Binocular Review: Nikon Monarch 5

Nikon Monarch 5 ReviewsThe Nikon Monarch 5 tries to play a game that not many binoculars are successful at.

 

They attempt to provide an affordable price AND quality image.  Check Today's Price

 

So did Nikon succeed?

 

I am convinced.

 

After spending some time reviewing the Monarch 5, I think it is one of the best binoculars in its price range (~ under $300) whose image is comparable to optics 2-3x it’s price.


Nikon Monarch 5 Review: Table of Contents

 

1. My Top 4 Reasons to Purchase:

 

2. Summary

3. Why You Shouldn’t Purchase the Monarch 5

4. Best Places to Buy – Compare Prices

 

Related Articles:

8 Best Bird Watching Binoculars of 2017:  Includes optics from ALL prices changes ($125 – $2,600)

Eagle Optics Ranger ED Review: Before purchasing the Monarch 5, check out this similarly priced binocular.



In this Nikon Monarch 5 review, we will explore its features and benefits. But I will also provide a few binoculars that may be a better fit. It just depends on your price range and what features are most important to you!

 

Let’s dig in!

 

4 Reasons to Purchase the Nikon Monarch 5:


1. Unbeatable Price and Image Combination

 

Nikon Monarch 5 Binocular ReviewsWe have already established that the Nikon Monarch 5 has an AFFORDABLE price.

Check Today's Price

But any company can make a cheap, low priced binocular. What makes this optic special is its performance.

 

In my opinion, the image the Monarch 5 delivers is comparable to binoculars much more expensive.

 

Here is how Nikon accomplishes this feat:

Extra-low Dispersion Glass

 

This may be the most surprising feature you read about during this Nikon Monarch 5 review.

 

That’s because Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass used to be a feature that was only found in very high-end (aka expensive) binoculars.

 

Lucky for us, Nikon decided to change the game and put this quality glass in the Monarch 5. 

 

WHY is ED glass a good thing?

 

If you want a really nerdy answer, just Google “What is extra low dispersion glass?” You will get a very thorough explanation that includes the science behind ED glass.

 

But I just like to know the basics. Specifically, how will this glass improve my bird watching experience while using the Monarch 5?

 

ED Glass Enhances Color & Resolution

 

ED glass is great at minimizing color fringing (also called chromatic aberration), which is the inability of a lens to bring all the wavelengths of color together. Color fringing makes the image look blurry or appear to have a noticeable color (e.g. red, blue, yellow or green) around the edges.

Nikon Monarch 5 - ED GlassPhoto Courtesy of Nikon Sports Optics

 

ED glass makes the image look better, especially in high contrast situations. You will see a remarkable difference in image sharpness, clarity, detail, contrast and brightness. It’s one of the main reasons the Nikon Monarch 5 is known to have such a clear and bright image.

 

Fully Multicoated Eco-Glass Lenses

 

Nikon applies their multilayer coatings to all of the lens and prism surfaces that transmit light.

Quality coatings are very important! They ensure that as much reaches your eye as possible to provide a clear and bright image.

 

The Monarch 5 also includes a Dielectric High-Reflective Multilayer Prism Coating applied to the lenses and prisms. This coating can let as much as 99% of light pass through the glass. All this light provides excellent colors and resolution.

 

Once again, this is a specific type of coating normally found on binoculars that are much more expensive.

 


2. Nikon: The Company

 

Monarch 5 ReviewSince 1917 Nikon has been an industry leader when it comes to optics. Think cameras, camera lenses, microscopes, spotting scopes and most importantly binoculars.

 

Now do some quick math. How long has Nikon been in business?

 

Yes, you are correct. (I hope)  In 2017, Nikon is celebrating their 100th anniversary .

 

Congratulations to them! This is obviously no small accomplishment. Nikon began when in 1917, 3 leading optics companies in Japan combined in Tokyo and their headquarters is still located there. 

 

As they say, the rest is history!

 

For a relatively small amount of money, the purchase of the Monarch 5 means you are taking advantage of 100 years of research and development by Nikon. Countless engineers have spent their entire lives and careers perfecting lenses, coatings and other technologies.

 

When purchasing binoculars, it’s important that the optic comes from a reputable company. After owning other Nikon products (camera’s and lenses) I think their attention to detail and product quality is among the best.

 

Just ask around.

 

I have yet to meet someone who has been disappointed with a Nikon product.

 


3. Great Warranty

 

Nikon Monarch 5 ReviewJust in case the Monarch 5 breaks or fails, Nikon provides an exceptional warranty for extra security.

 

First, they include their…

 

Limited Lifetime Warranty: This means that if any “defects in material or workmanship” are found, Nikon will either repair or replace the binocular at THEIR expense. There is no time limit on this warranty. View Warranty here. 

 

And if that wasn’t enough, they also include their… 

 

Nikon No-Fault Repair/Replacement Policy: 

Nikon Monarch No Fault Warranty

Below is the phrase that is worth examining

 

“If your Nikon Binocular… requires repair not covered by our Limited Lifetime Warranty, just send it to us and Nikon will at our option repair or replace the product at no charge.” – Nikon

 

This No-Fault Repair warranty sounds great, but Nikon gives themselves some wiggle room with the wording.

 

I’m curious how broad this coverage is and if anyone has had experience of a repair being denied?

 

Please Keep in Mind About The Nikon Warranty:

  • Lost or stolen binoculars or intentional damage is excluded from either warranty. 

 


4. Designed to Watch Nature and Birds 

 

Let me be clear.

 

I prefer bird watching binoculars that have an 8x magnification and 42mm objective lens diameter, other wise known as having a size or “numbers” of 8×42.


How to Choose Bird Watching Binoculars: Read if you want more info on what “numbers” of a binocular mean or many of the other terms discussed below.


 

Nikon Monarch 5Another popular size for watching nature is a 10×42. This option gets you closer to the birds but your field of view will decrease.

View 8x42 Price   View 10x42 Price

 

Below I am going to discuss some of the technical specifications that make the Nikon Monarch 5 a great choice for anyone that likes to use their binoculars to see wildlife. I will provide data that compares the Monarch 5 8×42 vs. the Monarch 5 10×42.

 

Weight:

 

Nikon Monarch 8×42

Nikon Monarch 10×42

20.8 oz

21.6 oz

 

Compared to other similarly sized binoculars, this is excellent. They are very light while holding in my hands. I don’t see an issue carrying them or hanging from my neck all day while birding.

 

To achieve this lightweight, the chassis is made of a fiberglass-reinforced polycarbonate resin.

 

Size (L x W): 

 

Nikon Monarch 8×42

Nikon Monarch 10×42

5.7 in x 5.1 in

5.7 in x 5.1 in

 

Binoculars could have the best image in the world, but they also need to be comfortable to hold and use.

The Monarch 5 is compact and easy to hold. I like the ergonomic design that Nikon has used. I consider any binocular that is under 6 inches in length to be “compact”. This small size helps to grip the body and barrels more easily with my hands.

Also, the body has a rubber armoring. This does two things:

  1. Helps absorb impacts for the inevitable drop.
  2. It has a slight tacky feel that helps to grip the binocular.

 

Close Focus:

 

Nikon Monarch 8×42

Nikon Monarch 10×42

7.8 feet

7.8 feet

 

This is not awful, but compared to similar binoculars it is not great

 

Field of View:

 

Nikon Monarch 8×42

Nikon Monarch 10×42

330 feet

288 feet

 

Personally, one of the most important features while choosing binoculars is the Field of View.

 

I’m an avid birder, so the wider the better to help find and follow birds

 

But compared to other optics, the Monarch 5 does not perform well. 330 feet (8×42) and 288 feet (10×42) are relatively small.

 

My guess is that this was a sacrifice that needed to be made to make these binoculars so affordable, light and compact.

 

Eye Relief:

 

Nikon Monarch 8×42

Nikon Monarch 10×42

19.5 mm

18.4 mm

Nikon Monarch 5 Binocular ReviewThis is especially important for people with glasses.

 

Also, the eyecups are adjustable so you can find the custom eye relief that is most comfortable.

 

Waterproof and Fog proof:

 

Like every binocular that I recommend, it is a requirement that a little water is not going to damage the optical system.

 

The Monarch 5 is water proofed to up to 4m underwater and filled with dry nitrogen gas to prevent fogging and molding.

 


Summary

 

The Nikon Monarch 5 is one of the best lower priced binoculars on the market today.

 

Reviews of Nikon Monarch 5 BinocularsIt’s perfect anyone that is on a fairly tight budget AND wants performance.

 

I think it is also a great binocular for beginning birders. At under $300, it is very affordable and provides a crisp and clear image of birds and nature. Check Today's Price


Unfortunately, many beginners’ head to Wal-Mart and buy the first pair of $20 binoculars they come across. Trust me, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. Cheap and inexpensive optics are going to leave you frustrated.

 

Why You Shouldn’t Purchase the Monarch 5:

 

No binocular is perfect for everyone. Each model has it’s own unique niche.

 

One reason you may not want to purchase the Nikon Monarch 5 is the overall quality of glass.

 

As mentioned before, you get what you pay for.

 

Even though the Monarch 5 has ED glass, there are varying qualities of glass that manufacturers use.

 

Nikon Monarch 5The Monarch 5 is obviously very affordable at under $300, but Nikon had to make some cuts throughout the binocular. The quality of the lenses and prisms is the most noticeable.

Even though the image is good, by spending more money you can significantly increase the quality of the image, especially in challenging light environments like sunset or in a dark forest. For example, consider the Nikon Monarch 7.

 

 

Customer Service: 

 

I hate throwing a company under the bus for their customer service, but I am a bit frustrated with Nikon.

  1. To ask a simple question online, they make you create a Username and Password. No offense, but I have enough of these and don’t think it should be a requirement just to ask a question about your product. Almost every other optics company makes it EASY to ask questions.
  2. I also asked questions via two social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter) and never received a response.

 

Next, please do one of the following two things:

 

1. Buy the Nikon Monarch 5 from one of these three places:

 

Are you convinced the Monarch 5 will transform you into the next Roger Tory Peterson? I have done a lot of research to find the best places to purchase.

 

2. Keep Researching!

 

Buying binoculars is a big decision and it’s best to take your time and do your research!

 

I recommend checking out one of the following resources/articles as your next step:

 

  • The Best Binoculars for Bird Watching
    • This should give some ideas of other binoculars that would be a great choice for bird watching. Includes optics across all different price ranges. (From $125 to $2,600) Includes a helpful chart that compares all the optics on this list.

 

 

  • Celestron Nature DX Review: If the Monarch 5 seems too expensive, check out binocular. It’s the cheapest optic you can buy and still have an enjoyable birding experience.

Before you leave….

 

I have a serious question for you and I want honest feedback.

 

How can I improve this review of the Nikon Monarch 5?

 

Please tell the truth. What questions didn’t I answer? What are you still looking for as you search the Internet for more answers? I want this review to be the best!

 

If this was helpful, please subscribe via email at the top of the page to receive updates when new posts arrive!

 

Thanks again for reading. Happy birding!

 

Scott

If you end up purchasing a binocular, please use one of the links provided on this page. At no cost to you, the providers may give a small portion of the sale to me. I would really appreciate that as it helps keep this site running and lets me know that this content is valuable! 🙂

 

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