I bought a pair of Nikon Trailblazer 10×50 ATB Binoculars 2 years ago to gift my girl friend for nature-watching, and now, they’re still awesome. The first time I saw Trailblazer Binoculars, I was impressed and wanted to buy them immediately. Because they look too beautiful, the body is very delicate and soft. They were more beautiful than all of my others binoculars at that time.
Because my girl friend love nature-watching so I paid attention to Trailblazer 10×50 Binoculars, instead of 8×42 or 10×42 ones (If you haven’t known then the first number (8x, 10x) is magnification and the second (42, 50) is size (mm) of objective lens).
10x Binoculars are very suitable to watch big and slow objects such as mountain, ocean, big and slow birds,… The 10 power is a thrill, I spotted a brown stork at dusk nearly a half mile away… unbelievable! However 10x ones are a bit shaky and slightly difficult to hold steady, but we had been experienced so shakiness was not big problem.
I also cared about 50mm objective lens instead of 42 because at a same quality of lens, bigger size will be better in optic because:
- They gather more light entering the binoculars resulting in better imaging (sharper, brighter, clearer) even in low light conditions (dawn, dusk or even moonlight).
- The field of view (or angle of view) is increased (because of large lens) for smoother viewing.
- Larger exit pupil for easier focusing and viewing for your eye (Exit pupil is the bright circle that can be seen in the center of each eyepiece when you hold the binoculars about 30cm away from your eyes).
Of course larger objective lens (at same quality) also makes the binoculars heavier and more expensive but not too much, so these are not problem.
I did few tests between Nikon Trailblazer 10×50 Binoculars and my best binoculars, Nikon Monarch 5 (one of 4 best Nikon Binoculars), to know if I lost any color, sharpness and brightness. And the answer is “no”. Almost no significant difference in images.
About construction, we have used them for long tramping in woods, climbing mountain in many extreme weather conditions: hot, arid, wet, cold, rainy,…, even they were banged up and dropped on rocks few times but for now, after 2 years they’re also very good. They feel very solid like a block of steel when you hold them. The sales guy also told me that they’re still ok even when dropped into water because of 100% waterproof and fogproof body. I haven’t tried but many times of using under rain may prove this.
I wear glasses so the eye relief is also factor I was interested. 19.6mm eye relief is too sufficient for anyone. The Eye Relief Adjustment Knobs is also an excellent feature, ensuring proper eye relief at all times (many binos do not have this feature).
Nikon Trailblazer 10×50 Binoculars have a small con is slightly heavy, 30 oz (about 0.85 kg) but that’s light enough to carry all day (just a bit heavier than bottle of water). Many say “light is better” but I have been using many kinds of binoculars and I say “solid is better”.
You can use a super light binoculars like Nikon Aculon T11, just 14 oz. That weight is too ideal for travelling but if you drop them on sharp rocks just one time, you should ready to send them to Nikon’s warranty center.
So 30 oz is completely acceptable weight for this quality.
The summary pros and cons of Nikon Trailblazer 10×50 Binoculars:
Large objective lens and Bright, Multicoated Optics
Rubber Armored body
100 % Waterproof/Fogproof
Long Eye Relief (19.6 mm)
Turn and Slide Rubber eyecups
25 Year No Fault Warranty
Slightly heavy and big
All in all, I bought the Trailblazer 10x5o and I must say my decision was very great.
If you don’t like a heavy and big one, or simply want to save money, you can pick Nikon Trailblazer 10×42 Binoculars ($233), $20 cheaper, 8 oz lighter,… with nearly equivalent features. however, as I said larger objective lens is better in optic so 10×42 model’s images are not as good as 10×50 but they’re still very good, even better Nikon Monarch 3 (the first product in Monarch Binoculars series – a great Nikon’s lineup).
If you have trouble with shakiness of 10x magnification, don’t worry, just lean against any wall, car, tree or something solid, it should be fine even for stargazing.
If you’re beginner, the 10x models may not be suitable for you because of shakiness. In this case, you can pick the Nikon Trailblazer 8×42 Binoculars ($257, a bit more expensive than 10×50, may be different shipping fees between agents). It’s not shaky, very easy to hold steady and suitable for birdwatching, hunting, sightseeing,… Don’t worry about “low” magnification, 8x power is quite a lot.
At this model, although the objective lens is 42mm, smaller 50mm, but smaller magnification so they’re even brighter and sharper than 10×50 models.
For beginners, Nikon Trailblaze 8×42’s are even better than 10×50: Brighter, sharper, lighter, easier to use and the other features are fully equivalent.