Leica Noctivid Binoculars Review

Leica Noctivid 10x42 Binoculars

Leica Noctivid 10x42 Binoculars

Scope of the Review
In this guide to the Leica Noctivid binoculars, I will review the most important features, components, & specifications of both the 8x42 & 10x42 Noctivid models. From there we take a look at which model is the ideal choice for a number of uses and your specific needs, including birding, hunting, other general uses. Then lastly we will take a look at where you can buy a pair in order to get the best deal.


Made in Germany, these Leica Binoculars are aimed at the very top end of the market and at users looking for quality above all else. Indeed Leica themselves describe the Noctivid as probably the best binoculars that they have ever made and whilst I know that this is “marketing talk”, it still speaks volumes as to where the company places them amongst all the other great instruments that they have produced over the years.

So are they as good as they say and if so, what makes them so special? Well, let’s take a look at them a lot more closely:

Outer & Structural Features

I think first off it is important to mention that they have an open-bridge body design, which if I am not mistaken are the only ones to have this within the entire Leica stable. Whilst most certainly not always the case, this can make for a more lightweight body, but the main advantage is that the open area between the two hinges provides a very secure place to hold onto the instrument. This is especially true when you are grasping them in one hand, which is something that I often prefer when traversing difficult terrain, rather than have my binoculars swinging from the strap around my neck where they could easily slam against a rock or tree for example.

Rubber Armor
As with just about any decent modern instrument, the Leica Noctivid binoculars have a rubber armor exterior which along with protection, also improves handling comfort and grip, so no surprises here. Although you can get these in either black or an olive green color depending on your preference.

Magnesium Chassis
These instruments have a magnesium alloy chassis, which is good to know. I say this because many lesser products will now have a polycarbonate one to save costs, which are also a little more lightweight, but magnesium is generally considered to be more robust and is less affected by temperature. This can be important because as the housing on a binocular expands and contracts due to temperature, this tiny movement has been known to also affect the optics and pull things fractionally out of alignment.

Leica highlights the fact that not only are their Noctivid binoculars waterproof but are actually fully submersible to a depth of 16.5ft (5m). Whilst I would not recommend testing this by taking them for a swim in any pool even with pool filters since there are not water resistant, but they resist splashes so, it is comforting to know and means you can be completely confident whilst using them in the wettest of weather conditions.

Remember that a fully sealed binocular will also prevent dust from entering the system in dry conditions and when in storage, which for many is more important than the waterproofing aspect.

Nitrogen Filled
At the factory, Leica replaces the air within the chassis with Nitrogen gas. This is a completely moisturless and thus prevents the glass surfaces on the inside from fogging up.

The focus wheel is centrally positioned and has an integrated and lockable diopter adjust incorporated into it. These binoculars also feature twist-up eyecups that have 4 fixed click stop positions.

Cut Away image of the Leica Noctivid Binoculars

Cut Away image of the Leica Noctivid Binoculars

Optical Features

Leica is a little coy when it comes to describing their optics in any great detail, however, though some research and a little deduction, below are the main points that I have been able to uncover:

Fully Multi-Coated
Frankly, I would have been shocked at this price to discover anything less, but just to confirm that ALL glass surfaces throughout the optical pathway have multiple layers of a material that has anti-reflection properties. This ensures that as much light as possible is captured and then correctly transferred through each lens and thus really helps to produce an image that is both brighter and of a higher quality.

Schott High Transmission Glass Prisms
I think it is important to highlight the fact that these binoculars use roof prisms with glass made by SCHOTT because they are considered by many to make the very best.

Prism Coatings
These roof prisms are then coated with a chemical (P40) that prevents the phenomenon of phase shift from occurring and they also have a mirror coating added to them to boost the degree of transmission. Leica calls this their HighLux-System (HLS), but do not go into detail. nor do they state the level of transmission. However my guess it will be their version of a dielectric coating, which have the highest levels and which is what I would expect to find in this price range.

Exterior Lens Coatings
The outer lens surfaces are treated with a really hard anti-scratch material for protection and then Leica also add their now iconic AquaDura coatings which are both aquaphobic and repel dirt making them stay cleaner for longer and require less pressure when you do need to clean them.


Model Leica Noctivid 8x42 Leica Noctivid 10x42
Model No. 40 384 40 385
Field of View (ft.@1000yds / m@1000m) 443/135 376/112
Angle of view 7.7° 6.4°
Close Focus (ft. / m) 6.2/1.8 6.2/1.8
Exit Pupil (mm) 5.2 4.2
Eye Relief (mm) 19 19
Weight (oz. / g) 30.3/860
Dimensions: 4.88 x 5.91 x 2.68 in / 12.4 x 15 x 6.8 cm
IPD 56 – 74 mm
Diopter compensation ± 4 diopters

Wide View
With their extremely wide field of view, it is probably the 8x42 Leica Noctivid binocular that impresses me the most. However for a 10x binocular the view on the 10x42 Noctivid is also impressive.

Close Focus
Both have a good minimum focus distance and thus ideal for those who also like to view objects/animals/birds/insects etc from close range.

Eye-relief is also very good, making these a good choice should you need or want to wear glasses whilst looking through your instrument.

Ideal Uses

There is a reason why the 8x42 and 10x42 configurations are the ones most commonly produced by manufacturers and that is their particular qualities make them suitable for a very wide range of uses and covers most of the mainstream uses and interests. So taking into account the differences that the 8x and 10x powers make to the image detail (effective range), the field of view and their performance in low light conditions, we can make a better decision as to which one would be the best choice in some of these areas:

Bird Watching

The Leica Noctivid 8x42 Binoculars will be in most cases the ideal option for most general types of birding.

This is because:

  • The wider field of view makes it easier to quickly locate and then follow fast moving and often small birds (especially true at close range)
  • The larger exit-pupil and thus better low light performance is important in places like thick forests or at sunrise/sunset when the available light is not ideal and when many birds are at their most active

Obviously, if most of your birding is at the coast, or in fields where light is good and the distance to your birds is greater and where birds are usually larger and more predictable in their movements, then the 10x42 Noctivid would probably be the better choice.


In wide open areas and where distances to the subject are a little longer, the Leica Noctivid 10x42 binocular is the best option. However as with birding, if you hunt in more confined spaces like forests where the lack of light can also be a problem then you may be better with the 8x42 Noctivid.

Leica Noctivid BinocularsCost & Where to Buy

These Leica Noctivid binoculars or not cheap. However as with many things and especially with optics and binoculars in particular, if you want the very best, without any compromises, you do need to pay for it.

Although if you do look around, it is possible to get a better deal and at times this can result in some substantial savings.

For current prices of these Leica binoculars listed on a number of internet retailers in your country (Included USA, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Australia and India), please follow the link below:

Buy & Compare Prices: Leica Noctivid Binoculars

Further Reading


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