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christos nicolaou

Alyssa A.
Creating experiences, one adventure at a time


Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10×42 Binoculars

Nikon is one of today’s leading manufacturers of sports optics. If you’re birding or hunting in strong daylight, they might have the right pair of binoculars for you— the Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10×42. This is a budget friendly pair of glassers that excel in ergonomics, fitting comfortably with good controls, but showing some limitations in terms of image capturing in low-light.

Outdoor activities like birdwatching and hunting can be daunting, specifically for beginners. These activities can be expensive to get into, not to mention there is quite a steep learning curve involved. That’s where these Prostaff 3S come in handy. PROSTAFFs are not as expensive as the Monarch 5 or Monarch 7, but neither do they have the same sharpness.

Nonetheless, you have nothing to worry about with the Prostaff 3S. Learning about basic outdoor gear like binoculars is a crucial step, and you can start that process with beginner-friendly binoculars.

In this comprehensive guide, we will look at the features of the Nikon Prostaff 3S 10×42 in-depth to give you an idea about this high-performing and budget-friendly pair. Let’s dive in!

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:


Reasons to buy

  • One of the nicest bodies to hold
  • High-performing, environment-friendly optical system
  • Roof prism surfaces coated with high-reflectivity silver alloy
  • Heavy-duty polycarbonate resin body reinforced with fiberglass
  • Shockproof rubber armor coating with a soft yet non-slip grip
  • Compact and lightweight
  • High eyepoint design

Reasons NOT to buy

  • Not suitable for use in low-light settings
  • Lens caps are not very impressive


The Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10×42 is a budget-friendly pair of binoculars with industry-leading features. It is ideal for general use in daylight, especially for beginners.

Equipped with an Eco-Glass optical system, these binoculars offer pretty good image quality. Its roof prism surfaces are coated with high-reflectivity silver alloy, ensuring reliable brightness and clarity. Further optimizing image quality are the multi-coated lenses, which provide exceptional light transmission. Generally, they perform really well in broad daylight.

For 10x magnification optics, these will be really nice for hiking because of the wide field of view too.

With a polycarbonate body reinforced with fiberglass, the Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10×42 is pretty heavy-duty. It can withstand the test of time no matter the conditions it has been exposed to, thanks to its shockproof rubber armor coating. Aside from its ability to absorb shock, this coating also has a non-slip yet comfortable grip.

The grip and form of these binos are exceptionally pleasing. Perhaps better than any of the Monarch options.

Even if these binoculars have no tripod adapter, they are easy to handle for hours because they are compact and lightweight. Guaranteeing all-day comfort, they have a high eyepoint design and generous eye relief. Eyeglass wearers will have no trouble using these binoculars, particularly with their user-friendly, multi-click, turn-and-slide eyecups.

At an affordable price, the Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10×42 is pretty attractive, especially with all its superb features. Let’s dive in to learn more about these specs and discover if it is the perfect pair of general-purpose binoculars for you!

See the complete list of the best Nikon Binoculars here!

Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10x42 Binoculars Overview

Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10×42 Binoculars: Key Specifications

  • Product Dimensions: 5.9” x 5.1”
  • Product Weight: 20.3 oz.
  • Angular Field of View (Real) 7 degrees
  • Angular Field of View (Apparent): 62.9 degrees
  • Linear Field of View at 1,000 yds.: 367’
  • Close Focus Distance: 9.8’
  • Exit Pupil: 4.2 mm
  • Eye Relief: 15.7 mm
  • Central Focus System
  • Roof Prism

Where to Buy:

Image Quality

The Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10×42 takes pride in its arsenic- and lead-free Eco-Glass optical system, which means it delivers quality without posing harm to the environment. The roof prism’s mirror surfaces come with high-reflectivity, silver alloy mirror coating, which ensures decent brightness and clarity. Meanwhile, the lenses have multilayer coatings, which offer above average light transmission.

Generally, these binoculars perform well in broad daylight. You will hardly see any noticeable image quality distortion. There’s minimal fringing with these, only a mild bit of chromatic aberration–something that most casual users will never distress about.

Relatively, it also offers a wide field of view. They can be used to view subjects far and wide. If you need to observe subjects like insects more closely, you will find the close focus distance of 9.8’ helpful.

The 10x magnification and 42-mm objective lens diameter of the Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10×42 are the perfect combination for general use, especially for beginners and occasional enthusiasts. Together with a wide field of view, these configurations guarantee a comfortable viewing experience for prolonged periods.

Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10x42 Binoculars Image Quality

Construction Quality

Despite being a budget-friendly pair of binoculars, the Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10×42 is fogproof and waterproof. It is purged with nitrogen and sealed with O-ring sealing, preventing moisture from penetrating the optics. It will not easily break even when exposed to the harshest conditions. Not only do these features prolong its life, but also improves the overall glassing experience. You can take it to the highest peaks or in any terrain regardless of the weather without worrying about moisture disrupting your activity.

These binoculars are housed in a polycarbonate resin reinforced with fiberglass, so you can expect them to withstand external forces. Additionally, their chassis is coated with rubber armor, which can resist shock while offering a firm and non-slip yet soft and comfortable grip. Your binoculars slipping off your hands would be the least of your concerns. Nonetheless, they are less likely to get damaged if you accidentally drop them.

Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10x42 Binoculars Construction Quality

Ergonomics and Comfort

The Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10×42 is designed with a lightweight and compact profile, making it convenient to carry wherever you go. The cutting-edge roof prism design with mirror surfaces coated using silver alloy leads to a further reduced weight. Moreover, its construction lets you handle it comfortably over prolonged periods without experiencing fatigue. Since it has no tripod adaptability, these features are essential.

Built with your comfort in mind, it has a high eyepoint design. This design lets you view images clearly without resting your face directly on the eyepieces. As such, these binoculars are suitable for eyeglass wearers. Eye relief of 15.7 mm and multi-click, turn-and-slide eyecups also contribute to keeping your eyes comfortable, whether you are wearing eyeglasses or not. You can easily adjust the eyepieces’ positions even in tough environments.

Allowing you to adjust the focus easily while occupied observing, the Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10×42 has a large central focus wheel. You can locate the knob and turn it quickly to achieve a precise focus.

Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10x42 Binoculars Ergonomics

The Good

With these binoculars, rugged performance does not have to come at a price. It is built with an Eco-Glass optical system, which is free from arsenic and lead. On top of that, their lenses are multi-coated to deliver above average light transmission, resulting in bright and crisp images in strong light. This lens coating technology works hand-in-hand with the roof prism coated with high-reflectivity silver alloy, further optimizing brightness and clarity. Not the best we’ve seen, but very impressive at this price point.

With these features, you can enjoy an amazing glassing experience in broad daylight. Compared to most budget-friendly binoculars, they offer superior quality without any noticeable distortion.

You would think that a pair of binoculars in this price range is delicate and fragile, but not the Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10×42. Its chassis made of polycarbonate resin is reinforced with fiberglass. The reinforcement allows it to take a beating, unlike most binoculars with polycarbonate bodies. Moreover, it is coated with rubber armor that can absorb shock. This ergonomically designed rubber armor coating provides a firm, non-slip grip without causing discomfort. There is little to no possibility of you dropping it, but if you do, you need not worry about it breaking.

The silver alloy mirror coating applied to the roof prism surfaces contributes to these binoculars’ lightweight profile, which is why they are relatively lighter than many polycarbonate binoculars. Their compact design makes them easy to pack and carry. More importantly, it compensates for their lack of a tripod adapter. You can hold on to them and hang them around your neck for hours without experiencing fatigue. If you are looking for high-performing optics that you can easily take with you in extreme terrains, these binoculars will serve you well.

The Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10×42 boasts a high eyepoint design, a feature that most enthusiasts love about it. With this design, you can comfortably observe your subjects without resting your face on the eyepieces directly. You will find this feature beneficial, especially if you are wearing eyeglasses. Meanwhile, the multi-click, turn-and-slide eyecups help keep you comfortable because they can be adjusted easily as you remain focused on your subjects. With an eye relief of 15.7 mm, it is perfect for all-day use even for eyeglass wearers. For some reason, they seem like that have more than 15.7 mm, which made them usable while wearing sunglasses.

What We Didn’t Like

While these binoculars perform fairly well for a pair of budget-friendly optics, they are not perfect. They deliver quality images in broad daylight, but will fall off in quality when used in low-light conditions. If you are looking for binoculars that you can use from dawn until dusk, they are not the right choice for you.

The lens caps are also of regrettable quality. Not a big thing, but neither is it understandable to crimp on quality for something as doable as caps.

About the Company

Nikon has been around since 1917. It was founded after the merger of three optical manufacturers, aiming to create a fully integrated optical company. As they say, the rest is history.

While it has gained its reputation as an industry leader for its binoculars and cameras, Nikon’s contributions to the industry go beyond these products. It constantly innovates in the fields of digital imaging technology and sports optics, serving its consumers’ best, evolving interests.

Other businesses include healthcare and industrial metrology, through which Nikon leads scientific and technological innovations. Its healthcare business supports medical endeavors, offering various cell and ophthalmology solutions. Meanwhile, its industrial metrology business supports space exploration.

Nikon is one of the most trusted names in the sports optics industry. Other than binoculars, it also offers field scopes and rangefinders. All these products are intuitively developed to meet the needs of different consumers in numerous outdoor applications.

Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10x42 Binoculars Accessories


These binoculars are perfect for those casual users only starting their journey as outdoor enthusiasts. They are budget-friendly yet built with cutting-edge features, such as a dependable Eco-Glass optical system and advanced roof prism system with mirror surfaces coated with silver alloy.

While they are far from perfect, they perform fairly well, especially in broad daylight. You can expect them to last for years, thanks to their shockproof rubber armor coating and polycarbonate chassis reinforced with fiberglass. With their compact and lightweight profile, you can carry them conveniently and handle them excellently even in tough conditions.

They are one of the more comfortable binoculars to use and, if you do not need low-light performance, these binoculars are the complete package for you.

See the complete list of the best Nikon Binoculars here!

What We Like

  • One of the nicest bodies to hold
  • High-performing, environment-friendly optical system
  • Roof prism surfaces coated with high-reflectivity silver alloy
  • Heavy-duty polycarbonate resin body reinforced with fiberglass
  • Shockproof rubber armor coating with a soft yet non-slip grip
  • Compact and lightweight
  • High eyepoint design
  • User-friendly, multi-click, turn-and-slide eyecups

What We Don’t Like

  • Not suitable for use in low-light settings
  • Lens caps are not very impressive

Where to Buy:

Where to Buy:

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10×42 Binoculars

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    What is the best, budget-friendly pair of Nikon binoculars for beginners?

    Nikon is one of the most reputable developers of binoculars. The company does have a budget-friendly line, but our current favorite is the Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10×42. It offers dependable performance without costing too much, making it an excellent choice for beginners. Learn more about it in this comprehensive guide.

    If you are looking for other Nikon binoculars, check out this in-depth review we have created for you.

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    What is a silver alloy prism coating?

    There are many types of roof prism coatings, one of which is silver alloy. It serves as a mirror to enhance color reproduction. It delivers crisper images than aluminum prism coating because it has a high reflectivity rate of up to 98%. Aluminum prism coatings only have a reflectivity rate of up to 93%.

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    What is a high eyepoint design in binoculars?

    Binoculars with high eyepoint designs have exit pupils farther from the lenses, allowing you to view images clearly without having to press your face too close to the optics. Eyeglass wearers benefit from this design because it enables them to use their binoculars without removing their eyeglasses.

    The Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10×42 is an excellent example of binoculars with a high eyepoint design. You can find out more about it here. Check out other binoculars suitable for eyeglass wearers in this comprehensive review.

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    How can mold be prevented from building up in binoculars?

    Mold or water condensation easily accumulates on lens surfaces when your binoculars are constantly and consistently exposed in environments with high humidity. You can prevent the buildup and protect your binoculars by wiping the lens surfaces off with a dry cloth every time they get wet. Then, store your binoculars in a cool, dry place.


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