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Compact with 8x to 24x variable magnification!
on July 30, 2013
The full name of these is Nikon Aculon T11 8-24x25 Compact Zoom, which is useful since Amazon left out the Aculon T11 in the name of these here. Mine measure 5" from eyecup to objective end (5 1/8 with eyecups extended, 4 7/8 with eyecups in "glasses" setting), by 4.5" wide with the sides fully rotated outwards ("inter-pupillary distance" -- so you can center them with your eyeballs, you know?). The manual states their weight as 305g / 10.8 oz. They are actually smaller and lighter the product description here.
I spent a good hour in-person trying out every compact binocular I could. These were clearer and brighter than the Vector and Bushnell ones. Side by side with Leica 10x25 I couldn't honestly tell a difference in brightness or clarity. Throw in the Variable 8x-24x magnification, and you have yourself a stand-out item in the crowd. These DO get dimmer indoors the more you magnify, but when looking outdoors in daylight they still let in plenty of light even up to 24x. The indicator on the zoom is only marked off at 8x, 12x, 16x, and 24x.
I compared side-by-side these T11, the fixed 10x Nikon Prostaff, and some really small barrel-type (no mirrors/prisms) Leica Compact 10x25 -- I dialed the T11 to as close as I could to an equal-looking 10x, and all three were equally bright at 10x but the Leica did seem to have a bit more FOV (you could see a little wider in the Leica). That said, you can zoom these out to 9x or 8x and see wider that way as well, but it is interesting that the Leica could squeeze out a bit more FOV in smaller binoculars.
At this price, these really do stand out in clarity, brightness, and features (8x-24x), while keeping the Compact size form factor. They come with a detatched neck-strap you can put on, a SOFT faux-leather Vinyl case with soft inside lining, and a one-piece lens cap that only covers the eyecup side. Nothing to protect the objective-facing side's lenses except the case itself. The case is a velcro closure so it will not keep out water or dust especially since the lid is not shaped to fold-over the outside at all -- there are open slits on each side. The eyecaps twist out for use without glasses (don't forget to do so if you do not wear glasses or you won't like the Eye Relief you get with them twisted shorter/in). The right-eye has a diopter adjustment (for people who need different focus for each eye). The closer an object is when you focus on it, the more you have to re-adjust focus when zooming in/out. If you focus on something far away, the focus needs less adjustment, if any, when you zoom. This is something that those far higher-priced variable-zoom optics can avoid (re-focusing).
The manual does NOT state these are water-resistant or water-proof, so "avoid rain, water splashes, sand, and mud." If you need waterproof or will use these around sand, then you will likely have to choose a non-variable fixed magnification set like Nikon Prostaff.