Binocular Review: Nikon Monarch 5 (8×42)

When I am looking to purchase bird watching binoculars, it’s important to find a set where I am getting the most value for my money.

With this in mind, it’s hard to find a better value than the Nikon Monarch 5 8×42. It comes with so many awesome features , many that aren’t found unless you spend twice as much!

In this review, I tried to summarize what was really great about the Monarch 5, along with some features it doesn’t include.

If you want to totally geek out on all the technical specifications of the binocular, click here to go to the Nikon website about the Monarch 5

*Need help understanding all the features that come on a binocular? Read my post  How To Select Bird Watching Binoculars! It explains what is important in a binocular to a birder and will make your shopping experience more educated and enjoyable.

The Nikon Monarch 5 is normally around $300, I have found Amazon normally has the best prices on binoculars.   If you know of a place that has a better deal, please let me know!!

Ok, let’s talk about the Nikon Monarch 5.

Extra-low dispersion (ED) glass

  • One of it’s biggest features is ED glass. Normally this is reserved for binoculars that are much more expensive.  ED glass is very high quality and is sought after because of its amazing image clarity, brightness, resolution of details and color. I have not been able to find a binocular with such high quality glass at such a low price!
  • ED glass is very good at chromatic aberration compensation. To put it simply, chromatic aberration is the inability for a binocular to bring different wavelengths of light together and into focus, which can produce a faint halo around an object. This helps make see more detail and create a better image while birding.


  • Dielectric high-reflective multi-layer coating on the prisms : According to Nikon this coating feature reflectance that exceeds 99%. What this means to us is we get brighter colors and more natural images.
  • Phase Correction coating applied on the prism.
  • All the lenses are multi-layer coated too. Looking at this chart from Nikon, these are the same coatings that some of their much more expensive binoculars receives.

Waterproof , Fog Proof and Durability

  • These are water proofed to 4m underwater and the body is filled with dry, nitrogen gas to prevent molding.
  • It has a rubber armored body for lots of durability.

Other Specifications:

  • Magnification: 8x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42mm
  • Field of View: 330 feet at 1,000 yards. 110 meters at 1,000 meters
    • This is one of the biggest drawbacks to the Nikon Monarch 5. It’s a great binocular but the Field of View very large.
    • If you are concerned about missing some of the action, upgrading to the Nikon Monarch 7 gives a much wider Field of View (420 feet / 140 meters)
  • Close Focusing Distance: 8.2 feet / 2.5 m
  • Weight: 20.8 ounces or 1.34 pounds
    • The chassis is made of a fiberglass-reinforced polycarbonate resin. The reason for this is to provide a great combination between durability and being light weight.
    • This makes it possible to go birding all day without being exhausted from holding your binoculars!
  • Eye Relief: 19.5mm


  • Nikon has a lifetime limited warranty for any defects in material or workmanship from the original purchaser. This can’t be transferred, so it only applies if you buy your Monarch 7 new.
  • Although not required for the warranty, Nikon encourages to register your purchase.  I highly recommend to register to avoid any arguments about proof of purchase.


At around $300, the Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 is an amazing value for bird watching. To be honest, I think we can over complicate things when shopping for binoculars. I know I become obsessed over all the technical data and how each binocular outperforms the others.

At the end of the day, I care about a few things:

Does the bird look clear and bright?

  • This is a huge YES! While testing, I thought this was the Monarch 5 best feature.

How much of the action can I see?

  • As mentioned above, this is one of the only places that the Monarch 5 doesn’t perform extremely well as the Field of View is small compared to other binoculars.

How does it feel in my hands?

  • Absolutely no complaints in this department. It is light and compact and easy to hold for extremely long periods of time.


Nikon is a trusted name when it comes to anything with optics or cameras. From experience with other Nikon products I have owned, the quality is high and I have never been disappointed in a purchase.

I fully recommend the Nikon Monarch 5 8×42, especially if you want a great optic and have a limited budget. It’s also great for a beginning birder who doesn’t want to invest too much money on their first binocular. I highly doubt you will regret this decision!

A few other items to note. During my research, it seems that the eye piece caps that are included with the Monarch 5 are a bit loose and fall off easy. If this is a problem, I recommend buying a nicer set such as the  Vortex Binocular RAINGUARD.

Purchase Information:

As mentioned before, I could not find a better price that buying these on Amazon: Nikon MONARCH 5 8×42 Binocular.

My personal preference for bird watching binoculars is an 8×42 (magnification x objective diameter). This is a much debated topic with no right nor wrong answer, it just comes down to the individual birder. I mention this because the Monarch 5 also has a model with a 10x magnification, check it out on Amazon or on Nikon’s website.

Lastly, if you read this review and made it this far I have a favor to ask. Was this helpful?? My goal was to keep it simple and dig through all the data to find the features that were important to bird watching. Please let me know how I can improve this site or what you would like to see.

If you end up purchasing a binocular, please use one of the links provided on this page. At no cost to you, Amazon gives 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! 🙂

Happy birding!


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