether the tested sample was produced on a Monday :)

On the other hand, thea area around the exit pupil is nice and black-dark, even better than in the Ultravid and much better than in the EL SV, which shows numerous lighted structures around the EP, and also better than the HT with its distinct false pupils. I would compare the Noctivid in this regard to the SF.
Eye relief is 19mm, which is 3mm more than the Ultravid and allows excellent viewing comfort with or without eyeglasses (I tested it both ways).
The field of view is 135m (7.7 degrees), 5m more than the Ultravid and about the same as the EDG, HT and EL SV, but of course substantially less than the 148m oft he SF. I found the FOV of the Noctivid a „happy compromise“ – wide enough for comfortable viewing and panning, but not so wide that issues of peripheral sharpness and other effects become too relevant.

I can of course only give a very provisional (personal) statement about the image quality, after a few days using it side by side with other alpha binos. But I am confident that I can say the following without the risk of having to take it back after a more extended review period:

I found on-axis sharpness / contrast excellent and at least on par with SF and EL SV. It appears to be slightly superior than the HT in my eyes and clearly superior than the Ultravid and the EDG.
Peripheral sharpness appears distinctly better than in the Ultravid and the HT, but does not reach the level provided by EL SV, SF or EDG (which is hardly a surprise).
The image appears quite „warm“ to my eyes, but color fidelity is still very good, for my eyes there is no tint in yellow or red that I could find. I am otherwise a fan of the „cool sharpness“ of an EL SV image, even if it is a little bit at the expense of color saturation, but I have to say that I found the warm image of the Noctivid intense, appealing, „inviting to stay“ – a very nice image overall.
There is clearly less distortion in the Noctivid than in the Ultravid, but I have nevertheless found zero rolling ball effect – panning is even more comfortable than in the Ultravid, and the better off-axis sharpness of the Noctivid may contibute to that impression.

Stray-light suppression: I will have to do further reviews on this, but I can say already now that the Noctivid appears well shielded and shows none of the slight reflections 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.
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 (the SF, e.g., displays none of this). Worth mentioning, but probably not a big concern. Flares and small amounts of ghost images can also be triggered by bright light sources, the Ultravid proved slightly better in this regard.

CA: always a difficult subject matter. The Noctivid does exhibit a tiny bit of CA, also in the center oft he field of view. Is it more or less than in the ULtravid ? Using a Kite Booster (2.5x), I had the impression that there is a nuance more CA in the Noctivid, but this would have to be verified. Both the SF and the HT, however, seemed better in this respect and showed less CA than both Leicas.

Special subject „Depth of Field“, „3D-Effect“, etc.: since Leica themselves brought these terms up big time in their marketing lyrics, and since a number of reviewers in this forum have since expressed their excitement about their experience of a superior depth of field in the Noctivid, it would appear logical that everybody dealing with the Noctivid would want to check this aspect of the new binoculars.
To be blunt: if there is any special depth of field or 3D effect in the Noctivid, it was lost on me.
Don’t misunderstand me: I am not saying that these effects don’t exist. There are professionals such as Holger Merlitz, Kimmo Absetz, Henry Link and others who can much better judge what’s optically and scientifically possible. The only thing I am saying is: for my – probably relatively „normal“ or „average“ – eyes such effects did not become prominent in any substantial way.
You can read yourself in the „Merlitz“ or other good books which are the factors that influence depth of field, and how a perception of „depth of field“ can be caused beside the scientific factors (e.g. by field curvature).
To exclude the latter from tricking me, to test depth of field I checked the center of the field of view and observed through the branches (without leaves) of trees, located in the foreground (50m) and in the middle ground (80m), some clearly visible building structures in the background (250m). I then checked the need to refocus when observing foregound, middle ground and background. My personal result: I do not see a difference between the Noctivid and the Ultravid when following the mentioned procedure, except that the Noctivid shows the sharper and therefore also slightly more „plastic“ image than the Ultravid.
Again: this is my personal finding, using my eyes. I am therefore much interested in getting other assessments, esp. from people who come to different conclusions than I. Of course, if the entire discussion about 3D and depth of field were to come down to effects of field curvature, for which I have not tested, then the discussion would be an entirely different one.

To sum up:

Gijs van Ginkel wrote recently in this forum that „.... I got to know the 8x42 Noctivid in comparison with the 42mm SV, SF, HT and SLC. Based on the writings on this forum I had expected to be „blown away“ by the Noctivid. In short: I was not.“ To which I had responded that (before I got to review them) I still hoped to be blown away by the Noctivid.
Well, I wasn’t either ! The reason for this is probably twofold: one, expectations had been raised too high to ever be fulfilled. And two, I know and appreciate the other alphas from Swarovski and Zeiss so much that even a very nice instrument such as the Noctivid would have a hard time displacing them.

I have no doubt that the Noctivid will be a big success (esp. if the price were to come down a bit). The Noctivid is a very good binocular, and many more arguments speak for it than against it. The excellent optics, mechanical superiority and the Leica design by far outweigh the smaller imperfections in the ergonomics etc. that many users will not rate that important.
On the other hand, I do not assume that Zeiss and Swarovski managers lie sleepless in their beds at night because of the Noctivid. Maybe Nikon will have to decide whether to upgrade the EDG, which has not been upgraded for some years now, or whether to leave the alpha segment and to focus on the Monarch HG type segments, where they have introduced a good trump (I lately always stumble over that word) card on the market.

For what it’s worth.
Canip
 

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A2GG

Beth
Supporter
United States
Hi Canip,

Thanks for doing such an in depth and detailed review.
I did feel a bit led astray from the befinning of the review
where you state the NVid is fabulous bin with several aspects being better
than the competition , but then conclusion is a very good bin which Zeiss and Swaro should
not lose any sleep about. The review sort of went from excitement to summarizing a mediocre binocular.

What I took from the review:

Great mechanics

Ergonomics not so good

No deep DOF or noticeable 3D effect

CA is prevalent and even traces in the center (?) - that's not good

Very good flare/glare suppression , but compared mostly to Ultravid and not so much the
other bins. Does not sound as good as globetrotter's report.

Sweet spot/sharpness to the edge is in the middle of the pack.

Sharpness/contrast on par with top Zeiss and Swaro.

I don't see where NVid is better in several ways to the completion as stated
in the beginning of your review...unless I missed it somehow.

Reviews of noctivid seem to range from amazement and better than the other alphas to
mediocre.

When I think about it, Zeiss SF had similar debut and had its criticisms, but Zeiss made minor tweaks and now I see mostly good reviews. I guess Leica will tweak NVid over time too.
 

GLOBETROTTER

Well-known member
contrast on par with top Zeiss and Swaro. ????

I understand that everyone does not see the same but is hard to believe than a company Like Leica is lying directly into our faces.

The DOF is there and 3D but maybe i have a very well trained eye as photographer and is more easy to me to notice it ?.........

Well the 3D it's understandable as its a subtle rendering as in the Leica camera lenses but the DOF ?
 
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A2GG

Beth
Supporter
United States
GG-That's a pretty good review of the review... :-O

Gee thanks David :)

Just to make clear I appreciate Canip's helpful review overall and the effort he put into it. It's a very useful review, but I'm going to need to someday , if possible, try NVid out for myself. I would like to try the 32mm especially whenever it comes out.


I do have a feeling that I'll really like the Nvid optics since it does sound like it's still a distinct Leica view but enhanced.
 

SuperDuty

Well-known member
It seems like a non biased observation to me, as you can see in his image all of the top players are there. When people say the SV, HT, SF, etc are just absolutely being blown into the water by the latest new thing, maybe that could be true, but my hyperbole alarm goes off pretty fast.
 

A2GG

Beth
Supporter
United States
It seems like a non biased observation to me, as you can see in his image all of the top players are there. When people say the SV, HT, SF, etc are just absolutely being blown into the water by the latest new thing, maybe that could be true, but my hyperbole alarm goes off pretty fast.

It really is a very good review and a lot of effort went into it. I hope I didn't sound too critical.

Globetrotter's review is just as valid though , as it's his perception. I take user reviews here as helpful guides knowing that I still need to draw my own conclusions.

We need Henry, Gijs and people who can do actual tests on the NVid to get more objective results. I'll be looking forward to those ... but even with tested results it won't tell me whether I'll like this bino or not. I will need to decide that myself.
 
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SuperDuty

Well-known member
It always comes down to the same thing, you must try all of them for yourself to pick a personal favorite, that also includes me with the Noctivid since I haven't seen one. |=)|



It really is a very good review and a lot of effort went into it. I hope I didn't sound too critical.

Globetrotter's review is just as valid though , as it's his perception. I take user reviews here as helpful guides knowing that I still need to draw my own conclusions.

We need Henry, Gijs and people who can do actual tests on the NVid to get more objective results. I'll be looking forward to those ... but even with tested results it won't tell me whether I'll like this bino or not. I will need to decide that myself.
 

David in NC

Well-known member
GG-I didn't detect anything leading me to believe you were being critical-I just seen a chuckle I could get (and possibly give) by summarizing your post as a "review" of a review...

Yes..I too think I really need to try one. I thought an SF would be in my future (possibly early 2017) but now (already being a Leica fan) I feel the NV is going to be my new (not) secret crush...
 

GLOBETROTTER

Well-known member
It always comes down to the same thing, you must try all of them for yourself to pick a personal favorite, that also includes me with the Noctivid since I haven't seen one. |=)|


:clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:

It's the same as I thought when I returned my green cast SF 8X42.
 
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