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First binoculars: Nikon Vs Celestron (1 Viewer)

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Rassati

New member
Hello everyone!

I have been searching for binoculars for the last 2 weeks. I think I finally came with a final selection of the binoculars available in my region (but suggestions of other models are still welcome)

I'm a beginner in birdwatching and I want to buy reasonable binoculars for something around 100 euros. I selected these models so far:

Celestron 8x42 Outland (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/761213-REG/Celestron_71346_Outland_X_8x42_Binocular.html)

The exit pupil of just 5,3mm, but it is nitrogen filled, WP, with a slight better angle and field of view and lighter once it's made with roof prism. I read that roof prisms are more expensive, so seeing such binoculars with roof prism, nitrogen filling and multi-coated lenses makes me suspicious about the quality it actually delivers. It was also the cheapest in the local shops.



Nikon Aculon A211 7x50
(https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/910777-REG/nikon_8247_7x50_aculon_a211.html)

I believe the minimum focus distance to be wrong, some websites say it is 4.



Nikon action vii CF 7x50 (model BAA652AA)
(https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nikon-BAA652AA-Action-VII-7x50-CF/dp/B000K6H9QM)

Seemingly of a better family (action) than the Aculon 211. I found old announcements selling them for 200 euros, what could potentially mean that they have superior optics. There also good reviews about them and, after all, they are Nikon. Nonetheless, I found few websites with info about it. I think I would buy these, but I'm still unsecure about what to choose.


Is there any major difference between them that I should have in mind before purchasing or not?

I'll be very grateful to whoever help me with it.

Thank you!
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
Hello Rassati, and welcome! :)

(You've probably done this already, but just in case)
Before actually choosing a particular device, you should ask yourself (or explain to others so they can help you in the best possible way) what is your intended use for the binoculars, just like you would do with any other tool for any other job. So, things like:
- Where are you going to use the binoculars mainly? Forest, open country, coast, lakes
- When are you going to use them? Daytime, say you are an "excursion-birder", or mainly dusk/dawn, you are a more dedicated birder, or something special like owl-watching.
- In what kind of weather or environment: rainy, dry...
- Will you be walking a lot with them, or you will mainly use them from your balcony/backyard, or you'll mainly drive to the area where you'll use them (say, from a hide)
- Are you young or aged (which can have an impact on both how steady you can hold binoculars and also how much benefit you can gain from large pupils...)

All these questions (and many more) may help you determine the best for you. I'm saying this because I find it surprising that 2 of your 3 choices are 7x50. That format is big, heavy and is not the most obvious choice for a casual or beginner birder. Actually, they usually have quite narrow field of view and, what is worse, because of the low magnification, an even narrower apparent field of view (this is, you'll be looking at a black image with a circle in the middle, like if you were looking through a hole on the wall). 7x50 gives you a 7 mm exit pupil, but unless you're birding mainly in very low light, and you are of young age, you won't be taking full advantage of those. I'm a big fan of 7x, it gives a very steady view, with an incredible depth of field (less focus required), but I think 7x35 is a way better option for birding for a couple of very important reasons:
- It is way smaller and lighter
- It usually has a much, much, much bigger field of view (easily +9 º compared to 6,4º in some of the ones you've chosen).
- A 5 mm exit pupil is already considered plenty bright. Actually 8x42 has been one of the standards over the last years and if you look at the favourite size pool here at BirdForum, 8x32 is more than enough for many, with a 4 mm exit pupil.

I've used the 7x35 Aculon and it was reasonably light and nimble, and the view was more than OK and it can usually be found for very little money, so it's a nice one to have. I also used th 7x35 Action EX, which is waterproof (which can be interesting for very humid environments) and generally more rugged and nicer to use, but also more expensive an bulkier. Obviously, a roof like the Celestron (which I have not used) can be easier to carry for some, or less bulky (that depends also on personal preferences). So I'd say you might want to investigate both the 7x35 format and the 8x30-32 format, you can find many good choices there too, depending on what's available where you are. Things like the Kowa YF 8x30 can sometimes be found for 100$ (even less) and some of its siblings like the Vortex Raptor (or the old Eagle Optics Kingbird) usually show up with deep discounts, and can provide an stunning view for very little money, and are both lighter, smaller and more rugged than the Aculon.

But, again, the most important thing is that you take a piece of paper and ask yourself questions like the ones I've pointed above, about the intended use. That might help you rule out some binoculars/formats/sizes and choose another. Say you usually bird in good light (because you do it on Sunday excursions when the weather is fine), a 8x32 could be all that you need. Or you say you usually go to the seaside or to lakes, then 7 or even 8x can be too little, and you'd be better of with a 10x. Or say you always bird while trekking on the mountains, then you might want to look for something with a weight around 500 g and no more, etc.

I hope this can help you :)
 
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Royfinn

Well-known member
Yarrellii allready gave you some good advise. :t: I can recommend also Olympus 8x40 DPS-I https://www.amazon.com/Olympus-Trooper-8x40-DPS-Binoculars/dp/B0001M3612 binos. We have them and they have good pic quality for the price. They are bit bulky, but not very heavy.

For a beginner without glasses I would usually recommend 8x32 format bins, as they weight less and in daytime use they work as well as bigger cousins.

If you use glasses with bins, the the sufficient eye relief is very important factor.
 

Rassati

New member
Thank you for the answers!

Answering Yarrelli:

1 - I will be living in Lithuania for at least the next 3 years, so the main place where I'll bird is forests and fields. Eventually lakes.

2 - I bird during the days, bit very frequently I during the evening and keep doing it unntil the sunset.

3 - I think I'll go out for viewing mainly when it's dry or with a light rain

4 - Yes, I'll walk with them.
Your told that with 7x50 I would feel like looking through a whole in the wall. This sensation would be weaker in a 8x42 or 8x32?

I went through those binoculars guides and they seem to emphasize the pupil exit, so I thought it to be more important.



Where are you going to use the binoculars mainly? Forest, open country, coast, lakes
- When are you going to use them? Daytime, say you are an "excursion-birder", or mainly dusk/dawn, you are a more dedicated birder, or something special like owl-watching.
- In what kind of weather or environment: rainy, dry...
- Will you be walking a lot with them, or you will mainly use them from your balcony/backyard, or you'll mainly drive to the area where you'll use them (say, from a hide)
- Are you young or aged (which can have an impact on both how steady you can hold binoculars and also how much benefit you can gain from large pupils...

One more thing! I use glasses, but always use binoculars without. I think I never used such a good one that would let me use it with glasses.
 
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WJC

Well-known member
Hello everyone!

I have been searching for binoculars for the last 2 weeks. I think I finally came with a final selection of the binoculars available in my region (but suggestions of other models are still welcome)

I'm a beginner in birdwatching and I want to buy reasonable binoculars for something around 100 euros. I selected these models so far:

Celestron 8x42 Outland (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/761213-REG/Celestron_71346_Outland_X_8x42_Binocular.html)

The exit pupil of just 5,3mm, but it is nitrogen filled, WP, with a slight better angle and field of view and lighter once it's made with roof prism. I read that roof prisms are more expensive, so seeing such binoculars with roof prism, nitrogen filling and multi-coated lenses makes me suspicious about the quality it actually delivers. It was also the cheapest in the local shops.



Nikon Aculon A211 7x50
(https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/910777-REG/nikon_8247_7x50_aculon_a211.html)

I believe the minimum focus distance to be wrong, some websites say it is 4.



Nikon action vii CF 7x50 (model BAA652AA)
(https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nikon-BAA652AA-Action-VII-7x50-CF/dp/B000K6H9QM)

Seemingly of a better family (action) than the Aculon 211. I found old announcements selling them for 200 euros, what could potentially mean that they have superior optics. There also good reviews about them and, after all, they are Nikon. Nonetheless, I found few websites with info about it. I think I would buy these, but I'm still unsecure about what to choose.


Is there any major difference between them that I should have in mind before purchasing or not?

I'll be very grateful to whoever help me with it.

Thank you!

Hi Rassati, and welcome,

The “BEST” birding binocular is based on what is best for the observer using it. When I chose mine, I had more than 100 brands and models in my store, including Zeiss, Leica, Swarovski, Kowa, Optolyth, etc. I chose the Nikon 8x32 SE. This was based on PERSONAL PREFERENCE and was related to size (convenience), weight, ergonomics, and optical and mechanical performance. That binocular has been discontinued. HOWEVER, you may find dozens of binos that would meet whatever criteria YOU specify. And while most birders would consider a 7x50 an overkill for daytime birding applications, whoever told you using one would be like “looking through a hole in the wall” should not be allowed to drive. Binocular forums have a lot of bold statements that are based on agendas ... and not facts. :cat:

Bill
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
whoever told you using one would be like “looking through a hole in the wall” should not be allowed to drive. Binocular forums have a lot of bold statements that are based on agendas ... and not facts.

While I'm a big fan of the many virtues of 7x binoculars, I was trying to illustrate the point that small FOV can be pretty restrictive, given the fact that the OP suggested buying two binoculars with narrow FOV. In fact, I was specifically referring to the two 7x binoculars the OP is thinking of buying, both 7x50 Nikon models share the same 6,4º FOV 7x50. A 7x at 6,4º has a pretty narrow FOV for current standards (say, what you can get from a contemporary 8x32) and, what I was trying to tell the OP, is that the apparent field of view of those 7x50 at 6,4 º can feel pretty narrow for many (including myself). Some people describe it like "looking down a pipe", while the feeling I get is that I see a black wall with a hole in the center that allows me to look through. I'm sorry if you don't think that was a suitable image. It is sometimes difficult to convey abstract ideas or images (especially when using a language other than your own mother tongue), but a 6,4 º 7x to my eyes feels exactly like that: I get the feeling that I'm looking through a hole on a black wall... Ah, I've been driving safely for many decades ;)
Drive safe, enjoy binoculars!
 
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yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
I went through those binoculars guides and they seem to emphasize the pupil exit, so I thought it to be more important.
Well, and if you read through the endless threads in this forum and others, you will see that in fact the size of the exit pupil plays an important role, not only in affecting the performance of the binoculars but also in the "ease of view", a very small exit pupil will make the eye position critical, and can result in the eye position being finicky. However, while 7 mm is a very large exit pupil, as you can see if you check the pool about most popular binocular formats, you'll see that 8x42 (5 mm) seems to be the most popular among forum members (not that this has to mean anything, but it is an interesting fact), followed by 8x32 (4 mm). Actually, 7x50 represents a very marginal share.

For daylight a 8x32 can give you all the performance you need in a high % of cases, while 8x42 will give you even more (and probably an easier eye position/comfort). I love 7x42 because they provide a 6 mm exit pupil, bigger depth of field and a steadier view without sacrificing a lot on magnification (many people can hardly see the difference between 7x and 8x, while others do feel it, that's really personal). And some of that can be said about 7x35.

As it's usually adviced, the best thing to do is go to a shop and try:
a 7x50 6,4º: see how you like the feeling, the weight, the shape, the FOV, etc.
a 8x42 around 7º (ideally the closest you can get to 8º while being on your budget).
a 7x35, the Aculon has a 9,3º FOV, see how you like the difference compared with the 7x50
and a 8x30-32, and see how they feel in the hand in your eyes.

IMHO and limited experience, a 8x32 is a great allrounder and can give you everything you might need 95 % of the time (if, as you say, you spend most of your time birding during day hours). They're like a jack of all trades, they might not be the most powerful or the brightest, but they're "bright enough", "powerful enough", etc. y many situations. Plus they're usually small, light (you mentioned you may walk a lot with them) and many times have a wide FOV. As I adviced earlier, a 8x30 Kowa YF (or its siblings) is a great proposal in the 100 $/€ mark, but a 7x35 Aculon for less than 100 € is also a great idea. I have no experience with the Celestron.

Do try some and see what you like. It is always great trying to help others (they way others have helped us before), but there's nothing like trying. You'll find forum members whose favourite format is 8x56, or whose mainly used binocular is a 15x56, a 8x25 or anything in between. Don't let what other people say think that is the right choice for you: try and see what you like :)
 

WJC

Well-known member
While I'm a big fan of the many virtues of 7x binoculars, I was trying to illustrate the point that small FOV can be pretty restrictive, given the fact that the OP suggested buying two binoculars with narrow FOV. In fact, I was specifically referring to the two 7x binoculars the OP is thinking of buying, both 7x50 Nikon models share the same 6,4º FOV 7x50. A 7x at 6,4º has a pretty narrow FOV for current standards (say, what you can get from a contemporary 8x32) and, what I was trying to tell the OP, is that the apparent field of view of those 7x50 at 6,4 º can feel pretty narrow for many (including myself). Some people describe it like "looking down a pipe", while the feeling I get is that I see a black wall with a hole in the center that allows me to look through. I'm sorry if you don't think that was a suitable image. It is sometimes difficult to convey abstract ideas or images (especially when using a language other than your own mother tongue), but a 6,4 º 7x to my eyes feels exactly like that: I get the feeling that I'm looking through a hole on a black wall... Ah, I've been driving safely for many decades ;)
Drive safe, enjoy binoculars!

Yarrellii,

While I didn’t know it was you who made that statement, I have dealt many years with bold statements that didn’t have solid data behind them. If you do the math, you will find that most 7x50 binoculars have a ~7.1-degree field of view—as all I have ever owned—and not 6.4.

Further, some people would rather have a good 7.1-degree field of view than a 12-degree field of view that starts getting soft 2.5-degrees off-axis.

Also, how do you quantify, “hole in the wall?” Some are pin pricks and others you can drive a truck through.

Finally, I don’t have to believe published specs; I can accurately measure. (See attached)

The math behind the observation that has ruled the roost for more than 100 years is:

Field of view equals the objective diameter in millimeters divided by the magnification. 50mm / 7 = 7.14 degrees.

For my understanding, and perhaps others, please state where that 6.4-degree figure came from. :cat:

Bill
 

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yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
Yarrellii,
Field of view equals the objective diameter in millimeters divided by the magnification. 50mm / 7 = 7.14 degrees.

For my understanding, and perhaps others, please state where that 6.4-degree figure came from. :cat:

Bill,

This is very easy to check. I'm not making anything up, I'm simply stating what the very own brand has to say about their own binoculars, and for the two models the OP showed interest Nikon states a field of view of 6,4º.

Find attached a picture of the binocular in question Action 7x50, so you can see for yourself what Nikon says about it: 6,4º FOV.

And again for the Nikon Aculon 7x50, here is the list of specs from Nikon USA, again 6,4º.

https://www.nikonusa.com/en/nikon-p....html#tab-ProductDetail-ProductTabs-TechSpecs

Maybe Nikon understate their FOV in order to surprise the buyer ;-)


BTW, Nikon indicates an AFOV of 42º. I know Hermann lives very happy with the 7x42 Habicht, and many people may find an AFOV of 42º adequate, but for me is really very narrow, given that you can find inexpensive devices around the 60º mark. But personal taste is just that... Personal
 

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WJC

Well-known member
Bill,

This is very easy to check. I'm not making anything up, I'm simply stating what the very own brand has to say about their own binoculars, and for the two models the OP showed interest Nikon states a field of view of 6,4º.

Find attached a picture of the binocular in question Action 7x50, so you can see for yourself what Nikon says about it: 6,4º FOV.

And again for the Nikon Aculon 7x50, here is the list of specs from Nikon USA, again 6,4º.

https://www.nikonusa.com/en/nikon-p....html#tab-ProductDetail-ProductTabs-TechSpecs

Maybe Nikon understate their FOV in order to surprise the buyer ;-)


BTW, Nikon indicates an AFOV of 42º. I know Hermann lives very happy with the 7x42 Habicht, and many people may find an AFOV of 42º adequate, but for me is really very narrow, given that you can find inexpensive devices around the 60º mark. But personal taste is just that... Personal

Hi Yarellii,

It is only easy for those who believe everything they read. I don’t. Fifty years in optics has taught me not to do so.

I think you should write Nikon and ask why their 7x50 has a 6.4-degree field of view when everybody else’s has a 7.1-degree field of view. I think this information would be of interest to the whole forum. Do you respect Fujinon as being the equal of Nikon in the industry? ... Good!

Attached, is a screen capture of a Fujinon FMTR-SX ad. According to their Fujinon sponsored ad, that binocular has an APPARENT FIELD of 7.5 degrees. “7 degrees 30 minutes.”

IT DOES NOT. It has an apparent field of 52.5 degrees. In Fujinon’s case, I’m certain it was a simple mistake. BUT ...

How about the other three graphics? Do you believe a “Night Glass” means “Night Vision”? It doesn't. Or how about the plastic paperweight with the “prism housings” that house NO PRISMS ... because there aren’t any?! Those unneeded housings are only there to give the illusion of prism housings to sucker a little money out of the terminally unwary.

Finally, we have the PowerView 20-280x60 “Military / Super Zoom” / Bird watching binocular?!

The military (any military) does NOT use zoom binoculars—as ANYONE who cares anything about optics won’t—and they don’t really care about bird watching. Nor would they use a binocular with a with a magnification 4.67 times greater than its objective in millimeters. But if the ad is correct, 259 have sold.

P.T. Barnum did not say, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” But someone who worked for him probably did and he was most assuredly ... correct.

‘Hope this helps. :cat:

Bill
 

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Rob from Texas

Well-known member
If I may,...I thought objective diameter in millimeters divided by the magnification gave you the exit pupil in mm. Did not know it directly related to FOV.
 

WJC

Well-known member
Indeed. There's much to be said for not breaking eggs in one's own face.

This is a matter of practical vs academic. A 7x50 has ~ a 7-degree FOV. A 7x35, 8x40, or 10x50 has ~ a 5-degree FOV. A 20x80 has ~ a 3.7-degree FOV. For practical purposes that’s 4-degrees. Perfect it’s not, I will admit that. However, it is easy to get into diminishing returns. This is similar to people who claim their binocular is “PERFECTLY COLLIMATED” when deviations in their spatial accommodation couldn’t prove it when such DOESN’T even exist.

*********************

“... In preparing this book, I came across several of those standards, which caused me to develop three thoughts to further my studies. First, the only “standards” were between the ears of those who conducted the tests. Secondly, using an averaging factor for differing spatial accommodations, one could see most would work well and could be accepted by even the most conscientious technician. And finally, should seeking a standard for allowable collimation errors continue for another century they would undoubtedly not deviate much from any of those used today.

“An exhaustive survey for the Armstrong Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory in May of 1986 revealed in part:

“Indeed, a degree of alignment error unnoticed by, or even undetectable by, one observer may be unacceptable to another.

“Zero optical tolerances and zero tolerances for image differences are not practical: they would be too difficult and expensive to obtain and could not be retained in use.”

**********************

Although this was about collimation and conditional alignment, the same rule applies. :cat:

Bill
 

Rassati

New member
Concerning the field of view, I found a Nikon 7x35 Action Extreme ATB for 100 euros. It is fully multi-coated and of superior category when compared to Nikon Action vii 7x50. Its actual Angle of View is of 9.3°, nearly two degrees more (meaning 162m against roughly 117m). It's also lighter.

Having in mind that I go birding mainly during the day or until the sunset (and rarely after it), I suppose I wouldn't suffer from the loss in its lower pupil exit.
(Would I in a cloudy day?)

Would it be a better option?
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Concerning the field of view, I found a Nikon 7x35 Action Extreme ATB for 100 euros. It is fully multi-coated and of superior category when compared to Nikon Action vii 7x50. Its actual Angle of View is of 9.3°, nearly two degrees more (meaning 162m against roughly 117m). It's also lighter.

Having in mind that I go birding mainly during the day or until the sunset (and rarely after it), I suppose I wouldn't suffer from the loss in its lower pupil exit.
(Would I in a cloudy day?)

Would it be a better option?
The Nikon 7x35 Action Extreme ATB would be a very good choice if you found one for 100 euros. I had one once and the edges are a little soft but other than that they are good performers for the money.
 

Royfinn

Well-known member
Concerning the field of view, I found a Nikon 7x35 Action Extreme ATB for 100 euros. It is fully multi-coated and of superior category when compared to Nikon Action vii 7x50. Its actual Angle of View is of 9.3°, nearly two degrees more (meaning 162m against roughly 117m). It's also lighter.

Having in mind that I go birding mainly during the day or until the sunset (and rarely after it), I suppose I wouldn't suffer from the loss in its lower pupil exit.
(Would I in a cloudy day?)

Would it be a better option?
I haven't tried Nikon 7x35 Action Extreme ATB bin, but it seems like great choice with 9.3 view angle. :t:

You shouldn't worry the exit pupil, at least I have no problem with my 8x30 exit pupil. However, the weight seems to be 800g, which is quite a lot, but with 100 € bins everything is hard to get right.
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
It is only easy for those who believe everything they read. I don’t. Fifty years in optics has taught me not to do so.

Bill,
I thank you for the clarification, I always read your posts with great interest and have learn a lot (for example, to be wary of advertising bloating specs). However, there's two things that escape me.

- It is a proven fact that sometimes manufactures cheat in the advertising, bloating the performance of their devices, but then... why would anyone in their own mind advertise a product being worse than it is in reality. Why would you say your product has a 6,4º FOV when in reality it has 7,1º? (Yes, I know that in a few cases the brands err for good, and declare worse performance, but I guess this is quite scarce).

- On the other hand, just like Rob, as a lay person I'm a bit confused about your explanation of FOV being a simple division of objective mm and magnification.

WJC said:
This is a matter of practical vs academic. A 7x50 has ~ a 7-degree FOV. A 7x35, 8x40, or 10x50 has ~ a 5-degree FOV. A 20x80 has ~ a 3.7-degree FOV.

I thought this was actually exit pupil in millimeters. But maybe I'm missing something or there's a technical explanation to it.

Furthermore, how is it possible then, that there exist binoculars with the same format and very different FOV. Without leaving the 7x50 and the very same brand.

Nikon 7x50 Aculon: 6,4º (advertised)
Nikon 7x50 IF SP WP: 7,3º (advertised, tested by Allbinos at 7,24º)
Nikon 7x50 WX: 10,7º (advertised, Allbinos tested the 10x50 WX and it was in accordance with the brand specs)

Then if we check other formats, there are varying (and pretty different, sometimes extreme) FOV for any given format. Maybe I'm misinterpreting some information or mixing different concepts.
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
Concerning the field of view, I found a Nikon 7x35 Action Extreme ATB for 100 euros. It is fully multi-coated and of superior category when compared to Nikon Action vii 7x50. Its actual Angle of View is of 9.3°, nearly two degrees more (meaning 162m against roughly 117m). It's also lighter.

Having in mind that I go birding mainly during the day or until the sunset (and rarely after it), I suppose I wouldn't suffer from the loss in its lower pupil exit.
(Would I in a cloudy day?)

Would it be a better option?

IMHO the Nikon Action Extreme 7x35 is a great performer, and at 100 € it is a really good price. The image is bright and sharp and very wide. Yes, only the central part of the image is perfectly sharp (as it is usually the case with wide field binoculars), but in my case it didn't disturb me at all. The construction seems really solid.
The only concern would be size, weight and bulk. At around 800 g these are heavy, I don't think I'd like to carry them all day on my neck. As a solution, you can wear them like a bandolier (or else get a harness). And then they are quite wide. For example, with my medium-sized hands I could not "single-hand"-them easily. If you are tall and have big hands, this could be a plus, but if you are not very big, you might want to try them first paying attention to size/weight. It is always difficult to find the perfect balance.

Dennis recommended the Leupold Yosemite, which is a sibling of the Kowa YF that was also recommended previously. That's a mere 450 g, a breeze in comparison with the Action Extreme. But both would be a good choice :)
Good luck!
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I don't think 800 g or 28 0z. for the Nikon Action Extreme is too bad. About the weight of any 8x42 alpha roof prism now and it is very well built.
 
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