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Nikon 20 x 120mm Binoculars



Lately I have noticed that a number of binocular observers are asking how the Nikon 20 x 120s perform against other large binoculars , such as Vixen , Myauchi and Fujinon.

I have traveled to many dark site star parties in Europe and USA, in which I've had the opportunity to use the Nikons at some length under ideal conditions.

Not only at these star parties, but also at larger telescope shows in Germany and Japan , I've been able to inspect most of the larger binoculars in daytime as well as under real dark skies. One time, several years ago I traveled to the Texas Starparty, where one guy brought a pair of Fujinon 25x150 assembled on a C14 fork mount. This particular pair of binoculars provided me with more enjoyment then any other optical instrument I have ever used. The views of the various nebulas were incredible! At an Austria star party we took turns looking through all the Myauchi models (except the new 141s). In addition we had fun looking through each of the Fujinion 150 models.

Now let me talk a little about this unknown Nikon 20 x120.

Technical Specifications:
· magnification : 20 power
· clear objective aperature : 120 mm
· field of view : 3 degree
· eyepiece field : 60 degree
· field on 1000 m distance : 52 mm
· excit pupille diameter : 6 mm
· eyerelief : 20,8 mm
· nearest distance : 133 m
· weight : 15,5 kg 3D 34,1 pound
· weight of Nikon forkmount : 4,5 kg 3D 9,9 pound
· weight of Nikon Pier : 26,5 kg 3D 58,3 pound
· heigh of Binocular in forkmount assembled on original pier : 1,55 m
· overal length : 680 mm
· overal wide: 452 mm
· opticstyling: porroprismdesign
· forkmount is 360B0 rotatabl

· working latidute : - 30B0 up to + 70B0
· binocularbody is waterprotected and filled by gas
· all optics are fully multicoated

I prefer using binoculars for wide field viewing, such as the Nikon's provide.

Around 6 years ago, at one of the big Japanese telescope shows, I was able to compare the Nikon's to the Fujinon 150 Eds. To my impression the Fujinon's were badly misscollimated , not the Nikon's. Nikon claims that their large binoculars never require any collimation, even after transport. They are shock proof!

To date, no one has been able to explain to me what design Nikon uses (achromats, semi-apos, or apochromats). However, from my experiences, the Nikons have a virtually color free visual image while the Fujinon Eds do not. So I expect the Nikons are real apos. Even the Myauchi 100mm fluorities are not as well color corrected at the Nikon 20x120s.

So my dream to own the Nikons continued. Finally I was able to find a hardly used pair, with the same optics but with slightly different styling . They were made for the US Coastguard and I was able to purchase them for $4,000. Having used them for more than 2 years under my own skies and at dark sky star parties, I can make the following remarks. Stars are pinpoints right out to the extreme edge - as good as I've ever seen in any pair of large binoculars. Stars are totally colorfree and razor sharp, even on such demanding targets as the moon and planets. Contrast is superior.

These binoculars were so good that I entertained the notion of dividing them into two nice apochromatic cometfinders prior to ever reselling them. However, I came to my senses and gave up this idea - it would be a shame to damage it, so I sold it the way I received it.

Mechanicaly it is built like a jewel. Today it is only available as a custom request from Nikon of Japan.

Addendum

As a German Nikon Dealer I asked Nikon about possible price and delivery time for the Nikon 20x 120 binoculars with metal pier and metal transport case. Nikon called me back today and offered me the entire package for the fantastic price of $6500.I could not resist and immediately placed my order. Delivery time is a short 8 weeks. As soon as I receive the new binoculars I will make another report. Now I will have a happy weekend dreaming of my new Nikons.

Shortly before i went to RTMC, the brandnew and latest generation model of the giant NIKON Binoculare 20 x120 Model III arrived. Now after some hours day and nightobserving, i like to make a update of my review about the older MilitE4ry Styled Modell 20x120 II

Technical Informations
Magnification : 20 x
Objective Diamater : 120 mm
Real Field of View : 3 degree
Field of View at 1000 m distance : 52 m wide
Excit Pupille : 6 mm
Brightness : 36
Range of Diopter Adjustment : - 5 ~ 0 ~ + 3 Dptr.
Interpupillary distance : 58 mm ~ 74 mm
lenght of body include dewshields : 680 mm
Width of body : 452 mm
Weight of body : about 15,5 kg ( 3D 42.1pd)

Forkmount with rotational pierhead
Tilting Angle ( upward) 70B0
Tilting Angle ( downward) - 30B0
Horizontal Rotation : 360B0 endless
Height ( up to Binocular axis) 440 mm
weight : about 4,5 kg ( 3D 9.9 pd)

The shipment arrived with 3 containers
1. Forkmount with rotational stand
2. Binocular Body
3. Woodbox

All was perfectly packed, that even UPS would have an big problem to produce an damage. Inspection: woodbox: The woodbox is a nice transporting box, very strong with foamfittings for the binocularbody and 4 handles and of course NIKON engraved Metalplate.

Forkmount:

The Forkmount has 2 clamps with a buttersmooth rotating stand. The Binoculars sit in the fork and are fixed with 2 metalclamps, which allow you to move it in any direction..

The Binocularhead.:

The Binoculars comes with nice rubber eyecups on each optical element. The eyepieces come with rubber eyeguards which can be folded. The interchangable adjustement is working again very smooth as well as the individual eyepiece focusing. The optics are NIKON coated. Fit and finish is as perfect as you expect from such an expensive unit. Only one thing worried me a little bit: The dewcaps now made from strong plastic - it is not a disadvantage, but someone maybe expect also metaldewcaps.

The original Pier is the same as used on my NIKON 4"F/12 ED Apo, which is not high enough, so I didn't order it. After receiving the bino, I ordered a pier that is tailored to my height.

For my update test I used for comparation an expensive Myauchi Fluorite Binocular 45B0 inclined with 20 power and 37 power eyepieces.

Here my new impressions: The exit pupile is very comfortable placed, no Kidney Bean effect at all. The coatings are excellent, not any ghosting image, even looking to streetlights.

Moon:

Moon is very bright and razor sharp, impressive how hard and how many crater's are visible, the view is like through a modern Fluorite Apo at lower power. Comparing the colorcorrection with Myauchi's power of 20 x and 37x , I saw in the NIKON less color, than in the Fluorite. My Myauchi is perfectly collimated and so it shows all it can. I found that the eyepiece focusing in the NIKON allow me a little bit more and easy precise focusing than the Myauchi's, where the eyepiecefocusing is maybe too smooth.

Looking to bright stars and Starfields, I saw the NIKON have same white stars without color , but the NIKON have a hint better field correction. Both don't show realy pin point stars up to the edge, but both are very good in the regard.

The Myauchi have exchangable eyepieces, which allows me to use the Lumicon Filters for observing Nebulaes, which is a real advantage. I can use in the Myauchi with special adapters even eyepieces from other manufactors and can get therefore more diffrent magnifications.

The NIKON can be used from 30B0 below the horizont to about 70B0 above the horizont with its original Forkmount. To observe the zenith position, I make me now an rotatable Polarbase of 30B0 Angle.

The NIKON have in my opinion a little whiter image than the Myauchi and the contrast in the NIKON does not left any wishes. Just impressive to get such nice widefield comfortable view.

Do I miss the inclined view, as you can get from the Fujinon 150 mm ? Not at all, the straight observing on my pier up to 70B0 is very comfortable and with my Polarbase even the zenith will provide me many fun.

The NIKON is easy to transport and setup it is not so bad, since the NIKON is not so big and not such heavy as the larger Fujinons and on my forkmount such rock solid mounted, that I got never anykind of vibrations and could do extremly perfect focusing.




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