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Nikon StabilEyes 12×32 and 16×32 VR Binoculars – Review

Nikon StabilEyes 12×32 and 16×32 VR Binoculars are premium products and they’re special, very special! StabilEyes Binoculars provide very great images in high magnifications but extremely stabilized, thanks to special design allows reduce maximum vibration.
The shakiness of StabilEyes 16x’s are just equivalent to 8x ones, you can even hold them steady with just yours hands. Before trying a pair of StabilEyes 16×32, I used to think this is impossible.

Nikon StabilEyes 16x32 and 12x32 VR Binoculars

Nikon StabilEyes 16×32 and 12×32 VR Binoculars – Price $1149 and $1199

You know, with “classical binoculars”, you will have big trouble when using high power binoculars, 12x or even just 10x. With 10x, I have to lean against something solid to minimize shakiness and nearly can not use when tired. And 12x, I alway use them with a tripod to hold steady and never carry them for long trips.
In the article How to buy the best Nikon Binoculars, I also warned that beginners should not pick too high-power binoculars because they’re too difficult to hold steady and focus. But I forgot to add that “except Nikon StabilEyes Binoculars”.

Indeed, StabilEyes lineup is designed with special system, called VR – Vibration Reduction, to minimize the vibration caused by users and provide a comfortable view while moving, tilting or following fast-moving objects. VR system works on batteries in a complex mechanism that can be explained roughly as follows:

VR vibration reduction system

When there’s no vibration (a), StabilEyes work as normal binoculars, the light beams are transmitted directly to viewer.

When there’s vibration (b) and 3 lenses are not properly aligned, the light beams will be redirected and stabilized the image by Erecting Prism before transmitted to eyes.

The Erecting Prisms are controlled by piezoelectric sensors and two direct drive motors to ensure constant stability.

If possible, you should try the Nikon StabilEyes and a standard binoculars in high power (Nikon Monarch 5 is a good example) to compare the difference. I did so with a Monarch 5 12×42 and the result was very incredible.

With Monarch 5 12×42, the image was very shake and I couldn’t focus on anything. While the image became stabilized with StabilEyes 16×32, actually not quite rock steady but the vibration is just equivalent to 8x binoculars. The shake images of Monarch 12x, now suddenly very slowly “floated” and clear. I even purposely moved hands a bit any way, the image remained very clear and stabilized.
The StabilEyes’s images were also undistorted under adjustment of VR system. They was always smooth as standard binoculars without the electronics.

VR system along with Nikon’s high-quality optics are perfect combination to deliver greatest images. These StabilEyes use 32mm Objective lenses with multilayer coating for optimal brightness and improving low-light performance. Phase-correction-coated prisms provide detailed images with high resolution.

The quality of view is perfect for birdwatchers, travellers and especially backyard astronomers. With the StablilEyes 16×32 binoculars, I could see craters on the moon quite clear and detailed, and could distinguish between Mars and other stars. When you look a planets by optical devices with a sufficient magnification, you will see they’re larger, brighter and look like a disk. While stars are still dots but brighter. You will also discover a lot of “new” stars that you can’t see by naked eyes.
I also saw craters on the moon and planets nightly by my high-power binoculars (20x). Just before using the StabilEyes 16×32, I had never thought I can do it by a binoculars without tripod.

In addition, the FOVs (Field of View) of Nikon StabilEyes are 287 (87m) feet in 12x model and 217 feet (66m) in 16x, quite small and can’t compare to standard binoculars. However, with Image-stabilized binoculars have 32mm Objective lens, these FOVs are really quite good.
The Close Focus Distances are 11.5 feet (3.5 m), not suitable for watching butterflies, dragonflies and other insects. High-power binoculars like StabilEyes are inherently not designed to do this, so a short Close Focus Distance is unnecessary. If you want to watch insects, you should learn about Nikon Monarch 7 or 5

Amazon Discount Link for Nikon StabilEyes 16×32 and 12×32 VR Binoculars

In construction, Nikon StabilEyes look not compact, this’s the common characteristics of all stabilized binoculars, the price to pay for Vibration Reduction system. Their weight (without battery) is about 2.5 lb (1.2 kg) and the size is slightly large, quite inconvenient for long trips. But in same magnification, I bet you will choose the Nikon StabilEyes instead of a standard binoculars plus a tripod, they’re even much more inconvenient.

The body is designed with O-ring seals and nitrogen gas for 100% waterproof and fogproof. The special design even allows them float in water, you will not have to worry if accidentally drop them while boating.
Ergonomic styling provides a comfortable grip, large control knob for easy and quick focus.
They also look quite rugged but seem not to be designed for shockproof feature. But I have never worry about dropping them, the good shape make them always very solid in my hands.

Quite long Eye Relief, 15mm with Turn-and-slide rubber eyecups in both models. The Eye Relief allow use with eyeglasses and Turn-and-slide rubber eyecups to adjust eye relief, allow users with and without glasses share the same binoculars.

The only weak point that I’m not satisfied is slight delay when turn on VR system before I can use it. This is very inconvenient  if you spot something cool, like beautiful birds, you may lose them while waiting for VR turned on. So I think Nikon StabilEyes Binoculars are more suitable for large and static objects as sea, landscape, night sky,…

Nikon StabilEyes 16x32 and 12x32 VR Binoculars

The size of StabilEyes Binoculars

The following is summary for pros and cons of Nikon StabilEyes 16×32 and 12×32 VR Binoculars:

Vibration Reduction (VR) system for smooth images in high power
Multilayer-coated lens for optimal brightness
Phase-correction-coated prisms for high-resolution images
100% waterproof and fogproof body
Floating on water
Large control knob for quick and easy focus
Ergonomic styling provides comfortable grip
Quite long eye relief with turn-and-slide rubber eyecups
Warranty period up to 25 years

Cons: Slight delay when turn on VR system

With high magnification and VR system, Nikon StabilEyes Binoculars are very suited for nature study, sport events, watching nature and animal from a helicopter or a moving vehicle, and for marine activities,… which standard binoculars in high powers can not do. They may be much more expensive than other Nikon Binoculars, but with many years experience in binoculars, I can tell you “they are worth every penny!”

Amazon Discount Link for Nikon StabilEyes 16×32 and 12×32 VR Binoculars

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