We received a Leica Noctivid a few months ago to try out and review.
Being the current best binocular Leica manufacturers, and coming with a very hefty price tag, we expected it to be good.
What we found was a binocular that provides mind blowing brightness and low-light performance, but a few issues with coma that may not make it the idea binocular for everyone.
We tested the binocular next to a Swarovski 8.5x42 EL as the closest competitor side by side.
The Noctovid is a fantastic binocular to hold. Having each barrel connected in 2 places, a first for Leica it gives you ample grip, even when wet. At no time did I feel I was going to drop the binocular and the weighting of the unit is spot on for my hands.
The Lowlight performance is just mind blowing. It is by far the brightest binocular we have ever used. Leaving the Zeiss and Swaroski models well behind. In-fact it's so bright that I felt my eyes straining after a while, something I did not experience with Swarovski 8.5x42 EL. More on the brightness later.
If you are doing any kind of hunting or birding in twilight lighting, this is the binocular for you. As a stockist of all the top brands, nothing is coming close during our comparison testing.
Another great feature is the focuser. It feels like a Steiner Sports System, you make barely any adjustments to it keeping your eye on the action and improving the overall experience further. The close focus range is down to 1.9m, which is good but not class leading (Swarovski 8.5x42 EL focuses to 1.5m).
The eye relief is of note too. Glasses or not, no issue with comfort. The neoprene strap that's included is comfortable and doesn't slip, very comfortable for long periods of use.
Optically it's very well corrected when talking about edge sharpness and distortions. Again, this is class leading and everything except coma was amazingly controlled.
The objective lens covers don't fall off all of the time! Such a huge plus for a quality product. At this level, it really is the little things.
What I didn't like
The binocular, while having great colour and brightness, does suffer from coma. It is noticeable compared to a near coma-less binocular like a Swarovski 8.5x42 EL or Kowa Genesis.
It's quite a let down for such a expensive product, and dark and light areas of a subject are effected. Such as a seagull's dark and light feathers in our testing.
Another thing to note is sometimes it's just too bright. This is something I thought I'd never complain about but during testing on a sunny day, it was uncomfortable to view. The light transmission is just completely unlike anything else. If you do nearly all of your binocular observation in the middle of the day, this is not the binocular for you.
This binocular is aimed squarely at people who do low light hunting and bird watching.
The Case does not have the ability to attach a strap. The strap runs out of the bag, from the binocular. Since the case is so tight around the binoculars it is a good weight saving feature but for the price, it would of been nice to have a strap on the case.
Overall, the binocular is what you except out of a top end Leica. Amazing low-light performance with great comfort and brand assurance.
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