Binoculars review

Nikon Monarch HG 10x42

Nikon Monarch HG 10x42
28 February 2017
For many years the HG (High Grade) series, consisting of 8x20, 10x25, 8x32, 10x32, 8x42 and 10x42 models, represented top-of-the-range roof prism binoculars produced by Nikon. In 2010 they launched an even better line of products marked as EDG. In the meantime the HG series got a bit old and, as the rivals improved by leap and bounds, Nikon decided to launch its successors. In July 2016 they showed two new pairs of Nikon Monarch HG, the 8x42 and the 10x42 one.

Compared to the predecessors you get a smaller and more lightweight casing along with a wider field of view and a smaller close focusing distance. A slight decrease of the eye relief is the only negative change. Still it’s important that the company defied the overwhelming trend of moving every production unit to China – the new Monarch HG series, like its predecessors, is manufactured in Japan.

Lornetki Nikon Monarch HG 8x42 and 10x42.

When it comes to the optics you deal here with low-dispersion ED lenses, Schmidt-Pechan prisms phase correction coated, dielectric coatings and an eyepiece which construction ensures a flat field of view, devoid of many optical aberration (Field Flattener Lens System). All air-to-glass surfaces are coated by antireflection multilayer coatings so the maximum transmission is supposed to reach 92%.

The binoculars have a magnesium alloy housing, are nitrogen filled and completely waterproof when submerged up to a depth of 5 meters and up to 10 minutes. The outer lenses are covered by special hydrophobic coatings.

Buyers get a rainguard, two integrated caps, tube straps and a hard case. The product comes with a 10-year guarantee period of the producer.

  • Lornetka Nikon Monarch HG 10x42
  • Lornetka Nikon Monarch HG 10x42
  • Lornetka Nikon Monarch HG 10x42
  • Lornetka Nikon Monarch HG 10x42
Manufacturer data


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Distribution / Sales:

Nikon Polska
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Magnification Lens diameter Angular field of view Prisms Eye relief Weight Price
10 42 121/1000(6.9o) BaK-4/roof 17 mm 680 g 3900 PLN
Results of the review
Real front lens diameter Left:   42+/- 0.05 mm
Right:  42+/- 0.05 mm
8 / 8.0 pkt
Real magnification 10.02+/- 0.1x 3/3.0
Transmission 88.3+/- 1% 16/25.0
Chromatic aberration Slight in the centre but still noticeable in more demanding circumstances. Visible on the edge and a bit higher than medium. 6.1/10.0
Astigmatism Very low. 8.5/10.0
Distortion The distance between the first curved line and the field centre compared to the field of view radius: 92% ± 2% 10/10.0
Coma Starts near 75% of the field of view radius and is medium at most on the very edge. 8.2/10.0
Blurring at the edge of the FOV Blur occurs in a distance of 84.5% ± 4% from the field of view centre. 6.5/10.0
Darkening at the edge the FOV Very low. 4.3/5.0
Whiteness of the image A bit slanted curve, with the highest values for Orange-red part of the spectrum. Very slight greenish hue. 4.5/5.0
Collimation Perfect. 5/5.0
Internal reflections
Left: Right:
Nikon Monarch HG 10x42 - Internal reflections - Left Nikon Monarch HG 10x42 - Internal reflections - Right
Very nice area round the exit pupils.
Housing Very nice and stylish – in my humble opinion one of the nicest devices launched in recent years. Shapely and handy, comfortable to hold and to look through. Covered by good quality rubber armour, rough and matt so it sticks to your hands well. Every piece done as it should be; the binoculars produced in Japan.
Objective caps are especially praiseworthy – you can remove them with the fitting which wraps tightly round the tube and put tube caps instead. It’s obvious the producers thought about those who like integrated caps and the needs of those who don’t need them at all.
Focusing Big, comfortable central wheel, with rubber armour and ribs. It moves smoothly and is well-damped, without any squelching. A full turn of 580 degrees. Individual focusing done by a rubberized, ribbed ring on the right turn-and-slide eyepiece. It moves the outer element. 4.5/5.0
Tripod There is a comfortable exit. 3/3.0
Interpupilary distance from 55 to 75.2mm 5/6.0
Closest focusing distance 1.65 meter. 2/2.0
Eyepieces FOV Apparent field of view of 69.2 deg (according to simple formula) and 62.3 deg (according to tangent formula). 15.5/20.0
Field of view Measured by us amounted to 6.91 +/- 0.04 degrees and it was in perfect accordance with the official specifications. A very wide field for this class of equipment. 7.8/8.0
Quality of the interior of the barrels Black tubes, quite matt and very strongly baffled. Black bottom but a prism rim sticks out and it is made of gray metal, not covered by anything at all. Very clear interior. 4.6/5.0
Left: Right:
Nikon Monarch HG 10x42 - Vignetting - Left Nikon Monarch HG 10x42 - Vignetting - Right
OL: 4.36%, OR:1.46%.
Exit pupils unfortunately a bit truncated.
Prisms quality High quality BaK-4 8/8.0
Antireflection coatings Green-purple on objective lenses, green-blue-purple on prisms, green-purple-pink on eyepieces. Low intensity. 5/5.0
Warranty [years] 10 4.5/6.0
Final result
156.7 / 190 pkt
Econo result 0pkt.


  • very stylish, solid and waterproof casing,
  • record-breaking field of view, very wide for the 10x42 class,
  • good transmission,
  • very good colour fidelity,
  • low astigmatism,
  • slight coma,
  • negligible distortion,
  • practically imperceptible brightness loss on the edge of the field of view,
  • good quality prisms made of BaK-4 glass,
  • efficient antireflection coatings,
  • low flares,
  • properly darkened interior of the tubes, cleanliness,
  • sharp images already from 1.65 of a meter.

  • a bit too high chromatic aberration on the very edge of the field of view,
  • truncated exit pupils.

Taking into account the margin of error, the result of the Monarch HG 10x42 is practically the same as the result of its predecessor, the HG 10x42 DCF. On the one hand it might seem pointless to buy a new model when the old one is equally good; on the other hand several other factors should be considered as well. Firstly, the price remained the same which is rare; nowadays new products are often significantly more expensive than the old ones. Secondly, the new pair of binoculars is definitely more stylish, smaller and physically lighter than the old one. Thirdly, the company didn’t economize on production, still manufacturing the binoculars in Japan. Fourthly, the new set of binoculars features a significantly shorter close focusing distance. Fifthly and perhaps most importantly, the field of view increased by almost one degree and reached a record value of 6.9 degrees, unprecedented in the 10x42 class. Correcting such a large field of view is very difficult but Nikon managed it just fine. Most of aberration levels are as limited as possible; you can notice some problems only when it comes to chromatic aberration on the very edge of the field and the truncation of exit pupils. It seems the prisms are a tad too small to deal with such a large field of view.

A very good optics quality combined with a stylish casing and a very wide field of view make the Nikon Monarch HG 10x42 a real joy to use. You should add at this point that such renowned products as the Leica Ultravid HD+, the Swarovski SLC, the Zeiss Victory HT or the Zeiss Conquest HD don’t fare better than the Monarch HG in tests while being significantly more expensive. On the other hand, though, cheaper rivals of Nikon like the Vangaurd Endeavor ED II or the Vortex Viper HD breathe down its neck; they are excellent and less expensive but they won’t provide such a huge field of view.

A well-thought-out solution for objective caps. Both those who like integrated caps dangling from binoculars and those who don’t like them will be pleased.

I have no problems whatsoever to write that the Nikon Monarch HG is currently one of the more interesting options on our market. It is a device which I can recommend without any reservations, the more such launches the better. Now I am waiting impatiently for enlargement of that line-up by 30-32 mm models.