I had the pleasure of using the latest Leica 10-42 binoculars for a week of birdwatching in Israel in March. I was there to take part in the Eilat Bird Festival and follow the “Champions of the Flyway” a 24 hours Bird Race organised by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel.
At this time of the year, tens and hundreds of thousands of raptors and song birds migrate over the Eilat mountains on their way back to Europe and Asia. Leica has come out with a very slim and compact design for the Noctivid 10×42 binocular compare to the older ones. It is also much lighter. Both features that birdwatchers have been asking for. The notches for the thumbs make it comfortable to hold. On top of this they have developed a high transmission SCHOTT optics for great color rendition and neutrality.
In the field looking at the flying raptors against the bright skies, the color of the plumages comes out brilliantly. Also the songbirds are mostly dull brown and grey and you need good optics to tell the species apart.
The larger exit pupil makes this binocular very comfortable to use for long periods of time. We were waiting for the returning Lichtenstien’s Sandgrouses to take their evening drink by the side of the pond. The low light viewing of the Noctivid becomes evident when we try to locate them against the same color background in failing light.
In the desert, dust storms are encountered often. While most binoculars will have a tough time to keep the lens clean, the special coatings on the Noctivid make this an easy task. Even finger marks were easy to clean.
The eye cups have a special locking device to prevent accidental unscrewing when adjusting to fit viewing. The only thing that needed some changes is the right eye cup extension to prevent vignetting, or maybe I am not using it right.
This is a binocular for life for keen bird and nature watchers. This extra cost is more than compensated by Leica life time guarantee. This guarantee works well with my previous Leica binoculars and gave me years of trouble free use. I will recommend this binoculars to anyone looking for a high end pair.
Alan Owyong, Leica Sport Optics Ambassador during The Champions of the Flyway trip. Alan Owyoing has been involved in nature conservation as a member of the Nature Society (Singapore) since the late 1980s and helped in the proposal to conserve Sungei Buloh. He was the former Chairperson of the Bird Group and is currently a member of the Birds Record Committee. He is also the administrator of the Singapore Birders Facebook Group and the Singapore Bird Group Blog.