Firstly, an admission. Since the time I could afford decent binoculars I have been a staunch Leica user, so this review is not without bias. Having said that I have tried to be as objective as possible. Unfortunately I can’t find anything negative to say about these new Leica Noctivids!
With a trip to Norfolk on the horizon, I had the choice of either the 8×42’s or 10×42’s on loan from South West Optics. After discussion with Steve and a look through both, I decided on the 8x, although both were staggeringly sharp in the afternoon light. The first thing that immediately strikes you, before you even get them out, is the pouch they come in! You may laugh, but it’s plush, as you would expect from Leica. The second thing is the field of view. IT IS ENORMOUS! I had to check to see if I had the bins the right way round at one point as the Ocular lenses are nearly as large as the Objectives. This initially caused me a few problems with vignetting as I usually have my eye cups right down. However, with a little advice from Steve on eye-cup adjustment, the problem was solved and without the loss of field of view. And so into the field………….
En-route to Norfolk we took a ‘short’ detour to darkest Derbyshire to ‘twitch’ the Dusky Thrush there. Arriving before first light gave me the opportunity to trial the Leicas in poor light. I knew my own Leica’s came into their own at dawn and dusk, so hoped the Noctivids would perform as I didn’t want to miss the bird! I should have known by their name that I had nothing to worry about. In the gloom of first light I heard the Dusky Thrush make an alarm call as a cat stalked through the orchard in front of us. With the Noctivids I could make out a sillouhete and while a few around me questioned, “Is that the bird?”, I could clearly make out the supercillium above the eye and other markings on its head and breast, allowing me to confirm that it was the Dusky Thrush. The Noctivids certainly performed superbly!
Once in Norfolk the weather remained dull and overcast. The occasional rain gave the Noctivids their first ‘waterproof’ test. These are Nitogen filled and waterproof to a depth of 5 metres but fortunately the showers we endured were by no means flood proportions and the bins survived the rain! Leica’s innovative AquaDura® coating ensured a stunning, crystal-clear view at all times. Water and dirt simply roll off the lens surface and fingerprints are easily removed with a soft cloth. They are also surprisingly light at just 860g and combined with the neoprene strap were very comfortable around your neck. The sun came out on our second day and the Leicas were just superb, I can’t put into words how clear and sharp these binoculars are! I must admit to feeling a bit smug with as I walked into the shop at Titchwell RSPB with these round my neck and standing next to the sign that stated, “Coming Soon: The New Leica Noctovids”. I pointed out to the assistant that SOUTH WEST OPTICS already had them in stock! There is only one negative I have to say about these Bins. They don’t belong to me and I have to give them back! They come with a 10 year guarantee and covers for all lenses and of course the plush case! I just need to wait for the guarantee on my current Leicas to run out to convince my wife I need new ones! When I do, the Leica Noctovids will be my first choice. For further info, price (currently on winter Sale!) and great quality service, contact Steve Rogers at South West Optics on 01872 263444 or visit the website SOUTH WEST OPTICS to view the full range.