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Accurate Powder
Rifle Magazine
September - October 1999
Volume 31, Number 5
ISSN: 0162-3583
Number 185
On the cover...
Sako Model 75 Varmint in .22-250 Remington. Jeff C
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Product Tests
In the past decade slim, straight-tubed, roof prism binoculars have ruled the high-end binocular market. They are more popular with hunters as they are more compact than the older, dogleg shaped, porro prism binoculars. However, due to the roof prism's more complex mechanism, as well as a few technical laws of optics, they sacrifice some depth of field, brightness and, most importantly, resolution (or the ability to see fine details). A porro prism binocular built to the same quality standards as a roof prism model will always be the better instrument.

Unfortunately there are few examples of top-end porro prism binoculars. For years my standard of reference for binoculars has been a 1950's vintage U.S.-made B&L 7x35 Zephyr Light porro prism binocular. Its coating and hence light gathering powers were not as good as newer models, but in decent lighting conditions I could read a newspaper farther away with it than I could with any of Europe's finest 10x roof prism models.

Nikon has finally realized there is a market for best quality porro prism binoculars. Their Superior E line of binoculars has received rave reviews from serious bird watchers—people who require brightness and resolution to see the smallest details. Hunters and varmint shooters can take a lesson here. The Superior E models might be a bit larger than an equal power roof prism binocular, but they make up for it by being noticeably lighter in weight. I carried the stunning 8x32 SE model for a brown bear season in Alaska and then to Zimbabwe and Mozambique after leopard, buffalo and plains game. Every PH who looked through them declared them the best binocular they had ever seen.

I have been using the newest 12x50 Nikon Superior E binocular for six months now at my hunting lodge and find most people prefer it to a spotting scope. For the open country hunter and long-range shooter, it offers unsurpassed quality and is both lighter on the neck as well as on the wallet than top-quality roof prism models.

For more information on the Superior E series, as well as Nikon's full line of riflescopes, binoculars and spotting scopes, write: Nikon Sport Optics, Dept. R, 1300 Walt Whitman Rd., Melville NY 11747-3064; or call 1-800-248-6846; or visit its web site at:
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