See my binocular wish list.
Back in 2010 I evaluated various binoculars and recently I posted reader Roy P’s take on more than two dozens binoculars.
Today at CES I stumbled across an unexpected find: a yet to be announced new binocular at the Nikon booth (official announcement is a few months away).
There is not yet a name, price or specs, but these new binoculars are intended to tie into Nikon’s 100th year anniversary by showcasing the very best that Nikon has to offer. And indeed they do—I was able to peer into the darkest recesses of the ceiling area of the cavernous CES hall without any problem at all, with subtle nuances of violet light from the floor below “painted” onto metal ducts and such that were so crisp that I could almost feel the texture. The imaging quality is the best I’ve ever seen, completely free of any color errors, crisp and bright and contrasty and sharp right to the edges (totally flat field). As a very nice bonus, the field of view is exceptionally wide. Compared to Nikon’s newest flagship “HG” 8X42 binocular, these new primo binocs clearly set a very high standard that few binoculars will be able to approach, less match.
There will be two models: 7X50 and 10X50. Nikon only had the 7X50 model on display but I was privileged to have the 10X50 model brought out of the back room in its packing case for direct comparison. The binoculars ship with their own tripod mounting bracket.
These are not binocs you’ll be wanting to lug around; they certainly are not less than 3 pounds, but I’d guess more like 5 pounds. This mass actually makes the 10X model stable enough to be quite useful handheld.
As seen in the picture below, the eyepieces click out by 4 or 5 clicks, thus allowing the eyes to be positioned at varying distance from the rear optics—excellent for eyeglass wearers (Roy P, I think this what you had hoped to see when we discussed this). Every binocular ought to have this most excellent feature. Each eyepiece is adjusted separately (a necessity for me), and so they are not suitable for fast back and forth focusing. They are good for focusing and observing. The Nikon rep was unsure if they were porro-prism based or roof prisms or some hybrid design. But clearly the goal was very high performance.
If I were a hunter "glassing" an area for game, these binocs would be at the top of my list.
Pricing is to be announced, but will reflect the super high end: I can’t see the selling for less than $5K, and I’m guessing something around $7K (while Nikon would not state the price, these are my estimated which were not rejected as being far off the mark).