Nocs Provisions Standard Issue 8 x 25 Binoculars
Fuss and bother are two elements I can live without when it comes to gear, and these binoculars from Nocs Provisions, lovingly conceived in San Francisco’s Citadel of Excitement, fit the bill. First off, they come in a small, recycled cardboard box put together without glue—easy to open, environmentally friendlier. The Nocs, drawstring pouch, neck strap, and lens cloth are securely stowed within, and the absence of useless plastic packaging was refreshing. Upon opening said box, the next pleasant surprise was the missing instruction booklet; not missing as in they forgot, missing as in you don’t need one. There are a few simple instructions printed on the box to get you started, but I must confess I did not read them (initially), choosing instead to pop them straight out of the box and give them a go.
The Nocs are compact and lightweight (under 12 ounces), easily held in hand with a rubber textured surface design inspired in part by vintage BMX mushroom grips. If you do drop them, the binocular’s shock-absorbing properties seem well-suited to withstand most falls. An IP7 waterproof rating means they can theoretically be submerged in 3 feet of water for 30 minutes—perfect for when the tide starts to come in, and I’ve been distracted enough to leave a few of my belongings beachside.
Eye position is easily adjusted, with the focus knob quickly dialing in on your subject, and the twist-out eyecups hold fast. Images through the fog-proof viewfinder are crisp and clear using GoodEye technology, “an emerald multi-layer coating that provides low flare broadband anti-reflection for outstanding clarity.” With an 8x zoom, I’ve used them for spotting, viewing wildlife, and stargazing (the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn this past December).
Nocs also have an interesting feature that allows you to use your smartphone, held up to the eyecup, to take snaps with the equivalent of a 400mm camera lens. It can take a few moments to line the shot up properly, but it’s a fun bonus that could be useful, especially with their new Photo Rig adapter ($30) on offer. I have an excellent zoom on my camera phone, though, and find the benefit to only be marginal.
There is a lot to like about my Nocs. When outdoors, I do not carry many extras on my person, if any. At 4.5 x 4.25 x 1.75, these easily stash in a cargo pant pocket or small hike pack; I keep them in my glove compartment when on the move. They come in a myriad of colors, and while the included skinny black strap will do in a pinch, the optional wool, woven tapestry strap feels more substantial for regular use and adds an element of style. Perhaps my favorite attribute is that they are straight-out-the-box simple with intuitive elements. The quality of construction of these binoculars is evident throughout, and the company’s No-Matter-What Lifetime Warranty against product defects fosters a high level of user confidence.
$90 Nocs, $30 Strap | nocsprovisions.com
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