Leica Noctivid 8x42

Hands on the Leica Noctivid 8x42 Binocular

One thing you can say about the Leica Noctivid binocular is that there is probably no brightest binocular on the planet. It is a stunning experience to behold a bird through a Leica Noctivid.

The Noctivid comes in both an 8x42 and a 10x42 model. We're zeroing in on the 8x42 here, because we like the wider field of view.

Why does it stand out?

Leica Noctivid

When you are looking at the pinnacle of optical achievement in binoculars (meaning Leica, Swarovski, and Zeiss), it's nearly impossible to see a difference in how well you can see the bird in the treetop.

But there are ways in which the Leica distinguishes itself even in this illustrious company. They come down to the fit and feel, the engineering and ergonomic design. To some birders, the Noctivid feels better than any other binocular.

Shorter is better

The Leica Noctivid is a remarkably compact binocular. It's under 6 inches long — 5.91 inches to be exact. This is almost an inch shorter than the Zeiss SF 8x42, and about half an inch shorter than the Swarovski EL 8.5x42.

The short length makes it easy tuck inconspicuously into a shirt. The Noctivid feels more like a compact mid-sized binocular.

The diopter of our dreams

We love the diopter adjustment mechanism, which is functional, elegant, and beautiful. It's a detail, only a grace note compared to the spectacular optical quality of this binocular. But it is really nice to glance down and see the clean, clear indication of how the diopter is set. There is never a moment's hesitation, wondering whether the diopter has somehow gotten out of whack, just when you're about to lift the binocular to your eyes for that first-in-your-lifetime look at a Resplendent Quetzal.