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ABSOLUTLY THE BEST BINOCULARS AT THIS PRICE RANGE
on September 23, 2005
Nikon Action 8x40
Nikon's Action series has always been their entry level effort. The series has gone through some pretty radical changes over the years. Nikon seems to be much more adventuresome at this price point than they are in their top of the line products. The latest Action binoculars all feature aspheric lens technology.
The Action 8x40 is probably the glass of most interest to birders. It is a wide angle design, with 8.5° of field (that translates to 446 feet at 1000 yards), a close focus in the 12 foot range and eye relief of about 10mm. The limited eye relief means that spectacle wearers will not see the full field (what else is new?)...but the usable field for most people will still be relatively wide when compared to most 8x40s on the market (especially in this price range). The body is mat gray armored. The smooth armor is sufficiently tacky to provide a good grip, but some gripping aids (ridges or patterns) might have made it more secure in the hands. Body design is standard porroprism, and comfortable in the hands, with a large comfortable ribbed focus control. However the focus might be a stretch for those with real small hands.
Optically, the Nikon Action 8x40 gives the extra bright, extra sharp first impression that I have come to associate with Nikon's applications of aspheric technology. While the view is not the equal of that provided by glasses like the Swift Ultralite 8x42 glasses which cost over twice as much as the Nikon Action 8x40, it is certainly very close.
When compared to the current BVD Reference Standard for bargain binoculars, the Bushnell 8x42 NatureView, the Nikon Action 8x40 is slightly brighter, with a bit more snap (likely due to the lack of multi-coating on the NatureView). The NatureView, however, has much better eye relief and a bit more comfortable view. While the NatureView retains its Reference Standard designation for the moment, the Nikon Action 8x40 are certainly very fine binoculars in the same price range...a BVD Starred Product, highly recommended to anyone who wants bird-worthy binoculars on a budget. Really, if you start birding with the Egrets, it may be a long time before you feel the need to upgrade, and it will certainly spoil you for many a lesser glass that just happens to cost more.
The Nikon Action series binoculars utilize aspherical lenses, ergonomic chassis, and quick central focus to maximize long term viewing comfort. All models feature high light transmission, multicoated lenses and high index BaK-4 prisms for superior resolution and brightness.