REVIEW – The amount of what I consider necessary gear to pack on my adventures has slowly grown over the years to the point where I now need to thin out my kit just to save the strain on my back. Currently on the cutting block are my Emerson 7×50 Binoculars. They weigh over 2lbs, take up a good amount of space, and really aren’t even that good. Turns out I found the perfect upgrade for the Emersons in the Nocs Provisions Standard Issue Waterproof Binoculars. These compact binoculars pack a lot of power in a small package, have a cool functional design, and are competitively priced at $95. Additionally, when used with Noc’s optional $27 Photo Rig and a smartphone the binoculars essentially become a low-budget 400mm camera lens.
What is it?
The Nocs Provisions Standard Issue Waterproof Binoculars are 8×25 compact binoculars with an IPX7 waterproof rating, fully multi-coated lenses, and a nitrogen-filled assembly. The 8×25 designation is for having 8x magnification and a 25mm objective lens diameter. The Nocs weigh in at a featherlight 11.85oz and come in eight different colors I reviewed the Squid Ink (black) version. The Nocs Photo Rig is an aluminum adapter that allows most smartphones to be attached to any binoculars or monoculars to assist in taking photos.
Both the Nocs Binoculars and Photo Rig ship in very stylish brown cardboard boxes cleverly folded to provide maximum protection. Inside the boxes are illustrations of quick tips and setup instructions.
What’s in the box?
- Nocs Standard Issue Binoculars
- Carrying Pouch
- Lens Cloth
- Photo Rig Smartphone Adapter
- Magnification: 8x
- Objective Lens Diameter: 25mm
- Focus Type: Center
- Field of View at 1000yds: 357ft. (108M)
- Field of View Angle: 6.8º
- Resolution: 8ft. (2.44M)
- Minimum Focal Length: 13ft. (4M)
- Exit Pupil Diameter: 3.2mm
- Interpupillary Distance: 2.2” – 2.9” (56mm – 74mm)
- Diopter System: ±3º, Right Eye
- Eyecup System: Twist Up
- Eye Relief: 7mm – 10mm
- Number of Lenses: 6 pieces / 4 groups
- Lens Coating: Fully Multi-Coated, Anti-reflective
- Lens Type / Glass: GoodEye Emerald
- Prism Type: BaK4 / Roof
- Waterproof Rating: IPX7 – 30 min under 3ft. water
- Fog proofing: Nitrogen-filled and O-ring sealed
- Height: 1.77″ (45mm)
- Dimensions: 4.53” x 4.25” (115mm x 108mm)
- Weight: 11.85oz (336g)
Design and features
The unique design of the Nocs Binoculars is a big part of their appeal. While maintaining the traditional appearance of a standard pair of binoculars, the Nocs’ lines and curves seem to twist and flow around themselves.
The Nocs’ design isn’t just for aesthetics either, those ridges and curves are covered with a tough textured outer coating which enhances grip in wet or cold conditions and dissipates impact force.
The Nocs have a large, oversized focus knob flanked by two equally large rubber eyecups.
The large eyecups make the Nocs very comfortable to use and easy to adjust.
Both eyecups twist out to provide adjustable eye relief of 7-13mm to accommodate people who wear glasses as well as those who don’t.
The right eyecup has a notched diopter ring for getting objects perfectly in focus.
On both sides of the Nocs near the eyecups are small metal loops for attaching a carrying strap.
The strap included with the Nocs isn’t anything special, in fact, it’s pretty lackluster, just a thin nylon strip with buckles. The binoculars also come with a microfiber cleaning cloth for lens maintenance.
Keeping the lenses clean would all be for naught though if they break, so the Nocs have some incorporated protection. The extended ridges of the body on the front of the binoculars are designed to prevent drop damage to the lenses.
The high-quality lenses of the Nocs are set in a medical-grade O-ring assembly and injected with nitrogen gas to help prevent fogging. They utilize BAK-4 prisms which are made of superior optical glass to produce clearer images. Both cylinders of the Nocs have six pieces of glass that are fully multi-coated which means all surfaces are treated with multiple layers of anti-reflective coating to increase light transmittance which results in a clear, bright, and sharp image.
The large hinge on the Nocs allows for an interpupillary distance of 56-74mm to fit a wide range of faces.
For storage, the Nocs come with a small carrying pouch that could also double as a lens cleaner in a pinch.
An optional accessory for the Nocs binoculars, or any binoculars or monoculars really, is the Nocs Photo Rig. The Photo Rig has a reinforced cast aluminum frame and a spring-loaded aluminum clamp that can hold smartphones between 62-104mm wide.
The Photo Rig secures around binocular or monocular eyecups between 24-46mm wide with a screw-type mechanism.
The unique v-shaped clamp has small cushions on the interior to prevent any damage to the eyecups and shouldn’t be overtightened.
The spring-loaded phone clamp on the Photo Rig can securely hold most cellphones, although some like my Pixel 5 may have buttons that get activated by the clamps in certain positions.
There really isn’t any setup needed for the Nocs Binoculars alone, but when used with the Photo Rig some adjustments are required. Before using the Photo Rig with the Nocs Binoculars the Rig needs to be attached to the binocular’s eyecup using the screw-type clamp. I always attach the Photo Rig to the left eyecup since the right eyecup has the diopter ring on it which could affect focus.
After the eyecup clamp is secured it’s time to slide your smartphone into the spring-loaded clamp. On the back of the phone clamp is a small screw for raising or lowering the phone once attached. This adjustment helps avoid the clamp activating any side buttons on the smartphone.
It’s important to align the camera lens of the smartphone with the center of the eyecup of the Nocs to get a clear view of the image.
With the smartphone attached to the Nocs properly, it’s easy to operate them with just one hand.
After setting up my Nocs and Photo Rig I was ready to put the binoculars to good use at the shooting range.
The Nocs Binoculars and Photo Rig completely changed my experience at my local range for the better. Previously, even when using targets as close as 25 yards, I would have to stop after every few shots, grab my clunky Emerson Binoculars, and struggle to make out my groupings in order to properly adjust my sights. Or I would have to rely on a partner to sight for me, and to be honest I’m glad to be rid of the sarcastic jabs about my accuracy.
Using a sandbag it was easy to get the Nocs in a good position for getting some great shots of my targets. Although, since I was using my smartphone to document the setup I wasn’t able to capture the Photo Rig in full use.
I usually start off with targets at 25 yds to confirm the accuracy of the zero on my rifle. At regular zoom, the smartphone attached to the Photo Rig produces a great image, but the circle of the lens is visible in the shot.
Using the built-in zoom on my Pixel 5 at 2x removes the circle of the lens and still results in a great image.
Zooming in even further with the phone will muddy up the image a bit, but works well for me since I’m still able to see the size of my groupings.
And finally, with my smartphone zoomed all the way into a target set at 25 yds the image definitely loses a lot of definition but my groupings are easily identifiable. Keeping the Nocs on the sandbag with my phone’s camera activated and the screen visible worked as sort of a quasi-target monitor and actually helped me improve my accuracy.
All throughout my testing I was constantly impressed with the image quality of the Nocs and how well the Photo Rig worked. It was a bit of a pain to get the angle of the phone perfectly vertical (portrait), but by adjusting the sandbag I was able to get the position I wanted. Trying to achieve a horizontal (landscape) orientation was much more difficult though and I was never able to line it up correctly.
After confirming my zero I switched to targets placed at 50 yds and the Nocs really shined. At normal zoom, a 50 yd target and background appear clear with the circle of the lens slightly more pronounced than the 25 yd image.
Zooming in at 2x again removes the lens circle and brings the groupings on the target a little more in focus and visible.
Zooming in further at 50 yds continued producing a clear image, in fact, the focus might have been a little off since the ridge behind the target appears a bit sharper.
Maxing out the zoom on my smartphone was not as effective at 25 yds but still totally usable for monitoring my accuracy.
Replacing my heavy, blurry Emerson binoculars with the Nocs Binoculars and Photo Rig was something I wish I had done months ago. The Nocs are so rugged and compact that I don’t think twice about throwing them into my kit bag on the way out the door in any weather. For such a small-sized optic the glass on the Nocs produce incredible, bright, and sharp images. Being able to photograph and share those images with my smartphone using the Photo Rig just make the Nocs that much more a valued part of my gear.
What I like
- Rugged, durable construction
- Clear, bright image
- Simple, functional design
What I’d change
- Difficult to get and hold a good angle with Photo Rig
- The included strap is a bit flimsy
- No included lens caps
The Nocs Provisions Standard Issue Waterproof Binoculars and Photo Rig are a great addition to any outdoor kit. Whether for use at the range, for wildlife watching, or out on the water the Nocs Binoculars provide clear bright optics in a rugged ergonomic package. The Nocs Photo Rig is great for capturing photos through any binoculars using a smartphone once you finesse it enough to get the right angle. For $95 the Noc binoculars are priced competitively and offer a great value along with a “no-matter-what” lifetime warranty. Also, be sure to check out our Nocs Provisions Zoom Tube 8×32 monocular telescope plus photo rig review.