Nikon 10x50mm CF Action V Lookout IV Binoculars
Design: 50mm objective lenses with Bak 4 prisms
Description: Rubber armored and fairly rugged in design. The are average in terms of weight and their size. Fully-coated lenses, they will also accept a tripod adapter.
I figured anything Nikon can't be bad, because they have their reputation on the line, and quality control requirements. The price was right, $119 on the web, though I have since seen them for less. Not bad, for Nikon.
The product itself really is very nice, in almost all respects. Though affordable, it is light, solid and the focusing mechanism works smoothly. The eyecups and eye relief are just right and 10 x 50 size makes just the right 5mm exit pupil for these 52 yr. old eyes. The binos are more than satisfactory for observing terrestrial objects, birds, landscape, etc. I had bought them for astronomy, though, and I found I was having a time getting a sharp focus.
I rang up Nikon tech and talked with their representative. He confirmed what I had begun to suspect. The Action line is really not suited for astronomical use. I interpret my difficulty in getting sharp focus on stars (point sources of light at infinity) as reflective (refractive?) of inadequate optical quality and a difficult test for a $100 product.
I sent these back for a refund. They are otherwise extremely nice binoculars that would admirably suit the purposes of a bird watcher or lecher for little more than a c-note.
After hounding several binocular experts at various shops I gather that Celestron's Ultima line, for $225, is excellent for astronomy. Personally, I took the recommendation of astronomer Terry Dickenson, ponied up the dosh, and just ordered Carton Adlerblicks for $250. If I can pronounce the name, its not good enough for me. Review to come.
Incidentally, Apogee sells the identical Nikon binocular as its Ganymede Aspheric for still less dough. Apogee also has a slightly larger aperature, somewhat sharper optic for comparably little cost in its Gallileo line. If I were on a strict $100 budget, I'd look there. Apogee also has the "twin 50's." This is a pair of 15 x 50 finderscopes with individual focus and 45 degree eyepiece mounted together. I saw these and tried them and they are GREAT, for $150. They need a tripod.
Submitted by James McCracken - Zedoc@techheadnet.com - USA