Nikon 7x50 Action Extreme Binocular

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Apollo XX
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Nikon 7x50 Action Extreme Binocular

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I'd been in the market for a new pair of handheld binos for awhile, and recently pulled the trigger on the purchase of the Nikon 7x50 Action Extreme's https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/contro ... &A=details and http://www.nikonsportoptics.com/en/niko ... -TechSpecs I've only had them out in the night twice yet, but what I've seen so far is very good.

My primary reason for going with 7x was the ability to hand hold the instrument with a relative amount of steadiness. I've been using 10x50's forever and have been consistently frustrated with the unsteady views. 10x has proven just too much for me to hold steady for any length of time and I am constantly looking for something to brace against, which obviously isn't very convenient. My 9x63 Meade's are a little better, but they're big and still present a challenge when being used handheld. I might have gone with an 8x set, but believe it or not the vast majority of binos marketed in that power range use 42mm and below objective lenses and I didn't want to lose the aperture, so 7x50 it is.

Now I realize that 50/7 amounts to a 7.1mm exit pupil and that at my age I'll not be using the full stream of photons from the lenses, but I decided I'd be willing to accept the tradeoff. What I may be losing in brightness is more than made up for in steadiness. It is SO much better than the squiggly views I've been enduring through the more age appropriate exit-pupil-wise 10x50's. A little brightness difference doesn't mean a whole lot when it's accompanied with the etch-a-sketch effect. In fact I have no idea if the view through the 7x's is actually dimmer, but it sure is better.

As far as performance goes, so far I'm very happy. The single biggest improvement over my 10x50's besides the steadier view is the sharpness across the field. My estimate is that 85% of the image circle is sharp with some trailing off in the outer 15%. These optics are the best I've owned yet in binoculars. These aren't Nikon's top of the line 7x50's, but then at $135 vs. $1200 I think I can find a way to be happy with them. http://www.nikonsportoptics.com/en/niko ... -7x50.html

Generally the construction seems very good - typical Nikon quality - with nice fit and finish and the waterproof/nitrogen purged/fog proof feature is a plus for nighttime use. They're a little beefy at just over 2lbs., but that seems about par for the course for quality binoculars in this size range.

Overall I'm thrilled with my new purchase and am looking forward to spending more time under the stars with them. I'm especially looking forward to comparing their performance on the host of bright deep sky objects that have been typical fodder for my 10x50's over the years. Tonight just might be a good night for that sort of thing with Auriga getting high in the sky after darkness sets in.

As is typical for purchasing things through B&H Photo, they often throw in a bonus product. In this case it was this little keychain flashlight https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... black.html To say I was surprised at how bright this thing shines is an understatement. Yes, usually astronomers loathe bright light stuff, but if you drop your keys in the field at the end of the night the 90 lumens shed by this little sucker will make it like the sun came out. I'm sure it won't get used much but it's nice to know it's there.
"The purpose of life is the investigation of the Sun, the Moon, and the heavens." - Anaxagoras
Bruce D
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Re: Nikon 7x50 Action Extreme Binocular

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Nice Mike, and maybe those 15% of the photons you miss due to your advanced age (LOL) are the edges where the image quality drops off a bit anyway?
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AndyG
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Re: Nikon 7x50 Action Extreme Binocular

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Congrats on the new binos Mike. Next time you have them with you at an event I'd love to check them out. I'm also looking for a pair of lower magnification, hand-holdable binos.
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Pete
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Re: Nikon 7x50 Action Extreme Binocular

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Got the same binocular in 10X50 from B&H about 3 years ago. Figured the 7X exit pupil was wasted and since I can hand hold up to a 15X70 and since magnification does help on most astro objects the 10X was more appropriate. Guests can handle the 10X50 but FWIW I tend to use a sling for almost all my binoculars when viewing.

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Re: Nikon 7x50 Action Extreme Binocular

Unread post by Bruce D »

A sling does make a huge difference Pete but alas- as with a rifle sling, most people don't know how to "sling it" and think a sling is just to carry something on your shoulder
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Apollo XX
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Re: Nikon 7x50 Action Extreme Binocular

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This is just a little follow-up post on the performance of the Nikon 7x50 Action Extreme Binos, because often after we spend enough time with something we uncover shortcomings that our first impressions didn't unveil.

I'm happy to report that these binos continue to please through and through, and that I have no regrets in buying them. The most noticeable and pleasing feature is the sharpness of the optics. I don't always take these out when I'm out observing. In fact I often choose a cheap set of 10x50's to have by the telescope because I'm notorious for banging them around in the dark, and when I have a scope out I'm primarily looking through it anyway.

But take last Friday night as an example, it was cold as a witches...umm nose, yeah that's it, and windy to boot. Even so, I wanted to take advantage of the clear sky, so I broke out the Nikons for a tour of the celestial dome. Sharp, clear, contrasty and able to be easily handheld steadily make for a very satisfying bino observing experience. I've had them going on almost a year and a half now and I still recommend them heartily.
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Stargrrl
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Re: Nikon 7x50 Action Extreme Binocular

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Thanks for the update Mike, it's good to know about small size binos that can be enjoyably handheld. Perhaps you could also link and comment on how to use a sling, for those who might be interested?

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Apollo XX
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Re: Nikon 7x50 Action Extreme Binocular

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Sure can, Rebekah. I've found this sight to be quite informative when it comes to choosing and using binoculars and mounts: http://binocularsky.com/index.php

They even have a page dedicated to hand-holding binos: http://binocularsky.com/binoc_hold.php
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Pete
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Re: Nikon 7x50 Action Extreme Binocular

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Hi Mike,

Yes, the rifle sling approach shown in your referenced http://binocularsky.com/binoc_hold.php (as #3) is what I teach in the backyard astronomy class, and works for up to 15X70s. So nicely that 2 years ago one of the students found Celestron 15X70s on sale for $62ea at B&H and the whole class as well as this instruction bought them.

Was out for 15 minutes last night with my Nikon 10X50 Action EX and yes, they were a bit unsteady without bracing. Found open cluster M41 (below Sirius) once my vision became adapted as well as Mizar, M42 and M45. Just quickies. Without a sling these views were bouncing around a bit and appeared to have astigmatism. Not really great. The Nikon is a relatively new purchase and I'd not realized that it had a strap that functioned as a workable sling. So stepped outside a bit later and using the sling hold while seated worked much better.

These Nikons were a replacement for an old 7X50 binocular that had mold damaged glass. Viewing on land may be easier with the 10X as the eye integrates the motion, negating it. But you may be right as with a star field doesn't seem to happen.

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Apollo XX
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Re: Nikon 7x50 Action Extreme Binocular

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So it's been nearly 6 years since my original purchase of the Nikon 7x50 Action Extremes that I raved about then and still consider to be one sweet pair of glasses. But one thing I began to notice over the years is that in spite of how pleasurable they are to use, the 7x magnification does hinder them some when it comes to pulling dim fuzzies out of the night sky dome. There is no question in my experience that 10x adds that little boost that just helps to resolve a bunch more stuff. I do the binocular olympics every year up at Stellafane, and I bring both sets of glasses to work on it with. The 10x50's are more capable from a resolution perspective.

So, what does one do when faced with that dilemma? Well, one buys the same brand of glasses in the 10x configuration of course. It's a no brainer - same company, same line of product, should perform the same, right? Nope, not right. The Nikon 10x50 Action Extremes, while better than my other department store 10x50 glasses never really lived up to the high standard of the 7x50's from the same lineup. The contrast is decent, and yes they do do a better job of resolving fainter targets, but they just don't have same sharpness to the optics as the 7x50's. Interestingly, in some recent research to unearth any differences between the two that might be responsible I found that the spec sheet for two of the models in the lineup, the 7x50 and 12x70 stated that both had a different eye lens element specifically for "reduction of distortion" in the view. I don't know if that's what is making the difference, but there is one.

So now here I am having more time for my hobby and thinking that maybe it's time to step up to something a bit more premium. I get out a lot so there's no question about whether they'd get used, and if I really wanted to I could dump the 10x50 EX's in a heartbeat for 2/3 of what I paid for them. On top of that I had a little bundle of cash sitting in my credit card rewards account, enough so to cover the cost of the pair I'm looking at. I've always been a frugal guy, so justification is usually a part of my decision making process. I checked off the boxes and pulled the trigger.

My Oberwerk 10x50 Ultra's arrived late last Saturday in the mail. https://oberwerk.com/product/oberwerk-u ... s-10x50mm/

I've only had the opportunity to get out with them briefly through breaks in the clouds on Sunday and Monday evenings. So far, it does look like there is a difference. There is no question that they focus the stars to sharper points, and it does seem like they hold that sharpness across a decent amount of the field. I'm looking forward to really giving these babies a good workout in the coming weeks, and I'll drop back in with my findings from time to time.

I wonder, does anybody else in the group own a set of these, or does anyone else own a truly premium set of 10x50 binos that they'd like to share their views about? My experience with this specific range of binos goes from my old Tasco's that I can't remember how I came to own, but they were the first binos I wielded on the night sky, to a pair of cheap Celestrons and then on to the Nikon Action EX's. It's interesting how my cumulative experience has brought me to appreciate a better product and in maybe not such a good way almost require that I be using a higher performing product in order to get the most enjoyment out of them.

Anyway, I'm interested in hearing from my fellow enthusiasts. Cheers!
"The purpose of life is the investigation of the Sun, the Moon, and the heavens." - Anaxagoras
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