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First light Nikon Action 7x35

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#1 Mark9473



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Posted 04 November 2009 - 02:11 PM

What to expect from a 55 euro binocular that's right at the minimum spec for astronomy use - some would even say below spec. Well, not that much really, let's be honest. If that is your mind-set - and it certainly is mine - then you would be very pleased with the Nikon Action 7x35.

First impressions count as much as anything, and the Action certainly scores in this regard. Good solid build quality, nice to look at as well as through, good feel in the hands (though rather small). In daylight, colours are vibrant, contrast is good, depth of field is phenomenal, center sharpness is impeccable.

In twilight I thought the image was perhaps not as bright as I was expecting, so possibly the light transmission is not top notch. But without actually comparing to a better binocular, I can't know for sure. When it got dark I didn't notice this anymore.

The real bonus of a 7x35 binocular is of course the large TFOV. It spans from gamma to delta Aquila (9°06') or from epsilon to gamma UMa (8°56'), in both cases with a slight margin. The Lyra stick figure entirely fits in the FOV, and with Corona Borealis there's even a nice margin around it. I can just get the 4 stars making up the center Keystone of Hercules, into one view.

For starhopping or for finding things you can't precisely pinpoint, the wide FOV is great. For example, this evening we had three Iridium flares within 20 minutes, all "a bit to the lower right" of Arcturus, less than 10° above the horizon so with very few field stars. The Action 7x35 did admirably on this task.

Stars in the center of the FOV are nice and sharp, without gross aberrations. Jupiter's moons were easily seen (even one that was less than a jovian diameter away from the planet) and the planet itself was a relatively tight clean disk - of course, small. The nearly full Moon was also impressively sharp, and showed very good contrast. Towards the edges it deteriorates pretty quickly, but I did get nu Draconis (63" separation, or 440" apparent) resolved out to about 75% from the center. That's pretty good really. Only in the outer 10% or so do you get significant "seagull" stars. The Moon isn't sharp in the outer 2° of the FOV, and when it touches the edge it is significantly flattened and shows a lot of chromatic aberration.

There's a relatively large area of sky around streetlights that can't be accessed due to flare or glare, and a have a lot of streetlights near my house, but other than that I am toally happy with the Nikon Action 7x35. I bought two, for my kids, but I guess they can manage to get by on sharing one between them. ;)

#2 KennyJ


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Posted 04 November 2009 - 02:45 PM

Thanks for that encouraging report , Mark .

My brother has used a Nikon Action 7 x 35 for watching cricket and occasional star gazing for over 20 years now and is in no great rush to upgrade it , even though when I once loaned him my Zeiss 7 x 42 " to watch a game of cricket " it was several weeks before he reluctantly handed it back ! :-)

I'm sure the model has been through a few changes in the 20 years since he bought his , but as you say , for the price they cost , one feels they are getting a lot !

Clear Skies

#3 Mark9473



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Posted 04 November 2009 - 06:42 PM

Thanks Kenny. With clouds rushing in to cover the Moon, they created a colourful halo, which was very nicely framed in the 9+° FOV. My wife took a look through the binoculars and confirmed that "they are good", which for her is pretty high praise.
Anyway, it's raining now, so no more playing with the new toy for now.

#4 OpalescentNebula


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Posted 05 November 2009 - 04:47 PM

I also have the 7x35’s Nikon Action EX and enjoy them for sports. I also bought 2. For the daughter and my grandchildren. The 2 grandchildren use them beside me for viewing the night sky. For the price I feel the Nikon’s are worth it for the views that young eyes can see.

#5 Simon S

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 01:40 PM

A high quality binocular that is full of haze and fungus.
That makes the worst binocular a low quality binocular in great condition.

#6 doctordub


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Posted 11 July 2010 - 09:12 AM

I purchased the Nikon 7x35 AE because B&H Photo gave a $25 Gift card puting it in the same price rang of the Actions. They do have a lot of field curvature, but a lot of depth of field for day time use. They fit in the hand well and have good eye relief.


#7 Lou3


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Posted 14 September 2012 - 08:16 PM

I bought a Nikon Action 7x35 last week. For a new amateur astronomer like me who's working on the AL Constellation Hunter program, they're great for confirming faint constellations like Equuleus. As Mark says, I like being able to fit these smaller constellations in the FOV. They're also great for moving around larger constellations. The crisp view adds to the delight of such sights as the heart around Sadr, the Pleiades, and the Coathanger. They also add more appeal to constellations that don't look as impressive to the naked eye (e.g. Sagitta, at least in my heavily light-polluted area).

As handy as the Action 7x35 is for scanning a large area, they're all but useless for any kind of detail. I'm sure I'd get more out of them under darker skies. In the red zone where I am, I simply need more magnification and aperture. I'll keep these binoculars, but I'm already looking toward 10x42 or 10x50.

#8 Mark9473



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Posted 15 September 2012 - 02:45 AM

I see from my post above that I now have this pair of Action 7x35 for almost three years. There haven't been any issues with them. They're going on all family vacations and are doing a very nice job both in daylight and at night.

Had a splendid time with them this past July in Austria, under dark mountain skies. Me with my 8x42 and my two kids each with their 7x35, doing the tour of the sights in the summer Milky Way. So easy to give directions if the TFOV is large. We covered every major cluster or nebula in Scorpius, Sagittarius, and on upwards towards Cygnus. Most noteworthy was the "texture" of the sky in between the major landmarks, with its large bright starclouds and dark nebulosity.

#9 Goodchild


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Posted 15 September 2012 - 08:32 AM

I was given a pair of these for my fifteen year anniversary at work. Love them. They are no doubt my go to binoculars for daytime observing. I use others for astronomy simply because they are more appropriate for that task.

#10 SMark


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Posted 15 September 2012 - 07:43 PM

I have the Nikon Action 8x40 that I bought as "Manufacturer Refurbished" via eBay sometime ago. I know I paid less than $50 for it, but at the same time I also bought a used 8x40 Action Extreme, which of course is supposed to be higher quality. I don't know if that Action Extreme was just abused in some way (it sure didn't look like it) but it fell short of the Action in many respects. Even the edge performance of the action was much sharper and pinpoint than the Action Extreme, which showed obvious edge distortions.

I later sold the Action Extreme, but I'm keeping the modest 8x40 Action. In fact, I had it out with me last night and it still amazes me at the great value it has been. Sharp images, light weight, and a decent FOV at a really low price.

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