Nikon Prostaff 3s Review in 2021 (ALL Sizes)

nikon prostaff binocular

This is an in-depth Nikon Prostaff 3S review.

The Nikon Prostaff 3s binoculars are the right choice if you are an explorer and looking for a budget bino. It offers long eye relief (great for glasses wearers) and gives a clear field of view.

But you need to have excellent light conditions for better image results with this device. In this Prostaff 3s review, I will review all the Prostaff sizes, their optical performance, and physical quality.


Nikon Prostaff 3s Overview

The Nikon Prostaff 3S is a lightweight and compact pair of binoculars suitable for casual activities in the outdoors. With its high-eyepoint design, you’ll get long eye relief without compromising on FoV. It will also help you to hit the target precisely if you’re using it for hunting.

This eye relief feature allows a seamless glassing experience and you can continue to watch the sight without any need to change your gear. You get a firm grip thanks to the non-slip rubber material, even in rainy conditions.

Also, you can conveniently use it in overcast conditions. It is entirely water and fog-resistant.
The Nikon Prostaff 3 binoculars are made in Japan and we all know how resilient Japanese products are.

nikon prostaff binoculars

As it features a multilayer coating of lenses to produce brighter images, it is a top choice for anyone looking for a pair of binoculars to enjoy the views outdoors. The multilayer coating allows high light transmission into the lens, making the distant objects crisp clear. The silver alloy coating also causes brighter images on the mirror to increase the light inside the tube.

However, these binoculars don’t have the best eyepieces ever. There are adjustable eyepieces on these binoculars, but they tend to drift away and are not tight enough. So, you need to keep screwing them back in now and then, which can be annoying.

The Nikon Prostaff 3 binocular comes in two sizes.

The next couple of sections will elaborate on the same features in both these versions of Nikon Prostaff 3S. I will discuss the specifics associated with each of these versions, the 8X42 and the 10X42.

Optical Performance

The optical system of Prostaff 3S is formed from arsenic and lead-free Eco-Glass. The high light transmission across the visible light spectrum gives bright and crisp images. You won’t see any dispersion or color fringing when you use it for sightseeing.

nikon prostaff binoculars

Lens quality

Nikon has coated the lens with multi-layers and silver-alloy, which means it provides brighter images.

The glass used in the construction of these lenses and prisms is free from arsenic and lead. It means the lens will deliver exceptional performance without being heavy.

Image quality

You will notice a slight washed-out result, but this result occurs only when you use your binos in low light conditions. Also, you won’t feel any color fringing (a problem in lenses occurs when the colors don’t combine as they should produce a clear image at the focal point).

Although the pupil alignment is a little finicky, you’ll get sharp images once you fine-tune it.

If you use it to look into wilderness within 100 yards, it provides clear images that you’d expect from Nikon. Due to the brighter images, you will have high contrast results when you use it for bird watching.

Construction and Design

Nikon has used fiberglass reinforcement for the body with polycarbonate resin. It feels incredibly light in your hands and fits well for a comfortable grip.

They also come with long eye relief, and you can comfortably see through them even with your spectacles.

The overall size is compact, and you can conveniently store them in your back or carry them around with your neck strap. Thanks to its 20 oz weight, you can easily hold them for more extended periods.

nikon prostaff binoculars

Body and grip

The Prostaff 3S is an incredibly lightweight device, 575 grams, to be precise. It comes with a rubber-armor coating to ensure an anti-slip grip no matter what the weather is. Due to its shockproof outer layer, it won’t break if you accidentally drop it.

You also won’t have to rest these binoculars on your face due to their high eyepoint. The eyepiece of these binoculars comes with a turn-slide design for adjustment according to your face. The only issue here is, you will have to adjust each time you use them because it’s loose.

Nikon has filled these binoculars with nitrogen and sealed them with O-rings to ensure fog and waterproof. It means you can comfortably use them in any weather and any time of the day.

Focus wheel and focusing

The Prostaff 3S comes with a large anti-slip center-focus wheel. You can easily rotate the focus wheel and the anti-slip grip is even effective when you have your gloves on. Moreover, you can rotate the knob to adjust the focus without losing a grip, even if you’re wearing gloves.

A lot of credit goes to the closed bridge construction, which ensures a stable and solid platform for the binoculars to make the best use of its internal-focus mechanism and provide you with effective control.

With this design, the focus wheel ensures a very smooth rolling action, and you can quickly adjust your focus. Therefore, you won’t have a good time focusing on this device in darker conditions.

Eyecups and lens covers

The eyecups come with an ocular rain guard to keep the eyecups safe when they are hanging in your neck.
Your Prostaff 3S comes with lens covers. But to be honest, it won’t take you too long to get them misplaced.

They come off quite easily, and no matter what happens, you will look for a better-quality lens cover to replace the ones that these binoculars come with.

These lens covers are larger and are held into place with some spring tension. As they are oversized, they tend to slip off. They aren’t that bad in terms of quality, but their design needs to be improved.

Prostaff 3s Model Sizes

In the table below, I have listed down the specs that both these model sizes come with, and it will allow you to make a better choice between these two sizes according to your needs.

Nikon Prostaff 3s 8X42Nikon Prostaff 3s 10X42
Magnification8x10x
Objective lens diameter42 mm42 mm
Eye relief20.2 mm15.7 mm
Exit pupil5.3 mm4.2 mm
Linear field of view377 ft/1000 yds367 ft/1000 yds
Angular field of view7.2 degrees7.0 degrees
Close focus3/9.8 m/ft3/9.8 m/ft
Dimensions (height/width)6.0-inch x 5.1-inch5.9-inch x 5.1-inch
Weight19.9 oz20.3 oz
HandheldEasy to holdToo big to hold for a long time

Nikon Prostaff 3s 8X42

You can comfortably hold the Nikon Prostaff 3S 8X42 binoculars in your hands and enjoy the views. With a smaller magnification, you’ll get high image quality due to low radiation. Binoculars with large FOV are good for sightseeing, bird watching, and hunting.

It also comes with a more extended eye relief of 20.2mm, so you will be comfortable using it with your spectacles. It is lighter in weight so that you can hold it in your hands longer. After a detailed Nikon Prostaff 3S 8X42 review, I found this pair to be an excellent choice for exploring and sightseeing and birding at a distance.


Nikon Prostaff 3s 10X42

The FoV of the Nikon Prostaff 3S 10X42 is 367 feet at 1000 yards. With a wider FOV, you can enjoy your outdoor experience with more clarity. These binos are great to watch Orca while you’re cruising in the deep sea. Believe me, you can even spot the Orca’s fins and watch them blow out their blowhole.

After an in-depth Nikon Prostaff 3S 10X42 review, I found that this device is better suited for birding and even hunting. The High-eyepoint design allows you to hold and watch the scenery for longer periods without vignetting.


Nikon Warranty

You’ll get a lifetime limited warranty for all Nikon binos without electronic components. The prostaff 3s is warranted for the lifetime by Nikon Inc. to be free from defects in workmanship and material from the purchase date only if you buy it from the authorized dealer.

The warranty does not apply to product misuse, abnormal use, accidents, or accessories such as straps, cases, and lens caps. You can find detailed information about the Nikon warranty program here.

It shows that the company stands behind its products and will be great in terms of quality. Usually, that’s precisely what I expect from Nikon.

Downsides

These budget binos are made to perform in bright light conditions. You won’t get clear images during dawn or high noon.

As a bowhunter, you won’t’ like the velcro latch because it makes a lot of noise when you try to open it. It would have been great if they used a magnetic latch.

Another issue that most users report quite frequently is the lens covers of these binoculars. It is not about the quality of these covers. It’s just that they are large, and they don’t stay on the lens. You will quickly lose them if you are not careful and then, of course, you will have to go for a replacement.

What’s In the Box?

Everything is included in the total package, and it is more than satisfying to get the value of the money. You could have thought that the soft carry case should have been replaced with a hard case, and the objective lens covers are appropriately designed with the right size. Everything else is just fine.

  • Nikon ProStaff 3S binoculars (either 8X42 or 10X42)
  • Soft carrying case
  • Neck strap
  • Single-piece rainguard (ocular)
  • Two covers for objective lenses
  • Lifetime warranty for the optical mechanism
  • A 7-year warranty for the non-optical part
  • 1-year warranty on the electrical part (if any)

User Reviews

The overall user rating of Nikon Prostaff 3S is 4.8 stars out of 5 on Optics Planet.

In the Nikon Prostaff binoculars review section of most online retailer sites, most people seem to love how lightweight these binoculars are, and they deliver the best value for money. People like how these binoculars produce a crisp image during the daytime and don’t fog up in the cold weather.

But they don’t perform that well in dim light conditions. The better the light is in the surrounding, the sharper images you will get from these binoculars. And, of course, you will have to be careful with those objective lens covers.

This product is Excellent for its price. It is Lightweight so you hardly know it is hanging on your chest. The lens is very crisp and clear and so very easy to focus. I found that they do not fog up in colder weather.

From OpticsPlanet

Alternatives

If you think that the downsides I have just mentioned are putting you off from the Nikon 3S binoculars, don’t worry because there are other great options that the market has to offer.

Vortex Crossfire HD

With Vortex Crossfire HD you won’t feel any chromatic distortion due to the use of a remarkable HD optical system. It comes with multi-coated lenses for bright images and color-correct views without any dispersion. The company has fitted each pair with waterproof material and used a non-slip rubber grip that will offer you a firm grip in rainy conditions.

Leupold BX-1 McKenzie

The Leupold BX1 Mckenzie binoculars have a robust construction with full fog and water resistivity. You’ll get a clear image with great depth perception during both high noon and dawn. The tripod-ready design has a built-in tripod adapter port that makes it easy to mount to a tripod.

Redfield Battlefield

The Redfield Battlefield aluminum construction allows the bino to stay fog-free during all weather conditions. From dawn till dusk, you’ll enjoy a crisp, clear image and bright view due to the perfect balance between the exit pupil and magnification. You’ll also get a soft case, neoprene neck strap, and lens covers.

Our Verdict

The Nikon Prostaff 3S and its sizes are exceptional entry-level binoculars that work great in bright light conditions. They come with a decent FoV and eye relief and have durable yet lightweight construction. 

If you are going to use these for general purposes exploring, these will serve you well. But don’t use them in gloomy conditions because they are not designed to function in that way. The nikon prostaff 3s 10×42 binoculars are better suited for birding and hunting, while 8×42 is ideal for general exploring and sightseeing. 

Get your Nikon Prostaff 3S from a Nikon Authorized Dealer in your area or a retailer online as well as in-store.

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