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Nikon Prostaff P3 10x42 Review

Don't be enticed by the price, these had some of the worst clarity we've seen
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Nikon Prostaff P3 10x42 Review
Credit: Abriah Wofford
Price:  $150 List
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Manufacturer:   Nikon
By Benjamin Hickok and Jessica Riconscente  ⋅  Dec 23, 2023
53
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 16
  • Clarity - 35% 3.9
  • Brightness - 20% 5.5
  • Comfort - 15% 7.0
  • Field of View - 10% 6.2
  • Ease of Adjustment - 15% 5.2
  • Close Focus Range - 5% 8.0

Our Verdict

The Nikon Prostaff P3 10x42 is an affordable pair of full-sized binoculars that offer good all-around performance for their place in a large pool of entry-level models. This model has exceptional close focus range and great comfort for a full-sized pair of binoculars, combined with a good level of brightness and satisfactory clarity from this tier of optics. Unfortunately, they didn't quite meet the standard set by similarly priced and comparable models to merit our recommendation.
REASONS TO BUY
Inexpensive
Good rubber grip
REASONS TO AVOID
Poor clarity
Shows a yellowish dark tint

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Bottom Line Despite being a crucial factor, this model has horrible clarity, we would recommend looking elsewhereOne of the best overall values on the market, particularly for mid-range price shoppersA great choice for birders on a tight budgetDecent clarity and compactness make these a good budget option for traveling, backpacking and hikingA good choice for someone on a budget and who could use a pair of binoculars that lets in a lot of light
Rating Categories Nikon Prostaff P3 1... Vortex Diamondback... Celestron Nature DX... Nikon Trailblazer A... Nikon Aculon A211 8x42
Clarity (35%)
3.9
6.2
5.8
5.0
3.3
Brightness (20%)
5.5
8.1
7.4
3.5
8.3
Comfort (15%)
7.0
6.6
5.4
7.9
4.6
Field of View (10%)
6.2
8.4
6.8
5.2
8.3
Ease of Adjustment (15%)
5.2
7.1
6.6
4.4
2.6
Close Focus Range (5%)
8.0
8.9
7.5
8.3
5.4
Specs Nikon Prostaff P3 1... Vortex Diamondback... Celestron Nature DX... Nikon Trailblazer A... Nikon Aculon A211 8x42
Measured Weight 20.6 oz 23.1 oz 22.8 oz 10.5 oz 27.2 oz
Measured Interpupillary Distance Range 56mm - 75mm 56mm - 75mm 57mm -74mm 38mm -75mm 56mm - 73mm
Measured Size 5.9" x 4.2" 5.7" x 5.1" 5.4" x 4.5" 2.7" x 4.1" 6.8" x 5.9"
Measured Close Focus 7.1 ft 5.5 ft 8.0 ft 6.6 ft 11.9 ft
Measured Eye Relief 15.5 mm 18.0 mm 18.0 mm 10.5 mm 12.0 mm
Glass Type Not mentioned HD BAK-4 Eco-Glass Eco-Glass
Magnification 10 8 8 10 8
Objective Lens Size 42 42 42 25 42
Claimed Field of View 367 ft 393 ft 388 ft 342 ft 420 ft
Claimed Close Focus 9.8 ft 5.0 ft 6.5 ft 11.5 ft 13.0 ft
Claimed Eye Relief 15.7 mm 17 mm 17.5 mm 10 mm 12 mm
Waterproof/Fog Resistant Yes Yes Yes Yes Not mentioned
Tripod Adapter No Yes Yes No Yes
Measured Lux Reading from Brightness Testing 748 lux 1163 lux 823 lux 237 lux 1236 lux

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


nikon prostaff p3 10x42 - good but not great for an entry-level pair of binos.
Good but not great for an entry-level pair of binos.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Clarity


The Nikon Prostaff P3 10x42 doesn't offer the greatest clarity and fell short of many other models tested. We noted yellow and magenta color fringing across the whole lens, as well as a slight distortion at the top and bottom of the lens. While we didn't expect too much from a pair of binoculars at this price point, comparable models proved they could offer great clarity.

nikon prostaff p3 10x42 - a glimpse into our clarity tests with the nikon prostaff p3 10x42.
A glimpse into our clarity tests with the Nikon Prostaff P3 10x42.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente

Brightness


In our brightness testing, we observed and measured luminance and exit pupil size for a complete evaluation of the light transmission abilities of each model. For an entry-level tier of binoculars, the Nikon Prostaff P3 10x42 did fairly well here, registering a light transmission of 748 Lux, over 300 more than similarly priced and comparably sized models. Of course, the Prostaff wasn't nearly as bright as the top models tested, which is a fair and expected result from a pair of binos at this price point.

The P3 offers a good level of brightness from this tier of binoculars.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Comfort


Weight and balance play a large factor in our comfort test metric. The Nikon Prostaff P3 10x42 did pretty well in our evaluation, weighing in at 20.6 ounces and balancing well. The rubberized grip and smaller feel of the full-sized frame also add to comfort and ergonomics, setting it apart from other comparable 10x42 models.

The Prostaff is comfortable in the hand and easy to handle.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Field of View


In our most recent update in testing procedures, we improved our field of view testing to include a more relatable and real-world test using a vertical board fence at a specified distance. We subjected all models to this test and recorded the number of clearly visible vertical fence boards. We were able to observe and count 54.5 vertical fence boards with the Nikon Prostaff P3 10x42, which was about average for the lineup.

nikon prostaff p3 10x42 - we used these fence posts to measure field of view at a set distance.
We used these fence posts to measure field of view at a set distance.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente

Ease of Adjustment


The lack of a locking diopter, a rather average focus knob, and a short 15.5 mm of eye relief make this one of the less impressive models we tested when considering ease of adjustment. We also cannot recommend glasses wearers consider the Nikon Prostaff P3 10x42, as our test team members with glasses had difficulties achieving eye relief and focus with this model.

The P3 offers average ease of adjustment.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Close Focus Range


With a close focus range of 7.1 feet, the Nikon Prostaff P3 10x42 makes for a good companion while visiting an aviary or butterfly house. You won't be able to focus on a butterfly on your foot as you can with more premium models, but you'll be able to clearly focus on a hummingbird a few meters from your window.

nikon prostaff p3 10x42 - the p3s don't offer the best eye relief, although the close focus...
The P3s don't offer the best eye relief, although the close focus range is decent.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Should You Buy the Nikon Prostaff P3 10x42?


For the price, we felt that the Nikon Prostaff P3 10x42 is a mostly lackluster pair of binoculars that were comfortable to use for their full size. However, with such poor clarity and terrible eye relief, we wouldn't recommend them.

What Other Binoculars Should You Consider?


While it comes with a higher price tag, we encourage our readers to consider the Vortex Diamondback HD 8x42 over the Nikon Prostaff P3 10x42. This option provides enhanced clarity, increased brightness, a broader field of view, and improved close-range focus. However, if you are fixed on buying a pair of binoculars at a similar price point to the P3, then you'll want to take a look at the Celestron Nature DX 8x42. These offer better clarity and brightness than the P3.

Benjamin Hickok and Jessica Riconscente