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Nikon ProStaff P3 8×42 Binoculars: Our Review

Lightweight, comfortable, with a fairly good image considering the low price point. We rate these as a Middle Ground choice.

At A Glance

Nikon ProStaff P3 8x42 binoculars.
Nikon ProStaff P3 8×42 binoculars. Image by Hugh Powell.


  • Very lightweight
  • Good image considering the low price


  • A bit dimmer than other binoculars we tested
  • Distortion at image edges creates a “fishbowl” effect when panning
  • Minimal neck strap, lens covers, and case


  • Price: $140 MSRP at press time. Prices often fluctuate, so check with retailers
  • Close focus: Listed at 9.8 feet (299 cm). In tests, we could focus these binoculars a bit closer, down to about 7.3 feet (221 cm)
  • Field of view: 7.2° (378 feet at 1,000 yards). More about field of view 
  • Weight: 21.3 oz (605 g)—that’s about 4.4 oz (124 g) lighter than the average for 8×42 binoculars in our review
  • Eye relief: 20.2 mm

Viewing Experience: These attractively priced binoculars feature Nikon lenses that offer good color and detail in full light and with stationary subjects. They’re well suited for watching bird feeders. In more challenging situations there are some concessions: the image is not as bright as in higher-priced models such as the Monarch M5 and Monarch M7. Still, they performed well with a Barred Owl perched in a tangled brown understory, bringing out the liquid dark eyes, the white spots down the back and intricate streaking on the breast, and even the tawny highlights on the folded wing. With a group of House Finches perched in a treetop and heavily backlit, we had to adjust our position and get the sunlight behind us before we could see the red tones of the one male. When panning, a slight distortion at the image edge creates a disorienting fishbowl effect as the image rolls past your eyes.

Feel and Build: Testers noted the comfort and very light weight of these binoculars. The eyecups are basic but click satisfyingly into their three preset positions. Presumably in service to the low price point, the P3’s accessories are also pretty basic: a narrow, unpadded webbing strap, lens covers that do not attach and that are virtually guaranteed to get lost, and a basic foam carrying case.

More on Binoculars

Comments From Testers: 

  • Very light, comfortable feel
  • Ease of focus was very good
  • Non-tethered eyecups easy to lose
  • Uncomfortable strap

This article is one in a series of mini-reviews. To see how these binoculars compare to others we’ve tested, see our full review of affordable 8×42 binoculars.  

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