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Nikon PROSTAFF 5 12x50 Review

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PROS / The Nikon PROSTAFF 5 is waterproof and fogproof, so you can use it both on land and in the water.

CONS / You can't use the binoculars with a tripod to avoid shaky images.

 VERDICT / The Nikon PROSTAFF 5 is lightweight and rugged, but the images are less clear than those of other binoculars we reviewed.

The Nikon PROSTAFF 5 is a high-powered pair of binoculars with 12x magnification. This makes it best for long-range hunting and landscape viewing. Its durability and objective lenses are also well tailored to outdoor adventures, though the image quality in our tests was relatively low.

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At 50 millimeters, the objective lenses, which are the lenses farthest from your face when you look through them, are fairly large. This means you can use these binoculars confidently in low-light settings or for birdwatching, as images appear brighter with them. However, they have a relatively narrow field of view of 82 meters, so it can be harder to spot fast-paced action when you're watching birds or a game at a stadium.

  1. The power at which the viewing field is magnified.
    More is better.
  2. 14 Nikon PROSTAFF
    12 X
  3. 12 X
  4. 10 X
  5. 8 X
  6. Category Average
    10.65 X

As part of our testing process, we conducted a survey in which participants rated the optical qualities of each pair of binoculars. Although some participants thought images appeared clear through the Nikon PROSTAFF's lenses, they still rated these binoculars lower than what they considered the best for image quality. Other participants also noted images weren't as clear with these as they were with some of the other binoculars.

Unlike the other binoculars we reviewed, the Nikon PROSTAFF 5 doesn't have BAK-4 prisms, which are designed to produce a sharp, crisp viewing experience and direct more light to your eyes so you see brighter images. This is likely what contributed to our participants experiencing lower-quality images.

The Nikon PROSTAFF 5 is both waterproof and fogproof, so you can use it in wet conditions without worrying about water leaking into the housing and creating blurry images. The binoculars also have a central knob that allows you to focus both lenses at the same time, instead of each eyepiece individually. Our survey participants found that these binoculars had great focus.

At 27.9 ounces, the Nikon PROSTAFF 5 is only slightly heavier than the average weight of 26 ounces for all the binoculars we reviewed. Our survey participants still found them lightweight. This pair of binoculars isn't tripod adaptable, though, so you can't mount it if you do experience arm fatigue.

Nikon offers a limited lifetime warranty to cover the binoculars if there are defects in material and workmanship. If you have questions about your binoculars, you can search the company's knowledgebase to find some answers. The Nikon United States support page doesn't offer live chat support, but you can change your country setting to the United Kingdom to access this feature. You can also call the company, but if you want to send it an email, you'll need to create a free online account first.

Summary

The Nikon PROSTAFF 5 is a good set of binoculars that can withstand a few bumps and drops, as well as wet, humid conditions. It has a rugged design that feels lightweight, so you can take it along on a variety of activities, such as landscape viewing and hunting. However, this is the only pair of binoculars we reviewed that doesn't have BAK-4 prisms, which contributes to lower-quality images, and the narrow field of view means you might have trouble seeing fast-paced action.

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