Nikon Action and Action Ex (Extreme) Binoculars are two different products of Nikon that beginners are usually confused. They are very favorite lineups by amazing features, moderate price and good quality. Therefore, many beginners usually pick them as first binoculars. But it does not mean that only for beginners, I know some experienced ones use Nikon Actions as their most favorite binoculars.
Both Nikon Action and Nikon Action Ex are good binoculars, however they have differences in feature and price. Basically, they’re quite similar for shape and name so easy to confuse. However, if looking a bit closer, you can easily distinguish them:
In shape, looking at this picture:
The Action binoculars are bit more expensive compared to similar products of Action Ex, such as, Action Ex 10×40 is around $130 while Action 10×40 is $195. In addition, there’re few differences on their bodies that you can easily identify.
The following is my reviews for 2 these lineups:
Nikon Action Binoculars Review
As I know, Nikon Action are most favorite binoculars of Nikon based on number of good reviews and rating on Amazon. They had near 400 review and 4.7-star rating from hundreds of customers, the most impressive numbers I’ve seen at Nikon’s Binoculars.
Optically, Nikon Action Binoculars are very great products with multicoated objectives lens, high-refraction prisms,… give you an extra bright and extra sharp impression even in low light conditions, and the aspherical eyepiece design makes for a wide apparent field as well. If you used Bushnell NatureView Binoculars (a similar binoculars in feature of Bushnell brand), you will see the Nikon Action is slightly brighter, with a bit more snap but only half price (too great!).
Besides, the Action is a wide-angle design with over 440 ft at 1000 yards (or 8.5° of field in specialized language) and quite short close focus distance, just 12 ft (3.6m).
In construction, the Action Binoculars own few notable features. The body has gray armored and protective rubber armor make it very rugged. The smooth armor is sufficiently tacky to provide a good grip. Body design is standard porroprism, and comfortable in the hands, with a large comfortable ribbed focus control. Eye relief of about 10mm is easy and comfortable to see the full field.
However, there’re few cons you should consider carefully before purchase. As I said, “Optically, Nikon Action Binoculars are very great products” but in construction, they’re not really perfect:
– The frist is weight, personally I think this’s biggest con of Action lineup, around 1,8 lb (0.8kg), quite heavy and in Action Ex products, this number is even more, about over 2 lb.
– No waterproof and fogproof construction. This makes their uses limited, they’re not suited for hunting, boating,… and can not be used under rain, fog or wet areas. While in Action Ex Binoculars, they even have waterproof and shockproof construction.
– Limited eye relief, just 10mm. This means that glasses wearers will not see the full field. However, the usable field for most people will still be relatively wide when compared to most binoculars in this price range on the market.
Super sharp and bright view
Wide angle design
Smooth armor provides a good grip
25 year limited no fault warranty
No waterproof and fogproof construction
Limited eye relief
Depending on your purposes, Nikon Action Binoculars may be suited or not. Optically, they’re great and have no rival in this price-range but the construction is not really good. If you’re looking a binoculars for birdwatching, astronomy, sightseeing,… you have found it, but if for boating or hunting, maybe you should keep looking.
Nikon Action Extreme (Ex) Binoculars review
Optically, Nikon Action Ex is not as good as Nikon Action, however in overview, Action Ex is better. That’s why I took it into List of 4 best Nikon Binoculars, although the Action is more expensive and receives much more good reviews from customers. Maybe I also biased, because I’m using an Action Ex one and very satisfied with their quality.
With “low end” product like Nikon Action Ex, I was really surprised by sharp and bright optics, even at dawn and dusk. Their construction and controls are rugged, smooth, easy to adjust and focus. Waterproof and fogproof features, which Nikon Action does not have, help you easy to preserve after using under the rain and fog. Non-slip coating, a very noticeable improvement, makes it easy and comfortable to hold.
Long eye relief (17.2 mm), compared to 10mm of Action, is easier to see the full filed for all people, including glasses wearers.
Most of all, the wiggle you’d expect, even from 10x magnification, rarely is a problem here, because the frame is lighter than most similar products in price.
The biggest con of this product, as well as all of product in Action lineup, is weight – 2.2 lb (1 kg). Actually, this’s the reason that kept me from giving the Action Ex Binoculars a 5 Star Rating. However, that weight is light enough to carry around all day.
One more thing, the binoculars suffer from some internal reflections when used under difficult lighting situations, such as viewing a bright object like a full moon. So the optical coatings could be better. Of course, the better ones will be much more expensive so with this price, i’m fully satisfied.
Waterproof, fogproof and rugged construction
Excellent performance under most conditions
Long eye relief (17.2mm)
25 year limited no fault warranty
Optical coatings could be better
Clearly, In optic, Nikon Action is less than Action a bit, however, they also have more cons that the Action does not have: Waterproof and fogproof construction, non-slip coating, long relief (17.2mm),… These make Nikon Action Ex binoculars suited in the most cases.
Amazon discount link for Nikon 10×50 Action Ex Binocularsor
Amazon discount link for Nikon 8×40 Action Ex Binoculars
How to pick your best binoculars
Have you known how to pick your best binoculars? Each of these lineups has 2 popular sizes: 8x40mm and 10x50mm, the first number is magnification, the second is the size of objective lens. However also exist 6x, 7x, 12x,… So which size you should pick?
A mistake of beginners is just getting biggest size as possible, because they think more magnification is better because you can see more. Right? No, that’s completely wrong! Why? Because of shake! If you haven’t used binoculars much before, I bet you can’t realize how much of a problem hand shake can be.
Binoculars have high magnifications (10x and more) are (very) hard to hold steady (even you are not particularly shaky). If you lean against somewhere, it’s fine but if you see something interesting and move to see it, much harder. As you up the magnification you also increase the problem of shakiness. When you can’t hold the binoculars steady, you can’t focus on anything.
– 8x magnification is quite a lot, but shake isn’t too bad, depth of field and field of view are pretty good. 8x binoculars are suitable for bird moving watching, sightseeing, hunting,… which have to move much. They’re best choice for a beginner, it does not mean that only for beginners, I know many experienced birders use 8x as their primary binoculars.
– 10x binoculars are usually used for watching slow birds, sightseeing in good light. People usually do not use 10x for hunting because they’re difficult to hold steady when much moving. 10x binoculars are also good choice but require a bit more technique and steadiness.
– 12x binoculars are not for normal works above, but suitable for astronomy or large static objects. Although I heard few birders use them but have never seen one. 12x is specialized binoculars, to use them, you should make sure you can hold them steady. Best, you should place them on a cradle.
So, depending on your passions and experiences that you can pick suitable binoculars!