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Leica Noctivid 8x42 design flaws and review - owners please check (3 Viewers)

I really like the wonderful warm color of the Noct, and the very easy view but I have also seen the painful glare against a winter sky. I think that in this forum one could just say that the Noct is the current Leica alpha, each company having its strengths and weaknesses, and move on to other topics.

Mike drop.

Edmund
 
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Yes, Nikon E11 8x30, latest version.
Obvious point was each binocular has it's quirks when you get your magnifying glass out, and most don't seem to affect performance much if at all.
TM's website is one of my favourites btw, and I agree with so much, especially about 'old-fashioned rendering' from lenses and looking for '3D pop'.

That glue makes me smile and love them more, and really, when you look at the whole package, they compare very well to the latest premium roofs.
 
I think one should get an alpha because of its qualities, not the lack of faults. Every time I stow away my Pocket, I hear it say ‘I did my job and I did it well, and I’ll be right here again when you need me’.
Edmund

My Ultravid HD+ 8x32 has been saying that to me today - every time I set it down! Stellar piece of work by Leica. Stunning image quality and incredibly compact and handy.

I guess the Noctivids haven't blown the Ultravids out of the water.
 
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My 10x42's are totally black inside. I wonder if the flaw that is being seen was a particular model year thing?
 
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.

Leica Noctivid 8x42 review - greatestbinoculars.com
Tobias,
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.

Leica Noctivid 8x42 review - greatestbinoculars.com
Hi Tobias,

I like to respond on your writing here.

Let me introduce myself. I work as a forest supervisor and carry a binocular 7 days a week from early in the morning till sometimes late in the evenweg. It is my most important piece of equipment.
I have glasses to correct just antistigma. I have 150% sight measured. I have testen optical measurement equipment because I am able to see the slightest diopter change.

I am in the Swarovski Church. I had them all from the Habicht till the NL. I agree with you on the SLC 42, but I prefer the SLC 56. For me that is the best Swarovski.

I have been reading your Noctivid review several times. By reading it I came to the conclusies that it must be a very good binocular. I was curious.

There is no binocular without flaws. Not even a Swarovski.

So I went to my binocular supplier and asked if I could test a Noctivid. He said that is notting for you, but I insisted.

So I walked around with an 8x42 Noctivid for a week.
I saw everything you mentioned in your review.
Yes there is whitening looking through tree branches against highly luminated cloudy sky. But I only know one binocular that is beter in that situation; the SLC 56.

The Noctivid is extremely good looking against the low sun. Yes I saw spikes, two times a day during 5 minuten. When the sun is at a specific angel to the bino. You might be right about the brass screws. But I can imagine that somebody will never see it.
But together with the SLC 56 the Nocitivid is the best bino I know in this station.

Than there is the enormous DOF. And the AFOV looks bigger than the figures suggest.

The Noctivid is extremely sharp. I can see more detail with an 8x than with other 10x bino's

The colors of the Noctivid are closer to reality than any other bino I know. Close to nature!!!

The Noctivid is not flat. It has sufficient 3D. In one of the articels Holger Merlitz wrote it is stated on one of his graphs that the Noctivid 8X42 has the same k value as the SLC 8X42.

I make a deep bow for the LEICA engineers that designed the Nocivid. It shows that LEICA knows about optimale equipment. The realy show ther heritage.

For me the best binocular I have ever tested.

I bought one!!!!!

Regards

Bert
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The Noctivid is not flat. It has sufficient 3D. In one of the articels Holger Merlitz wrote it is stated on one of his graphs that the Noctivid 8X42 has the same k value as the SLC 8X42.

You are aware that the k value has nothing to do with 3D?
 
You are aware that the k value has nothing to do with 3D?
It’s probably part of it. The pincushion and the curved field both contribute to the illusion of 3D. Other contributors to the slightly nebulous concept include narrower depth of field, having perspective lines in the view, image contrast etc.

It also partly explains why tobias was so disappointed by noctivid - he normally used 8x32 ultravid, which had very strong pincushion that he got used to.
 
Leica is hurting customers, but even more so themselves probably.

They would sell more Noctivids with a better product.
Not sure where you dug up enough data on that first statement....? ....ideas? In my thinking, given the optics of Leica, they most likely are not hurting. In the camera world, while expensive....Leica products (lens and cameras) have a cult like following that rivals a Trumpster. No ...they are not hurting for customers.

Noctivids needing to be a better product? The only person that can say one way or the other is the person who actually is viewing a particular product. To make a broad statement like that is implying that 'your eye-sight and personal taste' should over-ride any other consumer. Not sure you can 'go there'.
 
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.

Leica Noctivid 8x42 review - greatestbinoculars.com
You can see the same thing in the slc. I quite like to see the mechanicals and it doesn't seem to cause glare in the case if the slc. It's way off axis in either case and the light would have to either bounce off the inside of the bins closer to the objectives to get to it or they'd have to be up side down.
 
Not sure where you dug up enough data on that first statement....? ....ideas? In my thinking, given the optics of Leica, they most likely are not hurting. In the camera world, while expensive....Leica products (lens and cameras) have a cult like following that rivals a Trumpster. No ...they are not hurting for customers.
B
Noctivids needing to be a better product? The only person that can say one way or the other is the person who actually is viewing a particular product. To make a broad statement like that is implying that 'your eye-sight and personal taste' should over-ride any other consumer. Not sure you can 'go there'.
I was just curieus after Tobias write up. So I testen the Noctivid. After having all the Swaro's and a vew Zeiss bino's. Also the SF, I was suprised by the qualty of the Noctivid. I left the Swaro church.
 
I was just curieus after Tobias write up. So I testen the Noctivid. After having all the Swaro's and a vew Zeiss bino's. Also the SF, I was suprised by the qualty of the Noctivid. I left the Swaro church.
I was a Swaro church goer (to borrow your term but I like it)...years back with the SLC. It was a solid binocular but perhaps the solidness in terms of 'feeling like it was a brick held up to my face'. But the product itself, top-notch but I craved ergonomics. Then I dabbled in the HT Zeiss.....a lovely binocular with superb ergonomics. But in the back of my head, I always had this idea that 'focus' was difficult to pinpoint, especially when compared to the SLC. But I found the Noctivid later on and wow, it married the best of the Swaro with the HT. I was never enamored as much with the SF and haven't given the NL much of a shot to compete, as after all, I 'have the Noctivid' and in my eyes and hands, there is little to improve upon.

I feel the marketing of Leica within their binocular division lags behind Swaro and Zeiss. In fact the marketing of Leica binocular division lags behind the marketing of Leica Camera division. When looking at camera and lens, ....photographers know that Leica is a 'dream'....they want one. But with binoculars, it is more akin to "I didn't know Leica made binoculars'... jim
 
I was a Swaro church goer (to borrow your term but I like it)...years back with the SLC. It was a solid binocular but perhaps the solidness in terms of 'feeling like it was a brick held up to my face'. But the product itself, top-notch but I craved ergonomics. Then I dabbled in the HT Zeiss.....a lovely binocular with superb ergonomics. But in the back of my head, I always had this idea that 'focus' was difficult to pinpoint, especially when compared to the SLC. But I found the Noctivid later on and wow, it married the best of the Swaro with the HT. I was never enamored as much with the SF and haven't given the NL much of a shot to compete, as after all, I 'have the Noctivid' and in my eyes and hands, there is little to improve upon.

I feel the marketing of Leica within their binocular division lags behind Swaro and Zeiss. In fact the marketing of Leica binocular division lags behind the marketing of Leica Camera division. When looking at camera and lens, ....photographers know that Leica is a 'dream'....they want one. But with binoculars, it is more akin to "I didn't know Leica made binoculars'... jim
 
In bino stores I always was more or less kept away from Leica, even Zeiss. When they find out you are willing to spend some money on a bino they immediatly direct you to Swarovski. Must be a commercial thing.
On the other hand Swarovski also makes very good binoculars. I have an ATS 65 scope and I am really happy with it. but the Noctivid fits me, to my suprise, as a bino better. I only did not understand why a company with such a hertage in optical equipment like Leica, was getting so many bad reviews on their top bino.

I still do not understand it, it is a top binocular.

It shows that the Leica engineers knew what they were doing. Extraordinary DOF, FOW bigger than the figures do suggest, extremely sharp image, very good planning behaviour ( k ), good eyerelief, easy looking against low sun, beautifull colors and 3D.
 
In bino stores I always was more or less kept away from Leica, even Zeiss. When they find out you are willing to spend some money on a bino they immediatly direct you to Swarovski. Must be a commercial thing.
On the other hand Swarovski also makes very good binoculars. I have an ATS 65 scope and I am really happy with it. but the Noctivid fits me, to my suprise, as a bino better. I only did not understand why a company with such a hertage in optical equipment like Leica, was getting so many bad reviews on their top bino.

I still do not understand it, it is a top binocular.

It shows that the Leica engineers knew what they were doing. Extraordinary DOF, FOW bigger than the figures do suggest, extremely sharp image, very good planning behaviour ( k ), good eyerelief, easy looking against low sun, beautifull colors and 3D.
I do see what your talking about with some reviews concerning the Noctivids, but the majority of reviews are positive. There seems to be a very vocal group of Swaro and Zeiss fanboys (and girls) because that’s the larger number of sales. If we’re talking about Leica Ultravids ( and I’m told BR and BN’s) there is a cult following for there warm, saturated color rendition and there immersive magical field of view , very addictive.

But the smaller FOV, less eye relief a little more CA than the newer options from Zeiss and Swaro make it a second or third choice. Sometimes those features are more important to some , given they all have incredible optics. Then there are the stat chasers, people who don’t need or even care about FOV or eye relief but want to have the best numbers on paper.

Ultravids are gorgeous well-built elegant traditional Binoculars.

Fast forward the Noctivids, imo they were a disappointment for the crowds who were expecting Leica to play the same game of the other titans of alpha binos. I believe many were disappointed or disillusioned that it didnt have a huge FOV, the field wasn’t flat enough and they weren’t radical changes from there previous premium line. instead of the major changes from FL to SF and EL to NL, Leica kind of improved on the Ultravids, brighter, sharper , more contrast, a slightly larger FOV , better edges with a larger sweet spot and with a marvelous focuser that rivals the competition.

I have a small collection of all of the Zeiss, swarovski and Leica, and I still prefer the Noctivids the most.

Enjoy your Noctivids.

Paul
 
If we’re talking about Leica Ultravids ( and I’m told BR and BN’s) there is a cult following for there warm, saturated color rendition and there immersive magical field of view , very addictive.

Ultravids are gorgeous well-built elegant traditional Binoculars.

instead of the major changes from FL to SF and EL to NL, Leica kind of improved on the Ultravids, brighter, sharper , more contrast, a slightly larger FOV , better edges with a larger sweet spot and with a marvelous focuser that rivals the competition.

I have a small collection of all of the Zeiss, swarovski and Leica, and I still prefer the Noctivids the most.
I'm very much sold on my 8x32BN and my Ultravids, but posts like this keep me hoping to buy a Noctivid someday, if they ever decide to make them in a smaller glass. Thanks for making me feel vindicated in being happy with the ones I have, and on the fence waiting for something else in the Noctivid line as well.
 

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