REVIEW: Nikon MONARCH Binoculars

Posted In: Blog, Product Review, RV Lifestyle, RV Products

A few years ago, we decided to upgrade our binoculars from a set of K-Mart Special el cheapos to something better. After a lot of research, we ended up choosing Nikon MONARCH ( binoculars. We opted for the 8×42 magnification, but the binoculars are also available in 10×42 and 12×42 flavors.

Quality binoculars are a long term investment for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors. We use ours for observing wildlife like birds and bears in national parks. They are also invaluable for viewing boats and (for those of you who enjoy following the latest fashion trends) bikinis at the beach. Of course they are fun at the football stadium as well.

Why did we choose Nikon MONARCH? If you know anything about cameras and lenses, you know the name Nikon. The Nikkor company has a long history of lens manufacture. It makes sense to trust Nikon in designing and manufacturing a set of binoculars, since binoculars are essentially a pair of telephoto lenses that are customized for the human eye instead of a camera sensor.

When shopping for nice binoculars, you can find the gamut in features and price range. (For example, check out this $6400 pair of military grade night vision goggles – I want some!) We concluded that Nikon MONARCH were the nicest line of binoculars for the money, offering the most “bang for the buck.”

Nikon brings all of its lens construction expertise into the binocular arena with the MONARCH series. Quite simply, our MONARCH binoculars offer awesome performance. Looking through the binoculars is like viewing a 3D image with amazing clarity. It’s easy to see fine details when using these binoculars.

It's important to monitor the latest trends in bikini fashion. Nikon MONARCH help in this vital cultural pursuit. (Click the pic for more info.)

It's important to monitor the latest trends in bikini fashion. Nikon MONARCH help in this vital cultural pursuit. (Click the pic for more info.)

We have original MONARCH binocs. So what’s new with the MONARCH 5? The new design is almost an ounce lighter than its predecessor and built with Nikon ED (extra-low dispersion) glass lenses.

Camera guys love Nikon ED glass. The MONARCH 5 delivers sharp, high-contrast views that are the result of its state-of-the-art optical system. In addition to the glass, MONARCH includes what Nikon calls “Dielectric High-Reflective Multilayer Prism Coatings.” All of this high tech stuff works to ensure accurate color reproduction and a clear, natural looking image.

Nikon MONARCH lenses are fully multicoated to provide maximum resolution and light transmission. While at first glance this sounds like a bunch of marketing mumbo jumbo, my experience with Nikkor telephoto lenses has taught me that it holds weight. The nicer professional Nikkor camera lenses are equipped with these technologies, and their magnification abilities are breathtaking. If you’ve ever wondered what makes professional photographs look so good, it all starts with the lens. Good glass makes the difference between an average image and an exceptional one.

These suckers are weatherproof and waterproof, and built to last. (Click the pic for more info.)

These suckers are weatherproof and waterproof, and built to last. (Click the pic for more info.)

The MONARCH 5 binocular comes in black finish. As noted above, it’s available in 8×42, 10×42 and 12×42 magnifications. We opted for the 8×42, which gets your eyesight eight times closer to the subject. The 10 and 12 varieties offer more magnification, but they may be a little more difficult to hold steady for extended periods of time (more magnification increases the effect of shake if your hand is less than steady). Note that these binoculars do not zoom – they are a fixed focal length which provides superior optical quality.

Nikon MONARCH binoculars are comfortable to use. They utilize Nikon’s high-eye point design to provide a clear field-of-view and long eye-relief. The long eye-relief ensures a sufficient space between the user’s face and the binoculars’ eye cups to make them comfortable for everyone, even for those wearing eyeglasses. As an eyeglass wearer myself, I am able to use the MONARCHs without problem (I wish I could say the same for all Nikon cameras).

The turn-and-slide rubber eyecups make it easy to find the right eye positioning for extended periods of use.

Nikon MONARCH binocs also utilize a smooth central focus knob that makes it easy to bring objects into focus for fast viewing. It’s a breeze to rotate the knob with your finger for quick and accurate focus.

Another great feature of Nikon MONARCH binoculars is the weather sealing. These are built for extreme usage. In fact, the MONARCH 5 is Nitrogen filled and O-ring sealed, making it completely waterproof and fog proof. A protective, rubber-armored coating strengthens its durability and ensures a non-slip grip during wet and dry conditions.

Our MONARCHs have a set of attached lens caps. Some people complain about the design of these caps, but I appreciate it. Our caps are attached to the unit in a fashion that ensures they will never be dropped or lost. This keeps the glass looking clean for the long term.

Our MONARCHs also included a nice soft case with a belt loop, and a neck strap.

We’ve owned our Nikon MONARCHs for years and they still look like new. Of course your mileage may very, but these are extremely nice binoculars that for us feel like a long term purchase. Quality binoculars are an investment that you can enjoy for a lifetime. We’ll probably be using the same binoculars a decade from now.

Click here to view different options in the Nikon MONARCH binocular line.

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