Are you considering the Nikon Monarch 5?
Nikon tries to strike a balance that not many optics companies are successful at: they attempt to provide an affordable price AND quality image.
The good news is this is one of the few companies that has succeeded! After spending some time reviewing the Monarch 5, I think it is one of the best binoculars in its price range. Its image quality is comparable to optics two to three times its price.
4 Reasons to Purchase the Nikon Monarch 5:
#1. Unbeatable Price and Image Combination
We have already established that the Nikon Monarch 5 has an AFFORDABLE price. But any company can make a low-priced binocular. The thing that makes this optic special is its performance.
In my opinion, the image the Monarch 5 delivers is comparable to much more expensive binoculars. Nikon accomplishes this feat with two features:
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 high-quality glass in the Monarch 5. If you want a scientific explanation, just Google “What is extra-low dispersion glass?” and you’ll get tons of information on this topic. 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 is excellent at minimizing color fringing (also called chromatic aberration). Color fringing makes the image look blurry or appear to have a noticeable color (e.g., red, blue, yellow, or green) around the edges.
- 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 light as possible reaches your eye 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, which provides excellent colors and resolution.
Once again, this type of coating is usually only found on binoculars that are much more expensive.
#2. Nikon is a trusted company.
Since 1917, Nikon has been an industry leader when it comes to optics, including cameras, lenses, spotting scopes, and, most importantly to us, binoculars.
To stay in business for over 100 years is no small accomplishment. It’s a testament to the quality of their products and commitment to design and innovation. For a relatively small amount of money, you can take advantage of 100 years of research and development by Nikon. It sounds like a great deal to me!
When purchasing binoculars, it’s vital that the optic comes from a reputable company. After owning other Nikon products, I think their attention to detail and product quality is among the best. In fact, I have yet to meet someone who has been disappointed with a Nikon product.
#3. Great Warranty
Just in case the Monarch 5 breaks or fails, Nikon provides an exceptional warranty for extra security.
- 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.
- Nikon No-Fault Repair/Replacement Policy:
Important points about Nikon’s warranty policy:
- Lost or stolen binoculars and intentional damage are excluded from either warranty.
- Register your Nikon purchase here! To have any warranty covered, you need to register your product. Also, keep your original proof of purchase as a backup.
#4. Designed to Watch Nature and Birds
Below I am going to discuss some of the technical specifications that make the Nikon Monarch 5 an excellent choice for anyone that likes to use binoculars to see wildlife. I will provide data that compares the Monarch 5 8×42 vs. the Monarch 5 10×42, two different sizes of binoculars. I prefer 8×42 for nature observation.
Compared to other similarly sized binoculars, the Nikon Monarch 5 is excellent. They are very light, and it’s easy to carry them or hang them around my neck all day while birding. The binocular body’s lightweight, fiberglass-reinforced polycarbonate resin makes this possible.
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, and I like the ergonomic design. 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. In addition, the rubber armoring on the binoculars helps with grip,
Close Focus refers to how close you can get to a subject and keep the image clear. The close focus on the Nikon Monarch 5 isn’t bad, but compared to similar binoculars, it’s not as great.
Field of View:
One of the most important features to me when choosing binoculars is the Field of View. I’m an avid birder, so the wider, the better! The more area you can keep in your view, the easier it is to find and follow birds.
Unfortunately, compared to other optics, the Monarch 5 does not perform well in this area. The field of view is relatively small. I guess that this was a sacrifice that needed to be made to make these binoculars so affordable, light, and compact.
Eye Relief measures how far away your eye sits from the viewing lens of the binocular. This is especially important for people with glasses. Luckily, the eye relief is good, and the eyecups are adjustable, so you can find a distance that’s comfortable for you.
Waterproof and Fog proof:
I could never recommend a binocular that could be damaged by a little water, and this is no exception. The Monarch 5 is waterproof to up to 13 ft (4m) and filled with nitrogen gas to prevent fogging and mold.
Reasons You Shouldn’t Purchase the Monarch 5:
One reason you may not want to purchase the Nikon Monarch 5 is the overall quality of its 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.
The Monarch 5 is 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. By spending more money, you can significantly increase the quality of the image, especially in challenging light environments like a sunset or a dark forest. For example, consider the Nikon Monarch 7.
I hate throwing a company under the bus for their customer service, but I am a bit frustrated with Nikon.
- To ask a simple question online, they make you create a Username and Password. 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.
- I also asked questions via two social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter) and never received a response.
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.
- Amazon: Nikon Monarch 5 (8×42)
- Normally priced below $300. I love their customer service, fast shipping, and amazing prices.
- B&H Photo: Nikon Monarch 5 (8×42)
- Experts at anything optics, photo or video. Prices are sometimes lower than Amazon, and they may even include a bonus giveaway.
- Support a local business!
- Find a local NIKON dealer and purchase in person. It will probably be a bit more expensive, but you will receive the expertise of a local professional support your community.
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. It 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.
Do you have the Nikon Monarch 5?
Tell us about your experience in the comments!