Nikon Venturer LX Binoculars

Michael Porter by Michael and Diane Porter Diane Porter

In 2002, we rated the Nikon Venturer LX among the short list of the best birding binoculars in the world. But it's been discontinued by the manufacturer. It has been replaced by its look-alike descendent, the Nikon Premier LX.

Nikon Venturer LX binocularsEverything we said about the Nikon Venturer is also true about the Nikon Premier LX, except that the Premier LX is light weight and easy to carry.

Here's what we wrote about the Venturer LX:

We held trials of the top birding binoculars from Bausch & Lomb, Leica, Pentax, Swarovski, Zeiss, and others. We supported them them side by side on tripods and used them to look at an optics chart. We compared resolution, brightness, and edge-to-edge sharpness.

We also considered such matters as the feel of the binoculars, their weight and balance, and the engineering quality on such details as the knobs and eyecups.

The upshot? Manufacturers are making a lot of splendid binoculars, we decided.

But nothing gave a brighter, clearer picture than the Nikon Venturers.

Features of the Nikon Venturer Binoculars:

Sharpness and brightness unexcelled by any other binocular.

Waterproof. In fact, they are "fully submersible." If they get dusty, you can rinse them off under the faucet.

Nitrogen filled, so they never fog up inside, even if you go someplace steamy like the tropics.

Phase coated, for excellent contrast and resolution. This binocular gives a perfectly sharp image, edge to edge.

Soft armoring. The non-slip texture and soft armoring feel nice in your hands.

Long eye relief, so they work for birders who wear glasses as well as those who don't. The 8X42 model offers 20 mm. of eye relief. The 10X42 model offers 19 mm. of eye relief. Very few 10-power binoculars do so well. This is one that almost every eyeglass wearer can use and still see the whole picture.

Twist-up eyecups, for fumble-free operation. You can twist the eyecups just the amount you want to give yourself the exact amount of eye relief you need for your eyes and your glasses.

Close focus down to 9.6 feet. Few binos will let you see so near. And there is no sense of eye strain, no feeling that your eyeballs are being squeezed when you use the Nikons at close range. We found this to be an excellent, comfortable close focus.

Comes in two magnifications:8X42 and 10X42. The two models are the same size, shape, and weight. It's your personal preference which magnification works best for you. Both have long eye relief and will work for people who wear glasses and for those who do not.

HINT If your hands are not steady, you might do better with the 8X42s, as greater magnification also magnifies any shake.

Warranty 25-year limited warranty, on manufacturers' defects in material and workmanship

Diane PorterDiane says: These Nikon Venturer bins show a breathtakingly bright, clear, sharp, high-contrast image.

Now, I know I don't really need that perfect edge-to-edge sharpness in order to identify a bird. Naturally, you put the bird in the center of the field of view, where the resolution of the binoculars AND your eyes is greatest. And even if the picture is a little unsharp at the edges, it doesn't really matter. You're looking at it in the center, where you can see it just fine. So a lesser binocular would really do the job.

But the truth is that it's more FUN to look through binoculars that go beyond the necessary. The image has such presence, such sublime clarity throughout, that it's an intense physical and aesthetic pleasure to look at it.

If you can afford to spend the extra dollars for the pinnacle of optical perfection, it's a worthy investment. These binoculars do honor to the miracle of vision.

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