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You may already be familiar with some of the other “-vid” optical offerings from Leica – the Geovids, Trinovids, Ultravids, Duovids, and Monovids. The latest and possibly greatest additions to the family are the Noctivid binoculars which come in the standard 8×42 and 10×42 sizes.
I’ll cover both of these sets of binoculars, which debuted in 2016, in this review as they are nearly identical. In fact, there are only 2 specifications that are different, and one of these is reportedly incorrect.
If you don’t have time right now for the full review, you can click the links below to check the pricing and availability of each model at Amazon.
Caveat Emptor: If you see a really low price on a listing, be sure to click through and see why it’s there before making a purchase.
If you want to skip ahead to a specific section of the review, you can click a link in the box below.
What Are the Main Features of the Leica Noctivids?
Let’s start with a couple of measurements that always amaze me when comparing two similar sets of binoculars – dimensions and weight.
Somehow, even though the magnification power is greater in the one (10x) than the other (8x), the manufacturer still manages to keep these numbers the same. Both models measure 4.88 inches wide by 5.91 inches high by 2.68 inches deep, and each weighs 30.3 ounces.
Maybe if those measurements were more precise we would notice a difference, but I guess it wouldn’t be a significant amount at that point.
You can adjust these binoculars to your particular eye strength using the diopter on the one tube that lets you compensate plus or minus 4 clicks.
The eyepieces are said to be removable which may be helpful if you wear eyeglasses. The eye relief (the distance you can keep your eyes away from the lenses and still see through them) is 19 millimeters. That should be plenty if you need to keep your eyeglasses on.
Different users have different eye spacings, also called the interpupillary distance, and so need the tubes of the binoculars to be adjustable from left to right. The Noctivids vary this distance from 56 to 74 millimeters. This too should be plenty for virtually every user.
The close focus distance; that is, the nearest distance that you can clearly see objects, is just over 6 feet. If you want to get closer than that (which I think would be unusual), you’ll need to look elsewhere for your binoculars. Most of the time, though, you want binoculars to see targets far away, at least, farther than 2 yards.
The construction of the Noctivids is solid. They have a magnesium housing that is filled with nitrogen to make them both waterproof and fogproof. In fact, they are waterproof to a depth of 5 meters (16.5 feet). That is significantly better water protection than most other brands and models.
These roof prism tubes have a phase-correcting coating and Leica’s HighLux-System (HLS™) to help give you the brightest, clearest, most color accurate view possible. (More about this below in the users’ comments section.)
You get several accessories with the purchase of either the 8×42 or 10×42 models.
- Contoured, eyepiece cover
- Protective objective lens cover
- Cordura case
- Neoprene carrying strap
Check out this short yet somewhat ominous sounding video from Leica.
What Are the Differences between the Nocitivid 10×42 and 8×42 Binoculars?
The most obvious difference is the magnification power: 8x versus 10x. A consequence of this difference is that the exit pupil measurements are different too.
The exit pupil of the 8×42 is 5.2 millimeters, and the exit pupil of the 10×42 is 4.2 millimeters.
The final distinguishing factor is the field of view (FOV), and this is the item that, according to users, is stated incorrectly by Leica.
Leica says the FOV of the 10×42 model is 376 feet at 1000 yards. Users give it as 336 feet.
I couldn’t find the measurement reported by users for the 8×42 Noctivids. Leica says it is 443 feet, but you should realize that this too may be incorrect. If it is “off” by about the same amount as the 10×42 model, then you should expect the FOV of the 8×42 to be closer to 400 feet. If that number is more accurate, it still is a fairly good field of view.
UPDATE: See the comments below for ideas about the FOV.
What Do Owners Think of Their 8×42 and 10×42 Noctivids?
The Porters at Birdwatching.com compare these Leica instruments favorably with top Swarovski and Zeiss models, calling them “the best of the best”.
When it comes to choosing between the 8x and 10x, most birders so far seem to prefer the less powerful of the two.
If all the above gives you the idea that these Noctivid binoculars are practically perfect in every way, you might be right. They are really tough to beat. That’s not to say they are without competition, but I think they are Leica’s best offering to date.
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