Binoculars review

Nikon SE 10x42 CF

Nikon SE 10x42 CF
18 May 2010
The Japanese Nikon’s SE series consists of three porro prism binoculars with the following parameters: 8x32, 10x42 and 12x50. Originally, these instruments are supposed to be classic and efficient constructions of the highest class, offering the highest quality optics at still acceptable price for many customers.

Buying the SE series equipment we get all the lenses and prisms covered by multilayer coatings which guarantee an exceptionally bright image, sharp in the whole field of vision; it is possible because the lenses are able to correct the curvature of the field and the eyepiece has a special construction. Additionally we get a significant eye relief, low weight and solid workmanship – the barrel is made of die-cast magnesium alloy and the housing is covered by a rubber armour, which makes the instrument shockproof and provides a comfortable, reliable hold.

  • Lornetka Nikon SE 10x42 CF
  • Lornetka Nikon SE 10x42 CF
  • Lornetka Nikon SE 10x42 CF
  • Lornetka Nikon SE 10x42 CF
Manufacturer data


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Magnification Lens diameter Angular field of view Prisms Eye relief Weight Price
10 42 105/1000(6o) BaK-4/Porro 17.4 mm 710 g 3199 PLN
Results of the review
Real front lens diameter Left:   42.07+/- 0.05 mm
Right:  42.05+/- 0.05 mm
8 / 8.0 pkt
Real magnification 10.1+/- 0.2x 3/3.0
Transmission 94.5+/- 3% 22/25.0
Chromatic aberration Low in the centre and at the edge. 8.5/10.0
Astigmatism Negligible 8.4/10.0
Distortion The distance of the first curved line from the field centre compared to the field of view radius : 46% +\- 5% 5/10.0
Coma Very low even at the very edge of the field. 8.9/10.0
Blurring at the edge of the FOV The blur occurs in the distance of 98% +\- 3% from the field of view centre. 10/10.0
Darkening at the edge the FOV Almost imperceptible. 4.6/5.0
Whiteness of the image Very light purple. 4.7/5.0
Collimation Exemplary. 5/5.0
Internal reflections
Left: Right:
Nikon SE 10x42 CF - Internal reflections - Left Nikon SE 10x42 CF - Internal reflections - Right
Housing Very handy, classic and stylish. It is very convenient to hold and to look through. Rubber eyecups are twisted-up but cannot be regulated. The rubber is solid, stylish and of high quality. 7.6/8.0
Focusing Central screw (500 degrees) too narrow and not very smooth (more resistance near both extremes). The bridge is stable; pressure doesn’t cause defocusing. On the right eyepiece a comfortable screw; it moves the lens. 3.8/5.0
Tripod After buying an optional adapter. 2/3.0
Interpupilary distance from 53.4 to 73.5mm 4/6.0
Closest focusing distance 3.3 m. 1/2.0
Eyepieces FOV Apparent field of view of 60.8 deg (according to simple formula) and 55.9 deg (according to tangent formula). 11/20.0
Field of view Measured by us amounted to 6.02 +\- 0.03 degrees and was in perfect accordance with the specifications. 5/8.0
Quality of the interior of the barrels Dark and matt. Gray bottom. White glue but in small quantities. Clean. 4.3/5.0
Left: Right:
Nikon SE 10x42 CF - Vignetting - Left Nikon SE 10x42 CF - Vignetting - Right
OL: 0.9%, OR: 0.0%.
Prisms quality High class BaK-4. 8/8.0
Antireflection coatings Green-yellow-purple on objectives, purple-pink on prisms, purple-green on eyepieces. Low intensity. 5/5.0
Warranty [years] 10 4.5/6.0
Final result
4th place in the overall ranking of the 10x42 binoculars test.
155.9 / 190 pkt
Econo result 4th place in the econo ranking of the 10x42 binoculars test. 9.2pkt.


  • solid construction, handy and very comfortable to hold,
  • very high transmission,
  • excellent whiteness reproduction,
  • low chromatic aberration,
  • very low coma,
  • slight astigmatism,
  • sharp image practically up to the edge of the field of vision,
  • negligible light fall-off at the edge,
  • slight flares,
  • high quality of prisms and coatings.


  • the maximum interpupilary distance a bit too narrow,
  • too narrow central focusing screw,
  • minimum focus only from 3.3 meters.

Admiring the classic look of a Swarovski Habicht 10x40 W we turned a blind eye to several slip-ups of that device and its average quality/price ratio. In the case of the Nikon SE we don’t lose the classic look either - all those who like old, good Porro constructions will be as much enchanted by these binoculars as by the Swarovski. The price level is the same and the score leaves the Swarovski far behind. If you like classic devices and don’t mind the 3.3 meters minimal focus and if you can afford to pay about 800 USD, the purchase of the Nikon SE 10x42 will be simply a perfect way to spend your money.

The fact that Nikon limited the SE series to just three models is the cause of my great regret I admit. In my opinion Nikon’s binoculars with the parameters of 10x32, 8x42, 7x50 and 10x50, produced observing the same quality of course, would be real hits.

The Allbinos.com/Optyczne.pl editorial team decided to award this set of binoculars the “ The Choice of the Allbinos.com/Optyczne.pl Editorial Team” distinction for winning the 4th place in the both econo and global 10x42 binoculars rankings.