Nikon Monarch binoculars – practical applications

13 February 2017
Marcin Górko

4. Large binoculars: 56 mm objective lens

Large Monarch binoculars are perhaps the most specific equipment of that producer – they are aimed solely at hunters. The magnification values range is rather large: 8x, 8,5x, 10x, 12x, 16x and 20x. It translates into the exit pupils from 7 mm to 2.8 mm. The fields of view of these binoculars range from 6.2° in models with the lowest magnifications to just 3.3° in the Monarch 20x56. The 8x56 and 8.5x56 Monarchs are typical night instruments, with a very large exit pupil which allows you to see well in challenging light conditions. These are first Nikon hunting devices with such parameters – they had been anticipated by hunters and their reception was pretty favourable, proven by fantastic sale numbers in Poland.

Nikon Monarch binoculars – practical applications - Large binoculars: 56 mm objective lens
Three Monarch series 56 mm models were the answer for demands of the hunting milieu. You can choose 8.5x, 10x and 12x magnifications. Flip-down lens caps on elastic stripes are a novelty.

As we’ve already mentioned night instruments I want to address the stereotype quite popular among hunters that you deal with a night device only when its exit pupil is 7 mm wide. It is true only as long as the pupil of the hunter matches that value. As you know the dark adaptation of your pupil decreases with age – if you are 50 or older your eye pupil will be much smaller, for example just 5.5 mm in diameter, even after prolonged adaptation period. For such users buying an 8x56 pair of binoculars doesn’t make sense because in fact it will perform like an 8x44 device - between the eyepiece and the eyeball you’ll lose almost precisely 40% of light. That’s why for older folk the 8x42 model is a much better choice and we offer you a quite cheap Monarch 5, an excellent Monarch 7 and even better Monarch HG. What would you gain? Quite a lot: a pair of lighter and smaller binoculars with a much larger field of view which is also cheaper than its rivals (I am thinking about Monarchs 5 and 7). When it comes to the Monarch HG you get a set of binoculars produced in Japan with an even wider field of view; the difference in the image surface between 6.2° and 8.3° amounts of 79% - as you see, a smaller pair of binoculars paradoxically can deliver you much more!

The 16x56 and 20x50 models fall into long range category – it is perfect equipment to patrol vast areas of land, for example edges of the forest, a clearing or a meadow, from a hunting platform, looking for the game. If you can attach the binoculars on a tripod your comfort will increase, especially that a tripod adapter is added to every pair of them. There are two reasons why taking a tripod with you might be a good idea: an immobile pair of binoculars makes it easier to set focus and, if you happen to have a panoramic head, it is far easier to move the binoculars horizontally, e.g. along the edge of the forest.

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If you are interested in observing planes at cruising altitudes these models might also be useful. Of course you shouldn’t deceive yourself: it is impossible to get a stable image with 16x or 20x magnification during a handheld observation but these are the only pairs of binoculars in the Nikon line-up which might perform adequately. 70 mm porro models are too heavy for observations high over the horizon and the 12x50 and the 16x50 Action EX binoculars might be too slow. When you point a 56 mm pair of binoculars upwards it’s worth noticing that the 8x, 8.5x and 10x are quite good for observing night sky. Of course those aren’t strictly astronomical devices like the 7x50 SP or the 10x70 SP but if you happen to find yourself in an area with clear, dark sky such binoculars might provide quite memorable impressions.

Nikon Monarch binoculars – practical applications - Large binoculars: 56 mm objective lens
In new version the objective lenses of Monarch 5 binoculars got ED glass and better coatings. 10x and 12x magnifications were superseded by 16x and 20x.

Finishing the review of practical uses of Monarch binoculars I am tempted to add a kind of listeners’ choice or rather users’ choice. What models I would love to see launched in the future?

Small HG models seem to be the most obvious gap right now – I wish I could see two more instruments in that series but by no means the 8x30 HG or the 10x30 HG. Ideally it would be a fast, wide angle 7x30 pair of binoculars and a more universal 9x30 model which, by the way, would be a nice reference to the historical H-Line series, described in the previous part. The Monarch HG 7X30 equipped with a modern, wide angle eyepiece would be able to offer a field of view of 10°. It would nearly monopolize the segment of high quality binoculars with UWA eyepieces with ease. A combination of 7x magnification and a 30 mm objective lens must result in an exit pupil 4.3 in diameter so the image brightness would be a tad higher than in the 10x42 model, much bigger, much heavier and much more expensive! Children from affluent families would be delighted! The 9x30 model would be a perfect compromise for those who still cannot decide what is better, the 8x30 or the 10x30 binoculars.

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