Pros: These are a very nice pair of binoculars for the money.
Cons: They are not water proof or fog proof.
NIKON ACTION 12x50 BINOCULARS MODEL 7219
There is certainly no shortage of entry level or lower priced binoculars on the market today. There are binoculars that are made to suit every conceivable need, from casual viewing of nature and sporting events, to very expensive professional binoculars made specifically to suit a certain need, such as bird watching or celestial viewing. Whatever the need, there is a pair of binoculars that is made for it. However, when it comes to buying an inexpensive pair of binoculars for general viewing purposes, there are so many to choose from, that the task can seem overwhelming, especially to a beginner or less informed buyer. The fact is that if a novice consumer does not know what to look for in order to narrow their choices down, then having a wide variety of options to choose from only makes the process of deciding on among the different choices all the more difficult. Imagine going to a restaurant in a foreign country and being presented with a menu that is written in a strange language. Yes, you can look at the wide variety of choices, but if you don't know what they mean, you may wind up ordering something to eat that really is not what you wanted or what you were hoping for. The same thing can happen to a novice if they are trying to purchase an inexpensive set of binoculars for the first time, and they are not really sure of what all the terminology means. I know this only too well from my own personal experience when I was a novice viewer myself and was first starting out many years ago. In this review, I shall do my best to describe any terminology that I use in clear and plain language, so that even the novice reader will be able to fully to understand what they are reading about. Today I shall be reviewing the Nikon Action 12x50 Binoculars model number 7219. I hope that this review is of help to you in making a purchasing decision.
Since the cost of an item is always an important part of the decision process in making any decision to purchase anything, at least for me anyway, I feel that this would be a good place to start in discussing the Nikon Action 12x50 Binoculars, Model 7219. The Nikon Action 7x50 Binoculars have a list price tag of $162.95, but they can readily be found selling for a discounted price of about $87.50 on the Internet. Be sure to shop carefully, as some merchants charge exorbitant shipping charges, while others charge none. Shipping charges can have a meaningfully negative effect on the success of a bargain hunter's efforts. But then again, that is a whole other story in and of itself. For instance, I was recently shopping for a set of guitar strings on the Internet and found the set I wanted selling at a discount for $4.95. That was a good deal. However, the shipping was $6.95. That totally negated any price advantage that this dealer offered for this particular set of guitar strings.
Nikon makes many different types of binoculars. The Nikon Action Series of binoculars are intended to be used for casual everyday use by concert goers, sports game viewers, sportsman, birdwatchers, nature lovers, and the like. However, that does not mean that all of the binoculars in the Nikon Action Series would be equally good for each of these purposes. For example the Nikon Action 7x50 Binoculars would be better for bird watching than the Nikon Action 12x50 Binoculars that I am reviewing today, while the 12x50 model would be better for celestial viewing than the 7x50 model. Further there are aspects of the Nikon Action 12x50 Binoculars that I like, and others that I don't like. I shall discuss these various points as the review continues.
I shall now describe some of the distinguishing features of the Nikon Action 12x50 Binoculars. The Nikon Action 12x50 Binoculars have a magnification power of 12. That is what the number "12" stands for in the title or name of these binoculars. A magnification power of 12 means that an object that is being viewed that is 1200 feet away will appear to the viewer to be at a distance of 100 feet when looked at through the Ocular Lenses, which is the term used to describe the small lenses that the viewer looks into. The number "50" in the descriptor 12x50 refers to the size in millimeters of the Objective Lenses, which are the larger lenses at the other end of the binoculars. All things being equal, a pair of binoculars with large objective lenses have a greater light gathering capability than a set of binoculars with a small set of objective lenses, and that means a clearer brighter image. However, there are other things that are actually more crucial to obtaining a sharp bright image than merely the size of the objective lenses on a pair of binoculars.
Undoubtedly, one of the most important things that effects the quality of the image that one sees in a pair of binoculars is the coating that is used on the optical surfaces of the binoculars. As I am sure most of you reading this review already know, when light hits a piece of glass, some of the light is reflected and some if it passes through. In the case of a pair of binoculars, the more light that is reflected, the less bright and clear the image will be that the viewer sees. In order to decrease the light that is reflected, some of the better made binoculars will have a lens coating applied to their optical surfaces. Coating the lenses, and other surfaces such as the internal prisms, will help to reduce the light that is reflected, and thus there will be more light that is available to make the image that the viewer sees appear to be brighter and clearer. There are various degrees and types of optical coatings that are used to make binoculars. The Nikon Action 12x50 Binoculars have "multi-coated optics." This means that there are multiple layers of antireflective coating on at least one lens surface of the binoculars, which means that more light gets through the binoculars, and the image that the viewer will see will be clearer and brighter than a pair of binoculars that do not have any optical coating. In the case of the Nikon Action 12x50 Binoculars, all air to glass surfaces, including the internal prisms, have multicoatings.
However, although having a pair of binoculars that are multicoated, like the Nikon action 12x50 Binoculars are, is a good thing, there are actually four different degrees of coating that a pair of binoculars can have, and multicoated binoculars are not actually the best. Binoculars that are designated as being "fully multicoated" are actually a step above multicoated binoculars. For those who are interested, the four degrees of coating, and a description of each are the following:
1) Coated - A single layer of optical coating on at least one lens piece.
2) Fully Coated - A single layer of optical coating on all air to glass surfaces.
3) Multicoated - Multiple layers of coating on at least one lens surface.
4) Fully Multicoated - Multiple layers of coating on all air to glass surfaces.
The Nikon Action 12x50 Binoculars use Porro BAK-4 Prisms. BAK-4 prisms are made of barium crown glass, and this yields a bright and sharp image. Lesser quality binoculars sometimes use BAK-7 prisms, which are made from borosilicate glass, which is considered by many to be a glass of lesser quality. All of the glass that is used in the manufacture of these binoculars is Eco-Glass, which means that it is made without the use of either arsenic or lead. The use of prisms in binoculars is used to decrease the size of a pair of binoculars, relative to that of a telescope. Binoculars that use a porro prism design will typically have the objective lenses (the larger ones that are in front) offset from the eyepieces, and this results in a generally wider field of view and improved depth perception.
As I mentioned earlier in this review, the Nikon Action 12x50 Binoculars have a magnification factor or 12. A magnification factor of 10 is considered by most people to be the absolute upper limit of magnification that the average person can comfortably and effectively use without the assistance or need for some type of stabilization device, such as a tripod. The reason for this is that the natural handshake of the user will cause the object that is being viewed to appear to move and jiggle all over the place in the viewing field of the binoculars. Fortunately the Nikon Action 12x50 Binoculars also have the option of being able to be mounted on a tripod, such as might typically be done with a camera, but this adapter is sold separately. Personally, I would definitely recommend that a person consider using a tripod if they are viewing distant objects with these binoculars. This would especially be true for any attempt at celestial viewing in the night sky, such as trying to see the moons of Jupiter or the rings of Saturn. But of course, everyone's needs and wants are different. There are of course better binoculars to consider to use for celestial viewing, but one should be able to make out many different objects of interest in the night sky with these binoculars, especially if one is away from light polluted skies, and is away form city lights. I live fairly deeply in the woods, and I did not experience any significant difficulties.
The Nikon action 12x50 binoculars are rubber coated, which helps to not only protect the internal workings of the binoculars from shock, but it also makes them easy to handle and hold, even in conditions where they might be subject to getting wet. The field of view of the Nikon Action 12x50 Binoculars is 288 feet at 1000 yards, which is a respectable number. The close focus distance is 23 feet, which is also reasonably good for a pair of binoculars with this magnification, and which is also in this price range. These binoculars also have a diopter control which is located on the right eyepiece, which helps to compensate for imbalances that might exist between the viewer's right and left eyes. These binoculars also have a large center focus wheel, which makes it easy to focus the binoculars even when wearing gloves. The eyecups on the binoculars are adjustable and can be rolled up or down, which permits the user to keep their eyeglasses on, should they have the need to wear eyeglasses, which I personally do. The Nikon Action 12x50 Binoculars are considered to have a full size body, and they weigh 33.8 ounces. Thus, these are not compact in size. They do however come with a comfortable neck strap, as well as protective covers for the lenses.
O.K, now that I have outlined what I consider to be some of the good points that these binoculars have, I shall now outline what I feel to be a problem with them. The Nikon Action 12x50 Binoculars are neither water proof or fog proof. This is a very important point that I would like the potential entry level or novice consumer to keep in mind and to think about before making any purchasing decision. I strongly believe that a pair of binoculars must be both water proof and fog proof. Some people believe that if they are not going to be using a pair of binoculars in the rain, that there would be absolutely no need to have a pair that is water proof or fog proof. I strongly disagree. Think about this for a moment. I am sure that most readers will recall that they have been in a car and had the windows fog up or had water droplets form on the windows even when it was not raining. The reason is that water vapor condenses on a surface that is cool. Now imagine what would happen to the inside glass surfaces, such as the lenses or prisms, of your binoculars if you should happen to leave your air conditioned house or car. You guessed it. There would be the potential for the internal surfaces of the binoculars to collect water vapor and fog up. Of course, these binoculars would eventually clear up and dry out, but how long might that take. Water proof binoculars are also much easier to clean and to maintain as well.
O.K., so who would the Nikon Action 12x50 Binoculars be good for? These are very sturdy binoculars that are built to last, and they are able to provide a very nice clear, bright, and sharp image. These binoculars would be a reasonable choice for sporting events, concert goers, and other casual viewing situations. However, because they are neither water proof or fog proof, I would balk as recommending them for outdoor use, such as camping, boating, hunting, bird watching, and the like, unless the viewer is prepared to accept that these binoculars could fog up when going from a cooler environment to a warmer one, especially in humid conditions. The reader should also be aware that Nikon makes many excellent binoculars that are water proof and fog proof. The Nikon Action 12x50 Binoculars would also not be my first choice for bird watching. There are several reasons for this. One is that they are a bit heavy to move quickly, and that can be a factor that can be detrimental in some cases. Another issue is that they have a magnification factor or 12, and many bird watchers prefer to use binoculars that have a magnification factor of 7 or 8, as they can be easier and quicker to use. Further, because their magnification factor is over 10, these binoculars are going to be subject to the handshake of the viewer causing some difficulty in getting a steady clear view of an object such as a bird, unless of course a tripod or some other similar device is being used.
Well, I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my review, but now if you will excuse me, I must get back to practicing my guitar. Good luck, and good viewing.