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Binocular Comparison: Nikon Prostaff ATB 8x25 reverse porro vs. Hawke Endurance ED 8x25 (1 Viewer)

uofmrob

Member
United States
Hi!
I'm looking for a sub-$200 set of compact binoculars to toss in my backpack to have around all the time. I have a pair of Hawke 8x42 Frontier HD X binoculars that I use for birding and love, but would love to have a second small pair.

I've been looking around and I'm having trouble finding some direct comparisons between the less expensive compact binoculars. I've kinda narrowed it down to the Nikon Prostaff ATB 8x25 reverse porro and the Hawke Endurance ED 8x25 binoculars (but I'm open to other suggestions). I like the form factor of the Hawkes (and the other roof prism compacts), but it seems that at that price point, it's easier to make a pair of reverse porro prism binoculars with good optical quality. I'm wondering if anyone has looked through both of these. I don't think that it will be easy for me to find them locally to try them out. I'd be curious about how they compare with respect to color fringing,edge to edge sharpness, etc.

And if any of you have compact binoculars in the sub-$200 range, I'd love to hear about them as well, particularly if you have a direct comparison to these two models. I don't wear glasses, so I'm not terribly concerned about the eye relief.
Thanks!
 
I think you are on the right track. I have experience, the Nikon TraveLite 8x25 is similar to the Prostaff
being a reverse porro, and the optics are quite good. I also have tried some cheap roofs like the Nikon
Acculon in that size range and the optics are not real good.
So, the better value may be in the reverse porro. It seems it takes spending more for a small roof to
compete as well.
Jerry
 
I have the Hawke's. As you might expect they have a narrow fov, but are pretty good. They are light and easy to carry on your belt. If you want something with a better fov and is brighter, you might consider the Maven 7x28 or Vortex 8x28. Both are larger and heavier, but can still fit in a belt pouch.
 
Hi!
I'm looking for a sub-$200 set of compact binoculars to toss in my backpack to have around all the time. I have a pair of Hawke 8x42 Frontier HD X binoculars that I use for birding and love, but would love to have a second small pair.

I've been looking around and I'm having trouble finding some direct comparisons between the less expensive compact binoculars. I've kinda narrowed it down to the Nikon Prostaff ATB 8x25 reverse porro and the Hawke Endurance ED 8x25 binoculars (but I'm open to other suggestions). I like the form factor of the Hawkes (and the other roof prism compacts), but it seems that at that price point, it's easier to make a pair of reverse porro prism binoculars with good optical quality. I'm wondering if anyone has looked through both of these. I don't think that it will be easy for me to find them locally to try them out. I'd be curious about how they compare with respect to color fringing,edge to edge sharpness, etc.

And if any of you have compact binoculars in the sub-$200 range, I'd love to hear about them as well, particularly if you have a direct comparison to these two models. I don't wear glasses, so I'm not terribly concerned about the eye relief.
Thanks!
I'm kind of similarly deciding on a budget small binocular. I keep cycling back between trying vortex vanquish 8x26 vs Hawke 8x25 ED vs vortex bantam 6.5x32. The reverse porros seem like the most fun of the bunch but the hawkes are probably more compact.

Looking forward to reading replies to this thread.
 
How these reverse porros holds up to being tossed and possible impacts in the backpack?
When I researched about the Pentax Papillo, I read some reports of decollimation with use.
There is a positive report here on the forum about the Hawke Endurance ED 8x25 (vs Swarovski CL!) you were considering.
What complicates things for me about compacts is that I wear eyeglasses and occasionally sunglasses (on hiking, beach, etc.), restricting my options due to insufficient eye relief. I don't know if this is your case, but your current Hawke 8x42 Frontier HD X has generous relief. Check whether this should be considered.
 
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I really wish there was someplace nearby that I could get some hands on experience with these. I'm tempted to buy the Pentax UPs and Hawkes from Amazon and return which one I don't like, but Amazon is so crappy about their return process, that the returned pair will just end up in the bottom of some pallet of junk for auction. It seems wasteful.
 
I really wish there was someplace nearby that I could get some hands on experience with these. I'm tempted to buy the Pentax UPs and Hawkes from Amazon and return which one I don't like, but Amazon is so crappy about their return process, that the returned pair will just end up in the bottom of some pallet of junk for auction. It seems wasteful.
If you return the binoculars, they'll be sold as used by Amazon Warehouse. I just returned pairs of Burris Signature HD 10x42 and Opticron Oregon LE 8x25 binoculars. The Opticrons were supposed to be new but were actually used and probably returned by someone else. Returns for some may end up being good deals for others. I returned Leupold Rogue and Vortex Vanquish reverse porro 8x binoculars because of the finicky eye placement and bulky form. I’m still looking for a clear and bright pair of compact binoculars myself for my morning walks.
 
Or maybe just buy the Hawkes and return them if the optical quality isn't what I'm looking for. I do really like the form factor better (and the lifetime warranty and seemingly better build quality with the magnesium frame like my Frontier HD Xs). I don't have a ton of space in my backpack as it's typically loaded.
 
I should mention, too, that I was mistaken on my main binoculars. They are actually the Hawke ED X, not HD X. And they are really great. I've been using them for 4 years and they have worked out really well. So I am definitely a fan of Hawke from my experience with those.
 
Or maybe just buy the Hawkes and return them if the optical quality isn't what I'm looking for. I do really like the form factor better (and the lifetime warranty and seemingly better build quality with the magnesium frame like my Frontier HD Xs). I don't have a ton of space in my backpack as it's typically loaded.

An alternative I've been looking at -- that no one seems to be talking about -- is the "Vixen 8x25 hoop". Priced in the $250-$300 range. Problem is that it's single hinge rather than double and importing fees add up. That said, it seems like it's a good competitor to the Maven 7x28 (also single hinge). The lone amazon jp review seems to be favorable for the Vixens though and they're a classic optics brand.


The amazon product details says it was released supposedly in 2020 which is perhaps why it's gone largely unnoticed. But that date could just be the when the product was listed there. There also seems to be a previous 8x25 iteration from Vixen years ago.
 
@uofmrob One great thing about the Nikon 8x25 Prostaff ATB (AKA Travelite EX) is that they offer something quite unique for a 8x25, and that is regular size eyecups, provided you do a small modification (here) that allows you to go from an inner diameter of 25 mm (which is not terrible) to an amazing 30 mm, which is not unheard of for full sized binoculars. I really like what the Prostaff ATB/Travelite has to offer: pretty sharp, contrasty and vivid images, great ease of use, thanks to single hinge and wide eyecups, FOV is typical for the format, nothing to write home about, but not terrible either, great grip/feel in your hand, nice focus wheel and great portability.

travelite825eyecup_02-jpeg.1573623


For me, the two main things that make using 8x25 and 8x20 binoculars fussy are the double hinge and narrow eyecups, not actually the smaller exit pupil, as you might expect. But here you have a rather compact 8x25 with regular eyecups and lovely wide and deep focus wheel (another area where pockets usually differ from regular binoculars). Then don't be fooled by the lack of "ED" in the Prostaff name, because sharpness and CA are actually really nice for the price (I compared the Prostaff ATB/Travelite EX against my Nikon EII 8x30, and I was surprised to see that the cheap reverse Porro shows even less CA than the venerable EII.

As a wild card, you could try to source the Dutch branded Bynolyt Seagull ED 8x25 HD, Jan van Daalen has spoken very favourably about them here several times, and they did a test on the website House of outdoors (PDF here, it's written in Dutch, but easily translated with Google translate or the like). They compared the Seagull ED with top dogs like the Zeiss Victory Pocket 8x25 or the Swarovski Pocket CL 8x25, and the results are really impressive. Bynolyt sources its binoculars from Asian manufacturers, so it's not unlikely that you can find the same (or a very similar) model under other badge.
 
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@uofmrob One great thing about the Nikon 8x25 Prostaff ATB (AKA Travelite EX) is that they offer something quite unique for a 8x25, and that is regular size eyecups, provided you do a small modification (here) that allows you to go from an inner diameter of 25 mm (which is not terrible) to an amazing 30 mm, which is not unheard of for full sized binoculars. I really like what the Prostaff ATB/Travelite has to offer: pretty sharp, contrasty and vivid images, great ease of use, thanks to single hinge and wide eyecups, FOV is typical for the format, nothing to write home about, but not terrible either, great grip/feel in your hand, nice focus wheel and great portability.

travelite825eyecup_02-jpeg.1573623


For me, the two main things that make using 8x25 and 8x20 binoculars fussy are the double hinge and narrow eyecups, not actually the smaller exit pupil, as you might expect. But here you have a rather compact 8x25 with regular eyecups and lovely wide and deep focus wheel (another area where pockets usually differ from regular binoculars). Then don't be fooled by the lack of "ED" in the Prostaff name, because sharpness and CA are actually really nice for the price (I compared the Prostaff ATB/Travelite EX against my Nikon EII 8x30, and I was surprised to see that the cheap reverse Porro shows even less CA than the venerable EII.

As a wild card, you could try to source the Dutch branded Bynolyt Seagull ED 8x25 HD, Jan van Daalen has spoken very favourably about them here several times, and they did a test on the website House of outdoors (PDF here, it's written in Dutch, but easily translated with Google translate or the like). They compared the Seagull ED with top dogs like the Zeiss Victory Pocket 8x25 or the Swarovski Pocket CL 8x25, and the results are really impressive. Bynolyt sources its binoculars from Asian manufacturers, so it's not unlikely that you can find the same (or a very similar) model under other badge.

So to be clear, you just fold the interior inward-facing flap of the eyeguard outward out over the rim of the eyeguard and that reveals more eyespace?
 
@iseegeorgesstar I simply slide downward the rubber cover of the eyecup until it is flush with the eyecup main plastic body. The motion is like if you were sliding a very tight ring down your finger. It's actually pretty daft and simple, have a look (a GIF is worth a thousand words :)).

View attachment NikonTraveliteEyecups.mp4

Et voilà, a +30 mm wide eyecup, just like in your regular binos.

You could argue that I could skip this and simply get rid of the rubber cover altogether, but I don't do it for two reasons. First, because without the rubber cover light gets in through the small "rails" that let the eyecup be twisted up and down. And second, because the rubber, although on the outer rim increases comfort, since the eyebrow rests mainly on the rubber area, the outside of the eyecup. Without the rubber cover, the raw plastic of the eyecup feels too harsh on the skin, but like this I've been birding without any complain. Pretty chuffed with this, to be honest!
 
I just thought I would send an update. I bought the Hawke 8x25 Endurance EDs and they arrived today. I really like the form factor and build quality, but the close focus for my again eyes with poor close up vision is about 17 feet, which wouldn't work for birding. I'm going to return them and I ordered the Pentax UP 8x25 WPs. Hopefully, they will work better.
 
the close focus for my again eyes with poor close up vision is about 17 feet, which wouldn't work for birding.
According to Hawke's specs it looks as though the minimum close focus for the 8x25 should be very similar to your full-size model (which I assume performs rather better). Is it possible you received a faulty item?
 

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