Throughout history, Europeans have always remained at the forefront of scientific research and technological advancement in the field of optics. Over centuries, their commitment to innovation and quality has led to the development of immaculate products and processes. This is why some European nations are acknowledged as pioneers in the fields of optics’ science and engineering.
Although Europe has remained several steps ahead, there is no denying that some Asian countries have also contributed to science and technology, particularly Japan. However, it was not always like this. WWII altered the dynamics of several countries in terms of infrastructure and economy – one of them being Japan. When the war ended, the Japanese economy began rapidly regrowing under influence of the US. Several businesses were gradually established in various sectors, including optics. The production of binoculars soon followed.
In the beginning, most of the binoculars produced in Japan were of mediocre quality and were not in any way comparable to binoculars made in Europe. Over the years, manufacturers have employed efficient processes and high-quality raw materials to improve their optical performance. The effort turned out to be fruitful because the quality and performance of binoculars greatly improved. As of today, Japanese binoculars are the only ones to match European standards, however, the brand popularity of most Japanese manufacturers is still not on the same level as that of their European counterparts.
Following companies are currently producing binoculars in Japan.
NIKON is one of the best producers of imaging systems in Japan. In addition to sports optics, the brand is known for making some of the best digital and mirror-less cameras, film cameras, camera lenses, ophthalmic lenses, microscopes, laser rangefinders, lithography systems, and Industrial Metrology equipment. The company is a member of the multi-national Mitsubishi group of companies.
NIKON Corporation was founded in Tokyo, Japan, in July 1917, when the world was still in the midst of WWI. Originally called Nippon Kōgaku Kōgyō Kabushikigaisha, the company was formed as a result of a merger between three notable Tokyo-based optics manufacturers. In the early years, NIKON focused on the production of cameras and optical lenses for imaging, inspection, microscopes, and telescopes. In 1932, the company unveiled the remarkable Nikkor lenses, which later became the foundation behind the “NIKON” brand name.
During WWII, the company manufactured lenses, binoculars, periscopes, and bombsights for the Japanese armed forces. All of the thirty factories and over 2,000 employees employed by NIKON produced military-grade products during the length of the war. NIKON returned to manufacturing civilian products soon after the war ended and in 1948, the much-respected “NIKON” camera was first released.
The company initially kept the “NIKON” brand for its compact-camera line, however, it coincided with Carl Zeiss’s “Ikon” camera, which, for a brief period, prompted NIKON to modify it to Nikkor after its lenses. The Nikkor-brand lenses further gained popularity when David Douglas Duncan, a photojournalist from the USA, used the Nikkor lens with his Leica rangefinder to capture and document the Korean War. In 1959, the company introduced the famous NIKON F-series SLR cameras, which were an instant hit. For nearly 30 years, the F-series cameras remained the number one choice among professional photographers and the NASA space shuttle program has used it on several of its missions.
The company ultimately changed its name to NIKON Corporation after its best-selling camera line-up in 1988.
NIKON’s sports optics division currently offers binoculars for a multitude of occasions. Below, summarized their main aspects.
WX 7×50/10×50 IF
The WX binoculars are a synonym of state-of-the-art viewing glasses that are designed to feel the cinematic vastness of space and enjoy the beauty of astronomical objects from the comfort of your rooftop. The WX range is equipped with high-quality ED glasses lenses that are organized in a Field Flatter Lens system that effectively compensates for the curvature of the field. For comfortable observation of the night sky, these binoculars are equipped with a phase-corrected Abbe-Koenig prism that are recognized for supreme light transmittance.
Other features of the series include magnesium-alloy housing, an individual focus system, and adjustable eyecups. Both 7×50 and 10×50 models have a large field of view for limitless viewing.
The EDG series is one of the finest range of binoculars offered by NIKON and is therefore equipped with numerous cutting-edge technologies, both optical and mechanical. The main features of the EDG brand include a field-flatter lens system, extra-low dispersion lenses, a multi-purpose central wheel for focus and diopter adjustment, phase-corrected prisms, dielectric multi-layered prism coating, and durable magnesium-alloy construction.
The binoculars are also fitted with an adjustable turn-and-slide set of rubber eyecups, which can also be detached when needed. Moreover, the effective nitrogen-filled system allows the binoculars to be kept underwater for 10 minutes up to 5 m, which is an indicator of quality. EDG binoculars are available in standard 32 and 42 objective sizes with 7x, 8x, and 10x magnifications.
MONARCH HG, 5 and 7
The Monarch range is specifically designed for people who love to spend time outdoors while wanting to enjoy every bit of the mesmerizing nature. To be able to capture maximum details, these binoculars are packed with premium features, such as phase-corrected roof prisms, extra extra-low dispersion glass lenses, dielectric and highly-reflective prism coating, and a field-flatter lens system for a reduction in aberration. The series also comes with caps for the objective lens, adjustable eyecups, a magnesium-alloy housing, and a superior waterproof system for protection against accidental exposure to water and humid air.
The Monarch series comes in three variants, namely Monarch HG, Monarch 5, and Monarch 7. Apart from the specs provided above, the Monarch 5 and 7 series also sports an armored rubber coating. They are available in standard 30, 42, and 56 objective sizes with 8x, 10x, 12x, 16x, and 20x magnifications.
PROSTAFF 3, 5 and 7s
The Prostaff is a mid-range series of binoculars from NIKON that offers several technologically advanced specs of the flagship models. Great for taking camping and general sightseeing, these binoculars come with superior coatings for lenses and roof prisms, adjustable eyecups, nitrogen waterproofing, and rubber armor. In addition, the series comes in a fiberglass-reinforced polycarbonate housing instead of conventional metal alloy for a weightless viewing experience.
The series comes in three variants, Prostaff 7s, Prostaff 5, and Prostaff 3s. They are available in standard 30, 42 and, 50 objective sizes with 8x, 10x, and 12x magnifications.
ACULON T01, W10, T51, T11, A30 and A211
Many people want their devices to complement their personalities. While many would use customized wraps for automobiles and smartphones, the Aculon binoculars are NIKON’s answer to personalized outdoor companions. These binoculars are available in several sporty flavors, with each having distinctive attributes that will reflect your style. All Aculon binoculars feature a lightweight housing, compact design, multi-coated lenses and prisms, large focus wheel, and multiple colors (except for A211 and A30).
Aculon T01 features compact 8×21 and 10×21 binoculars in 5 exciting colors, all of which come with adjustable eyecups. The Aculon W10 series offers a waterproof design with rubber armor in 8×21 and 10×21 configurations and five body colors. Aculon T51 binoculars come in a smooth metal-design and slightly larger 8×24 and 10×24 models, both of which have a stylish look in four exciting colors.
The most intriguing model of this series is the Aculon T11 8-24×25, which features a 3x zoom capability and four color options. The Aculon A30 is a sleek set of binoculars with a double-hinge hinge for easy storage in jacket pockets. With a small 8×25/10×25 design and rubber armor, the A30 makes a great everyday companion for most people. Lastly, the Aculon A211 packs Porro prisms and aspherical eyepiece lenses for incredibly bright and distortion-free images. Other features include rubber armor and adjustable eyecups for a comfortable experience. A211 series is available in 7×35, 8×42, 10×42, 7×50, 10×50, 12×50, and 16×50 configurations. Two zoom models 8-18×42, and 10-22×50 are also available.
ELEGANT COMPACT 4x10DCF/6x15M/7x15M
Designed for concerts, theatre performances, and museums, the Elegant Compact 4x10DCF binoculars feature an ultra-sleek appearance combined with a stylish lightweight body. Despite the small footprint, they are fitted with multi-coated optical components, which provide an enchanting viewing experience. The EC binoculars feature a small close focus distance of 1.2 m, which is ideal for museums and exhibitions. Furthermore, these binoculars are also available in a modern porro-prism style which comes in 6x15M/7x15M configurations.
COMPACT AND HIGH GRADE
This category includes three types of compact binoculars.
Sportstar EX 8x25DCF/10x25DCF
With a double-hinge, the Sportstar EX occupies even less space than most compact binoculars out there. Despite its small dimensions, these binoculars are fitted with multi-coated lenses, waterproof barrels, adjustable eyecups, and a small close focus distance.
TRAVELITE EX 8x25CF/9x25CF/10x25CF/12x25CF
The ultra-compact and lightweight Travelite EX binoculars pack Porro prism in an alluring design. Main features include aspherical eyepiece lenses for a reduction in image distortion, long eye relief, adjustable eyecups, and waterproofing, due to Nitrogen.
High Grade 8x20HG/10×25 HG
The HG binoculars pack a double-hinge design in a robust magnesium-alloy construction. Unconventionally, the focus wheel on the HG models is ergonomically placed in alignment with the index finger. Also, these binoculars exhibit a small close focus distance and unrestricted viewing even at -30 degrees Celsius.
Although crucial, marine navigation is the most challenging setting for binoculars use, after space. Not just because of the extremely high humidity levels at sea, the oceanic environment is popular for unpredictable temperatures, endless side-to-side rocking, exposure to salty water, and frequent low lighting conditions. NIKON offers five binoculars in its marine line-up that are designed to handle these tough situations.
7x50CF WP/7x50CF WP w/Global Compass
The 7×50 CF binoculars feature a time-saving central focusing mechanism for quick adjustments, so you can focus on observing the object without unnecessary delay. They are equipped with Porro prisms, multilayer-coated lenses, floating strap rubber armor, and a waterproof system that is effective up to 1 m underwater depth for 5 minutes in case the device falls into the water. An illuminated compass option is also available.
Tailor-made for seafarers, these binoculars feature an individual focus system for a more precise focus adjustment. The IF mechanism enables these binoculars to stay waterproof for up to 2m for 5 minutes. Other features include rubber armor, multi-coated optical elements, and long eye relief.
7x50IF HP WP Tropical
The Tropical model is specifically designed for harsh sea conditions. Armed with a built-in scale for measuring distances and dimensions, these binoculars also remain waterproof for up to 5 m which is commendable. The features include multi-coated optics and a long eye relief for eyeglass wearers.
10x70IF HP WP
Sometimes 50 mm objectives are not enough. For even brighter images, 70 mm objectives work wonders at the sea in addition to a 10x magnification. The 10×70 binoculars will remain waterproof up to 2 m and come up with a long eye relief.
If the aim is to observe objects that are far away in the sea, such as islands or distant ships, the 10x50CF binoculars are the way to go. They come with a rubber armor and waterproof capabilities up to 1 m for 5 minutes, which is not bad for CF models.
STANDARD Action EX 7×35/8×40/7×50/10×50/12×50/16×50
Made for the most challenging of situations, the Action EX binoculars are equipped with a superior waterproof system and shock-proof rubber armor for protection against water and accidental falls. In the optics department, these binoculars feature Porro prisms, long eye relief, aspherical eyepiece lenses, central focus, and multi-layer coatings for a captivating optical performance. All these specs make Action EX the ultimate choice for uneven terrains and unpredictable weather.
THE STANDARD FOR ADVANCED NATURE OBSERVATION
Observing nature requires sophisticated viewing devices that have the potential to capture every minute detail. Following NIKON binoculars are specialized for exploring nature.
Specialized for bird watching, these binoculars are fitted with multi-coated optical elements for bright spatial images. Since birds usually sit on high tree branches, bird watchers spend a lot of time pointing the binoculars upwards. To make this experience more comfortable, these binoculars are equipped with lightweight Magnesium-alloy housing and a central focus mechanism for quick focusing.
7x50IF SP WP/10×70 SP WP
Designed for seafarers and stargazers, these binoculars are packed with high-quality optics to reduce optical aberration. For bight images, the optical elements are multi-coated and Porro prisms are used instead of roof prisms. Other specifications include rubber eyecups, polarizing filter, individual focus, and a sophisticated waterproofing system for carefree use around water bodies.
18×70 WP WF
These feature-packed 70 mm binoculars are made for gazing at astronomical bodies in the night sky. Multi-coated optics and a higher 18x magnification do wonders for effortless observation of nearby stars, planets, and the moon. Additional features include individual focusing, polarizing filter, and rubber eyecups.
Given the number of binoculars offered by NIKON for every occasion, the company has captured a relatively large market share among other Asia-based optics manufacturers. From entry-level models to the finest viewing devices, NIKON does not compromise on quality which is why its loyal customer base has been continuously growing.
In the past, binoculars produced in Japan were mediocre and sold at affordable prices. This was due to the lack of sophisticated features and high-quality materials. As Japan became more technologically advanced, NIKON started to incorporate advanced optics and high-tech coatings in its binoculars. Many of these changes were inspired by binoculars produced in Europe. As of today, NIKON’s products are on par with the features offered by any other brand. It also must not come as a surprise that the premium binoculars are available in a similar price bracket as that of most expensive European binoculars, maybe even more in some cases.
NIKON is one of the first optics producers to originate in Japan. Founded in 1917, the company has transformed into one of the biggest optics brands that are known and respected worldwide today. Although the real growth started after WWII, the culture of continuous innovation and improvement has given birth to several unique features in NIKON products, including binoculars.
Since the beginning, optics has been the main area of NIKON’s excellence. Before venturing into the industry of sports optics, the Nikkor lenses and F-series SLR cameras were popular all over the world. The same optical superiority in optics has played a key role in shaping the future of binoculars at NIKON. Its premium binoculars are equipped with a special Field-Flatter lens system that eliminates lens aberration for crisp and focused images. Other features that make NIKON the popular choice are extra-low dispersion glass lenses and high-performance coatings, which ensure light transmittance of up to 92%.
CANON Inc. has become a household name when it comes to optical and imaging devices. Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, the company is a Japanese multinational corporation that manufactures a plethora of imaging, optical and industrial products, such as cameras, sports optics, lenses, scanners, printers, photocopiers and so much more.
Originally named Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory, the company was founded in 1937 as a producer of hand-held still cameras. Since CANON lacked amenities for manufacturing its own glass lenses in the start, cameras released in the early years contained the well-known Nikkor lenses from NIKON. Even though the first-ever “Kwanon” camera was inspired by Leica, CANON went onto produce numerous indigenous products in a short while, such as the world’s first zoom movie camera “Reflex Zoom 8”. In 1955, the company opened its first international marketing front in New York.
Following a huge success in the camera business, CANON gradually introduced several new devices to its product line, such as electronic calculators, SLR cameras, ink-jet cameras, camcorders, projectors, scanners, and printers, all of which were successful. Being a market leader in optics, the company introduced several binoculars with image stabilization and Porro prisms in recent years. At present, all of CANON’s consumer and business-to-business products are sold in more than 200 countries worldwide.
Binoculars currently produced by CANON are listed below:
Packed with superior optics and CANON’s signature image stabilization system, the compact 8×25 IS binoculars are designed for traveling and theatre performances. Due to its relatively small size and weight, this portable set of binoculars can easily be carried in backpacks. For stabilized imaging, the 8×25 IS binoculars are equipped with a Tilt-method mechanism which effectively counters unwanted shaking and provides clarity to your view. Despite their small size, the optical elements feature Super Spectra coating, which is known for producing bright images.
10×30 IS II
In a compact body, the CANON 10×30 IS II binoculars pack a higher 10x magnification and a sophisticated Vari-Angle Image Stabilization technology to even out annoying shaking, so whether the occasion is watching live sports, observing wildlife, or theatre, you will experience spectacular views with high brightness and color-fidelity that take you to another world. Other specs include Super Spectra coating, 14.5mm eye relief, and a small 4.2m close focus distance.
The three medium-range binoculars are designed for a multitude of indoor and outdoor events, such as concerts, museums, sports, bird watching, or wildlife observation. For Image Stabilization (IS), these binoculars are fitted with a sophisticated lens-shifting system that employs a gyro-mechanism to adjust a correction lens both horizontally and vertically. In addition, all the optical elements feature high-quality coatings to produce remarkably bright images with unparalleled color-fidelity.
12×36 IS III
For occasions where a measly 10x magnification is not enough, the 12×36 IS III binoculars bring objects up close with incredible sharpness and contrast. In a stylish packaging, these binoculars are equipped with CANON’s iconic Vari-Angle IS technology for undistorted high-quality images with impressive brightness thanks to multi-coated 36mm objectives. Whether you are pursuing wildlife on an uneven terrain or bird watching in the countryside, you can never go wrong with the 12×36 IS III binoculars.
15×50/18×50 IS All Weather
Observing nature and nearby astronomical bodies requires a high magnification combined with large objective lenses to capture minute details. While a high magnification of 15x or 18x is crucial for observing the moon or nearby planets, it often contributes to unwanted shaking which nullifies the purpose. To counter this problem, the Vari-Angle image stabilization system in these binoculars uses an advanced lens-adjusting method to cancel the effect of annoying hand movements. Additionally, the two premium binoculars come with ultra-low dispersion lenses and an all-weather protection system that shields the delicate internals of these devices in virtually every situation.
10×42 L IS WP
With a standard configuration, the 10×42 L IS WP is an all-rounder set of binoculars that can be used in a myriad of conditions thanks to its effective waterproof capability and multi-coated L-series optics. The binoculars feature CANON’s popular Vari-Angle image stabilization technology to eliminate the effects of shaking, so even around water bodies, your view will be sharp and distortion-free. Loaded with 2 Ultra-low dispersion lenses, the images produced by this premium device are highly focused, colorful and bright, unlike most other binoculars in this range. If you are looking for a set of binoculars that works well in all situations, the modern 10×42 L IS WP is the answer.
At 45%, Canon enjoys the largest market share in the Japanese consumer electronics market. Since its inception, the company has gradually secured a reputation for manufacturing high-quality devices that easily compete with European technology in terms of functions and performance. The same can be said for CANON binoculars, which are easily available in all major regions. While many binoculars available worldwide still suffer from unwanted hand-shaking that disrupts their purpose, CANON’s sophisticated Image Stabilization is a highly innovative idea that other manufacturers are yet to incorporate in their products. This technology has certainly provided an edge to the Japanese maker, which has since gained a boost in its worldwide sales. If the company continues to innovate products like these, a time will come when enthusiasts from all over the world will turn to Japan, instead of West Europe and the Americas, for feature-packed quality products.
CANON’s image-stabilized binoculars are nothing short of an engineering marvel since they combine electronics, computing, and optics to stabilize otherwise shaky images. According to the company, the same image stabilization technology that powers CANON cameras and lenses also powers its binoculars. All binoculars feature an embedded micro-computer that makes necessary adjustments to optical elements inside the binocular housing to account for irregular hand movements caused by unstable or moving platforms.
The budget and midrange binoculars are equipped with a lens shifting technology that cancels out the effects of shaking by adjusting the position of a correction lens. CANON binoculars in the premium category feature an advanced Vari-Angle system that changes the shape of lens surfaces to produce ultra-smooth images in virtually all situations.
Popular among bird watchers around the world, KOWA is one of the oldest companies to have originated in Japan. Since its inception, the company has blossomed into a multinational organization with engagement in several domains, such as optics, pharmaceutics, textile, IT, machinery equipment, and consumer products. The optics division of the company manufactures a series of products, such as binoculars, spotting scopes, and lenses, as well as digiscoping adapters for smartphones.
KOWA was originally founded as a textile shop in Nagoya, Japan in 1894. The company expanded its textile business by entering into the spinning industry in 1919, but the textile and trading activities in the organization were reorganized in order to establish an individual company called KOWA K.K. It was not until 1946 when it diversified its operations to form KOWA Optical Works.
The company initially produced eyeglasses but soon transformed its product line-up to produce spotting scopes and binoculars. Some of these devices were brought back to the US by army personnel who were stationed in Japan after the Second World War. Alongside binoculars and scopes, the company produced still six-medium format cameras between 1954 and 1978. Presently governed by 3rd generation of the founders, KOWA employs over 6,500 employees and its products are sold worldwide through a series of stations spread throughout the world.
KOWA Optics currently offers the following binoculars:
Prominar Genesis XD
Genesis, KOWA’s flagship binoculars, are equipped with four Prominar XD lenses, which are made by the company’s indigenously designed eXtra-low Dispersion glass technology. The premium lenses reduce chromatic aberration significantly and produce unparalleled views with a high contrast ratio. Other features of the Genesis line-up include phase-corrected Schmidt-Pechan roof prisms, highly-reflective C3 prism coating, adjustable eyecups, center focus, rubber armor, and a diopter locking mechanism. The 44mm variants come with magnesium–alloy housing and KR dirt-proof coating for extra protection. If you are looking for a premium device that matches the built-quality and optical performance of European binoculars, Genesis is the way to go.
Genesis is available in 8.5×44, 10.5×44, 8×33, 10×33, 8×22 and 10×22 configurations.
BDII-XD and BD Compact
The flagship BD range offers a series of binoculars from compact sizes to full-sized binoculars. Popular among birders, hikers, and hunters, the BD binoculars are packed with several premium specs from the high-end series, such as two XD fluorite crystal lenses, multi-coated optics, phase-corrected roof prisms, center focus, adjustable eyecups, armored-rubber casing, and Nitrogen waterproofing. Additionally, the larger BDII XD 56 binoculars are fitted with Prominar lenses for improved optical performance in broad daylight and starry night. Features like these make the BD series an all-rounder device for all kinds of occasions.
The BD series is available in 8×56, 10×56, 12×56, 8×42, 10×42, 6.5×32, 8×32, 10×32, 8×25 and 10×25 models.
SV II and YF II
Affordable binoculars with high optical performance, the SV II and YF II series come in a lightweight personable design that matches every mood. The SV range comes with phase-corrected Schmidt-Pechan roof prisms while the YF binoculars feature retro Porro-prisms to provide crystal clear images with minimum distortion. Nonetheless, optical elements in all models feature the KR dirt-resistant coating, which protects the optics in rough circumstances. Other features include multi-coated lenses, center focus, Nitrogen waterproofing, and adjustable eyecups.
The SV II line-up is available in multiple specs, 10×50, 12×50, 8×42, 12×42, 8×32 and 10×32. The YF II range is offered in two compact variants, 6×30 and 8×30.
Prominar High Lander
The legendary High Lander binoculars are made to experience nearby stars and planets in the vastness of the night sky. With a high 32x magnification, mighty 82 mm objectives and fully multi-coated Prominar XD lenses, the High Lander produces dramatic images with high contrast and virtually no aberration, which is why it is the choice of many leading scientists and researchers around the world. In addition, the intriguing device is built with a plethora of sophisticated features, such as individual focus, adjustable inter-pupillary distance, changeable eyepieces, full Nitrogen waterproofing, and durable long-lasting construction. If you are into observing nature or astronomical objects, you cannot go wrong with the High Lander.
What started as a small workshop has since transformed into a multi-national organization with over 6,500 employees. KOWA’s dedication to innovate and decades of optical heritage has led it to becoming the producer of some of the most renowned binoculars in Asia. Although its binoculars were introduced to the US market in the 1950s, it was not until 1980 when the company officially started its operations in North America. Now, KOWA is operating two distribution centers in the US and Germany, which cumulatively sell its products across the Americas and Europe. Since its expansion to international markets, KOWA binoculars have gained a significant market share which is bound to increase thanks to excellent manufacturing practices and feature-filled products at reasonable pricing.
The widespread popularity of KOWA binoculars is due to its Prominar XD lenses that are made from pure fluorite crystals with special dispersion properties for virtually zero chromatic aberration. Since nature, especially birds, are an inherently colorful species, a low aberration index allows bird watchers to experience life-like images of birds. Combined with the C3 Prism coating, KOWA binoculars produce amazing images with high-definition colors. Finally, the eyepiece and objective lenses feature the KR dirt-resistant coating for protection against dirt particles and abrasion.
Known for its riflescopes, Sightron is a Japanese manufacturer of sports optics, which is headquartered in North Carolina, the US with many of its products being produced in Japan. Presently, the company’s product line-up includes riflescopes, binoculars, spotting scopes, and illuminated reticle sights for hunters.
Sightron was established as a Japanese-American consortium in Youngsville, North Carolina, where it has remained since its inception in late 1993. In the start, all Sightron products were made in Japan but the company shifted the manufacturing of products to the Philippines following an expansion in its product line-up. All budget products are now produced in the Sightron facility in Manila, Philippines while the premium products are made in Japan.
Whether it is hunting, bird watching, camping, or observing nature, Sightron provides binoculars for every occasion. Following products are currently offered by Sightron, all of which come with a lifetime warranty:
SIII ED Series
The SIII ED series is designed to change the way you see distant objects. The newest addition to the binocular line-up incorporates premium features, such as phase-coated roof prisms, nitrogen waterproofing, extra-low dispersion glass lenses, full multi-layer coating, smartly-placed center focus knob, and adjustable eyecups to keep you on your best throughout your day outdoors. The iconic combination of phase-corrected prisms and multi-coated ED objective and ocular lenses provides a dramatic viewing experience, which you will immediately fall in love with.
The SIII ED binoculars are available in 8×32, 10×32, 8×42, and 10×42 variants.
SII Blue Sky® and Blue Sky HD Series
The SII Blue Sky binoculars are the perfect combo of a high optical performance and low pricing. The SII series packs many features from the premium range, such as fully multi-coated lenses, phase-corrected roof prisms, durable construction, adjustable eyecups, Nitrogen waterproofing, and an open-bridge hinge. SII binoculars are known are built to be used in the toughest of situations, so whether it is the natural habitat of wild animals, snowy mountains, rocky desert, or a long ride through the countryside, the Blue Sky series has got you covered.
The series is available in 8×42 HD, 10×42 HD, 8×32, 10×32, 8×25 and 10×25 configurations.
SII WP Series
Whether it is observing the beauty of nature in a dimly-lit evening or exploring nearby planets and stars in the night sky, you can blindly trust the stunning optical performance of SII WP 56mm binoculars. These devices utilize the raw power of Porro prisms, which are popular for minimal loss of light and crystal clear images even in low light conditions. Specs include Nitrogen-filled waterproofing, multi-coated objective, and ocular lenses, and adjustable eyecups. The SII WP also features a rubber exterior for comfortable handling and protection from accidental falls.
The Sightron technical team has beautifully crafted the modern-looking binoculars in a compact housing, but with zero compromises on optical performance and build quality. Despite its affordable price and compact structure, the SI range is packed with premium features, such as multi-coated lenses, waterproofing, adjustable eyecups, and a rubber covering to provide a comfortable grip.
Sightron SI is available in 8×32, 10×32, 8×25, and 10×25 models.
SI WP Series
If you are looking for a lightweight companion that produces enticing views in most situations, then no look further than the SI WP, which weighs a puny 12 ounces. At about 4.4 inches in length, this Sightron model is the perfect blend of performance and portability, which is perfect for day-long adventures. The main features of SI WP binoculars include Porro prisms, multi-coated lenses, center focus, Nitrogen waterproofing, and shockproof rubber casing.
Sightron SI WP is available in 8×25 and 10×25 models.
Sightron began its operations with the production of riflescopes, which became quite popular over the years. Seeing the commercial success of scopes, Sightron incorporated the same technology to introduce its binoculars, which have since garnered some attention from hunters, birdwatchers, and hiking enthusiasts. A comparatively lower price point combined with superior optical performance has played a key role in its exposure to the public and will play a pivotal role in enhancing prospects of the binoculars line-up.
Although Sightron’s top-selling item is still riflescopes, the amount of investment the company has put into binoculars is applaudable. A lifetime warranty for binoculars regardless of their pricing says a lot about Sightron’s adherence to high-quality materials and advanced manufacturing processes. Additionally, all Sightron binoculars, including budget-friendly devices, come with multi-coated optical elements and Nitrogen waterproofing. These are some of the features behind the recent growth of an otherwise young sports optics brand.
Fujinon is a Tokyo-based manufacturer of binoculars and multi-lenses for still photography and motion pictures. The company is a subsidiary of Fujifilm Holdings Corporation, which enjoys widespread popularity throughout the world for its digital cameras, camera lenses, and other imaging accessories.
Fujifilm started its business operations in 1934 as a manufacturer of photographic films. Seeing immense potential in optics, the company entered the optical lenses market with the commercial production of “Fujinon” lenses, which quickly gained popularity among camera manufacturers because of their incredible optical performance and light transmittance. The success of the lens brand ultimately set the foundation for the Fujinon brand, and a subsidiary was established in 1944 by the name Fuji Photo Optical Co., Ltd. The company was later renamed after its renowned lenses.
Following the success of multi-coated camera lenses, the company expanded its product line up, in order to include binoculars in 1947. Over the years, Fujinon has introduced several innovative functions in their products, such as fluoride-corrected (CaF2) optical elements in 1970, a special Floating system to minimize the effect of lens curvature in images in the 1980s, and Aspherical lenses in 1990s. Innovations like these have kept Fujinon in the limelight for over 50 years.
Fujinon offers the following range of binoculars:
FMT series comprise highly-functional binoculars that are specially crafted for marine and fishing industries. The binoculars are equipped with large objective lenses that absorb sufficient light in order to produce bright images even during poor lighting conditions. Armed with porro prisms, FMT binoculars are becoming increasingly popular among mariners, fishers, rescue teams, and cargo professionals. Other specs include field-flattener lenses, water-resistance, and a robust build to endure the harsh maritime conditions. Protective rubber armor and built-in compass options are available.
FMT binoculars are available in 7×50, 10×50, 10×70 and 16×70 variants.
The MT series is a tuned-down version of the FMT series with several premium functions. The MT binoculars are equipped with EBC-coated field-flattener lenses that produce razor-sharp images with minimum distortion even in dimly-lit situations. Designed for the toughest sea conditions, these devices come in a robust and waterproof construction, so you can focus on distant objects without a care in the world. Excellent features and a fair price makes MT binoculars the perfect choice for fishermen and cargo personnel.
The MT series is available in 7×50 and 10×70 configurations. Protective rubber armor and built-in compass options are available for the 50mm model.
As the name suggests, these binoculars are made for leisurely boat rides and fishing. Fujinon Mariner combines Nitrogen waterproofing with lightweight and rugged construction to provide you the right confidence when fishing in deep waters. Additionally, the binoculars include Porro prisms and large 50mm objectives that produce bright images with high clarity. A variant with a built-in compass option is also available.
Fujinon’s TECHNO-STABI is equipped with a world-class image stabilization system that creates a stabilized visual experience, especially from moving vehicles and sea vessels. The high-tech system eliminates the need for a tripod to watch up to 16x magnified images of distant objects, something which was inconceivable in the recent past. These binoculars are equally suited to observe fast-moving objects at higher magnifications, so you can enjoy stable views of airplanes or fast-flying birds from a comfortable area.
TECHNO-STABI is available in three configurations: 14×40, 12×28, and 16×28.
The modern Hyper-Clarity binoculars are a premium product from Fujinon that is specifically designed for exploring the beauty of nature and wildlife. With standard 42mm objectives, the series is packed with phase-corrected roof prisms and extra-low dispersion glass lenses with EBC multi-coating, that together create a fascinating visual experience for the user. Other specs include a large field of view, an ergonomic design, and waterproof construction that protects the device from internal fogging.
Hyper-Clarity series only comes in 8×42 and 10×42 variants.
The LB-150 series is one of the largest binocular-telescopes produced in Japan. The device is equipped with large extra-low dispersion glass objectives that have EBC multi-coating that capture significant light to produce dramatic blur-free images of nearby stars, planets, and comets in the night sky. Since its inception, the LB-150 has become a favorite among many astronomers throughout the world because of its high optical performance.
LB-150 is available in 15×80, 25×250, and 40×150 variants.
Equipped with Fujinon’s image-stabilization mechanism, the Stabiscope binoculars are designed to eliminate the effect of vibrations caused by any kind of vehicle, whether it is a helicopter or a speedboat. The device features a technological system that locks on the subject and corrects the effect of vibrations to produce highly-stable images at higher magnifications without a tripod. With this, the device features an easy-to-use interface and a waterproof body for a worry-free operation during fishing or rescuing missions.
STABISCOPE is available in 12×40 and 16×40 models.
Fujinon started its operations as a producer of lenses but quickly expanded its product lines to include binoculars in 1947. Since the start, the company has produced binoculars for various audiences, all of which have received widespread recognition among users from all over the world. Over the years, the introduction of several innovative features has helped Fujinon in capturing a large portion of the Japanese binocular market. Fujinon binoculars are already popular with marine professionals and the time is near when the company will surpass other players in the Japanese optical market.
In recent years, Fujinon binoculars have become quite popular among the professionals of the naval and fishing industry. The commercial success of optical products inspired Fujinon to continually participate in high-tech research, which has resulted in numerous innovative features, such as image-stabilization, night vision, and field flattener lenses. All Fujinon products are equipped with multi-coated optical elements and Nitrogen waterproofing, which Fujifilm uses for producing standalone and smartphone cameras.
Pentax is one of the names that come to mind when we talk about the start of the imaging and photography era in Japan. The company was established in the aftermath of WW1 and has since produced numerous variants of analog and digital cameras, and other imaging devices such as binoculars. The imaging systems business of Pentax that produced binoculars was acquired by Ricoh Imaging in 2011, but many of its products, especially binoculars, still carry the popular Pentax label.
Originally called Asahi Optical Co., Pentax was formed in 1919 as a manufacturer of eyeglasses but soon transformed its business to incorporate projection and camera lenses in the 1930s. The company became a major supplier of lenses for various camera manufacturers before the advent of WW2. It was until 1952 that Pentax rolled out its first SLR camera Asahiflex, which was later followed by a new line of cameras called Pentax. The success of Pentax SLR cameras inspired the company to change its name to become Pentax Corporation in 2002.
The company produced several variants of DSLR throughout the 2000s, but in 2007 a merger took place between Pentax and Hoya Corporation to form Hoya Pentax HD Corporation. Ricoh, another camera manufacturer, showed interest in acquiring the imaging division of Pentax in 2011. Hoya accepted the offer and Ricoh modified its name after the acquisition to become Ricoh Imaging in 2013. Since the acquisition, all Pentax imaging and sports optics products are manufactured by Ricoh.
Ricoh Imaging offers the following products in the binoculars line-up:
The Z-series is one of the many premium offerings from Ricoh Imaging that is designed to produce sharp images even in the toughest of situations, whether it is the rough sea, an uneven hiking terrain, a rainy forest, or a windy countryside. The feature-packed Z-series binoculars are equipped with several cutting-edge aspects, such as full multi-layer coated extra-low dispersion glass lenses, JI6-grade Nitrogen waterproofing, Magnesium-alloy construction, Pentax dirt-resistant coating, and rubber armor for protection against shock. Where many binoculars fail to fulfill promises, the Z-series produces a captivating visual experience, which you cannot stop yourself from falling in love with.
Z series is available in 6 variants: 8×43 ED, 10×43 ED, 10×50 ED, 8×43 WP, 10×43 WP and 10×50 WP.
If you are looking for a modern design with an unbelievable viewing experience, the S series is your answer. The high-end binoculars are filled to the brim with sophisticated features to make every situation you encounter into a cinematic visual experience. Main aspects include multi-coated lenses, long eye relief, magnesium-alloy body, protective rubber coat, JIS Class 6 nitrogen-filled Waterproofing, and Pentax dirt-resistant coating.
The S series comes in both roof prisms and Porro prism design. Available binoculars with roof prisms are SD 9×42 WP, SD 8×42 WP, SD 10×42 WP, whereas those with Porro prisms are SP 8×40 WP, SP 10×50 WP, SP 12×50 WP, SP 20×60 WP, SP 8×40 SP 10×50, SP 12×50 and SP 16×50.
If you like it when your possessions reflect your personality, the U series is the ultimate choice. With compact sizes and color schemes, the U series binoculars are designed to make you stand out from the crowd. Despite being compact, all binoculars provide compelling visuals of far-away objects with high sharpness thanks to multi-coated aspherical lenses and Porro prisms. 8-16×21 Zoom option is also available.
The U series is available in several configurations: 8×21, 8×25, and 10×25. Roof prism variants come in 9×21 and 10×21 specs.
The compact A-series binoculars come in a variety of sizes and configurations for every occasion. Despite their small size, these devices offer high-quality images of distant objects that are high in contrast and free from brightness and aberration problems. This is made possible thanks to several high-tech features, which include multi-layer coated lenses, coated prisms, Nitrogen-waterproofing, rubber coat, and robust construction. A series is available in both roof and Porro prism design. The roof prism variant features an open-bridge hinge and pocket models are equipped with a double-hinge mechanism for easy storage.
The A series binos with roof prisms are available in 9×32, 8×36, 10×36, 9×28, 8×25, and 10×25 models and Porro prism models come in 8×30 and 10×30 configurations.
When portability is of utmost importance without losing performance, these minuscule binoculars from Ricoh come to the rescue. Able to focus from 50 cm up to infinity, the Papilio II binoculars are fitted with notable features, such as multi-coated aspherical lenses, Porro prisms, rubber armor, and long eye relief.
Two models of Papilio are available: 6.5×21 and 8.5×21.
The V series is one-of-a-kind innovation in the field of optics that incorporates three different functionalities in one device: 4×20 binoculars, two separate monoculars when detached, and a telescope when connected in series. Apart from its interesting design, the compact device produces good-quality images and comprises dielectric multi-coated lenses, phase-corrected roof prisms, an individual focus mechanism, and JIS 7 grade Nitrogen-waterproof housing.
According to a recent survey, Pentax has kept a modest 3.1% share in the Japanese consumer electronics market. The imaging section of the company has manufactured innovative mirror-less, DSLR, SLR, and compact cameras throughout the years, which has directly accelerated the growth of its sports optics line. Ever since the merger with Hoya Corporation and subsequent acquisition by Ricoh Imaging, the company has seen an increase in the demand for its binoculars. To further expand the market share, Ricoh is keen to introduce state-of-the-art features in its product line up, one example of which is the modular V series binoculars.
Due to increased sales, more people are getting to know about the advanced manufacturing processes and quality standards at Ricoh Imaging. The company recently introduced a three-in-one device, which triples as binoculars, two monoculars, and a telescope. The new product has gained significant traction among people who like to carry a compact set of binoculars everywhere. Additionally, the U series zoom binoculars are a perfect device for those looking for multiple magnifications in one device. Innovations like these have pushed Pentax binoculars back into the limelight and further growth of the brand is inevitable.
OEM PRODUCERS FOR SEVERAL POPULAR BRANDS
Continuous innovation and technologically advanced manufacturing processes known to man is one of the reasons why Japan rose to prominence in the aftermath of WW2. Presently, Japan is home to numerous production facilities that produce binoculars for several brands from around the world, such as Vortex, Athlon, Bushnell, and Kahles to name a few. The renowned brands have chosen Japan because of the ultimate combination of cheaper production costs and a long heritage of producing high-quality consumer products. The outsourcing model helps these brands keep the product price low while maintaining profit margins, therefore more and more people can harness the power of premium binoculars.
Japanese products are popular all over the world due to their high quality-to-price ratio. Although the Japanese industry struggled in the past, the country has seen tremendous growth in commercial and consumer markets since the end of WW2. Now, Japanese products are head-to-head on the level of manufacturing standards and product quality with German engineering. Consequently, many of its high-end products are priced accordingly and in some cases, surpass the prices of their European counterparts. The high prices are mostly justified, due to the number of innovative features and functions Japanese manufacturers have incorporated in their products.
is an experienced author from the field of sports optics. He writes articles and reviews about binoculars, spotting scopes, rifle scopes, long range shooting and other topics for magazines like Lovec and Optics-Info.com blog. Currently, he is a member of Optics Trade team.