Leica is considered by many to be (along with Swarovski and Zeiss) one of the Big Three in the world of optics, especially binoculars. Leica binoculars then, as you might expect, are not cheap in any sense of the word.
For some time, Leica binoculars have come in three “juicy flavors”, as I call them – Trinovids, Ultravids, and Noctivids. We’ll take a look in this review at what’s available in each of those three lines to see how they’re alike and how they differ.
A word of caution here at the start: If you don’t have at least $500 to spend, you best look elsewhere. With high quality comes a high price tag. On the other hand, if you do have that much to devote to very, very good binoculars and intend to get your money’s worth out of them, read on. You’ll likely find something that will pique your interest.
One more word about Leica binoculars features in general: In my research, I have found no reference (on the Leica website) about the quality of the prisms or whether or not the lenses have dielectric coating or use ED glass. At this price point, it’s hard to believe that these features are not included, but if they are, why doesn’t Leica say so?
- 1 Leica Trinovid Binoculars – Oldest and Least Expensive
- 2 Leica Ultravid HD-Plus (aka HD+) Binoculars – A Step Up in Features and Cost
- 3 Leica Noctivid Binoculars – “New” to the Party
Leica Trinovid Binoculars – Oldest and Least Expensive
The Leica binoculars of the Trinovid line have been around for many years. They’ve undergone changes over time – changes that make them somewhat more affordable today than they were when they first appeared. Still, $500 or more is nothing to sneeze at for most of us.
The smallest – 3.8×3.6 inches – and (along with the Trinovid 10x25s) least expensive in this line are the Trinovid 8×20 BCA binoculars. (BCA may mean Bird Clubs of America, but I don’t know that for certain.) Both of these tiny binos have Leica’s HDC coatings on the lenses and prisms that have phase and HighLux coatings. The technical meanings of HDC and HighLux are something of a mystery, as far as I know, but I think it’s fair to assume they do good things to the pieces involved.
Unfortunately, these two and the 7×35, 8×40, and 10×40 sizes are not truly waterproof. They are only splash-proof. What this means compared to something like IPX7 is anybody’s guess. It’s not exactly an exact term.
The larger 8×40 and 10×40 models may not have any coatings on the prisms.
The medium-sized 8×32, 10×32, 8×42, and 10×42, models don’t seem to have anything special added to their lenses or prisms, though they are waterproof. The exact degree of waterproofing isn’t specified.
I kinda hope the Leica website is just careless about some of these features and that these relatively expensive devices do have more features, but for now I can’t say that they do.
For those who need to know the field of view (FOV, at 1000 yards) and weight, see the table below.
|Trinovid Model||FOV (feet)||Weight (ounces)|
The next button will take you to a page where you can get the 8×32, 10×32, 8×42, or 10×42 models.
I’m only adding a button here for the 8×40 size. You can easily get from there to the 10×40 model if you really want those instead.
Leica Ultravid HD-Plus (aka HD+) Binoculars – A Step Up in Features and Cost
Several Leica binoculars in their Ultravid line are the same size as the Trinovids – 8×20, 10×25, 8×32, 10×32, 8×42, and 10×42. The difference – and this is true of all Ultravids – is that these all have HDC and AquaDura coatings, have phase and HighLux prism coatings, are waterproof, and (with the possible exception of the 8×20 and 10×25 models) have nitrogen purged tubes.
Those two smaller models are available in styles called BR, black leathered, and silver leathered. I’m not sure what the “BR” stands for but it could be “Basic Roof”.
Additions to the Ultravid line are these sizes.
- Ultravid 7×42
- Ultravid 8×50
- Ultravid 10×50
- Ultravid 12×50
With the low magnification, these 7×42 Leica binoculars have an awesome FOV of 420 feet. The models with the 50mm objective lenses range from about 300 to 350 feet. They also weigh about 2 1/4 pounds each.
You’ll find almost all the Ultravid models at the one link just below.
Leica Noctivid Binoculars – “New” to the Party
I’ve written about the Noctivids elsewhere (see this review), so I won’t spend much time on them here. There are only two models to look at – 8×42 and 10×42.
Compared to the same sizes of Ultravids, there’s not much difference in price and no difference in features. The Noctivids do have a longer eye relief (19mm) and shorter close focus (6.2 feet). They’re a little bit bigger, but those are the only small differences worth mentioning.
Unless I’m missing something, which is probable, I don’t see what else distinguishes Noctivids from Ultravids. If you have that missing piece (or pieces) of information for these Leica binoculars, don’t hesitate to let us know about it.
If you’re looking for great binoculars with a lower price tag than these Leica binoculars, try the Celestron line instead.