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Binoculars review

Nikon Monarch 7 8x42

Nikon Monarch 7 8x42
5 August 2013
Optyczne.pl 
The Nikon Monarch 7 series was launched in the middle of 2012. At first only two models were offered – the 8x42 and the 10x42. Both instruments are Schmidt-Pechan roof prism devices and their prisms are made of BaK-4 glass covered by both dielectric and phase-correction coatings.

In the construction of the Monarch 7 binoculars you can find low dispersion ED glass and wide angle eyepieces with large fields of view. All air-to-glass surfaces are supposed to be covered by antireflection multi-coatings and the outer elements are additionally protected by scratch-resistant layers.

The bodies of the binoculars from this series are made of polycarbonate raisin reinforced with glass fibre and padded with rubber. They are submersible for 10 minutes in1 meter deep. The series is produced in China. The buyers get caps, a case and straps in the box. The binoculars from this series come with a 10-year warranty.

Pictures
  • Lornetka Nikon Monarch 7 8x42
  • Lornetka Nikon Monarch 7 8x42
  • Lornetka Nikon Monarch 7 8x42
  • Lornetka Nikon Monarch 7 8x42
Manufacturer data

Manufacturer:

Nikon
web site

Distribution / Sales:

Nikon Polska
web site

Magnification Lens diameter Angular field of view Prisms Eye relief Weight Price
8 42 140/1000(8o) BaK-4/roof 17.1 mm 650 g 1799 PLN
Results of the review
Real front lens diameter Left:   42.1+/- 0.05 mm
Right:  42.1+/- 0.05 mm
8 / 8.0 pkt
Real magnification 8.2+/- 0.05x 3/3.0
Transmission 89.1+/- 1.5% 12.5/15.0
Chromatic aberration Negligible in the centre, on the edge reaching the borderline between medium and low level. 7.6/10.0
Astigmatism Corrected in the right way but without any sensational results. 6.4/10.0
Distortion The distance of the first curved line from the field centre compared to the field of vision radius: 57% +\- 3% 6/10.0
Coma Appears in the distance of about 50-55% of the field of vision and getting near high values on the very edge. 3.3/10.0
Blurring at the edge of the FOV The blur occurs in a distance of 73% +\- 3% from the centre of the field of view. 4/10.0
Darkening at the edge the FOV Noticeable. 3.6/5.0
Whiteness of the image Good but around 10% of difference between the red and blue light transmission values makes it hardly perfect. 4.2/5.0
Collimation Perfect. 5/5.0
Internal reflections
Left: Right:
Nikon Monarch 7 8x42 - Internal reflections - Left Nikon Monarch 7 8x42 - Internal reflections - Right
Quite bright and you can see noticeable arches near to exit pupils.
2.3/5.0
Housing Compact and handy – covered with good quality rubber padding which sticks to your hands. Comfortable to hold and to look through. Rubberized eyecups with 4 regulation stops. The casing is compact and solid – it moves without creaking while under pressure. The rubber next to objectives is a bit too slack and sticks out, the same near the bridge. You can shift the rubber on the tube if you make a sufficiently strong move. The gauge of the tubes is too loose, being on the border of collapsing under its weight. The binoculars produced in China. 5/8.0
Focusing Huge central wheel covered by rubber ribs. It moves smoothly, evenly and is well-damped. Running through the whole range takes a turn through 540 degrees. Individual focusing through a comfortable ring on the right eyepiece. The ring moves the outer element. 4.5/5.0
Tripod Quite easy to access. 3/3.0
Interpupilary distance from 55.1 to 74.5mm 5/6.0
Closest focusing distance 1.90 m 2/2.0
Eyepieces FOV Apparent field of view of 65.8 degrees. 8/10.0
Field of view Measured by us amounted to 8.02 +\- 0.04 degrees and it was in perfect accordance with the specifications. A wide field of view for this class of equipment. 7/8.0
Quality of the interior of the barrels Black and ribbed tubes. Black bottom. Both elements are slightly shiny though, not matted properly. Relatively clean – just a few specks of dust. 4.1/5.0
Vignetting
Left: Right:
Nikon Monarch 7 8x42 - Vignetting - Left Nikon Monarch 7 8x42 - Vignetting - Right
OL: 1.69%, OR: 2.31%
4.5/8.0
Prisms quality Good quality BaK-4. 8/8.0
Antireflection coatings Purple-pink-ornage on objectives. Prisms flash with green. Mainly green on eyepieces. Medium intensity. 4.5/5.0
Warranty [years] 10 4.5/6.0
Final result
74.1%
126 / 170 pkt
Econo result 0pkt.

Summary


Pros:
  • handy casing,
  • huge field of view,
  • good transmission,
  • well-corrected chromatic aberration,
  • moderate astigmatism,
  • sensibly corrected distortion,
  • good whiteness rendering,
  • high quality of prisms and coatings,
  • clean and black inside the tubes.

Cons:
  • too high coma,
  • the casing made a bit carelessly,
  • slightly egg-shaped exit pupils.


The Nikon company has lately swamped us with new roof prism binoculars. After launching the top-of-the-range EDG series they added Sporter EX, Prostaff 5, Prostaff 7, Monarch 5 and Monarch 7 as well. We were especially interested in the last instrument because, theoretically, it features everything a good, modern device should have. You get a nicely-designed casing, moderately heavy and fully waterproof. The parameters are interesting as well. The fields of view are wide, the eye relief – comfortable and the minimum focus, if not record-breaking, then can certainly be called sensible. Add to it low dispersion glass in objectives, good quality prisms with dielectric coatings and multi-layer antireflection coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces. If I had to compile a list of qualities that make up a perfect pair of binoculars I would include practically every feature of the Monarch 7 series.

However specifications and claims of the producer are one thing, the practice is quite another. At the beginning we decided to check the parameters and compare them to those stated by Nikon; here we had no reservations whatsoever. The field is indeed very large and in perfect accordance with the specifications, the magnification a bit higher but still within the norm, the minimum focusing distance amounts to less than 2 meters. What’s more the objective lens’s diameter is exactly as it should be and the gauge between the tubes is sensible. Let’s pass to the optics.

First, have a glance at the transmission graph which is presented below.


You cannot call this performance outstanding but still it looks very sensible. In the red part of the spectrum the transmission reaches 92% which is a very good result for a moderately priced roof prism pair of binoculars. In the centre of the visible spectrum the transmission decreases to 88-90%, a value which still remains good. Only for blue and purple light the transmission level is a bit too low to meet our heightened expectations.

When it comes to the correction of most of optical aberrations the binoculars perform well too. Neither chromatic aberration nor distortion nor astigmatism will disturb you here; you can have just slight reservations concerning the coma which level is a bit too high. Still it is not easy to correct the resolution of such a wide field of view and the Monarch 7 wasn’t entirely successful but the result of 4 out of 10 points in this category can be still perceived as moderately good.

When it comes to the optics I like this pair of binoculars well enough. In my opinion a wide field of view, corrected a bit worse on the edge, is far better than a narrow keyhole, be it even perfectly corrected from rim to rim. It is worth noticing that a lot of 8x42 binoculars, tested by us so far, feature fields as small as 6.-6.5 degrees. Compare to that the 8 degrees of the Monarch and you have to admit it is a serious advantage.

The build quality worries me the most. So far the price division point between China-produced binoculars and those made in Japan has been situated near 300-350 Euro. You could still find solid 42 mm roof prism devices produced in Japan even cheaper than that. Now the limit is shifted and both Monarchs 7 are the proof – they cost significantly more than 300 Euro and they are made in China. The saving on build quality and quality control can, unfortunately, be noticed. Not very well adjusted rubber of the padding, too loose gauge of eyepieces, a bit egg-shaped exit pupils, a tad too shiny paint inside the tubes. Such flaws can be forgiven in the case of cheap roof prisms devices, perhaps even those which cost about 200 Euro, but when you reach the level of 400-500 Euro you should expect something better. Mind you here you deal with an optical instrument from a reputable producer, a company which has been manufacturing binoculars since 1917 and is boasting one of the most interesting offers on the market. Noblesse oblige.