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Take These Groovy Little Binoculars on Your Next Hike

Nocs Provisions, which makes some of our favorite binoculars, has a new 32-mm binocular dubbed Field Issue. The Field Issue slides into the Nocs lineup between the original 7×25 binoculars and last year’s larger 42-mm model. This latest release hits the sweet spot between magnification, price, and weight, making them a great choice for beginners or anyone looking to travel light.

Nocs Field Issue is available in both 10x and 8x magnification, and I tested the 8×32 model. While our binocular guide suggests 8×42 is the best all-around binocular size—and we stand by that—sometimes you want something lighter. Whether you’re hiking all day, packing for a long trip, or needing to save space and weight, sometimes the 8×42 is just too heavy. That’s where 8×32 comes in. It sacrifices some zoom power, but still provides great close up views of wildlife.


Like the company’s previous releases, Noc’s Field Issue binoculars are colorfully coated with a soft, but rugged, ridged thermoplastic. I think of them as the Ruffles of binoculars. They’re tough, portable, and—dare I say—fun to use.

Photograph: Nocs

I’ve always thought of Nocs as the most approachable binoculars. They’re colorful and friendly, if inanimate objects can be friendly. They don’t scream I am expensive and delicate the way some binoculars do, and in fact they’re neither. No false advertising here. That’s part of why, in the binocular guide, I recommend them for both kids (especially the 7×25, which fits well in kid hands) and adults new to binoculars.

The only problem is that some people take that to mean they aren’t serious binoculars, and nothing could be farther from the truth. Nocs makes fantastic binoculars and the Field Issue is no exception.

The Field Issue features fully multicoated lenses and uses a BaK4 prism, just like the rest of the Nocs line. BaK-4 prisms generally produce higher quality images, while cheaper binoculars often use BK-7 prisms. In real-world terms, BaK4 prisms pull in more light from the periphery of the field of view. That makes the edges of your field of view brighter, while the middle isn’t blown out by too much light, making your overall field of vision better.

That’s not the end of the story though. All that light has to also pass through glass lenses on its way to and from the prism. This is the main difference between $2,000 binoculars and $300 binoculars. Nocs are not Leicas; that said, they’re very good. I hardly ever noticed the sort of chromatic aberrations and purple fringing that you get with many options in this price range.

Photograph: Nocs

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