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Leica Noctivid 8x42 design flaws and review - owners please check (1 Viewer)

CharleyBird

Well-known member
I see that bird watching has taken on a whole new meaning...

|:D| A bit like using Swarovski's to "See the unseen" ? With their "Limitless Perfection? whatever that means LOL
(Just been reading the latest Bird watching magazine here)
But then Opticron promise "The best birdwatching optics" so what superlatives surpass Limitless Perfection?

Back in reality, I tried both Noctovids looking out of the shop into bright daylight and they were superb optically. I couldn't fault them in that situation. If I had to be picky, always have the feeling Leica and Zeiss bins handle glare just a little better than Swaro in bright sunlight, but it could be just that Swarowski-view which is so popular
Also against the trend I do prefer the closed bridge of the Ultravids for handling.

But hey, I'm off to find a 7x42 Opticron now;)
 

Tobias Mennle

Well-known member
Tobias,

Let me be brutal: I don't think you have a screw problem, that is a contrived explanation, but if you feel you have veiling glare, then you quite possibly really have veiling glare. People who use optics often end up knowing what they want, just like people who play musical instruments often end up knowing whether their flute or piano is in tune.

Whether veiling glare is an issue with a batch of Nocts or a fault of your glass only is a different question which is irrelevant here. Send your instrument back to have it checked out. Or if you really want to know, send your instrument to one of the experts on this forum who have a measuring setup and can test for flare and transmission objectively.

While trying out the Noct the first time, I was dazzled while watching corvids against a white winter sky; I still remember the sensation because it was unexpected and unpleasant.Two days ago I had a very slight impression of light intrusion, whitening, whatever, when comparing the Noct to the Retrovid. The Retrovid seemed somehow to have a touch more contrast, while the Noct had a more full and 3D image. But my eyes are 64 years old and probably full of cataracts, and it's perfectly feasible that this is not a fault of the binocular but a relative of the same perception which I have when walking straight into the sunset. In any case the Noct I tried was hugely superior to my own Victory Pocket :)

Sometimes I think it's better to buy a decent priced midrange object in order to be continually surprised by what it can do for you, rather than some alpha object that surprises you with its faults ...

On a sidenote I'm writing this on a computer I fixed, and although i could get a new one, every minute I squeeze out of this one now feels like an achievement :)

Edmund

Edmund, I think you are quite right about almost everything. It surely is glare but probably the brass knob is not the main thing. Regarding lenses, I have a very serious professional deformation, no doubt about it, but it serves me well in my profession and I have learned to trust my eyes only, no marketing waffle.

BUT: There is extreme reflection from the prisms/glass surfaces in the Noctivid when shining a torch into the objectives. I will try to photograph it ASAP. Really weird.

There is only two small reflections in the EDG.

I do hope it is a manufacturing fault in my glass, but it does not seem very probable.

These reflections are not for the faint hearted...
 

Tobias Mennle

Well-known member
Motivated by Holger's alternative suggestions to explain Tobias' complaint of flare and glare, I once again took a dive into the Noctivid's internals and I found this (see my picture - an original work of art). Under certain conditions with strong sun light entering the binocular in a specific angle, these rainbows can be found at the 5 and 7 o'çlock position in the viewing circle. And also but with more effort at 11 and 1 o'çlock.
This may look alarming, especially regarding my beautiful drawing, but note that these phenomena can only be seen when one looks from the eyelens into the binocular from a rather awkward, completely unusual angle. When looking through the binocular, as we all are used to do by nature, these rainbows don't show up, they're nicely out of sight.
I then turned the binoculars upside down and searched for the colors again. Nope. When the Noctivid is used upside down there are no rainbows to be seen.
Then I tried to ascertain if I could detect changes in flare and glare between the usual and upside down type of use. My verdict is: no. I don't see any differences in flare, glare or contrast. Which leads me to the conclusion that the 'rainbows' do not have an effect on the Noctivid's optical performance.

Renze

Hi Renze, your rainbows look like the usual crescent/peripheral flares (I have adopted these terms from this forum). The Nocti is indeed very effective in reducing these, quite unlike say a Swarovision 8x32. The Ultravids suffer from these flares, but manage to keep the center pretty clean most of the time, which MY Nocti sample does not.
 

Renze de Vries

Well-known member
Hi Tobias,

I agree with Edmund that if you see veiling glare, then it's there. Ruling out possible sources is a good thing, but not a remedy, yet.

More in general, I was pleased you called your review 'preliminary'. So it's open for correction. If I may give you some advise, reconsider your review very thoroughly. It's quite uneven, permeated with your veiling glare-disappointment and not on your usual standard.

Renze
 
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Tobias Mennle

Well-known member
Thanks for all the input, majority is against the brass knob as a cause for veiling glare. So I grabbed my torch and Noctivid again.

Please fasten your seatbelts and we will do a dive into the stargate. Ok, it´s only Noctivid flare. Psychedelic enough.

Please could someone tell me what is going on in the Noctivid? Henry Link? Optical designer from Leica, :eek!:

Zeiss, Swarovski :smoke:

I marked all bins on the left objective at 12o´clock with a white dot. I used a dimmed and diffused LED torch because with strong light the direct, colorful lens ghosts will make it hard to see anything inside. It´s a bit tedious because the macro lens is bulky etc., but the LED is just a bit tilted from axis so this is light which easily enters the glass under normal conditions.

No. 1 is Nikon EDG, you see a reflection of the roof at 6 o clock. And nothing else, no matter where I put the torch. That's a pretty unique point of the EDG probably. Applause.

No. 2 is Leica UVHD+ 8x32, a favorite but definitely not as flare suppressed as the Nikon. This is most of the reflection I could provoke.

No.3 is the Nocti 8x42, the LED just hitting the roof.

No. 4 with the torch tilting a bit differently, this is the flare thing. Seems to be in a focus plane close to the field stop.

No. 5 another pic of the flare thing, different light angle.

A reflection this bright should scatter back into the image path and cause veiling glare. I´d be very surprised if it did not.

Although I did heavy contrast correction in the images, so flare brightness should not be quantified by the images, the Nocti flare is much brighter than the UV flare, and comes from a much bigger area.

Seen from the ocular it is veiling glare.

Again, it is always "directly compared to what" - I don't know about SF, Swarovision etc. as I don't have direct comparison at hand.

But compared to the 10 years older Nikon EDG the Nocti disappoints me.

Because the Ultravid has a similar, although much weaker reflection, I think a manufacturing defect in my Nocti sample is improbable. This looks like a design flaw.
 

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Tobias Mennle

Well-known member
Hi Tobias,

I agree with Edmund that if you see veiling glare, then it's there. Ruling out possible sources is a good thing, but not a remedy, yet.

More in general, I was pleased you called your review 'preliminary'. So it's open for correction. If I may give you some advice, reconsider your review very thoroughly. It's quite uneven, permeated with your veiling glare-disappointment and not on our usual standard.

Renze

Without good global contrast, any lens is a paper weight (unless you want that property for artistic reasons...). The standard of my reviews is direct comparison and nothing else. My demands are high, and my vision is very good.

You know that I have advocated Leica bins with passion and for a couple of years. I bought 3 Leica bins. They are generally underrated (Jan van Daalen recently claimed in this forum Leica binocular market share in his shop was 6%). This is because the alpha binocular market works totally different from the high end lens market. Alpha bins are mainly tools for hunters (75% Zeiss reckoned a couple of years ago, so my contact told me), great lenses serve an artistic or professional purpose.

Anyway, I will not take bullshit from any manufacturer, at least not in the long run.

The Noctivid review was no fun at all and frankly it would have been much better for me to send back the glass to the seller right away. But curiosity kills the cat, in this case the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde character of the Noctivid (Hyde comes out in the daylight).
 
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PHA

Well-known member
Hi Tobias,

It is very strange this veiling glare thing in the Noctivid. Last year I compared my HT 10x42 vs. a Noctivid 10x42. Looking almost right into the sun, looking at the edge of a 10 floor building. The difference was huuuge:
-With the HT was almost impossible to see something....Total milky veiling glare.
-With the Noctivid the view was almost free of that v.g.
This is one of the real issues with the 10x42 HT. Looking inside from the objectives, all the rings inside the HT are painted with a very shiny gray colour...not good! In the Noctivid, instead, all these internal rings and waffles are very dark no shining black.
I don't know what would be the reflection effect of that bronze bolt....
I almost buy a Noctivid, a lovely green one wich I was looking for for a very good price, almost 2000 euros, but suddenly my path crossed with a Swarovski Habicht 10x40 W GA made in April 2019, still warm from the oven...
Again, I went to compare it with the Noctivid....I have the Habicht. It is the 6th Habicht that I have had, four of them 10x40 from all versions. The only one right now is this one. To me, the last Habicht versions, specially in 10x40, are THE BASIC BINOCULAR TO HAVE. It will be the last binocular I will part with. Period.
By the way, I sold the Zeiss HT....
I like your web site, thank you!

Best

PHA
 
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Patudo

Well-known member
For some reason this comes across a little like a personal vendetta with Leica. Something just doesn't feel right here...

For what it's worth, Tobias has laid into Zeiss (SF and FL build quality issues) and Nikon (EDG build issues), as well as praised the Ultravids - so I'd suggest he's an equal-opportunity ornery fellow... o:D

Tobias, my thanks for your various posts and the info on your site - it's always interesting to see what the perception of an experienced (and much more perfectionist than myself!) observer is. For my part, I've only had about 30 to 40 minutes with a friend's 10x42; while trying it, I did walk it close to the sun to see how affected it was by strong nearby light sources. I thought it did rather well, better than the 8x32 FL I had been using (although a little advance warning via flare that the bird you are following is approaching the sun isn't an altogether bad thing...). In that respect my (limited) experience accords with that of PHA, Renze de Vries and others who have commented here. But I realize glare happens, and stray light can enter the binocular, in many different situations and conditions. It would be most interesting if Juelich, or some other optics business with the requisite mechanical capabilities, could modify a Noctivid to your recommendations and assess the results.

PS. I look forward to reading the classic porros article you planned to write!
 

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
Tobias:

It seems you like to come out with some bold statements, and many have doubts about the reliability
of your opinions as mentioned above, as they can change with time and experience.

There are many ways to play with flashlights, photos and more inside and out of a binocular.

You live in Germany, why not investigate further by interviewing or going to Wetzler for more information
from Leica. I'm sure your inquiry would be met with open arms. Maybe they could educate you more about
binocular design.

Jerry
 

eronald

Well-known member
Binocular firms seem to be pushing the pricing up to that of a used car, and users are getting oh so dreadfully picky.
I wonder whether the two are correlated?
Does Macdonald get a lot of complaints about cucumber texture in the Big Mac?

Edmund
 

Loud Green Man

Well-known member
Please fasten your seatbelts and we will do a dive into the stargate. Ok, it´s only Noctivid flare. Psychedelic enough.

Were you trying to produce artwork for a 1970's Krautrock album cover? At least one of your images hits the spot.

With regard to your concern please refer to post 24 and invite Leica to comment on why this key mechanical component has such a finish.

LGM
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Binocular firms seem to be pushing the pricing up to that of a used car, and users are getting oh so dreadfully picky.
I wonder whether the two are correlated?

Edmund

Birdforum currently has almost 163,000 members, and the number of guests who regularly visit the website is several times this.

So the number of folks who actually post here is a tiny fraction and almost certainly are not representative of folks who just love birding and use their binos without ever thinking of shining a torch up the objectives.

Lee
 
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eronald

Well-known member
Birdforum currently has almost 163,000 members, and the number of guests who regularly visit the website is several times this.

So the number of folks who actually post here is a tiny fraction and almost certainly are not representative of folks who just love birding and use their binos without ever thinking of shining a torch up the objectives.

Lee

Lee,

We are of the same mind. Most folk probably get some very nice bins for the price of a jacket, and go meet some birds. In fact in my garden I can see my birds close up, without binoculars, as i like them and feed them.

This Noctivid discussion is a bit like about whether a Michelin restaurant should lose a star for possibly overboiling the potatpes of a reviewer - a major earthquake in France, reported in broadsheets, and yet most people will never in their lives get to see the inside of a starred restaurant although they do not suffer through famine. But if you’re going to have a national argument, why not have it a about potatoes, nobody really gets hurt.

Now please excuse me while I go and shine a torch up my objectives, I need to check some more for dust in the barrels :)

Ps. I once listened to a talk by a hobby painter who had been a heart surgeon, and he said something like “I operated on a few hundred people in my career and botched only a handful of operations, and when it comes to painting there are only a handful I didn’t botch but who cares”. This guy had his priorities right, respect.

Edmund
 
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Mike F

Well-known member
I think perspective is very important. I totally agree that one can obsess too much over many things in life, and many of those more important than whether shining a torch up the wrong end of a binocular reveals a bit of dust or (as yet) unexplained reflections. However, and speaking personally of course, I, like many professional people I’m sure, have to be extremely precise in what I do for a living. If I screw something up as a musician it won’t have the same direct consequences as if I were a surgeon(!), but nonetheless I demand very high standards of myself, and of other performers.

For me, binoculars are a hard earned luxury hobby. I’m not personally inclined to chop and change. When I buy a binocular I know that I will keep it, probably for the rest of my life, and so the purchase is carefully considered, usually for a long time. When I do eventually buy I hope and expect that the binocular will give me a lifetime of viewing pleasure, so naturally I would want that binocular to be perfect and without fault. What I have realised is that one can find fault with just about anything in life, even alpha binoculars. The important thing IMHO is to have realistic expectations, enjoy the stunning performance which they invariably provide, and then not to look for, or at least not invent, faults. Just my two cents.....
 

eronald

Well-known member
I think perspective is very important. I totally agree that one can obsess too much over many things in life, and many of those more important than whether shining a torch up the wrong end of a binocular reveals a bit of dust or (as yet) unexplained reflections. However, and speaking personally of course, I, like many professional people I’m sure, have to be extremely precise in what I do for a living. If I screw something up as a musician it won’t have the same direct consequences as if I were a surgeon(!), but nonetheless I demand very high standards of myself, and of other performers.

For me, binoculars are a hard earned luxury hobby. I’m not personally inclined to chop and change. When I buy a binocular I know that I will keep it, probably for the rest of my life, and so the purchase is carefully considered, usually for a long time. When I do eventually buy I hope and expect that the binocular will give me a lifetime of viewing pleasure, so naturally I would want that binocular to be perfect and without fault. What I have realised is that one can find fault with just about anything in life, even alpha binoculars. The important thing IMHO is to have realistic expectations, enjoy the stunning performance which they invariably provide, and then not to look for, or at least not invent, faults. Just my two cents.....

Yes. I agree. And if Leica want to sell “alpha binoculars” they can expect their customers to hold them to high standards exactly like concertgoers or operagoers expect high standards when they pay for tickets by a famous virtuoso or formation.

My own impression of the Nocts I’ve seen is they do have some sort of -minor- issue which can be noticed during normal use. It wouldn’t be a real problem except they are priced as perfection - My Zeiss Pocket‘s view is a joke compared to the Noct’s immersive image - but my expectations are more than satisfied given its fair price (and weight). If I had paid for an SF I would be more demanding.

Actually I’ve seen this story before in a different context because in an earlier life I was a color consultant, with some experience with camera profiling, and some guy in the US asked me for calibration help for his $$$$$ digital back camera system, and I had to tell him that his images were being destroyed by flare or glare presumably internal reflections inside the camera of light transmitted by the high quality extreme wide angle he was using. The problem he had was very real , although not in my wheelhouse. His architecture images were very good geometrically but the contrast was far from his expectations of the system he had assembled. As an aside, this glare problem was exacerbated in digital cameras by off-sensor reflections, Canon told me.

It often happens that photographers realise something is off with their images, but cannot easily identify the exact cause. I think we’e seeing the same thing here occasionally with binocular users, and I expect musicians see the same issues with their instruments or their way of using them.

I think most of the equipment-oriented members here have a simple solution to minor issues: pick another binocular off their shelf. One glass is light, another can see into shadows, another has the best “plasticity” etc. Recognise the strength, and do not expect all-round perfection.

Edmund
 
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Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
The important thing IMHO is to have realistic expectations, enjoy the stunning performance which they invariably provide, and then not to look for, or at least not invent, faults. Just my two cents.....

Nicely summarised. I would only add that there are very enjoyable and educational experiences to be had from binoculars at all price levels. One expects a higher performance to accompany a higher price and in my experience this is expectation is fulfilled.

Lee
 

Canip

Well-known member
I think I need a moment of REFLECTION to consider all this .....

... and now that my moment of reflection is over, this is my - very personal! - conclusion.

Tobias, whom I hold in high esteem as one of the most critical optics reviewers with the advantages of not only a sharp mind but also the trained eye of the avid photographer, deserves thanks for pointing out what I (also) consider a design flaw in the Noctivid.

When Leica launched the Noctivid, it advertised it in a way which raised expectations very high:
„..... These high-end binoculars represent a revolution in the field of viewing optics and offer discerning bird-watchers and wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts previously unimagined quality.....“
etc.
This suggested you could expect - and demand - perfection.

The Noctivid is a superb binocular in my view - but, like any other premium binocular, it is not perfect. Your Mercedes isn‘t either.

How relevant is the mentioned design flaw in birding practice? My view: not much really.
Until somebody comes up with a credible account according to which a certain bird identification task could not be performed as well as with a same size SF, EL SV or EDG, so that the Noctivid user failed and the SF and EL SV users succeeded, I don‘t believe that the shiny focuser shaft is a big issue. A small nuisance, yes; a big problem, no.

I, as hopefully many Noctivid users here, will continue to enjoy my 8x42 as a very nice binocular that provides me lots of wonderful observations and happy moments. It is not my favorite binocular, but I fully understand all those who consider it their favorite binocular.

On the other hand, being technically a layman but a keen binocular enthusiast, I enjoy reading threads like this one in which the technicalities of a less than perfect design choice are discussed and opinions exchanged.

ymmv Canip
 
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Mike F

Well-known member
... and now that my moment of reflection is over, this is my - very personal! - conclusion.

Tobias, whom I hold in high esteem as one of the most critical optics reviewers with the advantages of not only a sharp mind but also the trained eye of the avid photographer, deserves thanks for pointing out what I (also) consider a design flaw in the Noctivid.

When Leica launched the Noctivid, it advertised it in a way which raised expectations very high:
„..... These high-end binoculars represent a revolution in the field of viewing optics and offer discerning bird-watchers and wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts previously unimagined quality.....“
etc.
This suggested you could expect - and demand - perfection.

The Noctivid is a superb binocular in my view - but, like any other premium binocular, it is not perfect. Your Mercedes isn‘t either.

How relevant is the mentioned design flaw in birding practice? My view: not much really.
Until somebody comes up with a credible account according to which a certain bird identification task could not be performed as well as with a same size SF, EL SV or EDG, so that the Noctivid user failed and the SF and EL SV users succeeded, I don‘t believe that the shiny focuser shaft is a big issue. A small nuisance, yes; a big problem, no.

I, as hopefully many Noctivid users here, will continue to enjoy my 8x42 as a very nice binocular that provides my lots of wonderful observations and happy moments. It is not my favorite binocular, but I fully understand all those who consider it their favorite binocular.

On the other hand, being technically a layman but a keen binocular enthusiast, I enjoy reading threads like this one in which the technicalities of a less than perfect design choice are discussed and opinions exchanged.

ymmv Canip

Where’s the ‘like’ button on this forum? ;) :t:
 

Mike F

Well-known member
Nicely summarised. I would only add that there are very enjoyable and educational experiences to be had from binoculars at all price levels. One expects a higher performance to accompany a higher price and in my experience this is expectation is fulfilled.

Lee


Lee, I think this is spot on!
 

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