Binoculars review

Nikon Action EX 12x50 CF

Nikon Action EX 12x50 CF
11 October 2022
The Action EX series produced by Nikon, one of the most renowned Japanese companies, consists of average price range binoculars with the following parameters: 7x35, 8x40, 7x50, 10x50, 12x50 and 16x50

All Action EX series binoculars boast Porro BaK-4 glass prisms and their objectives are achromatic doublets; their eyepieces consist of four parts, with aspherical elements among them.

A lightweight chassis is covered by good quality rubber armour and the interior of the binoculars is nitrogen-purged. The instrument is also waterproof.

  • Lornetka Nikon Action EX 12x50 CF
  • Lornetka Nikon Action EX 12x50 CF
  • Lornetka Nikon Action EX 12x50 CF
  • Lornetka Nikon Action EX 12x50 CF
Manufacturer data


web site

Distribution / Sales:

Nikon Polska
web site

Magnification Lens diameter Angular field of view Prisms Eye relief Weight Price
12 50 96/1000(5.5o) BaK-4/Porro 16.1 mm 1045 g 849 PLN
Results of the review
Real front lens diameter Left:   49.97+/- 0.05 mm
Right:  49.93+/- 0.05 mm
8 / 8.0 pkt
Real magnification 12.02+/- 0.05x 3/3.0
Transmission 80.7+/- 1% 10/25.0
Chromatic aberration Very low in the centre, a bit lower than medium on the edge. At this price point we consider it to be a very good result. 8/10.0
Astigmatism Good result – stars are sparkling very slightly. 7/10.0
Distortion The distance of the first curved line from the field centre compared to the field of view radius: 59% ±3% 7/10.0
Coma Appears near 75% of the field of view radius and is a bit higher than medium on the very edge. 7.4/10.0
Blurring at the edge of the FOV The blur occurs in the distance of 62% +\- 4% from the field of view centre. 1/10.0
Darkening at the edge the FOV Noticeable but not especially bothersome. 3.7/5.0
Whiteness of the image Slight yellow hue with addition of orange. 3.9/5.0
Collimation Perfect. 5/5.0
Internal reflections
Left: Right:
Nikon Action EX 12x50 CF - Internal reflections - Left Nikon Action EX 12x50 CF - Internal reflections - Right
A bit too bright areas near exit pupils.
Housing Solid, compact construction with good quality rubber armour. The armour is slightly textured so it sticks to your hands very well. Rubber sticks out a bit near objectives but it doesn't catch dirt as easily as the rubber armour of the Aculon. Eyecups are quite big, rubberized, with four detention stops. Manufactured in China. 7/8.0
Focusing Classic ocular bridge joined with a ribbed central wheel covered by rubber armour. The wheel moves evenly with a significant but still acceptable resistance. Its focus throw amounts to an angle of about 490 deg. The bridge moves evenly as well, almost rocking sideways, and the instrument doesn't go out of focus under pressure. Individual focusing on the right eyepiece done via a ring with protruberant tabs. It works properly well, and it moves the rear element. 4.3/5.0
Tripod There is a comfortable tripod exit. 3/3.0
Interpupilary distance from 54.3 to 73.1mm 4/6.0
Closest focusing distance 5.2 meters. 1/2.0
Eyepieces FOV Apparent field of view of 64.1 deg (according to simple formula) and 58.5 deg (accoriding to tangent formula). 13/20.0
Field of view Measured by us amounted to 5.33 +\- 0.06 degrees and it was a bit narrower than that stated in specifications. A wide field of view for this class of equipment. 5.5/8.0
Quality of the interior of the barrels Black, nicely matted tubes but without ribbing. Bottom gray, not blackened at all. White glue next to the prisms. Almost perfectly clean! 3.9/5.0
Left: Right:
Nikon Action EX 12x50 CF - Vignetting - Left Nikon Action EX 12x50 CF - Vignetting - Right
OL: 1.29%, OR: 0.77%
Prisms quality High quality BaK-4 glass. 8/8.0
Antireflection coatings Greenish-blue on objective lenses, yellow-purple on the prisms, green-purple-yellow on the eyepieces. Medium intensity. It seems that the inner surface of the achromatic lens in the objective is not covered by anything. 4/5.0
Warranty [years] 10 4.5/6.0
Final result
131 / 190 pkt
Econo result 0pkt.


  • solid, compact chassis,
  • good correction of chromatic aberration,
  • moderate astigmatism,
  • proper distortion correction,
  • lack of any coma-related problems,
  • slight brightness loss on the edge of the field,
  • significantly wide field of view,
  • good quality BaK-4 prisms,
  • sensibly blackened tubes that are also very clean inside.
  • average transmisson for a Porro pair of binoculars,
  • distinct decrease of sharpness on the edge of the field of view,
  • lack of coatings on one air-to-glass surface in the objective lens,
  • too bright areas near exit pupils.

The Nikon Action EX 10x50 CF was one of dark horses of our big 10x50 binoculars test conducted near the end of 2005, and published right at the beginning of the existence of our website.

Mind you, in those times the situation on the market was completely different. Even though you had to pay a bit more than 3 PLN for one dollar, the price tag of these binoculars in Polish shops amounted to about 1000 PLN. Taking official CPI inflation into account that one thousand PLN from the beginning of 2006 is now worth over 1500 PLN.

Nikon Action EX 12x50 CF and Nikon Aculon A211 12x50

Despite rising inflation the following years the prices of the Action EX series binoculars were dropping. At their lowest point you could pay just about 600 PLN for 50 mm models. Unfortunately, at that time it wasn't exactly the same pair of binoculars we had examined in our 10x50 test. Nikon started to economize and it adversely affected the quality, the number of coatings, blackening and cleanliness inside the tubes.

Nikon Action EX 12x50 CF and Nikon SE 12x50 CF

Currently, the price of Action EX series 10x50 and 12x50 binoculars once again exceeds 1000 PLN but, of course, you have to remember that the purchasing power of this sum of money has decreased steadily. Despite economizing on coatings and quality control the Action EX series devices still can defend themselves with their unchanged favourable price/performance ratio.

However, personally I think that the full potential of this series has been wasted. If the binoculars had high quality antireflection coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces they wouldn't have any problems with reaching 90% transmission ratio in the wide range of the spectrum and very good colour rendition. Additionally, proper blackening and baffling of the tubes would increase contrast and improve performance against bright light.

I am completely aware of the fact that such changes would also mean a higher price but I think many potential users would gladly pay a bit more in order to get an instrument that would be able to compete with much more expensive roof prism models on equal terms.

X-ray photo of Nikon Action EX 12x50 CF binoculars. Phot. Obserwatorek.

Let me end these remarks and divagations with saying that the Nikon Action EX series binoculars are still a very interesting, safe choice for beginners. You get a pair of binoculars of sensible build quality, produced by a very renowned company and its price won't drain your pocket. If you don't want to spend more than 1000 PLN it will be difficult to find anything better.