ACULON A211: The Best Nikon Binoculars for the Money

“Nice optics for the price point.” That pretty much sums up what Nikon ACULON A211 binoculars are all about. They’re the best binoculars for your money, if you only want to spend $200 or less.

ACULON A211 8x42
ACULON A211 8×42

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Nikon ACULON A211 binoculars are really a complete family of optics ranging from the classic 7×35 to the powerful 16×50 and the 10-22×50 zoom model. Which one has your name on it?

If you already know you want what is probably the most popular model, the 8×42 pair, just click here. Otherwise, you can click an item of interest in the box below or just keep scrolling and reading.

Which Models of ACULON A211 Binoculars Does Nikon Make?

All told, there are 9 different models (numbered 8244 through 8252) of ACULON A211 Nikon binoculars. That total includes quite a wide spread of choices and options.

If you like the classic 7×35 style of binoculars, Nikon has you covered with the 8244 model. A pair of binoculars like this might remind you of a set that your parents or grandparents owned and let you use.

ACULON A211 7x35
ACULON A211 7×35

There are ACULON A211 models for multipurpose uses. The 8×42 (model 8245) and 10×42 (model 8246) are sizes made by virtually every manufacturer these days because of their high popularity.

Which one of these is better has been and continues to be the subject of great debate amongst binoculars aficionados. Some prefer the lighter weight of the 8x tubes. Others rave about the greater power of the 10x set. In the end, it’s a matter of preference.

There are four more non-zoom models in the A211 series. Each of these has a 50 millimeter objective lens. This makes them quite large and heavy. It is difficult to manage these without a tripod.

That said, Nikon did its best to keep the 7×50, 10×50, and 12×50 models (numbers 8247 through 8249) as light as possible so you won’t need a tripod. In fact, they are so confident of this that they don’t even provide a tripod adapter.

Only the 16×50 (#8250) and the larger zoom model mentioned below come with a tripod adapter.

You may still find that these 50mm models are too hard to hold still when trying to focus on your target. This is partly why the 8×42 and 10×42 binoculars are much more commonly used.

However, if you really need the higher light-gathering capabilities of these 50mm models, you certainly will find that they do their job well. You should have no qualms about purchasing one for yourself or as a gift for a friend.

Finally, there are two zoom models from which you can choose: 8-18×42 (#8251) and 10-22×50 (#8252). The larger of these is the other one that comes with a tripod adapter.

Note that the smaller of these two has the popular 42mm objective lenses. So if you have a desire to get a pair of zoom binoculars, these could be just the ones you were looking for. They will be relatively light in weight and yet allow you to focus on objects over a wide range of magnifications.

What Are the Main Features of ACULON A211 Binoculars?

The table below gives the field of view (FOV), exit pupil, eye relief, and weight for each of the nine ACULON models.

FOV (m) Exit Pupil (mm) Eye Relief (mm) Weight (g)
7×35 163 5.0 11.8 685
8×42 140 5.3 12.0 755
10×42 105 4.2 11.6 760
7×50 112 7.1 17.6 905
10×50 114 5.0 11.8 900
12×50 91 4.2 11.5 910
16×50 73 3.1 12.6 925
8-18×42 80 5.3 9.8 825
10-22×50 66 5.0 8.6 960

All of these sets of binoculars have an interpupillary distance adjustment ranging from 56 to 72 millimeters. This is the width of the binoculars that you can change to fit your eyes, depending on how far apart they are.

All models also have Porro prisms. This system requires internal mirrors that roof prism systems do not. There are pros and cons for each system. This too is really a matter of personal preference.

Of less importance to most users are angular field of view (AFOV, real and apparent), relative brightness, and close focusing distance. The chart below summarizes these features.

Real AFOV Apparent AFOV Rel. Brightness Close Focus (m)
7×35 9.3 59.3 25.0 5
8×42 8.0 58.4 28.1 5
10×42 6.0 55.3 17.6 5
7×50 6.4 42.7 50.4 8
10×50 6.5 59.2 25.0 7
12×50 5.2 57.2 17.6 8
16×50 4.2 60.8 9.6 9
8-18×42 4.6 35.6 28.1 13
10-22×50 3.8 36.7 25.0 15

You probably noticed that there are two angular field of view columns in the table above. The difference between these numbers and how they are calculated is more complex than many people care about. I will refer you to Nikon’s description of how these numbers are crunched on this page at Nikon’s Sport Optics site.

Relative brightness is just another way to play with the numbers. To get the figure, you square the value of the exit pupil.

The exit pupil is the diameter of the objective lens divided by the magnification. For example, for the 8×42 binoculars, you divide 42 by 8. Then to get the relative brightness, multiply the answer by itself. Your result in this case is 28.1.

Relative brightness by itself is meaningless. That’s why it’s called relative. You have to compare it to the figure calculated for another pair of binoculars. Whichever one has the higher number should have a brighter image.

Usually you can ignore all of this and just figure that the larger objective lens will give you the brighter image. However, that is not complete accurate either because of other factors in the construction of the binoculars.

Close focus is a much more straightforward number and carries more meaning. It is simply the distance (in meters, in the chart) from your position at which you can expect to maintain a clear focus on your target.

If you try to focus on something nearer, you just will not be able to get a clear image.

Which Nikon ACULON A211 Pair of Binoculars Is Best for Me?

Obviously there is no single best overall pair of binoculars, much less one pair of ACULONs that is better than the rest. But there is more than likely a pair that is better than the others for you.

Let’s take a look at why each of these might just be the one you have been searching for.

Keep in mind that at the top of this article I noted that these are some of the best Nikon binoculars for the money.

The 7×35 classic style binoculars are a pair you might consider “beginner” optics. Just as your parents or grandparents let you “play” with them, so you might let youngsters handle these. They will get a kick out of seeing things bigger and won’t care as much about how much detail they can see.

Then again, they might enjoy looking at them through the objective lens just for fun. (Haven’t we all done that at one time or another?)

I’ll tackle the next two together since, as I already mentioned, there is much debate over which is the best, and each of them is often used for the same purposes as the other.

The 8×42 and 10×42 sets are good for bird watching (aka birding), hunting, general sightseeing, taking to sporting events, and more. If any of those activities is something that you enjoy from time to time, then either of these binoculars will serve you well.

Let’s look at the next three pair as a group as well. The 7×50, 10×50, and 12×50 ACULON A211 binoculars all sport the largest objective lenses in this series. This makes them good at gathering light.

As the sun sets or as it is just about to rise, there is less ambient light available to pass through your lenses. It’s at times like these that you really want large objectives.

Hunters and shooters are the most likely candidates for such binoculars. Your prey is often out and about during these times of the day.

If any of these models included a tripod option, I would also recommend them for sky gazing. Since they don’t, I will only suggest the next pair, the 16x50s, for amateur astronomists.

A telescope isn’t the only optical instrument used in astronomy. Pop these binoculars atop a nice tripod and you can use them to see a multitude of night sky objects that you have never seen before and probably never knew existed.

Then there are the zoom binoculars to consider. The main advantage of both the 8-18×42 and the 10-22×50 is obviously the zoom power itself. You can get really close to a distant object that you want to see in more detail.

There are two main downsides to these though. One is that the field of view compared to a regular pair of binoculars, at the same magnification, is going to be significantly narrower in the zoom set.

The other factor is that zoom binoculars are much more difficult to hold steady, especially at the higher magnification levels. It’s roughly the same as trying to hold a pair of 16×50 binoculars steady using your hands only.

So these zoom binoculars are good to have as a second pair for those special occasions when they would be useful. But you probably want a non-zoom pair are your main set for the majority of your distance viewing.

Making a Decision on ACULON Binoculars

So take your pick based on your wants and needs or, if you’re giving a pair as a gift, on the wants and needs of your giftee. When giving binoculars as a gift, be sure to get some details of their desires beforehand. You don’t want to give something that they will be disappointed with and need to return or exchange.

Again, this entire series of binoculars is really great for the money you pay. If you are really particular and need better optics, you certainly will be able to find them, but you’ll pay a lot more.

If you do decide to move up a level or two, the rule of thumb is to get the best you can afford. While I would not call ACULON A211s bargain basement or even cheap binoculars, they certainly are for the budget minded shopper.

And if you decide to upgrade, you could either stay with Nikon or move to one of the other major brands, like Swarovski, Leupold, Vortex, and others. Nikon, being also a camera manufacturer, is very well known for its glass; that is, its lenses. They are going to be high quality no matter which product you purchase.

Enjoy your shopping, whether online or at a nearby brick and mortar store.

Find your ACULON binoculars at Amazon now!

If you can try out several pairs of ACULON binoculars before deciding on a specific model, so much the better. Be sure to try them out by looking outside, not just within the store. You want to get a realistic view similar to what you would see after you purchase them.

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