Best Lightweight Binoculars: Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10×42

Binoculars of the 10×42 (and 8×42) variety are pretty common, even standard. What makes the Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10×42 binoculars stand out is their light weight. They are even lighter than Nikon’s own PROSTAFF 7S models, making them probably the best lightweight binoculars available today.

Just a few ounces can make a big difference if you plan to hang your binos around your neck all afternoon. The Nikon PROSTAFF 3S is a pair of binoculars that your neck and shoulder muscles will thank you for later.

In this article, we’ll take a brief look at the make-up of the PROSTAFF 3S 10x42s so you can see if they’re a pair you’d like to add to your gear for hunting, birding, or whatever other activity you need them for.

If you’re in a bit of a hurry and just want to check the pricing and availability of the Nikon PROSTAFF 3S at Amazon, you can click (or tap) the link just below.

The PROSTAFF 3S Features Are Standard

The PROSTAFF 3S has everything you’d expect from the Nikon brand without anything extra fancy-schmancy, which helps keeps the price down.

Nikon PROSTAFF 3S - best lightweight binoculars
Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10×42 binoculars

Nikon says they create these binos with a “high-eyepoint design”. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but it has something to do with the long eye relief – 15.7 millimeters – that you get with this model. They’ve also managed to eliminate vignetting – that dark ring you sometimes get around the edges – so that you can get a decent picture of your target even if you’re wearing glasses.

The field of view (FOV) at 1000 yards is 367 feet. That’s nothing to write home about, but it’s decent. If you’re a bird watcher, this distance should be sufficient to let you spot your birds easily enough.

I hinted above at the weight of these binoculars. They weigh just 20.3 ounces (575 grams). If you compare that to other 10×42 models, you’ll find that it’s lighter than virtually all the more popular brands from other manufacturers.

These binos are both waterproof and fogproof, since they are nitrogen filled and O-ring sealed. This is great for those early morning or late afternoon times when fog and moisture are most likely to be present. I don’t have a rating on exactly how waterproof these are; that is, whether you can submerge them or not.

You get rubber-armored coating on the outside of the tubes with a non-slip grip that makes them easy to hold, even if they do get damp.

Nikon mentions that the optical system in these binoculars is “created from lead-and-arsenic-free Eco-glass.” This makes me wonder whether other binoculars have any lead or arsenic in them. Or is this just a case of Nikon trying to sound special even though no one else has these materials in their binos either. My hunch is that it’s the latter case.

Nikon doesn’t get very specific about the lens or prism coatings. They simply say they are multi-layer coatings. It’s probably safe to assume that this means fully multi-coated. I would not assume any coatings in addition to this though. If this is accurate, this would be another case of designing to keep the price lower.

Finally, you get turn and slide eyecups, a diopter on the right hand tube, a neck strap, a case, and lens caps to round out your purchase. Again, all of this is fairly standard stuff.

Note that you cannot attach these binoculars to a tripod.

PROSTAFF 3S Specs and Warranty

Besides the numbers mentioned earlier, here are the other specifications of the PROSTAFF 3S 10x42s.

Magnification10 times actual (10x)
Objective Lens42 millimeters
Length5.9 inches
Width5.1 inches
Depth2 inches
Exit Pupil4.2 millimeters
Close Focus9.8 feet

You get Nikon’s lifetime warranty with these binoculars. If there’s something wrong (not your fault) with the binoculars, Nikon will, at its option, repair or replace them for you.

Conclusions about the Nikon PROSTAFF 3S Binoculars

As you can see (if you’ve looked at other binos besides these), the PROSTAFF 3S model is a standard issue optical instrument. It’s mainly the light weight that is their selling point. That is a major point though, if you intend to use them for extended periods of time.

You’re going to get a decent view of your target through these tubes. The light weight is that extra benefit that just might make you opt for these over a different pair of 10x42s.


Check the pricing and availability of the Nikon PROSTAFF 3S Binoculars at Amazon.

If the Nikon PROSTAFF light weight isn’t enough of a selling point, check out these weightier options.

Gary Sonnenberg

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