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Looking for a new pair of binoculars under $250 (1 Viewer)

Colin06

Member
United States
Hello! So I currently own a pair of Celestron Nature DX 8x42. I'm looking to upgrade. I've been looking at the Nikon Prostaff P7 8x42. The Nikon p7 seems to be pretty good, but do any of you have any other recommendations?
 

Trinovid

mountain and glacier watcher
United States
Unless you're opposed to buying second hand, I'd rather have a used upper end product at a given price point than the brand new alternative. A good place to start might be looking a B&H and other online sellers who often have some very good used products available.
 

lilcrazy2

Well-known member
United States
If you are looking for 8x42 under $250, I would look at:
Vortex Diamondback HD
Athlon Midas HD (greenish gray) discontinued in 2020 but still widely available
Athlon Midas G2 UHD ( black)
I have been mildly impressed by the optics and build of both of the Midas models, and the Diamondback HD is a solid performer at that price.
 

limonabe

Active member

I don't have a pair of these and haven't looked through them, BUT I do have the similar 6x30 offered by APM. Both have the same manufacturer and my APMs are well-built and are very good binoculars for the price. I think the Orions are likewise probably a good deal at less than $200. Here are the APMs:

 

David Shl

New member
United States
Hello! So I currently own a pair of Celestron Nature DX 8x42. I'm looking to upgrade. I've been looking at the Nikon Prostaff P7 8x42. The Nikon p7 seems to be pretty good, but do any of you have any other recommendations?
Hi.
Has anyone seen any comparisons as to whether the P7 8x42 would in fact be an upgrade to the Nature DX ED.
I see that it's listed as 4 ounces lighter, but don't know anything more.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Here is a nice pair of Swift Kestrel 10x50 porro's for $299.95. These were excellent MIJ porro's. Probably beat any roof or porro mentioned so far on your list. It is the big brother of the famous Swift Audubon 8.5x44. At your price point, this is what you want to look for. This will kill the MIC APM 6x30 or cheap MIC roofs. It only has about 10 mm of ER, so it probably won't work if you wear glasses. It is WA at 7 degree TFOV and 70 degree AFOV and weighs about 32 oz. which is pretty light for a 50 mm. These will give you a great stereoscopic porro view that no roof will match!




"Swift Kestrel 10x50
Of all the binos I have on hand (usu 6-7 at any given time), the big Swift has what I would call the "easiest" view I've yet 2c in a higher power glass...much like its sibling 8.5x Audubon (also have the new 820 model of that one) but if anything a tad better....u just put it in front of the eyeballs and the whole expansive picture is there with no strain...very bright, sharp 70* afov makes finding distant birds in trees a snap and takes in open clusters, nebulae, constellations, etc. in their entirety....have heard some grousing on these (& some other glasses as well) about "edge softness" but it's axiomatic that virtually any optical (or mechanical, electrical et al.) device is a series of compromises....to get a desirable feature(s) or characteristic something else will have to suffer a little (or a lot, depending on)...to get the exceptional field and the high resolution this glass offers, if that was the tradeoff, it's well worth it....the only detriments I've found with the Kestrel are 1)short eye relief at about 10 mm 2) the stiffest roll down eye cups I've ever encountered...one reason I never mess with them 3)very short recess of the objectives into the body...it has rubber obj rings, but they're very shallow....there's no more than 3 mm recess from the plane which means that the lenses are very prone to be touched or rubbed against something causing smudging or scratching to the coatings...and smudges etc. are one of my major taboos where fine optics are concerned....this design oversight means you need to leave the objective covers on virtually all the time unless you're actually viewing...if Swift redesigns the 10x as they did the smaller one hopefully this will be fixed. But for what they cost ($225-250 street price) and what they show you, this is one fine performer... Kamakura Koki (the builder of the Swift Audubon) did a remarkable job of combining high resolution, brightness, field and holding comfort in a light wt unit...for the price you can't beat it."
Overall Rating: 8



s-l1600.jpg
 
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Binocollector

Well-known member
Germany
A Kamakura-porro is always a good choice.
My Kamakura-made "Bresser Condor" 8x30 is one of the sharpest binos I ever looked through. Comparable to the Komz 7x30 BPO without the flat field however.

Considering the original question -- I doubt the Nikon P7 will be much of an improvement over the Celestron Nature DX. The P7 is a horrible piece of plastic junk. On mine the diopter became loose after using them maybe 5 times. It's really completely made of plastic (apart from the lenses). In theory the optics themselves are okay (not great but not bad either) -- but what good is there in that when the bino itself lasts 2 weeks?
I would never again buy anything below a Monarch HG when it comes to Nikon binos. All the low price Nikons aren't worth it, no Aculon, Action EX, Prostaff, etc. They all get outperformed by something as simple as an Opticron Adventurer T WP porro. The cheap Nikon porros like Aculon and Action EX have mediocre coatings and the color rendition of a porro from the 70's without the build quality or sharpness that a good 70's Japanese porro might offer.
 

Will K

Too well-known member
United Kingdom
Diamondback HD is a solid performer at that price.
I agree. That’s what sprang to mind for me.

The Crossfire is also not bad, and slightly cheaper. Some people think that the upgrade to Diamondback is well worth the slight price difference, though.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
A Kamakura-porro is always a good choice.
My Kamakura-made "Bresser Condor" 8x30 is one of the sharpest binos I ever looked through. Comparable to the Komz 7x30 BPO without the flat field however.

Considering the original question -- I doubt the Nikon P7 will be much of an improvement over the Celestron Nature DX. The P7 is a horrible piece of plastic junk. On mine the diopter became loose after using them maybe 5 times. It's really completely made of plastic (apart from the lenses). In theory the optics themselves are okay (not great but not bad either) -- but what good is there in that when the bino itself lasts 2 weeks?
I would never again buy anything below a Monarch HG when it comes to Nikon binos. All the low price Nikons aren't worth it, no Aculon, Action EX, Prostaff, etc. They all get outperformed by something as simple as an Opticron Adventurer T WP porro. The cheap Nikon porros like Aculon and Action EX have mediocre coatings and the color rendition of a porro from the 70's without the build quality or sharpness that a good 70's Japanese porro might offer.
"A Kamakura porro is always a good choice. My Kamakura made "Bresser Condor" 8x30 is one of the sharpest binos I ever looked through. Comparable to the Komz 7x30 BPO without the flat field, however."

The Swift Kestrel 10x50 will be as sharp on-axis as any of the alphas with some edge softness, but that is to be expected with it's WA design.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Especially the Swift Audubon 820 ED 8.5x44. There are always people looking for those. It is the Holy Grail of the Swift's. People overlook the Kestrel's though, and they are just as good, only bigger.
 

Binocollector

Well-known member
Germany
Well that's just a thing to live with when buying old porros but the views make up for it. The only bino from around the 70s or early 80s that I own which works perfectly with glasses are the Japanese 7x50s with AK prisms. Too bad they have no p-coatings yet.
A 7x50 wide angle porro will work with glasses, too, at least to a certain degree.
Oh, and the Komz 7x30 works perfectly with glasses as might some other 7x military binos like Zeiss EDF.
But neither old Zeiss, Hartmann, Kamakura, Steiner, etc porros do.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Go for the swift Dennis, and when you get them let me know what pretty good is with 10mm ER.
I had a pair a few years ago. I think the ER is a little more than the 10 mm as stated because they worked for me. The older WA porros usually don't have a lot of ER. Like the E2, they are not waterproof. They are without a doubt excellent porros for the money. At $250 to $300 probably the best porro you can get. I was trying a slug of older WA porros. It is surprising how sharp some are on-axis, as Binocollector says above, although they soften on the edges like an E2. They are not as bright as the Habicht's because of the older coatings but on-axis they are as sharp.

"The two best porro prism binoculars that I have owned were
1. Nikon E II 8x30 - cursed be the day when I let it go,
and 2. Swift Kestrel HR/5 10x50.

The Nikon was better optically than the Swaro EL 8x32, but it was a bit too slow to focus.
The Kestrel was MUCH better than a Swaro SLC 10x42, but it did not survive being dropped in a coastal salt marsh.
I now have a super collimated super perfect Leupold Yosemite 6x30, and it rivals anything out there, but the coatings fall short when I look into the dark shadows when the sun is low and in front of me. I did try the Nikon SE 8x32, but it was not good for me. It had too much eye relief and the eye cups were too flimsy. It also had a slow and stiff focuser."

 
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dries1

Member
I can easily live with the 13mm ER of the E2, it is comfortable for long standing viewing, but 10mm will not be comfortable for me, quick looks likely OK, but with a 10X I want to use it for longer viewing sessions. Not to mention viewing up to zenith at night would be detremental. If someone wants to collect it fine, but I can find $300 to spend elsewhere.

"The Nikon was better optically than the Swaro EL 8x32, but it was a bit too slow to focus".
I am a bit confused by this statement.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
It depends on how deep your eye sockets are if you can deal with shorter ER binoculars like the Kestrel. My eye sockets are shallow, so the Kestrel worked for me. If your eye sockets are deep, they may not work for you, although you could try them because I think the ER is greater than 10 mm. When he said the Kestrel was much better than a Swaro SLC 10x42, that gives you and idea how good they are.
 

dries1

Member
That is his subjective opinion, (good for him) I am sure the SLC 10X42 would be a much better glass for my eyes.
My opinion is my military porros and I have a few, are solid. These swifts can go out of alignment much easier. They are a nice glass to have in a collection, but for daily use I would pass.
Go for it dennis it is only $299, or maybe offer him $250.00.
 
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[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
That is his subjective opinion, (good for him) I am sure the SLC 10X42 would be a much better glass for my eyes.
My opinion is my military porros and I have a few, are solid. These swifts can go out of alignment much easier. They are a nice glass to have in a collection, but for daily use I would pass.
Go for it dennis it is only $299, or maybe offer him $250.00.
The Kestrels keep their alignment, as well as, any porro including the SE and E2. The SLC would be better for you if you like a flatter field and sharper edges, like I do, although the SLC does not equal the EL or NL in these areas. That is why I prefer Swarovski's in general. I am suggesting the Kestrel for a good binocular at a price point of $250. It is much better than all the other options like a cheap MIC roof or porro like the APM 6x30. These old porros like the Kestrel have huge FOV's, but they are not flat field and sharp to the edge like a Swarovski, but they do have excellent on-axis sharpness. You have to pay a lot more money for a corrected view because of the complex eyepieces used. I have an NL 8x32 and I don't have any need for a Kestrel. If you want better than a 10 degree corrected flat field with sharp edges, you have to pay $5K for the WX.
 
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