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|Saturday 8th January 2011, 21:53||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: eastern upstate NY
Nikon Trailblazer (U.S.) 8x25 review
Since I'm sure lots of folks have been just dying to know what these are like, I'll use a few words to summarize: I'm keeping them. I've bought and returned a number of binocs over the past few years, tried some in stores, and these I bought locally at Wild Birds Unlimited because they suit my needs. Specifically, they are 1) compact/coat-pocket size roofs that fold into a triangle*, 2) wide field (429'), 3) magnify clearly, 4) reasonable size exit pupil, 5) not priced like an alpha. These are $80.
* The two barrels come together, in parallel, touching, folding underneath the flat bridge plate, making for a very compact binocular.
These seem virtually identical to Nikon's discontinued $60 Sportstar 8x25, of which I am a chagrined owner. I've made numerous comments on BF about how bad they are: the image is soft, and the focuser binds. These Trailblazers have addressed those issues with increased contrast (as if a veil has been lifted) and smooth focusing. (There's a little backlash in the focusing, but it's not too bad.) Now, I can take them with me anywhere and I know I'll see sharp and satisfactorily crisp images -- in the center. There is a lot of curvature, so the sweet spot is really quite small, but at least the edges don't blur out into total oblivion. It's a subtle gradation center to edge from sharp to unuseable.
Eye relief is virtually non-existent at 10mm. Even with the eyecups twisted down all the way, the view through eyeglasses is tiny circles. I usually wear contacts, so I'm ok with it.
One minor disappointment: unlike the Sportstar, the large, flat, center bridge extends all the way to the edge of the objective-end barrel. This prevents me from affixing any kind of lens cap to the objective end. If that bridge didn't extend all the way, I'd be able to use the eyepiece caps from my Sportstar for that purpose, but no.... So the objective ends are always exposed unless I fold them up each time and put them back into the soft case. I don't want to have to do that.
Oh, one other thing -- I wish they were 7x.
"Loosing" is not a word.
Last edited by Howard220 : Saturday 8th January 2011 at 22:50. Reason: added info
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