Are Leica’s new binoculars worthy of their £2k pricetag? Read our review
LEICA NOCTIVID 8X42 £2,025
WITHIN HALF AN hour of Birdfair starting, a serious buzz was running around the optics tents after the announcement of this new model from Leica, who were promising outstanding low-light performance and a more 3D image than ever before. The image is certainly very bright in all conditions, and with excellent contrast and near-perfect colour reproduction, you do get a 3D feel viewing against a messy background, such as vegetation. Field of view, 135m@1000m, is more than Leica’s previous flagship, the Ultravid Plus, too, and there’s little fall-off in quality towards the edge of the image, just a very small amount of colour fringing against very bright light – this was never distracting in practice. Focusing, courtesy of a finger-wide, well-ridged wheel that takes two clockwise turns from close focus to infinity, is very precise, and although that sounds like a lot of travel, in practice, it was quick and easy to find focus. Close focus, quoted at 1.9m, actually felt a little closer, but either way it’s more than adequate for most uses. The dioptre setting, on the wheel, is both calibrated and locks in place. They feel perfectly balanced in the hand, and their cutaway design (the first time Leica have produced an open-bridge model) undoubtedly helps – otherwise the high quality glass and the very solid armouring might have had them weighing in rather on the heavy side. As it is, they don’t really feel their 860g, and they’re easy to grip for long periods. One small gripe – an overly stiff focus wheel – was probably down to this being a pre-production model. Accessories are a good rainguard, clip-on objective lens covers, a well padded strap, and a fabric case.
Leica’s best yet – it’s hard to find anything to fault. They’re £300 more than the Ultravid Plus, but for that you get a binocular that compares with anything else out there.