I was quite overawed when I began my first day of work in 1987. I feel that the lesson I was told back then still plays a crucial role: “Innovations are the consequence of constant dialogue and intense exchange with the users of our products.“ Understanding our customers’ needs is the first step – but for the second, physics comes into play. How do we go about developing a new line of binoculars? What kind of opportunities do we have to expand the natural boundaries of perception? And how can we make the new Noctivid line even better?

Scientific research, new materials and manufacturing methods also offer new opportunities for the improvement of the mechanical and optical components of binoculars. When I started out at Leica, it was virtually impossible to develop binocular systems with more than 80% transmission. Nowadays, we have optical glasses with particularly high transmission properties.

In the Noctivid binoculars, we use such glasses for the lenses, but above all for the prisms, where the ray paths through glass are longest. In addition to this, we have also made further improvements to the special coatings that are applied to all lenses and prisms to minimize reflections.
„With a camera, an image is captured by a sensor; with binoculars, the image is stored in your memory – forever.“

All these improvements contribute to almost lossless trans-mission of the entire visible spectrum and colors of the light entering the binoculars through their optical systems and to the eye. This results in a very bright and color-neutral viewing image. People often ask me whether this is suitable for observation during the day or night. The answer is: for both, eminently. We naturally also analyze them according to the requirements of international standards and norms, e.g. with transmission measurement equipment. In the particular case of our Noctivid binoculars, in terms of color fidelity and rendition, we even come extraordinarily close to the so-called achromatic locus, in other words, the point of absolute color neutrality.

„The synergy between our work and that of the photographic lens designers brings significant benefits for both sides.“
Everything is well engineered, impeccable. The secret behind such perfection is revealed by the lesson learnt on my first day at work. Teamwork is essential in the development of binoculars. The optical systems of the Noctivid, for example, were designed by my colleague Michael Hartmann. For the Noctivid line, he actually managed to further improve the already exceptional resolving powers our HD-Plus binoculars are known for. The bright and clear viewing image is now richer in contrast and even sharper.

Here at Leica Camera AG, synergy between our work and that of the photographic lens designers brings significant benefits for both sides. The expectations to be fulfilled by a camera lens are very similar. Customers for both product lines expect best contrast, finest resolution of details and the ability to see their subjects in what comes as close as possible to 3D – in both cases, a perfect image. The only difference: In the case of a camera, this image is captured by a sensor and stored while, in the case of a pair of binoculars, it is captured by the eyes and stored in your memories – eternally.

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