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Nikon Aculon A211 10×42 Specifications:
- Magnification: 10x
- Objective Lens Diameter: 42 mm
- Eye Relief:11.6mm
- Exit pupil: 4.2mm
- Linear Field of View: 314 ft/ 1000 yd
- Size (length x width): 5.7 x 7.3 in
- Weight: 26.8 oz
- Prism: Porro
Bird watchers need versatility. Versatility means dropping over $1000 for a set of binoculars.
What if I told you that you can get a good pair of birding binoculars with excellent versatility and environment proofing without pawning your first child’s education savings? Good news for you. You can.
The Nikon Aculon A211 10×42 binocular set is a good buy if you’ve only got about $100. Could you get better binoculars? Sure. Can you get them in this price range? Maybe. But only maybe.
Let’s break everything down in our Nikon ACULON A211 10×42 binocular review.
Things To Consider Before Buying the Nikon Aculon Binocular
The Aculon line is a sporty and versatile line meant for birding enthusiasts. The A211 model features a sleek but durable design with shock absorbing rubber. They have Nikon’s multicoated lenses combined with They’re intended for those who need functionality but don’t need top of the line attributes.
They use a Porro prism to help curb some of the high costs that come with binoculars. Most of the models in the line have an asymmetrical eyepiece to help cut down on the distortion that happens around the periphery of the lens.
Nikon offers optics for just about every kind of sports enthusiast there is. The price ranges should satisfy every budget too. The Aculon is solidly in their budget range and includes both fixed and zoom binoculars.
Presenting the Nikon ACULON A211 10×42 Binocular
The Nikon ACULON A211 10×42 model is a durable black binocular housed in shock absorbing rubber. They’re sporty but have a classic binocular look rather than the ultra sleek sport-style of other models in the Aculon line.
They use BaK4 Porro lenses for clarity but none of the cost of more expensive roof prisms. This gives the binoculars a decidedly vintage look because roof prism binoculars tend to be sleeker without the distinctive off-set shape.
Porro lenses may not be a durable as roof prisms, but for moderate bird watching, they do provide clear imaging. The asymmetrical eyepiece removes the edge distortion so common with budget binoculars.
Features And Benefits
Let’s take a closer look at the Nikon ACULON A211 10×42 binoculars.
The Nikon ACULON A211 10×42 binoculars use Porro prisms. Sure you’d love a good pair of binoculars with roof prisms. What you don’t want is to spend half your paycheck. You hear a lot about how roof prisms are the way to go, but Porro prisms can offer clear enough images for most casual sporting without the extra cost.
Porro prisms use light deflection, which is why the binoculars have the offset look. Roof prisms lead light straight to the eye. Great for serious enthusiasts but not necessary for seeing your kid on the soccer field.
They do us BaK4 prisms, a thick, durable glass with a better exit pupil. The exit pupil’s diameter prevents distortion around the edges of the glass as the light bounces through the housing.
The lenses are multicoated, preventing some of the distortions common with cheap binoculars, but they aren’t fully multicoated. There are antireflection coatings on some of the lenses, usually the first and last, but not all glass surfaces are covered. Multicoating helps brighten the image, but you’re still going to have some trouble in low light conditions.
I feel like Nikon missed an opportunity here because while full multicoatings were very expensive in the past, advancements in production have made this feature available in even some cheap pairs.
However, with basic multicoating, you should see a reduction in the amount of light passing through the binocular without hitting your eye. Your subject will appear brighter on a cloudy mid-day, for example, when you’ve got that bird in your sights.
You will get some color aberrations around the edge of the lens. There’s a more significant loss of blues rather than reds with a slight darkening around the edges. Nothing that gets in the way of a clear day.
The lenses are lead and arsenic free, Nikon’s environmentally friendly lens line.
Focus And Field Of View
The central focus knob is smooth and allows for rapid focus. The range of focus happens quickly without jerky movements or distortion. The close focus distance is about 16.4 feet or five meters. Not so great on that end, but certainly good enough to watch your kid’s soccer game from back in the stands.
The distance scale takes a turn through 450 degrees. Not bad for a quick focus adjustment. You can’t defocus it by applying pressure although the eyepieces do have a bit of side play.
The field of view is appropriately flat and solidly ok. You get 314 feet at 1000 yards. This is nothing to brag about to your neighbor, but certainly well within the acceptable range for a pair of this class.
Environment Proofing And Durability
The Nikon ACULON A211 10×42 binoculars don’t have any anti-fog coatings or nitrogen fills. Early in the morning when the light is low, and you encounter fog or moisture, you’re going to have an interrupted field of view. It can’t be helped. However, for casual birders or sports fans, that minor inconvenience shouldn’t be much of an issue.
The rubber armor can absorb minor impacts such as a drop to the grass. The rubber also improves the grip, so you’re less likely to drop them anyway. They are tripod adaptable with a solid connection.
Eye Cups And Eye Pieces
The turn-up eyecups are more comfortable for those who use some sort of outer eyewear. The rubber cups are very comfortable, and you shouldn’t get high amounts of distortion as you adjust them.
The inner barrels are matte and well coated. The interior is black with gray glue, something comfortable for viewing.
I don’t like the strap much because it doesn’t feel very stable, but it does come with one. You also get objective caps, a rain guard, and a case. The company includes soft cleaning clothes for removing dust and debris safely.
You’ll want to attach the rear lens cover to the strap, and you may want to replace the objective lens covers with tethered ones just to keep everything together. They aren’t that heavy so carrying them with the strap isn’t uncomfortable, I just wasn’t a fan of the strap stability itself.
Overall, the accessories are suitable for this price range, and you do get all the basics. They leave you with a bit of room to upgrade if you decide.
Nikon does provide a ten-year warranty to cover defects and issues not associated with normal wear and tear. Make sure you use them for their intended purpose (though I can’t imagine what else you might use them for).
“Our condo balcony (lanai) overlooks a small lake and stand of very tall pine trees. We use the binoculars for watching wading birds, ducks and turtles in the lake and eagles and hawks in the pine trees. Would recommend and purchase again.”
“My use for these binocs is to watch wildlife, from hummingbirds to deer to eagles… and they are perfect for this! Easy to adjust, enough brightness even at dawn or dusk, and they have a great range.”
“What you get are high-quality Nikon optics in a lightweight, economical housing for an excellent price. If you want a higher quality fog proof, water resistant housing, you will have to spend about twice as much.”
I think someone who needs binoculars for casual use will find the Nikon ACULON A211 10×42 binoculars more than sufficient for viewing. If you do any serious hunting or something that requires excellent adjustments for color aberrations, you may feel that these binoculars lack what you need.
One of the best points is the price. They satisfy a lot of checkboxes for those looking for something under $100. I would love if Nikon would fully multicoat them to further reduce reflection and make sure your image is the brightest it can be, but any multicoating at all is an improvement over standard lenses.
For under $100, the Nikon ACULON A211 10×42 binoculars are the most promising for casual or novice users to get the feel of controlling binoculars, or for a pair that doesn’t make you feel guilty for not using them every single day. Check them out here!
What’s your main reason for needing a value pair of binoculars? Front porch bird watching? Nosebleed section sports fan? Tell us all about it in the comments.