Introduction

For this article, I have chosen to compare Leica Noctivid 8×42 and Blaser Primus 8×42. I started writing this article because I wanted to see how a newcomer can compare with established binoculars from a legendary producer – Leica. Both binoculars are medium-sized with 8x magnification. The 8×42 binoculars are a great choice for almost every situation. Both binoculars feature a beautiful design and superb optical performance. Leica Noctivid and Blaser Primus are both premium binoculars, made in Germany and therefore in the highest price range.

Leica Noctivid 8x42 VS Blaser Primus 8x42

Blaser Primus 8×42 VS Leica Noctivid 8×42

Leica followed a new technical trend and introduced Noctivid in 2016 after Swarovski released the first generation of the EL model and Zeiss followed with Victory SF model a few years earlier. Leica used the best materials and technologies available in the industry of optics to create the best possible binoculars. Noctivid models feature an open bridge design which makes handling with binoculars much easier. You can hold and focus with just one hand. Noctivid binoculars are a great choice for birdwatchers and hunters. They also perform well when light conditions are not very good. There are two different colors you can choose from – black or olive green. Leica Noctivid is available in two configurations: 8×42 and 10×42.

Leica Noctivid 8x42 VS Blaser Primus 8x42

Leica Noctivid 8×42 VS Blaser Primus 8×42

Blaser introduced their new line of binoculars called Primus in 2017. Before Primus, Blaser only produced weapons but now they started to manufacture the highest class of binoculars. Blaser bought GSO (German Sports Optics) and Minox, with their knowledge they developed premium level Primus binoculars. Primus binoculars have a different but still very beautiful design. They have an almost vintage look which makes them special and one of a kind. They come in brown color which is pretty uncommon among binoculars. Most premium binoculars feature Roof Schmidt/Pechan prisms (like Leica Noctivid) but Blaser binoculars are equipped with Abbe-König prisms. Before Blaser Primus, the only premium binoculars with this type of prism were Zeiss Victory HT. Abbe-König prism are difficult to manufacture but they greatly increase the light transmission rate. Unlike Leica, the Primus features a single-hinge bridge design. Primus is available in four configurations: 8×56, 8×42, 10×42 and 8×30.

Leica Noctivid 8x42 VS Blaser Primus 8x42

Leica Noctivid 8×42 VS Blaser Primus 8×42

 

TL;DR
– both binoculars are great choice for most situations; good choice for birdwatchers and hunters
– both are premium binoculars and in the highest price range
– Leica Noctivid has an open bridge design while Blaser Primus has a single-hinge bridge design
– Leica features Roof-Schmidt prisms
– Blaser features Abbe-König prisms
– both are quite new on the market

Size & Weight

Leica Noctivid 8×42 Blaser Primus 8×42
Weight: 885 g 1020 g
Width: 124 mm 184 mm
Length: 150 mm 158 mm
Max interpupillary distance:
Leica Noctivid 8x42 VS Blaser Primus 8x42

Leica Noctivid 8×42 VS Blaser Primus 8×42

Lieca Noctivid has an open bridge design and a barrels which you can nicely wrap your hands around. Noctivid binoculars are easy to handle in one hand. They have full rubber armor but there are no notches or ridges on the side of a barrels that could enhance the grip. This could be a problem in rain but the good thing is that rubber is non-reflective which somehow increases the grip of the binoculars.

Leica Noctivid 8x42 VS Blaser Primus 8x42

Leica Noctivid 8×42 VS Blaser Primus 8×42

Blaser binoculars, on the other hand, have a totally different design because they used an Abbe-König prism instead of a Roof-Schmidt prism. Primus binoculars are bigger and on the first glance they seem to be more robust but they still manage to retain the elegant design. Primus is also around 130 g heavier than Noctivid. Primus binoculars are covered with high quality black and brown rubber. The brown rubber seems to give more grip than the black one, but there are still no notches for better grip in rain. On the bottom side of each barrel there is a special ridge where you can put your thumbs in. Those ridges make holding much easier and comfortable.

Leica Noctivid 8x42 VS Blaser Primus 8x42

Leica Noctivid 8×42 VS Blaser Primus 8×42

 

TL;DR
– Noctivid has an open bridge design – easy to handle in one hand
– Blaser is bigger and heavier than Noctivid
– They both have full rubber armor with no notches for a better grip
– Primus has a special ridge on the bottom side of each barrel to put your thumbs in

Optical Properties

Leica Noctivid 8×42 Blaser Primus 8×42
Prism type: Roof – Schmidt/Pechan Roof – Schmidt/Pechan
Lens Diameter: 42 mm 42 mm
Magnification: 8x 8x
Variable Magnification: No No
Coatings: Fully Multicoated Fully Multicoated
Close focus: 1.9 m 1.9 m
Field of View: 135 m/1000 m 135 m/1000 m

 

Leica Noctivid 8x42 VS Blaser Primus 8x42

Leica Noctivid 8×42 VS Blaser Primus 8×42

Noctivid and Primus both have a 42-mm lens diameter and an 8x magnification. They are both fully multi-coated and they both have phase-correction coatings that increase the overall optical performance. Leica Noctivid has special high transmission SCHOTT HT glass and anti-reflective coatings are applied to all lenses. Noctivid’s outer lens surfaces are treated with AquaDura water and dirt repellent coatings. The lens surfaces are also protected from scratching because of an additional High Durable Coating (HDC plus).

Blaser binoculars have a special CCC multiple layer system (Contrast and Color Corrective Coating). The lens surfaces are protected with Aqua-phobic SLP coatings (Smart Lens Protection). This coating causes water to run off the lenses which prevents a water marks from forming on the lens surface. The specifications say that the field of view is a bit bigger with Blaser and when you look through both binoculars you can notice that this is true.

Leica Noctivid 8x42 VS Blaser Primus 8x42

Leica Noctivid 8×42 VS Blaser Primus 8×42

 

TL;DR– both are fully multicoated with water and dirt repellent coatings
– SCHOTT HT glass on Noctivid
– CCC multiple layer system on Blaser
– field of view is bigger with Blaser

Focus Properties

Leica Noctivid 8×42 Blaser Primus 8×42
Focusing System: Central Central
Central Wheel Grasp: 10/10 9/10
Central Wheel Rotation: 10/10 9/10
Diopter Setting: Right-eye Right-eye
Diopter Range: Not listed Not listed
Central Wheel Diameter: 28 mm 33 mm
Central Wheel Length: 24 mm 25 mm
Total Revolution: 720 ° 540 °
Bridge Length (Without the Central Wheel Length) 24 mm 41 mm

 

Both binoculars have a central focusing system but Blaser’s central wheel is a little bit bigger than Leica’s. Both knobs are made out of rubber but there is a difference in their grasp. Leica’s knob has one row of big vertical bars that provide good grip even in the rain. Blaser’s knob has three rows of small vertical notches but the grip isn’t that good. That can be a problem if you are wearing gloves.

Leica Noctivid 8x42 VS Blaser Primus 8x42

Leica Noctivid 8×42 VS Blaser Primus 8×42

The rotation on Leica is much faster and smoother than on Blaser. That may be good for birdwatchers but for the hunters the rotation on Blaser is much more suitable. Because the rotation on Blaser is slower and sturdier, the focus setting changes slowly.

Leica Noctivid 8x42 VS Blaser Primus 8x42

Leica Noctivid 8×42 VS Blaser Primus 8×42

The diopter adjustment helps you correct the differences between your left and right eye. Primus has a diopter ring located on the right barrel. To set the diopter you must first close the cap on the right barrel and use a central wheel until the image is sharp and clear. Then you open the cap on the right barrel and cover the left one. This time you don’t use a central wheel to focus the binoculars but a diopter ring. When the image is sharp you can remove the cap. When you look through the binoculars you should see clear and sharp image. Primus has a very similar vertical notches on the diopter ring and on the central wheel. This means that the grip on the diopter ring also isn’t that good. The rotation is very tough and slow and its quite hard to set the diopter ring. The good thing is that once the diopter ring is set, it is quite hard to unintentionally change the diopter adjustment.

Leica Noctivid 8x42 VS Blaser Primus 8x42

Leica Noctivid 8×42 VS Blaser Primus 8×42

Leica has a different system. It uses the same knob for focusing and for diopter setting. The knob has two levels, on the first level you set the focus, on the second you set the diopter. If you want to change the diopter setting you have to put the knob to the second level. Once you set the diopter, you put the knob back to the first level. When the knob is on the first level this means that the diopter setting is locked and it is impossible to unintentionally change it. Although the diopter ring on Leica isn’t located on the right barrel the adjustment procedure is the same as on Blaser.

TL;DR
– Leica’s knob has a better grip
– The rotation on Leica is faster and smoother – good for birdwatchers
– The rotation on Blaser is slower and sturdier – good for hunters
– Leica has only one knob for setting the focus and the diopter (central position)

Eyepiece Properties

Leica Noctivid 8×42 Blaser Primus 8×42
Eyepiece type: Multi positioned Multi positioned
Number of Click-stops: 4 3
Eye relief: 19 mm 18.2 mm
Exit pupil: 5.3 mm 5.3 mm
Firmness: 10/10 9/10
Quality: 10/10 10/10
Suitable for Eye Glass Wearers: Yes Yes
External Diameter: 42 mm 42 mm
Internal Diameter: 31 mm 29 mm

Eyepiece on both Noctivid and Primus is multi positioned with a turn and slide mechanism. Noctivid has 4 and Primus has 3 click-stops. They both have enough eye relief.

Leica Noctivid 8x42 VS Blaser Primus 8x42

Leica Noctivid 8×42 VS Blaser Primus 8×42

Eyecups on both binoculars are made of soft rubber. This means that even after long use the eyecups are still comfortable when they’re pressed to the face. The eyecups on Primus are bigger and wider, and the twisting mechanism is a bit stiffer than on Noctivid. They both rest securely in mid-point positions but I have a feeling that Noctivid’s eyecups are a bit more secure and the rotation isn’t that loud. That is the reason why I evaluated firmness of Leica a bit higher. When I evaluated the quality of eyecups, I gave them both the highest grade.

TL;DR
– both have a multi-positioned eyepiece (Leica 4 click-stops, Blaser 3 click-stops)
– both are made of soft rubber – comfortable when pressed to the face
– both rest securely in mid-point positions

General Properties

Leica Noctivid 8×42 Blaser Primus 8×42
Housing Material: Magnesium Magnesium
Armoring: Rubber Rubber
Quality of Armoring: 10/10 10/10
Build in Rangefinder: No No
Waterproof: Yes Yes
Submersible: Not listed Not listed
Filled With: Nitrogen Nitrogen
Number of Colors: 2 1
Tripod Adaptable: No No
Made in: Germany Germany
Introduced in: 2016 2018
Warranty period: 10 years 10 years
MRSP Price 2580 € 2149 €

Noctivid and Primus both have a magnesium alloy frame and are both covered in rubber. The rubber on both binoculars seems to be of high quality and non-reflective, providing extra grip. They both lack notches on the side of the barrels and the grip isn’t ideal. It was very hard to decide which armor is better since they are both made of high-quality materials. They are both beautifully made and because of that I decided to evaluated them both with the highest grade.

Leica Noctivid 8x42 VS Blaser Primus 8x42

Leica Noctivid 8×42 VS Blaser Primus 8×42

Leica Noctivid isn’t tripod adaptable but I couldn’t find the information about Blaser Primus either. There is no information about it in the manuals or on the Blaser’s web site. Some web sites state that Primus is tripod adaptable but I couldn’t find a tripod screw adapter so I don’t know if this information is correct.

With Leica Noctivid you get a neoprene carrying strap, rain covers and a beautifully-made soft, well-padded bag. Blaser Primus comes in a nicely decorated box. In the box, there is a neoprene carrying strap and a high quality case. The case is partially made out of leather and it has a very interesting lock mechanism. Both binoculars are quite new on the market, Noctivid was introduced in 2016, Primus in 2017. They are both made in Germany and they offer 10 years of warranty. Both binoculars are in the highest price range but the price of Noctivid is around 400 € higher. While Blaser comes only in one color, with Leica you can choose between Black or olive green.

Leica Noctivid 8x42 VS Blaser Primus 8x42

Leica Noctivid 8×42 VS Blaser Primus 8×42

TL;DR
– both have a quality armor; nicely made
– both new on the market
– Noctivid isn’t tripod adaptable but there is no information about Primus
– the price for Leica Noctivid is around 400 € higher than for Blaser Primus

Group Test

How we made the test

We made the test with a group of 6 people with very diverse knowledge about sports optics. Some had previous experience with binoculars and other almost none. We compared central and edge sharpness, glare, real FOV, eye-box and overall impression. Everyone in the test group tested binoculars individually without being influenced by other people. We also covered down any brand signs on binoculars, so no one was influenced by knowing which company manufactured which.

Leica Noctivid 8×42 Blaser Primus 8×42
Central sharpness: 4/6 2/6
Edge sharpness: 4/6 2/6
Glare: 5/6 1/6
Real FOV: 1/6 5/6
Eye-box: 3/6 3/6
Overall impression: 4/6 2/6

Almost all reviewers agree that Leica has better central and edge sharpness. Leica also won in the glare category, but in the real FOV category, Blaser got 5 out of 6 votes. There is no winner in the eye-box category, three people gave their vote to Leica and the other three gave it to Blaser. In the end it was pretty obvious that Leica won the competition. Four out of six people would rather buy Leica than Blaser. I expected Leica’s win would be absolute in all categories but that wasn’t the case. Real FOV is clearly better with Blaser and the eye-box category is a match. There is one more thing to keep in mind. Because it features Abbe-König prisms, the image on Blaser is much brighter, especially in the twilight.

Conclusion

Both binoculars feature top quality optics but are very different in their design. While Leica prefers simplicity and elegance with smooth lines, Blaser decided for bolder, almost retro design. There is no denial that Blaser’s optical performance is of high quality but there are little things that tilt the balance in favour of Leica.

It is actually a big surprise that Blaser’s optics are that good and can compete with an established producer such as Leica. Blaser has every right to be in the same category as other top-quality manufactures. Because of Abbe-König prisms it probably has the brightest image in this category of binoculars. It is also the only binocular that has a 42 mm lens diameter and an Abbe-König prism.

There is also a question of price to consider. Both binoculars are in the highest price range and over 2000 € but Leica is even 400 € more expensive than Blaser. If you like your binoculars to have a retro touch and you want to be special, then you should go for Blaser. If you are looking for top quality binoculars with high-class optics then Leica is the right choice for you.

Disclaimer

This review wasn’t sponsored and is unbiased. The article, however, features affilliated links to Optics-trade. As a wildlife enthusiast interested in sports optics, I made this test because I would like to see how binoculars perform and if they meet the advertised expectations. With this test I hope to help people choose the right binoculars for their personal use. I am not in any way connected with the manufacturers of sports optics and I’m not personally in favor of a specific brand.

In the end, I would like to thank Optics-trade.eu who lent me these binoculars for the test. I also thank them for letting me use their videos.

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