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Nikon Prostaff 3S 8x42 Binocular Review (Amazing Eye Relief & FOV)

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nikon prostaff 3s 8x42 binoculars
Image Credit - Nikon

Magnification: 8X
Power Variability: Fixed
Objective Diameter: 42 mm
Close Focus Distance: 9.8 feet
Dimensions: 6 x 5.1 x 2 inches
Weight: 19.9 ounces
Field of View: 377 feet/1000 yards
Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: 20.2 mm/ 5.3 mm
Optics Coatings: Multi-Coated
Glass: BaK-4
Prism System: Roof
Focus System: Center
Waterproof/Fog-proof: Yes/Yes
Eye cups: Turn & Slide/Click Stop
Tripod adaptable: Yes
Rangefinder: No

Best Uses: Hunting, For the Range, Birdwatching, Wildlife Observation

Nikon Prostaff 3S 8x42

This Prostaff 3S 8X42 has a low budget price at roughly $130 with high-reflectivity silver-alloy mirror coatings and multi-coated Eco-Glass lenses. It has an amazing, extended eye relief of 20.2 mm, a proficient 5.3 mm exit pupil, wide field of view, and is incredibly light weight for its build class, weighing only 19.9 ounces!

But, what little has been said about it is unbeatable this far. It has gotten off to a strong start with a top rating that mightn't be too hard for the Prostaff 3S to hold in the coming months ahead.

It's impressive to see this binocular any where near the Top 100 Seller's binocular list, so it snagged a spot in this review. With its "new car" smell and low budget price tag, I wouldn't be surprised to see it gain a few spots ahead in the Top 100 list.

To see if this Prostaff 3S is worth the attention its attracting, I've provided you with the Q&A for you to decide for yourself.


  • Price
  • Wide field of view
  • Extended eye relief
  • Fully weatherproof
  • Compact and lightweight


  • Poor quality eye covers

Prostaff 3S 8X42 Binocular Q&A:

What is high-reflectivity silver-alloy mirror coatings?

Here's the short answer. All roof prism systems are going to need two types of coatings: phase coatings and mirror coatings. This is the mirror coating that allows light to be reflected throughout the light path in the barrel to ensure light reaches the eyepiece.

What's so good about this one?

Long answer: A silver mirror coating is typically a step up from the aluminum mirror coating. While the aluminum coatings have a reflectivity of 87 percent to 93 percent, silver coatings have a reflectivity of 95 percent to 98 percent.

Better yet is the dielectric high-reflective multi-layer prism coatings that are seen on the Monarch series binoculars mentioned in this Nikon binocular review.

Bottom line: Combine this highly reflective mirror coating with multi-coated lenses and 5.3 mm of exit pupil and you have the potential for some bright, sharp, and pure picture quality.

Is Nikon's Prostaff 3s a compact binocular?

You betcha! This Prostaff is not only smaller in dimensions, 6 x 5.1 x 2.0 inches, it's also light weight for a binocular in its class. It weighs a light 19.9 ounces whereas similar models are about 23 to 26 ounces.

A binocular in the 20-ounce range is still generally considered light weight. But, being able to keep glass quality, an all-round and ideal magnification, and classic-sized objective lenses for under 20 ounces indicates it will be a compact and great hand-held unit.

Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 8x42
  • Multilayer-coated kenses for brighter images
  • High-reflectivity silver-alloy mirror coatings for a bright and clear view

How much does the Prostaff 3S 8X42 cost?

For an all-purpose binocular, it's arguably in the right price range for its quality - approx $130. While there's nothing really fancy about it to kick its price tag into the additional zero digit fields, there's enough about it that makes it an ideal binocular for hunters. The low budget price of under $200 is like the honey pot for the bear - irresistible.

Does the Nikon Prostaff 3S have long eye relief?

If you thought that eye relief only applied to rifle scopes, then you're probably a rookie new to optics. Don't feel bad - we were newbies once upon a time too. But, this Prostaff 3S sports a fantastic 20.2 mm of eye relief. Now, this is what I would call extended or long eye relief.

If you're thinking that maybe this is too far out for you to feel comfortable, the twist up style eye cups have the multi-setting click stop rubber eye cups to adjust for a custom fit.

But, if you're a spectacle-wearing, sun shade-donning kinda guy, then you're definitely going to appreciate the long eye relief these binoculars afford you.

Noteworthy Features:

  • BaK-4 prisms for optimal glass quality
  • Multi-Setting Click Stop rubber eye cups for a variable, comfortable, and easy to set custom fit
  • Arsenic-free and lead-free Eco-Glass technology
  • Rubber armored body for non-slip grip and repeated and heavy use
  • Fully weatherproof and fog-proof for all-weather use
  • Backed by Nikon's 25 Year Limited Warranty and No-Fault Repair/Replacement Policy

Our Verdict on the 3S 8x42 Prostaff Binoculars

To glass it up, the Nikon Prostaff 3S 8X42 is an impressive, little unit with a lot more punch than you'd initially give it credit for. There are no legitimate complaints on this piece of work. The included accessories can be better quality, but that's nothing an extra $20 can't replace.

Sticking with the same optic specs, the Nikon Aculon A211 8X42 which you can take  a look at brings down the cost quite a bit. Granted, you're not getting the ATB perks of the Prostaff, but the cost drop might be enough to swing you towards the Aculon.

Of course with specs like these, we're going to pin the Prostaff against the Vortex Raptor 8.5X32 binoculars. Yes, it's cheaper, but Vortex is known for quality and their VIP treatment of customers. That's all we have to say about it. Check it out to see what we're hinting at.

It doesn't matter if you're spending $1000 or $100 on a Nikon. The point is, you're getting a high quality optic with Nikon's reputation with your purchase. Trusting them with your business is trusting Nikon to make a precise shot in the field. Put your faith in Nikon and you'll be ready to fill your tag this hunting season!

Further Reading

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Simon Cuthbert - Founder

Simon is an avid outdoor enthusiast and the founder of Target Tamers. He is passionate about bringing you the most up to date, accurate & understandable information on sports optics of all kinds and for all applications. Simon has contributed to notable publications online and teaches beginners the technical side of optics through his extensive library of optics guides.

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