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Nikon Premier LX Compact Binocular 8x20

Hands-on Review

by Diane Porter

Nikon Premier LX BinocularEuropean quality at lower cost

This nice little binocular has the feel of a much more expensive, European-made binocular.

But it costs under $600.

It will slip into a small pocket. The Nikon Premier LX 8x20 binocular is compact and robust enough for birding, or for taking to the stadium for sporting events. And yet it looks elegant and will fit right in for an evening at the theater. At under 4 inches long and under 10 ounces, it will never be a burden.

Optical quality

The Nikon Premier LX L has fully multi-coated lenses, with phase correction and advanced coatings on the prisms, to enhance brightness. When we compared it against the top pocket binoculars by Leica, Swarovski, and Zeiss, we found the Nikon Premier's image quality to be equally good, sharp, clear, and color true.

Eye relief

The Nikon Premier LX works great for people who do not wear glasses while looking through binoculars. However, since it has only 15mm of eye relief, it might not be sufficient for all users. To us, it seemed OK even with our glasses, but it not certain that it will work equally well for all glasses wearers.

Focus knob

This was the main ergonomic concern with the Nikon Premier. You can't use it with your index finger. Your could get used to it, but when we had a several birders try it out, in 2017, most expressed reservations about using their least adroit finger to focus. 

Diopter adjustment and eyecups

At the eyepiece end of the bridge is the diopter adjustment. It's a small, knurled knob clearly marked at the center point and with a simple scale. It's easy to see the settings. And it's stiff enough that it won't change accidentally, even though there is no lock.

The rubber eyecups twist up smoothly to accommodate users who do not wear glasses. Although there are no indents, you can set the distance wherever you like.


The Nikon Premier LX 8x20 is waterproof, sealed, and nitrogen filled, to prevent internal fogging. The leatherlike armoring makes the binocular comfortable to hold and protects it against shocks.


You are protected a 25-year limited warranty against defects in material and workmanship. In addition to the above warranty, if your Nikon binocular requires service or repair not covered by Nikon's 25-Year limited warranty, Nikon promises torepair or replace it (even if it was your fault).

See Nikon warranty.


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