Nikon’s New Binoculars

Nikon’s Prostaff P7 binoculars add features more commonly found on pricier models.

Nikon Prostaff P7 Binoculars
Nikon has updated its Prostaff line of binoculars, including the flagship model: the Prostaff P7. Courtesy Nikon

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Binoculars are like sunglasses: If you spend a good bit of time on a boat, you eventually realize you need different pairs for different purposes. If you are the skipper at the helm, you might favor binoculars that have image stabilization, a built-in compass and other high-end features. On the other hand, if you are heading out in the tender, your priorities likely will lean toward binoculars that are lightweight and can take a bit of a beating.

Nikon Prostaff P7 Binoculars
“Free” on the locking diopter ring lets the user make personalized adjustments, while “lock” ensures that they stay in place. Courtesy Nikon

The recently updated version of Nikon’s Prostaff P7 binoculars, the top-end model in the company’s Prostaff line, is built for dinghy adventures, watersports like kayaking, and passing around to guests who want a better view of the surroundings. This new iteration of the Prostaff P7 ($199 or less, with regular and compact models) adds features that Nikon says are usually found on binoculars in the $500 range.

“We were able to bring in some new features while maintaining the price point,” says Jeremy Bentham, senior manager of SRO sales and operations.

Nikon Prostaff P7 Binoculars
The Nikon Prostaff P7 model is waterproof to 3.3 feet. It can handle not only spray on a boat, according to the manufacturer, but also a dunk in the drink if it falls off a tender or a kayak. A thick, rubber coating also helps protect the binoculars from bumps and bruises. Courtesy Nikon

The first new feature is a locking diopter, which lets users focus one side of the binoculars independently from the other side. Everyone’s right and left eyes are a little different; this feature lets users give each eye a perfect setting—and lock it in place—before using the central focus wheel.

The fact that the setting can be locked in, Bentham says, is particularly useful for binoculars being tossed into go bags or tenders. “You can inadvertently knock things out of the position you set them in,” he says. “It’s easy to lose those personalized settings.”

Nikon Prostaff P7 Binoculars lens
Prostaff P7 lenses have a coating that helps water and oil bead up more easily. The goal is to make life a lot easier on a boat with a good amount of spray, or in a situation where a boater is rinsing the binoculars to clean them and wants to ensure a clear field of vision afterward. Courtesy Nikon

Another new feature is a repellent coating that helps keep the lenses clean. “If you have dry salt on there, you can rinse it off those lenses a lot more easily,” he says.

The Prostaff P7 comes in four versions: regular size with eight- or 10-power magnification, or compact size with the same magnifications. They are all nitrogen-purged, which is also helpful for boaters.

“Let’s say you’re inside the boat with the air conditioning going, and you step outside where it’s 100 degrees,” Bentham says. “The lenses won’t fog.”

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