Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Compacts Cater to Convenience

Packing for a trip is always an adventure at our house. No matter how hard I try, I always have lots of baggage for the trip. Luckily, my son plays lineman for his high school football team, so I can get away with this for a couple more years. As I talk to Eagle Optics customers, my packing challenges help me sympathize with their desire to limit the amount of gear they pack for a birding or hunting experience. Our customers have found buying a top of the line compact sport optic is a great way to keep it simple, yet still enjoy an impressive viewing experience..

Compact binoculars serve an important niche for many areas of sport optics use. They are small, light, easy to carry in a pocket, and can provide a great look at unexpected wildlife or action on the sports field. They are also perfect for a night at the theater. The Nikon Premier LX L 8x20 binocular at 3.7 inches high and 4.2 inches wide is a great compact binocular to keep in your backpack, purse, or car's glove compartment. Of all the high end compact roof prism binoculars, it does weigh the most at 9.5 ounces but is light to hold with a pleasing feel to its slightly textured rubber armored exterior.

Using the Nikon Premier LX L is straightforward. The double-hinged design with a center bridge connecting the two hinges (like the Swarovski 8x20 and Leica Ultravid 8x20 compacts) makes it a little difficult to keep the barrels in position, but once I got used to the feel, I personally preferred it to the left-side single hinged style of the Zeiss Victory 8x20. Nikon's middle bridge has a smooth focus wheel centered in the front with a focus travel of 1.5 turns from 8 feet to infinity. The diopter wheel is positioned in the center of the bridge between the ocular lenses. I felt the diopter performed fair in comparison to others, as it is small and could be hard for some people to grasp. Other mechanical considerations important to ease of use are the eyecups and eye relief. The eyecups were comfortable and feature a slide and lock design. Eye-glass wearers should find the LX L's 15mm of eye relief to provide easy viewing.

The Nikon Premier LX L has a close focus distance of 7.8 feet and will be loved by butterfly watchers for the bright, crisp view. The field of view at 356 feet/1000 yards is the largest of the four compacts evaluated. Because the LX L uses the same high quality glass as their full-size top of the line binocular, I experienced choice optical performance. Regardless of the weather conditions, its distinctive brightness was enjoyable, and the color was true with very good depth. The resolution displayed distinct and sharp separation between adjacent objects. Contrast between light and dark areas also performed well. Edge sharpness provided outstanding views as I saw no fringing or haziness, just a clear view from edge to edge.

With all its positive characteristics and the Nikon 25 year limited warranty, the LX L will more than satisfy the high expectations you desire in a sport optic. But, wait! There are three more options in this category of binoculars. Next up will be the review on the Zeiss Victory 8x20.


Eagle Optics Staff

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