PROS / They are rugged and light.
CONS / Not fully multi-coated and don't have phase correction coating.
VERDICT / Not the best set of binoculars on the market but still competitive.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from viewing as part of this site because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
The Nikon Trailblazer ATB 8x42 is an adequately priced pair of binoculars that is perfect for someone who doesn't want anything really fancy or high quality. They'll get the job done but not with the clarity, color quality or contrast that you'll get from the other binoculars. Their biggest flaws are in the optics, which is the most important part of binoculars. This is unfortunate because the rest looks just fine. With a few upgrades to help enhance the viewing experience, these Nikons could compete more closely with some of the other manufactures.
The Trailblazer ATB is a roof prism system that has BAK-4 prisms. The 8x magnification and 42mm objective lenses give you a twilight factor of 18.3 and an exit pupil of 5.25 millimeters. The twilight factor is just an equation for determining how much light is needed to still see through these binoculars. Since it is the same for all 8x42s, it isn't anything to really compare against but it does give perspective. The exit pupil is merely the size of the holes in the eyepieces that you actually look through.
The 19.7 millimeter eye relief is a quite generous amount that should be adequate for anyone looking for binoculars that and is planning to use them while wearing eyeglasses. They have an average field of view, which is 122 meters at thousand meters out as well as an average range of interpupillary adjustment. Those are average to better than other optical specs but it is all downhill from there.
The least important thing on the list of specs that need improvement is the close focusing distance. These Nikons can only focus on something as close as 5 meters away. That is at least twice as far as almost all the other binoculars that we reviewed. Close focusing distance may not be the most import thing in the world but it deserves a little more attention than that.
The most important thing that needs to be taken to the next level is the coating. The lenses are only multi-coated which means that they don't allow for as much light transmission and they don't allow for as good of quality. The Trailblazer also doesn't have phase correction coatings, which is important for roof prism binoculars. Without phase correction, the image will never be as crisp and clear as it would be otherwise. Lastly, the prisms don't have any high reflective coatings to further enhance the quality and clarity of the visual experience.
Most everything looks pretty good on the Nikon Trailblazer ATB 8x42 binoculars except some of the most important optic attributes. For that reason, they rank low. There is too much missing for them to be super competitive with other similar sized and priced binoculars. They are cheaper but still not totally worth the price. For a hundred dollars, more you can get far superior ones that will perform at the standards that nature watchers want and prefer.