This Is A Complete Unbiased Review On Nikon Prostaff 3s (10×42 and 8×42) Binoculars

You search here and there for Nikon Prostaff 3S binoculars 10×42 or 8×42 reviews but are still hesitant to purchase because those reviews are not informative enough? Then, look no further. Here is a complete and unbiased review on the Nikon Prostaff binoculars latest version.

Nikon Prostaff 3S binoculars In Brief

Nikon is a Japanese brand that focuses on releasing trustworthy products from cameras and binoculars to semiconductors and other electronic components. Here we introduce you to Nikon Prostaff 3S – one of the best-sellers binoculars of Nikon you should never miss.

Nikon Prostaff 3S 10x42
Nikon Prostaff 3S 10×42 binoculars

This optic tool is recommended for those who want to admire the spectacular views of nature at a closer range. The binoculars feature a compact body; a large field of view; long eye relief; and especially, the fog-proof and waterproof performance.

More excitingly, there are two sizes to meet your different viewing purposes. They are Nikon Prostaff 3S 8×42 binoculars and Nikon Prostaff 3S 10×42 binoculars. In general, these binoculars share the main construction, except for some differences in magnifications and sizes.

Please note that these models are not in the Nikon image stabilized binoculars category of Prostaff series. Have a glance at Prostaff 5 10×50 binoculars if that’s what you are looking for.

If you’re wondering about colors, they only have 1 category: the all black 3s.

For your references, below is a snapshot of specifications:

Technical DataNikon Prostaff 3S 10×42Nikon Prostaff 3S 8×42
Magnification (x)108
Effective Objective Lens Diameter (mm)4242
Exit Pupil Diameter (mm)4.25.3
Twilight Factors20.518.3
Field of view(at 1,000m) (m)122126
Close Focus (m/ft)3/9.83/9.8
Eye Relief (mm)15.720.2
Prism SystemRoof prismProof prism
Optical QualitySilver-alloy mirror coating prismMultiple-coated lensesLead- and arsenic-free glassSilver-alloy mirror coating prismMultiple-coated lensesLead- and arsenic-free glass
Chassis MaterialLightweight aluminumLightweight aluminum
FocusingCentre FocusCentre Focus
Diopter AdjustmentStandardStandard
WeatherproofingWaterproof and fog proofWaterproof and fog proof
Gas Filled Nitrogen gasNitrogen gas
UsesBirding & HuntingBirding & Hunting
SizeStandard Size Binoculars Standard Size Binoculars 


If you’re a NEWCOMER to the binoculars world, here’s one simple tip to decide yourself with 2 options: 8×42 vs 10×42? Recheck our table data, you would see: 10×42 binoculars have bigger magnification (largeness of the image presented on the lens), and smaller field of view (ability to see in max distance). The opposite happens with 8×42 binoculars. Instead of questioning 8×42 vs 10×42, decide if you prefer bigger images shown and slightly less viewing ability, or the opposite.

What Makes Nikon Prostaff 3S binoculars Worth Your Money?

Nikon Prostaff 3S
Nikon Prostaff 3S

1. Compact and durable bodies

So far, Japanese products are famous for their high-quality and built-to-last construction. This pair of Nikon Prostaff 3S binoculars are no exception.

Coming at standard size for multiple purposes from spectator sports to nature observation, the unit is as light as 565g for Nikon Prostaff 3S 8×42 and 575g for Nikon Prostaff 3S 10×42.

You can easily put the binoculars inside your bag for picnics or hunting games, or carry them around your neck without causing any neck strain or inconvenience.

2. High magnifications

A rule of thumb in terms of optical tools: The higher magnification results in a closer and more detailed view.

However, there is no need to invest in such a high magnification. Otherwise, your binoculars become heavy and bulky. For birding or hunting purposes, the magnification within 6x-10x is acceptable.

Exciting enough, Nikon Prostaff 3S offers two magnification ranges to choose from: 8x and 10x without sacrificing the weight of whole body. This Nikon Prostaff is still compact.

3. Wide and comfort field of view

Generally, the larger magnification means the narrower field of view.

Excitingly, Nikon Prostaff 3S features both high magnification and large view ranges: 122m out of 1,000m (10×42) and 126m out of 1,000m (8×42.)

This is mostly thanks to the 42-mm objectives lens; wide apparent angle; and the smart construction of Nikon Prostaff 3s.

In addition, the eye relief is long and the exit pupil is large to offer a better field of view, even when you are wearing glasses.

4. Clear vision through multi-coated lenses

The silver-alloy roof prism is another plus.

Not only does this high-end prism reduce the weight and size of the binoculars, but it also provides a clearer view. Built with multi-coated lenses and arsenic-free glass, the prism allows the light to transfer almost completely through the glass. As a result, you can expect a visible light spectrum and brighter images.

5. Waterproof and fog proof

The Nikon Prostaff 3S is feature-rich. Not to mention, it enhances the optical performance in case of outdoor activities.

This optical has a nitrogen gas-filled system and O-ring seals, helping to resist to fog or mold. Moreover, the whole body of Nikon Prostaff 3S is rubber-armored to prevent slips and water from damaging the body.

Now you can take the binoculars along for sports events, outdoor games, hiking, or bird-watching at any weather!

There Are Still Things to Think Twice …

Almost all features are good. However, we would not very appreciate its standard diopter adjustment, to be specific, the center focus.

During our tests on Nikon Prostaff 3S, we found it hard to adjust the lens and rotate the wheel to get a sharper vision. Even worse, the eyecups might retract prematurely upon twisting and against your eyes whilst.

The price is the second concern. Nike Prostaff 3S is more expensive than other Prostaff models. Hence, consider whether you need such a high magnification and wide field of view before jumping to purchase.

Another thing to consider is the accessories. This is not such a significant problem, but if it is a concern, you could check other brands that really perform well like Swarovski, Carl Zeiss, Vortex,…


Nikon Prostaff 3S binoculars vs. Vortex Diamondback: Who’s Winner?

Vortex Diamondback 10x42
Vortex Diamondback 10×42

Above, we give a quick comparison between the Nikon Prostaff 3S 8×42 and Nikon Prostaff 3S 10×42.

Now, we introduce you to another alternative pair of binoculars . It is the Vortex Diamondback 10×42.

Factors to CompareNikon Prostaff 3S 10×42Vortex Diamondback 10×42

At a glance at the comparison chart, the Vortex Diamond is somewhat more advanced than the Nikon Prostaff 3S.

On the one hand, Nikon Prostaff 3S and Vortex Diamondback binoculars share many features and specifications such as magnification, the objective lens diameter, a system of roof prism and multi-coated lenses.

However, the Vortex Diamondback is somewhat more advanced than the Nikon Prostaff 3S.

  • Features: Vortex Diamondback vs. Nikon Prostaff 3S: 1-0

The Vortex binoculars offer a wider field of view since its angle of view is larger than that of the Nikon binoculars. Moreover, the image quality of the Vortex Diamondback is also better. It uses the high-end phrase-corrected roof prism rather than the standard roof prism like the Nikon.

  • Compact construction: Vortex Diamondback vs. Nikon Prostaff 3S: 0-1.

Despite having the similar magnification and diameter of the objectives lens, Nikon Prostaff 3S is a bit smaller than its counterpart. Such small pros do matter when you need to bring the binoculars for outdoor activities.

  • Price:  Vortex Diamondback vs. Nikon Prostaff 3S: 0-1.

To your surprise, the Nikon Prostaff 3S is three times cheaper than the Vortex. The features are just a bit fewer.

  • Brand:  Vortex Diamondback vs. Nikon Prostaff 3S: 0-1.

Nikon is the older brand than Vortex. Hence, you can expect that this vendor features more prestige and experiences in terms of optics. The quality and warranty of Japanese brands are a no-brainer.

So, all in all, Nikon Prostaff 3S is the best choice in terms of the price and features-in-need.

Update more alternatives of Nikon Prostaff 3S binoculars

Nikon Prostaff 3 vs Nikon Prostaff 5 vs Nikon Prostaff 7

It’s an indispensable part not to compare the other 2 lines of the Prostaff series. We would focus on only the prominent features and data, and let the decision up to your feelings.


Technical data

Nikon Prostaff 3s 10×42

Nikon Prostaff 5s 10×42

Nikon Prostaff 7s 10×42


575 g

649.2 g

645 g

Size (L*W)

7.1 x 6.15 (inch)

6.4 x 5.1 (inch)

6.8 x 5.1 (inch)

Field of view | close focus distance

122 | 3 (m)

93.61 | 5m

119 | 4 (m)

Prism type

Roof, multilayer coating

Roof, multilayer coating

Roof, multilayer coating, phase correction

Exit pupil 

4.2 (mm)

4.2 (mm)

4.2 (mm)

Eye relief

15.7 (mm)


15.5 (mm)





Besides being Nikon waterproof binoculars and having long eye relief (which bring quite comfortable experience for eyeglasses people), these are key things to compare:

  • Field of view: the Prostaff 3s have the largest one. If your consideration is about choosing the best far ability viewing binoculars, Nikon Prostaff 3s 10×42 is the choice. Also, that is the product with nearest focus distance ability.
  • Optics quality: Nikon Prostaff 7 shows the best result. This line has the phase correction technique, which allows better light transmission and clearance of the image. The performance in low light conditions of Nikon Prostaff 7 10×42 is also better of all. Prostaff 3 and Prostaff 5 don’t show much differentiation in this category.
  • Construction: Nikon Prostaff 3 is relatively lighter of all. However, in terms of size, Nikon Prostaff 5 10×42 is the most ergonomic one (although Nikon Prostaff 5 only shows a tiny bit of difference in size with Nikon prostaff 7 binoculars). They are all very durable.  

Prostaff vs Monarch vs Aculon vs Trailblazer

Nikon Monarch 3, Nikon Aculon 10×42 and Nikon Trailblazer 10×42 are 3 other alternatives for your decision. Hence, here goes the technical table:


Technical data

Nikon Prostaff 3s 10×42

Nikon Monarch 3 10×42

Nikon Aculon 10×42

Nikon Trailblazer 10×42


575 g

700 g


635 g

Size (L*W)

7.1 x 6.15 (inch)

6 x 5.1 (inch)

5.7 x 7.3 (inch)

5.9 x 5.2 (inch)

Field of view | close focus distance

122 | 3 (m)

91 | 3 (m)

95.7 | 5 (m)

89 | 5 (m)

Prism type

Roof, multi-layer coated

Roof, multi-layer coated, phase correction

Porro, multi-layer coated

Roof, multi-layer coated

Exit pupil 

4.2 (mm)

4.2 (mm)

4.2 (mm)

4.2 (mm)

Eye relief

15.7 (mm)

17.4 (mm)

11.6 (mm)

15.4 (mm)




Not reveal by Nikon 


In general, we would summary the most prominent features for your decision:

  • Field of view: Once again Nikon Prostaff 3s 10×42 is the best in terms of both far and near viewing ability. However, the close focus distance of Nikon Monarch 3 is also very impressive.
  • Optics quality: With phase correction, Nikon Monarch 3 takes the lead, which means the brightness and resolution are better. The other 3 don’t differentiate much, however, Nikon Prostaff 3s 10×42 is slightly better. On the other hand, we want to bring some notes if you want to consider Nikon Aculon 10×42. Its prism is porro prism, therefore, the image would have a slight vintage effect, though optics quality is still very decent.
  • Eye relief: If you’re eyeglasses people, Nikon Monarch 3 has the most comfortable experience. We usually rate Nikon Monarch 3 as long eye relief binoculars. As you could see from our table, the order is Nikon Monarch 3 > Nikon Prostaff 3s 10×42 > Nikon Trailblazer 10×42 > Nikon Aculon 10×42.
  • Construction: Nikon Trailblazer is known among the most compact of Nikon binoculars, and you could see from the table the size is best in ergonomic features. However, Nikon Prostaff 3 has the lightest weight.

Which to consider?

The answer is always: up to your decision. Please recheck our brand battle above, especially, recheck and compare carefully the technical figures. We have also listed which are the key features to consider, just keep on the track and decide which is the experience you want to go with, remember to see if it worths the price to you as well. Don’t find the best Nikon binoculars, find the one that suits you best!

Who Should Buy Nikon Prostaff 3S 10×42 or 8×42 binoculars?

As the Nikon Prostaff 3S binoculars are well-built and compact, along with only-necessary features, we strongly recommend you to give it a try. Without advanced bells and whistles, the binoculars are also easy to use, even when you are beginners or general users.





1 Comment

  1. agree that the pro staff are lighter and more economic in terms of price walking and long distance hikes any thing that reduces weight is a good thing pack friendly bird obervation ok diffirent light levels effect optics and heat and contrast haze image gauge can be out side the spectrum softer light early morning and late noon will show how good they are.


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