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Nikon 8x32 Superior E
Reviews Views Date of last review
15 30687 Fri August 9, 2019
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Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
93% of reviewers $550.00 9.4
1250Nikon8x32SE.jpg
supersize


Description: Technical Specification

Objective diameter: 32mm
Magnification: 8x
Exit pupil: 4mm
Field of view: 131 m at 1km
Angular field of view: 7.5 degrees
Apparent angular field of view: 60 degrees
Eye relief: 17.4 mm.
Close focus 3m
Length: 117mm
Width: 183mm
Weight: 630g
Keywords: High quality mid-sized porro prism binoculars



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Leif
Registered Member

Registered: March 2003
Posts: 2959
Review Date: Sun January 4, 2004 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Superb optics and build quality, light weight and compact.
Cons: Not waterproof, focus wheel stiff in very cold weather, floppy rubber eye tubes.

Introduction
The following is a review of a pair of Nikon 8x32 SE binoculars that I own.

Design and Mechanics
These are traditional porro-prism binoculars with twin dog-leg optical assemblies. They are fairly small and someone with small hands will have no problem using them. I find the shape is very comfoetable to hold. (Note: A recent review in Bird Watching magazine stated that they had to be held in the seagull stance, with elbows stuck out to either side. This is untrue. They can be held as per roof prism binoculars with the elbows beneath the binoculars, and braced against the chest.) They are also light at around 600g. Each optical assembly is covered with a synthetic rubber that is durable and has a pleasant slightly giving feel.

There is a central hinge made from a lightweight alloy with a pleasing gunmetal finish. The hinge allows the spacing between the two eyepieces to be adjusted to suit the user. The hinge is stiff as it should be, and has shown no sign of becoming loose over the six months that I have used it.

The focus wheel is rubber coated and sits between the two eyepieces. It is well placed, easily accessed, rotates smoothly and is responsive. I find that I can focus the binoculars using thumb and index finger, the thumb being placed beneath the wheel and the finger above it. I found that in very cold weather the focus is rather stiff, more so than I would like, and this may well be an issue for users in cold climates.

Dioptre adjustment is achieved by turning the right eyepiece. There is no lock and in practice one is not needed.

The eye tubes are made from thin flexible rubber, and fold back for eyeglass wearers. Although not as convenient as screw-in screw-out eye tubes, they work well.

These binoculars are not by any stretch of the imagination waterproof, but exposure to light rain will not cause any problems. They might even survive a downpour though I would not recommend putting them to the test. They certainly would not survive immersion.

The binoculars are supplied with a plastic leather look pouch. It is functional, but does not have the class of the leather pouches that are usually supplied with top of the range binoculars.

Build Quality
The build quality is exemplary, and on a par with the old Nikon manual focus lenses. All parts move smoothly, and the finish is second to none. I have heard that they can survive a drop from several feet onto a hard surface without losing collimation.

Optics
The optics are outstanding, producing an image that is – in my opinion - qualitatively superior to that provided by top of the range full sized binoculars such as the Swarovski 8.5x42 EL and the Nikon 8x42 HG. The image quality has that “with your own eyes” feel that only the best binoculars provide.

The field of view is superb (390 ft at 1000 yards). Depth of field is equally impressive, and in practice I tend not to focus, or just make occasional tweaks when I spot something of interest. The image quality is remarkably even across the field of view, with no obvious darkening and only a slight softening of the image at the edges. Chromatic aberration is present but insignificant and only really noticeable if searched for.

Sharpness is first rate and comparable to any full sized binocular. I compared them with my Swarovski 8.5x42 binoculars. At large distance (100m) the Swarovski were sharper by a gnat’s crotchet, helped no doubt by the slightly greater magnification.

Contrast is superb and flare is insignificant. (Note that with some binoculars when viewing a dark area next to a bright area, some of the light from the bright area floods into the dark area, reducing contrast, and making it impossible to see detail in the dark areas.) I have noticed no internal reflections.

These binoculars are bright, far brighter than one would expect from the small objective size. I compared them with my Swarovski 8.5x42 binoculars. At dusk, I could see no difference between the two. Distant Roe Deer and a distant barn were all equally well resolved and bright. Viewing the night sky, the EL was a little brighter, but not significantly so. Detail that was only visible with averted vision through the Nikon, was visible with direct vision through the Swarovski. My budget Nikon Egret 8x42 binoculars were as expected noticeably less bright.

The image has a strong 3-D feel due to the relatively large separation of the objective lenses. However I did find that it was not always easy to focus on nearby objects due to the strong 3-D effect. .

The close focus is roughly 3m.

Eye relief is excellent and I have no problem using the binoculars and seeing the whole field of view while wearing glasses.

The exit pupil at 4mm is fairly small and I found it a little harder to align the binoculars with my eyes than it would otherwise be with an 8x42 instrument.

Summary
Optically these binoculars provide an image that overall is second to none providing excellent FOV, DOF, sharpness, contrast and brightness. In my opinion – though I have heard several people state the same – they outperform top of the range full sized 8x roof prism binoculars. Mechanically they are excellent and the finish is second to none. The only blot on their character is the performance in very cold weather: the focus wheel is stiff, and some people might consider it unacceptable. I consider the optics so superior that I am willing to put up with a stiff focus wheel on cold winter days.

To be fair these binoculars will not appeal to everyone, due to their shape, the smallish 4mm exit pupils, the lack of waterproofing, the stiff focus in cold weather and the fold down rubber eye tubes.

What surprises me most is that I have never seen a pair around another birders neck. Quite why beats me. The fact that few optics shops stock them does not help, and I have been told - incorrectly in my opinion - by several shop keepers that they are not as good optically as the best roof prism binoculars.

Conclusion
Strongly recommended.
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fordwillman
Registered User

Registered: December 2003
Location: Arizona
Posts: 4
Review Date: Tue February 3, 2004 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Outstanding optical quality
Cons: As mentioned, not waterproof, fold down rubber eye cups

I give the product a 10 despite not being waterproof simply due to the optics. They cannot be beat in my opinion. You can spend A LOT more and not get a better view of the bird!
If you dont need waterproofing (we dont in AZ), these are the best bang for the buck that I have found, and over the years I have tried most of them, if not all of them!
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Blincodave

Registered User

Registered: March 2003
Location: Cambridge
Posts: 466
Review Date: Sat May 8, 2004 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Superb optics, lightweight, well made, good ergonomics
Cons: Lack of waterproofing, rubber eye caps, slightly difficult to use very close to birds.

I would endorse everything Leif says in his detailed review. Optically, they outperform or match high end roofs and any negatives are, for me, outweighed by the positives.

Simply, a stunning binocular.
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dipped
Registered User

Registered: May 2004
Location: suffolk
Posts: 1179
Review Date: Tue March 1, 2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: excellent optics
Cons: flimsy eyecups,stiff focussing,neckstrap eyelet position

I bought these in Dec.\'98 and they have turned out to be a great buy. They have never leaked/fogged internally though I do protect them from the worst downpours. I would endorse previous reviews over the excellent optical qualities of this binocular and build quality-there is no play in the eyepiece bridge, a quality linked apparently to the stiffish focussing. There is also a minimal build up of dust internally.

On initial use I noticed slightly too much eye relief but I have since got used to this by the way I hold the binoculars. I also tried to obtain stiffer/thicker eyecups to replace the rather thin walled originals but without any success. I don\'t wear glasses so am not rolling them down and in their defence I still have the originals in use though they are a bit misshapen now after 6 years.

For my fairly close set eyes I found the hanging binoculars would dig the objective lenses into my chest. I had to fashion an eyelet position from cable-ties to the outer extremes of the binocular so that it now hangs more vertically. As with all binoclar shop testing, the strap wasn\'t attached and I didn\'t notice this till I got home.

Contrary to some reports there is some flare in very low sunlit conditions but it is no worse than other top rated binoculars.

In conclusion still a great binocular for the money.



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Sailcat

Fearless Spectator

Registered: July 2005
Location: Northern California
Posts: 116
Review Date: Sat June 2, 2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Outstanding optics, comfortable to hold, excellent warrantee
Cons: Blackouts and cheap accessories

The SE is very well made and fits nicely in the hands. In fact, it is one of the most comfortable binoculars I have ever held. Additionally, it is lightweight at 22 oz. and hangs fairly well from it's neckstrap. The focuser is in a convenient position and moves firmly, yet easily, requiring about one and a quarter turns to move from extreme close focus to infinity. The diopter wheel is easy to set and, although it does not lock, it remains firmly in place. The eyecups are rubber and roll down for eyeglass wearers. Twist up eyecups would be more desirable, however, given the SE's tendency for blackouts, but more on this later. The SE line is touted to be "water resistant" by Nikon, but it is not water proof. This is not a problem for me as I do not plan on using it in the rain, but for those who live in damp or humid locations, this might be a consideration. The center axle is firm and remains solidly in place throughout a day's hiking.

The glass surfaces are a deep, liquid green and cast very few reflections. Nikon's excellent coatings result in very bright images rivaling the views through larger binoculars. Color rendition and contrast are very good overall. Moderate pincushioning is apparent at the eyepiece. On axis sharpness is outstanding, offering the ability to pick out tiny details in birds and terrestrial views. Off axis, the view remains sharp until the last 10%, at which point it drops off. The fov is listed by the manufacturer as a satisfying 7.5°, a figure that appears accurate from my comparisons with other binoculars. Internal reflections and flare are very well controlled. Eye relief is adequate at 17.4mm. The 8x32SE shares one unfortunate flaw with the other members of the SE line: blackouts. Eye position is critical in order to control this problem and twist up eyecups might contribute to mitigating this effect. Overall, however, the optical quality of this binocular is excellent.

Other minor issues include Nikon's inexplicable policy of including rather poor quality accessories with its premium binoculars, including flimsy objective covers, uncomfortable neckstraps, and a cheap case. These are easily replaced with much better aftermarket accessories, but for the not inconsiderable price Nikon charges for this fine instrument, a little more attention in this area would be very welcome.

Included with the SE is Nikon's excellent 25 year no fault warrantee. This is a valuable feature and should be an important consideration when choosing any expensive binocular.

To sum up, the 8x32SE is one of the very best birding binoculars available at any price and will satisfy any dedicated birder who wants top quality optics. The matters of waterproofing, cheap accessories, and blackout prevent me from bestowing it with a perfect 10, but it is one of my favorite binoculars in this class, nontheless.

------------------------------
Walter Locke
"I have never thought much of the courage of a lion-tamer. Inside the cage he is, at least, safe from other men."
-George Bernard Shaw
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jaymoynihan

Corvus brachyrhynchos watcher

Registered: January 2007
Location: Lake Michigan Watershed
Posts: 989
Review Date: Mon June 25, 2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: optics, ergonomics
Cons: The "rain guard"

I got a pair of these a few months back. Instead of just stating again how excellent they truly are, just assume I repeated all the good comments listed above. :)
I am one of the lucky eyeglass wearers that does not have the black-out problem. No black-outs, view while panning also great, no rolling, very flat field. Some do experience black outs, so that should be considered.

The only quibble i have, is the unbelievably poorly designed rain guard. Plan to replace it, (the Zeiss Classic one is nice)

Yes, these are playing WAY above their price.
jay

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"If there is a heaven, and i am allowed entrance, I will ask for no more than an endless living world to walk through and explore. I will carry with me an inexhaustible supply of notebooks from which i can send back reports to the more sedentary spirits." E.O. Wilson
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Pinewood

New York correspondent

Registered: June 2004
Location: New York, USA
Posts: 3806
Review Date: Wed September 5, 2007 Would you recommend the product? No | Price you paid?: $575.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Bright and contrasty optics; large sweet spot
Cons: naff and low utility accessories; unfriendly; prone to blackouts

Although I find that most of the optical characteristics attributed to this binocular, by others, to be accurate. I am one of the minority who found this binocular's tendency to blackouts made it extremely unfriendly in use. Wearers of eyeglasses seem to be more prone to this problem than others. After owning it for years, I was happy to sell it to someone who was convinced that he would enjoy it.
Although the Field of View is wide, it is less generous than many other fine binoculars in the 8x30/32 class but it was brighter than more expensive binoculars of that class. Compared to roof glasss, the focussing was definitely stiff but it was about standard for Porro binoculars.
The accessories include a case with no strap; a neckstrap with the manufacturers name embroidered in large yelow letters; a rain guard which cannot stay attached to the strap and objective lens caps of the most ordinary kind. I replaced the caps with tethered caps and the rain guard with a Zeiss Classic rain guard.
I readily admit that my opinion is a minority one. I certainly advise any prospective owner to field test one before buying or deal with a vendor with a generous returns policy.

------------------------------
Bread is not enough. Give us circuses!
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jebir

Yoda Eagle

Registered: March 2004
Location: Linköping, Sweden
Posts: 320
Review Date: Tue November 11, 2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Image Quality, small size, low weight, not so attractively looking
Cons: Flimsy rainguard and objective covers

I can only agree with the superlatives expressed above about the optical quality of these binoculars. I give them a 10 solely based on the image quality because, in my opinion, that is what is most important for birding. I also agree that the rainguard and objective covers are flimsy and falls off easily. I actually like the neck strap which is slightly broader at the neck and tapered towards the binos.

I owned these Nikon 8x32 SE binoculars after extensively trying them out side by side with their larger sibling, the Nikon 10x42 SE. I finally kept the 10x42 SE which gives even an better view of the field than the 8x32 SE. The lower magnification of the 8x32 is a clear advantage for individuals with unsteady hands or in a gale. (I have pretty steady hands and in windy conditions I seek support by leaning against something). Also, the low weight of the 8x32 SE is to its advantage for long hikes.

The non weather proofness of the binoculars, I think is a non-issue. I live in Sweden and I have used the larger Nikon 10.42 SE in outright downpoors and snow blizzards without any internal fogging problems whatsoever. As the 8x32 SE share the 10x42's construction, I would not worry about it unless you intend to crawl in mud with them (they are definitely not made to be flushed under the tap).

I am not wearing spectacles and I'm not bothered by the black-outs. It is a matter of viewing technique: Fold down the rubber eye-cups (even if you are not wearing glasses) and place the upper edge of eye-pieces on the lower part of your eyebrows. By experimenting a little with holding angle and width of the binos, you soon find the best position relative to your eyes that gives an improved field of view, relaxed viewing, and no black outs.

------------------------------
Some of my photos: http://jensbirch.smugmug.com
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spyglass
Djoo c it? Wut wuzit?

Registered: December 2004
Location: OKC
Posts: 409
Review Date: Sun October 11, 2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: everything (except eyecups)
Cons: see above

In stead of repeating all the superlatives already put forth, I'll just say that this SE line, and the 8x in particular, have probably generated more ink on the bino blogs than any other since the Zeiss Classics. Steve Ingraham started the raves (his reviews in BVD likely have had more to do with the optics mfrs striving to improve their lines than any other individual) and everyone else picked up on it. That says volumes about the popularity and competence of this series. Nuff sed.

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Reformed optics junky....finally
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oldbird13
Registered User

Registered: January 2010
Location: carmel
Posts: 12
Review Date: Sat September 18, 2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: weight,optics,
Cons: not waterPROOF

Have owned these for around 10 years and recently considered the Swaro 8.5x42 Swarovision ($2,339). I took my Nikons with me when I looked through the Swaros to compare. I made several studied comparisons viewing numerous objects/birds/scenery/signs. No way would I shell out $1,500 more for the Swaros. Many nice features and in a way I was hoping to really like them more but for me personally..No WOW factor as stated by other reviewers. I have read numerous times that you MUST look through something before buying and it's best if you can compare several products. I found that VERY difficult to do whether it be Wild Birds Unlimtd, camera stores or large sporting goods stores.
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gwsudiro

x-frost

Registered: October 2009
Location: Solo, Central Java, Indonesia
Posts: 376
Review Date: Tue June 28, 2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $575.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: easy viewing, top optical quality
Cons: not waterproof, slight red bias

about optical quality, I think everyone already know how excellent these little masterpieces are...

For my eyes, this bino has very very very relaxing view, snap on focus....I can fully concentrate on target, no worry about sharpness, contrast or other cause nothing wrong with the view! or in other words, everything is (more than) fine...ehehehe ^_^

but maybe this dont apply on everybody, some peoples experienced black out with Nikon SE..

------------------------------
"Only compacts now.."
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cassowary

Registered User

Registered: December 2005
Location: uk
Posts: 610
Review Date: Thu May 16, 2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Superb optics, weight, FOV, price
Cons: my focusing wheel becomes stiff in cold weather, not waterproof

Excellent Bins, that been around a long time. These bins have been discussed and praised a lot so the only thing I am adding is that I like the fact that they don't look pricey so they are less likely to get nicked.

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Good luck and Good Birding

Mike
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Torview

Registered User

Registered: November 2011
Location: Dartmoor.
Posts: 2177
Review Date: Thu September 11, 2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: A textbook example of how to make binocular.
Cons: Lack of absolute weatherproofing.

Still the benchmark.
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Tantien

Chronically & Optically Impecunious

Registered: March 2013
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 332
Review Date: Fri September 12, 2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Amazing glass with 3D effect and ergonomic design
Cons: Eyecups poor, stiff focus, lack of weatherproofing

Every time I think that that I'm going to get an expensive pair of roofs that are over $600, I look through these and my eyes delight all over again with the crystalline views. Yes I had to flip my eye-cups around and I do have to put up with stiff focusing and keep it out of the rain, but for the views they grant me, I too am happy with these 8x32 SEs as my Alphas!
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jebir

Yoda Eagle

Registered: March 2004
Location: Linköping, Sweden
Posts: 320
Review Date: Fri August 9, 2019 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros: Everything already said + lightness
Cons: I sold them

OK... 11+ years since i reviewed these - so why reiterate all the superlatives?

Well there is no reason except tha in my previous review, I explained how I chose the 10x42 SE over the 8x32 SE (which I sold) because I did not have any issues with high manifications... FF 11 years and I am now in the position when my neck and back starts to ache after a short while when out birding with my Nikon 10x42.

So - the 8x32 seems to be the winners in the long run - only drawback is that I sold them.

------------------------------
Some of my photos: http://jensbirch.smugmug.com
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