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Ultravid 7x42 HD+ vs Noctivid 8x42 (1 Viewer)

I own a 8x42 Trinovid (2012-2015 model) and love it. But it's time for an upgrade. I'm set on Leica, big fan of the view and build quality, and I want the best they have to offer. That would seemingly be the Noctivid, although before that came along the general consensus seems to be the Ultravid 7x42 HD+ was Leica's best binocular.

As far as I can ascertain the Noctivid being the latest and greatest should have a superior view vs the Ultravid, but the disadvantages are it's about 100g heavier and perhaps ergonomically inferior? I've also read it can struggle in bright sunlight and is blackout prone - I'd like to know if others have found this to be the case as I do a lot of birding in the Med.

The Ultravid 7x42 HD+ seems to be widely praised, the larger exit pupil is appealing as is the lighter weight. Already owning a decent 8x42 binocular it perhaps makes sense to have a 7x42 in my arsenal. One disadvantage I can see vs the Noctivid is the AFOV will be narrower. But how does the view compare between the two? With my eyes being not as good as they once were I need a sharp binocular!

In the UK the Ultravid new is now over £1900 (it was around £1500 when I was looking last year!). Quite a rise in price! I have actually found a new Noctivid that is a slightly cheaper than the Ultravid! If the differences between the two are minor, I would probably have been swayed to the Ultravid when it was considerably cheaper, but now that they're both almost the same price does it make more sense to go for the "premium" model?!

I'm not in a position to visit a shop to try them, so I'll probably end up ordering both to test them myself and send one back, but I'd be keen to know people's thoughts!

For those that own or have tried both, which one would you choose?

Nigel
 
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Hi Nigel,

welcome on board.... ;)

I used both binoculars, but overall I prefer the Ultravid.

I like it better in terms of feel and ergonomics, it's hardly bigger than a 32 lens, the focuser isn't that high up, so I find that suboptimal with the Noctivid.

With the Noctivid I have to position my eyes precisely otherwise black outs occur, here too the UV is a little more benign.

The Noctivid it's a bit more immersive due to the larger apparent field of view, you're more in the picture, the sharpness is apparently a bit better, but to verify this exactly you have to do extensive tests with boosters, overall the picture seems a bit more "digital".

The color balance differs only marginally that Noctivid seems to be a bit more saturated, but from a subjective aspect that I can't quite put my finger on, the image in Ultravid seems to be more harmonious overall.

I can use the Ultravid for many hours without it becoming tiring on my hands and eyes. With the Noctivid I get the feeling of strain at some point.

It also seems important to note that a 7x is compared with an 8x, which is always a bit apples and oranges because the visual impression and depth perception are quite different.

The Noctivid is undoubtedly a fine glass but after a few years of comparisons I personally prefer the UV. something, it's a glass that doesn't do anything outstanding but everything is very good, it's overall more balanced for me.

But ultimately it is a subjective opinion, you will also get votes for the Noctivid.
At the end of the day, you should test both binoculars yourself; you really can't go wrong with either one.

Andreas
 
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If you love your Trinovid, and they are great binos, then just use and enjoy them.
You won't be too precious about them either.
The upgrade path 'can' be very expensive and a little disappointing, with the marginal gains for such huge outlay.
That's a personal choice. I have been there.
My Zeiss Conquests were all the binocular I ever needed, but I did the upgrade thing, and now when I look through my old Conquests.... well they are still just great.
High end optics have become hugely expensive of late.
The improvement over a £1000 pair of bins isn't massive.... it's there, for sure, wider field, flatter field (not my thing)etc... but it's not night and day.
As a compromise, why not sell your Trins and get an 8x42 Ultravid. Help offset the big cost, and you get a very nice Bino.
Ultravids are a firm favourite of mine, I prefer them to the Swaro Pures.

Best to take your Trinovids with you and do a direct comparison.
Blackouts, eye relief, ergonomics are all personal to the user.
You may find the extra £1000 you need to upgrade just isn't worth it.

Nothing wrong with your Trinovids at all.... great binocular that you can chuck about a bit with not too much stress.(y)
 
Hello Nigel,
I think Andreas has outlined the pros and cons of both very well. I'd like to add that the depth of field of the 7x Ultravid is another plus that I like very much. With regard to that, I don't quite agree with the Noctivid giving a more immersive view. Looking through the Ultravid is literally like looking through a window. This is also helped by the Ultravid's field curvature. I have limited experience with the Noctivid but I compared them side by side for a few hours outdoors. As Rg pointed out, many things are very subjective. I do think, though, the 7x UV clearly holds an edge over any 8x in woodland. That is where I use them the most.
 
Both Andreas and Rg make excellent points. You didn’t mention which Trinovids you have so hard for me to say what those differences would compared to the new UV’s and Nocs. I will say both are a good step up from all of the previous Trinovids.

I had the 8x42 UV+ , I have the 8x42 Nocs and the 7x42 UV’s now. After extensive comparisons over a few months of the two 8’s , I got rid of the UV. I found that the UV would hardly ever get used because the Nocs are noticeably sharper, brighter , have a larger FOV which seems even bigger because of the better edges. Build quality is similar ,second to none. The focuser on the Nocs is more refined and buttery smooth, the UV focuser is still nice but more utilitarian, dryer but still very nice. The Nocs are heveier as you know, so that could be a consideration but I really don’t notice the extra 4 ounces.

The Nocs ergonomics have been discussed here and there have been a few people that say the position of the focuser could be better , it was a concern with me as well when I read those posts, but after receiving it I don’t find it any different than 80% of all other traditional Binoculars in the 42mm size. There’s also been discussion about the open bridge ( I call double bridge) design because if you have a small IPD your hand may not fit between the barrels like some other with the design, but again I don’t this to much because of two reasons, one is I always use two hands to hold 42mm binoculars and it doesn’t matter if I can’t get my fingers between the barrels. The other reason I don’t get the complaint is that a huge amount of binoculars have a mono bridge , like the UV’s , that don’t allow the fingers to wrap around the barrels, Meopta, and Trinovids BA/BN also come to mind. to me the Nocs feel better in my hands, you have to try for yourself.

The 7x42 UV is another animal. As Andreas opined, has more DOF, it’s more immersive and has a calmer image, also more color saturation, I love it, one of my favorites. But my all time favorite binoculars in 8x42 are the Nocs. I have no black outs with the Nocs , and I find the eye box slightly friendlier than the 7x UV.

Good luck.

Paul.
 
I hate to throw another hat into the ring BUT... If it were me I might lean toward a new Trinovid(Retrovid) 7X35. I have both the UVHD+ 7X42 and the Trinovid 7X35 and I really use the 7X35 more. It's only real shortcoming is it not completely waterproof but you have the Trinovid 8X42 you can use in bad weather. The 7X35 Is lighter, handles better, and will save you a few dollars.

fullsizeoutput_1183.jpeg
 
If you wanted to see how you get on with 7x Leica's perhaps these may be worth consideration? Look to be in reasonable shape (apart from a bump) and a fraction of the price of the HD+. LCE are great to deal with, and you could always return within 14 days if you don't get on with them.
 
Both Andreas and Rg make excellent points. You didn’t mention which Trinovids you have so hard for me to say what those differences would compared to the new UV’s and Nocs. I will say both are a good step up from all of the previous Trinovids.

I had the 8x42 UV+ , I have the 8x42 Nocs and the 7x42 UV’s now. After extensive comparisons over a few months of the two 8’s , I got rid of the UV. I found that the UV would hardly ever get used because the Nocs are noticeably sharper, brighter , have a larger FOV which seems even bigger because of the better edges. Build quality is similar ,second to none. The focuser on the Nocs is more refined and buttery smooth, the UV focuser is still nice but more utilitarian, dryer but still very nice. The Nocs are heveier as you know, so that could be a consideration but I really don’t notice the extra 4 ounces.

The Nocs ergonomics have been discussed here and there have been a few people that say the position of the focuser could be better , it was a concern with me as well when I read those posts, but after receiving it I don’t find it any different than 80% of all other traditional Binoculars in the 42mm size. There’s also been discussion about the open bridge ( I call double bridge) design because if you have a small IPD your hand may not fit between the barrels like some other with the design, but again I don’t this to much because of two reasons, one is I always use two hands to hold 42mm binoculars and it doesn’t matter if I can’t get my fingers between the barrels. The other reason I don’t get the complaint is that a huge amount of binoculars have a mono bridge , like the UV’s , that don’t allow the fingers to wrap around the barrels, Meopta, and Trinovids BA/BN also come to mind. to me the Nocs feel better in my hands, you have to try for yourself.

The 7x42 UV is another animal. As Andreas opined, has more DOF, it’s more immersive and has a calmer image, also more color saturation, I love it, one of my favorites. But my all time favorite binoculars in 8x42 are the Nocs. I have no black outs with the Nocs , and I find the eye box slightly friendlier than the 7x UV.

Good luck.

Paul.
I have owned 7x35 retro, 8x42uvhd and 8x42nv simultaneously and agree with this and Chill’s comment as well. I do hope to try the 7x uvhd someday but for me, based on ergos and optics (I do wear eyeglasses) the ranking would be:
1) NV
2) 7x retro
3) 8x UVHD

That said, they’re ALL superb in that Leica way, and optically an improvement over the HD’s (which I’ve owned in 8x32 and 10x42).
 
I have owned 7x35 retro, 8x42uvhd and 8x42nv simultaneously and agree with this and Chill’s comment as well. I do hope to try the 7x uvhd someday but for me, based on ergos and optics (I do wear eyeglasses) the ranking would be:
1) NV
2) 7x retro
3) 8x UVHD

That said, they’re ALL superb in that Leica way, and optically an improvement over the HD’s (which I’ve owned in 8x32 and 10x42).
You’d probably get along great with the 7x42 UV, better eye releif and eye box comfort than both the retro and 842 UV.

Paul
 
I own a 8x42 Trinovid (2012-2015 model) and love it. But it's time for an upgrade. I'm set on Leica, big fan of the view and build quality, and I want the best they have to offer. That would seemingly be the Noctivid, although before that came along the general consensus seems to be the Ultravid 7x42 HD+ was Leica's best binocular.

As far as I can ascertain the Noctivid being the latest and greatest should have a superior view vs the Ultravid, but the disadvantages are it's about 100g heavier and perhaps ergonomically inferior? I've also read it can struggle in bright sunlight and is blackout prone - I'd like to know if others have found this to be the case as I do a lot of birding in the Med.

The Ultravid 7x42 HD+ seems to be widely praised, the larger exit pupil is appealing as is the lighter weight. Already owning a decent 8x42 binocular it perhaps makes sense to have a 7x42 in my arsenal. One disadvantage I can see vs the Noctivid is the AFOV will be narrower. But how does the view compare between the two? With my eyes being not as good as they once were I need a sharp binocular!

In the UK the Ultravid new is now over £1900 (it was around £1500 when I was looking last year!). Quite a rise in price! I have actually found a new Noctivid that is a slightly cheaper than the Ultravid! If the differences between the two are minor, I would probably have been swayed to the Ultravid when it was considerably cheaper, but now that they're both almost the same price does it make more sense to go for the "premium" model?!

I'm not in a position to visit a shop to try them, so I'll probably end up ordering both to test them myself and send one back, but I'd be keen to know people's thoughts!

For those that own or have tried both, which one would you choose?

Nigel
The only binoculars I own are 8x42 NV & 7x42UV. The Ultravids are very nice of course but I use the Noctivids almost exclusively. Occasionally I will take out the UV mostly because I feel I should use them but initially I always am a little disappointed, but after about 20-30 minutes I start getting used to them and start to enjoy them, ergonomically they're great. However, when I swap back there is an immediate wow factor with the Noctivids, they're so much better (in my opinion) optically. Never had a problem with blackouts on either. For some reason there seems to be a big leap in magnification between the 7 UV and the 8 NV also, really noticeable when attempting to identify distant birds. Am considering adding a 10x42 for visible migration (of birds) and won't look any further than Noctivid.
 
Same manufacturer, but the two binoculars are completely different in character. As others have said, you really do need to try to find a way to compare both side by side, not just for the view, but how they feel in the hands, because they are very different.

Ace Optics in Bath have both in stock secondhand. I haven't seen or handled the Noctivid, but the 7x42 Ultravid HD+ (£1499) is quite recently manufactured and indistinguishable from brand new (doesn't look as if it's ever been used, so like an 'open box' sale), a pristine and perfect copy, in my opinion.

Happy shopping! 🙂

(Personally, and this is purely subjective, I do agree with Tim S' post above. To me, the Ultravid feels better in the hand, but the view through the Noctivid is something really special).
 
I hate to throw another hat into the ring BUT... If it were me I might lean toward a new Trinovid(Retrovid) 7X35. I have both the UVHD+ 7X42 and the Trinovid 7X35 and I really use the 7X35 more. It's only real shortcoming is it not completely waterproof but you have the Trinovid 8X42 you can use in bad weather. The 7X35 Is lighter, handles better, and will save you a few dollars.

fullsizeoutput_1183.jpeg
I'm not too bothered about the lack of waterproofing/rubber armour, but what has put me off these is reading that the focus is quite slow? Also the eyepieces and eyecup diameter seem quite small, how is viewing comfort without glasses? And finally is the view comparable to the 7x42? The small size and weight is certainly appealing!
 
...I'll probably end up ordering both to test them myself and send one back, but I'd be keen to know people's thoughts!
Since this is an option for you it sounds like the perfect opportunity for you to try them out for hopefully more than just a day or two. I can't remember which Noctivids I've looked through, but I have the 7x42 HD+ and it's an outstanding binocular that I initially had no interest in. Having gone to a Leica store last year, I looked through most of what they had there, but it was the 7x42 Ultravid that rose to the top of my list and a few months later I was able to get one here off of the forum.

Looking forward to hearing your comparative results, and pictures too!
 
Hello Nigel,
I think Andreas has outlined the pros and cons of both very well. I'd like to add that the depth of field of the 7x Ultravid is another plus that I like very much.

And it came to my mind that depth of field is an even more advantage at higher age because the eye's ability to change focus becomes more limited.
I think it may be a contributing factor to why I find my 6x32 so comfortable.
 
Hi Nigel,

I fully agree with Rg548 post 3!!!! I have, well my son, a Trinovid 2012-2015 10x42. Nothing less than great binocular.
To me, Rg recommendations are just the right thing to do.

Good luck!

PHA
 
I'm not too bothered about the lack of waterproofing/rubber armour, but what has put me off these is reading that the focus is quite slow? Also the eyepieces and eyecup diameter seem quite small, how is viewing comfort without glasses? And finally is the view comparable to the 7x42? The small size and weight is certainly appealing!
Focus is a little slow. I really don't think about it when using it. I'm not an insect watcher so I really don't focus to the extremes. I can't comment on the use without glasses as I use binoculars exclusively WITH glasses. As far as the "view" goes, I've got both and nine times out of ten I'll pick the 7X35 and head out. The view is really amazing especially its retro design.

That 7X42 at Ace Optics above does sound like a good deal though.

Probably best to try both if you can.
 
I own a 8x42 Trinovid (2012-2015 model) and love it. But it's time for an upgrade.

I recall a thread on the binocular you have here in the Leica subforum - it should be easily findable. Apparently it's very well regarded and in some users' opinion is comparable to the equivalent Ultravid.

I've tried the 8x42 Noctivid on a couple of occasions at various Birdfairs and thought it was an outstanding performer, a noticeable step up from the binoculars in the Ultravid range I've tried (10x50 mainly). I've used a friend's 10x42 NV in Singapore for raptors and found its performance in harsh tropical light to be very good - you could walk it very close to the sun without glare manifesting itself (though that might not be such a good thing!). Never had an issue with blackouts. The 8x42 was easier still. Colours can seem a little over-saturated in the tropics (or so I've thought on a couple of occasions) but I've often thought extra saturation was not necessarily a bad thing in the UK when dull grey conditions so often seem to leach out all colour from targets.

Some folks have claimed that Ultravid coatings have improved recently - which if true would probably improve them somewhat, but given the choice I'm pretty sure I'd still take the Noctivid. Superb binocular.
 
You didn’t mention which Trinovids you have
Yes he did:
I own a 8x42 Trinovid (2012-2015 model)
That's the one that closely resembled UV 42, and preceded the current "HD" model. So really the question is, why did you choose this one in the first place over UV, and what are you trying to improve upon now? Typically buyers of this model found that there wasn't enough difference between it and UV to justify the extra cost, so what would now? (Of course Noctivid could be worth a look.)

One thing you might not like about UV/NV is that they have stronger pincushion distortion than your Trinovid which was unusual in this respect.

I tried upgrading from an older Trinovid BN to UVHD+ myself, and it just didn't feel worth it, not enough of an improvement; I let the UV go, and fortunately had kept the BN. Some disagree about that, but keep the possibility in mind.
 
I'm not too bothered about the lack of waterproofing/rubber armour, but what has put me off these is reading that the focus is quite slow? Also the eyepieces and eyecup diameter seem quite small, how is viewing comfort without glasses? And finally is the view comparable to the 7x42? The small size and weight is certainly appealing!
The focuser is a little slow but not bad, it’s very comfortable. Eyecups are a little small but again no issues for me or friends that used them. The view is very comparable to the 42UV, some actually prefer the Retro‘s. The image field stop is slightly more pronounced and maybe a little more color saturation. It has a little more edge distortion than the UV, but doesn’t bother me, and possibly a tad more CA under certain conditions. Simply a gorgeous image quality and such a beautiful piece of equipment.

The cunundrum now is that the UV’s are showing up at great discounts and only a few hundred more than the retros, and the retros have been discontinued. So it’s a tough choice.
 

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+1 for trying out the Retrovid.

The focuser on my 7x35 retro is wonderfully smooth and precise, slowness is zero problem for me with my admittedly relaxed and no pressure birding style.

Loved the view of the Noctivid the one time I tried them but their weight is a definite issue for me.

I've also been considering an Ultravid 7x42 HD+ but the prices have indeed shot up in the UK making the Retrovid look a bit of a bargain.

It took me a while to warm to mine after using the SF for years and more recently an EL field pro. Sometimes I think they are not quite up there with the best, other times I'm convinced they offer the loveliest view ever. The more I use them though, the more the latter is the case.

Definitely worth trying a pair while they are still available. The view and form factor together make them unlike anything else.
 

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