Nikon Premier 10x42 Binoculars
The Premier LX was Nikon’s best binocular line, first released only a few years
ago. The new Premier binoculars come in 3 different configurations: 8x32,
8x42 and 10x42, all of which should be excellent birding binoculars. This review
covers only the 10x42 model. Optically, the old Premiers were a fine binocular;
the new version is better still. The 8x32 Premier costs $1,199.95
, the 8x42 Premier is priced at
$1,529.95 and the 10x42 model runs $1,599.95.
Like their predecessors, the new Premiers are fully sealed, nitrogen-purged
roof prism binoculars, so they are completely fogproof, dustproof and waterproof.
In many ways, the Premiers are much the same as the old LX model, which is good because
Nikon did a pretty job of design. We noted two really significant improvements to
the Premiers: Nikon reduced the weight significantly and they improved the eyecup adjustment
mechanism. The 8x42 Premier LX that we reviewed previously weighed 34.2 oz, which
is a lot by today’s standards. The 10x42 Premier we tested weighed 28.2 oz,
which is average for a 42-mm optic, but significantly better than before. The other
improvement is in the graduated eyecup settings. Instead of the all-or-nothing mechanism
that was stabilized only in the fully-out or fully-in positions, the new Premiers have
two intermediate eyecup settings held by nice, firm detents that don’t collapse
in the field. It’s an excellent mechanism, a good improvement. One other trait is
worthy of special mention: minimum close focus. Nikon bills the 10x42 Premier at a minimum
close focus of 9.8 feet, but when we measured it, we easily got down to 7 feet with
no detectable collapse of field, so in this, the Premier is better than advertised.
As it happened, the old Premier LX review was one of the first we did, and in it,
we didn’t fully appreciate a feature of those binoculars that remains unchanged
in the new version: the flat field performance. As soon as we looked at the new Premier, it became our new benchmark binocular for this trait. This binocular has the
best flat field performance of any we’ve reviewed so far and while the list isn’t
comprehensive, we have seen a fair few! Simply put, this binocular maintains sharpness
and lack of color aberration right to the very edge of the field in a manner that
is extraordinary. Coupled to its overall brightness and color fidelity, optically,
the 10x42 Premier is a fine binocular!
In other critical properties, the 10x42 Premier has a 315-foot field of view at 1000
yards, which is average for a 10x binocular. Eye relief is 19 mm on the 10x model,
which is quite good. The interpupilary distance ranges from 56-76 mm, a slightly
larger than average spread which will benefit users with broader faces.
Mag x Obj
Field of view
314 ft/1000 yds
6.1" x 5.4"
367 ft/1000 yds
6.1" x 5.4"
Another feature that we didn’t fully appreciate the last time we looked at these
is the focusing mechanism. As noted then, the Premier goes from minimum close
focus to infinity in just under one full turn of the knob. This is distinctly better
than average for most binocular types. The 8x model we reviewed before had rather
a stiff focus mechanism. Not so these 10x42s. On these, the mechanism was supple
and smooth, and a delight to handle generally. As a result, focusing was precise
and easy, despite the fact that the Premier is about average in terms of its
depth of field. Overall, it’s an excellent focus mechanism
The new Premier features the same diopter adjustment mechanism that we liked before on the
old Premier LX. Its ±4 stops on a locking ring on the right ocular, fully graduated
but able to lock at any intermediate position. One can adjust the focus at the same
time as the diopter setting. This is the best diopter adjustment mechanism that
we’ve seen, and while other manufacturers offer the functional equivalent, you still
have to credit Nikon for doing this just right.
A few comments on the ergonomics of this binocular are warranted. We like the black
rubber armoring with its slightly tacky surface on the barrels. The shape is good
too, with the gentle swell to the barrels toward the objective end, and the flared
ridge up by the oculars, so that it fits naturally and comfortably in the hand.
This could have been improved by some sort of thumb groove, but overall, Nikon did
a good job with this aspect of the design. The size is unchanged at 6.2 inches tall
by 5.5 inches wide.
The eyecups are rather pliable rubber so they conform slightly when pressed against
the eye sockets, helping to minimize glare and stray light problems. The rainguard
remains unchanged from before: two deep cups of soft rubber joined by a flexible
bridge segment. These could be slightly smaller so that they stay in place better,
but it’s a minor point. As usual, the rainguard attaches to the binocular strap
through brackets on the sides, a solid one on the left, and a gapped bracket on
the right. The gapped bracket is angled, to render it easier to slip onto or off
the strap. The hard rubber lens caps fit snugly on the ends of the barrels, and
were not easily dislodged, even when shaken.
Nikon changed the case a little, but the strap is essentially the same as before,
which was pretty minimal as such things go. On the whole, we liked the old Nikon
Premier LX, and the new Premier is significantly better in a number of important ways. In
the end, selecting a high-performance binocular is a very personal choice, and it
comes down to what any particular person really likes. We think a lot of people
are really going to like these.
Nikon Premier Binoculars
- current price and availability